Monday, 28 February 2011

North LAST!!!

Bloody hell, how awful....I've yet to write barely anything about my time in NZ - and I've been here for pretty much a month.... Partially due to only being on the net for 10 minutes at a time, (I'm a cheapskate,) and partially due to moving somewhere new most days - keeping myself a busy old bee. Anyway, I'm going to attempt to write a little about what I've been up to.....or some of what I've been up to (otherwise we'd be here all day...inniiiit)

So, as you can all see from my previous post - I luckily wasn't in Christchurch when the earthquake struck. This was literally due to a last minute change of plan on our behalf, otherwise we would have been Christchurch bound. What a lucky last minute decision that was! It's truly hit home quite how fortunate we were by making a split second decision...I can't quite believe it and have been thinking a lot about the people in Christchurch. It's truly awful, absolute devastation and massive loss of life. I can't imagine the feeling of being in a quake and at the mercy of mother nature. Truly awful and my hearts go out to them.

Mother nature does some truly horrendous things, but boy has she conjured up some true beauty too. New Zealand ha
s left me speechless on many an occassion. There are no days that I don't have a few ''WOW''s' a few ''Would you look at that??!!!'' a few ''blooming heck's'' etc etc.

So, we started in the North Island....I wont be able to cover my entire time away so far in this entry, but I'll pick a few highlights to write about..... We had originally only planned to do 2 weeks in the North, but there was quite simply too much to see and do, so we stretched this to 3 weeks (meaning we only have 3 weeks left in the South Island, which
definately is not enough....)

So after Auckland, (finding a car, eating my body weight in sushi...etc...etc - see previous post) we headed further up North equipped with our lovely little blue bubble of a car and a ridiculously massive tent. There are 3 of us, but we thought it was a FANTASTIC idea to buy a 6 man tent. I'm not going to lie - It's a bloody palace! It's blooming massive. Quite hilariously so. There is room for us all to stand up, have a little wonder around, have a dinner party if we so wished - No exaggeration - IT IS HUGE!) We have had quite a few funny looks when we rock up at a campsite with this monster.... (jealous obvs!) But when we then get out our many over-sized luggage and bags they seem to understand a little better! (typical girls huh?!)

We initially headed to Paihia next to the Bay of Islands - A beautiful beautiful area which, as
Wikepedia kindly tells me has the second bluest sky in the world, (after Rio De Janeiro).... Not bad not bad! We ended up spending 3 nights here - WOW What a luxury - 3 nights in the same place! Whilst here we luckily stumbled apon Waitangi and the yearly Waitangi Day (6th Februrary - where the 'much contested Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Maori chiefs and the British Crown, establishing British Sovereignity...etc....etc'' - Good old Wikepedia....) This is basically a massive Maori festival - Maori's, Maori food, Maori Haka (YES!!), Maori canoes on the river and Maori Tattoos.... - I quite literally have never seen so many FACIAL tattoos in my life - That really is a decision you can't reverse.... I got myself a little facial inking as I felt so inspired. (Mum, that's a joke obvs!! Can you imagine!) haha

We also spend a great day on a lovely sailing boat seeing the bay of islands, with our captain 'Gleno' (Quite possible the most NZ-ish name I could imagine?!!) This was brilliant fun... and I saw
A BLOODY HAMMERHEAD SHARK!!! Check me out - I'll say it again A HAMMERHEAD SHARK!! WOOOOOOO!!!!!....How cool is that?! Plus penguins and dolphins. I never think of myself as much of a Dr Doolittle, but they were all brilliant!

My biggest disappointment of the North Island was 'Hot Water Beach' where
apparantly if you dig a hole it fills with hot hot water (hence the name - funny that!) that you can bath in. Now, it might have been that we didn't bring spades with us, (slight disadvantage) or that we went at totally the wrong time of day - but NOTHING happened when we dug a little hole. Nothing. No hot water. No luke warm water even.... Pretty disappointing!

Well, this has been the only disappointment to my time in NZ, and it's
pretty likely it's my own fault.... (Turns out we were 6 hours too late.....oops.) Whist in the North Island we also visited Corommandel Peninsula, Hamilton, Waitomo, Rotorua (stinks of egg - blooming sulphur), Taupo, Tongariro.....Oh man too many places to mention..... I could spend all day writing, but will have to just write about my top experiences....

We are staying in a mixture of Hostels, Campsites and DOC (Department of Conservation) Campsites.... The facilities range from amazing (hot showers, kitchens...etc) to very basic. Most of the DOC campsites have no showers/no toilets etc (if you're super lucky you get a long drop), water from streams....etc...etc. Now I quite like these campsites. Turns out I'm a bit of a tree-hugger at heart. The DOC campsites are often the most beautiful, idyllic and amazing - So peaceful and sobering. But it turns out my travelling companions are perhaps not such hippies at heart, and daily hot showers, hair straighteners and hair dryers are often calling them! (only joking girls!) Although I'd like to do more DOC campsites it'd be a lie if I said I didn't appreciate a good hostel hot shower with *gasp REAL BEDS?!!!

So, a run-down of some of my favourite places in the North Island (We've been to SO many it's quite likely I
may have missed a few....)

- Waitomo Caves - We went 'Black Water Rafting' - BRILLIANT fun! Travelling through underground caves on big rubber rings - jumping of (little) waterfalls, topped off by massive caverns of glow-worms - Truly magical. This day was topped off by me leaving my bikini, my (only) towel AND my (only pair) of flip-flops on top of the car - and driving off, leaving me towel-less, bikini-less and shoeless. That really took quite some skill. GO ROSIE! (muppet!)

- Tongariro National Park - Where we did part of the Tongariro Crossing Walk. We very quickly realised we might have got our footwear choice (of flip-flops) ever so slightly wrong when EVERYONE striding past us was in FULL walking gear - boots, sticks, gaters, god-knows what else - but the whole kaboodle. We did get one or two comments about how impressed people were with how far we'd managed to walk in flip-flops. I was quite honestly impressed too!! Hours of walking in rocky terrain in FLIP FLOPS?! Now that's hardcore. (and stupid.)

- Napier - Is a STUNNING 1930's art deco town with a multitude of pastel coloured buildings and architecture. The town was mostly destroyed in an earthquake in 1931 (killing 258 people - NZ's last fatal earthquake before Christchurch :( ) The town was therefore fully rebuilt in the style of the day - So it's an art-deco lovers dream.... It's brilliant - Such beautiful colours and patterns and designs. I picked up some GREAT art inspiration.... Could very imagine myself living there!

and finally.....My last highlight was.....

- Wellington - Capital City of NZ - Now I finally understand why they call this the windy city. If I'm honest, our choice of attire - pretty Tea dresses - probably weren't quite appropriate. All I can say is a few people got glimpses of our derriere's they were not expecting (classy classy girls.) Anyway, moving swiftly onwards.... Wellington's split into 4 or so quarters - Lambton Quay, Courtenay Place, Willis Street and my FAVOURITE - Cuba Quarter. Cuba quarter is filled with urban art galleries, graffiti, little quirky bars, restaurants and gig venues. Amazing! I haven't taken so many geeky pictures of graffiti and got so excited in a long time!! (I LOVE a good bit of graffiti on the wall....y'know me!?)

Whilst in Wellington we spent a lot of time just mooching around, people watching (my favourite sport) eating copious amounts of sushi (shtandard) and just being. We also had a couple of nights out (BAD hangovers) with one of my friends friends from her previous travels! Good times. Also spent one evening in the magical Botanical Gardens watching a film on a big outdoor screen with many other New Zealanders eating picnics and relaxing....So so nice. We
even enjoyed a real treat from home - WAGAMAMA'S baby. How cultural I'm being.

So, in a really shortened, cut down version that's my experience of the North Island. For risk of boring everyone to tears I'll save my South Island experiences to another post. I really truly and utterly enjoyed the North. It was absolutely beautiful and we were thoroughly blessed with beautiful weather and great experiences. I feel very lucky to be here and am having an absolutely fabulous time. I am also getting A LOT of art inspiration for my next series' of works....Maori designs, Art Deco, Colour....etc....etc....I am feeling pretty inspired and looking forward to getting some pens and paints a-flowing.....

Anyway, will write more soon... I'm going to find it pretty hard to leave NZ. I absolutely love it here.... Australia awaits me (and the joy of having to start money is slipping away FAST)....If I'm honest though I'm quite looking forward to settling down a bit - Getting some doodling going, hopefully get some singing and music making happening too....Exciting.... Good times ahead....

Oh, and a quick update..... I am STILL being bitten alive..... It gets more exciting - The South Island is lucky enough to have the dreaded Sand Fly. EVERYWHERE, so now I've got a medley of bites. I really am attractive.....

Until next time.... xxx

1 comment:

  1. Haha, Hot Water Beach is a massive Fail huh! We were well disappointed too :(
    lol @ you doing the Tongariro crossing in flipflops! That hikes such a mission , swear i lost a few stone that day!
    sounds like youre having a great time tho!