|Friday||Dec. 05||11:00||Leave Ottawa|
|Sunday||Dec. 07||05:30||Arrive Auckland|
|Sunday||Dec. 07||Night||Orewa - Sleep at Puriri Park Holiday Complex|
|Dec. __||Bay of Islands - Zorbing|
|Thursday||Dec. 11||Trista leaves Auckland|
|Dec. 1_||Mt. Moehau|
|Dec. 1_||Hahei - Hot Water Beach|
|Dec. 1_||Raglan - Surfing|
|Dec. 1_||Kawhia - Hot Water Beach|
|Dec. 1_||Waitomo - Caving|
|Dec. 1_||Egmont - Mt. Taranaki|
|Dec. 1_||Tongariro - Mt. Ngauruhoe|
|Dec. 1_||09:45||Taupo - Rock 'n' Ropes|
|Dec. 1_||14:00||Taupo - Bungy Jumping|
|Bay Of Plenty|
|Friday||Dec. __||Paekakariki - Fly By Wire|
|Friday||Dec. 18||13:00||Wellington - Return Of The King|
|Sunday||Dec. 21||09:00||Leave Auckland|
|Sunday||Dec. 21||10:30||Arrive Sydney|
|Sunday||Dec. 21||15:30||Leave Sydney|
|Sunday||Dec. 21||17:20||Arrive Hobart|
|Sunday||Dec. 21||Night||Sleep in Montgomery's YHA|
|Monday||Dec. 22||09:15||Leave Hobart|
|Monday||Dec. 22||12:15||Arrive Lake St. Clair|
|4.5 days to walk 80 km Overland Track|
|Saturday||Dec. 27||10:45||Leave Cradle Mountain|
|Saturday||Dec. 27||15:45||Arrive Lake St. Clair|
|Saturday||Dec. 27||16:15||Leave Lake St. Clair|
|Saturday||Dec. 27||19:00||Arrive Hobart|
|Saturday||Dec. 27||Night||Sleep in The Pickled Frog|
|Sunday||Dec. 28||18:35||Leave Hobart|
|Sunday||Dec. 28||20:25||Arrive Sydney|
|Sunday||Dec. 28||Night||Sleep in Sydney Central YHA|
|Monday||Dec. 29||Night||Sleep in Sydney Central YHA|
|Tuesday||Dec. 30||Night||Sleep in Sydney Central YHA|
|Wednesday||Dec. 31||Night||Sleep in Sydney Central YHA|
|Thursday||Jan. 01||Night||Sleep in Sydney Central YHA|
|Friday||Jan. 02||Night||Sleep in Sydney Central YHA|
|Wednesday||Jan. 07||13:00||Leave Sydney|
|Wednesday||Jan. 07||18:00||Arrive Singapore|
|Wednesday||Jan. 07||Night||Sleep with The Inn Crowd|
|Thursday||Jan. 08||09:45||Leave Singapore|
|Thursday||Jan. 08||23:11||Arrive Ottawa|
All flights went well, got about 8 hours sleep on the Los Angeles -> Auckland leg, which turned out to be only 12 hours long, and New Zealand turns out to be currently only 6 hours behind Eastern time (plus a day of course). Clearly this requires investigation at some later time when I care enough. Drove around downtown Auckland a bit (nice way to force yourself to learn the rules of the road I think), and ended up at the One Tree Hill. Walked around there a while, took a bunch of pictures, left my mark. Had some ice cream, and headed for Mt. Eden, where I got a few more pictures. Then headed for downtown to find a place to park. Fun. Eventually I realised that it was much easier than I thought, since it was Sunday, and the metered spots I was avoiding didn't need plugging. Then I spent a few hours walking around downtown, got a bit of late lunch at 3ish, and am now heading back to the car. Off to Puriri Park to meet the cuz.
Rain, rain, go away. It has actually, for the most part. We'll see. Spent a nice evening in Puriri Park, then headed up to Bay of Islands and stayed at Smith's ... just outside Paihia. Walked into Paihia, which is very touristy, but nice. Next day we went up to Waitangi and walked around, saw the sights. That's where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, which established British sovereignty over NZ. Things didn't work out so well, as one might expect. Anyway, after that we went tramping on a track nearby that I forget the name of. Walked through a mangrove stand. All in all, a rather wet day. Stayed at Smith's again, then went tramping on a short trail that started inside Paihia. Got back, and just before I parted ways with Trista and Joel, I locked my keys in my trunk. Hooray for AA! About an hour later, I was off to Cape Rheinga. Stopped at Doubtless Bay and stepped into the Pacific Ocean. The rest of the way up to Cape Rheinga was a long drive, with the last bit on a nasty gravel road. Almost ran out of gas, but got some on the way back, for $1.28/litre at the "last stop" BP station. Anyway, the weather was still bad, so Cape Rheinga wasn't as spectacular as it no doubt can be. Still nice though. Got what pictures I could. Went out onto the dangerous part to get them. 1 metre wide steep path over wet rocks, deadly drops on either side, coastal winds. Wheeee!!! Headed back down south, made it to Ahipara, stayed at Ahipara Motor ... Stepped into the Tasman Sea that evening. Met a German couple on sabbatical and an English couple on a round-the-world trip. Wetness continued. Went swimming in the Tasman Sea the next morning, which was much fun. Continued on south, almost ran out of gas again. Picked up a hitchhiker (British, never got her name) between Broadwood and Kohukohu, and dropped her at Waipoua forest, where I walked the lookout track for an hour each way through mud and rain, instead of just driving to exactly the same spot. Don't ask, I'm not sure myself. Anyway, continued on and stayed at Bayly's Beach. Wet evening, but finally a dry morning. Drove out onto the beach, just to say I had, then came out to Dargaville, and here I am! Hope to make Raglan tonight. Looks like a long drive though, so I dunno.
Well, I made Raglan, but had a headache from the drive, and lack of food. Remedied that, then pitched my tent at the Raglan Kopua Holiday Park. Drove around to see the famous beaches, then went to bed. Decided I would try to make Waitomo in time for the Lost World 7 hour Epic Adventure (started at 10:30). Damn twisty roads and hills and gutless wonder of a car got me there at about 10:40. Oops. Checked out the scene, rearranged my "plan" a bit, and booked into the Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park for the night, booked the Lost World for the next day, and bombed back up to Raglan for a surfing lesson. That wasn't to happen until 4:00, so I wandered around Raglan for a bit, bought a pair of sandals, and went for a swim in the river/harbour. Surfing lesson was cool, though I didn't do so well. Caught 3 waves in about 2 1/2 hours. Oh well, now that I have the basics, it's just a matter of practice. Anyway, after that it was back down to Waitomo for the night. Had to pack the tent wet, but The Lost World trip was excellent, and I highly recommend it for the fit and active among you. Turns out I'm a much better caver than surfer. I kinda figured that though. It went a bit later than I'd been told, but I decided to go for broke and try to make National Park that night, so I could do the Tongariro Crossing the next day. I made it, and stayed at my first backpacker's. Don't remember what it was called, but I was alone in a dorm-style room, so I could set up my tent to dry. Popped over to Whakapapa Village the next morning, and confirmed the advice from the lady at the place I stayed, that the weather would be crummy, and make for a not-so-pleasant walk. So, I decided to make the most of my flexibility, and headed for Wellington. Arrived, set up at the Hutt Top 10 Holiday Park, and went into the city. Drove around a bit, then parked and walked around a bit. Found the cave troll statue by chance, then searched out the Embassy. Lucked out, and happened upon the last scheduled showing of the Extended version of The Two Towers. Popped in to see it, then went to bed. Did my first laundry this morning, booked in at the park for another night, and headed into Wellington again. Got a ticket for the 9:30 am show of Return of the King on the 18th (opens on the 18th over here - damn Hollywood bastards!), and now I'm off to wander around some more. Cheers!
The night was pretty chilly (again), but the day was beautiful. I don't think I've seen a single cloud since about 9:00. Anyway, went to the Wellington Zoo this morning, took lots of pictures. Then walked around a bit, taking more pictures, then finished off Te Papa (started yesterday). Now it's off for dinner at a Malaysian place, and more pictures!
Last chance for cheap internet until Auckland! Just got out of Return of the King, which was quite good. Had another chilly night, so I guess that's just Wellington for you. Then again National Park would've been chilly in a tent too, so maybe it's just a change in the weather. Hopefully it'll be warmer in Tasmania. Going back to Tongariro this afternoon, hopefully to do the crossing tomorrow. Couldn't book a late Hangi in Rotorua for tomorrow night, so I haven't figured out the next step yet. Maybe an early one on Saturday, and a late arrival in Auckland the same night. Haven't got my Auckland International YHA booking confirmed either though, so I dunno. Guess I'll stop by the Wellington YHA and see if they can tell me what's up... So, with all that in mind, it's 1:40, so I've gotta get moving!
Stayed in my first (only) DOC campsite Thursday night, because the Whakapapa place was full. Did the Tongariro Crossing (in 5:45), but forgot to change my socks, so I ended up with a large raw spot on the back of each heel. Nasty. Excellent walk though - many pictures. Confirmed my Auckland International booking in Wellington, and booked the early Tamaki Village thing on Saturday, so that made for a late night, but I stayed in Rotorua (Top 10..) the night before, so I had most of the day to do stuff. I ended up doing my first bungy jump (very interesting, bears repeating), and a wet Zorb (way too much fun). The Auckland International YHA guy was not very pleasant, but whatever - I was only there for about six hours. The flights to Hobart were uneventful. Luckily a grocery store was open in Hobart, so I got food for the Overland Track. Haven't got fuel yet though - hmmm... Staying at Montgomery's YHA, met another .ca guy (Rob?) who's from Edmonton, and is going to school for a year in Melbourne (8 months to go), and is travelling a bit during the christmas break.
Well, it's been a while because the server was down, but let's see what I can remember... Ended up finding camp stove fuel in Hobart at a big-box hardware store. All the camp equipment stores weren't open until 9:00, and my bus left at 9:00, so I had been a little worried on that count. It was cold and raining when I got to Lake St. Clair, and I got a raincoat and a pair of gloves there, of which I'm quite glad. Hit the track about 13:00, and it continued to be cold and wet for the rest of the day. Stayed at Narcissus hut that night, met a family of five there who were on day seven, and just coming off. I think that was my coldest night on the track. The next day was much nicer. Set off about 8:45, had lunch at Windermere around 11:15, snacked at ummm... Kia Ora? I'll have to check the map later. Made New Pelion hut about 19:15. My feet were not happy with me. New Pelion is a very nice hut though, very large, with a gas burner and single/double bunks. Set off again at 8:15. Took a bunch of pictures that day. I don't think I took as many the day before. Anyway, made Waterfall Valley hut at about 17:??. Nice place, feet still not happy with me, but not as bad. Maybe they're just going numb. :) Headed out late the next morning, and walked out of the park with a day and a half to spare. Stayed at the Cosy Cabins park that night (backpacker's bunkroom). Had heard a rumour on the track of a Christmas dinner buffet nearby, discovered where, and failed to get in due to my lack of a reservation. Oh well. Went back into the park the next day, did a guided "wildflower walk", then had lunch, and did Hanson's Peak. That was probably my favourite part of the whole walk, although the walk out from Waterfall was fun too. Perversely, it was the driving rain (often frozen) and biting wind that did it for me - very exhilirating! Went to a Tasmanian wine and cheese tasting at a photography gallery that night, which was all quite nice. Got my bus back to Hobart the next day, and checked in at the Pickled Frog before heading down to the harbour. Got fish and chips from a floating place, and was just kinda wandering around, when I happened upon opening night of "The Taste of Tasmania", which I eventually discovered is an annual event in Hobart. Apparently one is supposed to have a ticket to get in on opening night, and the tickets were sold out, but it was getting on in the evening, and "a bunch of people [had] just left", so in I went. One $5 wine glass later, I was once again sampling Tasmanian wine and cheese, and with a much larger selection this time. Lots of other food was for sale too, but I only partook of dessert. It's probably lucky for my wallet that I'd just had cheap-but-filling fish and chips. There was also entertainment going on, including the final performance of the Tasmanian Youth Big Band A[...]. Apparently they're a high school band, and have been touring for the last 2-3 years. They were pretty good. Free breakfast at the Pickled Frog consisted of corn flakes, which was simply not sufficient for my reawakened palate. I went back down to the Taste (admission was free for the rest of the time), and had a delightful time. Unfortunately my flight out would leave before the first arrivals of the Sydney - Hobart sailing race. Would've been nice, but it's not like I planned any of this. :) Flight left late, but got a tailwind, and was uneventful. Checked in at Sydney Central YHA, wandered around the block, and went to bed. Had breakfast at the cafe next morning, then got properly unpacked, did my laundry, and was about to go check out the transit situation, when Shelly appeared at my door! She's a sneaky one. That doesn't quite get us to today, but it'll do for now. More later.