Australia, New Zealand · 38 Days · 51 Moments · December 2016

Laura's tour through New Zealand

6 February 2017

Christchurch! Well today was the day I find out what I have done to my ankle. I knew I hadn't broke it because I would have to have been in more pain. But the paramedic said there are so many little bones so you just don't know. There were a lot of nurses on the bus so I was getting opinions from everywhere. Was looking forward to just getting an answer. As soon as I got to Christchurch I went to hospital. It was a really bad sprain and torn ligaments. Wouldn't be able to walk for a few weeks and likely need physio. I was to give it to Monday and if I couldn't walk on it, go back. I had to decide whether to go home or not. Luckily, josh had friends from home in Christchurch. They were amazing. They drove me everywhere. So I got to see some lovely places even though I couldn't walk. It got to Monday and it hadn't improved at all. I had to go home.....

1 February 2017

I just had to hold on to the boys and drag myself. By the time I got back to the bus the adrenaline had definitely wore off. One of the guys on the bus was a paramedic. He checked it out and said I had to get an X-ray, by this time it had ballooned. Christchurch was the nearest place so I just had to wait to the following day. Luckily we had planned a BBQ that night, so weren't leaving the hostel and were directly across from the lake. Josh was my personal taxi too and from the lake, poor guy. Safe to say I had an early night that night.
Goodbye Queenstown....Hello Lake Tekapo. Only two stops left until I have completed New Zealand. Lake Tekapo and Christchurch. Who would have thought the two most uneventful stops would change the rest of my trip. We had a stop on the way to Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, the bluest lake in the world. As you can see there are alot of rocks before the lake. I wanted to get to the front, nearer the lake. So off a few of us go, jumping, climbing and walking across all the rocks and then I feel myself falling forward. I had to jump or go head first. So I jumped. Landed, ankle popped and I battered against a rock. People around were concerned about my head, nope I was concerned that I felt my ankle pop. A girl from the bus, immediately looked at my ankle and confirmed it was in place. I felt sick, light headed and I knew I couldn't move. The boys came to help straight away. I knew I had to get up a little bit to be sick. After I got myself together we had to figure out how to get out! Lol.

30 January 2017

It wasn't all drinking in Queenstown. We all went to get the famous gondolas which take you up to an amazing view point. You see the whole of Queenstown. What a view it was. We all got to the gondola and discovered it was $33!!! So Yasmin and I decided we weren't paying for it and decided to hike it instead. Ohhhh it was a hard hike!!!! We were sweating like mad and we left our water in one of the boys bags! Every time we passed people we asked how long we had left haha. These two guys offered us water which was nice of them. The views were unreal and when we got to the top, wow! Later that night I had a trail shift in a bar we discovered and really liked, the 1876. It had great live music, a good atmosphere and a good crowed. I just asked for a trial, didn't bother saying about a cv or anything and it worked. The trial was good, easy enough. I went to cowboys after it, which is our new regular by now, and got offered a job!!! I told her I had two stops to go and I would be back!

27 January 2017

The first pub crawl was a good laugh, it wasn't too messy. Well not for me anyway. Everyone was a bit tired from travelling too. The next day Yasmin and I went a walk around the park to get rid of the cobwebs. We met the boys in cowboys later on before getting ready for pub crawl number two and the ice bar! It was such fun!! Everyone had a great laugh and we got lots of cool pics. We got shots in every bar and there was an odd bit pizza here and there.

26 January 2017

More pub crawl pictures and I won a price! A surf lesson in oz!!! Also, A picture of the famous Fergburger. Literally anyone you talk to says you have to have a Fergburger. It's meant to be the best burger in NZ. There is literally the longest queue ever to get one. I mean a minimum of an hour wait on a good day I would say. However, we all quickly discovered it's open until 3am and at that time there is no queue! The others had a good few of them whilst we were in Queenstown but I waited until I was sober lol. I had one eventually and it was very good! But still hasn't topped my fave Carnegie deli burger in New York.
Queenstown!! Everyone was staying in Queenstown for at least 5 nights. Most people said, it's expensive, you are out every night, but it's amazing!! We got there and it was not sunny. Not a good start. We went a walk and Josh spotted a bar someone had told him about, Cowboys. We went in and it was so cool! The decor was amazing!!! From the outside you would never have thought it would look this good inside. They sold steins for $12 (this included cider, unheard of for this price). Through the day they gave you free pizza. Our new daytime home. We met everyone that went ahead of us a day or two earlier in the trip. It was great to catch up with everyone!! There was quite a big group of us now. We had already organised to go on a pub crawl twice. We were always going to go on the Friday because you got entry to the ice bar!

25 January 2017

Wanaka!! Gorgeous lake and lovely little town in general!! We had a walk about once we got there. Went shopping for food for dinner and then had some drinks in the room. We headed down to the hostel bar and Andrew was taking part in the pool competition. He won!! However, the $50 bar tab was a con! They refused to give him it and gave him two beers! We left and went to the Irish pub up the road. They had a fab singer on who turned out to be Scottish! The next day we were all a bit fragile!! But we got up and attempted to find this frisbee golf the driver had told us about on the way in. Basically golf but you get a frisbee in a basket rather than the ball in the hole. We walked for miles to find out you have to have all your own gear! We headed back to the hostel having a pint on the way back. We come across mini golf and it was such a laugh!! I was better than expected after a few shots. Some of the boys had a few shockers!

24 January 2017

Leaving Franz Joseph and on our way to Wanaka!! We have stopped to see the fox glazier and done a walk to ?? Reflection It's a shame it's a bit cold and damp today. Clouds meant we couldn't get a proper view of the glacier. But the reflective lake was lovely!

23 January 2017

Glazier pictures

22 January 2017

Next stop Franz Joseph!!! Wow, what a view! Franz Joseph is known for its glaziers!! We have been so lucky weather wise, because apparently before we arrived it was bad and activities were all cancelled. The activities were sky diving and hiking the glacier. The only way to go on the glacier is by helicopter. These activities costs hundreds of pounds. I went on a walk to the bottom of the glacier! It did look unreal. Over the years it has broken up and disappeared a lot!! There was a before and after picture, from 2007 to 2013 and it looked like it had nearly halved!

21 January 2017

Next stop "poo pub"!! So that's the unofficial name. It's actually called lake mana??? This stop is purely a drinking stop. It's talked about a lot on the buses. So you pay $55 and that is your accommodation, dinner and breakfast. It's fancy dress and we pick the theme. Our bus didn't get to vote (we are on a small overload bus). The theme was anything that begins with P. Lots of ideas thrown around but everyone was so hungover from the day before, none of our lot really cared when it came to the day! Lol. The poo pub has a costume cupboard so we waited until we got their. I went as "pink", just all pink. We had perverts, presents, parrot, postcard, etc.

20 January 2017

Our bus drivers kindly offered to take us for a beach bonfire. When we got their the beach wasn't pretty, there had been lots of flooding so there was logs and twigs everywhere!!! Once they got the fire going it was a great night. Drinks and marshmallows! The driver dropped us off at a pub on the way back and it all got messy lol. It was very unexpected!!! First time I have been a little drunk! Lol. It was good fun! Lots of sore heads on the bus the next day!
Next stop Westport!!! We stopped at the iconic photo stop you see on lots of NZ stuff. Andrew, josh and I were the only ones from our group that went in!! It was lovely! At either side of the jetty there are tonnes of eels, but they said if we leave them alone they will leave us alone. There wasn't any at the end where we jumped in! Westport is a famous surf area. People ahead of us didn't have much to say about it so we thought it was going to be fairly boring if we didn't do the surf.

19 January 2017

And again...
More of the national park...
Our first stop was amazing!!! A short walk through was was like a rain Forrest down to "split apple bay". Named after there was a flash flood which wiped all the apple orchards out and thousands of apples were in the sea and were all over all of the beaches in the national park. There is a rock which is like an apple cut in half, hence the name. It was stunning, we went swimming, Yas and I pestered the boys to get pics of us and they played with the ball whilst we chilled in the sun. We stopped for lunch and had the biggest burger ever! It was called the "cowpat burger" it was amazing!!!!

17 January 2017

The ferry just had body's everywhere people had hungover from the night before. It was only 3 hours and then we were heading to Abel Tasmin. I have 3 nights here because a girl on the bus had said it was really pretty. We arrived and visited the beach, went to a look out point and another beach. It was super pretty. At night we went to the beach and had drinks. We couldn't get booked in that hostel for 3 nights so had to organise somewhere else for the other nights. Glad we did because we ended up in a much better hostel and it had shops and bars around it. Yasmin could get in but stuck with us! I organised for us all to do a tour of the national park the next day.

16 January 2017

Next stop Wellington!!!!! The final stop before leaving the north to cross over to the South Island!! Meeting the girls from up north again! They have said Wellington is fun. It's the capital, so it is just a big city, but it's pretty and got a good few bars. We got out free dinner in the bar the first night, I met the girls and they introduced me to Yasmin who they had been hanging about with but they were leaving her and she would be on my bus now! We all went out that night. Was fun catching up with him. The next morning Kate touch us about a little bit, she has already been to Wellington. We went to a cafe (will have to think about the name) for New Zealand's best coffee. Then we went to the harbour, had a drink and a walk before getting ready for Kate's last night!!! We leave to get the ferry to the South Island tomorrow too!! Apparently you get amazing views on the ferry!

14 January 2017

We left for river valley! You always get stops on the way, most of the time you have nice views! River valley is in middle of no where!! It's know for its white water rafting, its lack of phone signal and internet haha. It was basically, a night in nice surroundings and a night on the booze. There was a group of 10 of us sticking together now so we always fill a dorm which is ideal. Kate and I decided to have a dip in the river and crossed the other side in the cable car thing. It was not easy!! Lol.

13 January 2017

Look at mount doom. I could not believe I just done that!! A picture will never show how big an ascent it was. Now after the lakes it was time for the decent. I had spoke to the girls I met up north the night before and they warned me that the decent was very very long. It was that, but I was so happy to be finishing. Mount doom is a massive accomplishment, but I would never recommend people to do it unless you like hiking and climbing as a sort of hobby. It's too extreme. We completed it all in 8 hours!!! That's pretty good going because a lot of people only done the crossing in 6 hours. I was so battered and bruised after it. My hands were all cut. My legs were cut and bruised and my bum, that was black and blue with grazes everywhere! Broken. We got back to the hostel and had a well deserved pint in the sun.
He said to go up the rocky bit which he knows doesn't look a good idea but it's the best way. So I turned around and started the ascent. I done it, it was so so hard. It was scary and I wasn't equipped enough. I can't believe they let people do it, I don't think they inform you enough of how extreme it is. Mount doom is a volcano. Therefore it's basically rocks and gravel all the way up. The rocks are loose so every so often there would be a chain of warnings being shouted down to the people below you that a rock was on its way down. I actually witnessed people diving out the way. Obviously the higher you got the windier it was, which put you off balance. I got to one point and seen guys I know coming back down, I was so close to the top and I said is it worth me keeping going. I had started to worry about how I would getting down. They said I was 15 mins from the top, keep going. I got 5 mins from the top and could barely keep on my feet it was so windy. I could see big James...
I decided to wait for him. So he got to me, I checked if I could see any different from what I could see now and I couldn't, so I left it there. I CLIMBED MOUNT DOOM!!!!! now for the decent. Well, I just didn't know where to start, it was so so steep! I had watched people trying to get down already with great difficulty. I bumped into my kiwi guy again and asked him the best way, he showed us the best route and said there was no easy way. We just had to try stay up and probably slide down at a lot of parts. I figured out quickly that if I stood in big James' steps it was easier for me. Your feet sunk in way past your ankles so he was kind of making the holes for me already. We nailed getting down. The only problem then was we had the remainder of the tongerro crossing to go. My legs were so so dead, it was so painful to start climbing again. Eventually we got to the place I was most excited to see, the lakes!!! They were unreal!!! So blue!! We both took a moment to turn around....
We decided to do mount doom. So mount doom is 6km into the tongerro crossing. So you start the crossing then go up Doom, back down Doom, then finish the crossing. We done "the devils staircase" of the crossing and that is when you get to the bottom of mount doom. I looked up and was like, absolutely no way. It was HUGE!!!!! Absolutely massive. People were on their hands on knees to get up it etc. So I was def not keep. The part of the group that decided to do it managed to convince me to do it. Now those ppl consisted of an army man, 2 gym freaks and a PT! Lol. I started it and about 10 mins into it I could see people on their hands and knees. It was just me and big James (2 james', I have named them big and wee) and I said nah I'm out. So started heading back and ended up talking to a kiwi and his young son. He asked if it was too hard, I explained not yet but "look" their on their hands and knees already. He said that the way everyone was going up wasn't the best way.....

12 January 2017

So we got into Taupo and I explored a little. When we arrived I noticed lots of little bars, restaurants, etc. So checked a few of them out. Nice little town. It has the coolest McDonald's in the world (officially), probably due to having an aeroplane as part of their restaurant. You can actually eat in it. We all had dinner together and a fairly early night because Taupo is known for its Tongerra Crossing. It's a hike with blue lakes at the top. It was a volcano but hasn't errupetsd in years, so the pools have sulphur etc in them. It's also famous because this is where "Mount Doom" from lord of the rings is! Mount Doom is an additional part to the tongerrero crossing. When we arrived the walk had been cancelled the past 2 days because of the weather. I wouldn't have been too bothered as it's a 20k walk not including mount doom. We got up in the morning and it was raining, they collected us and took us to the mountain. The sun was splitting the sky, couldn't believe it!!!!
Today we left rotarua for taupo. On the way we got the option to stop at an area full of "geasers", mud pools and craters. So geasers are holes in the ground where the water pressure gets so high that eventually it shoots out the ground. The mud baths are bubbling hot, and there are craters with boiling water in them. It's all to do with the volcanoes in New Zealand essentially. We got eggs which one of the guides put in the crater and we all got a boiled egg to eat!! Seen my first kiwi!!! They are nocturnal, so they are in a dark room and you can't take pics! But it was a lot bigger than I imagined!!

10 January 2017

After all the demonstrations they showed us how they cook their food. The dig massive ditches and basically have hot coals and the bottom. They cover it which keeps the heat in and cooks all the food. There was the final show before dinner. The show was amazing, it wasn't on for long but it was traditional dancing and singing. I discovered that Maori's can sing!! The men's voices were unreal so big and booming. The women's light and pretty. Our guide tef turned out to be only 20!!! Maoris are big so I think that's what makes them look older, but he done a love song with one of the woman and I think everyone fell in love. We went on to have a big feast which was so yummy, then the night time guests left. The overnight ones got to go in the hot tubs, have cheap drinks and sit at a campfire With marshmallows ❤
The official Maori welcome was about to take place. We had been warned not to move, smile, laugh or immigrate them as it is extremely offensive. That made me worry straight away that I wouldn't be able to control myself. Our chief was briefed as he had to take part in an introduction to the chief of the host Maori family. Hello on Maori is touching noses twice. The chief would then be selected out of 4 chiefs to be given a gift from the chief of the Maori village. Our chief was chosen. When the welcome began it was unreal, you would not laugh or smile, it gave you goosebumps. It was intense and amazing. It could have brought a tear kind of thing. The culture is so interesting. They know how intense it is because after the welcome they did acknowledge that we could relax. We went on to different areas of the Forrest where there was 2 or 3 Maoris that explained and demonstrated different parts of their culture. This included the haka, their tattoos, their games.
Arrived at the village and were welcomed by Tef. Their names are incredibly long so they all shorten their names for our sake really. We had cake and tea. An introduction to the village and some history on their family. Our room was amazing, comfy bed and pillows (nice change from crap hostel beds). 21 beds in one room! Lol. We were told just to drop our bags off and meet outside again. They taught us some of their games they would play as kids. More back in the day than now, but they were so much fun. Then we learned a song in Maori. Time to change and head to the "official welcome". This is where the night guests come. You can choose to stay over or just come for the night. We had to select a "chief" from our group. He would be the chief of our Maori family. Gianni volunteered and we were all happy with him. He was one of the two Americans we have on the bus. They are both so funny. Love a drink and the ladies lol......
"The Shire"....this is where the magic happened!!! Apparently after the first Lord of the Rings movie the farmer said they were only allowed to film the rest if they left a permanent set. They remove and then put the set back after each film. They agreed. Apparently they flew over this area and thought it looked perfect for the movie. It looked like "English countryside" apparently. They approached the farmer who didn't know who Peter Jackson was and wasn't really interested and just let them go ahead. He got smarter after the first film lol.
Today we are heading to "Rotarua". Everyone is pretty excited heading here because there are a lot of highly recommended activities to do here. People are staying longer here to be able to do everything. I have decided to take a different approach to the activities. They are really expensive. So unless I really really want to do them I'm not going to bother. I skipped kayaking the other day (I have kayaked before, save myself $100). Skipping the "Hobbiton" today. That's where The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed. I watched all the Hobbit films on the way over knowing it's all filmed here. But $80 just to see the little hobbit house, I'm just not that bothered. I will hear all the cool facts from the others lol. TONIGHT....this is the big night everyone is excited for...The Maori Village. I am so keen and excited to learn all about the Maori culture from a Maori family, eat their food, learn their traditional dances and stay over in a traditional Maori village!!

9 January 2017

Arrived in Waitomo! Nice accommodation. Smallest town ever! One "shop" (it was an expensive cafe) and one pub. Lol. We got set to go caving!! I didn't think much of it until we had to sign a disclaimer with it being an extreme sport. Haha. We got their and we had a good group of us from the bus. Such a laugh getting the wetsuits on. They guides were young and were full of nonsense, they were a good laugh. We walked and tubbed through the deeper parts of the caves. What an experience!!! Then the main part of the trip, the glow worms. Wow Wow wow! It was an unreal sight and experience. We all linked up to each other whilst on the tubes, turned our headlight off on or helmets and the guides slowly pulled us through the cave to allow us to look up and see the wonders of the glowworm formations! So so pretty. Interesting fact, the glowing part that you see is actually the glow worms poo!!! Or as the guide referred to it as "shine shit" lol. There are tonnes of eels in the caves aswell!
Today we are on the way to "Waitomo". Waitomo is known for caves full of glow worms and white water rafting. I have booked onto a 3 hour glow worm cave and tubing trip.

8 January 2017

More cathedral cove pics! ❤
Just not getting over cathedral cove! Turns out one of Macklemore's videos was filmed their aswell. We all watched it over drinks last night! Some pics from hot water beach aswell!!
Today we got to "Hot Water Beach"! Hot water beach is popular because you dig water pools on the beach 2 hours either side of the tide and there is roasting hot water in the sand!!! You need to allow the sea to come into the little ponds that you have made because the water is HOT HOT HOT!! As in scold your feet. We weren't able to go until evening time. It was so bizarre! Lots of people in bikinis, siting in little ditches in the dark lol. Some of the pools people made were lovely and warm though. During the day we done the "cathedral cove" walk and arrive at cathedral cove beach! One of the top 10 beaches in the world. It was AMAZING!!! So so beautiful!!! The water was unreal! Breathtaking. I used my new GoPro camera when swimming to one of the rocks to jump off and into a cave, can't wait to see if the pictures work out!!

7 January 2017

Went out when we got back to Auckland. Arrange to meet up with the Newcastle boys (jaks friends) from home! Mental we are on the other side of the world and met up!
Today I am headed back to Auckland and going to start heading South. The bus isn't until 2.30 so there was time to visit the beach with a few of the girls. Two guys that are doing same trip, both called James and a bit older so it's nice to have someone my age haha.

6 January 2017

More pics from cape reinga
CAN'T BELIEVE I FORGOT TO ADD THIS!! When we went up to Cape Reinga the bus got stuck in the sand! We all had to get out and push it! People were cheering us on and applauded when we got it out haha!!! ALSO, we attempted a massive human pyramid! I was in it but a girl on the bus took loads of photos and Anton (wee German pal) took videos, so hopefully those come around soon!
So today was a trip to "Cape Reinga". The most northern point of New Zealand. Again, really was lovely!!! We drove along the "90 mile beach" in the bus. We got off on the beach and the kiwi bus driver (willy) showed us how to find shellfish. And got us to make a human pyramid which was quite funny although slightly disastrous. He said he will send us the photos from it, I was part of it so I hope he does. Willy was so so entertaining, he was a maouri and local and he made the trip I feel. After driving along the beach we went to these sand dunes and sand boarded. It was hard work getting to the top of them and quite scary at the top but lots of fun going down! The final stop was "cape reinga". The most northern point where two oceans meet and collide. So cool to see!!! Finally we went for traditional New Zealand fish and chips. The fish was unreal!!! It looks really small compare to ours at home but when you start eating it you realise it's because it's so thick!!! Yummy!!

5 January 2017

More photos from the tour. Also got speaking to a kiwi who encouraged me to stay and work. As I got off be bus she grabbed me and told me about a restaurant that was looking for staff. Very nice of her. I got speaking to a Scottish guy who worked in the hostel who said his friend works at the restaurant and the hostel was looking to staff too. I was very close to staying but think I should continue and see everywhere so I don't settle and miss things.
Arrived in paihia, also known as "the bay of islands" It's so beautiful. Met another girl on the bus, English girl called Alex. We decided to do one of the tours "hole in the rock" straight off the bus. Two other girls she had spoke to decided to join too. we dropped our bags off and headed straight to the pier to head off for the trip. The boat was very big, it was surprising because it was quite expensive we thought it may be a bit more personal. We headed off and the views were pretty impressive. My phone ran out so a lot of pics are on my big camera. But we managed to go through the "hole in the rock" very cool. We passed by lots of islands, seen dolphins and got off on one of the islands, walked to the top and got a great view.
Got on my first bus ok. Met an Irish girl from Dublin in my dorm room, so we walked along together. Wow wow wow. The place is so beautiful. This is just some of the sites we passed on the bus. The waterfall was one of our toilet stops!! Lol. Glad the sun is out and it's looking pretty!

4 January 2017

Off to Auckland I go!!! Transport from airport to the city is easy. Arrived at fat camel backpackers. It was standard really. It was like 6pm, so went out to for a quick walk with ended up me going up the sky tower!! Was a great view of the city and I treated myself to dinner in the cafe with the great views. My first New Zealand cider, it was pretty good. Early night because heading for the 7.15 bus to paihia! North of New Zealand.

3 January 2017

Last day in Melbourne we went to Sydney Road and Brunswick Street. Lots of very cool bars and restaurants. Rooftop bars too!!! Amy is veggie and she recommended this place to eat called Veggie, it was really yummy. Everywhere in Melbourne has a vegan part of the menu. All very trendy! Found a cider I liked finally, James Squire!

2 January 2017

More from our city day
We went into the City to look around the tourists sites and rooftop bars etc. Not such a good day weather wise but we managed to dodge the rain! Seen the famous graffiti streets, including AC/DC lane. Few great bars in the city with great views! Met up with all the guys again and went for food etc. Was a good fun filled day.

31 December 2016

We headed to Stevens friends house, Trent , who was hosting the NYE BBQ this year. Met all his and Amy's friends who were great fun. When it came to the bells we ran to the top of the street to see the city's fireworks. Such a great view and really good fireworks! Great night! The morning after was not productive! Haha
First morning in Oz is lovely! Which is great news since it's NYE!!! As all Melbys do, we went for a typical Melbourne brekkie which always has avocado of some form in it! Amy and Steven love a brekkie out so lucky for me they know all the typical cool brekkie hangouts. First stop Code Black. It was so cool and hipster like (although an ozzy's version of hipster is so different to ours). It was lovely!!! Had a beer with breakfast as you do. We visited the Queen Vic Markets which sells everything you can think of. Lots of fruit, beg, meat, fish, etc. Then time to get ready for the celebrations!
So it was cheaper to fly to Oz and then get a flight from Oz to NZ. So I arrange to meet up with my wee pals I made on euro trip!!! Arrived in Melbourne on 30 December 2016! Just in time to celebrate New Years!!