Jamie and Sophie's Adventure

Jamie Longmore and Sophie Jones travel the world

Monday, July 02, 2007

New Zealand

We have arrived in New Zealand safe and sound, though we were without Sophie's bag for a while, they didn't put it on the flight, then told us she'd get it the next morning before losing it again and finally getting it to us last night. We flew from Brisbane to Auckland and then had to fly from there to Christchurch, where we are now. The connecting flight had been delayed by several hours though which would have made it very hard for us to find a hostel at gone Midnight, thankfully the man got us the last 2 seats on an earlier flight so we didn't have to wait long and got in about 7pm. We are staying at The Old Countryhouse which is very nice and quiet, we have a double room, the only problem is that it's 1.5km from town, but that's no big deal.

I'd better tell you what we got up to in Australia before we left...

We went to Townsville, where we were planning on doing a dive of the SS Yongala, an old shipwreck which is regarded as one of the best dive sites in the world. Unfortunately, we found out at 6am on the morning of the dive that it was too windy and they had cancelled it. This was very upsetting as it meant we wouldn't be able to do the dive. We went to Magnetic Island for the day but it was pouring down so we didn't really see much there. The highlight of Townsville was probably seeing Ocean's 13 at the cinema!

Next we went to Mission Beach, there was nothing there, it was too cold to go on the beach so we only stayed one night and moved on to Cairns where we stayed at The Serpent. We had a double room which was good and met up with one of my friends from UPCC (University of Plymouth Cricket Club), Phil aka Hyde Park. The Serpent gives you a free evening meal, however the portions are not the biggest, for example, the BBQ night we got one sausage and one piece of bread each, bangers & mash night, you get half a sausage and 3 mouthfuls of mash. Still, better than nothing.

We went on a 3 day/2 night trip to Cape Tribulation, walking through rainforests and doing a crocodile spotting cruise down the river on our way there. When we arrived we went to an exotic fruit farm where we tried 10 different fruits, we had tried a couple of them in Asia but the rest were new to us, some were nicer than others.

The next day we went diving on the Great Barrier Reef which was pretty good, though unfortunately Sophie's ear was too painful to do the 2nd dive (luckily the first dive was by far the best). This was very disappointing especially after not being able to do the Yongala. On the way back to Cairns we went via Mossman Gorge and Port Douglas for a look around. Sophie was so upset about missing out on the dives that she was determined to go back to Townsville and do the SS Yongala dive after all. I said it wouldn't be possible as it meant leaving at gone Midnight for a 5 hour bus journey and then getting picked up at 7am for the dive. I was wrong. We did the dive, and thanks to some Red Bull managed to stay awake. It was definitely worth it as we saw more fish than you could even comprehend, they were so big aswell, many of them bigger than me, we saw a shark and a huge turtle aswell.

To get to the shipwreck it is a 3 and a half hour boat ride, it was pretty rough and there were lots of people being sick (not us). One poor lady spent the entire day lying down feeling ill, she didn't dive or anything, the trip was pretty expensive and the diving was incredible so she must be gutted. We then went back to Cairns that night, got to bed at about 1:30am and slept until the afternoon. We didn't do much else in Cairns other than see Fantastic Four 2 at the cinema (films are cheap on Tuesdays that's why we keep going to the cinema).

We flew from Cairns to Brisbane and had to pay $20 for excess baggage which wasn't bad at all considering the amount of stuff we have.

In Brisbane we stayed at Brisbane City Backpackers which was pretty bad, they didn't have blankets, towels, cutlery/plates and our dorm was tiny. We didn't get much sleep as all 4 of our room mates snored all night!

We went to a koala sanctuary where we got to hold a koala, saw a sheep dog show and look at other animals and birds that were there. The koala weighed about 15kg and snuggled up to us like a baby.

We spent a while in the tax office filling in forms to get back the 30% of our wages that they took off us, only to be told by the lady not to hold our breath. It's a shame because it would be a nice sum of money to have in my bank account, especially as I'm going to be jobless, poor and 13 grand in debt when I get home!

We also tried to do a tour of the XXXX (Four X beer) brewery which you could smell from our hostel but unfortunately all the tours were booked up so we had a drink in their bar instead. Sophie had the original XXXX beer, a sparkling ale, which you can only get in the brewery and I played it safe with a XXXX Gold.

So that was the end of our Australian adventure and we now have less than 8 weeks until we come home. We are looking forward to exploring New Zealand and are going to sign up to Kiwi Experience later which is a hop on/hop off bus service with a bit of a party reputation so we are hoping to make the most of our time here.

Leave us some comments, send us some emails, let us know what's going on the other side of the world!


  • At 7:21 PM, Dad said…

    Not the most flattering photo of you I have ever seen, you look eight months pregnant!! Best I give the lodger his notice to quit if you are back in eight weeks. Enjoy NZ xx


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