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Sarah’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 10 Jun 2006

Location: North Island, New Zealand

MapNEW ZEALAND PART 1 - The North Island

Ok where do i start.....?

Well probably at the begining would be a good start!

It all began on a late Saturday afternoon. After boarding a plane in Sydney Airport, 3 hours and 15 mins later we arrive in Middle Earth. To those not fimiliar with Lord of the Rings it also known as NEW ZEALAND.

My first impression driving from the Airport as the rain drizzled down the window and everything seemed rather grey was that we had msitakenly been flown back to England.... Oh how my views changed!

Our first stop was Auckland. To be honest we didnt really see enough of Auckland for me to give a fair opinion, but from what i did see it was just another city. We stayed two nights before collecting our hire car who we appropriately named Graham, and heading North to the Bay of Islands.

A beautiful place if only the weather had been better. It pretty much rained the whole time we were here, but we did manage to brave the weather and go on a boat trip. Which was well worth it by the end as we saw a pod of Dolphins which would litterally swim up next to the boat. Unfortunately (or not as it was freezing!) we weren't allowed to swim with them as they had babies with the pod.

Headed back to Auckland again for one reason, and that was to be reunited with our lost friends Kimber and Annabelle who were coming to the end of there NZ trip. We hadnt seen them for a month so it was good to catch up. And also a little sad as we wouldnt see them again until we were all back in Bristol.

But trip must go on and our next adventure took us south and then a bit west to the Cormandle Peninsula. The reason we found ourselves here was to experience a very strange thing.... hot water on a beach in the middle of winter, at the appropriately named Hot Water Beach. You basically dig yourself a hole in the sand 2 hrs after low tide and the hole feels up with boiling hot water and i litterally mean boiling. I actually managed to burn my foot! Very strange.

Ok I feel I am going into far too much detail as I have only written about 4 days and i have another 10 to go so lets cut it down abit.

Over the next week or so we part took in quite a few different activities. These included...

Black Water Rafting. This is basically climbing down into caves with a rubber ring and floating around the underground rivers. There was one point where we had to jump off a waterfall backwards and we also saw glow worms.

Going to watch an All Blacks match. We watched them thrash Ireland which wasnt brilliant as we were supporting the visitors, plus it absolutely poured down with rain.

Visited the eggy smelling Rotoroa (due to so much sulphar in the air) were we had a mud spa and visited the famous giesers.

White Water Rafting. One of my favourite activities. The rapids were great fun and we even survived the highest commercial rafting drop in the world. A huge 7 metre drop. About the same height as my house!! Trust me it felt higher been at the top in a little rubber dingy with nothing to keep u in except for the strength of your own hands holding on!

Moari Feast. This was a traditional New Zealand feast with all food cooked in the typical way a tribe would usually cook it. Unfortunately there was a power cut so we didnt get to enjoy all the usual activites, but the entertainment was brilliant.

And that was basically it for the North Island, but lots more adventures to come in the south....