Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week 16 of BZ adventure

April 11 - April 18

Saturday, April 12
Woke up in Paihia, packed, and toured the town till 1:00pm. We got back in the van and returned to Auckland. We went to the casino, had dinner, and met some of our new tour mates. Tim and Jane Anne from California are done their tour with us and so is Andrea from Swizerland. We welcomed 2 Brits, another German, and a wonderful person from the country of Gibraltor.

The casino was hitting tonight. Won about $500 on the slots which will help pay for some extra excursions we want to do. Man this country is beautiful.
I am rooming with the boys again tonight; Lennie, Martin, and Felix, both wonderful guys from German.

We have a 4 bunk bed room with a bathroom. Tomorrow we stay at some fabulous holiday home.

Sunday, April 13
Woke up at the same hostel as day 1 and took off for the southern coasts. We stopped for coffee in a great town, made our way to Raglan and an Eco farm. The farmers had donkeys, chickens, cats, sheep, alpaca, parrots, and a ton of fish.

They shared their life with us and made us a traditional tea time.

They walked us to our meeting area for our sea kayak and introduced us to Vicky our guide. We spent about 2 hours kayaking down the river into a habour, it was a beautiful day. We raced, splashed, and picked oysters.

We landed at a boat and we greeted by Rock and B who took us on a tour and made us a BBQ.

They dropped us at the pier where we were driven into town to buy snacks. We were then taken to our house for 2 days, it is huge. It is some California surfer dude's holiday house. Me and the boys have the basement apartment and all the girls are upstairs.
We showered and went to see the sunset. Marie arranged a transitional fish and chips dinner for us so we drove back to the pier and pigged out.
I went to bed about 9:30 as I have not slept for the past 2 nights, tomorrow we surf.

Monday, April 14
Woke up and ate breakfast. We were taken to a yoga spot to get ready for surfing lessons. It was the most beautiful yoga spot ever called inspiration pint just 200m up from the house.

We then moved another 200m up the road for our dry land training. They top aught us a simple way to get up on the board; push/lift, knee forward, foot front, and up. Seems easy enough on land. We practiced a million times, learned about the surf and beach spot where we will be surfing and got back to the house to get a ride to the bay.

We were taken to the bay 5 minutes for our house. Rock from the boat yesterday and his team were our instructors. They said everyone will get up on a wave because they keep it simple and use big board. We were put I to our full wet suits as the water is cool but the weather was gorgeous. It was busy as this is their surf school area.

We went out into the water and Lennie got up on the board on his first try so he moved down the beach with the people who had surfed before. Rock stood behind me and pushed me into over 20 waves but I could ever stand up. It was really fun, not scary, and I could of gotten up but my left foot would come forward enough. I wonder why? When 2 hours was up, we moved to the beach to get out of the water and one of the instructors came over to me to point out that because my wetsuit was so big, water got in and trapped at my ankles. It looked like I had 2 watermelons for calves. That is why my feet felt so heavy and wouldn't come up far enough. Damn.

After surfing we showered and changed, and went for lunch in town, yummy Mexican. Marie our CEO knows all the cool, cheap, and fun spots. You would not even know this Mexican taco truck existed if she didn't tell you.
In the afternoon I signed up for bone carving lessons for 89$. 7 of us went back to the surf lesson hut and met Age our instructor.

He gave us each a shape, explained its traditional meaning, showed us techniques and 5 hours later our creations were done. Age put them on braided twine for us and made them into necklaces, plus he carved some small designs on the front. It was awesome.

I love mine and this is something I really wanted to do on this trip. We went home and a BBQ was prepared for us by Rock and Zed our surf instructors. Lamb, stuff zucchini, chicken, salad etc. So good after a long day.

Tomorrow... Glow worm caves.

Tueday, April 15
We woke up at the holiday home and packed the bus early as we need to get to our adventure to see flow worms and caves. There is optional excursions you can pay for so I chose a tour by dingy Lennie chose a tour by inner tube. I didn't want that one as you got wet, wore a wet suit and had to craw thru small places to get to the caves. We dropped all the tubers off and 4 of us headed for our boat. For 65$ we were transported by van to a beautiful site where we hiked to a river and cave opening. We were give hard hats and lights to see our way.

We walked thru the cave opening and immediately could see 1000s of glow worms when we all turned our lots off.

We continued to walk to a river's edge that had a dingy waiting. 12 of us entered the dingy and they guided pulled us down and up the river by a rope. There we saw millions of glow worms, it was truly unbelievable. We then walked out of the that cave I to a beautiful field where they had a tea set up for us. We rested then walked further into the fields to another cave. No hard hat needed or nights as this cave was much taller and had a lit path. This cave had awesome bones, sink holes, stalegtites, and cave stuff. It was a 500m walk to see all the structures.

We exited the cave, got driven back to the beginning spot, got in the van, and picked up the tubers. They had a great time but Lennie said I would of hated it was it as very claustrophobic.

We hit the road again and stopped for lunch and Lennie and I had eggs and toast. It was so good.
Moved further down the road to meet a Maori guide Shiloh for a personal tour of his village. He sang for us, told stories, greeted us with the nose to nose greeting, and welcomed us into his home.

We left the village and headed for Rototura where we stayed at a hostel. The boys and I had a 4 bedroom, got some groceries at the store to snack on a hung out.
Marie our CEO arranged for a traditional Maori dinner for us "Hongi" and it was amazing. The woman brought it to the hostel for us and we all enjoyed dinner together. Hongi is chicken with vegetables that is cooked underground for 12 hours. It was So good and reminded me of a thanksgiving dinner.

We all went into the hot tub and hung out.

Rototura is famous for its thermal hotsprings so natural bathes as a treat since I don't like hot tubs because of the chlorine. We all relaxed and went to bed because tomorrow is the big 20k hike to the volcano.

Wednesday, April 16
Woke up and Marie shared that we can do the Tongariro crossing as it is 3 degrees on top and 40 mile winds.

I'm not too sad about that as I didn't want to hike anyways. We all got to relax, sleep in and go back in the thermal tubs.
We made our way downtown and hit the shops while 3 people went white water rafting. It was raining and we have rafted before so that wasn't something we wanted to do.
We all met up at 11:30am and hit the road for our afternoon of mud baths and spas.
We landed at our hostel and everyone took a little 6km hike to see waterfalls and it was a nice day. This hostel is gorgeous and is really a ski chalet. It is new Zealand's highest hotel. Lennie and I got our own room but we beside our German buds. We got a delicious BBQ dinner Buffett and everyone laughed and ate a ton.

Thursday, April 17
Woke up for our drive to Wellington. On the way we stopped at fun places along the way. Saw the worlds biggest carrot, had a gumshoe throwing contest, and shopped at a small town that specializes in outlets.

We arrived in Wellington at 3:00 and people went to the movie museum or the national museum for the PM. At 7:30 we have our final dinner together as we get driven back to Auckland tomorrow while most of the crew are continuing to the South Island. So sad to leave these great people. I just love my German boys and roommates. They were so sweet.

Friday, April 18
Woke up and sadly said goodbye to our friends and boarded a bus to drive straight back to Auckland. We joined the South Island tour who are finished and heading north while our team joined the South Island tour heading south. We slept on the bus until we hit Auckland. We called for a shuttle to take us back to our airport hotel where we did laundry and rested for our early departure to California.