Thursday, 17 November 2011

Heading West to go East - The Land of the Long White Cloud

Qantas being useless and deciding to cancel all flights the day before my flight put me in a spot, luckily my ‘Qantas’ flight is actually a joint venture and run by Lan Chile who are not on strike or incompetent. I flew west, ended up in the east, I left on a Saturday and arrived on a Monday at the good old time of 6am minus my stick(which they lost but is now found). Welshie eventually found me at the airport and we set off to our current housing to wake stoney up. Shockingly he was awake.

We eventually went to the hostel but so annoyed with the lack of service, closing the bar on Halloween for a 'staff' party' and other complaints we returned to the free house we had available and drank beers in the hot tub. Not bad start although the shitty hostels will become a theme (more later). Next day we collected the rental car and drove off to Raglan. Raglan is a pleasantly small town on the west coast, a surf capital. The weather not being great and it being cold, we settled for Skim boards rather than full surf boards and headed to the beach. In the evening we chilled with other hostel members in the hot tub and socialised till Jet lag and guitar playing canadians bored me to sleep. After a morning jaunt of Kayaking across the estuary we set off for Hamilton and Mata Mata visiting Bridal Veil Falls on the way.

Hamilton being the home of Hobbits, right next to the shire. In Matamata we stayed with Welsh's dad old friend where we drank copious amounts of lovely red wine and rested before heading to Rotorua for Zorbing, Luge and Polynesian Spa treatment. All of which were awesome, and mostly involved making our ways down hills in various methods (except the spa obviously). Rotorua itself stinks of sulphur due to all the hot springs. After this we headed to Taupo, adventure capital of the north where we went out in the hostel bar, stones disappeared and then we went Bungy jumping into the Waikato river before some more natural hot springs in the river itself..

After Taupo we went to New Plymouth, which is even worse than old Plymouth cept a nice coast line. We hit Inglewood for another old friend visit. Whanganui followed but failed to sort us with the main reason to visit, we did however go up an underground eleveator and climb a couple of towers before shooting off to Wellington to see my cousin Doug, his wife and twin sons. They live in an area called Island Bay with a house over looking the south coast, which was awesome.

In Wellington we went to a few sites, museums and enjoyed the sunshine by drinking cider by the seafront. A rather casual night out followed in the hostel. We left Wellington and ended up heading to Napier for a few days, a change of pace, up till now we had only spent at most two nights in a location. In Napier we took turns on who would drive while going wine tasting, which was awesome. We went out on the saturday, Cider & beer tasting followed by games followed by pool party followed by clubbing. I may have gone in the pool without my clothes. After Napier we went to Mount Manganui where we climbed aforementioned Mount where Stoney struggled and then chilled on the beach in the sun. I went for a much needed run and a swim to cool off. We then headed to Auckland to await are flight the next day to the South Island. This rounds up the North Island. It sounds like a rush, because it was, and thus the writing reflects that.
Wine Tasting (because I am driving I only got one and mine was 3 times bigger than Stones!)

Tasty Yacht in Wellington

Cider in the Sun

Wellington Cable Car

I like New Zealand, it is a beautiful country however I have some grievances. Number 1, the Hostels. They claim to be for backpackers but charge you money for every little extra. In South America internet and breakfast is free, here it is not, even Wifi(which has been free in EVERY other place I have been) You can't claim to be a 'backpackers hostel' when you rinse them for money at every point.

Number 2: Roads and Driving. I don't mind the roads or driving as they are certainly better than some countries. However, the "Motorways" are all one lane and drivers speed up when you get to the overtaking section making it harder to overtake or I think "Oh I don't need to overtake anymore as they are now driving at the speed limit" only to slow down as soon as it ends. Also they are very accustomed to tailgating, all in all they are bad drivers, not the worst but pretty bad.

Thats all for now, more pictures when I put them on the lappy. Now uploaded. Link at the top.

1 comment:

  1. I totally love this place and have to visit again this coming December for holiday season with my family.

    Pousadas Em Florianopolis