Observation File

 

People:

Kiwi's are ready to help, but a few can bend the truth to make a sale

 

State of WCs:

We can put toilet paper into the toilet again.Yay! 10/10

 

Temperature:

1*c - 24*c 

 

Our diet:

Museli and Domino's pizza

 

No. Of bites:

Maryam 8 v 1 Andy ... sad face Maryam :(

 

Distinctive elements:

Aquamarine coloured lakes and smelly geysers

 

New tricks:

Most cost effective way to travel NZ is by tour bus. To visit all the must-see locations, it's best to travel for a month or more (not the whirlwind tour that we have done!) 

 

Wildlife spotted:

Robin, kiwi bird, kea, deers, sheep sheep and even alpacas. Most of these animals have been introduced to New Zealand

 

Cost:

Out of this world expensive!! More expensive than London. A bag of spinach is $4.99 (£2.50). Weirdly enough a medium Dominos pizza is also $4.99. Clearly this is a no brainer! 

 

Three words: 

Kiwi, sun cream, the Queen

 

Time: (new) 

13 hours ahead of GMT

 

Miles Covered: (new)

25,922

New Zealand

      Auckland

 

A Maori "Kia Ora" from the land named by the Dutch and colonised by the Brits... New Zealand!

 

Spring is literally in the air here. As we walk down streets Maryam is sniffing the perfumed air like she sniffs tomatoes in a supermarket. There are also lots of difficult to pronounce Maori names to get used to. Kiwi people are great at keeping hydrated as there is tap water to be found everywhere and also, due to the hole in the o-zone layer, they are very fond of sunscreen. Around public areas kiwi's are constantly offering sun-cream #notusedtofreebees

 

First familiar site.. Nando's. First restaurant we had food in... Nando's. 

 

In the pretty city of Auckland we reunited with Andy's long lost friend Stu with whom we went on a few adventures including Piha, Raglen, Snells beach and Matakana. 

Here is a mini video Mr Prior made from the Piha visit. 

tree top
tree top
A + S climb
A + S climb
mr crab
mr crab
      Queenstown

 

Expensiiiiiiiiive (we had to pay for the hostel WiFi!) but very, very pretty. Set upon lake Wakatipu and surrounded by mountains, Queenstown is very picturesque.

 

We took a day trip to Milford Sound where Fellowship of the Ring was filmed. It was a beautiful yet windy day. New Zealand is known for its hot sun and cold wind. I blondely decided to take a cup of tea to the top deck of the boat whilst watching the mountains rise on either side of the lake, what-a-mistake-a-to-make-a... tea went everywhere including on a poor lady sitting a meter away from me. We also had brilliant fun getting wet as the captain decided to sail the boat right under a  waterfall.

milford sound
milford sound
Lord of the Rings
Lord of the Rings
      Waitomo

 

This. Was. Un. Be. Lievable! WOW! We are both without doubt that this has been one of the highlights of our life, not just the trip! We took a tour into a cave system and boat ride, where we floated silently on an underground river beneath a ceiling of stars made up of the cold blue light of the glowworms. There were hundreds of glowworms and their light reflected in the still waters and dimly lit the darkness. Words and pictures really don't do the experience justice and we implore anyone who has the chance to go and see them!

      Taupo

 

'Walking in a Thermal Wonderland...'  Geothermal activity is a beautiful thing. Depending on the minerals released (sulphar, arsenic, silver and even gold), the lakes, soil, etc turn different colours creating an amazing landscape. We'll let the pictures do the talking this time!

 

      Rotorua

 

Rotorua stank! The town is located within New Zealand's geothermal valley region and therefore is surrounded by geysers, hot pools and a whole host of other sulphur emitting landscapes. When the skies are overcast (which they were when we visited) the sulphur can't escape making the whole place smell of rotten eggs!

 

Whakarewarewa, an original Moauri village built upon the thermal pools. We learnt all about their traditions, language and got to watch a live haka which was incredible. There was alot of bare chest slapping and soreness! They also use the heat of the ground to cook their food!

Snowy
Snowy
Volcano
Volcano
Snowman
Snowman

Milford Sounds on the left and the edited Lord of the Rings version on the right.

Milford sound m
Milford sound m
mirror lake
mirror lake
Maori village by tepuia
Maori village by tepuia
1/3
thermal lake colour
thermal lake colour
thermal lake green
thermal lake green
thermal lake yellow
thermal lake yellow

Missing our hiking days we set out to conquer the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Arriving at the base of Middle Earth we looked up at the snow covered mountains. The day previous all trips had been cancelled due to the weather... (Don't remember Frodo having these problems). The bus rep told us how the snow had fallen last night and no one had expected it. Don't worry though she said, it won't have fallen low enough to affect the walking route. #famouslastwords

 

An hour into the walk and we were treading through 15cms of snow! There was so much snow around that people had even made snowmen! The snow also made the climbs up the slopes lethal and there was a lot of slipping and sliding. At least we had walking boots on as there were people on the trail wearing shorts and plimsolls with legs that looked like beetroot they were so red.

Christchurch
Christchurch
Shopping
Shopping
      Christchurch

 

An astonishing place to visit, the city is still heavily under repair 5 years after the earthquake. The city centre was filled with bare patches of land where buildings once stood creating a low density city centre. Seeing the half collapsed cathedral and hearing about the ongoing court case regarding payment of insurance monies really hit home about the state of the city. Despite all this, there should be huge optimism. Some of the buildings that have been erected over the last 5 years are beautiful and there are more to come. Dubbed Christchurch 2.0, we believe the city can really thrive from the adversity it has suffered in a similar way to Manchester after the IRA bombings of 1996.

 

      In Other News...

 

So the word 'kiwi' gets very confusing in New Zealand for non kiwi's. As far as we know there are 3 kiwis, the New Zealand citizans, the native bird, and the Chinese gooseberry which we found was later named kiwi as a promotion to sell more kiwi fruit from New Zealand. Many animals and fruits have been introduced to New Zealand following colonisation by the Brits, including the deers, which they louuuve to kill. Honestly, its all they speak about in the South Island... so not approperiate if you're a vegetarian or animal lover, or normal!!

 

The biggest news in New Zealand is the possibility of changing the national flag. The government asked for entries and votes from the public. Our favourite... the lazer kiwi.

Kiwi v Lego
Kiwi v Lego
Funny flags
Funny flags
Flag
Flag

Andy went to Raglan for the day and was given a crash course in how to surf. He managed to stand up once in 2 hours (minor victory!) but generally spent the trip getting battered by the waves!

 

Next stop Australia for Christmas and New Year...