Australia and Oceania, Asia · 76 Days · 69 Moments · March 2017

Olivia's Gap Yahh 2017


19 May 2017

Friday: Singapore, Day 3 We had a leisurely breakfast or fruit, pastries and cereal and then spent the morning at the pool. I'm determined to work on my tan before I get home. Around 1:30 we headed to Clementi by bus- where Cat used to live, about 40 minutes out. There we got Hainiese chicken rice and dumplings. Delicious. We then wondered around the area a bit. Cat and Orlando got haircuts by these Korean men who were incredibly fast- 5 mins!! I then tried Singapore cofee called Kopi C which is sweetened with condensed milk. Orlando bought a new wallet, Cat bought some leggings. After all this we went home by MRT (metro). In the evening we got an uber to Clarke Quay and walked to Marina Bay. The light was stunning and the walk was lovely. At Marina Bay we got a beer on the waterfront as we waited for Martha to get from the airport to Lau Pa Sat. Lau Pa Sat is an eating area like a Hawkers and there we shared 50 satay skewers and chatted. We then got a taxi home and went bed.

18 May 2017

Thursday: Singapore, Day 2 This morning Cat had her Chinese embassy appointment so I had another relaxed morning of breakfast and reading by the pool. When Cat got back we chilled for a bit and then ventured out to the Orchard mall for lunch. We had 4 fingers which is Korean barbecue chicken. We then browse many shops... I picked up some final gifts and got a cool t shirt in Zara. It's tie dye! We spent a long time in sephora, in deliberating over buying some custom fx enhancing drops- so nice but pricey. After a few hours we returned exhausted. We went back to the pool and napped/read. Eventually we decided to go and get some dinner from a hawkers, bring it back to the apartment and watch pulp fiction. I also bought some melon as I feel I'm lacking vitamins.

17 May 2017

Wednesday: Singapore, Day 1 I woke up around 9:15 ensuring I could get to the breakfast (7-10). I headed up and had a lovely meal of fresh fruit, cereal and pastries whilst reading news on my phone. So civilised. I then went back down and got ready for the pool- I'm desperate to top up my tan before I return home! After sweating and swimming for a couple of hours I decided to get some camp work done and managed to complete all the forms so now I only have reading to do at home. I popped out to get subway for lunch and enjoyed it in the airconned apartment watching Gilmore girls. After lunch I returned to the pool for a couple of hours. Later on Cat landed and I waited for her at the apartment as I showered and organised. In the evening we had a beer and then went to a food court in the Plaza Singapore. We had Indonesian barbecued chicken and fish and it was delicious! After I tried cat's dessert of shaved ice with grass jelly etc.. I wasn't a big fan! We then went robbed exhausted.

16 May 2017

Tuesday: Melbourne to Singapore I woke up at Paula's around 10- my first lie in in ages as there was no need to check out and no one else in my room. We had a chilled morning of packing, showering and preparing for my flight. When Paula got back we decided we had to go for a final Yo-Chi (best froyo in Melbourne). I had mango and chocolate with assorted toppings. Paula very kindly gave me a lift to southern cross where I was caught the skybus. I was at the airport within 40 minutes. After checking in and perusing the shops on offer I didn't spend any more money and just waited at my gate. The flight wasn't too bad. It was 7 hours and I managed to watch a film and then sleep the rest of the way. I didn't eat the food as my last experience of emirates food made me sick. I landed and got through really quickly and I met Orlando and Martha in Arrivals. They'd both come to get me which was very kind and we got an uber home. After a brief show around the lovely apartment I headed to bed

15 May 2017

Sunday: Christchurch to Auckland We were woken at 6am by the gals.. it was a final goodbye, but brief as they were running late (shocker!). We slept until we had to check out and then were at a loose end until our shuttle at 2:30 for the airport. We sat in a cafe all day and ordered periodically. Dominic joined us for a bit which was nice as he's lost everyone else. At 2:30 we went to get our shuttle and discovered it had forgotten us so we had to get the 3pm one instead. Not ideal. As the company had messed up I asked for a discount and he gave us $15 off.. only $10 for both of us! We flew at 5 and landed in Auckland at 6:20. We then got the skybus to nomads, quickly got some food and then chilled in our private room before an early night.
Monday: Auckland to Melbourne We woke up at 9ish in preparation for check out at 10. After checking out we chilled at the travel shop next door offering free wifi and then ventured to Chuffed- a well known cafe. We'd planned to just have a coffee but we're drawn in by the menu. I had Eggs Benedict with lime and gin smoked salmon and Cat had it with crumpets and avocado. I had a green juice (#health) and Cat had a milkshake. Delicious. After the cafe we had a quick shop and I picked up some last minute presents. We then returned to the travel shop to chill until 3ish when we ventured out again for sushi.. another delicious meal. Finally we decided to get the skybus earlier than planned to the airport as we were doing nothing anyway. We sat around in the airport for ages and I started panicking about my throat as the pain got worse. We eventually boarded the flight and made it to Melbourne in 4 hours. We landed at 10:20pm and got the skybus and an uber and we're home by 11:30! So quick!
Monday: Auckland to Melbourne We woke up at 9ish in preparation for check out at 10. After checking out we chilled at the travel shop next door offering free wifi and then ventured to Chuffed- a well known cafe. We'd planned to just have a coffee but we're drawn in by the menu. I had Eggs Benedict with lime and gin smoked salmon and Cat had it with crumpets and avocado. I had a green juice (#health) and Cat had a milkshake. Delicious. After the cafe we had a quick shop and I picked up some last minute presents. We then returned to the travel shop to chill until 3ish when we ventured out again for sushi.. another delicious meal. Finally we decided to get the skybus earlier than planned to the airport as we were doing nothing anyway. We sat around in the airport for ages and I started panicking about my throat as the pain got worse. We eventually boarded the flight and made it to Melbourne in 4 hours. We landed at 10:20pm and got the skybus and an uber and we're home by 11:30! So quick!

13 May 2017

Saturday: Lake Tekapo to Christchurch We left at 9 on our final Kiwi bus 😭 We stopped at a bakery en route but got to Christchurch around 1. After regrouping and having lunch together we decided to explore Christchurch a bit- led by Amy and Celia ofcourse. We saw the cathedral which had been destroyed by the earthquake and then went to the restart mall. It's a collection of shops and food trucks made into shipping containers after the earthquake. It was cool but full of thing I didn't need to buy. Finally after that we walked through the botanic gardens. After getting back to the hostel we tried to plan our last dinner... it was a minor disaster which resulted in eating soup and crisps but being all together made it fun anyway. Eventually it was time for the big farewell. I cried when saying goodbye to the Al's ofcourse! I'm so so sad we've left them but I know we'll be friends for life (Al I know you're reading this) 😜

12 May 2017

Friday: Queenstown to Lake Tekapo This morning really was a struggle. I'd got to bed by 4:30am and had to wake up at 7:30am to shower and pack for our bus at 8:45am. It was horrible but when we got on the bus it was all worth it as we all simply passed out. Unfortunately my illness has got worse (not helped by the night out but it was worth it) so I was in quite a lot of pain throughout the day. It's as if my throat has razor blades in it. Despite the illness, utter exhaustion and cold we arrived at the Lake at 2. We also stopped off at a beautiful church with a lake backdrop. In the afternoon Sally and I napped for a couple of hours. We then all ventured to the hot pools which was amazing. We went when it got dark and enjoyed the steamy pools and the stars. In the evening we all returned to normal eating (tuna pasta for cat and I) and watched the ugly truth!

11 May 2017

Thursday: Last day in Queenstown I woke up and immediately knew I was ill as my tonsils felt large and sharp so I had a slow start. By the time we were up and out it was 12 so cat and I headed for a stroll to the lake. After that I went to Patagonia with Celia and Sally whilst cat did the fear factory (no thank you!). I tried the infamous chocolate cheesecake which even I couldn't finish although it was delicious! After this we all reunited at the hostel and decided to go and play frisbee golf in the park which was surprisingly entertaining. We strolled back along the lake and returned to the hostel for dinner. For dinner Sally and I decided to get one final fergburger which was definitely the right choice. After dinner I felt pretty ill but as it was out last night in Queenstown I had to go out with everyone. We had Amy and Orla as well and all had a funny pre of glamours top 100 men and holiday awards. We headed out to deserted bars but we managed to bring the fun, got home at 4am!
Wednesday: Queenstown Today after our night out we had the biggest lie in of the trip. We woke up around 11:30 and had another slow start but a delicious breakfast of eggs on toast. After sorting ourselves out Cat and I headed out for a wander and ended up sitting on the beautiful lake front. We then walked to Vudu cafe to see Celia and then onto Patagonia for a renowned hot chocolate. We returned to the hostel after a very lazy day. As a final days treat we went for out for dinner to a Thai restaurant. It was also partly as unfortunately Sally is really ill and so couldn't come so we figured we'd go somewhere she would not be able to go. (She's coeliac and nut allergy so Thai is a no go) . After dinner we came one and showered for an early chilled night.

10 May 2017

Tuesday: Queenstown continued... The feeling was incredible and so so terrifying, unlike anything else. On your 3rd drop you can release your feet to upright yourself which was a little tricky. After being hauled up I watched everyone else go and I was so buzzing!! After the bungy we hung around for a while and watched alex and Alice's tandem swing which also looked really fun. After getting back from the bungy we had a late lunch at the bakery and then chilled while alex and alice made delicious veggie fajitas! We then all got ready for the big night! Cat and i did everyone's make up as per and then we had pres. We invited Orla, Amy and Heidi round too which was really fun. We headed out to locos and world bar and had a fergburger after which was incredible!

9 May 2017

Tuesday: Queenstown We woke up around 9 and had a leisurely breakfast in the hostel in preparation for the most nerve racking day.. the bungy!! We got to the bungy centre in a bit of a rush and checked in. They weigh you and write your weight on your left hand and your ticket and bus number on your right.. wasn't loving that. I was also just horrendously nervous and the sick feeling I'd been feeling for days had reached its climax. We arrived at the bungy and got our harnesses and our weight checked. It was then time to get across to the bungy. You get a precarious metal cage across the canyon to the jumping box. I was then first up and was so so nervous. They quickly hook your feet up to the bungy and move you to the edge. After a quick smile at the camera they start counting 3..2..1 and I knew I had to go on 1 or I wouldn't go. So I jumped!

8 May 2017

Monday: Milford Sound We had a very long day for the Milford Sound trip. Woke up at 6 to get the bus at 7. We got on board and had a 2 hour nap before waking up for the views. The drive to Milford is 5 hours so it's 10 hours on a bus in one day... for me with travel sickness.. not ideal. Luckily we had a good driver who did give us some cool information and did some good stops. He also tailored a playlist to our stops so played 'Man in the Mirror' at the mirror lakes. When we arrived we had a 1. 5 hour boat cruise through Milford sound which was impressive but personally not worth the 10 hour bus ride. We boarded the bus again and got back to Queenstown at 8pm!! We decided to go for an infamous fergburger as none of us could be bothered to cook. It was delicious.

7 May 2017

Sunday: Queenstown This morning we woke up a little worse for wear as we'd barely slept in our sauna of a room. We managed to get up and out to watch Cat's tattoo!! She's got Orion's Belt and a Lightning bolt! They're so nice! After that we had a hungover Maccas before headed back to chill. I happened to fall asleep for 4 hours in the afternoon. After eventually waking up we watched a film in the lounge and the had a delicious risotto cooked by sal and Celia. We're all having an early night ready for Milford Sound tomorrow (7am-7pm)

6 May 2017

Saturday: Queenstown Continued... We had beans and tuna it was delicious although the potatoes took a lot longer to cook than planned. Cat and I speedily got ready and then we had drinks before heading out. We played such a fun game (coin/ paper/ rule game) which resulted in mild intoxicaion. We ended up getting to Locos around 11:30 which was great as everyone was already there!! We had such a good time and danced so hard. I actually met a tinder match called Brad too which was really random. After locos we went to Ballaratt which was also really fun. I headed home a bit early but the others got a fergburger which made me very jealous!
Wednesday: Queenstown Today after our night out we had the biggest lie in of the trip. We woke up around 11:30 and had another slow start but a delicious breakfast of eggs on toast. After sorting ourselves out Cat and I headed out for a wander and ended up sitting on the beautiful lake front. We then walked to Vudu cafe to see Celia and then onto Patagonia for a renowned hot chocolate. We returned to the hostel after a very lazy day. As a final days treat we went for out for dinner to a Thai restaurant. It was also partly as unfortunately Sally is really ill and so couldn't come so we figured we'd go somewhere she would not be able to go. (She's coeliac and nut allergy so Thai is a no go) . After dinner we came one and showered for an early chilled night.
Saturday: Queenstown We had a later start however managed to meet Heidi, Cathy and Sarah for brunch at Ivy and Lola's which was lovely! It's on the lake front and the views and food was amazing. I had a pastrami, cheese, sauerkraut, and relish sandwich! After this we decided to go luging!! There was a big group of us which made it even more fun. You basically get a ski lift up the mountain and the race down in a little cart. So much fun. After that we got a bargain (huge) ice cream at the top of the mountain. After faffing around for a while we eventually returned to the hostel around 4:30 and rested before our next endeavour. We went to the ice bar at 6 for free! Courtesy of Alex's friends connections we only had to buy 1 drink and got in for free. It was such a cool place! After the ice bar we came back to the hostel for dinner and pres. It was baked potato night which me and cat were doing...

5 May 2017

Friday: Wanaka to Queenstown We left Wanaka early on and had a stop at puzzle world where we chose to save money and stay in the cafe. We kept going and had one more stop at a fruit market which was amazing and we decided to invest in a bag of about 30 apples for $7. Out next stop was the bungy centre and after watching a very convincing video and a couple of bungy I foolishly decided to buy the biggest one for $260!! Crazy! It's booked for Tuesday and I'm so so nervous! In the afternoon we checked into our lovely hostel- adventure Q2! It's amazing. Unlimited free wifi, clean, cosy, well designed with a Netflix lounge and great kitchen. We chilled in the afternoon. We went to red rock for dinner and to start our bar crawl. We had ribs, chicken wings, chips and salad which was delicious! We snuck away for an hour to a bar called Winnie's. Alex's friend is manager and gave us free drinks and wrist bands! After Red Rock we moved onto Locos where we saw the boys and danced away!!

4 May 2017

Thursday: Wanaka We had another later start (I'd say we're fatiguing slightly after a jam-packed trip). Cat, Sally and I left the others who were doing a 5 hour hike and we decided to do the smaller 1.5 hour hike up Mount Iron. However the walk there was a good 45 mins. It was steep but short so not too bad and the views were well worth it. We made our way back and were meeting the others at a winery later on so we started walking there. The walk there turned out to be another hour and we stumbled across a Chinese tv series set. We got there and did a tasting of 6 wines with a lovely Swedish girl, they were delicious and the Rippon winery was a cool business with amazing views!! We headed back to the lake for sunset and got hot chocolate en route. Around 6 we got back to the hostel, showered mad then got burritos before another early night in preparation for Queenstown!!

3 May 2017

Wednesday: Franz Joseph to Wanaka Big driving day! We left at 7:30am and had an 8 hour journey ahead. We stopped at a cafe for an hour instead of doing a walk as the weather was so bad! Pouring rain!! We kept on going and I had a nightmare as I really needed so had to pee in the pouring rain in front of the whole bus.. hiding in the brush. We eventually arrived at the hostel around 4. We had an efficient and relaxing evening- we washed clothes, and ourselves, went to new world to get some food and got crepes for dinner. We had a very early night...

2 May 2017

Tuesday: Franz Joseph Tuesday was a very lazy day for me as I wasn't feeling great. Cat did the Heli Hike on the glacier which sounded incredible but I didn't want to spend $360 on. The others went for walks and I waited for Cats return and watched films. When she got back neither of us were really up for much activity to wondered into town to buy a postcard and chilled. The others got back and we got ready for pizza night. $20 (£12) for all you can eat pizza and a drink. We ended up eating too much and having a few drinks and even branching out of our little group! Haha . Alice and Celia maybe had a few too many but it was a very fun night!

1 May 2017

Monday: Lake Mahinapua to Franz Joseph We woke up feeling a little worse for wear but we're treated to the best breakfast of the trip. Pancakes and bacon (so crispy)!! We stopped en route to look at some lakes and for toilet stops but no walks as we had to get there for our skydive. We got to The Rainforest Retreat around 12 and Oscar welcomed us. We were picked up for our skydive and headed to Fox Glacier. After waiting for a bit, Sally and I were prepped and ready to go. My tandem was a guy from Kent who travels all around the world to skydive- so cool!! The jump was incredible. The free fall was just as good as Oz and the views were so much better! You could see: sea, beach, rainforest, lakes, mountains and the glacier!! After we'd all jumped (Alice, Sally, Celia and me) we returned the hostel for dinner and prize giving. Alex came second and was robbed of first by tommy. She still won a free flying Fox in Queenstown though!

30 April 2017

Sunday: Westport to Lake Mahinapua On the way to Lake M for several walks, the views were beautiful and I particularly enjoyed the walk to the pancake rocks. I also made a $45 investment in a rain coat as my poncho wasn't really cutting it. All the way down the west coast the views are incredible. Our driver insists that the views are even better when the weather isn't blue and sunny and although I'm not 100% convinced. It does look pretty spectacular with low hanging fog over the mountains. Not so sure about the rain though. We arrived at the 'Poo Pub' and checked in. We showered and headed to the headed to beach for a stunning sunset. It was actually amazing. After sunset we we had a roast pork dinner with all the trimmings and then brownie!! We then had a few drinks, got ready and started our pyjama party. We were in bed by 1 though in preparations for our SKYDIVE!!!
Saturday: Able Tasman to Westport We had a relaxed start, leaving the adventure inn at 10:30 and only getting on the bus at 11:30. The new bus is promising with some funny characters and a really great driver - Heli who's a girl!! On the way to Westport we stopped off at Nelson lakes for lunch where we managed to take some great photos! We made it to Westport around 5:00. A long day of travel! At Westport were staying at Bazil's hostel which has a cool surfer vibe. We checked in and headed to the New World and then cat and I had breakfast for dinner (with wine) an odd but enjoyable combo.

28 April 2017

Friday: Able Tasman We had a relaxed day planned and we were definitely excited for it. Cat and I woke up to a toasty room all to ourselves and clean dry clothes. ( I had fallen asleep at 9 and cat had stayed awake for the washing and hung it over night- she's so amazing). We had a relaxed breakfast and packed up before moving to the other accommodation with the other girls. We spent the morning chilling and watching TV while the girls tried to sort their lives out. Around 3pm we headed out for a walk as the weather had cleared and we managed a 2 hour walk around the national park. It was beautiful despite the dreary weather. We got back to Greg's and put our Sweet Potatos in the oven (Kumara) for Baked potato night! We prepared beans, tuna, chilli and cheese. Dinner was amazing! After dinner we also had cookies, freshly baked by Greg. We then put on Shutter Island. I was determined to watch it but unfortunately it was just too scary.

27 April 2017

Thursday: Able Tasman continued... As the day drew to a close we had the final 45 min stretch across the water back to shore. Tough! When we'd finished the tour we headed back for a shower before popping to the pub for a drink and meeting Matt there for a while. After the drink we headed to The Fat Tui for NZ's best burger and it didn't disappoint. It was huge and jam packed with salad, bacon, egg, pineapple! What a great day!
Thursday: Able Tasman Up at 7 and out by 8 as we had our full day kayak trip. We got to the reception and donned our gear before heading out into the park and onto the water. We met or guides Matt and Aaron, who throughout the day were great fun. The weather was idyllic! We kayaked out along the coast line for a while before a coffee break and then across to an island. We got to the island and as we approached the shore line of rocks we saw the sea lions!! They were only pups and would come and swim and jump right out of the water up to our boats- incredible! We kept on around the island before a much needed lunch stop. After lunch we cruised a bit seeing even more sealions. We also spotted a sting ray, various fish and some stunning birds.

26 April 2017

Wednesday: Wellington to Able Tasman A big travel day! We left Wellington at 7:15 (!!) and travelled to the ferry terminal where rob (our driver) gave us boarding passes. We boarded the ferry at 8 and were on the water by 9. The ferry had some very comfy seats and a cafe which we all took full advantage of (see pics). The journey was pretty stunning as well, particularly as we approached South Island. We got to Picton and got onto another bus around 12:30. The journey through to Kaiteriteri was puntuated by another cafe stop and a trip to Pack and Save- the backpackers favourite supermarket! We then headed into Kaiteriteri. As we're staying here for a couple of days to really make the most of the national park we're staying in a hostel really close to the park. Greg picked us up from Kaiteriteri and brought us to the hostel. He's in the process of creating his own backpackers so in the evening we utilised his cinema and watched Casino royale.

25 April 2017

Tuesday: Wellington Late start- got out at 11:30. We headed to the museum where we spent 1.5 hours in the Gallipoli exhibition. It was amazingly moving and incredible that we hadn't heard anything about it before. (Briefly the battle lasted 8 months between august 1915, between the anzacs and the Turks, it was awfully organised- so many casualties, and at the end they merely evacuated in the night. Gaining nothing) It was Anzac Day which made it even more memorable and when we came out a choir was singing to commemorate the day. We also went up to the viewing deck and looked at the Mauri exhibition and the treaty of Waitungi. We then went to Fidels for lunch it was so good. I had a Cubano sandwich and snicker milkshake- it was amazing. After that we had a wander around and then got the cable car up to the botanical gardens and walked back down to the city. We sat by the harbour and then had a quick supermarket stop before returning to the hostel for an early night.
Monday: River Valley to Wellington In the morning with a minor hangover we got up 7:30 for our 8:15 white water rafting. It was early but so so worth it!! We got ready in a multi layered outfit which was quite a struggle to get on and headed out. We were split into 2 boats (cat, Celia and sally in mine) and our guide was great! It was so fun and the views were great however it wasn't quite as scary as I'd anticipated! After rafting we returned to the lodge and got ready to go. We got on the bus ready for the long drive to Wellington. We left around 1 and arrived around 6. We had a room of 6 of us!! In the evening we had (another 😬) dominoes with everyone as we could face cooking. We then headed to the hostel bar. Josh and Emily were there along with sam holly- it was good to see everyone! Around 1 cat and I headed to bed

23 April 2017

Sunday: River Valley We left Taupo to head to River Valley in he morning. We had a 2 hour hike stop where we walked to see a beautiful waterfall. It was quite a long day of travel so the stop was appreciated however our driver Ben did have to encourage us slightly. We got to River Valley in the evening and had a look around before our roast beef dinner!! It was amazing!! All the trimmings. After dinner we had some drinks and got into a very good game of bunnies- such a good game and made some new rules (Kia ora, basket ball, cricket, the cup, high five, pig nose, feel the rhythm). Most of us headed to bed which was a 16 bed room where the beds were just matresses laid next to each other. In our room we're the gals and Alex. We made it to bed when Cathie, Sarah and Emily burst in and gave us a show of singing and dancing. We eventually made it to sleep.

22 April 2017

Saturday: On Saturday Cat and I had a slow start but headed out to the lake and got a small sushi snack before sunbathing for a bit. We caved around 1 and got a $5 dominoes for lunch it was so good! I then had an accidental 3 hour nap lying by the lake. After a stroll to pack n save We went back to the hostel and met up with the hikers- al and al. In the evening we ended up drinking in the room while the hikers recovered. Cat and I went down to the bar and met a few different Kiwi ex people including Alisha. As it was a Saturday the bar was even busier with locals.. it was slightly intimidating but good fun. Sage was there again so we chatted briefly and then cat, Alisha and I headed to finns for a dance before retiring to bed by 1.

21 April 2017

Friday We left Rotorua to head to Taupo. Having a lovely walk on the way around hukkah falls. We arrived around 1 and Cat went skydiving!!! So jealous! I spent the afternoon with Al and Al while they prepared for the Tongariro crossing. (Cat and I decided not to do the 8 hour hike despite the great reviews as we weren't sure we'd enjoy it). In the evening we went to the lake to watch the sunset. Cat and I went to the bar as we weren't hiking and met up with our old bus- the couples, Emily and the guys. We chatted for a while and played killer pool. I met a group of mauri guys who were really cool and a guy called sage who was lovely- it was weird that they came to the hostel bar but Taupo was so small there wasn't a lot of other options.

19 April 2017

My birthday! Woke up early and left the mauri village. We got to the hostel and we're exhausted. We went for a walk to the government gardens and along the lake front. The weather was beautiful and Cat an I got a ice cream. We finished the walk with sushi for lunch. After lunch we had a chocolate session and chilled until going to the souvenir shop for Alex. I then napped for 3 hours and unfortunately didn't make it to the night markets. I was awoken by alice and went down to the dining area where they'd made risotto and salad with wine for me and all sand happy Birthday. They then brought a cake our for desert and I opened my card and chocolate gifts!
Wednesday: MAURI VILLAGE We arrived and were swiftly taken to the Tamaki Mauri village where the day got even better!! Stick game- throwing and moving along Learnt the AEIOU song with moves. We watched the ceremony with chiefs and nose touching. Rotation of activities: haka, ball string, migration, carving, tattoos, stick games Show- Alex caught the eye of a mauri guy Meal- so much food, Alex ate meat, performed song, boys did haka, Drinks & Hot pools: josh, max, guy, Alex, alice Amy cat, Emily Welcomed in 19 with hot pools with wine! 3am bedtime. Early morning with breakfast
Tuesday CONTINUED: Waitomo, You sit in your ring and float along in total darkness staring at the worms above- it's as if you're in space. The whole experience was amazing. The group had such good energy and the guides were great. One of my favourite days ever!! Afterwards we raced to get wetsuits off and into showers before devouring soup and a bagel. When we returned to the hostel, Alice, Alex, Cat and I resumed our Whittaker chocolate experience with cups of tea- delightful! Then organised and headed to bed early for our HIIT in the morning.
Wednesday: We woke early for our HIIT and we're joined by Cathy! IIt was hard and horrible but a good start. We set off from Waitomo in the morning heading to Rotorua. We had a coffee stop on the way and cat and I shared a delicious caramel slice before a short walk around a rainforest area. It was pretty hilly and I could definitely feel my thighs hurting from the HIIT. Before arriving in Rotorua we arrived at Hobbiton! Despite the fact I haven't really watched the films or read the books I was keen to go on the tour as the weather was lovely and I thought it would be interesting nonetheless. Our tour guide Kieran was so enthusiastic and the scenery was stunning. She told us about the insane attention to detail like the tree on top of bagend and the plum tree as well as the scaling of everything. They had 44 different sized hobbit holes of different sizes to ensure hobbits look small and wizards look big- so clever!!

18 April 2017

Tuesday: It was an early start as we left at 7:15! We were heading to Waitomo- famous for its glow worm filled caves. We stopped for a short walk around a mining passage before another food shop and arriving in Waitomo 2ish. 'The gals' were booked onto the 4:15 (1hr 15) caving trip. We sunbathed briefly before departing to the caves. We were kitted out and greeted by Scuba/ Nachos - our guide. Once we were all ready we had a photo as a bowl of nachos and headed to the caves. Before entering we practised how to jump off a waterfall.. I bravely volunteered as the first to go. The just is stand with your back to the water below, feet on the edge, holding your ring under your bum and propel yourself back and outwards landing in the ring.. thankfully I managed it with everyone watching. We then entered the caves a navigated through the small dark tunnels. As we got in further it started to open up and eventually we reached the main glow worm passages. INCREDIBLE!!

17 April 2017

Sunday: We had a relaxed, hungover morning before our afternoon back to Auckland. We had a delicious meal at Le Cafe and managed to do some washing! We stayed at nomads in Auckland and got what we were expecting- a bit dank and cramped but satisfactory for the night. In the morning we got the 8:40 bus to Hot Water Beach. En route we stopped off at a big cheap supermarket and stocked up on pasta, veg and sauce. In the afternoon we got to HWB hostel. In our room were 2 Germans and 2 Irish doctors. Cat and I did a HIIT workout before our late afternoon trip to THE beach. It was pretty crowded down there and the rush to dig a hot water pool was a bit hectic but in the end we had a chat with Adrian before joking the gals in a pool. In the evening we showered and made tuna pasta before chatting outside to Oscar, Dinah and a Swiss snowboard instructor.

15 April 2017

Saturday: We had our Cape Reinga day trip! We got on the bus and met our guide Chris - he is amazing. We made our first stop to buy food and coffee then kept driving until we got to the sand dunes for sand boarding. Unfortunately for me it was time for an emergency loo break behind two boards. After relieving ourselves we started the ascent to the top of the dune. The climb was steep but the view at the top and the trip down was so much fun. After everyone had had a few goes we moved on to the lighthouse. The walk around the light house was stunning! The scenery was almost unbelievable! Chris kept us entertained all day but telling stories and singing to us. We stopped off at a beautiful beach for lunch and then headed to the 90 mile beach (actually 88km) we wandered around and then drove along it. We then went to get 'fush and chups'. We stopped of at the Kauri trees and chatted to Chris before heading back. In the evening we went to the bar and met Connor and the mauri girls!

14 April 2017

Friday: On Friday we did the Hole in the Rock trip! It wasn't too early as we left the harbour at 9. We were warned in advance that due to the cyclone there was a bigger swell than normal. We headed out through the bay of islands and the scenery was stunning. We stopped on the way and up to the Hole in the rock to watch the wild dolphins was incredible. There were so many and they jumped out of the water. Unfortunately I got very sick on the way to the Hole in the rock and had to sit inside to avoid throwing up- it was so turbulent. However I managed to see the Hole in the rock formation which was cool. We stopped off at a beach where I lay down to let the sickness subside. It was a half day tour so in the afternoon Alex, Alice, Cat and I stayed on Russel island. We walked across the island to the beach and had a chilly dip in the sea. In the evening we had a relaxed night in.

13 April 2017

Thursday: Today we were meant to go on a day trip to Cape Reinga. We woke up at 6:30 in order to get the bus at 7:15! We stopped at a rainforest boardwalk to look at the Kauri trees! They've been present on the island 115 million years! We got back on the bus and the driver told us we had to turn back as the road was flooded so we couldn't get to the Cape. Ironically it was due to the incoming cyclone- Cyclone Cook. I'm really not a fan of a tropical cyclone! We got back to the hostel and all went back to bed. I managed to sleep for another 5 hours!! No idea why! When I finally woke up Cat had had a full day of activities! (Maybe I'm still catching up on sleep from Oz?!) We spent the afternoon doing some food shopping, having coffee and planning the rest of our trip to ensure we can get the buses we want. We went to the beach for sunset and had a mini photo shoot. We were also employed to rescue Coda'a frisbee from the water but we were unsuccessful.

12 April 2017

Wednesday: Today we started the Kiwi bus!! We woke up at 5:30 to leave Ollie's at 6 as our bus was at 7:00! We got on the bus and drove for around 4 hours north to Paihia for 2 nights. During the journey we managed to make a few friends, Nikki, Sally and Cecilia.. who will be on the bus for a few days. We arrived and got settled in our room. One guy in our room is going to Southampton in September too! In Paihia we spent the afternoon wondering around (in the rain), getting some lunch, napping and looking forward to our BBQ dinner (steak, sausage, potato, coleslaw, salad and a beer for $12). We met a hilarious pair of girls Alex and Alice and spent most of the evening with them in the bar. There was a beer pong tournament which we unfortunately lost. We managed to have a good night despite this (unlike some very serious Germans) We're in bed by 11 though as we have a tour tomorrow leaving at 7am!

10 April 2017

NEW ZEALAND BEGINS!! We flew from Melbourne to Auckland at 11:45pm landing at 5:20am (with time difference the flight was only 3.5 hours). We were amazed at the detail of the immigration officers. They are so strict about allowing foreign organic matter onto the island as their natural resources and beauty are so prized! We arrived exhausted having had around 2 hours sleep! We got a taxi to Ollie's as he's working and staying at a school called Kings College, he very kindly let us stay for the night. We got there and had a chat with him and his fellow gappies- Liam and Tom,before showering and chilling. We suddenly got a burst of energy (most likely driven by hunger) and headed into Auckland on the train, only a quick 30 mins! We got some sushi at Sumo Sushi... absolutely delicious! Partly due to the fact we hadn't had a meal in 24 hours. We plan to explore the city and return relatively soon for a nap and chill before our 5am wake up tomorrow!

8 April 2017

Week in Melbourne with Cat, Emily and Emma. I've been staying with Cat's cousin in Hampton this week- it's 30 mins from the city and absolutely beautiful as it's on the beach front. It was Cats birthday on Wednesday and we had a unsuccessful but eventful evening as we attempted to go out on chapel street. Unfortunately it was t meant to be as we ended up getting KFC and coming home with Churchill! Emily arrived and I spent the day with her tanning in Hampton and shopping in Melbourne. It was so good to see her as due to her sailing I don't know when I'll next see her. On Saturday i has the camp leaders prep day where i met a lovely girl called Hannah who's also going to Maine, who I might see out there! In the afternoon I got to Emily's and we went to Nat's where we met Jacko and Chris. We had a pre and went out to CQ! It was a great and late night despite Jacko's bad luck. I fly to NZ with Cat tomorrow to start Kiwi Experience!

2 April 2017

Last days in Cairns. Sunday was Sarah's last day with us 😔. We had a chilled morning of packing up and going for a last minute tan at the lagoon. In the evening lizzy came round for dinner and we heard all about her PADI course! We popped out to drop lizzy at the shuttle and to get a final churro! On Monday we had another chilled day of sunbathing at the lagoon. For our final night in Cairns we went to Grill'd- the 'healthy' burger place which was also delicious! Today we're leaving cairns to go to Melbourne! Our flight is at 12:10 arriving at 3:55. We're staying at base in Melbourne tonight.
Yesterday we had our trip to the Great Barrier Reef! It was another early start of 6:30 in order to board the boat- evolution! We headed off towards the Reef taking about 1 hour. We stopped at the first Reef and deicided we wanted to try scuba diving to paid an extra $65 and had the slightly scary safety briefing. We went for our first snorkel and we're amazed by some of the vibrant colour, I spotted my favourite fish a turquoise rainbow fish! After our first snorkel we went for our dive.. they lower you into the water and go over your basic skills before swimming around the Reef deeper and further in a line with the instructor. I was so scared at first but after a while I got used to it and it was so cool! The day continued with a delicious lunch and we chatted to Rory (uk) and Megan (USA) who was very entertaining. We made another snorkel stop and sarah spotted a white tip shark! After snorkeling for 4 hours in total we were exhausted but determined to go out for Sarah's last night!

31 March 2017

More photos from Atherton Tablelands
Today we've had our Atherton Tablelands tour. We weren't overly enthusiastic as our heads weren't feeling great after 3 hours of sleep but it's turned out to be such a cool day. On the bus the tone was set by our great driver and the whole group are lovely and really friendly. Sorcha and 2 other from Fraser Island are on this tour too! We started by going for a bracing morning swim and having some coffee and fruit, after this we went to see a massive tree called Curtain Fig tree and tried to spot tree kangaroos it was really cool! After this we went to Mila Mila falls and despite the rain we all climbed around the back and of the falls and took pictures! We had a quick lunch and then moved onto Josephine Falls which has a natural rock slide. The current was quite strong but we all managed to go down several times and negotiate the slippery ascent of the rock.. extremely inelegantly. Our final stop is the hippie pools before returning to the hostel for Sarah's penultimate night.

30 March 2017

Yesterday we finally managed to do our skydive!! It was incredible, probably the best thing I've ever done. My instructor was called Dylan and he made it so fun and relaxed. In the plane the views were amazing and I didn't been feel nervous.. just so excited! When it was our turn to jump he literally pushes you the the door and your legs hang out and then it all happens so far. Amazing!! The weather and views were also stunning! (Photos all follow later) When we got back we had a quick turn around, met up with lizzy and went back to the Pier Bar for dinner and drinks.. Tom came to join after a bit. After dinner we all went to crash james' date and ended up all going to Giligan's.. it was such a fun night!!

29 March 2017

So we had our skydive booked today- attempt 2! We got picked up at 7:40am, got to the drop zone at 9:30am, sat waiting in a non air conditioned room in 35 degree heat until we were told at 12:30 that we can't do it as the plane has an electrical fault. So we'd wasted 7 hours in total. We got dropped back off at nomads at 3 and just as we pulled in.. the instructor told us the plane is fixed! So annoying! Anyway we tried not to let it ruin our day.. although tensions in the group were relatively high. We got back and cooled off in our room before sarah and I headed to the lagoon for a smoothie and sunbathing. When the sun had gone down we met up with Lizzy and Emma for a drink and food at the pier bar. Despite the poor morning the evening was lovely.

28 March 2017

Yesterday we had our first full day in Cairns and it was lovely! We woke up quite late and had breakfast. We then did some admin.. still trying to sort refunds from the cyclone. After this we walked to the lagoon. It was a 20 min walk but felt so much longer in 35+ degree heat! The lagoon was lovely though and not too busy. We spent the afternoon sunbathing and cooling off in the lagoon. For lunch we had smoothies as some sushi was delicious and not too expensive! After having a good dose of sun we returned to the hostel to shower and chill before our evening activity... we were going to see Beauty and the Beast! We got to the cinema early and we're luck you get good seats as it's first come in Oz. Also we happened to go on a Tuesday which is the cheapest day! Lucky! The film was so so goo! I would already see it again! We then had an early night ready for today's skydive!!!

27 March 2017

Cyclone Debbie Update: Yesterday we managed to book the last bus north out of Airlie beach to Cairns but it was very touch and go if it would be able to get through due to flooding. After waking up I was not optimistic as the tiny stream outside our room has become a torrent however I called the bus company and they said that it was on its way. We managed to check out and whilst waiting for our (late) taxi a lovely local, Ken, asked if we were okay and we asked for a lift to the bus terminal. We jumped into his car very trustingly and when we got to the bus stop and he offered us to stay with him if our bus didn't make it! We waited in a comical fashion with tens of other backpackers crouching from the wind and rain. The bus was 30 mins due to a fatal accident but it made it!! We got on and strapped ourselves in for a 12 hour journey. The driver assured us that's with new tracking updates heading north was the safest option as the cyclone is to hit tomorrow at 8am and head SW of Bowen.

25 March 2017

We're currently in Airlie beach and have an eventful few days. We arrived excited for our skydive and Whitsundays sailing trip, however when we arrived we realised that the weather would unfortunately let us do any of this and it was all cancelled. We were extremely disappointed. Today we woke up and our disappointment has morphed into concern and mild panic as Cyclone Debbie approaching and we are in a red evacuation zone. We had no means of leaving today so we managed to book onto a 10 hour bus heading to Cairns tomorrow at 9:30am (hopefully not too late). As the day has gone on the weather has gotten worse and there is currently torrential rain and 60kmh winds. We've stocked up on food and water in case we're stuck anywhere and are now tucked away enjoying Breaking Dawn in our room with our new friends, Lizzie, Lauren, Siobhan and Colette. We're just keeping our fingers crossed that our bus is on tomorrow and the journey is safe!
Yesterday we arrived in Airlie beach in preparation for our skydive (today) and our Whitsundays sailing tour. Unfortunately there is a cyclone on its way so our sailing tour is cancelled as it would be too dangerous and our skydive may not happen today.. we'll just have to see. Despite it being quite a disappointing day there were some highlights. We met up with Lizzie- a girl we'd met in noosa and had lunch with her and we had a delicious chicken salad for dinner. After dinner we started on the goon in our room with Lizzie and two other girls arrived- Colette and Siobhan, and they immediately got involved. We all headed out together and had a hilarious night!

23 March 2017

Today we had a chilled day in Mackay. Unfortunately the weather was really stormy so we just stayed in. We had a 'treat yourself' brunch of Nutella and Peanut butter toast before having a movie afternoon of all the twilight films. We also sorted all out booking for the rest of the trip and finished all our washing. In the evening we had dinner at the restaurant and had an early night for our 6:30am wake up for our bus tomorrow.

21 March 2017

Today was the last day of our tour of Fraser Island. We woke early for the included breakfast- again it was delicious! We boarded the bus at 8 and were at our first lake by 9, it was so still and quiet as we were he only group there! After this we drove to a beach resort for a buffet lunch.. another treat! (We'll really miss this catering when we're off the island) After lunch we had the 'walk of death' up to a lake. It was 45 mins uphill but luckily the heat wasn't bad and it was actually okay, we made it onto a Sand blow and took a classic jumping photo! (Will be up later as it's on em's phone) we then swam and chilled by the lake before descending got 45 mins and getting caught in the rain! We finally drove back to the resort, had a quick shower and got the ferry across ready for our night bus from 9:10pm to 7am to get to Mackay..

20 March 2017

Today was day 2 of 3 of our Fraser Island tour. It began with some rain and a long drive.. not ideal but quickly picked up. We were offered to buy a flight over the island and Amy, Ella, I and two guys decided to do it (only $80). The plane was so small, only 6 of us including the pilot. He flew us over the sea and the island getting some spectacular views! I particularly liked the waves from above. After our flight we had a look at the coloured sands and went for a dip in the Champagne pools- natural rock pools. We then had a delicious chicken wrap for lunch and kept driving up to Indian Head. This is a cliff above the bay and the views were absolutely stunning! Well worth the mini hike up! After Indian head we drove to Eli Creek and were swept along with the natural fast flowing water. It was freezing and refreshing. Unfortunately our bus' air con had broken so we waited for another bus to rescue us as it was unbearable. Finally we returned to the lodges and had an early night.

19 March 2017

Today we had our first day of a three day tour of Fraser Island. We met our guide, Tommy, and some really nice girls on our tour, Sorcha, Ella and Amy. First we drive to Lake McKenzie!! It was stunning- just like the photos and then water was amazingly clear. We spent a couple of hours just swimming and sunbathing, the water and sand were so soft. After lunch we went on a short walk to Basin Lake. It's bright green and saw some invasive cane toads. After this we walked for half an hour to a creek which is so clear and silent it looks like stagnant water. After that walk we had one final walk including a 130 step ascent, ending up in a beautiful clearing and were greeted by cookies. We eventually drove back to the lodges and had dinner of chicken burgers. After dinner we had some goon and won two feee cocktail jugs in the raffle! Both picked by our own group. After a late night volley attempt we end to bed ready for our 6:30 wake up!

17 March 2017

Today we got an early start to get the bus at 7:30 from Brisbane to Noosa. We arrived around 10 and found our way to the hostel. We couldn't check in until 2 so we headed to the beach as the weather has finally rewarded us.. it was 30+ and bright sun! 🙌🏼 Ofcourse we stopped on the way at 7/11 to pick up a light lunch. We spent the day lounging on the beach and headed back to the hostel after an ice cream at around 5. We all showered and were greeted by some pretty nasty burns however as always.. it will turn to tan! Emma somehow managed to escape unburnt until later in the evening when dramatic red marks came up across her chest. We've discovered it merely takes more time for hers to come up! In the evening we had fish and chips and chilled in our 16 bed room with our room mates.

16 March 2017

Yesterday we had a very exciting excursion planned. We were off to the Lone Pine Kolala Sanctuary to meet some marsupials! We got off to later start as Emma took a while to swallow her breakfast- approximately 7 minutes per melon chunk. We got the bus to the sanctuary and met a German boy was going to Oxford to do Medicine.. surprisingly enough he was very willing to volunteer this info with little prompting. We got to the sanctuary and had a look around and were immoderately drawn to the koalas over other marsupials. We then had to get a photo with Cinnamon the koala! After the photo-op we went to feed the Kangas and had a talk about koala care. We got back to the hostel around 4 and I had an accidental 2 hour nap before popping to Woolworths to get some delicious chicken and salad for dinner. In the evening ems went to bed as she's still needed to recover but sarah and I headed out for a brief dance at the Down Under Bar. It was an interesting vibe but entertaining none the less.

15 March 2017

We arrived in Brisbane today, admittedly not that excited as we hadn't heard great things but we were definitely pleasantly surprised. We're staying at nomads and it seems great! Very clean with lovely room mates.. very different to Sydney nomads. Unfortunately Emma is really ill so our first task was to track down a doctor and get Ems some antibiotics. She is now taking them and will hopefully feel better asap! After a delicious 7/11 chicken& avo sandwich Ems went for a nap and sarah and I went for a stroll around brisbane along the river. We had a small run in with a snake but survived. We returned to the hostel with pot noodle for Emma and tuna baguettes for us for dinner. In the evening we'd booked a comedy show, Cameron James, as I'd seen it was comedy festival and it was so good! The venue was so cool and there were some very relevant, jagerbomb and medical student jokes 😂 overall a top evening!

13 March 2017

Sadly it was time to leave Byron however we were very intrigued by our next destination Surfers Paradise! 🏄 We arrived around lunch time and after acclimatising to the extreme humidity we went for a look round the town. It was so odd at first as it's basically a stunning long sandy beach right next to a small town but with loads and loads of skyscrapers. We've deduced that they're almost entirely holiday apartments which explains why the place felt oddly uninhabited. However after adjusting to this atmosphere we learnt to love it as the beaches are empty but there are a great selection of shops. In the evening we joined the hostel group (we're staying at Budds) to play some 'goon pong' and headed out to Sin City. It was a cool club and we had a great night. We also met a boy in our year from bath! What a coincidence!!

12 March 2017

Today we moved from Arts Factory Lodge to Backpacker Inn. Unfortunately the shuttle bus was broken so we had to walk the 30 mins in 30 degree heat with our bags but it was okay! We arrived and checked in and were amazed by our clean spacious room. We had a quick sandwich before going for our surf lesson. Our instructors were called Simon and (Jake?). Sarah and I were big fans of Simon! We went down to the beach and had some little exercises before heading on with our boards. It was so much fun but so tiring. As the lesson progressed it was becoming clear that Emma was actually the best (we're putting it down to a low centre of gravity) and Sarah and I were equally unsuccessful. However, we managed to get up a few times and definitely loved it. After the lesson we couldn't wait to shower and devour our included unlimited pizza for dinner. We sat in the social area chatting to a swede and a germ and had a lovely evening

11 March 2017

We arrived In Byron bay and got a shuttle to our hostel, the Arts Factory Lodge. We were immediately impressed by the hippie vibes. We then were shown to our room which was a teepee called 'The Pentagon', sharing it with 5 other girls. Three brits, a Canadian, Jade and Swede, Mykala. They were all lovely. We headed to town to look and around a check out the bay. We weren't disappointed-it's beautiful! We were also struck by the general hippie, relaxed atmosphere which i love! In the evening we had some drinks at the hostel with jade and Mykala and heard some crazy amazing stories (spontaneous trips to France, dodgy car pools, boyfriends and houses!) before heading to Woody's for a dance. It was so much fun and the night finished with some delicious pizza. The next day we were up early and we headed back to the beach and worked on our tan.. it's really coming along now!

9 March 2017

Today we arrived in Coffs Harbour after a lengthy 9 hour coach journey overnight. I managed to sleep however sarah and Emma weren't quite as lucky. We arrived at 6:55am and waited for reception having a well deserved nap. After checking into our room.. which we had all to ourselves.. we started planning and booking the rest of our trip. Despite being dull it definitely took a weight off our chest! After the admin we strolled 5 mins to the beach and finally got to work on our tan.. Emma burnt again! Having not had a proper meal all day we treated ourselves to a restaurant meal at Hoey Moey beachside bistro, sarah and I had chicken burgers and Emma had calamari, Delicious! We had a couple of drinks and headed to bed for our next bus tomorrow at 6:55am.

8 March 2017

We went to manly beach today.. infamous for its waves and surfers and we really enjoyed the view! 😍 However the weather didn't really allow for sunbathing and swimming so we occupied ourselves with the range of surfer shops! The boat back from manly was also so much fun. For dinner we say by harbour looking at the opera house with a delicious ham sandwich picnic.

5 March 2017

We're on our third day in Sydney now and definitely have got used to the lifestyle. Highlights have been seeing the opera house, walking over the bridge, and going to Bondi. On our second night we were sat by the harbour and were approached to sing a line of Riptide for a promotional ukulele video... we were definitely hesitant but it makes a good story! The most distressing part of our Sydney stay was following our ukulele high. We walked around the harbour to the opera house when Emma exclaimed she'd lost her purse (all cards, ID, and cash!) so we spent a frantic 40 mins running round the harbour looking for it. When all hope was lost Emma asked a friendly Ozzie couple where they would put a purse if they found it and following their advice we popped to the police station where a very attractive pair of police men immediately handed it over! Honestly the we all felt the biggest relief! We loved visiting bondi and it lived up to expectation but we are all feeling the burn..