Thursday, 29 December 2011

Sydney and Christmas in Katoomba

Sydney Opera House

Echo Point, lookout of the 3 Sisters and Jamison Valley

Me, Nikki and her brother Scoot walking in the Jamison Valley

After a 10 hour overnight bus ride I was fianlly in Sydney. I'd arrived a bit early so I slept on the floor of the greyhound terminal waiting for my friend Emma to come pick me up. She came, we hugged, drank coffee, got accosted by a tramp after our money, then got the train over to Nikki's where I slept and showered. Nikki, Emma and all of their housemates were in this installation piece down in the Rocks that evening, so I got a lift in and wandered round, taking in the Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and some light festival entertainment such as Zumba Fitness, Silent Disco and 2 teenage boys playing Billy Jean on the flute, which was lovely.

The next day Nikki took me into the city where we had sandwiches in Hyde Park before seeing the cathedral, the city art gallery, the David Jones Christmas windows, and the QVB. On the way to picking Emma up for Christmas Eve festivities, we got baking supplies. Nikki planned on making truffles and I wanted to make some shortbread biscuits. We got Emma and her little bunny and went back to Nikki's where we had dinner whilst watching the Aussie classic, The Castle and started baking round about 10. To my astonishment, there were no scales so I devised a rough estimate of the ingredients using a pen on the packets. They worked out fine with a little teasing, and thus we had around 50 shortbread biscuits. We still haven't eaten them all.

The next morning Nikki made blueberry pancakes. I got a call from my mother to wish me happy Christmas , which was lovely, because it was still their Christmas Eve and they were all rather inebriated. Bless. We packed and got ready then set off for Glenbrook to see Nikki's family for Christmas lunch. Coming into the Blue Mountains, I felt I was beginning to fall in love with Australia. We got to Glenbrook andhad a lovely lunch with Nikki's family (her Gran even bought me some Ferrero Rochers) and ended up having a bit of a bushwalk, even spotting a pregnant skink. Around 5, Nikki drove over to Katoomba where we stayed at Bob and Sue's place (family friends also there at lunch) along with Nikki's dad and brother. Enjoying the view of the Blue Mountains we talked and ate a bit, then Sue demanded we watch Fargo as the majority of us hadn't seen it. Then off to bed, wearing clothes from the ragbag Nikki's friend had left in the boot of her car.

The next morning, Nikki and her brother and dad and I went to Scenic World and saw Echo Point, the 3 Sisters, and the Jamison Valley. We went down on this little train which was incredibly steep, proclaiming itself the steepest railway in the world, then we walked round the Valley and went back up in the gondala. We met Bob and Sue for lunch in the Common Ground Cafe run by a little sect in the community that are Christian but don't believe in Jesus and are more or less communists. Well, anyway, they make nice food. Overall, Katoomba was pretty wonderful; a small town in the heart of the stunning Blue Mountains with a good deal to see and do.

Then we drove back to Sydney which seemed rather smelly after all that tropical fresh air. But we didn't stay long.

Melbourne, Mark and Moving On

Mark, 34, from Adelaide, stands just over a foot taller than me.

Flinders Station near Federation Square. Look at all the people!

Melbourne from the War Memorial

My final train ride across Australia was the Overland Train running from Adelaide to Melbourne in around 12 hours. Alanna was also on the train but sat in a different carriage. By some stroke of luck I ended up in Red Premium and got restaurant service, which was lovely. I sat in my chair waiting for whoever it was that would be put beside me to arrive. And in walked a 6"6' ginger man weeping his little heart out, and plonked himself down next to me. I promptly gave him a hug and tried to talk to him but he continued to sob for a while. He got himself together eventually. Turns out he was 34, had lived in Adelaide his whole life and was moving that very day permanently to Melbourne. So we got chatting and by the end of the trip, him me and Alanna who had joined us from Red Service, were jolly good friends and arranged to meet up before I left Melbourne.

I stayed at Nomads that night but due to its shittyness I moved to Alanna's hostel, Hotel Discovery. On the first day Alanna and I went to the market and bought food for that night, then got on the free bus service and went around Melbourne stopping at the waterfront, the Botanic Gardens and War Memorial. We had to get out in the Arts District and walk home by Federation Square and Swanston Street. I made stir fry for us both but there was a bit of drama as the rest of our food which we were saving for the next night got chucked out by some flashpacking scallywag because they wanted to use the pans. As you can read I'm still not quite over it. I mean, what kind of backpacker chucks food away?

The next day we met up with Mark at Parliament and we walked the mean streets of Melbourne for a few hours and ended up in an "Irish" bar for a pint before saying goodbye forever. Alanna and I went back to the hostel and ate before meeting up with a friend of hers who took a bunch of us to some secret bar thing called Madama Brussels or Bruge or something which had a nice view but was pretty lame due to the amount of yuppies that frequented the place. We had Pimms though, which was lovely.

On my final day I went to the library, had a curry, wandered the city centre, said goodbye to Alanna perhaps for forever, then walked to the station, where I boarded my overnight bus to Sydney.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Ghan, Adelaide and Couch Surfing

The Ghan runs from Darwin to Adelaide, I got on at Alice and it took 24 hours.

Jari and Me on the epic night out in Adelaide

The Ghan was a pretty standard train ride really. I was sat next to a nice German who hadn't read that we weren't allowed alcohol on thee train so I helped him dispose of the evidence. Jens and Toby were a few seats back and that was cool but there were literally no seats left free so I spoke to them rarely. They were talking to this Cnadian called Alanna, more on her later.

So we arrived in Adelaide, got our luggage, of which mine yet again was the smallest, and Jens, Toby, Alanna and Me popped into a taxi. Alanna and I got some lunch, $5 pizza, can't go wrong, and I got a call from Jari, the girl I was couch surfing with. She came and picked me up and drove me back to her house in Adelaide Hills, where I slept, washed and got fed. That night I met up with the Germans (Jens and Toby) and Alanna, which was fine but I had to get the train back in. Oh, and by a stroke of genius I remembered my old friend Yvetta was back in Adelaide so she came out too.

The next day Jari took me out to Hahndorf, a little German town in Adelaide that's very pretty, and so it proved. We had a lovely coffee and cake in one of the little cafes and I bought my first souvenir: a miniature music box that played Somewhere Over The Rainbow. We also shopped in Op Shops for stuff to go out in that night, and I got a right bargain. For $10!!!! a lovely dress with some Italian label. I later found a shop of this label in Melbourne, walked in and found the dresses were worth $3-400, so my little dress, which now has burrito stains down the front, was quite the discovery.

So went out and Alanna came too, and we didn't get back till 5 in the morning. There were some fights in the streets because Adelaide turns out to be rather rough actually, and I think some guy got his ear bitten off. Ce la vie.

Then I think I left Adelaide. Yes I definitely did, on the train. Couch surfing was a really good experience and Jari was great to hang out with, though I was rather disturbed she turned out to be 19, looking after me and all. It would have been nice to stay for longer but adventure calls and I was on the train again, bound for the mean streets of Melbourne with some rather interesting accomplices...

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Alice Springs and Uluru Tour

Adventure Tour group at Katatjuta lookout. We seem to be having a rather nice time, don't we?

Ayers Rock at sunset.

Kings Canyon after walking up "Heart Attack Hill".

I later found out that it was 41degrees when I arrived in Alice, so no wonder I felt like collapsing carrying all my stuff to the hostel. Fortunately for our tour group it was nowhere near as hot. On the first day we drove out to the camp and went to Katatjuta, a similar rock to Ayers Rock but far more complex. To walk around it you cannot even start out if the temperature is 36 degrees or above. We started at 35 degrees and walked a 6km track to the lookout point. This was the hardest walk of the tour but I was completely fine. Drinking water was essential, so inevitably needing the loo all the time became the main topic of conversation. At some point that first day too, I rode a camel for $6. Bargain.

Then we went to the camp site and had a bbq for dinner, kindly organised by Rachel, our superb tour guide. There was beef, kangaroo which I thought was delicious, and then camel sausages. It was quite bizarre to eat camel when I had ridden one hours earlier. Yummy though.

Then we drove over to Ayers Rock for the sunset, which was beautiful. At that moment I got a real sense for how aeseomly old Australia is. To think it's been there for millions of years was astonsihing. There were a lot of tourists, many of whom were not on the el cheapo tour like us, but had champagne and loads of food accompanying this visual extravaganza. Luckily for us, as we were passing a table we saw there was some wine left and raised our voices saying "oh would you look at that, they've gone and left some wine in the bottle" to which the kind waitermanboy said we could have it. So we drank that there and then, and because the waitermanboy was feeling generous, being so close to christmas and all, he gave us a whole bottle for free! Well I thanked the gentleman and wished him a merry day and we ran off back to camp where the wine was consumed gratefully. Then we got into our little swags and lay under the stars praying it wouldn't rain. It didn't but we still had to get up at 3.45am, but it was worth it to see the sunrise at Ayers Rock.

Ayers Rock. It was gorgeous, better than the sunset because all the colours in the sky came to life and undulated quietly before us. We were offered the chance to climb it but it's extremely sacred to the aboriginals and extremely dangerous (somthing like 1/36 die either on the rock or afterwards) so we declined, and opted for the 10km base walk instead. That was done by 9am. I don't think I've ever achieved so much before 9am in my life. Then we wnt to the cultural centre, no biggie, then back to the resort for lunch. I didn't think I'd need by swimmers but there was a pool and some of our gang went it, and I thought, sod it, I'm hot and bothered and I want to swim, so I went in in my shorts and top not giving a hoot.

Then we went to our camp and had dinner. Some of us were rather bored so we played poker with forks, knives and spoons. We were on the swags that night too but this time it rained... unbeknowns to me however as Andrew told me the next morning I was the only one in our group not to wake up. I was lying there, face to the rain, blissfully unconscious whilst everyone else sought shelter. I love this fact.

On the final day, we got up at 5am, breakfasted then left camp for Kings Canyon. We had a lovely 6km walk round there though the weather was rather dull, overcast and raining from time to time, but we had fun ambling along and taking photos. After that we had lunch then drove home, many of us sleeping after our exertions*. That night we all went to Anie's Place for dinner, $5 meals, can't go wrong, then there were about 6 of us left at the end of the night dancing in Bojangles. What larks Pip!

On the way back to the YHA me and Andrew found a shopping trolley, and well, cos it would be rude not to, he pushed me all the way home in it. The next day a bunch of us were on the Ghan, including the 2 German guys, Jens and Toby, more on them later. In fact, ust more later, I can't be bothered at the moment, and we're leaving for Milton now.

*I had to look this up in the dictionary.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Indian Pacific, Adelaide, Coober Pedy

On the Indian Pacific, about a 40 hour journey, I was sat next to Martin, a nice German, and we ended up staying in the same hostel and bumming round Adelaide with Yvetta who we met in our room. Crossing the Nullabor Plain was rather epic and showed just how massive Australia is. Adelaide is really nice. One day we got free bikes and cycled to the beach and back,was about 25k so we got a good bit of exercise. I said goodbye to Yvetta and Martin, not knowing if I would see them ever again but hoping I would.

Then I got the overnight bus up to Coober Pedy, arriving at 4 in the morning, at 22degrees. I was the only one staying in the underground dorm room with no door, but was too tired to be creeped out. In the morning I went to make breakfast but found my bag infested with ants, so I had to wash everything and buy a new cool bag cos they got in the lining, the buggers. Had a wander around and saw the spaceship left behind by the film crew for "Pitch Black", and talked to a nice Greek guy on his porch for a bit and ended up having a beer with him later on down the pub, as there wasn't much left to do except talk to the locals, and miners who all seemed very Australian. Then on getting on my second bus up to Alice Springs, who should I find but Yvetta! She'd made a decision and followed me up to Alice. So here we are. Got my tour the day after tomorrow round Uluru and Kinfs Canyon. It's so hot here, I keep having to drink water. Still not feeling 100%, this virus is taking awhile to go away. Not sure what I'm gonna do in Alice, might go on a star gazing tour tomorrow night, and try and get used to the heat.

Saturday, 3 December 2011


I know, I know, I haven't blogged in 4 months, and that's because I've been rather busy taking care of 3 little girls in Perth. Being a nanny is rather hard work, but I love these kids, and today, I'm leaving them.

Above, Tiana, Kayli and Lara, my little monkeys. I will miss you!

Yesterday was a great last day in Perth. Me and the family went for a lovely meal by the beach, and they presented me with some fantastic leaving gifts, including a travel bag, mosi net, mosi repellent and an iPod shuffle!! Spent most of last night getting music onto it. How generous is that!? And then we went onto the beach and swam in the Indian Ocean and it was gorgeous, 36 degrees roughly, and I do believe I caught the sun.

So after 4 months nannying and working in Mt Henry Tavern, I have feretted enough money away for a rather amazing trip. First thing, I'm taking the Indian Pacific train to Adelaide, so I'll be seeing a lot of countryside and sand and not much else. And I won't die of boredom now I have an ipod, a book, a deck of cards and hopefully nice people keeping me company.

Anways, I'm OFF! Tata for now.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Mt. Cook, Lake Tekapo, Chrristchurch, and goodbye NZ!

After a messy old week in Queenstown it was time for me to leave. Unfortunately due to terrific horizontal rain I never left the hostel in Mt. Cook, though I'm told it's very beautiful. Lake Tekapo was a lot more sunny, with an absurdly turqoise lake, an old church, and a random statue of a dog. Then onto Christchurch for the last few nights. On my first nights there were a few aftershocks but after that there was nothing. I walked into the city centre, what was left of it. They were bringing down a big office block using one of them ball chain things, and everyone crowded round taking pictures, analysing the work. You could see Christchurch was a beautiful city and it still is, but it was odd walking around the place with hardly any people when it should be full to the brim of activity and life. Instead, it was a ghost town.

I can't believe my time in NZ is over. As I write this, I'm already in Perth, 2 times zones away. I will go back to NZ, I still have to do the far north, and of course, a cheeky trip to QT!

So I'm sat in Perth in the suburb of Manning. Today the current au pair Lilie took me around the city and we had lunch with her friends. I bought some new boots as I wore mine out in NZ. I opened my bank account and also handed my CV into the little cafe round the corner, fingers crossed for a second job, as I think I might need one.

Tomorrow, I'm going to walk around Manning, get to know the little universe I'll be inhabiting for the next 4 months, perhaps hand a few more CVs out. I'd really like to work in a pub. Why oh why could that be? Then I want to get to know the bus a rail services, as I was completely confused today. Then I might go to Freo the next day, as that's where my audition is and I've heard it's the nicest part of Perth. Plans, plans, plans.

The kids are really lovely, and have taken to me quite well. Tiana the eldest was "unusually friendly" so I hope it bodes well.

Well then, that's that. Perth is very nice, and it's lovely to be warm again, though they all say it's cold at the moment. Think I'm going to need sunblock.

Night x

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


I had a pretty eventful week in Queenstown, it has to be said, and now I'm in Mount Cook I kind of miss it already. The bus ride over was excruciating because of the hangover, but it was worth it ;) It's cold and won't stop raining so I won't even be able to see Mount Cook at all, so hopefully the weather will be better in Tekapo.

Random thought: Piano Man, frisbee golf, skimming stones, Cowboys, playing pool, finding out about Rutger hehee!, when the snow came, closing my NZ bank account for good and having an absolutely fanbloodytastic time.

Above: Anna and I.

Above: Me and the International Man of Mystery

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Milford Sound and Queenstown so far

Though Milford Sound (technically not a Sound but a Fiord because it's been created by ice) is really really close to Queenstown, there is not road through mountain range, so getting there is a long affair. From Queenstown, I got the tour bus and we drove down to Te Anau then back up again on the Milford Road, the most scenic road in New Zealand, and therefore the world. The drive itself was as amazing as the boat trip. It just builds and builds and gets more and more dramatic until it "explodes all over your face" (Kiwi Experience guide Ringo). If you can believe it, there is actually a parrot that lives out there called the Kea and we were lucky enough to see one. Ringo said it had the intelligence of an 8 year old Kiwi child, or a 12 year old Australian child.

The 2 hour boat trip was incredible, taking us all the way out to the Tasman sea past stunning waterfalls and the odd seal. Even though it rained and the sky was quite overcast, it is easy to see why Milford Sound has been voted the most beautiful place in the world. It is amazing. Though it's sounds a bit peculiar, it actually reminded me of the film Avatar the way the mountains come soaring out of the sea and the waterfalls appear to float. My pictures do not do it justice.

On the drive back, we watched The Hangover and I tried not to be sick on all the windy bits.

Yesterday was my first proper day in Queenstown so I took advantage of the sun and went up the Skyline Gondola and had a couple goes on the Luge. In the evening I met up with Harrison and Thomas for a few drinks around the town. Today we're going to have a Fergburger, have a look around the art galleries and then go play frisbee golf in the park. All in all, it sounds like it's going to be a fun day. Plus, it's really sunny again. Yay!

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Haven't done all that much in Wanaka, but I did a big walk around onmy second day and took loads of photos. I also just spent the afternoon in the Cinema Paradiso watching the last Harry Potter movie, which was awesome. Kind of glad to be leaving here even though it's so beautiful.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson and a bit more

After doing the tour of Franz Josef I decided to cancel my glacier walk on Fox; it was too much out of the rest of my money to spend on something I'd kind of already done. But I walked up to it anyway, then went on down to Lake Matheson then got a lift back to the hostel off some French guys. Sweet as.

In Fox I also bumped into Myf and Elliott again which was really lovely, getting pissed in front of the fire. Jamie also turned up and we had a lovely night pissing oursleves watching VHS episodes of Absolutely Fabulous (gin and tonic Eddie, gin and tonic!). Now I'm in Wanaka, after a really beautiful drive down and I'm probably going to do free stuff, which means walking. I bought a Pumpkin for less than $2 so I think I will be living off them for the next fortnight. My fundings are in a drastic state of affairs, and now I think I really should have hung onto the money I transferred into my Australian bank account as I won't be needing in there. C'est la vie. There is such a thing as being too organised.

And now, some photos.

Above: View of Mt Tasman and Mt Cook reflected in Lake Matheson.

Above: Bruce Bay, people write on the stones and leave them tacked by the beach.

Above: Wanaka

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Punakaiki, Hokitika and Franz Josef

After leaving Nelson, I went to Punakaiki and saw the Pancake Rocks. The only way to describe the sea would be roaring. Constant roaring. About a mile out the sea was so choppy the surface was covered in foam that washed onto the beach and stuck there like white jelly. I also did the Truman Track which leads to an outlook and then a little beach.I got down there and saw a little seal on its own so I took photos but got too close to it because I scared it and it attacked and I ran away. That night I went to the tavern and ended up getting some drinks off this aussie chap and chatting to him most the night.

Next day I got the bus to Hokitika, a rather boring little town with not much to boast about. Whilst there I experienced a huge lightening storm that shook the whole hostel, lots of hail and rain. I also met a lovely aussie couple, Myf and Elliott. More on them later.

After 2 nights in Hokitika I went to Franz Josef and bumped into Paul (med students friend from Nelson) and met another Bristol lad, this one was nice though, Jamie. The second day I went on a guided tour of Franz Josef Glacier with Myf and Elliott, and though we had rain, fog, hail, lightening, thunder and avalanche, it was an awesome day. After we got dinner and dried off I met Myf and Elliott for a drink, and bless them, on the walk my gloves got wrecked, they had bought me a pair of lovely woolen gloves. So sweet. They left for Fox that night and I just hung around with Jamie watching crappy TV.

Next day I went for a walk around Franz Josef with Ivy from my room, then got the bus to Fox. The bus driver showed me a camera that had been lost by the owner and said 'Do you know Myf and Elliott, cos this is their camera?' so I took it off his hands, and gave it back to them when I saw them in Fox, which is where I sit now, in Ivory Towers.

Due to slight funding issues, I have cancelled my Fox Glacier walk, opting to spend my money on other things, such as Milford Sound. I have 2 nights here in Fox, then I'm onto Wanaka, which I hope is as gorgeous as everyone says.

It's funny how you keep bumping into folks, and I didn't think I'd see Myf and Elliott again, but I'm glad I did. I think Jamie's coming down to Fox tomorrow, so I should see him around.

Above: Anthony, aka sugar daddy.

Above: Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki

Above: Seal of Doom

Above: Erm... so that's a faultline.

Above: Me in front of Franz Josef Glacier

Above: Franz Josef

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Good bye Nelson

Crusaders v Sharks (with Christy, Vanessa and Romy)

View over the sea to Abel Tasman from Boat House Cafe

Me and Nadya.

I'm too hungover to write anything coherent so here's some random memories from my 3 weeks in Nelson.

Arguing over Jenga and red wine with Nathan about his BNP political views.
Hugging the lovely Christy everyday when she got back from the apple picking place.
Pizza with Vanessa and Romy.
Baby Luke and the fact that he never cried.
Anthony coming in carrying sugar and me shouting 'Hello Sugar Daddy!'
My supposed obsession with bacon.
Pascal stole my bacon.
My roommate Andy eating snickers very loudly.
The dogs Ukon and the other one.
2 hangovers.
Going to watch the rugby with Louisa.
Meeting Tess and Cat the medical students.
That Irish couple.
Going to the market with Caroline and bumping into Paul Johnston, my god that lamb kebab, and then the epic search for the hat, which we found for $5.
Pascal's habit of talking in his sleep.
Watching Grey's Anatomy on TVNZ.
German guy called Oliver and his snail biscuits.
Other German guy that made bread with mushrooms and pumpkin inside :/
Buying my bowling alley shirt, and my granny jumper.
The Asian Invasion.
When Anthony put the baby in the corner and I inevitably quoted Dirty Dancing.
Reading The Passage, and Sense and Sensibility.
When I found out Anthony had never heard of Jane Eyre. Still outraged.
My unfruitful quest to buy the book Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.

Now then, Punakaiki.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

3 Weeks in Nelson

I came to the conclusion that I had more time than money and so I asked Antony, the hostel owner, if he had any work going for free accomodation. And do you know, it turned out he needed another pair of hands around the place. So I'm living in this hostel for the next 3 weeks and limiting myself to $100 a week before going off round the south island again. After that, I'm going to Australia, Perth, the suburb of Manning to become an au pair, which means I'll probably be doing some cleaning, cooking, teaching, childcare, and probably a heavy heavy dose of growing up.

It just so happens, after a google of Perth theatre societies, that there is a rather close one called Harbour Theatre in Fremantle, a bus ride away from Manning, and they're putting on a production of JANE EYRE!!! and so I emailed them, and now I have an audition! What's it called when everything just fits together at the right time? Wish me luck.

A very helpful lady at the Inland Revenue helped me fill out my forms so apparently I've now filed for my tax back. Of course, they won't even look at the documents until I leave the country and then it will take a large amount of time to get processed. And then, there's always the slim chance of actually getting my money from Solberge, but let's not hold our breath. Then, and only then, will my overdraft come close to being paid off.

I'd like to thank David Butler for his councel over facebook. That is my personal online chat record: 2 hours, and we had a lovely catch up, and I promise to come to Edinburgh when I'm back. Butler and Burge Reunite!

Anyway, I did not feel the earthquake so please don't worry. Nelson is safe and leafy and lovely and my home for the next 3 weeks.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Wondrous World of Wearable Art and Abel Tasman National Park

Above: Only Fools and Horses car in the Wondrous World of Wearable Art, Nelson.
Above: Abel Tasman National Park, view of Onetahuti.

Got the Abel Tasman Coach Line from Nelson to Marahau and arrived at 10.30ish. I left my stuff at the iSite and went off on the track. After about a 4 hour trek I got to Anchorage where I stayed the night in a hut and got half eaten by Sandflies. Bastards. My feet are now in one of Dantes circles from hell. I am seriously considering amputation. Anchorage Bay was pretty gorgeous and I was sat on the beach for ages, not another soul in sight. I did think I might have to stay in th hut all by myself which would have been awfully surreal and my mental health would have been affected had not 2 Germans come along in a kayak. That's probably the first time I've been relieved to see a German. We chatted until it went dark; all the time I was thinking "Don't mention ze war!" I didn't. They were awfully nice, and lent me a torch so I could read Brideshead Revisited before turning in for the night.

I got up at 8 and started off at half past. Somewhere on the way I must have lost my old black cardigan. Alas! old friend! It was in appalling condition anyway with far too few buttons and far too many holes to be considered useful. Ah well. I walked to Barks Bay and met a blonde photographer Kiwi lad and we had a spot of lunch with these ducks watching us the entire time. We were going opposite ways so we parted, and I walked the last stretch to Onetahuti, another beautiful long beach. The Marahau Water Taxi picked me up at 3 and I was out of there, gladly saying adieu to the evil, pure evil Sandflies. Chance would have it I met the photographer boy again being picked up at Anchorage, or was it Torrent Bay? Je ne sais pas. It turned out most of the people on the water taxi (ALACK! Not the fit guy I was sat next to) were going back to Nelson or Motueka on a bus, so I got on it too ($9 to Nelson) and so here I am again, in the same hostel, in the same dorm room, in the very same bed.

Above: View of Trafalgar Street from the Cathedral Steps, Nelson.
I really like Nelson and I'm tempted to ask the hostel man if I can work here for free accomodation. I just had a wander around today, and now it's sunny again Nelson is all the prettier. I went to Inland Revenue and got the forms for getting my tax back, but it turns out I worked across 2 financial years so this might prove tricky to get any money at all. I also had to go to the cinema because I left my mobile there last night and I only found out because they'd rung my mother from it and she facebooked me. Well done mum. The battle of technology has finally been won...ish.

Further plans: might join the Stray bus as it looks cheaper than getting the Intercity, plusit'd be easier to meet people. I did feel rather isolated in Abel Tasman, and given the time of year, the hostels aren't very busy. I might try other hostels to work for in Nelson if this one doesn't need me, just for a couple of weeks, the 3-4 weeks travelling, then staying, perhaps in Dunedin before going for my flight in Christchurch.

Oh, and a little dicky bird told me the Cobar staff were reading my blog and there has been "talk". Haha, you devils, I miss thee! Hope you're all well. My little voodoo do---sorry my little doll of Paddy got his hair wet so I might have to shampoo it at some point. He's quite a hit with the ladies...

Friday, 10 June 2011


Nelson, though unluckily rainy for me as it is the sunshine capital of NZ, is a lovely city. It also has the "centre of NZ" which I went to and overlooked the whole city. Beautiful, if rainy.

Today I went to the Wondrous World of Wearable Art, which rather randomly also has a large collection of classic cars including the Only Fools and Horses 3 wheeler, Austin Powers' Union Jack car and the car from the Back to the Future movies (I sat in that one). The rest of it comprised of this uncanny fasion show of dolls wearing frankly weird stuff. One of the dresses was the shape of a pregnant woman, other were made of metal coils wrapped around the wearer. I saw one bikini type top made of bath taps. Another dress was of giant sized upsidedown roses. Some were made of wood, other plastic and there was section of clothes made out of glow-in-the-dark material. It was all very theatrical and clever and I wish I could have seen one of the shows that they put on. Probably wasn't worth the $22 and the long walk but it's so rainy here now there's not much else to do.

Tomorrow I'm going to Marahau and from there I shall figure out how to do the Abel Tasman and if there is a way of getting to Golden Bay in a day.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Snout Track

I did the Snout Track yesterday and it was lovely. Far cheaper than the Queen Charlotte Track (as it's actually free) and you get the views of the QC Sound too. At a bench, I stopped and had some lunch but was creeped out by a random sheep that stared at me the entire time. Later on I met a man walking the track and he told me that it's name was Frederick and nobody knows how long it's been there or why it's on it's own.

I quickly discovered why people never stay in Picton long: there's not much to do. So I'm getting a bus to Nelson this afternoon, where hopefully there'll be more guests. I think there's only about 3 of us in this hostel. It's very nice though, and the owner is a lovely guy. I heartily recommend The Villa, Picton for all travellers.

Next, Nelson.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


Above: Marlborough Sounds from the Interislander Ferry.

After a 3 hour Ferry ride I arrived in Picton last night. It felt very odd to be travelling again but you quickly get used to other people snoring and playing the guitar atrociously. It is significantly quiet compared to when I was travelling the north island. It's an odd time to be travelling, mid winter, but it's the only time I could have done it.

After dinner (pasta pest tuna concoction) I met an English guy travelling with a Japanese girl. Why is it when Brits get together they automatically start moaning about the establishment? It's cos we love a good moan. At one point he said 'I don't like the way England is at the moment so that's why I've come away'.

So I've managed to change my flights, but there was a charge, and I have to fly through Sydney anyway because there's no direct flights to Perth. It'll be cheaper than travelling from Sydney to Perth anyhow. So I have 7 weeks on the south island left. My word, how time flies. It'll soon come round, then before you know it I'll be back in the UK. I do miss it sometimes. I miss the tv. I even miss Holby City. But I'm not ready to go home yet.

I digress... Today I shall do the Snout Walk, so called because it follows a path along a promontory piece of the Marlborough Sound that look like a pig snout. Then I might do a tour of some sort tomorrow. Then Nelson.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Goodbye Eastbourne

Above: my last night with the Cobar staff.

I'm sitting in the room that has been mine for the past 3 months, and which shall now, after a vigorous clean, be given back to my cousins so use at their disposal. I'm not sure whether to be happy, sad or somewhere between the two, because I've grown to love living here. The Richardsons are a wonderful family. They are my family, and I hope we'll all stay in touch, and perhaps even see each other again some day.

Last night after work, we went round to Hannah and Ryans for some drinks and spontaneous card games. Pearl made me a leaving present, a key chain/voodoo doll of Patrick the pot wash. It's the best leaving present I've ever had. It's even got a belly button. Even though I burnt Ryan's hand on the kitchen lights yesterday he still gave me a big hug and wished me well. Ben Matthews, the Cobar black man, came aswell and I was hard pressed not to give him a big goodbye kiss he's so adorable. This obsession must end. Who else, oh! Tom Jones and Aiden, and even Chelle popped round so say goodbye, and let me feel her brand new breasts. Regrettably, I wasn't allowed a squeeze as she's still recovering from the surgery. As I was leaving the party, a strange thought occured to me: I will never see these people again. Mad isn't it? But that, as they say, is life, and so I left this bunch of freaks forever.

I will still have my little Patrick with me. Finally I have something to pratice my voodoo on.

Tomorrow I set sail mid afternoon and shall be in Picton for tea. After that, I have no idea what I'm doing. I have a vague plan involving an anti-clockwise route of the south island and perhaps some wwoofing along the way. Let's see shall we.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

3 weeks to go

Eastbourne has been kind to me. My cousins have let me stay for a ridiculous amount of time and for that I will always be in their debt. The Cobar have been the best employers I've ever had, and I've had a lot of employers. 3 months is a long time, and it's almost over. With 3 weeks left I have a bit of arranging to do.

I've changed my flights. I'm going to Australia on 1st August. I may still change my last flight but that now on 9th February, the very latest it could possibly be. If I get that one, it'll mean I've been away for exactly a year.

I went to the bank and opened an account over in Oz. I'm going to transfer money electronically instead of faffing on with travellers cheques. Ofcourse, I'll need to get Aussie cash sorted, but that can wait.

I bought a raincoat and walking boots, at last, both of which were bargains, thank god.

Over the 3 months I have accumulated "stuff", and so I'm going to send a box of the "stuff" home by post. I don;t want to carry it all around but it's a shame to throw it away. Mother, expect a rather large parcel.

Solberge still haven't paid me!!

I have a rough itinerary sorted out for the south island, but with about $2500, I can do just about anything. I leave on the 8th June and will be travelling until the 1st August. That's approximately 7 weeks, so I may do a bit of woofing a long the way as I only technically have enough money for 5 weeks.

So, that is my plan. 3 weeks to go, and I can't wait!!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

More injuries

Oh for the love of god!

My finger is getting better and doesn't hurt anymore, although it's starting to "lift" which causes me to think the end might fall off unexpectedly, and fall into someones dinner at the restaurant. My arms are in a general state of pain, after spraining my wrist and then waking up feeling like they were really heavy. I think I've got 'arm fatigue' from work. Then, Billy hurt is ankle. And now the worst of the whole lot, Sarah's broken her wrist. It's in a cast. This curse is getting closer. It's now in the house.

What else happened? Oh, a tornado in Auckland was rather large, ripping apart houses and trees and picking up cars, and even killed a man. Bin Laden has been killed, congrats Obama.

So this blog is about general sufferage. For those who I lived with at uni, you'll be the only people to know what I mean, but I've got "sausage throat" again. Joy.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Car Door bit my finger

Above, Tom Voyce, of Rhombus fame, pouts nonchlently for the camera as we leave the Cobar restaurant.

Above, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, Martin catches up with some work at home.

I've been living with the Richardsons for 6 weeks now and am just over half way to my money target. Shifts at the restaurant are more fun than ever. On Monday, we're all going to the Julicher vineyard for free booze and food, so it should be a hoot.

On bring a box Sunday, Cheele drove me home, but on exiting the car, I trapped by left index finger in the door, and now my nail is all gammy. went to the doctors, and they stuck a hot needle through my nail to relieve the pressure. I only hope my nail doesn't fall off, and that it stops hurting by tomorrow so I can actually do my job properly. Carrying plates is hard enough without a bad finger. 99.9 % of me is fine though so I shouldn't complain.

I'd like to congratulate my good friend Benjamin Plackett for getting into NYU with a scholarship. Good luck my friend, go take the big apple by storm. I am exceedingly jealous. I don't know what to do with my life.

Although actually, I've seen a great part time course in London at Arts Ed. in acting. It's 32 weeks, 3 evenings a week, so I can get a job in the day and do that. I really want to get an MA in Acting, but it's so much money and I have very little experience to recommend me. So I want to do this, next year, when I'll be 22 and older than the rest, but still, pretty good way to spend a year in London. I would do it this year, but auditions are in July and it's too early to come back really. I've spent so long working or this, so it would be a shame to come back before I really need to.

Anywho, still enjoying life with the wonderful and generous Richardsons (I promise I won't be here forever :) )

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

More shizzle from the Eastbourne ghetto

So I'm still living with the Richardsons and working at the Cobar, but what's this? Change abrewing!? Indeed. I've just had an interview at this shoe shop called Overland on Cuba Street in Wellington, and I really hope I get it, cos I could still work at the Cobar part time which Hannah's fine about, and still live with Richardsons until I find somewhere cheap in the city.

So wish me luck, cos I'd really like this job.

In other news, I've got an audition on the 26th for this youth festival theatre thing so I really hope I get that cos wouldn't it be nice to meet young thespian types over here, make friends and not be such a bore? Yes, yes it would.

Solberge saga continued... So dad has got a reply from the old owners solicitors. They are sending me a form to my old house, which my mother dearest shall have to fill out and send back, and then, and only then, will I perhaps get my money. Such a frickin faff on but I suppose, for £400 and the principle, it's worth it.

Got work tonight, and hopefully this weekend, I should have heard back from Overland.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Days Bay continued...

Above: Billy boy

So I continue in Eastbourne with the Richardsons and working at the Cobar. Alas, summer diminishes, but at least I'm not getting burnt on a daily basis anymore.

Anna, another waitress at the Cobar invited me to go Ceroc dancing and we went last night. After much confusion with the buses, we met up in Welly, had a drink to loosen our muscles, and went Cerocing. It was really very fun, though I did get a blister with Sarah's shoes and some of the men were a bit creepy. I slept like a weary tramp last night and woke up a little sore all over, but I think I will go again.

So the Solbegre pay saga continues. As I left before the administrators came in, apprently my pay has to come from the old owner as I'm not one of his debtors. Yeah, good luck with that Burge. I won't be seeing that money methinks. But dad's rung the number the manager gave us, and we're awaiting a reply.

Got a double shift at work today, and I've also been paid. Life is rather good at the moment. I've avoided all natural disasters thus far.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Jobs and more drama

Well I have now got a job in Eastbourne at this lovely posh restaurant called Cobar. 10 mintue walk, right by the beach, $14/hr, pretty much perfect. They're a really nice bunch and it's really lovely sitting by the beach with a free glass of wine at the end of shift.

Solberge Hall still haven't paid me, after I've rung up and emailed them. I'm not struggling for money but £400 is £400.

The weather in Auckland yesterday was dreadful. Very windy and pouring with tropical rain. A bit of a disaster happened in Wellington. After this second earthquake here everyone was all edgy. The ferry going from Eastbourne to Wellington was still out even in the storm. It got half way across, the driver was going too fast and it crashed. The windscreen smashed and flooded the front with water. A little boy fell in and had to be rescued but the ferry itself got towed by the coastguard as it was sinking, with a whole load of people inside, one of whom had just come to stay with relatives after his house got destroyed in Christchurch. New Zealand's really not doing so well, ever since I came.

So that's the state of things. I'm pretty much perky as none of the disasters have touched me, yet. Eastbourne is beautiful, and I have 2 days off after tonight's shift!!

Cool beans!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Windy old Wellington

Haven't blogged in awhile because I've stopped. In Wellington. I'm staying with my lovely cousin Sarah and her family in Eastbourne, across the water from the city centre. It's really nice here. So relaxed, right next to the beach. The other day we all went down for a swim, and I did the tradtional Wharf Jump... twice!! It's not that big a drop but it was quite scary, though I was put to shame by these little kids doing back flips. Crazy ass kiwis!!

So today is Monday and I got a lift with Martin into town and handed my CVs all over the place. Mostly in clothes shops and cafes. I must have walked a good 10k and now my feet hurt because I was only in jandal type things. I also bought a couple dresses from the recycled clothes shop, very cheap and very vintage niceness. I was getting sick of looking dreadful all the time.

Bloody Solberge still haven't paid me. I might be giving them a ring tonight. I'm waiting for a phone call from Cobar, a local posh restaurant in Eastbourne. They're low on staff so I handed my CV in. Thanks to Sarah's contacts!! Hopefully I can get a few hours in there before something more permanent comes along. But I've only been in Welly a few days and I've given myself a fortnight to look for jobs so I'm not too worried. It is frustrating though, job hunting. Time consuming... blah blah. Boring stuff. Blah.

I also visited Te Papa, the national museum and it was pretty awesome. It's a great place to take your family, and the art gallery isn't bad either. Te Papa is Maori for 'treasure chest', which I thought was lovely.

Anyway, so my plan of action now is to get a job, then find a place to stay, perhaps renting somewhere or save my money and work for free accommodation in a hostel, save $4000 over 5 months or so then do a massive tour of the south island before going to Australia. If I can fit in a play (I've got an audition coming up for this festival) that would be sweet as.

So that's my life at the mo. Limbo again.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

So I'm in Taupo. The picture above is what happend today. I made friends with some Germans yesterday and at 6 o'clock this morning, we got on the bus to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It took an hour and a half to drive there. The walk itself was around 20km and took nearly 8 hours to walk. It was very tough but my god it was worth it. I shall upload photos when I can be bothered to work out how.

Ramin, Marie and Laura were my German brave companions on the voyage of Volcanic enterprise. Ramin got lost on a volcano being abducted by a cloud. We just left and carried on walking. Merciless!!!! It was windy, as we walked through the never ending fields of igneous rocks were ceaseless reminder of our plight. I sunburnt the sides of my face.

My next adventure shall be Wellington. Thank you one and all for your messages but I am alright. The worst is over in Christchurch so no more worrying!

Now I'm sat next to American. Over and out.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Lake Taupo

I have come further across the plateau to Lake Taupo, and it's very beautiful. I took a stroll around the Lake and came to this Irish Pub. Well, what else could I do, it would be rude not to have a pint. It was around this time that the news was breaking about Christchurch. My cousin called me to make sure I was alright, but I was fine of course, no-one felt anything on the north island. But I'm pretty sure people will be avoiding Christchurch for awhile. It's pretty chaotic and I heard around 60 people had died.

So after another wander I came back to the hostel and cooked tea. I met 2 Germans (the country has more Germans than Kiwis) and we decided to go on the Tongoriro Alpine Pass tomorrow so I'm really excited. It was one of my main reasons for coming to Taupo so I'm really looking forward to it. It's roughly 7 hours and apparently it's beautiful, and it's $5 to booki, $50 for the bus and $10 if you need boots. I need boots. Earlier today, I did another fail.

It was cool this morning so I wore jeans. First mistake. I decided to walk to Huka Falls, which is roughly 5km there and back. Without water. Second mistake. I eventually turned back without seeing the falls because I didn't want to die and my jeans were HORRIFIC!!! So now I know, and tomorrow, I shall be prepared. My new German friends and I shall have fun.

At this point I must mention a very special young man. Markie Mark Mark! Rotorua friend. He was the highlight of my trip so far and I promise you Mark, we shall watch Garth Marenghi's Darkplace in one evening when we are both back in England. Miss you already Barney!!

Enough sentimentality. After this, I shall go to Wellington!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Rotorua = Spa time!!

I arrived in Rotorua yesterday morning and had a cool day. I went to the Fat Dog Cafe for lunch and bumped into an English girl. We ended up having lunch together and spent the afternoon wandering around Rotorua. I went back to my hostel, the Funky Green Voyager, and cooked tea. I got talking with a couple guys, and I talked way into the evening with this guy Mark. It turns out we're both geeky about Vic and Bob and we even dueted the infamous Baked Potato song. It was beautiful.

I had a lie in this morning till about half eight, and went back to the Fat Dog cafe for a slice of chocolate cake (it had caught my eye yesterday) and a flat white. Then, SPA!! I spent a couple hours in the pools, some of which were incredibly hot. They were right next to Lake Rotorua and it was quite a spectacular view of the surrounding hills. Then I walked back to the hostel and I'm just going to chill for the rest of the day.

To be honest, Rotorua is pretty rubbish. Personally, from walking around the town, it's just a bit of a non-town, with no nice architecture and you have to spend loads of money to do any of the good stuff. There are Maori concerts in the hotels, but I get the impression they're just a watered down pathetic version of a beautiful tradition. This place is unbelievably touristy. It's mainly built up of souvenir shops and hotels, and I honestly can't see why people make such a big deal about the place. I leave tomorrow morning, for Taupo, and it won't come too soon.

Nice hostel though! The owner guy said I had beautiful skin. Random :)

Friday, 18 February 2011

Waitomo (a place where water flows into the ground)

I got sick of walking up and down Queen Street so decided to leave Auckland and make my way down to Wellington. I bought a 20 hour flexipass with Intercity and booked a bus to Waitomo. After lugging my backpack up to Sky City early this morning, I got on the two and a half hour ride to Waitomo. It turned out the driver had actually grown up in Waitomo and he told us that it's permanent inhabitants come to a grand total of 40. It's completely in the sticks, with no shops to speak of but a few nice restaurants, one of which, Huhu, I'm sitting in now, taking full advantage of the free wifi. Eating chips, which are very nice though it's all I am willing to afford.

After Auckland this place is so tranquil. All around are mountains and cattle. It's very much a place built for the sole purpose of admiring the caves and holding a few hostel-goers to do the admiring. The caves were amazing. I went on a double package on the Gloworm Caves then onto Ruakuri. The first was quite short but had a spectacular ending where sailed on this boat on the underground river, the ceiling covered in tiny green lights which were the gloworms. If we take pictures with the flash, the gloworms light will go out, so no photos were allowed unfortunately. ut the second cave, Ruakuri, was phenomenal. It lasted 3 hours, and it was only a group of three of us with this really well informed guide who'd actually been part of the team excavating the caves. It turned out he wrote poetry, which didn't surprise me as his descriptions were flamboyant and romantic. I learnt so much in those 3 hours. Too much to write on here.

After my beer and chips, I'm gonna walk around the countryside, as the only buses for Rotorua go at 11 tomorrow morning and I want to spend more time in Lake Taupo. My hostel, the Juno is really great, and I would review that Waitomo is definitely worth a visit. After Auckland, I feel like I've seen the real New Zealand. The countryside is almost as breathtaking as what's underneath it all, a kilometre below the surface.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Waiheke (gorgeous but god what a FAIL!)

Travelling on your own can be quite lonesome as I have gathered. Though the plus sides of going where you like when you like, not having to take other peoples plans into consideration, the freedom of total independence, is all great, I've found myself becoming secluded in my own little world. So I thought it would be a good idea to do a bus tour, and not to spend too much money and to go somewhere really nice. Lilly, my travel agent, suggested the Beach Bum Bus tour of Waiheke and I booked it in, thinking I'd make some great friends, see a wonderful bit of New Zealand and generally have fun.

So I got off the ferry at Waiheke on this gorgeous hot day, and this guy, who's name is Bodie, introduces himself as the Berach Bum Bus guide. I was so excited thinking this was gonna be epic. And it was.... epically shoddy! No-one else was on the frigging bus!! It turned out loads of people had cancelled the night before and it was too late to phone me so he was just showing me around. Bodie was great and really informed about the whole island, and his dog was pretty cute too. So off I went, on my lonesome.

He took me to this really prestigious sculpture display that was around the island on this Sculpture Walk. It was a gorgeous walk, but Bodie went off because he had to keep bringing the truck around and meet me somewhere, so I did spend the majority of the day walking on my own and waiting for him to come meet me. After awhile, he called some of his mates and 2 girls turned up at lunch. We had a bbq by the sea. Bodie, me and the dog went for a swim and I have to admit, it felt amazing. Then we spent the whole afternoon going around the island and doing wine tasting at 3 vinyards. They all spoke a lot of bollocks about the taste and colours of wine and I had nothing to add to the convo, so I just sat and supped, becoming gradually more and more sunburnt despite the layer upon layer of sunblock.

My back is now bright red and bloody hurts! Anyway, at 6 he dropped me off at the hostel which was really very nice and I met some really nice girls who were doing practically the same thing as me. Then I got the ferry back this morning and checked in and I'm now planning a trip to Wellington.

The plan is to get a 20hour Intercity Bus Pass which will take me via Waitomo (gloworm caves), Rotorua (gorgeous lake and geysers and geothermal activity), then Lake Taupo (Huka Falls and hot water beaches), then to Wellington the capital and maybe a few days staying with my cousin. So look out for all that next week!

Anyway, what a friggin fail at Waiheke eh? It was gorgeous though, and Bodie said something about his dad working on the Hobbit film and that he could ask the casting guys for any stuff there, but whatever.

That's enough for now. I'm going to straighten up my CV. E noho ra!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Harbour Bridge and Devonport

Yesterday, I went on this free tour of Auckland set up by Kiwi Experience. Getting out of the city centre makes you see just how big Auckland is and how boring walkin up and down Queen Street is.

First we drove up to the Harbour Bridge, got out of the van, and prepared ourselves for the walk. We had to put harnesses and hard hats on, and the 2 brave people doing the bungi had special gear on. They clipped us onto this rail and we walked underneath the traffic until we got to this pod underneath the centre of the bridge. Then the 2 mad guys did their bungi, and we walked back off. There were only about 20 of us on this bus that takes people around daily and guess what happened. I recognised this girl and it turned out she's actually from Northallerton. I go to the other side of the planet and end up on the same tour bus as someone I used to share the school bus with. Mad!

After the Harbour Bridge, the guide drove us over to Devonport, where went went wandering about and found ourselves at the North Head. There were loads of tunnels and underground bunkers from WW2 when they thought the Russians were all coming. It turned out, that none of the bunkers or several canons were ever used except once when the Queen came on her Coronation tour. But still, fascinating.

After that me and some other girls had a picnic on Devonport beach, hen the guide took us back. I ended up having a drink with 2 of the girls, one German and one from Korea. The Korean's English was pretty bad but we all managed to speak somehow and I had a nice time.

I got back to the hostel and went to bed in the new room which is this 8 bed dorm of girls. It rained all night but we didn't close the windows because it was still too hot. Everyone is so brown I look like a pale pasty compared.

Tonmorrow I'm leaving the centre of Auckland and going on this Beach Bum Bus tour of Waiheke and staying the night on the island. Can't wait for something different.

Been a bit of a hellish day today. My new NZ sim went in my old handset fine, but now my handset's locked and I eventually made it to a BBH hostel to use my phone card, I got through to customers services after loads of number punching and they said it'll take 28 days to get the code to unlock my phone through. So I actually had a panic and cried in the middle of this hostel, hung up and composed myself. I am English after all. No emotion! So I ended up buying this new handset for $49. So mum, I'm ringing you tonight!! Well, your tomorrow morning.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Sky Tower and other amazing things

(View from the top of the Sky Tower. In the distance is Mission Bay, where I walked following the coastline)

The Sky Tower was the highlight of yesterday. I sat in the cafe 182 metres above ground, then went up to the Sky Deck 220 metres high, where the walls and some of the floor are made of thick glass. On one side of me there was the Pacific Ocean, the other was the Tasman, the city spread out below me like a beautiful monopoly board.

I have also set up my bank account and applied for my IRD number. My new 2degrees sim is in my old handset but now the handset has locked so I can phone or text anyone, most frustrating. I'm going back to worknholiday tomorrow to see if they can unlock it. I also need to set up my pin as the system went down in the bank before I could finish it.

Today I'm going on this free Kiwi Experience tour of Auckland. I've got another day before going on a Beach Bum Bus tour of Waiheke Island, with wine tasting and 6 beaches and all sorts of other fun and staying the night there. I come back on Friday but I might book another hostel. No that this one is bad, but the showers are awful and a lot of stuff in the kitchen doesn't work, and some of the pulgs weren't charging my laptop... I've got tonight booked but in an 8 bed female dorm. Would be nice ot have some company now.

I'm gonna try and book a Kiwi Experience to the north but worknholiday could get me a discount so I'll do that this afternoon. I also need to redo my CV a bit and print some out, but I'll do that at the library because the internet is free there and I need to use my laptop for it.

So I'm really happy, but I need to sort my phone out. After that I'll be grand. So looking forward to Waiheke!!!

I'll call you soon mum. xx

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Another day, another lesson

Yesterday I thought it would be a good idea to go for a walk to somewhre nice. I'd read in my guidebook about this Tammiki Drive thing and how it was a "must do" and it looked pretty easy. So I set off at 9. It was cloudy but humid. I walked down Queen's St. right to the bottom then turned right down Quay St. and followed the path right along past the Wharfs, and eventually found myself in the gorgeous Mission Bay. That took 2 and a half hours. By that time the sun had come out and I was wishing I'd brought my bikini because the Pacific looked so good to swim in. I had a spot of lunch in the Mission Cafe and a read of the newspaper.

As I'm gonna be working I noticed an article about minimum wage being raised to $13/hr, that's about £7/hr so it seems really good to me. Plus the average room in a hostel per night is $30. But I've noticed food and drink is really really expensive. I paid $8 for a pint the other day. Also, you can't get a book for less than $20 and there appears to be no second hand bookshops in Auckland.

I got the bus back to the Britomart and walked home. After a quick nap I got up, looked in the mirror, and found myself compltely sunburnt. It is not a good look, though it seems to have settled down now. I went out for some suncream but everywhere seemed really expensive so I ended up walking right back down to Quay Street to the supermarket. I got some stuff for tea too and lunch today. Hummus, bread and apples, mmm. After tea I had a cool shower and went to bed at 10.

So now I'm up and going to have breakfast before walking over to the Travelworks place so they can get me all set up. After that I think I'm going to walk down to Westpac bank see if they can set me up there and then without this meeting they emailed me about. Then, SKY TOWER!!!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

(Me meeting Taz and Benj for one last drink)

3 time zones later and I'm here, sat on a sofa in the centre of Auckland. It was so straight forward I couldn't believe it. The 11 hour flight to Bangkok was awful though. I didn't sleep and I hurt my knee when the bloke in front of me pushed his seat back. Economy = Hell. Bangkok airport was really nice and I needed to stretch my legs. 8 hours to Sydney was fine. Those first 2 flights were on these huge double decker jets, but my last flight from Sydney to Auckland was only a winglet with about 200 people.

Auckland airport was tiny and sweet and it only took 20 mins to get through customs security and baggage claim. Then it was the shuttle bus. The driver was a mad man but he got me to the hostel safe and fine. Then I booked in to the HA International and had a shower because I smelt like a lazy teenager. I know because I was one.

I can't for the life of me remember their names, but I ended up going out with this French girl and her friend down to the pier via Queen's Street. We got to this Irish Pub called Father Ted's (neither of them knew why I laughed at that) and as I was getting a pint, I realised my purse wasn't in my handbag. I thought good god, what have a done!! I only bloody left it in the hostel computer room. So I legged it back up Queen's St. and got let in and found my purse. I couldn't believe my luck. No-one had taken any of the money out. I scared myself right there. I have to be careful. Imagine if I had lost it. That's my ID, bank cards, money...

So I went back and joined them in Father Ted's, then we went on down to see the Pacific Ocean and had a drink and some food on the pier. I suddenly felt jet lagged, or it might have been the beer, but I left and walked back to the hstel where they told me they had moved me into a different room. Something to do with a girl finding a packet of drugs in the pillow. I ended up with this nice woman in a private room and we had a nice chat then I collapsed into the top bunk. May god, it was a hot night. Thank god also for ear plugs. We had to keep the window open because of the heat but we were right next to an enormous airvent.

So I'm up, had brekkie, and I think I'm gonna do this Tamaki drive thing. Gonna get some food from the shop and make my way.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

I'm leeeaving on a jet plane

All packed and ready to go. We had a lovely day yesterday in York despite the bomb scare in the Aviva building. It turned out to be a pair of gloves in a plastic bag. Apparently it was a saked employee who was spooking everyone and had even sent a fake letter bomb to the boss. Anyway, no-one got hurt and the British law enforcement displayed just how overly cautious we all are. Bloody terrorists.

Mother and Owen are coming to the platform to see me off at 1. When I get to Kings Cross I'm meeting my good friend Taz for a last coffee before attempting the underground. I don't think I've packed too much, but it looks a lot on me because I'm small.

I want to thank everyone for their messages of luck and to keep safe, and above all to have fun.

Ready now. Goodbye England.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

This s**t just got real

I had a lovely last weekend in England. I went back to Lancaster to see my uni mates. Then I stayed at my dad's the next night. Yesterday I saw Steph and Adrian in town. And today, I have been mainly washing and packing. Mother said she couldn't believe I was going, but I am I AM!

Tomorrow is my last day. It doesn't seem possible that the last 7 months have gone by so fast and that my final day with mother is tomorrow. We're going to York with my aunty to do cultural stuff and have lunch in my favourite place, Evil Eye (often frequented by Johnny Depp don't cha know!)

So there we have it.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

3 weeks!!

3 weeks till I fly and my biggest worry of them all is upon me: how to get my money over!! Obviously I'll take cash, but then I need to get roughly £800 over there into my NZ bank account. I think I'm just gonna do travellers cheques instead of faffing on and on about International Money Movers which Lloyds recommended. The only other option is literally getting the cash out of the hole in the wall when I'm out there incurring roughly a 5% charge which is £40.

Now I heard that I need to apply for an IRD once I'm out there and it takes 8-10 days to come through and I'm not allowed to work until then. I might ask my relatives if I can come stay with them to start with. But they're in Wellington and I don't know if I'll physically need to be in Auckland to sort this all out. ARGH!!

Anyway, very excited!! Not gonna panic about the money thing, but getting paid would be super right now. But I have to wait till Wednesday.

Monday, 10 January 2011

One month to go

With one month to go, the inevitable anxiety is starting to take hold. I couldn't sleep last night worrying about all the things that could go wrong. I have to take a train to York, then change for London Kings Cross, then take the underground to Piccadilly, then to Heathrow Terminal 3, then fly to Sydney via somewhere, don't know where, then another plane from Sydney to Auckland, then get a bus to the hostel, where I'll probably collapse. I arrive on the Saturday night, and I don't have anything to do on Sunday, so I feel I should probably plan something to do so I don't start thinking "what the hell am I doing here?" Monday morning I have to get over to the travelworks people and get all my stuff set up so at least I have a definite plan then.

I keep remembering the way I felt when I went to uni. I was so nervous, I thought everyone would be friends already and no-one would bother trying to get to know me. All this paranoia and stress, and I know I'll feel the same when I get over there. I think my biggest stumbling block is myself. I got over those feelings of being overwhelmed at uni, so I'll get over it in NZ. I've just got to keep my head. Relax. Don't be afraid to ask the stupid questions. And for god's sake, enjoy it, you ponse!

I think once I've got some money I will feel so much better. So with my dad's money (£400), my last wages from the hotel on 25th jan (roughly £600), then all my weekly wages from the evening job (roughly £250) that'll be £1250. I'm going to exchange £100 for NZ dollars cash, take £20 down for the journey, and the rest I'll put on travellers cheques. It sounds like a lot, but I just know it'll go fast so I'll need to get working soon. It'll be roughly £200 for the Intercity bus thing so I should have roughly a grand at the start. Then on 25th Feb I'll get the very last of my wages from the hotel, roughly £250 so that'll really help.

Stuff to do:
print off the bank statement for proof of possession (remember to move it into other account)
make sure my wonderful friend Taz has taken over my phone contract (another headache)
organise dad's money transefer and get travellers cheques
update CV

Just writing all my worries down has turned my dread back to excitement.