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New Zealand

a travel blog by tomrendell

My trip to Auckland Feb 4th..to embark on a hiking and moutain biking adventure around both the North and South islands...kicking off Feb 10th
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Auckland Avenue

Auckland, New Zealand

First day in Auckland was totally knackered from the jet lag; 4 hours time shift, plus a 6.5 hr night flight with little or no sleep! Screaming kids and Finding Nemo on the TV!

Anyway get in to Auckland and go straight into town, I didn’t want to fall asleep like I did in Hong Kong and mess up my sleep pattern for a week.

Spent the day I a walking around …really tired, bought some hiking boots for the trip and basically just wandered about in a daze…no change there then!

The next day went out for a walk with Will a guy from the hostel I met the night before, did part of the coast to coast walk from Mt Eden to One Tree Hill then caught the bus back! Got great views from the top of these ancient Mauri sites and inactive volcano’s, weird to see them in the middle of a suburban area! But a pretty good day out!

Did a free bus tour laid on for the backpackers, got to climb the Harbor bridge for free which was ace, got some amazing views of the city, then it took us over the water to a part of Auckland called Davenport…had fish and chips…all good!

Went to go out for a beer with a guy from the tour but he reckoned he was too tired! What a feeble effort! So just wandered about on my own got some good night shots, then went back to the hostel with a couple of cans!

Met up with James from My Coral Bay days earlier on my trip, went up the Sky tower got some more pictures, and chilled out got some great Vietnamese food in the market

Auckland seems to rely on the Sky Tower for its source of identity; and without it its Skyline would be unrecognisable from a 1000 other cities.

Its really expensive to do anything in the city, alienating its self from the backpackers even though it’s the gateway to many of the tours the backpackers will embark on!

Food, drink and activates are unbelievably highly priced, bottled water more expensive than petrol, and food…pasta that cost 69c in Oz is $4 over here…I’m glad my trip has food included!

Auckland is nice, but that’s all it is, plus it lacks the cutting edge other major places either the style of London, the romance of Paris, or the magic of New York, I was left slightly disappointed with my first taste of New Zealand…close but no cigar!

....Give me Huddersfield anyday !!

permalink written by  tomrendell on February 4, 2007 from Auckland, New Zealand
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Bay of islands

Paihia, New Zealand

First day out of Auckland set off on the Flying Kiwi bus...We set of to the Bay of Islands in the north region know as North Land !

as we get on the bus I see to be the only bloke, the driver laughs and says "its you and the ladies this trip mate" Immediately I think cool ! but actually no that might be pretty annoying ! turns out we picked up two other guys round the corner who have girls names ! and confused the staff ! so it turns out to be 3 guys and about 10 girls ! that's more like it...some one to play beach football with !!

Head up into Northland, and first bit of riding kicks in, dropped off a few Km from the campsite, three of us ride in to the campsite via a waterfall, round it not through it !

Just 8k today, to ease into it !!

Get to the campsite...pitch up...cook up some food ! and have a beer or two !

The next day most of the gang had opted for a sailing trip, costing $125 I gave that a miss and took my bike out and did a massive ride, from our site down to the coast, took ht ebike on a ferry over to russell, rode down through the island, back on another ferry and back up to camp, about a 30k round trip...but very hilly, non stop up and down hills ! a lot of hard work ! but worth it for the downhill runs!

Start to really see some of NZ's great scenery from the ride, shame it was a bit over cast, wont make for the greatest of pictures, very green and great looking down atythe water from up the top of the hills !

Its a great start, really enjoying the trip !! great people too !

permalink written by  tomrendell on February 10, 2007 from Paihia, New Zealand
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Sandboarding !

Opononi, New Zealand

The next day we set off to Opononi, and get there early about 10am, we shoot over the water on a speed boat, and go sand boarding which was awesome ! so cool to be bombing down the huge dunes on a body board and then flying into the water !

Quite a hike to the top but worth it for the ride down...this is becoming a trend in this place!!

Saw Tane Mahuta the largest tree in NZ...pretty cool forest, so green ! full of Kauri trees the same type as in Walpole in Oz.

Camped at the beach in the afternoon, and went to a Thermal Pool water park, with some cool slides ! and a Hot tub with a movie screen !! stayed there all night swimming and messing about.

Us boys couldnt get enough of the Black hole water slide, and kept going back for more action ! shame I couldnt get any pictures of the place..

Awesome view the following morning over the sea

permalink written by  tomrendell on February 12, 2007 from Opononi, New Zealand
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Hot Water Beach !

Coromandel, New Zealand

Drove back down into Auckland momentarily, to pick up some new people, 2 guys & 3 girls...

I was dropped off with some others and we rode a grand total of about 30Ks to camp, not before taking a couple of stop offs at Hot water beach and cathedral cove, before eventually free wheeling 2K down a hill almost directly into our campsite...again right by the beach !

The ride was excellent, great weather, blue skies and 25C warm sunshine !! started off on a hard uphill, but got some awesome views of what was to come further along the trip.

Hotwater beach was a great way to cool off, and I was right into the sea for a swim, and then flaked out for 20 mins before setting off again on the ride,

Cathedral cove...our last stop was amazing, probably the most stunning scenery I've seen on my trip so far, Its just a shame the pictures don't seem to do it justice, I just had to stand and soak it up for about an hour, as did the others I was with, Paddy and Chris!

A great night at the camp, a curry and we sat around with some music on wityh a few beers looking up at the stars, and had a great time, although one too many tequilas made me feel pretty ropey when I woke up!

permalink written by  tomrendell on February 13, 2007 from Coromandel, New Zealand
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Rotorua, New Zealand

Drive down to an cool beach, forget its name ! I'll look it up...

Half way through the journey my hang over kicks in, last nights tequila kicks in and I feel shocking, feel like staying on the bus, but a bottle of powerade sorts me out and Im playing beach Football with Annis in minutes, he's an Morrocan ex professional footballer, so he's damn good! its ages since I kicked a ball, so glad we have one now !

Swam in the sea, best beach for swimming so far in NZ, went for a run with Aniss, Paddy, and Chris, did a mile down to the caves and back !

Had lunch then shot off to Rotorua, which stinks...no not like Grimsby...but because its a thermal area that has an volcano in the town, don't think its active, not sure my tent would withstand boiling lava !!

Everyone was lapping up the beach!

About to shoot off and ride the remaining distance about 20k to the campsite...tonight its a bush camp so no facilities at all !!
bye for now

permalink written by  tomrendell on February 14, 2007 from Rotorua, New Zealand
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Dive Dive Dive

Taupo, New Zealand

Today another busy day on the FK express...we were up early and off to see the Geothermal features at the Taupo volcanic zone, saw a bubbling mud pit, a geezer erupt 30 ft into the air...and all sorts...it stunk though...a bit like Rory’s room in the flat!

Later on we shot over to the River Rapids, saw the Hukafalls the water flowing through is around 220,000 litres per second. Its grade 6, so its incredibly dangerous, apparently some crazy white water kayakers tried to paddle it, and died in the process!

a few of us walked down the river to meet the bus, and shot over to the airfield for the SkyDiving!!

Which in short was the best thing ive ever done, everyone was bricking it as we were waiting, apart from me obviously, that is until they open the door at 12,000ft up thats over 4 km in the air!

The view over the lake and the feeling was phenomenal, I can’t put it into words, so I wont even try!

The free fall from 12000ft to 5000 lasts 45 seconds then the canopy opens and your slow right down and cruise to the ground, my instructor was chatting to me the whole way down, I thought my eyes were going to pop out as my goggles began to slip off!!

That night we spent the night in cabins as we were up at the crack of dawn to head of on a epic hike...the Tongariro Crossing...one of National Geographics “top 10 one day walks” in the world!

permalink written by  tomrendell on February 15, 2007 from Taupo, New Zealand
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Mt Doom

Taupo, New Zealand

The Tongariro Crossing is an 8 hr Hike taking you across and past Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro known to the Lord of the Rings fans as Mt Doom and Mordoor, spectacular scenery! A real climb.

Was with the girls at the start, but they were far too slow, so I caught up to the lads and did most of the walk with Aniss and Paddy

Finished the trip in less than 6 hours!

The weather changes dramatically, nice & warm by mid morning, but by the time your at the top its Freezing!

Totally excellent day, and we had a great time doing the hike, or Tramp as they call it over here!
Got some great photos too !

permalink written by  tomrendell on February 16, 2007 from Taupo, New Zealand
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Bushfire Fairytales

Kaikoura, New Zealand

Shot down to Wellington for the crossing over to the South Island spent the day here, chilled out, during the day then crossed over on the ferry !

Great views at sunset !

Spent the morning driving down to Kaikora, went to the beach, not as nice as the North Island beaches as beach was stoney, and the water was extremely cold, a shock from the warmer North Island...still warm sunshine and great views of the Alps if you spun around so not all bad!

Cycled the afternoon into the beachside campsite, did some Irish Gallic Football training with Paddy...that finished me off after our biking!

Spent the evening on the beach with a campfire...!

permalink written by  tomrendell on February 18, 2007 from Kaikoura, New Zealand
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Little Britain

Christchurch, New Zealand

Next day spun through to Chrichchurch which is the regional capital of Canterbury, New Zealand. It is the largest city in the South Island,

Nice little City, has a look of York, and is the most English of all the cities in NZ so far ! has a real student vibe too as the University had just kicked off for Fresher's week !!

had a great afternoon after we left Christchurch I biked along with Paddy Aniss and a couple of others the 30k to our camp by the Rangitata river, with stunning views over the Alps !

while Biking tot he camp, we must have spooked some deer, as a heard of deer galloped over a small hill out of view then back into view as they came up the other side, amazing thing to see...think Jurassic Park... but we were the ones doing the chasing !

permalink written by  tomrendell on February 19, 2007 from Christchurch, New Zealand
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Pancakes & Rapids

Rangitata, New Zealand

To say this was a great day would be an understatement...it was amazing..one of the very best!

I woke up early doors, because of the white water rafting trip, around 6:45 and this was the view that I saw as I poked my sleepy head out of my tent !

Had breakfast, packed up my tent, and went up to the hut with the others to go Rafting !

They explained it was a two hour trip coasting down the river at first going through, grades 1-4 then climaxing with two grade 5 rapids, the highest grade rapids you can take people down on commercial trips !

the trip was awesome, and we managed to stay afloat the entire trip, at one point we were seconds from being sucked into a grade 6 which would have meant certain "flippidge" and everyone going overboard !!

We had seen grade 6 rapids at the Hukka falls the other day, and I love ferice water but I wouldn't have wanted to go though that on a boat !

after the trip down the river we went for a short hike around part of the Tekapo Lake, with amazing views of the Alps and the first look from long distance of Mt Cook...

after the Hike, a few of us biked the rest of the way in to camp, as this was a bush camp and had no showers, so we dived into the lake when we got there to cool down!

totally knackered, Rafting, Hiking, Biking and Swimming all in one day !

we topped the day off with Pancakes, a cold beer and the best sunset I have ever seen.

permalink written by  tomrendell on February 20, 2007 from Rangitata, New Zealand
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