Wellington, Napier and Taupo

Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
Trip End Feb 18, 2007

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Sunday, February 5, 2006

We arrive back in Wellington to find a carnival like atmosphere. The Rugby Sevens competition is on, and the streets are filled with people from all over the world, many dressed up in fancy dress. People are singing in the streets, the cafes are full, the bars are full, and the hostels are definitely full! Just as well we booked in advance.

This time we proceed to do all the touristy things that we didn't do when we came to Wellington last time. Making visiting the Te Papa Museum a priority, which has an interesting section on the Maori culture. After this, we took the red cable car up to the top of the botanical gardens, and fitted in a climb up Mt Victoria, for a great view over the city and harbour.

In the evenings, we meet up with a friend who we know from Vietnam (Andy), and some of his friends, three from the UK and one Australian. Two of the guys are from Newcastle and have a wicked sense of humour. They have us all in stitches every night, as we make our way through a crate of beer in the hostel, before heading out on the town.
Oh my god!, I forgot to mention this earlier but something really freaky has happened. Wait for it! Wait for it! Wait for it!........
Patty has started to drink beer!! She's gone from absolutely hating the stuff back in Europe, to drinking it every time we go out. Marc thinks this is the best effect that being a backpacker has had on Patricia.

On our final night in Wellington, we also meet up with a kiwi friend who we know from London(Vonny). We drag her along to experience the delights of backpacker life, i.e. sitting around the hostel lounge getting drunk on supermarket booze, before heading out to the carnival atmosphere, fired up by the thousands of Rugby fans that are around. One of the Gordies classic lines to Vonny was that her house must be pretty shit if she's living in a youth hostel :)

We don't think our liver can take any more pounding in Wellington, so we head up for a rest in the seaside art-deco city of Napier. We dig a cheap hostel out of the guide book which is described as a converted prison. Now, we were expecting to find the shell of a prison which had been renovated and turned into a backpacker hostel.
Nah, it can't be that simple can it, not when you're backpacking. So what we found is a closed down prison which simply had the cell like beds taken out and replaced with a bunk. We literally slept in a cell, with a tiny glassless window at the top which was still blocked by the original steel bars. The cell was full of every insect imaginable and there were spider webs the size of basketball nets in every corner.
When entering and leaving our cell, the unnerving clang of the steel door slamming shut, echoed down the shiny hall, making us think deeply about what it must be like to really do time in a prison. Overall, this is probably going to top the list as the worst accommodation since we started our trip back in August.

After we were "released" from Napier Prision, we head off to Taupo.

Taupo is a town on the side of Lake Taupo, which is New Zealand's largest lake.
It is actually a crater caused by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the past 5000 years. So big that there are reports that the effects of the eruption were seen as far away as Europe.

It's a nice town to spend a few days relaxing, but the real reason that we are here is to prepare for the Tongariro Crossing, the most famous 1 day walk in New Zealand.
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