Our journey in New Zealand has come to an end and sitting here in the Cook Islands it seems like it was so long ago, but then I see the blackened toenail I am about to lose and Marcin limp by and I realize it was only a few days ago. New Zealand really is a special place, it is so beautiful and there is so much to do and yet again it is one of those places we have gone to and wished we had more time. We spent 25 days in Z-Land, 13 days on the South Island, 12 days on the North Island, and 20 nights in a tent. We learned that jandals are flip flops, a chilly bin is a cooler, sunnies are sunglasses, tramp means hike (that threw us) and sweet azzz has nothing to do with your rear end.
The South Island was gorgeous, and there was just so much we were not able to do but after 13 days it was time to head to the North Island. Our Journey to the North Island started with the Inter Island Ferry from Picton to Wellington. It happens to currently be the only ferry, as the second ferry seems to have lost a propeller which is now resting peacefully at the bottom of the Tasman sea. The ride was quite nice, except for the constant under current of motion sickness I felt the entire time, Marcin fed me a steady diet of crackers and tea while I stared at the horizon. If I have learned one thing on this whole trip, is that boats and I do not mix.
Our North Island goals included another Great Walk, one called the Whanganui Journey, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (part of a Great Walk), and apart from that we had a basic framework. These particular activities we will discuss in our next blog which we will post shortly that will have a video of these and other activities.
Our Great Walk goals combined with just random things we came across led to a little bit of a North Island “Lord of the Rings Adventure”. We walked into Mordor…despite the Boromir’s assertion that “One does not simply walk into Mordor”….. climbed Mount doom and found ourselves in Hobbiton. The Hobbiton set was phenomenal and the super fans were even more entertaining, with there costumes and sheer unbridled excitement….. at pretty much everything….it was like a constant stream of the Comic Book guy from the Simpson’s. We did find out a lot of interesting things, and just how much work went into that movie set, down to picking leaves off trees just to glue more leaves on to make them look like plum trees for about a 30s shot in the movie! But I guess if I had a million Comic Book guy fans watching the movie ready to say “Actually, in Book 1, Chapter 4 it was plum trees, not peach trees..meeehhhhh.” I might go to those lengths too.
We also found ourselves travelling through many volcanic areas and we discovered rather quickly that the earth is both awesome and extremely stinky. The mud and sulphur pools were beautiful but belched forth the most potent of smells, at some points Marcin gauged, I on the other hand was not as affected, thanks in large part to my multiple concussions and subsequent reduced ability to smell. One of the few benefits of a head injury I suppose.
After meandering though the country side we finally arrived in Auckland and a hotel room. We were so wiped out from our travels that we spent most of our time in Auckland in a coma watching TV and reading. We did manage to venture out though and see some of the town and learn a little bit. Auckland is built on something like 55 Volcano’s and NO they are not all extinct…pause with me a moment and process this…..not a volcano, 55 volcano’s……I mean who does this…did Pompeii not teach anyone anything. Then they say oh ya but the last one to erupt was Rangitoto about 600 years ago – it has only happened 19 times in the last 20 000 years…… but if you ask us, thats 19 times to many to go building my house there.
Our next blog will which we will post shortly has some footage of the things we have done and a bit more info about them. As always Marcin and I have developed our Top 10.
Top 10 Things we learned in New Zealand.
1. There are NO straight roads in New Zealand
2. Road maintenance consists of spreading a little tar, sprinkling a little stone, and then just letting it settle.
3. When you have a population of 4 million people, apparently bridges with 2 lanes are entirely unnecessary
4. New Zealander’s clearly get bored easily…bungy jumping, the ever questionable zorbing and the whole building cities on Volcano’s thing
5. It is actually possible to become part of a tourist attraction
6. Volcano’s and Marcin after he eats cheese……smells eerily similar….
7. Kiwi’s not just a fruit and people….also a bird…big butt, little wings…not a good combo for a bird.
8. Perfectly acceptable to walk your entire herd of animals along a highway
9. When a Kiwi says…Sweeet Azzz they are not telling you your rump is nice….they are saying Sweet As… they need to rethink the pronunciation of this
10. When you have an Island in the Middle on nowhere, you can pretty much charge anything you want for a tourist attraction.