North Island

27.February 2015 - Taupo

After Golden Bay I went back to Nelson, where I started my journey. I did a bonecarving workshop there, which was a lot of fun. The symbol I made was the koru, which stands for new beginning. Then I was planning on going paragliding, but every day I called, there was "too much wind from the mountains". In the end I stayed 11 days in Nelson, waiting till I could do paragliding. It was a lot of fun, a strange feeling just running of a mountain and then suddenly flying. I was a bit disappointed by the company though, it was two persons, the tandem paraglider and his assistant, who drove down the car. They made you feel like one of thousand customers. In Nelson I got to know a few people from the hostel and we drove to Nelson Lakes National Park and did a walk there and also for a daytrip to Abel Tasman National Park. After Nelson I went back to Kaikoura, because I wanted to do some Dolphin Swimming. This time it worked out at last, but it was at 5:30 in the moring and I got very very seasick. Still I enjoyed it a lot. Directly after that I packed my stuff and went to Picton. I met up with a girl from the bus and we made a little walk, where we could see Picton from above. She is from the Phillipines and it was very interesting to hear about the life there. We have it really good in Europe. The next day I took the ferry to Wellington. It was such a change beeing in Wellington, because all the towns in the South Island are so small, it felt a bit like home to be in a big city again, I really enjoyed my stay there. I was at a big hostel too, which I really enjoyed for a change. My roommates were nice and the hostel had so many facilities! A sandwich maker, a hairdryer, some lifts and everything you could whish for in a hostel. I met up with a girl from Nelson and we did a lot of stuff there. One day we went to Te Papa, a gigantic museum, which is free. We stayed about 5 hours, but only because we went through faster in the end. It was really really good. There was a part about earthquakes and the beginning of New Zealand. It even had a earthquake simulator, it felt really strange, imagining that the earth is moving underneath you. There was parts about the animals from New Zealand and the Maori culture. The next day we took the Cable Car up and then drove to Zealandia, a sanctuary. It was really good as well, we came just in time for a tour and we saw all kinds of birds. The kaka, red-crowned parakeet and others, I forgot the names now. It was cool, because normally you don't get to see them so well, but there you just walked around and suddenly they turned up. They keep Zealandia free of predetors like stoats, rats, possums etc, because this is a big problem in New Zealand. They are a great danger to the wildlife. Afterwoulds we went to an observatory and learned about the universe, I thought it was quite interesting. Then we made our way back through the Botanical Garden, which was beautiful. After Wellington I went to Napier, which is a lovely town. It has palm trees and everything is in the Art Deco style. Because I came at the Art Deco weekend, it was hard to get accomodation. In the end I landed in my first hostel, which I didn't like at all. It was all old and broken and we found bed bugs so I ended up sleeping on a matresse on the floor. I only stayed one day and went to Gisborne then. Over there I dind't do much. It was quite an empty city. There were only two hostels and my one wasn't even full. We lay on the beach and watched television, there wasn't much to do over there. Then I went to Rotorua, which has a very bad smell. It smells like bad eggs because of all the thermal activity. I got headaches from it, in the end you got at bit used to it. In Rotorua there is a lot to do. I went to a Maori evening, where they showed their traditional dances (Haka) and we had a traditional Maori dinner (Hangi). It was delicious and very interesting. They bury the food under the ground for a few hours before it gets served. The next day me and two others went to Waitomo Caves. We did cave tubing there. This means, we got a tube and floated though the water and saw glowwormes. We also jumped down small waterfalls. The next day we went to a park, where you could see the thermal activity. They had hot springs with boiling water in different colours, like red and yellow. I was really lucky with the hostel. It was the cheapest one I stayed in so far and it was on-suite and didn't have bunk beds. My room was in a different part than the rest and it was like a shared flat again. They also gave massive deals for the activities. Sadly the weather was changing all the time. The last two days I went out without jacket, because it was so warm. Then, when I was far away from the hostel, it got very cold and even started raining. Now I have a flu and lie in bed nearly all the time. I travelled to Taupo, where I was gonna meet up with a girl from Nelson and we were going to do the Tongariro Crossing, a daywalk over vulcanos. Sadly I don't know, if I feel fit enough, but I wanted to do this walk for month, because you don't really get the opportunity at home to do that. I will have to wait and see. It is amazing how time flies, I have only three weeks left in New Zealand. In this time I want to go up to Coromandel and the very top, Bay of Islands. I also wanted to surf, but I think I might have to stay longer in Taupo because of the flu, so I don't know if I can do that. See you soon, Barbara :)