Jamie and Sophie's Adventure

Jamie Longmore and Sophie Jones travel the world

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bye Bye New Zealand

Tomorrow we'll be saying Kia Ora for the last time as we fly to Fiji at 1pm. We have had a brilliant time here and it's one of my favourite countries from the whole trip. I'll tell you what we've been up to....

Last time I forgot to say that whilst in Wellington we went with some friends to watch a rugby match at Westpac stadium, Wellington v Otago. The stadium was nowhere near capacity and Wellington won easily, something like 65-8. It was quite good fun even though I'm not that interested in egg chasing.

When we went on East As we had a great time, learnt a lot about Maori culture and did some fun activities. The first day we travelled via the Lakes District, Whakatane and Opotiki to our first nights accommodation in Te Kaha at the Homestead Lodge where the hospatality of the O’Brian Whanau and friends was truly fantastic. The Homestead is situated on the most amazing spot right by the beach that has to be seen to be believed. Once welcomed into Te Whanau a Apanui (the local tribe) we got to kick back and relax. They had a hot tub overlooking the sea but it started raining just before I was going to get in it! Our host Paul aka Chay and his wife cooked us some fresh fish, chips and lasagne for a group meal before they sang us some Maori songs with our driver Ken on guitar and then we had to sing a song back to them. We were travelling with an Irish couple who sang a Gaelic song and an Austrian called Joe who claimed not to know any songs. We got away with me doing a party trick and burping them a few tunes which Chay absolutely loved! When we went into the freezer we were met by a huge wild boar which his son had caught and hung up in there, it was rather smelly to say the least.

Departing Te Kaha the next day we followed the coastline south to Rangitukia, stopping along the way to check out points of interest and to take in the beautiful coastal scenery. We left Joe behind as Chay offered him the chance of working for him for a few months sorting out his golden kiwi fruit orchard. The golden kiwi fruits are sweeter and nicer than the green ones, he let us pick some and take them with us. After arriving at Rangitukia ‘Eastenders’ farm stay’ we did some bone carving. One of the locals drew a design we had chosen on a piece of bone and we used their tools to carve them out. They look really good as necklaces (obviously they helped us out whilst making them). I made one for Sophie and she made one for me.We played some pool and table tennis in the wool shed, had a good look at their horses and pigs and made friends with a little puppy we named Scamp as they hadn't named him. That evening I had a traditional hangi dinner. This is food cooked in the ground, it had lamb, chicken, sweet potato and other vegetables, very tasty.

The next day we were among the first in the world to see the sunrise by walking 15-minute up the nearby hills, unfortunately it was quite cloudly so it wasn't that great. Leaving Rangitukia we stopped at Tologa Bay, home of New Zealand’s longest wharf, Whangara where the movie ‘The Whale Rider’ was filmed and Kai Te Hill where Captain James Cook became the first white man to set foot on the land. We stayed in Napier that night which is famous for it's Art Deco buildings. We also ate at New Zealand's best bakery (it won awards apparantly).

The last day we headed back to Taupo but not before doing chocolate tasting, honey tasting, wine tasting and cheese tasting.

The next day it was up to Rotorua which has a lot of thermal activity, resulting in the whole town stinking of rotten eggs, in some places it was quite overpowering. We went to see thermal fools, geysers and that night went to a Maori cultural show. This was great fun, set at a Maori village we saw singing, dancing and had an all you can eat hangi meal.

The next day we went to Waitomo which has glow worm caves. I went caving and tubing (floating along in a big inner tube) and enjoyed it a lot, unfortunately I couldn't go in Sophie's group as she was doing abseiling which would have been hard with my broken finger. The water was so cold I couldn't feel my hands by the end of it so it was good pain relief! On the way home we went to see "Bunny Shearing". Yes, they had a special breed of rabbit that gets incredibly furry and they shear it all off, similar to a sheep.

We went to Auckland the next day but didn't do much as we weren't here long. We went with Kiwi Experience up to the Bay of Islands where we went on the 'Excitor' a very fast boat that shows you around the islands and gets you very wet. Foolishly I had a shave just before going on this, the salt water didn't do the cuts on my face any favours. The following day we went right up to the top of the island, Cape Reinga. We drove along 90 mile beach (actually only 57 miles or something), went sandboarding which involved a heart attack inducing walk up a big sand dune then riding a board down on our bellies (in the freezing cold rain - still awesome though!), saw Kauri trees which are 45000+ years old. We saw where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean and had an early tea at New Zealand's best fish 'n' chip shop. That night we took part in a rather unconventional pub quiz which we didn't come too close to winning. The next day we went to see where a famous treaty was signed before heading back to Auckland.

Today has been a busy day, we went up the Auckland Sky Tower in the morning for some fantastic views of the city, it's the biggest building in the southern hemisphere. We then did a free city tour with Kiwi Experience. We climbed Auckland Harbour Bridge and me and Sophie jumped off it. We did a tandem bungy jump, side by side holding on to each other. Nowhere near as big as our previous one, Nevis, as it was only 43 metres but it was still fun. We saw some other sights and had fish 'n' chips once again. Late afternoon we went to Kelly Tarltons Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World where we saw penguins, huge stingrays, sharks and lots of fish.

So our Kiwi adventure is now over and we have loved every minute of it. I would recommend Kiwi Experience to anyone, it's a great way to see the country, make friends and have fun.

We are doing Feejee Experience in Fiji which is owned by the same people, it's only 4 days so we will spend the rest of the time relaxing on some beaches on a few of the islands there, hopefully getting a tan as we currently don't have one!

1 Comments:

  • At 7:36 PM, Dad said…

    Sounds like an interesting country, no wonder so many people rave about it once they have visited. Enjoy your time in Fiji and we look forward to seeing you in a few weeks time xx

     

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