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.