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Trip Start Jun 30, 2004
51Trip End Feb 14, 2005
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Went and saw some more hot springs about 5 minutes out of Taupo. This lot were under the name of 'Craters of the Moon'. There was a lot more information at this place explaining about the hot springs, geysers etc etc. This one mud pool was actually just a boiling hot puddle of mud as opposed to the other ones I've seen where there are just bubbles of mud spitting out of the ground. Also walked across a mountain. That's right!! A mountain. So, I was dragged (again) into doing the final walk of New Zealand. Just below Taupo (nearly 2 hrs away) is the Tongariro National Park with Mt Tongariro amongst the scenery. At first, I wasn't really in the mood to do it, but it was absolutely brill. This was where they filmed all the Mordor scenes from Lord of the Rings. We walked across barren rock for ages, before climbing the side of the mountain, across the top (covered in snow, knee deep in places) across another part with the red crater (looked awesome), and then down through some rainforest. At the end, my feet were completely fecked and pleading for mercy. The walk was a 8 hr trek. I think I managed it in just under 7 hrs, but at the end, I wanted to die. Did sleep in the van on the way back. The only bummer being I had Mark yacking in my ear the whole way through, before he did the last hour on his own. I think I just wanted peace and quiet. Plus the fact that he got me in the plums with a lucky snowball shot, made certain he wouldn't be getting a Chrimbo card. Idiot!!
Made a brief stop in Rotorua again as Ulli went on some Forestry tour, before we headed off to Matamata. This is only a little town, but it was where they filmed all of the Hobbiton scenes from Lord of the Rings (i won't mention it again...). Since the film's inception, the whole town has marketed itself around it. Its weird. Anyway, we were to late for the tour that night. Driving around, looking for somewhere to sleep. We pitched on the side of a road somewhere, but this old guy came along and said we could pitch in his farm and use his bathroom/shower. Excellent!! The girls were ecstatic as they were were up close with all the guys cows/pigs etc, like they had never seen any before (despite us having to pull over to take pics every 5 mins throughout the whole trip). Don't they have farm life in Germany? It was really cool of him and confirmed New Zealand as one of the friendliest places ever.
The next day, I boycotted the Hobbiton tour, as I thought it was overpriced, but the girls went, and took lots of pics, which will go up eventually.
And so now in Auckland. Straight away, I went back into a hostel, as the thought of staying with the guys for my few remaining days was too much. Even though we were no longer all together in the van, there were still arguments every time we meet up. The van was sold to an israelie couple for $3,300.00, making a $800 profit. We all shook hands, saying it was cool to travel with everyone etc etc, but I'm very glad to be back on my own. For anyone dubious of travelling on your own? Don't be. Everyone else seems to be doing the same and people are friendly enough. I've been hanging out with people in hostels. Went out for a few beers with a group of scottish lads, who had the women round them due to the kilts. There all pretty cool and just chatting to the people in the hostels, internet cafes, bars etc. All's well that ends well. No regrets, but if I could have done it all again, I might have done a tour. You meet more than 3 people that way.
And so that was New Zealand. I didn't really have any ideas about this place before I came here, but it turned out to be amazing. The scenery was just too awesome for one country. The people are really friendly. People should come here, but like I said, get to the south island first, as it pee's all over the north island. Time to dig out my shorts and sun block..