A Travellerspoint blog

Byron Bay

I've been flying!

sunny 30 °C

Camping in Byron Bay has been cool, feel quite at home here with our little nylon home to go back to! The toilets are bug free and the camp site is right on the beach...couldn't get anymore perfect. Oh yes it can, the place is full of lovely dress shops and I finally got to fly!
We've spent our time looking around the shops and lazing on the beach, believe it or not, that's the first time I've had a bikini on and laid on the beach in over 2 months....what do travellers do hey!?
The highlight of my trip so far was getting up at 5:30am this morning and heading out of Byron Bay to the airstrip. We finally managed to even get to a skydive centre!
tandem_020.jpg
I got all prepared and the guy explained the process of jumping and the landing aswell. I'd forgotten it all by the time he'd said it! Anyway, off we went up in the small plane all jammed in like sardines in a tin! The journey to 14,000 feet took far longer than I expected, I was quite relaxed really. Far more so than i was on the ground..as my nerves show on the dvd. As soon as we reached 14,000 of we went, I was second out and Ian third. We both had camera people jumping with us! The feeling was incredible, freefalling through the sky for 70 seconds. It was truely amazing. It was pretty cold and then we hit an ice cold cloud which definitely was cold, I could barely breathe and I went a bit deaf as my ears weren't too impressed with the altitude. Whilst in the cloud Steve my man pulled the parachute and we flung into the air, then I really did feel like I was flying. Below the cloud it was far warmer, but it was raining. It was so awesome, just sitting comfortably, floating through the air...the best feeling ever!
My face looks crazy in the pictures, but it's going to when falling at 200kph! When at the bottom i just wanted to go back up and jump again!tandem_009.jpg I like the way you can see the plane in the background! Moving on to Surfers Paradise tomorrow.

Posted by faith8069 18:24 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbours

Flying visits

semi-overcast 27 °C

We spent a day in Port Macquarie and a day in Coffs Harbour, deciding to do flying visits so we can move further up the east coast and relax and have good times at the beach.
We got up pretty easly in Port Macquarie in order to make good use of our one day and to get around quicker we decided to hire some bikes, brand new,a bargain at only $5! So, we headed off on the bikes and my bottom was in agony after about 5 minutes, but it soon went numb and I got used to it!! We cycled down a small reserve called ' Koolongula' hoping to see bats, lizzards, and snakes, and we managed to see two lizzards, although we were going pretty quick on our wheels! We then headed down to the beach front and cycled along the coast, Faye_234.jpgsaw some big scary pelicans!...the new bikes weren't that great with rick solid sadles and new hand grips, my hands were red raw. After 2 hours I'd had enough of the bike, so we took them back! I decided I'd rather walk!
In the afternoon we went to the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, they were so cute. Faye_2511.jpgWas thinking about adopting one, but decided I need the money too much right now! We had a lovely time, learnt lots about the animals, the blind Koala was my favourite. We were there for feeding time. But because it's a hospital you're not allowed to hold them. Faye_264.jpg
We left Port Macquarie that night and arrived in Coffs Harbour about 1am. It's such a mission getting into a dorm and making beds without making too much noise. We got up and made the most of our day in Coffs Harbour, a much bigger place than we were expecting. We walked the 3km and back down into the town and back, went up to a lookout whcih gave some wicked views out over the beaches and then sat by the harbour and had ice creams.Faye_273.jpg It was a good day, but I think it was only worth staying a day there as there wasn't really very much to see.

Posted by faith8069 21:09 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sydney and the Blue Mountains

Olympic Park-Bondi-Manly-Blue Mountains

semi-overcast

As I said it was pouring with rain for a day in Sydney, but it managed to brighten up a bit although it was still quite overcast. When in Sydney we went to Olympic Park, went to the Sydney/Telstra Stadium where Jonny Wilkinson won us the world cup. The tour was pretty good, mainly focused on the 2000 Olympics, we got to stand on the Gold podium which was pretty cool. Faye_025.jpgWent in the changing rooms and toured all around the grounds, it was cool. We originally wanted to see the cricket ground (well Ian did), but we went to completely the wrong place! The tour was fun anyway. From there we got the train to and a bus to the Famous Bondi Beach...it wasn't as great as I was expecting, think possibly because the weather was a little dull. Faye_041.jpgBut we sat on the beach for a while watching the surfers and had a look around the surf shops (not buying anything!!) Much of our eveing was spent planning our trip to the blue mountains and up the coast. The following day I had a lay in while Ian went to find the cricket ground, he went on a tour which he really enjoyed. In the afternoon we got the ferry to Manly from Sydney harbour and had an afternoon looking around there and sitting on the beach. Manly was lovely, but I'm feeling once you've seen one nice beach you've probably seen them all! It was great to sit and watch the surfers. The ferry on the way back into Sydney gave us some great views of the city, everything in view...it had to be at this point my camera ran out of battery! In the morning I'd had a surprise, randomly bumped into Steven one of the Irish lads that I spent Christmas with in the hostel so that was a nice surprise. Ian and I went out with them in the evening for a few drinks, had a good night...Ian was a bit more of a dirty stop out than me and went off to Bondi.
Thursday we got the train from Sydney to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, about a 2 hour train journey west of Sydney. We got there about lunch time. We camped in a hostel garden...was quite strange, but good as we could use all the facilities. We got a tour bus around the Jamison Valley and went for a walk. We walked into the valley and to Scenic world where we got the steepest railway in the world down into the valley and then the gondola back up. We got some great views although the blue mountains haze is across the photos which is annoying.Faye_091.jpg We didn't have long to explore as we were a bit late arriving as we missed the train by about 2 minutes! The following day we got up and went up to the Valley, I wanted to go to the rainforest room as it sounded cool. We walked for an hour down the furber steps (hundreds of them) down into the valley, only to find that the rainforest room was like a meeting room! (Gutted!) So, Ian walked back up (crazy) and I got the steep railway back up to the top of the valley. We got to see some water falls and more amazing views of the valley though.Faye_127.jpgWhen at the top we went on a cliff tops and valleys tour on an open top bus which was cool. Got to see some fabulous views, and also some great lightening!Faye_182.jpg There was a storm in the valley which later came over to Katoomba where we were staying. Our tent didn't leak, but now I'm sad because it's not looking new anymore!! We did some more walking and the next day my calves were killing me! Got to see the 3 sisters from Echo point and the Katoomba falls.Faye_218.jpg It was raining in the evening, so got pretty chilly...the people in the hostel put the fire on. We braved the cold and went for a walk and then back to our tent...didn't have the best nights sleep. We spent the whole of Saturday travelling, train, bus, bus, mini bus arriving at 10pm in Port Macquarie in the East coast.

Posted by faith8069 03:34 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The Red Centre

Alice Springs-Glen Helen-Kings Creek-Kings Canyon-Ayers Rock

sunny 42 °C

Well, I'm sat here in Sydney and since we arrived back here it has been raining...not just raining, absolutely tipping it down! So, time for me to update my journey.
We left Adelaide on the Monday morning, Sue very kindly took us to the airport and waved us off. We got our flight to Alice Springs, while in the air I soon enough realised why central Australia is called the 'Red Centre'', it really is very red. We arrived in the desert a couple of hours later, it was even hotter than Adelaide and that was pretty warm! The whole time we were on our central trip the temperature didn't go below 40degrees during the day time. We had a little look around Alice Springs, not a great deal to see and also not really a very nice place. There were lots of aborriginals hanging around the streets and doing a lot of shouting at night, felt like I had to have my whits about me. The second day in Alice Ian and I went to the desert park, it was so hot, I drank so much water and didn't go to the toilet once all day! We saw lots of insects...especially flies which are very annoying. We wondered around, listened to a talk on how the aborriginals live in the bush, saw kangaroos, emus and different birds. My favourite bit was the nocturnal house, there was loads of lizzards, enchidna's, snakes, spiders...luckily they were all in glass cages. From the park we went back to the hostel and then Ang and Pete arrived. It was really great to see them, we spent the evening catching up and sharing our travel stories.
The following day we collected our wagon and started our journey. We headed for the Glen Helen Resort, on the way there we stopped at Simpsons Gap Faye_077.jpg It was a pretty cool Gap! I kept thinking crocodiles were going to come out of the water behind where the picture was taken!
We left there and made our way to Ellery Creek, were going to go swimming...Ian and Pete got in but Ang and bottled it!Faye_088.jpg The last stop before our final destination for the day was Orminston Gorge, we did want to go for a walk there but it was just far too hot to even get out of our lovely airconditioned car let alone walk a couple of km's! Faye_108.jpg We got to Glen Helen resort and set up the tents, Ang and I spent a bit of time teasing the boys by sitting in the car pretending we weren't going to help put up the tents...we soon got out of the car and our tents were ready in no time! We had a swim in the pool, played scrabble and then went for our dinner. We went to the restaurant at the camp site, the food was wonderful, we tried kangaroo, emu, camel sausage and crocodile, all were very nice! The random thing about the restaurant though was the man serving us, he was a complete nut case!...really random and he'd set up us four poms...had a little joke going with the rest of the people in the restaurant. It was a random night! On our way up to our tents we saw the most amazing stars in the sky, it was so clear, the sky was almost full. It was then time to attempt going to brush my teeth, Ian came with me, to open the door you had to dodge the 3 lizzards on the door handle, once inside the place was crawling with ants, moths flying everywhere and spiders all around. It was horrible! Apart from that camping the first night was fun!
From Glen helen resort we had to go all the was back to Alice Springs and with our car we couldn't get through the unsealed roads to Kings Canyon. So after stocking up on petrol, water and food in Alice we drove to Kings Creek Station. Set up our tents, had a swim and then cooked burgers on the BBQ. Faye_1261.jpg For the rest of the eveing we played cards and murdered moths, flies and crickets! They kept flying into the candles...sometimes with a little help. This campsite I nicknamed the Moth place! Frome Kings Creek Station we left to go to Kings Canyon, we wanted to do a longer walk up to the top of the canyon but again the weather was too hot 42 in the shade. So we went for a short walk and got a few photos, I felt awful when we got back, I was just so hot. We drove another few hundred kms from there to Ayers Rock resort, the nicest of the 3 campsites. Here to be our home for 2 nights. The facilities were far better than the other places and the toilets were pretty much insect free. That wasn't to say the dining area wasn't though! We put up our tents, went in the pool and then drove to the national park for the sunset. The sunset wasn't great, but Ayers Rock is quite impressive. Faye_177.jpg when we got back we had a BBQ, and this is when we realised that the dining area comes alive at night...the place was moving with cockroaches. We chose to stand up to eat our dinner! There was a mouse and a few rabbits around aswell as the usual moths, crickets and flies.
We got an early night as we were up at 5am to go and see the sunrise at Ayers Rock, can't say I was too impressed with the sunrise either. There was hundreds of crazy people standing around the huge rock waiting for the sun! Faye_233.jpgWe drove to the Olgas which are a set of rocks about 30 kms from Ayers Rock, we were there by 7:30am ready to start our walk. We walked about 10kms, arrived back at the car at 10am. The walk was great I really enjoyed it, got some superb views, the rocks were just unbelievable. Faye_2141.jpg It seemed the flies took a liking to my hat! Faye_251.jpgWe spent the rest of the day doing some washing and I did a lot of moaning as it was just too hot to do anything. We just sat there sweating for hours. It clouded over a little later so Ian and I went to the pool and chilled there for a while. Later we drove back to the Olgas to see the sunset, we didn't get a great sunset by the Olgas but as we drove away the colours in the sky were beautiful so we stopped to take a few photos on the way out of the national park.Faye_268.jpg We stopped for petrol on the way back and managed to get some free sausage rolls and pies from the petrol station, it was great as we had nothing for dinner! Sausage roll and corn for dinner and then off to bed!
We got up fairly early, I packed the tent up all on my own in a matter of minutes had some breakfast and made our way to the massive 2 gate airport of Ayers Rock. The plane journey was pleasent

Posted by faith8069 17:38 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Melbourne-Adelaide

and The Great Ocean Road

sunny 38 °C

Whist in Melbourne we managed to see quite a lot over the short period of time. The neighbours tour was obviously the highlight although I didn't get to meet Harold which was quite disappointing! We went to Erinsborough High, Ramsey Street and then met Dr Darcey. It was so wierd being in the street, and people actually live in the houses. There's a security car that sits in the street 24hrs a day so the residents don't get any trouble, as it has been known! Would have been good to see the set, but we didn't. I enjoyed myself anyway and so did Ian! Melbourne_019.jpg We spent the following day having a good look around Melbourne, went to the Telstra dome one of the stadiums and had a look around the harbour. From there we got on the tram and went to the immigration museum, quite a Geography teacher thing to do but it was really interesting to see Australian immigration history. It would be a great Geography school trip! Obviously my favourite bit was standing in the cabin of a 1900's ship pretending I was sailing to Australia over 70days!
From there we went up to the observation deck to see Melbourne from above, 253 metres high, only half the size of the CN tower that I went up in Toronto, but still pretty cool and plus everything else in Melbourne isn't as high. Melbourne_071.jpg We walked to Federation Square, Treasury and Fitzroy Gardens where we saw Captain Cook's cottage and a model tudor village. The cottage was transported from England and rebuilt. By then we were shattered from walking all day, went back to the hostel and then walked miles again in the evening to go to the cinema in the evening. Went to see 'Persuit of Happiness', good film, but 'The Holiday' still wins! Came out of the cinema and it was raining, but managed to see nice views of Melbourne at night. Melbourne_098.jpg
On Wednesday we left the hostel in the car and went down to the Olympic Park area, Ian insisted on breaking into the Rod Laver Arena to have a look at where the Australian Open was held. We looked at all the courts, went over to have a look at Olympic Pk and the Vodaphone Area and then onto the MCG. We were hoping to watch some cricket, but got there to find it wasn't starting until 2pm and we couldn't stick around that long otherwise we'd have ended up sleeping in the car again. Ian was gutted we couldn't get in, so we hung around until 1:30pm, were going to pay to go into the stadium for about 5 mins to take a photo! They actually let us in for free (imagine that happening in England!), was a massive stadium. Put a big smile on Ian's face anyway!
We left Melbourne and started our journey along the Great Ocean Road, took lots of photos along the way.IMG_0700.jpg The coastline was unreal. We reached the 12 Apostles about 6pm, little dark for some photos. IMG_0733.jpg There's actually only 7 Apostles, I like the view the other side where you can only see two stacks.
IMG_0755.jpg We continued, went to several more lookouts, but couldn'y find anywhere to get any food. It really amazes me, how you arrive in what you think is a town on the map and it's got 2 houses and no food! We finaly arrived to Port Fairy our bed for the night about 9:30pm. The beds were so small, like sleeping in a cabin on a boat!
The following day we went to Tower Hill reserve quite early in the morning, we saw some Emu's, Wallabies and a koala asleep up a tree. We also found an injured Kangaroo, I felt so sorry for it, it couldn't move and was bleeding so we had to report it. IMG_0799.jpg We left there and went back to Port Fairy and walked around Griffith Island, it took about an hour, saw another lighthouse! Got some beautiful views. Drove from there to Portland, made our cheese and pickle sandwiches (I'm eating well!) and then drove another couple of hours to Mt Gambier. A large town which had an incredibly blue lake created from volcanic minerals. It really was so blue. From there we made our way to Robe, our bed for the night. Definitely the nicest hostel so far. The place was beautiful, big old house with fantrastic big rooms. It was so nicely done out, wished we could have stayed longer. We had BBQ and then played bingo!!
The following morning we had a wonder around Robe and then got on our way to Adelaide. We stopped at a couple of points along the 128kms of Coorong National Park. The expanse was unbelievable, just miles and miles of sand and dunes. From there we had a quick stop in Murrey Bridge for an icecream and then arrived in Adelaide. We said goodbye to the car and then Sue picked us up. We're staying with Gary and Sue, some friends of Ian's parents. They came to England last year, so it's nice to see them again and it's great to be staying in a house!
Yesterday I met up with Jess who I travelled with in South America. It was so great to see her! We met at the cricket Oval so Ian could get his fix and then we had a look around the city.IMG_0902.jpg Walked over the River Torrent and to the markets and the botanical gardens, saw the largest greenhouse in the Southern Hemisphere. We saw a random bird with yellow eyes! IMG_0910.jpg We left the gardens and wondered around the city, Ian and I bought a tent, cheaper form of accommodation! Then went to the bar where Jess works of a drink, it was really nice. Was kind of strange saying bye to Jess as I feel like I may never see her again, but we've become good friends. So hopefully we will see eachother again. Gary and Sue picked us up and they took us for a meal. Ian had kangaroo, was quite nice. Today Gary and Sue took us out after Gary's delicious beakfast. We went to Glenelg and Brighton, the beach areas of Adelaide. There's a lovely marina and some great houses down there....I want one! It's absolutely boiling here, 38 degrees. Hottest day of their summer so far! I'm glad the house is airconditioned!
Tomorrow we're flying up to Alice Springs, meeting Ang and Pete on Tuesday and travelling with them to Uluru (Ayers rock), camping along the way....could be interesting!

Posted by faith8069 21:29 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Australia

Sydney-Melbourne

all seasons in one day

We arrived in Sydney early evening, it was cloudy so couldn't see much out of the window on the flight. The weather didn't make Sydney look to good, wasn't sure what to make of it really, it was far bigger than I expected. We got to the hostel, was a bit seedy, but good enough and after looking at other hostels on the way around Sydney I think we were actually quite lucky! The hostel was quite a walk from the centre, as soon as we got there we took a walk through the city and down to Sydney Harbour, Harbour Bridge and Opera house. Faye_126.jpgThe views were quite amazing and definitely better as it got dark.Faye_131.jpg After having a wonder it was quite late by the time we got back to the hostel.
We spent the following day sorting ourselves out, working out what to do about transport around OZ. We also went for a look around Darling Harbour and walked up onto Harbour Bridge. Faye_158.jpgIn the evening we got the tube down to Kings Cross and met Dave Lindsell, really good to see him. We made the mistake of going out in flipflips, they won't let you in any bars and in Oz they are big on ID and Ian didn't have any so the eveing was a bit of a struggle. We managed to worm our way into one bar so just stayed there. Danielle and Lucy came out, it was really great to see them. I think Dave was a little taken back by the whole crazy girls thing, but i think he enjoyed it! Ian and I got the last train back to our hostel, was quite merry after my drinks! (Thank you very much Dave).
Friday was Australia Day, which was awsome and definitely made me like Sydney much more. The sun was shining and there was so much going on all day. We met Dave down at Circular Quay where there were bands playing,then went for a walk around to the Opera house, stopping to have a rather expensive drink on the way! Faye_169.jpgWe then made our way down to Hyde Park to meet Danielle and Lucy, on the way we had lovely ice creams and there were loads of vintage cars on show for Australia day. They were fantastic! We then relaxed in Hyde Park, listened to the bands and got Australia flags to join in the celebrations! Dave then left and Ian and I went for a chinese in China Town, it was so busy, was really cool just to sit there and watch the world go by. We raced back to the hostel and got changed so we could make it down to Darling Harbour to see the fireworks. We got there just in time, battled through the crouds to find Dave and then watched the show and fireworks. It was spectacular, really fantastic! Faye_214.jpg( Mum, you'd have loved it) We then met up with Danielle and Lucy and said goodbye, until we get back there on 11th Feb.
Ian and I hired a car, we had to get to the other side of the city to pick it up, we struggled with our bags and my my I was sweating when I finally got there! We got the car, a little rusty coloured Yaris and drove to Canberra. We had a few hours there, went around the new parliament buildings and looked at the old and then went and looked around the botanical gardens. Faye_254.jpgGot a bit scared as it said beware of the snakes all around! There were heaps of lizzards, but I quite like lizzards! From Canberra we were going to drive down to Lakes Entrance on the South Coast and stay there for the night, but the plans went a bit wrong! We realise after passing Cooma that we must have taken a wrong turning! Over 60km out the way, so we had to drive all the way back...but we did get to go to the Snowy mountains region! We saw loads of kangaroos, in fact we saw about 50 kangaroos and only 2 cars over 90kms! We drove and it got to about 9pm, realised that no petrol stations stay open in Oz! By this time it was quite dark and when I was driving a kangaroo jumped at the car, I hit it, but there was no dent so all's good!! We realised that we weren't going to make it to Lakes Entrance on the petrol, it was pretty touch and go, but we drove until the petrol almost ran out and then slept in the car in a small town called Orbost. Not the best nights sleep I've had, but I have to say the back seat of the Yaris wasn't that bad! Ian was in the passenger seat, I woke up with sore knees as they'd had to stay very bend all night! But, we were off by 8am this morning when the petrol station opened. Not sure what would have happened if it didn't open on a sunday!! We got on our way and travelled about 2 and a half hours to Wilson's Promontory National Park. We walked to a few beached and went for a walk over tidal river, but got cut off as the water was too high. It was so windy down there and not good weather, it started to rain so we didn't walk too far. I have to say the weather really does make a difference, the national park would have be fantastic had the weather been nice and we weren't getting sand whipped into the back of our legs on the beach. We made our way to Melbourne, got here earlier today. It's busy because of the tennis being on, but so far I'm impressed with what I've seen and I'm going to Ramsey Street tomorrow... I can't wait!!!

Posted by faith8069 02:42 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

The last of New Zealand

Christchurch

all seasons in one day

We left Queenstown early in the morning and then set off for the long drive to Christchurch. We left at 8am and arrived about 5pm, I got a bit fed up with sitting on the bus! On the way we stopped at Lake Pukaki where if the weather was good we would have been able to see Mt Cook, but as it happens the weather wasn't great as usual. We made a lunch stop at Lake Tekapo and Ian and I wondered down to the lake to eat our picnic lunch, only to realise that we had left it in the fridge at the last hostel...gutted! So, we went off and bought a sandwich, well a panini, only for them to say they didn't have a panini warmer. So, they warmed it in the micro. We started to eat the panini only to realise that the chicken inside was raw....gross, not having any of that, so they went back. We then went down the road to a bakery, where I had the best sandwich ever ( bet that made you smile, a happy ending!) So, we got back on the bus, one more stop and then straight through to Christchurch. We got there, walked miles to the supermarket, had our dinner and then spent the evening doing a jigsaw puzzle! How sad, and we stayed up until it was finished...obviously well worth it to see that it was destroyed the next day!!Faye_111.jpg
While we were in Christchurch it was the World Buskers Festival, so all around the city people were doing different acts and performances. We managed to see quite a few and also went to the theatre twice to see two different performances....can only say we were quite glad we only paid $5 each time!...but it was something to do and something different. Over the couple of days we went around the city on the tram,Faye_013.jpg went to the botanical gardens where I went crazy taking photos of flowers, Faye_030.jpgtook the gondola to see the city from above, Faye_085.jpgwent to the art museum and had a look arounf the shops. We managed to do quite a lot really. I liked Christchurch, it's really clean and has a really safe and pleasant atmosphere.
We left Christchurch on Wednesday and made our way to the airport, Ian and I on different flights 20mins apart. I was gutted as Ian got food on his flight and I was left to starve! We had no NZ $ left!!

Posted by faith8069 02:27 Archived in New Zealand Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Queenstown- Bottom Bus

My Birthday in the Sun! Dunedin-Invercargill-Te Anau- Milford Sound

all seasons in one day

Well, here goes...the last week!\
Our first night in Queenstown Ian and I went out for a few drinks...didn't get in too late, but maybe had a few too many vino's! I struggled to sleep as there was 8 of us in the room, it was hot and people were snoring! We had a quiet morning and then went for lunch, had a wonder around the town and looked in the shops...I held back though! In the afternoon we went to watch the national Rugby 7's, all the teams from around New Zealand were playing in the national tournament. Auckland won the final on Sunday which Ian went to watch. To be honest I wasn't feeling well at the weekend. We all went out, Ian, myself and the Christmas crew...kind of my birthday night out, but I ended up going back to the hostel as I didn't feel too good. The rest of the room came rolling in at 3am, Lynsey particularly funny, a few too many! Anyway, it didn't matter as I couldn't sleep anyway and I was awake until about 5am as Queenstown is a noisy place! We decided not to stay back in Discovery lodge when we returned. Sunday was a cloudy, rainy day and again I wasn't feeling too well. Ian and I had a looka round the shops and he bought me a volcom hat and a belt for my birthday. We were going to go up the gondola to take the view of Queenstown, but the weather wasn't very good, so we wouldn't have been able to see anything. I had a lay down for a couple of hours while Ian went out to watch the rugby finals. We went for food and then generally chilled in the room with the others, our last night with them.
I got up early, couldn't wait to turn 25!! Went down to info and track as we'd booked a sky dive, 7am and they told us it was too cloudy and to go back at 9am. So, we went back to the hostel and I opened my presents that Ian had brought over from Mum, Dad and Helen and of course I had my hat and my belt. That lasted all of a couple of mins, said 'goodbye' to Emma and Lynsey and went back to sleep for an hour. Woke up at 9am to beautiful sunshine...this time, too windy to skydive. 'Come back at 4:30pm'. So, we decided with the lovely sunny day to go up the gondola. We went up and the views were totally amazing.IMG_0353.jpg and the helicptor was doing flights, we got really close to it.IMG_0361.jpg We had a look at the views and then we went on the luge. Kind of like go-carts, but without an engine and on a downhill fast track. You had to go up further on a chair lift to get to the top of the track. Wasn't sure how much I was going to like it, but it was quality..Ian always seemed to beat me to the bottom though! IMG_0380.jpg After we'd had our racing we went back down into Queenstown, had a bite to eat and then went to play mini golf. Can't believe I played mini golf and went luging on my 25th birthday, should have been my 10th!! We spent the afternoon sitting in a beer garden having a drink, it was so nice! We went back to info and track for the skydive, still too windy....just not meant to be!! We relaxed by the lake for a little while and then went back to get changed and we went out for a thai meal (my favourite) and then for a few drinks. I was really tired though (I'm getting old) so we weren't out late!IMG_0387.jpg
Tuesday morning we were up early and on the road again to Dunedin on 'The Bottom bus' to do the far south of the south island. We stopped in a place called 'Cromwell' where a 15min stop turned into me buying a pair of shorts...bargain though! Then we stopped at a lovely ice cream stop and I had orange choc chip ice cream, very nice! We arrived in Dunedin and then visited the steepest street in the world. Didn't look nice, but the climb to the top had to be done! Have to say, I'd hate to live on that street as it was full of tourists like me!IMG_0410.jpg It was pretty fun trekking up to the top. Our driver than gave us a little orientation around the city, seemed really nice actually, would have been nice if we could have stayed a little longer but we're a little restricted on time now. We got dropped at our hostel which was really nice, went for a wonder, to the old train station (the most photographed building in NZ). Had a relaxed night as we had a tv!
Wednesday we were up pretty early, heading to Invercargill. It was a really long day as we made heaps of stops along the way. We went to Nugget point, saw a few seals down on the beach and an old light house. We got a little wet as it started to rain so we all clambered back into the bus. After here we drove to Surat Bay where we walked down to a gorgeous beach and saw great big sea lions laying on the beach. We got pretty close, but not too close as they can charge if the get angry. They were pretty amazing.IMG_00541.jpg I also found some random sea stuff and you know how much I like my photos, it looked pretty interesting! Not really sure what it was.IMG_0060.jpg After stopped for lunch we headed for Curio Bay where we were supposed to see some dolphins, but they weren't out to play. We went on a walk around the bay, I tried out the black and white on my camera.IMG_0075.jpg Quite like the photo, although, think the colour one might be better. We walked around onto another beach where we saw a few penguins, one of them was injured and he couldn't waddle anywhere. But apparently if a human helps them and puts them back into the wild, no other penguins will ever go near it again because of the scent. So the park ranger was leaving him for a while. We left there and headed for Invercargill where we spent the evening doing our washing and playing chess ( I bet you never thought travelling could be so fun!...these things have to be done!)
We left Invercargill and went to Riverton. We went to a shell shop and made our own shell necklaces...even Ian made one, I really enjoyed it and the man called me a 'perfectionist'...that's me! I now have 3 extra shell necklaces, 2 handmade by myself! We also went to the supermarket in Riverton, as we were walking in I could see my name above the door, as I walked a little further Ian's name was there too! 'Riverton supermarket, localled owned by Ian and Faye', had to get a photo of that one!! Very amusing, and strange! From Riverton we went for lunch and then onto the Cliden Suspension Bridge, the oldest in New Zealand and then at Lake Manapouri before arriving in Te Anau for the night. We had dinner and went out for a few drinks, caught the lake at sunset, it was stunning!IMG_0118.jpg
We left Te Anau this morning for a bit of a disappointing day at Milford sound. The weather was rubbish, just rained and the cloud was really low and misty so we couldn't see very far or get very good photos. It was such a long drive aswell. We stopped at a few places on the way, mountain range from the second Lord of the Rings and Mirror lake. The things that made my day were the dolphins, we were really lucky to get about 20 dolphins around the boat. They were jumping about, but it was very hard to catch them on camera!IMG_0164.jpg We also went to an under water observatory which was pretty cool, I got some great picture of the fish and all the coral under the sea. IMG_02021.jpgIMG_0221.jpg
After the long drive, we arrived back in Queenstown about 7pm. Staying in a different hostel, hopefully I'll manage to get more sleep this time. 6th time lucky on doing a sky dive tomorrow...but maybe it isn't meant to be! Just going to chill, head to Christchurch on Sunday and then to Australia on Weds 24th.

Posted by faith8069 00:30 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Franz Josef- Wanaka

Loads more hiking!!

sunny

IMG_0272.jpgWe got up for our glacier hike, spent about 45 minutes walking through the rainforest to and from the glacier and had about 4 hours trekking through the Franz Josef Glacier. It was awesome! We got given all the special clothing and equipment and the talands that strapped to our boots so that we could hold a grip on the ice. We walked for about 2 hours and then stopped to have our picnic on the ice, we got cold bottoms!! IMG_0238.jpgThe environment was so cool, and we had to go through some pretty small ice allys. We were so lucky with the weather as it rained the day before and the day after in Franz Josef and being on the west coast of New Zealand it tends to rain a lot. The ice was amazing,it was over 150 metres thick. I just can't believe it doesn't all melt, especially on sunny days like the day we went! The photos don't show the expanse of it, it's 15km from front to back.
IMG_0259.jpgIMG_0262.jpg By the time we came off the ice I was gradually getting in more pain as we'd been stepping up and down on the ice. I think we picked the best trip for me! I really enjoyed it. When we came off the ice, we had a shower and then had a few drinks over happy 2 hours in the bar!
IMG_0228.jpg
We left Franz Josef and made our way to Wanaka, quite a long drive and Scotty got a bit lost and forgot to stop at one of the places along the way, meaning we missed our lunch stop...nevermind, it's only his first trip bless him! We did stop at Lake Matheson which was beautiful, the picture of the lake is below and we had a rather expensive cup of tea and we had to make half of it ourself!!
IMG_0284.jpg
We arrived in Wanaka late afternoon, and just generally chilled. Got a tv in our room, so it was an excuse to stay in and not spend money! We also took to eating super noodles, like all travellers must do! Again in Wanaka we put our names down to do a sky dive, but this time the plane is was having it's service, so it's obviously not meant to be! We decided to spend the second day there looking around the lake...as that's what's there! So we went on a 4 hour walk...gee I am getting fit! IMG_0304.jpgThe weather was good apart from the 5 minute rain shower. After our walk we had a nice cold drink, went to the supermarket (again!) and then had tea and sat out on the bench in the evening sun. Had another chilled night watching more movies!
We left Wanaka this morning and made our way to Queenstown, stopped at puzzle world on the way, that was pretty cool and at a small place called Arrowtown.IMG_0313.jpg We also watched several people lauch themself off a bridge at the original bungy site, I chose not to do it again!! We arrived in Queenstown a couple of hours ago, met up with the girls that I spent Christmas and New Year which is cool, hopefully spend a day or so with them before they move on again. Queenstown already seems pretty cool from what I've seen, can already see my bank account decreasing quite heavily!! Queenstown for my birthday, update to come soon!

Posted by faith8069 20:59 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Westport- Lake Mahinapua

The not so exciting parts of New Zealand

rain 18 °C

IMG_0185.jpg
Well, we left Nelson and stopped at Nelson lakes on the way and had a short walk around there. Very beautiful views.
IMG_0158.jpg After the lakes we went onto Westport, I can safely say that Westport has less in it than Long Buckby! A lot less in fact and there was nothing to do. So we just spent the evening chilling. Ian went on a jet boat earlier in the day, but I'd previously done that in the bay of islands so I thought I'd save my pennies.
On the 7th we moved onto Lake Mahinapua, we passe through Greymouth on the way. We all had to write down a character or super star and they all got put in a hat and we had to dress up in the evening. I got Minnie Mouse and Ian got Bob the builder! So, we went around the 2 shops that were open in Greymouth for dressing up clothes. We went to the Warehouse (the advert says, where everyone gets a bargain!) Oh yes, I was there and I managed to find a few bargains! I created some ears out of a plastic folder, and that's all I could find! We carried on to Lake Mahinapua, now I thought Westport was quiet...this place really did take the biscuit! Nothing in sight for miles, now i know why we needed to dress up and have fun. We arrived and is was probably the worst accommodation so far, but the beach was one side and the lake the other side of the road, so it was pretty cool. We also got a massive dinner, steak, potatoes, salad and our bed for 10quid, so we did quite well.
IMG_0190.jpg
The bus driver i have been with over the past few days has been a really laugh. He picked up a couple of random hitch hikers and made them sing to us as their fee to their destination. He nearly rolled the bus trying to make a 90 degree turn on a single lane track with a drop either side of it, he forgot his own luggage, has had luggage fall out of the lockers at the bottom of the bus 3 times! Very funny though and it is only his first trip as a driver, he's a really nice guy. On the way to Franz Josef we stopped at a random cafe and saw deer!IMG_0200.jpg
We left this morning and went to a few random places on the way to Franz Josef. The weather has been rubbish though, we should have got off the bus to do a few walks, but nobody fancied it because of the rain. Now in Franz Josef staying at the Rainforest retreat, it's like a big rainforest village, really cool. Heaps of people staying here though, so can't see me getting too much sleep! Tomorrow we are heading out for a 6hour hike up the Franz Josef Glacier, really looking forward to it. Shouldn't be too bad, some of the walk is rainforest until we reach the glacier edge. We wanted to do a sky dive here but the weather isn't good enough, too cloudy and rainy. It would have been such fabulous views as well. Nevermind, I'm sure Mum and Dad will be glad I'm not doing it!

Posted by faith8069 00:25 Archived in New Zealand Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

Nelson

Kaiteriteri- Abel Tasman National Park

sunny 24 °C

Well, we finally left Wellington bright and early after waiting in the cold for nearly an hour for the kiwi bus. We went down to the ferry port. My my, I've never seen so many people! The ferry was absolutely packed and we chose the best seats...on the floor in the walk way watching people falling over and looking very green. It wasn't the best journey across the sea, we were freezing cold and the sea was very choppy, I wasn't feeling too great myself. Three hours later we arrived in Picton, the ferry port of the south island and battled through hundreds of people to get our bags off the luggage belt. It was crazy! We got our bags and headed for the kiwi bus. On the way to Nelson our stop for the night we stopped at 'The Village' where we got to do some wine tasting, my favourite was the Pino Grigio!IMG_00701.jpg I then had a little snooze on the way to Nelson. Ian and I got stuck here as we didn't book the bus soon enough so had to stay 4 nights, which wasn't really a problem and we've managed to fill them. Anyway, Ian got lucky and shared a room with me and 5 other girls!...the girls I spent Christmas with, he thought Christmas had come again! We spent 2 days chilling out, looking around Nelson. We went to the Cathedral, which wasn't at all impressive, had a picnic in the park and went to the jewellery shop where the 'RING' from the Lord of the rings was made. We've also enjoyed lots of Jazz music as it's Jazzfest this week in Nelson.
Today has been by far the best despite getting up at 6:30am. We got up early and headed north on the bus to Kaiteriteri the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. When we got there, we had the best breakfast ever...all I can say is I'm glad we shared it! We then got on our water taxi. It took us to the national park, to see seals, they were pretty funny, showing off! We had a good ride around the sea and it was even better as the weather was the best today that I've seen in New Zealand. IMG_01391.jpgWe then got dropped off at Bark Bay and we walked for a couple of hours to Torrent Bay in the National Park. The walk was beautiful, the most amazing views.IMG_0143.jpg I felt the need to hide behind the trees, made the walk fun anyway!!IMG_0093.jpg After our walk we sat on the beach for a while and then got our taxi back. When we got back to Nelson we treated oursleves to Fish n Chips!...yes, your right, I'm getting fat!! i will stop eating...soon! Since, we've been in the bar listening to more live jazz, best band out of the three that we've seen. In the morning we move onto Westport.....

Posted by faith8069 01:41 Archived in New Zealand Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

River Valley-Wellington

Happy New Year!

rain 15 °C

I left Taupo on 27th in the morning and we went via the Tongariro National park on the way to River Valley. The national park would have been amazing had it not been raining, we did a 2 hour walk in the Lord of the Rings area in the pouring rain...but it was fun, I enjoyed the exercise. We then were back on the bus on our way to River Valley, River Valley was in the middle of nowehere, no phone reception and nothing for about 45mins around the area. Pretty, but also pretty boring! Although I did have the best meal that I've had in two months...a roast beef dinner with yorkshire puddings and we even got horseraddish. We spent the evening playing giant jenga and trivial persuit! It was pretty cold in River Valley, didn't really do too much as chose not to do the speciality of rafting in that area. I left for Wellington the following day.Taupo-Wellington_032.jpg
I was dropped at the bottom of a steep hill in Wellington, on my own with my big rucksack and 2 smaller bags which included bottles of beer, so struggled to get to the top of the hill...I had to stop for a breather on the way up! I got to the hostel and went up the stairs to see a strange guy, straightening his waist length hair 'he said, one must straighten his their hair on a Thursday!' Oh no! I then went into the room and it was a complete tip...couldn't even walk through to get to my bed. I later found out that a few people in the room were staying in the tip long term! I had to get out! I went out for a wonder and then back for a shower, went to bed and escaped early in the morning to pick Ian up from the airport...i surprised him! I collected Ian and then we went to our hotel, very different from the night before (Thanks Di and Bri!)...it was lovely. Own space! I managed to drag Ian around the shops in the afternoon, thought it might get him over the jet lag! Bought a few tops and Ian treated me to a lovely pair of Oakleys for my Christmas/Birthday present, very nice. I then took Ian out in the evening to meet my crazy friends that I've spent the last week or so with. We only went for one drink and ended up staying out for a few too many! Saturday we did the tourist thing and went to Te Papa, the big museum in Wellington, had a look around the shops a bit more, had a late afternoon nap and then went for an Indian, which my stomach didn't take to kindly to!...as if you all wanted to know!
Sunday we got up and used the gym and pool in the hotel (try and keep fit!)during most of the time in Wellington it was raining. Rain jackets on and brolly up we went up on the cable car to the museum and botanical gardens, it would have been really beautiful up there had the weather been nice. We walked miles to get back to the hotel. Taupo-Wellington_073.jpgTaupo-Wellington_074.jpgWe then got back and had to get changed to go out, Happy New Year! We went to the hostel to meet people and then to shooters bar, had a good night, but got fed up of people spilling drinks all over me (usual night in Northampton!)
Monday of course we had a lay in and then went to BASE hostel to pay for our ferry tickets. We scraped the money together for those as we couldn't get any money out of the cash machine. We then tried about 10 cash machines and none of them would give us any money. I figured it must have been something to do with the new year, so we waited until 1pm (1st Jan at home) and hey presto, loads of money!! So we went to the cinema to watch the Holiday in the afternoon...what a lovely film!

Posted by faith8069 17:33 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

(Entries 25 - 36 of 49) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 »