|Just another quick update, I'm now in Waitomo where i've just been walking through caves to see Glow Worms, it was amazing seeing thousands pinpricks of light twinkling from the ceiling. We walked through the caves for about 20 minutes looking at all the limestone rock formations, and the Stalagmites and Stalactites, then hopped in a boat to take us round in the darkness to see the worms.
We're only here for today then we're back on the road again to travel over to Taupo, apparently the adventure capital of the North Island. I've got the chance to do a skydive, but I think I'll hang on until i get to the South Island, possibly by the Franz Josef glacier or in Queenstown. Instead in Taupo i'm doing the Tongariro crossing - a 6-8 hour walk that passes through the mountainous volcanic scenery, it's supposed to be one of NZ's best walks. We're staying in Taupo for 2 nights, leaving on the 24th May to head down to River Walley for 1 night, then arriving in Wellington on the 26th.
Yesterday we spent the day in Rotorua, often called Rottenrua becaus of the evil eggy smells that emerge from the sulphurous mud pools and geysers. We first stopped off to watch one of the guys on my bus go Zorbing - clmibing into a big inflatable ball, strapping your self in then rolling down a hill. We half expected him to puke as soon as he emerged from the ball seeing as he had a massive hangover, luckily it didn't happen, and we continued on to Whakarewarewa (pronounced PhokaRaywaRaywa, a massive geothermal park with loads of bubbling mud pools, geysers, huge amounts of steam rising out of the ground and even more rotten smells. In the evening we went along to a reconstruction of a pre-European settler Maori village, where we watched an excellent performance of traditional Maori chants and songs, and then had a Hangi - a meal cooked & steamed underground on white hot rocks - v tasty!
The previous day was spent in Whitianga (Phitianga). On the way there from Auckland we stopped at the top of Mount Eden to see over the whole of Auckland, then when we had been driving for a bit we stopped to go for an hour and a half walk along the coast to a small beach called Cathedral Cove. The path passed through amazing landscapes. One moment we would be walking through dense, ferny bush that you half expected a dinosaur to emerge from, then the next moment you could have been in the Yorkshire Dales with sheep and cows. We finally reached the cove after 45 exhausting minutes, and were greeted by a massive arch that had been carved out of the cliffside by the sea. From the cove you could also sea the various little islands that were dotted around the bay. The walk back seemed extremely short compared to the outward journey for some reason. That evening me and 2 other people from Brighton cooked ourselves some pasta to try and save money, it's definitely the way to go - met loads of new friends in the kitchen who were doing the same thing. We then went out to a bar to watch the Super 12 rugby game between Wellington Hurricanes and the Canterbury\ (could be Christchurch) Crusaders with our bus driver LJ - Little John, who was supporting the Hurricanes, who unfortunately lost by quite a big margin. After a quick tour around the town's bars we were all shattered so made our way back to our hostel.
Unfortunately i still can't put up any more photos yet, as this pc is incredibly rubbish. Will try and upload some more soon.
Kia Ora! - translated as 'Good Health!'