So I’ve had just over a week in New Zealand and I’ve already jumped out of a plane at 12,000 ft, rafted down a 7 meter waterfall, dodged flying boulders whilst scrambling up a live volcano (apparently ‘Mount Doom’ where the LOTR ring is destroyed, I wish this meant something to me but it doesn’t), injured myself on said climb, trekked for 10 hours straight, learnt how to do the Haka from Maori tribes,
and rafted through underground caves at Waitomo filled with glowworms (whilst learning that said glowworms shag themselves to death when they turn into flies – wheyyy to go). A fellow backpacker told me the motto why not/warum nicht and I’m enjoying following the advice even if my bank balance isn’t. Last night I ended up wandering through Wellington’s Rugby Sevens fan-filled streets and asking a policeman to get his smartphone out and give me directions to a bar because (surprise surprise) my sense of direction failed me, and ten minutes later our driver stumbled upon my confused and still lost self pointing me in the right direction. Despite such setbacks I seem to have done more in the past 9 days than I have in the past 6 months and (as enthusiastically carved on my hands whilst skydiving) I’m rather loving life.
And to think it all kicked off with me attempting to put my headphones into the plug socket as I boarded the first leg of my journey..(The two well-travelled plane buddies sat snobbily next to me weren’t too impressed and the situation wasn’t improved my decision to watch ‘One Direction: This Is Us’ – great film though…). Dubai airport was a weird hybrid of East meets West and I felt like a dodgy underground dealer when I capitalised on the cheap vodka (and unintentionally trampled on their culture) by buying a bottle of Smirnoff . Four hours later there I was about to board my flight to Brisbane when I GOT UPGRADED TO BUSINESS CLASS and spent the next 14 hours sipping champagne cocktails over a three course meal (with actual plates as opposed to pathetic compartmental boxes) and a touch screen tablet as a remote control. Within 5 minutes of sitting down I’d already put on the free socks, downed a free drink, fully reclined my seat (resulting in odd not-before-take-off-please look from hostess) and lost my menu. Wonder if anyone could tell it was a free upgrade?
I spent my first day in Auckland exploring the city with a tattoo-clad French guy (who actually had a good sense of humour, odd) and the first night out with some Germans (ditto) and the second on Waiheke, a beautiful island with lots of cute vineyards – getting a boat on my lonesome was a bit bizarre but I realised how liberating it can be and after a good swim I stumbled across a sort of mini-Glastonbury filled with dread-locked Kiwis and hippie families who apparently don’t own shoes. I spent a day with fellow travelling buddies digging natural hot tubs on Hot Water Beach (where water heated from volcanic activity underground freakishly boils out of the ground) and even witnessed some people trying to boil eggs on it. Speechless.
Since then I’ve been chilling on boats and swimming and hiking and flying through the sky and realising that New Zealand is (as reputed) one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and I haven’t even got down to the South Island yet. That’s on the agenda for tomorrow as I head for Abel Tasman National Park – more to come on that in a few days. For now my overly priced, time-limited wifi is on its last legs so I have to say goodbye. Hopefully I will still be alive with my next post but judging by the last few days I can’t make too many promises… (joke, mum).