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Jon’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 20 Apr 2006

Location: Akaroa & Hanmer Springs, New Zealand

MapWe are currently on mid semester break and have a full week off before having to head back to uni.

The crew for our small 4 day tour consisted of Oz, Kanakolu (girl that is in our residence that is from Hawaii) and then her friend from Hawaii Joane and myself.

We headed up to Christchurch on Saturday to drop off Taka at the airport and to go out on the town. We found this incredible night club called Boogie Nights which was a 70's disco dance bar that was so much fun. It was such a good time because people just seem to be relaxed having a good time not worry about what they looked like dancing and just smiling having a good time like it always should be. You should never be to serious on the dance floor! The club was freshly opened a few days previous so we were one of the first ones to break in the dance floor. The whole club had the floor that had lighting underneath it and the DJ sat in a VW orange van where he sat and spun the disco music from. It was a solid night.

We stayed that night in Christchurch at the Drifters back packers. It was good and I'd suggest it to anyone traveling to Christchurch.

Swimming with dolphins was next on the list of things to do as we toured to Akaroa. Akaroa is a small quaint french town with a very small population but situated on this beautiful peninsula. We went to watch a film at night that was an Australian independent film called "Look both ways" which had many issues in it on life and death. I gave it a 6 out of 10, but it made you think of many things and put how big my worries are in my life and made them seem very small. We camped that night on this back road and saw the most incredible moon that shot over the mountain that we were set up beside. It was the fullest moon I have ever seen. Before it came up and over top of the mountain it looked like stadium lights were on lighting up the sky around it.

Swimming with the dolphins was good fun. It was Oz's birthday on Monday as he turned the big 25. I can't believe when you turn 25 you have to buy a second package of candles!? We travelled out of the harbour in Akaroa on this small boat and proceeded to the ocean where we were to see these hector dolphins. When there were about 10 dolphins swimming around our boat they told us we could jump over the side and swim with them. These dolphins are one of the smallest dolphin species in the world and also the most social. They dolphins liked racing as they would come up beside you and try to push you to keep up with them. Afterwards we loaded the boat to find another spot where we swam with about 20 dolphins. It was tough to see them as they could swim right past you and if you weren't looking in the right direction then they would pass you by. Afterwards we loaded up and drove behind this fishing boat which gave off extra scraps of fish. This was where you could see approx. a 100 dolphins jumping out of the water going wild as they chased after this fishing boat. We continued on and saw fur sea lions, penguins, and more dolphins.

That night we drove to Hanmer Springs and drove around for an hour looking for a place to set up our tent where finally deciding to put our tent in a place that had a sign saying no tenting. To our surprise in the morning we woke up and we were in a national park, where there were bikers passing our tent as well as joggers and hikers. We did a 4 hour tramp that day and then headed to the thermal pools. The thermal pools have about 20 different pools you can jump in and out of that have water ranging between 36 - 42 C. These pools are all heated by thermal energy which means they stink due to the sulphuric acid. After spending 4 hours in the warm pools of water we decided that we had such a good time in Christchurch on Saturday night at Boogie Nights that we wanted to do it again. So we drove back to Christchurch which took us 2 hours to find Boogie Nights not up and going. After much disappointment from the crew we decided that we had enough tenting and drove home.

It was a good trip, the meals were fantastic as we had prawns one night for dinner, folopal for breakfast one morning, hash browns and eggs another. Best food yet on our camping adventures! Good work Hawaii! Tribal nicknames were created, Oz started out being called wet pants, then turned into wood shitter (obvious reasons), Joane adapted fire cloud as her nick for the weekend as she spotted dark smoke in the air and it turned out to be clouds, Kanakolua we called little grasshopper just because and they called me running squirrel who knows?

The rest of the week I now have off just to catch up and relax. It will be the first time since I've been travelling that I've had the luxury of doing nothing.