Monday, 30 November 2015

New Zealand – Stop 7 – Kaiteriteri

From Wellington to Kaiteriteri we needed to get the ferry from the North to the South Island. This cost $55, and was not included in our kiwi experience ticket. The ferry took around 3/3.5 hours. Once we were starting to get closer to the south island the views were literally beautiful. There is quite a difference in the landscape between the islands, and just on the ship you could tell this.

Once we got off the ferry we had a pretty hefty drive to our next stop- Kaiteriteri. This was located next to/within the Abel Tasman national park. When we got there it was literally our hostel, and the restaurant next door, so a pretty tiny place, but I think it is being re-done. It is located on the beach which was really nice. Our evening there we didn't have any activities booked so we just chilled out really.

The following morning we went for a walk around Kaiteriteri beach towards Stephen's bay. The views were seriously stunning, and the weather was sunny which made the walk much nicer. There were only a few boats out in the sea and only a few people walking so pretty quiet again. I think this is more of a holiday home/summer destination as the more we walked round there were some pretty nice houses, but they all looked quite empty.

ACCOMMODATION – Kaiteriteri Lodge - $30
The hostel was right on the beach, which meant it was easy to go for a walk. The kitchen was quite small with everyone trying to use the hobs. We shared a bedroom of 6, with an ensuite wet room. The room was clean, but the floor space was a little cramped, but overall I think it was a pretty nice hostel.

Rating - 4/5

Friday, 27 November 2015

New Zealand - Stop 6 - Wellington

The weather was still a little crappy so it was a shame we couldn't do our walks and stops along the way to Wellington. When we got there we had a free meal at our hostel (bonus!) and we were doing a bar crawl organised by our hostel that evening. We had such a fun night, one bar had a rodeo bull in that was so funny, and we were all dragged up to have a go. It was even better that we didn't have to get up in the morning to get on the bus, as we were having two nights here. In the morning I skyped my family which was nice to have a proper conversation with them rather than the odd text.

Love a good pout photo in our cowboy hats! 

We made our way into town, and lucky us we were there when the All Blacks were doing their parade after winning the world cup. The atmosphere was really good, and the sun was shining which made it really nice. After that we took a walk around the harbour to Oriental Bay which we spent most of the afternoon sun bathing. On our way back we stopped off and had a quick look around the Te Papa museum, which is free, but we didn't spend too much time there as we were quite tired and wanted to get back to the hostel.

Wellington seemed such a good city, when walking around we were comparing it to London and they just aren't alike. Wellington seemed ultra clean, and didn't have the manic hustle and bustle that London has, but in a good way. I think if we had more time we would could've stayed there an extra night.

We shared a room of 6, and it was a pretty good size. They had separate toilets and showers for girls which was pretty good. They had locker drawers underneath which I thought was an added bonus as if you know me personally you know I'm a bit of a worrier, and leaving my laptop in my bag just doesn't feel safe to me. We paid for the wifi, but it wasn't that good of a connection. We got free food for our first night which was really good too. The kitchen was a bit small for the size of the hostel, but the dining bit was quite big. There was a bar in the basement of the hostel which was handy, and that's where we did our bar crawl from.

Rating – 4/5 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

New Zealand - Stop 5 - River Valley

Everybody on our bus was staying two nights at Taupo, and we were only staying one to try and give us more time elsewhere, so it was a bit annoying as we were just beginning to make friends. It didn't matter too much as the weather was pretty awful but still a bit annoying. We then made our way to River Valley which is basically in the middle of nowhere.

When we got there we decided to book out the hot tub and spent an hour in there, which even though it was raining it was lovely. That night we just chilled really, some people on the bus were getting completely wasted, but as we didn't know them too well, and we didn't really mind anyway, we just made dinner and then chilled.

The next morning we went for a walk around the area, but to get across the river you had to go on this cart on a zipwire which looked a little bit uneasy. We had to pull ourselves along being suspended over this river which was hilarious. The walk itself was good, it had rained so much the day before that it was a little slippery so Holly and I fell over, but it was fine! Some people did White Water rafting that sounded pretty good, so if you go there I would probably say do that! 

ACCOMMODATION – River Valley Lodge - $31
The rooms were a pretty good size for a shared room of 6. There were bunk beds but slightly attached (in half a square shape) so I don't know if I would feel a bit weird if I shared with a randomer. The kitchen was pretty small, as I think they would prefer you to eat their dinner. The toilet you had to go outside to get to, but they had a massive bar/dining/chill area which was nice as we spent our night in there. I don't think you would stay there if you weren't on a tour like the kiwi experience, but it was a really nice place right on the river.

Rating – 3.5/5 

Monday, 23 November 2015

New Zealand – Stop 4 – Taupo

On our way to Taupo we stopped in at Redwood forest for our morning walk which was nice, and at Huka Falls for a little photo opportunity. We had always wanted to do the skydive in Taupo over the lake but throughout the day it didn't seem promising as the weather looked pretty rubbish, so by the time we went to the falls I had completely vanished from my mind the prospect of doing a skydive. Unknown by all of us that the bus picking us up for the skydive was waiting to take us as soon as we got out the bus. I. Freaked. Out. I started thinking do I want to do this? Why am I doing this? Can we go back now?

We got to the skydive place and I was adamant that I would only do the 12,000 ft one, but by the end of the welcoming/introducing process I had signed up to do the 15,000 ft one. What was I thinking? The process of getting ready, taking pictures of us in our stupid hats and suits was really fun, but by the time I got onto the plane I was having an absolute meltdown. We got a package which had pictures and video included so I had a couple of 'interviews' beforehand where I was trying my best to make out like I was absolutely fine. I wasn't.

So in the plane, around 9,000ft up, that was high enough. I asked the guy I was strapped to the height and I just couldn't believe it. We were passing clouds?!? I basically had a breakdown. 10,000 ft up in the air little old me was attempting not to cry at the prospect of freefalling. The guy who I was strapped to was really nice, he was really calming, and talked me through everything which made me feel slightly better. Melissa went first and she literally plopped out the plane. Holy shit, it was then my turn. And I dropped. I was free falling for around a minute, and I have to say it was the best thing ever, although the relief when the parachute went up was pretty nice. The views were so good, and when I got down I thought I could truly do one again. (Although writing this a week later, I will never be doing one again, the fear of falling to my death has begun all over again). I would totally recommend to anyone to do one if they get the chance, I was probably the most scared out of everyone and I seriously loved it. Plus the videos and photos are bloody hilarious, a combination of the funniest and ugliest photos of myself.

Redwood Forest

Huka Falls

We were put in a room of 4, but weren't joined by anyone which was quite nice so it was like a private room. We had an ensuite shower and toilet which was good, and even a little balcony that looked onto the lake a little bit. There was a kettle and coffee making stuff in the room which I thought was a good touch.

Rating - 4/5

Friday, 20 November 2015

New Zealand – Stop 3 – Rotorua

On our way to our next stop we were going to Hobbiton!! Now this is quite a shock but I haven't properly seen the Lord of the Rings movies or the Hobbit ones, but despite this I was really excited about going to where they filmed them. I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and going to the Harry Potter movie set was really good, so I knew this would be amazing. It did not disappoint. The whole tour takes around 2 hours, and then it has a giftshop and cafe.

From where you can park you get a coach to the start of the tour, and you begin where all the hobbit holes are. They are so cute. They were all different sizes. Some even had mini veg patches, washing lines and postboxes. The whole thing was super cute. We then went down to see where they filmed the party scene in the Hobbit. Next we were taken to the Green Dragon Inn where we got a complimentary cider and got to sit in there for a bit. We then went round the lake and a little more scenery. The whole thing was really good and cost around 90 dollars, which is about £45. The only thing is we were quite a large group so I felt like if we were at the back we were rushed a little bit even though people ahead had the photos.

In the evening we had the choice of a Maori cultural experience evening, and we could stay if we wanted to. We decided just to do the evening as staying over was a little pricey. We were picked up from our hostel and driven back by the most hilarious driver. When we got there we were welcomed with their dance thing which was really good. From there we went around their 'village' and they spoke to each group about certain aspects of their culture, for example the haka, weaving, how the boys train and some games. We then saw our dinner being pulled from the ground where they cooked it, and boy were we excited, roast lamb!! We then went into a, sort of, mini theatre where they did a couple of performances for us. Then is was DINNER TIME, eat as much as you like and there was even pudding too. The food was nice, very smokey in flavour, but was nice. Some of the people on the bus bought tupperware to fill up which was hilarious, and we should of definitely thought about that beforehand. The whole experience was really good and it seemed nice to learn a bit more about the Maori culture.

ACCOMMODATION – Base Hot Rocks - $30
We had a mixed shared 8 bed dorm here. We had an en suite shower and toilet which was good, although a couple of the lights didn't work which was annoying, and there wasn't really enough plugs for 8 people. The space was pretty small for a room of 8. The hostel did have it's own pool which sounded nice, although we didn't have time to go in it.

Rating – 3/5

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

New Zealand – Stop 2 – Waitomo

On our way to Waitomo we had a few stops and one of which was a walk where the scenes were seriously stunning. This sounds really dumb but I never realised how green NZ was?!

In Waitomo there were a number of activities that were available for us to do, including black water rafting, which although sounded amazing we decided not to do it. Instead we went for a little walk/boat ride around the caves to see the glow worms. Who would've thought glow worms were that interesting, but they were pretty cool.

ACCOMMODATION – Kiwi Paka - $32
We were in a smaller room of four, so it was us three plus a friend we made on the bus. The rooms were spacious and there was no bunk beds! The kitchen area was pretty big which made cooking our dinner less stressful, and where to eat it was spacious too. The showers weren't that nice, and there was only 2 per floor so we had to wait.

Rating – 4/5

Monday, 16 November 2015

New Zealand – Stop 1 - Hot water beach

So our Kiwi experience tour began the day after we arrived in New Zealand. That wasn't exactly how we wanted it to start, we would have preferred a day to get used to the timings and everything, but nevertheless at 7am the following day after we arrived we were off on the kiwi experience tour, heading south. We had booked onto the 'Rangi' tour, which is basically the whole of the North and South island. Most of their tours are discounted at some point or another so if you want to book one I would wait until it's at least half price (website linked here).

Our first stop was Hot Water Beach, but on our way their we had a few stops. One of the stops was at Cathedral Cove, where some films, including Narnia, and music videos e.g. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – 'can't hold us' was filmed. The beach was simply stunning, but the water was freezing. I was all for getting in but there was absolutely no chance after I paddled a little bit, the sea was just too cold.

We then got to Hot Water Beach, which is basically a beach where you can dig your own hot bath. We attempted this a couple of times but in the end we basically stole someones hole that they dug. The water was boiling. It was soooo lovely, and it was nice to sit and chat to a couple of people we had met on the bus on our first day.

Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove

Hot Water Beach
Hope you enjoyed hearing about our first day on our four-month-long adventure, I hope to post as often as I possibly can, updating on what we've been up to. I thought at the bottom of every post I would write a little section about the accommodation we stayed in, what it was like, and how much we paid. Remember these are all hostels so 5/5 does NOT mean it is luxury

ACCOMMODATION- Top 10 Holiday Park - $30
Due to this place being quite isolated there wasn't any alternative for us to stay at. We were in a shared dorm of 7. The rooms were pretty small, but fine. There was 2 showers and 2 toilets between two rooms of 7, which seemed plenty. We had fish and chips there which was nice and was about $9. It was part of a campsite so was nice and the rooms as well as outside were clean, plus it had this inflatable trampoline thing which was fun.
Rating- 3.5/5

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Emotional goodbyes and the start of my adventure

So as the title of the post says I am off on my adventure! Myself and two friends (Holly and Melissa) are off travelling. I thought I would give a brief overview of our trips itinerary and also how I felt leaving my family, friends, and boyfriend for 4 months.

So our trip starts off in New Zealand where we will be spending 3 and a half weeks doing the Kiwi experience bus tour, I think this is going to be a bit intense as people can spend months travelling NZ and we don't even have one month. We then fly to Fiji, where I hope it's going to be super relaxing, but also we are hoping to do a couple of boat trips to other islands, and this is for a week. Next we travel down the East coast of Australia, beginning at Cairns and then finally spending Christmas and New Year in Sydney. From there on it's a bit of a mystery; we fly to Bali, and from there we have 2 months to travel around South East Asia; Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos etc.

I don't think it had really hit me about leaving until a couple of days before I was going. Throughout the whole summer it was like a monthly countdown and then suddenly we were going ( even still now writing this a week into travelling I feel like I'm just on holiday). I had so much stuff to sort out and so many people to say bye to that the week leading up to going was just sooooo busy. On the day of leaving I had a really nice breakfast with my family, had a few final things to pack (and repack, and repack), then the goodbyes started... and so did the tears.

I knew I was going to be a big baby when saying goodbye to everyone, and I was exactly that. Don't get me wrong I wasn't crying because I was sad about leaving and didn't want to go, I just knew how much I was going to miss everyone. I'm going to be doing so many activities I know my time will go quickly, and the fact that I can whatsapp so easily means communication with my family is just so quick and simple.
Anyway I hope you keep returning to my blog to catch up on all of our adventures!!