Right now I’m all alone on the top of a hill in Waitomo, staring at a beautiful landscape, sitting nice and warm in the sun. I thought this would be a good time to write a blog again. So, we are on the Kiwi Experience tour for about two weeks now. And it’s been amazing so far…
On the 4th of January we flew to Auckland and spent two days there. We didn’t really do much except walking around a bit and jumping of the sky tower. Yeah, you guys heard that right. Me and Nicky were just wandering through the city when we passed the Auckland sky tower, and suddenly we were like: let’s do the Sky Walk! So we did. Together with two other guys and a guide (Leigh) we walked all around on the edge of the sky tower. Actually I’ve always been a little bit afraid of heights, and I was nervous at first, but during the walk I got more and more comfortable until I was hanging over the edge all the time (no worries mum and dad, I was safely tied to a rope). We really enjoyed the city view. There was the opportunity to do the Sky Jump as well, and I never thought I would do such a thing, but after doing the skywalk I suddenly felt like jumping. It wasn’t a real bungee, because I was upright, but still. They let you jump of a tower, have a free fall and then at the last 10 metres they slow you down so that you land safely on the ground. It was awesome!
The next destination was Bay of Islands (north of Auckland) where we’ve been for 4 nights. It’s a beautiful place. We stayed in a very nice hostel, close to the beach. It’s a bit of a shame that it was such a touristy place, and it rained most of the time that we were there, but all of that didn’t take the beauty away. One day we took a full day boat trip. The idea was, that we would see and stop at all the little islands, see dolphins and swim with them. It rained, but it was still beautiful. And we saw a group of dolphins, they were jumping out of the water, but we weren’t allowed to swim with them because they had babies and that’s when they could get aggressive to humans.
In this place we spent a lot of time with a very nice group of people: one guy from Alaska, some girls from Holland and some English people. We cooked dinner together (cheaper) and partied every night, we had such a great time. It’s very cool to meet many people along the way, all from different countries, and it’s nice to hear their travel stories. But the weird thing is, is that most people from the Kiwi Experience tour only have a very short time to travel. Some of them only have like 2 or 3 weeks to travel all around NZ. So in every place they stay for 1 night and then move on. Nicky and I are so happy that we’ve got heaps of time. I mean, those people seem to be in a rush, I wouldn’t feel like I’m on holiday if I were them. And the nice thing about having so much time, is that you can see more of the places you’re at.
One day on the Bay of Islands it rained all day long. We were in the hostel all the time until we got sick of sitting inside, so we put on our rain coats and went for a walk. Accidentally we stopped by the treaty grounds where the Maori ‘gave’ Aotearoa (NZ) to the English government. It was the place where some important Maori people signed the contract.
So after these rainy, but nice days on the Bay of Islands we got back to Auckland and stayed there for another two nights. We did an Auckland day trip (part of the Kiwi Experience) that took us to the nice places of Auckland. There is not much to do there, I think it’s a boring city, but that day was nice. We went to Mt. Eden, we walked over a bridge where we saw people bungee jumping and we visited the Auckland museum with a lot of Maori art and a subject about volcanoes. It’s a weird thought that Auckland is built on active volcanoes.
Our next destination was Hot Water Beach, a beautiful area. It’s called Hot Water Beach, because there is a spot on the beach where you can dig holes and find hot water. The water is warm (or hot) because of the heat from the volcano underneath it. If you don’t dig too deep or if you mix the hot water with water from the sea you can lay in it and pretend it’s a spa. Funny experience.
Just right after we arrived, the Kiwi group went for a walk to cathedral cove. We had to walk up and down a hill through a ‘rainforesty’ landscape, with at the end of the walk a ‘hole’ in a huge rock on a beach. This is a place where the beginning of the second movie of Narnia is filmed. I guess we are going to see many movie sets.
In Hot Water Beach we stayed in a brand new hostel, it was a luxury place. We spent 4 nights there, but almost everyone from the kiwi experience just stayed for one night. So every night there was another group. We’ve met cool people from Australia, Sweden, Seattle, Denmark, Switzerland, Chili, Germany and England. It was nice spending every night with other people, but sometimes we had such a good time with them that we wanted to travel with them, but like I said earlier, we’ve got a lot more time than the rest. We met 2 people from Australia where we had a very good time with. Together we even dyed Nicky’s hair red! But unfortunately, like all the others, they only had a few weeks to spend in New Zealand, so they moved on.
Every night in Hot Water Beach there were other people in our dorm and somehow every night our dorm had a guy with a guitar. Yay! Aren’t we lucky! (just to be clear: the guitars were interesting, not the guys) So of course I got in touch with them and we played together. God, I miss my guitar a lot, maybe I should buy a very cheap one over here... It’s just so lovely to play with others, exchanging some music and skills, jamming a bit. One night, me and a group of people went to the beach and played guitar and sang songs. Hmmm… I love it.
So apart from all that, we spent our time in Hot Water Beach at (of course) the beach, we took some walks and did some snorkelling. It was a lovely place.
Next destination: Waitomo Caves. We arrived yesterday and we’ve already been into a cave where we saw a beautiful ‘sky full of stars’. They were actually glow worms on the roof of the cave, but they looked like stars, very pretty.
We are going to stay here for 2 more nights and today is a very sunny day. I think we’re going to take a walk and do some die-hard relaxing. Sweet as.