Jamie and Sophie's Adventure

Jamie Longmore and Sophie Jones travel the world

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Broken Hand

Well the snowboarding at Mt Hutt resulted in my left little finger pointing at a right angle to my hand. The first day was fine, apart from having a sore bum due to snowboarding being extrememly hard for beginners, the second day however has messed up the rest of my trip. It was the first time I went down the slope on that morning when I fell and noticed something was odd about my glove. I felt sick when I saw the damage and was put on laughing gas, given 4 painkillers and a codine tablet before being driven an hour back to Methven where we were staying for an X-ray at the doctors.
After several local anaesthetics the Doctor tried to reset my finger, it's not perfect but it's a lot better looking than it was. I have a splint that I have to wear for several weeks and I can't get wet. It makes everything, especially showering, very difficult. Thankfully I have Sophie who has been great as a fulltime carer. I will have another X-ray soon and see how it is coming along.
It has meant that I couldn't go dolphin swimming which I was really looking forward to, I was thinking of skydiving again here in Taupo as it's really cheap and amazing. There are quite a lot of other things coming up that I was particularly looking forward to but can no longer do including zorbing, sandboarding, horse riding, caving and more.
It is very depressing and has made me quite sad but I am jut glad that I have managed to do most of the things I wanted to like bungy, a skydive, etc. I am praying now that I will be able to use the finger when it's healed, unlike the last one I broke.
Other than that we haven't done too much, had a few nights out, come to the north island, watched Shrek 3 on the ferry, seen The Simpsons Movie tonight and had a few decent curries.
Tomorrow we are doing "East As" which is meant to be a great trip with Kiwi Experience. We will be some of the first people in the world to see the new day as we are almost as far east as possible. It's a 4 day trip and not sure if I will be able to get online or not. The weather in the north island isn't as good as down south but at least it's better than in England...
4 weeks today...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Adrenalin Junkies

Here is a video of me Canyon Swinging. I am sitting on a chair at the edge of a 109 metre cliff. You know how they told you never to lean back on your chair at school? This is why! This is the 3rd of our extreme activities. It was pretty scary before we jumped because the guys kept going on about how they "hope" I'm connected properly and things like that. You can probably tell from the video that I was a bit nervous, I loved it though.

2 days ago we did a bungy jump off Nevis, the 2nd highest in the world at 134 metres. The first few seconds after I jumped were terrifying but then it rapidly turned into a huge adrenalin rush and I was having a great time. I was trying to fly to begin with but flapping my arms madly did no good! I'll see if I can get that video on here, if not you'll have to wait until I get home.

Yesterday we did a skydive from 12,000 feet and it was my favourite of the lot, the 45 seconds of freefall was incredible and then the 5 minute parachute down was great because of the unreal scenery. We were meant to skydive before but a combination of the weather and some stupid girl making our bus late meant that we had to wait until Queenstown. I got a video of that too which is really good. Unfortunately Sophie's ears were really hurting due to the rapid change in altitude so she couldn't enjoy it as much due to the pain.

Before we did all this we did a glacier hike in Franz Josef which was really good, we were in the top group which meant our guide didn't spend too long cutting out steps for us so parts were quite tricky and very dangerous, no injuries though apart from some bruised fingers from gripping the ice.

The next day we went to Wanaka where we went to Puzzle World which was actually quite fun with their illusions and a tricky maze. We also went to the cinema there which is very unique. The seats are sofas, beanbags, there's even a car in there you can sit in! They had an interval so you could get drinks and more food. We saw The History Boys which was alright. I'm trying to persuade Sophie to see Transformers with me this week but not having much luck!

So then we came to Queenstown, we didn't sleep for days because we had some ridiculous snorers in our 8 bed dorm, the one night I was even slapping and hitting one guy but he wouldn't wake up. Sophie went to the toilet only to find our (very very) drunk friend in her bed when she returned, when she asked him to move he was asking "how much room do you need?" Because of this, and the fact that they don't have any room for us now, we decided to get a double room somewhere for a few nights, we have ended up getting a great deal at a motel. $75 for a big room with a separate kitchen and bathroom all to ourselves, TV, fridge, even electric blankets! It's usually $129 but we must have charmed the lady.

Also today we went on a luge, you go up a gondala with impressive views and then get in a go-cart type thing and race around the track, it was a lot of fun. We have nothing planned for tomorrow and then we go skiing the next day before heading back to Christchurch on Friday. From there we will do some more skiing and snowboarding at Mt Hutt.

Comments please.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Kiwi Experience

Before leaving Christchurch we met up with a friend from University, Neil, for a few drinks, it wasn't easy though as there aren't many pubs in Christchurch so we had to make do with the token Irish bar, an English pub and a poncy bar.

Two days after that we started on Kiwi Experience. We got on the bus which was full to capacity and we had to sit right at the back which unfortunately meant that we missed out on swimming with dolphins at our first stop, Kaikoura. We did get to go whale watching though which was quite good, though we only saw the one whale (they gave us a part refund which was nice!). We saw him for about 10 minutes before he flipped his tail and went back down. We had a few drinks that night in another token Irish bar, became doubles pool champions and retired to bed.
The next day we headed to Nelson where I did some free beer tasting and then some not-free beer tasting. We played a load of drinking games, almost a whole bus load of us around some big tables and it was a lot of fun. We went out afterwards, danced on some tables, had a kebab and went to bed. Good night out.
The next day most of the bus headed on but we stayed to do a walk around a national park called Abel Tasmen. We had an "Aqua Taxi" which took us for a ride along the coast and then dropped us off for a 3.5 hour walk.
That night we found out we had a whole house to ourselves. The previous night we had shared it with 5 others but they had all left and nobody came to replace them so we watched a pretty bad Sandra Bullock film, Murder by Numbers before getting some sleep.
The next day it was off to Westport, we went to see a big lake on the way there and some members of our group jumped in, it must have been about 5 degrees! That night the whole town was closed apart from a couple of pubs so we went and had a drink after watching Austin Powers 2 on video.
Lake Mahinapua was our next destination where we went to look at some rocks that supposedly look like stacked pancakes, ate some real pancakes and then headed on to Mahinapua Hotel aka The Poo Pub. The landlord, Les Lisle, is New Zealand's oldest publican at 82 and was a real character as you can imagine. We were lucky to get a dorm to ourselves and I enjoyed a big steak and some venison stew for tea. That night was fancy dress night, our theme was music fads/eras. A lot of people went as punks, one guy went as Jessica Simpson, Sophie was a beautiful 60's hippy chick and I went as a Goth. Now some of you may be aware that I have strong opinions of goths but I thought if you can't beat them (I'd like to), join them. It was a funny night and there were a lot of sore heads this morning.
Today we have arrived in Franz Josef, ready for tomorrow glacier trekking which should be a great experience.
I should mention the scenery in New Zealand, it's absolutely spectacular and I'd recommend everyone to come here and see it for themselves. Every drive we do has stunning snow capped mountain ranges, green forests and lots and lots of sheep!
Less than 7 weeks until we come home now so we are making the most of every day in every way.

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!