A Travellerspoint blog

Taupo

A beautiful place

sunny 18 °C
View My Travels on ride165's travel map.

Day 1

Today we headed off for Taupo but first was the Caving in Waitomo at the Black Water Rafting Co. This was an awesome 5hr trip involving abseiling, zip-lining and climbing all inside underground limestone caves.

First we had to practice abseiling outside to get used to controlling our speed and stopping after this we headed straight into the caves, our access point involved abseiling 40 meters through at small opening which you had to kind of shuffle through but which then opened up into a larger cavern that was pitch black. You get a small head torch which helps but it’s not powerful enough to illuminate the bottom, all you can see it the light of the guide who it at the base of the line in case you get into trouble.

caving.jpg

After climbing down a few meters we were all told to turn off our lights so we were in pitch darkness and one by one we were sent down a zip-line completely blind which was so much fun and a little scary. We all had to make lots of noise on the way down creating vibrations to make the glow worms light up. At the bottom you could see hundreds of them on the cave ceiling glowing and glinting in the darkness, amazing!

caving2.jpg

After a warm cup of tea we headed down stream into the freezing underground river to explore further into the caves seeing more glow worms and a massive eel! After this at a fork we headed up stream along a smaller more enclosed river at times on all fours crawling through gaps, pretty intense but amazing fun, the best was yet to come when we had to climb up through some fairly fast flowing waterfalls. This is one of the best activities I’ve done so far. After a hot shower and a even hotter bowl of soup I was nice and warmed up ready to head to Taupo where I’d do another sky dive….

Day 2

An early rise of 5:30am was in store to see me head off to do the Tongariro crossing, one of the top ten 1 day hikes in the world and the best in NZ. I was supposed to be heading out with Alli a fellow Manc but he failed to make it out of bed, more fool him as this was an amazing day. There were lots of others from the Kiwi bus on the hike though so I didn’t have to enjoy it alone. The hike sees you hike up alongside Mount Ngauruhoe but LOTR fans will know it better as Mount Doom. After a relatively touch climb up what is known as the Devil’s Staircase you reach the South Crater of one of the volcanos, an impressive sight and about the size of 2 football pitches if not bigger. At the other side of the crater we headed up Red Crater Ridge where you get amazing views of Mt Doom and on a clear day you can see coast to coast. This crater is active and has hot spots all over so you get a nice warm bum while you eat lunch. After this we head down to Emerald lakes which is inside the Central Crater and also holds Blue Lake and offers spectacular views. After this it’s all downhill as you head off the mountain to the other side to get picked up.

iTongariro1.jpg

Posted by ride165 17:44 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Waitomo

rain 14 °C
View My Travels on ride165's travel map.

This morning we left for Waitomo first stopping at the Geysers hot springs which is on Maori land and was originally used by the people for washing, cooking and heating their homes. This is an impressive sight as you see the water spurting from the ground as it is heated to boiling point by the magma underground. Here there are also hot mud pools and the smell is pretty rank due to all the sulpher being produced you get an eggy smell.

steam.jpg

After spending some time watching the eruptions of the geysers we all headed to the exhibition center and met up with the Maori guides where the boys from the group would learn to do the Haka, as it is against tradition for the girls to perform the Haka they had to settle with some sort of ball juggling on a rope, not very interesting. So all the lads headed off to the other side of the park area to make some noise and generally look like idiots. It was a good laugh learning it and making all the stupid faces until all the girls turned up to watch and we had to perform the Haka to them!

Later that day we arrived at the Hostel in Waitomo and spent the afternoon chilling out, we were in the middle of nowhere and there wasn’t much to do so after dinner we all watched a movie. Myself and a few others had booked onto the caving trip the following day which I was really looking forward to.

Posted by ride165 16:05 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Rotorua

Egg Town

rain
View My Travels on ride165's travel map.

First stop this morning on our way to Rotorua was Karangahake scenic reserve and tunnel walks which is an old gold mine, this was pretty cool as we got to go through some of the old tunnels which have been converted into a walk. It was pitch black at times which added to the fun and the bridges across the river were suspension style ones which allowed for plenty of bouncing around scaring some of the group.

zorb.jpg

After here we headed to the home of Zorbing, this is a sport - if you can call it that, which involves getting inside a giant ball and rolling down a hill. Sound like fun? Well it is the one of the funniest things I’ve done in a long time. Myself, Jimmy and Tom decided to all get in one Zorb and went for the wet option which means they put tons of soapy water in there with you. Jimmy has a water proof camera which makes for hilarious viewing. Trying to stand up is pretty impossible and it was like being inside a giant washing machine, like I said, great fun!

maori.jpg

That evening we all went to a traditional Maori village and feasted on a Hangi which is a Maori meal quite similar to a Sunday roast back home but it is cooked underground. It was delicious and was a buffet style which meant all you can eat! They also performed the Haka in full tribal dress, the Haka is the war dance that was performed to scare the enemy before battle and has been made famous by the Kiwi rugby team the All Blacks.

Posted by ride165 16:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Mercury Bay

overcast
View My Travels on ride165's travel map.

Today we headed out of Auckland after an overnight stop over from the Bay of Islands. First stop was Mt Eden which is an extinct volcano and provides 360˚ views of Auckland City.

mt_eden.jpg

Following this we headed through native NZ forest to reach the beautiful Cathedral Cove so called because of the Cathedral shaped archway on the beach. We spent a couple of hours chilling on the beach and checking out the volcanic formations. The sea was bloody freezing though so we didn’t make it into the water which is a shame as there were some caves just off-shore that would have been cool to check out. After our stop here we headed to Hot Water beach which has a thermal outlet where the water is pushed up through the sand by the volcanic magma underground, the water is literally too hot to stand in alone so it’s best mixed with a bit of sea water.

cathederal_cove.jpg

That evening we arrived at our hostel which provided us with a good home cooked meal, a few beers and a showing of the legendary Anchor Man, classic stuff!

Posted by ride165 15:29 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Paihia

Kiwi Experience

sunny 26 °C
View My Travels on ride165's travel map.

Up early for the 7am pickup onboard the Kiwi Ex bus headed to Paihia (pronounced Pie Here) I quickly got chatting to Marie-Clair and Lydia two English girls sat near me on the bus. On the trip from Auckland we stopped for breakfast at a place that produced their own honey. During the trip we sorted out any activities we wanted to do on arrival in Paihia. Myself and Maire-Clair had both decided to do the dolphin trip and were actually the only ones from the bus to pick it.

dolphins.jpg

Once we arrived we were virtually straight out onto the boat as it was one of the first of the activities to leave. They had a money back deal which meant that if we didn’t see any dolphins you’d get to go free another day. We also had the option to swim with them if they didn’t have any young with them. It took a while but after about an hour we spotted a pod of dolphins in the distance. Once we got to them we realised that there was about 50 of them which is called a party pod, unfortunately there was young there so we could not swim but it was still an amazing sight. They were swimming right up to the boat to investigate us, playing around, jumping out of the water, it was fantastic I was so pleased to be there. Once they’d all dispersed we set off to look for more of them and came across some Orca’s, we followed them right into a bay where they were hunting down Ray’s around the rocks. What an amazing day! That evening we enjoyed the hostel BBQ , drank beer and played cards with people from the bus.

They following day was another early start as we headed off up to Cape Reinga for the day which is the furthest North you can go on the North Island, where the Tasmanian and Pacific Oceans meet and home to 90 mile beach, this area is also very sacred to the Maori people. Our guide from Awesome Adventures was a complete nutjob and highly entertaining. I think he’d been smoking something prior to picking us up.

cape_reinga.jpgpole.jpg

First stop was a walk through the ancient kauri forests followed by Cape Reinga point itself which provided stunning costal views and the chance to be the furthest person North in New Zealand. Next up, Sand boarding down giant sand dunes, this is really really good fun, the climb up the dunes however is bloody tiring! After 3 goes we were beat plus it was time to go and I’d removed some layers of skin from my feet which act as brakes when doing this sport.

sand_boarding.jpg

There were some concerns earlier in the day that we wouldn’t be able to access 90 mile beach due to a very late and high tide, the wind was also blowing the water back up the beach. In the end though it turned out to be all ok and when we hit the beach it was perfect. Our crazy driver promptly floored it and began racing up the beach sending spray in every direction. Along the way we came across a manta ray that had become stranded on the beach as the tide had gone out followed later by a seal slinking off the beach into the water at the sight of a bus hurtling his way.

90mile.jpg

The day was finished off with a stop at a local fish & chip shop which is apparently the national dish in New Zealand unlike England which is now curry. On the way back to Paihia we stopped at a fruit stall by the side of the road run by an old bloke from Ripon in Yorkshire.

On Wednesday myself and Tom went fishing as the previous night he won a 2 for 1 ticket in a raffle at the pub and since I’ve never been fishing before I thought it would be a laugh. This was not like the fishing you se in the UK, we were out in a boat in the middle of the sea, great stuff. Along the way we saw a load of dolphins that came alongside the boat to say hello then swam off again. The first hour was spent in vain following the Ganits as they fished on the surface for the bait below we were after the Snapper’s that feed on them below. Our Skipper got a call on his mobile from a mate who was having some success so we reeled in and set off in his direction. As we arrived he was hauling a huge Snapper out of the water, great we thought. We dropped our lines in and within 5 seconds of my bait hitting the bottom I got a bite, this felt like a big fish. I he was fighting a taking quite a bit of the reel off me, I took my time though and eventually after about 10 mins I got him out. As soon as that one was out another guy got a bite and reeled in a bigger catch than mine, game on!! I baited up again and chucked my line in and again within about 10 seconds I got a bite and this one felt huge! Even the skipper was excited, he kept telling me to take my time and reel her in slow. I finally got the fish out and it was massive!! By this time Tom was getting twitchy was he’d only managed to get a tiddler so far and he’s quite into his fishing but it didn’t take much longer before he was hauling out the 2nd biggest catch of the day. All good we headed back to the harbor to gut and fillet the fish. Since me and Tom had caught most of the fish and far too much to eat by ourselves we shared out catch with the rest of the boat. Guess what we’re eating tonight!

tiddler.jpgbig_fish.jpg

Posted by ride165 15:09 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

(Entries 21 - 25 of 58) « Page 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9 10 .. »