January 2, 2007 Tues
We enjoyed the Rotorua hot springs in the morning. and then went to Te Puia for a Maori Cultural experience. There were geysers to see and kiwis to look at and Brian was the chief in the show they put on. It was fun, Brian led our whole group into the meeting center where the maori's did a show. After the show, we left to find the sports center with no luck. We started towards Taupo.
January 3, 2007 Wed
We went to the race track and checked out the race cars. Brian and Jason are thinking about doing a race in the f1 cars. We wanted to see the track since we are going to be watched the professional races there in February. We also stopped at a honey tasting place. They had a bunch of different honey's to try and they were good. I bought a couple. Brian stuck with the Manuka and bought a piece of chocolate cake. We hung out at night listening to Brian play guitar and having a few beers.
January 4, 2007 Thurs
We woke up early and hiked the waterfall. It was really pretty. After the waterfall we went to the motor sports center and Brian and Jason raced cars for the day. We went to an Irish Pub in Taupo for a beer and had some chips. Afterwards we went to fish and chips shop and got some dinner to take with us to our camp site. We went to a free camping site right by the river. There are even free hot springs there but we did not venture out to find them as it was late. We met a couple girls from Germany driving around in a station wagon sleeping in it. They were super cool. There were some other people, locals, that had built a huge raging fire and they were wasted. We went to warm up by their fire. We were talking with some people when a really wasted and unsavory girl came towards me to kiss me and Brian stepped in to stop her. I was totally unaware. It definitely was an interesting night.
January 5, 2007 Fri
Went into Taupo to do laundry and provisioning for tomorrow's hike. After we finished gathering all of the things we needed for the big crossing it is a 7 hour hike called the Tongariro crossing. It is a big national park and has lots of different hikes but we wanted to do the most famous and most beautiful. We bought some hiking boots to be able to do it. We are all looking forward to it. We are staying at a motor camp where we will be picked up for the hike in the morning.
January 6, 2007 Sat
The Tongariro crossing was hard but beautiful. The devil's staircase is the hardest part of the hike really. And then another hill that has loose gravel so it is difficult getting footing and not sliding. On the side going down it was like skiing down a hill you were sliding so fast!! The lakes up there were incredibly beautiful. We met some locals on the trail and hiked the way down with them. It was a good think since we all were a little bored towards the end of the hike. It was not as interesting or as difficult as the first half of the hike. The Kiwi's we met were so nice they invited us to come to their town and stay with them. We'll see if we can in the future. We stayed at a very nice back packer's place and watched a movie on the couch before we started dozing and decided to hit the bed!
January 7, 2007 Sun
Jason and Brian made a huge breakfast while I did my Pilates. I have been trying to do them every day if possible for my back. We also slept in pretty late. We decided to go do the glow worm caves adventure tour. I decided to skip it since you have to go into very cold water and I was worried about my back. But, Brian, Jason, Randy, and Sheri did it. The tubed through the cave and they said it was like looking up at the stars and it was incredible. We also checked out the museum. I took pictures of them all getting ready to go on the tour and I had a lot of bling on from everyone. After the tour they got bagels and soup for free I was working on the internet since we have not checked emails in weeks. We drove to Muriwai Beach at a regional park where there is a black sand beach. We went for a walk on the beach before dinner and hopefully Jason and Brian will be able to take a surfing lesson tomorrow.
January 8, 2007 Monday
Went for another walk on the beach in the morning. Unfortunately, Jason and Brian weren't able to get an instructor until the afternoon and we decided to start heading back up to the boat. We stopped at a few places on the way to get cheese and groceries and make it to the boat by evening time.
January 9, 2007 Tues
It was raining all day today. We felt so bad for Brian to be at the boat when it was pouring. We went into Keri Keri and rented gear to dive and picked up some more weights and went shopping around. Tomorrow early we will sail over to the bay where we can do some scalloping.
January 10, 2007 Wed
We left for Urapukapuka bay where Jason and Brian went diving for scallops. When they had 20 for each of us they came up and we went back to the boat. I made seared scallops for dinner with some Cajun baked fries it was so good.
January 11, 2007 Thur
Jason and Brian left in the morning to go lobstering. They came back in the afternoon skunked. They were bummed so went to get some more scallops instead. We also went on shore and took a walk along the beach and checked out the sheep. WE had a nice time just relaxing on deck for a few hours. I made some stuffed scallops for dinner and we watched a movie.
January 12, 2007 Fri
We sailed back today and it was cold out and raining a bit. It took us a few hours to get back and when we arrived it started raining harder. Brian and Jason went into Pihia to take back Brian's wet suit that he rented. We had a nice dinner of scallops and wine. We stayed up late talking. We are really going to miss Brian and his guitar playing!!
January 13, 2007 Sat
Brian left this morning. It rained all day super hard so we just made it a lazy day and watched movies all day and did minimal work to the boat.
January 14, 2007 Sun
It was a glorious day today after all of the dreary days we have been having. We worked a lot on the boat and I did laundry. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow so we worked as much as we could on the boat and cleaning out the van to prepare for our trip to the south island.
January 15 - 19, 2007 Mon-Fri
Not too much interesting stuff today and tomorrow. Just doctors appointment and working on the boat to get ready to leave it for over a month. We left to go to see Dr Yek in Auckland. He does a slapping technique on my back to bring the blood vessels up to the surface that are caught in the mussels. It hurt like hell and I have 3 appointments to do. On the second appointment he did some more slapping and then massaged the area and put some heat on it. The third day he just did massage and heat. Each time it is a three day process. I will need to come back in a few weeks. I will be able to after we get back from the south Island that we leave for after the auto races this weekend. We were late arriving for the Auto races and Jason was really sweet about it. We met Laura and Ross at their hotel and we all drove over together. It was so much more fun than Laura and I thought. They had mini's racing and ford cars and much more. we had a blast. After the race on Friday we went to a fish and chips place and had a quick dinner before crashing.
January 20-21, 2007 Saturday and Sunday
We had fun at the races on Saturday the minis were the first group up. The day was so fun. After the races we went to Indian food for dinner and then went to watch a double feature at the movie theatre. It was super fun. We picked them up again in the morning for the final day of racing and had a blast again. We walked around the pits that we were permitted to and then went over to their place for dinner which we grilled. We had wine and dinner and had a blast. I wish they were heading to the South Island with us tomorrow. We went to our camp sight again today to stay by the river for free. I love free. Tomorrow we will head down to Wellington.
January 22, 2007 Monday
We woke up and left right away for Wellington. It was a 5 hour drive to get down there. We arrived by 3pm and we went to the ferry to see what the procedure is for tomorrow. Then we drove around town a little before driving up to the high mountain for a view of the city and the 2 bays. It was a stunning view. It was super windy up there though. We went to Hell's Pizza to pick up a pizza so we could have pizza and a movie in the van tonight. We have an early call in the morning on the ferry.
January 23, 2007 Tuesday
We woke up on the top of the hill overlooking the city, it was really beautiful. We drove into town to go to the pharmacy to get Jason some meds for his cold and me my meds that I forgot. We then stopped at the store on the way to the ferry check in. The ferry was super nice. They showed two movies on the way over to Picton. I fell asleep during the first movie. I have been so tired lately. We decided to go on deck for the last hour of the ride. It was really beautiful coming in to the bay. We decided to drive out of town rather than stay in picton this way we would be close to Nelson in the morning.
January 24, 2007 Wed
We woke up this morning greeted by the river. It was so nice, except for all the swarming nats! We went on a hike first thing in the morning. It was pretty and we got to go over a suspension bridge which is always fun. We left to drive the rest of the way to Nelson. After we arrived, went straight to the information center to gather information on some of the hut hikes. There are so many to choose from. It costs $40 a night per person to do a hut hike so we are not sure we will do it. It only includes a dorm style bed with no bedding, and running water to fill your bottles. Nelson is a very cute town. It is a pretty big city though, bigger than I imagined. They even have a movie theatre that has vip seating in it. We had lunch at the bakery and bought a loaf of bacon and cheese bread. Jason's sandwich was awesome, my apple crumble was not so yummy. Jason dropped off his teva's at the shoe repair store and we walked around town. After we finished exploring the town we decided to go and pick berries at a farm near by. It was so fun we picked Marion berries, raspberries, and boysenberries. We ate probably as many as we picked!! We were really sad to hear from the owner that the local counsel decided to take their farm and make it a park therefore there will be no more pick your own berries going on down here. It is really sad because it is such a fun and educational experience. They will move to another area and use machines to pick the berries now. We were lucky we came this year!! We were pretty tired after picking berries and decided to go look for the place we are staying Paridiso hostel. We stopped at the store first for some ice for our milk and then were so surprised when we arrived at the hostel. It looked so small and quaint when we drove up but it was huge. They have lots of rooms. There was a big pool, hot tub, sauna, volleyball net (sand), pool table and a huge kitchen. I almost forgot they had a huge old bus on the property by the pool that was where we are to go in the evening if you want to chill and meet people. We immediately decided to skip going to the store for dinner to cook up and donned our bathing suits and planted ourselves on a lounge chair by the pool!! It was super nice to just chill and more so because the sun is high in the sky at 5pm!!! At 6pm they serve up free soup which we brought our bread out to accompany it. We decided to be lazy and just eat the Thai van that pulls in to serve up $7 pad Thai. What a mistake it was awful!! It was completely inedible. I insisted to Jason that we order hells pizza again and eat something decent tonight!! We did and as we were eating we met a girl from Denver, Colorado!! We all talked for a while and then went to change into some warmer clothes for after dark After we got off the phone with Dmitry we went into the bus to chill out for a while and have a beer. It was super funny it had comfy chairs and everyone was just chilling. We met people from all over the world. We finally called it quits at midnight. Jason went up to use the bathroom and I walked into the TV room to find the Australian Open on the TV. I watched the end of the second set before we went off to bed. chili was up two sets. <
January 25, 2007 ThusWe
January 26,2007 Friday
January 27, 2007 SatToday we went into the town of Hokitika and walked around. They were having an art contest on the beach. All the art pieces were made out of drift wood. It was pretty cool. After we took a long walk on the beach while we did a load of laundry, we went to get some ice cream and to walk around the town some. After we saw everything in town, we went back to our camp site at the beach and relaxed in the sun. At 6pm we had the Monteith's brewery tour. It was a blast!! They showed you everything on how the beer is made and then you go into the tasting room and taste all 8 of their beers. The tour guide left the room at the end and you could drink all you wanted for ten minutes after she let you pour a pint of your favorite flavor. We sat with a couple from Germany and they were nice. After the tour, they drove you over to a pub where you got a free pint of beer and all you can eat barbe. It was a fun night. We crashed at the beach at the end of the night.
January 28, 2007 SundayWe arrived in Franz Joseph in the late morning. It looked like rain so we decided to just do the hike ourselves to the Franz Joseph glacier. We put on our over pants and rain coats in case of rain and did the long hike. It turned out we had a great hike with almost no rain. We couldn't get up to the glacier though, but we got very close. We went under the danger and warning signs so we could get as close as we can get. We walked back a different way than we came and it was a bush walk. Very nice. We heard it was going to rain very hard tomorrow and it was raining tonight so we decided to stay up here and try for Monday for the tour to walk on the glacier. We watched a movie and went in the hot tub after we cooked our dinner. I love these hostels they have a huge room with several sinks, stoves and ovens as well as everything you could possibly need to cook with. There is also always a big TV room to hang out in. This one was particularly nice. They had huge bean bags that you could lay on and they have a hot tub that is open until 10. Actually, we were in it until 11pm and they never kicked us out. It felt so great on my back!
January 29, 2007 MonOnce again it is not nice out up here in Franz Josef so we decided to would do the glacier tour tomorrow. We drove over to the Fox Glacier and walked up to it. You can get much closer to this one. You can actually touch it if you like. It started pouring rain so we ran back to the van and drove back to Our Hostel Chateaux Franz Josef. I watched a movie part of the way while Jason did some work on the computer. After we finished our laundry and the internet we walked over to a bar to have a chocolate mud cake. We split it and it was delicious. We also got a free beer there from the hostel which was cool. We went back to the hostel and made dinner and watched a movie with everyone in the social room.
January 30, 2007 Tues
We did a tour that takes you on a hike on the glacier. It was through Franz Joseph and it was absolutely amazing. We had a good guide and we went through ice holes. I got my boots wet during our first crawl through an ice hole. I slide and did not catch myself in time. Jason of course used his ice shoes to so extremely slow and got minimally went. It was so incredible up there. The blue ice is super cool. After the tour we left to start heading towards Queens town. We stopped at a salmon and trout farm and picked up some smoked salmon. It was fresh water salmon and was delicious. We stopped on the side of the road and had a pick nick dinner. Spent the night on the side of the road right next to the river. It was a nice view in the town of Makaroro.
January 31, 2007
We stopped at Puzzle World on the way to Queens Town. It was really cool. They had a big maze that we worked our way through. They also showed you how Lord of the Rings did the 2 different size people in one shot. It was an illusion of course. After we finished there we left for Wanaka. ON the way we stopped at a huge orchard and tried a bunch of fruit and bought some too. We also stopped at a cherry farm and bought some cherries they are so expensive here. I was super bummed because right after we left that place we drove by a pick your own cherries place. That would have been a blast!! We spent most of the day hanging out in Wanaka. We walked around town, had lunch by the lake, and used the internet. We decided against eating our lunch right on the lake since the winds were so incredibly strong and it was cold out. We watched the kids play around with their skate boards and bikes. They were not doing too many tricks but it was fun to watch none the less. We started to drive to Queenstown after our internet experience. It was pouring down rain so we thought we might as well drive. We Spent the night in Frankton on the way to queen’s town.