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Claire’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 31 Mar 2009

Location: New Zealand

Mapwell folks it's been a week or two since i wrote anything on here, i'm just preparing to once again leave good old aoteoroa (new zealand to most of us). i've had a fantastic couple of weeks catching up with friends and family. i've been very lucky and had almost 2 weeks of beautiful sunshine in which to once again enjoy this beautiful country.

i spent just over a week back in queenstown visiting my friends there, was great to see them all, seemed to be even more people still there than i'd thought and all on good form. mainly it was just a nice relaxed week catching up with friends and enjoying the sunshine, but on top of that me and a couple of friends took a wee road trip down to invercargill, the city right at the bottom of new zealand, that is close enought to qt to visit in a day and it has often been known for people do make the 4 hour round trip soley for a burger king meal. we however did do some other shopping too but couldn't avoid BK, it is tradition after all! we also had a lovely drive along the beach and my friends managed to pick up some bits and bobs that aren't available in their wee town.

after this came what turned out to be one of the more exciting events of my trip so far. we decided while driving along the beach that it would be fun to do some off road driving once we got back to town out in the rivers by arrowtown so when we got back we swapped into lucy's truck and headed off. all was going well, exciting spashes, up and down steep slopes all very exciting, then as we were passing through one of the deeper sections of the river the engine stopped making its nice wee buzzing noise and suddenly we were surrounded by silence.... hmmmm what to do next, well me and lucy decided the best cause of action was to laugh and stare at poor ricky with blank expressions on our faces. the poor bloke then had to climb out the sunroof (the water was too high to open the doors) to have a look at the engine to see if it had properly flooded. at this point is should probably point out that we were about at least an hours walk from town, there was no cell phone coverage and it was getting dark, added to that the fact that we didn't have a torch and would have had to walk back through the freezing river at times, not sure we'd have managed to keep good humoured the whole way back. so... thankfully after a few minutes despite not being able to see much of what was going on under the bonnet the car began to make more promising noises and finally the car moved and was able to savely deliver us home. lessons learnt; 1. check the car is waterproofed when driving through water (turns out lucy's truck's engine used to be waterproofed but it was serviced the week before and they're removed the sillicon), 2. probably not a good idea to go off roading when it's getting dark, 3. maybe a good idea to have a torch in the car, 4. taking someone who has a vague idea about cars with you is always a good idea! we live and learn eh!

so that adventure over with we went out on the boat the next morning round lake wakitipu, good fun but less eventful that the night befores expidition. pretty chilly though, despite the nice sunshine nipping round the lake at 80kph whisks up a bit of a chill, i could hardly hold a cup of tea when i got home. i say home but i mean my friend sarahs home, she kindly had me to stay for the week. so i finished off my week of seeing my friends in qt then flew up to christchurch where i also have some friends who it was great to catch up with ( i know so popular with friends everywhere).

Then it was up to napier to stay with susan and robert, lovely to see them and the boys and relax for a few days. we went out for a lovely meal at a place called the church, which in fact used to be a functioning chruch but now is just a tasty restaraunt, poor sean was just about chewing off his arm with hunger as we waited for the food. i'm not sure he's used to going out for food where you get to sit out in the garden first to enjoy a cocktail, while they pass out rugs in case the customers are getting a little chilly as the sun goes down. the next morning susan, robert, roberts partner rod and me when out on roberts boat to do some fishing, not something i've done for many years but always good to go back and give something a go. turns out sea fishing was very different from what i remember of fishing on the lochs at home, we seemed to be just about constantly catching fish, i'm sure susan would like me to meantion at this point that she was the one to catch the most fish and i'm sure probably the biggest ones too. i did also manage to catch a few and quite a few sharks too, not quite great whites but they were sharks. and perhaps even more impressivly i managed not to get sea sick!!

next and final stop here is back to auckland, here i'm staying with a friend and have mainly just been spending time enjoying the beautiful sunshine we're enjoying at the end of summer and catching up with friends. seriously new zealand is the smallest country in the world, walk into a bar the other night, the barman looks up, looks at us and starts to walk away saying 'what the?! what on earth are you doing here' someone i know from when i first came over here a couple of years ago, it's a small world after all. always good to catch up with folk though so i'm not complaining!

today though was possibly the most exciting, me and louise headed out to Rainbow's End, new zealands PREMIER theme park, i have a sneeky suspition that it might be the only theme park but hey i'm not splitting hairs over it. was so much fun, pretty much all the rides were not the best in their field but all were great fun! added to by the fact that due to the fact that it's term time, a week day and no longer proper summer we were practically alone in this place meaning there were no ques, at the end of the ride they'd say 'if you want off raise your hand if not get ready to go again' so much fun! i'd highly recommend it to any of you, just don't come expecting too much and enjoy the rubbishness of it all!!!

tomorrow i fly to oz and who knows what's next, all pretty exciting really!!!! i'll keep you posted!!