The Last Leg of New Zealand

Trip Start Jun 22, 2010
Trip End Aug 24, 2010

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hi All,

Done alot of driving since we last spoke trying to get back to Auckland in time for our next flight, to Fiji.

After a long sleep in, in Dunedin, we headed off to the Otago Penninsula for a day of exploring and nature spotting. Using the trusty lonely planet guide, we headed to the beaches which are supposed to be the best for spotting nature! The first beach was called Sandfly Bay, which was a short, but very steep and very sandy walk from the car park.

We made it down, without breaking our ankles, and in the distance we spotted something. At this point it was either a log or a sea-lion. We walked on to investigate, and discovered it was a huge sea-lion. 250kg I reckon. Apparently, they can still shift if you disturb them, but we still went in for a closer look. He didn't seem too bothered by us being there, and we were able to get some good photos of us sneaking up on him.

We walked further down the beach to find even more sea-lions and Amy took a particular liking to a female one. She got really close, to the point where it flashed her its teeth, and roared!

We hiked it back up the hill and off to the next beach. After visiting some of the other beaches we headed to Pilot's beach which is supposed to be home to loads of penguins. Unfortunately, winter is the time you're least likely to see them, but we're sure we heard one rustling about in the bushes. Over the fence we could also see a small group of seals!

The next day we set off on the long drive up the east coast, to Kaikoura. It was a pretty uneventful drive, to what turned out to be a pretty uneventful place. We had planned to have a day  cray-fishing the next day, but due to the none stop rain and 4 metre swell, we decided against it. Insteaded we pushed on up to Picton, where you get the ferry from, and stayed there the night. On the way to Picton we passed a couple of rocky beaches, which were covered in loads of seals, including 'baby ones', which Amy was very pleased about. We got really close to them and got some good photos again!

Got to Picton, and spent the rest of the day chilling out. We got up early to get the ferry the next morning, only to find out it had been cancelled...balls. This was due to the severe weather conditions in the notoriously rough cook strait. We waited 4 hours for the next ferry, which wasn't cancelled, but which probably should have been due to the 8-10 metre swell. Managing to hold down our fish and chips we arrived into Wellington alot later than planned, and to stick to schedule (and avoid another night in stinky Wellington) we had to a 6 hour drive north to stinky Rotorua.

We decided to head back there, as Amy and I both really liked it, and we felt there was quite a bit we hadn't done last time we passed through. Got there very late and headed straight to bed. We woke up the next morning with every intention of going zorbing. This is a New Zealand invention, where you roll down a hill in a giant inflatable ball. We got there, and to say I was disappointed doesn't come close. The hill was so small, it was more of a mound. So, we didn't bother! Instead, we went luging again. We did it in Queenstown, but this one was sooooo much better. There were three tracks which were about 2km long and wound their way down the mountain. We both felt 8 years old again!

After, we went for a long walk round the redwood forests outside Rotorua, which was really nice and worked up appetite for dinner!

This morning left Rotorua and headed to the Waitomo Caves (yes, we've been there before too). Last time was very subdude, as we walked through the caves. This time was completely different. We were dressed from had to toe in wet-suit and headed off for some Black Water Rafting. This is very similar to white water rafting, but the river that you go down is....wait for a long system of underground caves!!! Everyone gets given a large rubber ring and the idea is you float down the underground rivers and streams and walk through the caves and caverns. It was so much fun and like nothing we'd ever done before.

After, we headed to Auckland and checked in to our last hostel in New Zealand! Planning on exploring a bit tomorrow and sorting out any bits for Fiji, including digging out our bikinis and swim-shorts!

Hope all is well at home and we'll update you again soon!!

Amy and Nick xx

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Ben on

Nick, I can't wait to see a photo of you in a bikini! How did you enjoy NZ then? Sounds like you have had an amazing time. Enjoy Fiji!!

Mum, Dad, Nana and Grandma on

Yet again your adventures had us all ooohing and aaahing! Wet day here today but we are all well. Enjoy the rest of your stay in NZ and here's hoping you have plenty of heat and sunshine in Fiji. Love from all in Grayan xxx

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