Trans-Tasman Travelling Part II

After a short stop over back in Perth, it was time to fly to Auckland, to begin my dream travelling New Zealand. This trip is something I’ve been waiting for, for a long time and it finally arrived.

Whilst it was exciting to arrive in New Zealand, I was left a little underwhelmed by Auckland itself. The city i found to be rather small, with not much going on, however I’m sure those that were studying there themselves would tell me otherwise (sorry guys!).

But it wasn’t long till once again we were on our way. This time we had our trusty Wicked camper car which was to be our home for the next month. Anytime I’ve had to describe this car I get some seriously funny looks, its essentially a car with a tent attached to the top. So for the sake of this blog I’m going to attach a photo!

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Yes that is a car with a tent on top!

The first part of the month saw us travelling around the North island. Stop one took us North  to the Bay of islands. Again I found myself on another boat, coasting around the wonders of Otehei bay.

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Gateway to Otehei bay

We made our way down the North Island, stopping in Tauranga, to climb Mt. Maunganui and visit some relatives of one of the girls, who kindly took us out kayaking and provided us with some cheese and wine for the evening. This short stopover allowed us to rejuvenate from camping, so some washing and get a shower before moving on to visit the attraction Hobbiton. Hobbiton, as some may know is the movie set for the movies The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Below are some of the pictures of this beautiful area, with its surrounded mountains and rolling hills.

Rotorua treated us to a Maori experience, in which the day involved the local tribe teaching and showing us the traditional lifestyles, artwork, dances and food (Hangi). We also had a bit of fun Zorbing beforehand –  Rolling down a big hill in a blow up ball.

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Traditional Maori Tribe dress and dance

As my friends 21st birthday was fast approaching, she decided that she would like to had a crack black water rafting. This experience took us tubing through Waitomo’s cave systems, through small rapids and down small waterfalls, in almost complete darkness, to allow us to witness the beauty of the glow worms that reside inside. The next day saw venturing into Taupo, to take on the Tongaririo Crossing, a 8 hour, 19.4km hike through rocky volcanic terrain, with sulphur lakes and surrounding mountains. After an early start, we finished the walk around 6 hours later, a lot quicker than was originally anticipated. The one problem we found with freedom camping was after strenuous activities, it was hard to find showers to clean off. However this time we found ourself at a local swimming pool, enjoying a gentle swim and having a shower before moving on.

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Glimpse of the Sulphur lakes on the Tongariro Crossing.

Wellington was our final stop on the North island before, making our way across the cook strait onto the South island.  There was an excitement within the city, when we quickly realised that it was the HSBC rugby 7’s series being played that weekend. Walking along the seafront, there were crowds of people in fancy dress and we even managed to bag ourselves some free ice cream, unfortunately due to time scales we didn’t actually get to attend.

Our trip South started off with some excitement. Our first stop was to Kaikoura, where we did a spot of whale watching. Normally you would only see 1 or 2 sperm whales whilst out on the water, but we got lucky and managed to get a glimpse of 4!

After a brief but thrilling stop over in Kaikoura, we thought it was only right that we experienced some of New Zealand finest wines, in the Marlborough region, before heading North to the Abel Tasman. We ventured to about 4 or 5 wineries, tasting a range of wines, grown and produced, as well as trying a few cheeky liquor shots. This was a chance to get into some nice clothing instead of our usual, walking and adventure gear.

The Abel Tasman was peaceful and allowed us to get out of the car and go for a walk around the bays that occupy the North of the South island. Here the sun was shining and people were out kayaking and trekking similar trails to the ones we were. We had a relaxing day walking, and at the end we even got to relaxing in some of the secluded bays situated here, with pristine sands and clear blue waters. Leaving such a beautiful area wasn’t favourable, but we had to move onto to the next place….. Queenstown.

Queenstown is where the action is happening. Hundreds of backpackers find themselves here, testing there own limits, bungy jumping and whitewater rafting, whilst hitting up the nightlife in the evening. Its easy to spend a small fortune here getting stuck into all that NZ has to offer. It was here we tried our hand at an unusual activity of river surfing. This essentially is like whitewater rafting, but the raft is replaced with a body board, where you travel down a stretch of the Kawarau river and through the rapid systems, with a cliff jump at the end. Whilst were were here we booked onto a Milford Sound cruise, the next destination on our trip.

Describing the Fiordlands of Milford sounds, is hard so for the sake of the blog I’m just going to upload a photo. All i can say is that it is stunning and so peaceful.

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Milford Sound 

After a short visit to Milford sound, we made the journey to Dunedin, where there was only one place we could visit; Cadbury’s world. So much chocolate to be tried and tested, we even got free goody bag on the way. Before long we were onto Christchurch, the final stop on our 4 week journey. We experienced more than we hoped for in our visit to Christchurch. There was a mixed reception from the group regarding the city. The devastation of the 2011 earthquakes is still very much apparent. Many of the streets are still just rubble and the whole city looks like a construction ground. It was here however that again we all had our first experience of an earthquake. On February 13th Christchurch was hit with a 5.7 magnitude earthquake. This was slightly scary as, the earthquake that caused so much devastation in 2011, was not much smaller than this. Once you’ve visited the city, you being to understand why not much construction is happening. There are still aftershocks occurring everyday, making building hard to undertake and regulate.

Lets just say New Zealand didn’t disappoint. I have already decided I will be returning to this stunning country, in the very near future, with the hope for one day moving over there. It is a truly magical country, in more ways than one. As I’m not much of a photographer, Im going to share and link my friend Neil’s site at the end. He hitchhiked the country and captured new Zealand in all its glory, and his pictures truly show off the country the way it should be.

There is never enough time to visit a county and see it all in it entirety. I could have stayed here for much longer than 4 weeks but I unfortunately had to make my way back to Perth.

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Montage of all the some of the beautiful landscapes New Zealand has to offer.

The travelling didn’t quite end there. My flight back to Perth, saw me have another 4 day break in Melbourne, Just enough time for me to travel the Great Ocean Road, a 243km stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford.

So several plane, boat and car journeys later, now the sad time has come for me start back studying; these soils aren’t going to dig themselves.

Note: As part of my Geography placement, I had to make a video of all the trips and excursion taken on this trip. The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/KmNsRUhSRSc

Link to Neal’s website: http://www.distantpixels.com/#home

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