Little and Large Down Under #5: Time for a Nice Cup of Tea and A Sit Down

Time for a Nice Cup of Tea and A Sit Down

Welcome to the first episode of our travelogue which is actually being posted from the road! We’re 2½ weeks into our New Zealand trip, which also conveniently marks the halfway point. Our route from here (Kaikoura) takes us back to the top of the east coast and then back up to the North Island for a circuit up there. So far it’s been a fantastic trip; we’ve met all sorts of travellers from students to horse trainers; we’ve played on land, sea and air (and eaten most of it); and we’re still in roughly the same number of pieces as when we left. Look at what we’ve done:

  1. Floated through underground rivers in Waitomo with glow-worms.
  2. Rolled down a hill inside an inflatable ball full of water.
  3. Had full mud treatments, massages and soaked in the thermal pools. Extreme loafing!
  4. Took part in a Maori challenge/welcome ceremony.
  5. Jumped out of a plane at 13,000 feet. David’s face on the video is one of utter mortal terror. Jenny, meanwhile, was grinning like she was queueing up to step off the curb (or maybe she was just enjoying being in a harness?).
  6. Flew up the Franz Josef Glacier by helicopter before crawling through ice caves and leaping across crevasses. David’s camera didn’t make it unfortunately, but at least it died a hero’s death rather than just being left in a taxi…
  7. David jetboated at Makarora and swam in the glacial water (Jenny was sunbathing).
  8. David rafted the Shotover canyon (Jenny was having a nap).
  9. David even flew a plane over Kaikoura (Jenny was in the back feeling sick because of David’s dodgy piloting; he maintains it was actually turbulence).
  10. Took a cruise around Kaikoura and stuffed ourselves with local crayfish cooked by the onboard chef – 15 minutes from the sea to our bellies and only just stopped twitching.
  11. Also while on the above cruise were able to watch a full seal colony doing their thang for free.
  12. Went on the Cadbury factory tour in Dunedin and watched their chocolate waterfall – a ton of liquid chocolate in 30 seconds! No, unfortunately they don’t let you swim in it.
  13. Had fudge almost pumped directly into our veins in a fudge tour in Christchurch.

Frankly, we’re knackered.

We do have some questions from our travels to date though. For instance, we passed through Rotorua, or Roto-Vegas as it’s apparently called by the locals – but why? Jenny and I couldn’t really see the similarity; there’s not a single casino in sight. If the Vegas locals eat nothing but egg mayonnaise it might make more sense; the place has a strong sulphur smell from all the thermal vents scattered around. Also, where are all the people in New Zealand? We’ve spotted about four who aren’t tourists, and many sheep, moo cows and deer, but not much in the way of people!

The country is beautiful; after living in Sydney for four months we’d forgotten about nature and weather. In the South Island, we had been told to expect even more stupendous scenery than in the North. Absolutely spot on; you feel like an ant as you cruise through mountain ranges, gorgeous alpine valleys and rivers flowing past the window. Sometimes it’s a good thing you’re on a coach because otherwise you’d never get anywhere without blowing all your film.

We have many, many tips on travelling through New Zealand now, which is a great feeling as we feel like proper travellers, including where and where not to stay (don’t always go by Lonely Planet or YHA, for starters).

There will be more news from the North Island soon, and some photos too. We’ve fully got the travel bug now, and really don’t want to go back to Sydney. London seems very far away…..thank God!

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