HANGIng out in the North Island

Ok. So it seems my last blog post caused a bit of concern and opinion amongst some people so I think I should clear something up: I am having a really great time. I promise.

I’m really tired (I’m not going to say I haven’t had a couple of frustrated cries over Skype with my mum) and a bit sick of travelling as much as I have been, but happy. I have always been completely honest within the content of my blog, the good and bad, and just like anything else, this trip is not 100% amazing all the time. Sometimes I want to stay in bed not get up and get a bus or a ferry at 5:30 am or listen to the Canadian guy in the bed next to be snore like a freight train or lie awake worrying if that slightly bent top bunk might just come crashing down on me if I fall asleep. Sometimes I want to be on my own. Sometimes I want the things that I can’t afford so desperately it makes me cry (a coffee, a cake, that second glass of wine, meat for dinner… man, I miss meat… I can veggie it with the best of them but because I can’t have it, I want it. Same with chocolate).

But nothing is easy all the time. Nothing worthwhile, anyway. It’s not an adventure if it’s all smooth sailing.

With the idea of adventure in mind, I’ve decided to go to the east coast of Australia, Fiji and Bali. The airfare relatively reasonable and my airfare is semi-easy to rejig, and I have plenty of time to spare. I don’t think you realise, until you finally get to your destination, what it is that you want – or is possible – to do. With regards to working, the option is still there but I am really enjoying this lady of leisure business at the moment. When I think of how hard I worked to get the money together, I’m more inclined to just go a bit wild and self-indulgently travel this part of the world until I go home broke (thank god I’ve already paid for my return flights).

So once again, I am fine. Better than fine. I am great. I’m loving travelling and have nothing of great concern to complain about.

So that’s done. On to more interesting things: what I’ve been up to!

It has been all go for a week or so now and I feel like I haven’t stopped. Hitting Wellington has been bittersweet. I have reached the end of my north island journey and have given myself a much deserved five day break, but I have also reached my end destination on that particular Stray bus so I had to say bye to some really fab people (again)!

I have visited so many places since my last post, I’m not even sure where to start. New Zealand has so much to offer but they really should rename it Land of the Long Buffering Time not Land of the Long White Cloud!

So I’m going to tell you about the places that have really stuck in my mind. First up, the east cape!

This trip was exactly what well all needed. Eleven of us bid farewell to the main bus and headed off to the cost for a few days of beaches, bonfires, BBQs and general rest! I loved the east cape but we did move every night. You can “hop off” but being summer, the buses are pretty booked up and I did not want to get stuck somewhere for weeks at time.

We were so lucky to have such great weather (pale English girl here burnt her face but on the plus side discovered the joys of natural Aloe Vera). We stayed mainly in home stays and chilled. Exactly what we all wanted!

After the east, going back to the city of Roturua was a bit like being returned after an alien abduction, eyes blinking in the bright sun, scared of all the traffic. We didn’t have too time to think though as we were picked up by Kaylan, quite possibly the best Stray driver ever, and whisked off to Lake Anefenewa for our second “cultural experience.” This one was way better than before which in hindsight I think was a bit of a rip off.

We had a traditional Hangi meal (a traditional Māori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven underground), went glamping and were able to visit a local school the next day. Despite being poor this school puts UK schools to shame. The children are all above the national reading level and excel at examinations! This was the highlight of my trip so far.

 

We then stayed at Blue Duck Lodge which is a conservation lodge in the oddly of nowhere. We had a few drinks, group meals, hiked, went horse riding and had the best time. It was a working farm full of animals so I was very happy!

After this we headed to National Park. I visited Gollum’s pool and went on a few hikes. Our hostel was amazing, complete with hot tubs!!

We then made our way down to Wellington which is where I am now. I love Wellington. I have been here four days (a rest stop before I get on the very and head south) and am staying on the nicest hostel complete with free wifi, hair straighteners and hair dryer.

I’ve just been taking it easy in Wellington as I’m aware how may miles I have clocked up and how little sleep I’ve had. I had a big night out with my old bus members, visit libraries, did a city walk, took a tour of parliament and the national museum.

On Wednesday I will be able to hop on the ferry and grab the bus at Picton as I have decided to keep going. I’m very excited for the south and it’s hard to believe anything can be more beautiful than what I have already seen in NZ.

First stop, Nelson.

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