from where I left off...
30.03.2011 - 05.04.2011 19 °C
Since leaving Queenstown we have been slowly making our way back up to Auckland, and we went right down south and right out east as well. We went on what the Kiwi Experience call the 'Bottom Bus' which is a bus from Queenstown through to Dunedin then to Invercargill and then to Milford Sound and back to Queenstown. To be honest the trip was a bit rubbish... Dunedin wasnt as nice as the other cities in New Zealand and we had to stay in a tiny, smelly dorm with 10 other people so that wasnt brilliant either. We went on a Brewery Tour of Speights Brewery which was actually pretty good and we got a few free beers at the end too. In the hostel, in the dorm we were with people who kept turning the light on in the middle of the night, and to add to it, when we got on the bus the next morning, one of the boys there had nicked James' snorkel that he had got from Australia with the Cairns Dive Center Badge on it :/ The bus driver of the bottom bus insisted that we all get off the bus every 5 minutes to look at something not very worth while (like a tiny river called the Niagra Falls) and we stopped in each stop for so long that we didnt reach an overnight stop untill at least half 7 which meant we couldnt actually see the city. Invercargill was a ghost town, we were there on a Saturday night and no one was to be seen; there wasnt a car on the road. The city looked nice though, everything was shut when we got there but it would have been nice to spend a bit longer there if we had the time. On the last day we went to Milford Sound on a cruise which was really nice, there had been a lot of rain in the morning so when we were looking around, there were waterfalls and streams everywhere.
The Next Day we left Queenstown and went to Kaikoura. This was one of my favourite places in New Zealand! It's such a small town, right on the coast and does trips for Whale Watching and Dolphin Swimming. Considering we had already been swimming with dolphins, we decided to try Whale watching. It was a 3 hour trip and we went right out into the ocean and immediatly spotted a huge Sperm Whale. We could only see the top of its head (and even that was enormous!) but after its taken in all the air it needs to, it goes back to the bottom of the ocean for 45 minutes and to get down, it lifts it tail in the air and drops straight. The tail was huge! I got some brilliant photos of it though. Whilst the whale was underwater the boat went to find dolphins and when we found them it was incredible! There were about 300 of them in a pod (but there can be up to 1000) and everywhere you looked in the water they were swimming all around, jumping in the air or swimming underneath the boat. When we go back to Kaikoura, I am deffinatly going to go swimming with them again. We stayed in the Dusky Lodge in Kaikoura and it was quite nice. The only problem was that they had no tin opener, which meant that for tea, Beans on toast (which has become one of our very standard backpacker meals) james and I spent a good hour hacking away at a can on beans with a carving knife and a spoon.
From Kaikoura we got the ferry over to Wellington again, and decided to go to the cinema again. We went to see Hall Pass which was very funny, and we managed to get students tickets so it wasnt too expensive. From Wellington we came up to Taupo and from there we started the ''East As'' Pass which is a bus pass round the east coast of the north island. We were warned that for the entirety of this pass we would have to pay in cash because there would be no cash machines, and also to make any last phone calls because there would be no signal either. The east was pretty awesome though. We went to Gisbourne to begin with and staying in 'Dive Tatapouri' which is just outside Gisbourne and right on the beach. We spent the afternoon surfing the huge waves there. Two other options there were Sting Ray Feeding and Shark Cave Diving (both a little out of our budget but looked pretty cool.) I was a little nervous though when I realised the beach we were surfing on was the same beach that they did both of these activities on, I was praying to not encounter either.
We next went from Gisbourne to Rangatukia and on the way stopped off at a Marae, which is an ancient traditional Maori town hall type thing. We had to be invited in by the leader and then we had to sing a song to show we were thankfull so our bus driver taught us a Maori song called 'Kare kare Ana.' The song is pretty sad though, it's about a boy who is brought up without his mother and then falls in love with the sister he didnt realise he had, then she gets killed trying to cross the river to him. In Rangatukia we did bone carving too, where you can make your own necklace out of a cow's bone. They give you drills and tell you where to carve and they turned out pretty good. Our last day on the East as pass we went to Te Kaha. We stayed in a homestead there but it was raining really badly so we couldnt go down to the beach. Apparently they see a lot of Killer Whales there because the whales are coming after the sting rays that hide in the rocks. The film 'Whale Rider' was filmed there.
Now we are back in Roturoa and tomorrow we head for Auckland. Our parents are both coming out on Friday so Im really looking forward to that!
Love Aliss xoxo