A Travellerspoint blog

Wellington and North of the South

overcast 18 °C
View Rob and Jo's Adventures on rob_harvs's travel map.

So we left Taupo and headed south to Tongariro National park. There are 3 huge volcanos which dominate the scenery, the last of which errupted in 1995! it was the one that was used for Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings! it didn't explode when we were there though.SDC11051.jpg We did some walking around the parkSDC11060.jpg and then drove down to Palmerston North. We got there in time for the friday Waitangi festival (a public holiday celebrating the treaty of Waitangi) it was alright, various local things for local people and fast food etc haha but bit of a different day! we then drove on down towards wellington and arrived on the saturday.SDC11082.jpg It was pretty busy down there for the rugby 7s so plenty of good fancy dress happening! and England beat NZ in the final so alot of unhappy kiwis at the end of the day haha. Wellington is a nice city though we walked around it on the sunday and headed to the free national museum Te Papa,SDC11088.jpg where they have the only Colossal Sqiud on display...its HUGE!!SDC11089.jpg there was all sorts of chinese new year things kicking off so seemed to be a good time to be in town! On monday morning we were up early and drove down to the ferry port for the 3 hour boat to Picton on the South island.SDC11094.jpg As we came through the Queen Charlotte sound on the ferry the scenery was amazing, like the mountains you imagine when you hear new zealand.SDC11105.jpg We spent the day in picton, doing a few short walks round the countryside there. On tuesday we drove the 30k to Blenhiem (Blenum) where the Marlborough wine region is just a short cycle away! So yesterday we hired a TANDEM bikeSDC11128.jpg, haha idiots, and spent the day cycling round the vineyards sampling the FREE wine!! and obliging ourselves to buy nothing haha. Happy days. well until we got back and our bums and legs were killing us. We cycled over 30Km in the day!! anyway today we are heading back up to Marlborough sounds for some more spectacular scenery!

Love Rob + Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 13:57 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Next stop 15,000 ft

semi-overcast 20 °C
View Rob and Jo's Adventures on rob_harvs's travel map.

We lazed around for another day in Rotorua in the hot pools and the swimming pool at the camp site and set off for Taupo the next morning. We went to the i-site which is like a tourist information palce and i booked on for my skydive for Tuesday 3rd!! that day we headed up to the Taupo bungy and watched for a while. neither of us fancied it especially after forking out a load for the skydive...so we left the car there and walked up to the thermal spa park up the road with hot streams and pools. We had a bit of a paddle and followed the walk on for an hour to Huka rapids and water fall!SDC10970.jpgSDC10966.jpgwe stood there hypnotized for a while then headed back on the track to the bungy. We stayed in Taupos free campsite that night (no facilities except chemical toilets haha) which was a nice break for the VISA card! Monday we had a bit of a lazy day where we took another boat ride to see some Maori rock art,SDC10989.jpgSDC10996.jpg we ended up getting a private charter since no other people had booked!! and Tuesday was the day!! i woke up around 7 to thick cloud and thought the jump was going to be cancelled but by 1pm when they picked me up the cloud had broken up nicely! We got there and went through all the safety stuff while Jo chilled out with other non-jumpers and took photos of me looking a bit nervous! I had to wait a while for the delayed loads (because of the cloud) went up and jumped but then it was my turn and in the little yellow plane and up we went on the 25min journey to 15,000 ft! i was first out the door after the solo sport jumper IMG_1749.jpg a little lean back in to the plane then WOOSH out we went! IMG_9697.jpg its hard to describe the feeling but you don't feel that feeling of dropping you just notice the speed! 200km/h MINIMUM!IMG_9714.jpg IMG_9705.jpg we plummeted back to earth for over a minute doing spins and turns and holding on to the camera man, but it only seemed like 10 seconds! Through the cloud cover IMG_9720.jpg and to the view below! IMG_9727.jpg At 5000ft we pulled the shute and it opened!!!IMG_9734.jpg From there i took the chords and did some turns and directed us down towards the airport before allen took them back and landed us safely on the X. AMAZING! Still trying to convince Jo to do it but i have my work cut out! SDC11017.jpgSDC11031.jpg

We have booked our ferry to south island for next week so more reports to come soon!

Speak to you soon! Love Rob and Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 15:32 Archived in New Zealand Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Islands and Rotten-rua

semi-overcast 19 °C
View Rob and Jo's Adventures on rob_harvs's travel map.

So Jo jumped off the sky tower!!SDC10723.jpg SDC10738.jpg hahaha only joking Gail dont panic its her body double! After another day in Auckland SDC10703.jpg we headed north to the bay of islands, and a little town called Paihia (pie-here). We wasted no time and booked ourselves on to a boat to sail round the islands the following day!SDC10742.jpg We started at 10am and sailed out in to the bay, it reminded us of the whitsundays but instead of turtles we had penguins and instead of beaches we had cliffs and rock formations!SDC10749.jpg SDC10760.jpgSDC10763.jpgSDC10769.jpgThe trip was brilliant, we anchored up at a nice beach cove for lunch and then me and jo headed out in the kayaks to explore the rocks nearby, getting pushed through the gullys in the rocks by the waves was good fun! After lunch we headed back accross the bay to the black rocks (similar to the giants causway) and to try and catch some fish off the back of the boat. We caught nothing but the ganetts diving in around us seemed to be doing much better! We got back to town around 5.30 and headed back to the campsite for tea and to chill out by the beach (we were parked on it:) ) The next day was my birthday!!! woooo. I pretty much forgot to be honest haha...we headed in to town and hired a couple of kayaks for a few hours. we headed out across the bay to the town opposite, Russell. Russell was the first settlement of europeans in NZ and was lablled by dawin as the "hell hole of the south" thanks to the whalers and their drinking and debauchery! haha its alot nicer now though with loads of little cafes and restaurants and blue rinses haha. we ate our picnic on the beach there and carried on in a loop round the bay. On the evening we went out to a resaurant which was pretty average and headed out for a few drinks! we met a scottish couple and a few drinks turned in to many! The scottish couple gave us a voucher they won at the bar we were in for 2 for 1 parasailing which they couldn't use. So the next day we thought that NZ's highest parasail at 1200ft would cure the hangover!SDC10788.jpg it did.SDC10790.jpg It was a good view up there and alot calmer than you would think!SDC10821.jpgSDC10811.jpgSDC10819.jpg That afternoon we left the bay of islands and headed back to auckland for a night stop over and then we drove on to Waitomo to the glow worm caves.SDC10834.jpgSDC10830.jpgSDC10829.jpg The caves are similar to the ones we saw in Australia but they have a huge population of glow worms in the lower caves because of the river flowing through. It was pretty amazing! there were over 6 thousand of them lighting the roof of the cave, we floated through on a boat to get a better view of them.Waikato_07T_L.jpg On thursday we drove over to our current location Rotorua, or "rotten-rua" as it is also known thanks to the volcanic fields and the hydrogen sulphide they give off giving the town a healthy rotten egg smell! We chilled out in the thermal hot pools and the swimming pool for the rest of the day ready for an early morning yesterday. We got up and drove south a few K to a volcanic field where we managed to see a geyser erruptSDC10854.jpg and various other volcanic features like boiling mud pools.SDC10897.jpgSDC10884.jpgSDC10875.jpgSDC10870.jpg it was all very interesting and very smelly! Last night we booked ourselves on to a maori culture thing. We were picked up and taken to a maori village out side of town where a cheif from our group was selected and made to face the traditional challenge of the maori warriors!SDC10930.jpgSDC10925.jpg it was brilliant!! they managed to scare Jo so pretty authentic i rekon! we were accepted in to the village where we walked around and the guys told us about their tattoos and how the dye was originally made from dog poo!! and about their cooking etc. They then performed various maori dances and chants like the Haka, before we went to the main house for our "hangi" which is a feast cooked in a traditional earth oven. it was a really good night!!


Thats all folks

Lots of love Rob and Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxxx (more pics to come soon!!)

Posted by rob_harvs 15:36 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Cities and Scenery

semi-overcast 24 °C

We left Byron Bay and drove to the half way point between there and Sydney, Port McQuarie. The lonely planet bigged it up as a beautiful holiday destination and all that but it turned out it was a bit crap! so 1 night was all we stayed and we drove on, catching the western suburbs of sydney (obviously getting lost there because road signing in australia seems to be optional) and making our way out west of sydney to Katoomba and the Blue Mountains. The first thing we noticed was the FLIES!! millions of them! we had heard of the fly plague that hits Aus every year but we had no idea it was like that...they only seem interested in your mouth, eyes, ears and nose, and they are so persistant! really needed a swinging corks hat!! We had a walk round from the camp site to the mountain railway/cable car and for a view of the famous 3 sisters SDC10514_JPG.jpg We decided that it would be more fun to take the worlds steepest railway DOWN the mountain! SDC10518_JPG.jpg and the cable car back up to the top. At the bottom is an old coal mine where Jo conquered her fears and sat on a pit pony!!SDC10523_JPG.jpg In the afternoon we drove further in to the mountains to the Jenolan Caves. They are the most extensive limestone cave formations in the world apparently and were definitely worth the visit...pretty spectacular!SDC10570_JPG.jpg On the saturaday we left Katoomba and drove in to sydney. We had arranged to stay with Steve (Steve worked for my dad when he was travelling and so was happy to return the favour) and his fiance Danica in Bronte near bondi beach. We saw all the sights of Sydney on the Sunday, the harbour bridge SDC10583_JPG.jpg and we did a tour round the opera house.SDC10578_JPG.jpgSDC10585_JPG.jpgSDC10622_JPG.jpg Later in the afternoon we took a ferry through sydney harbour over to manly and spent a few hours over there. In the evening Jo met up with one of her friends from home, katie, who is over living down the road from steve, for a BBQ and a few drinks!SDC10640_JPG.jpg I met them after they had chance to gossip and drink a bottle of wine haha!SDC10641_JPG.jpg Good night though but the next day we felt a bit rough! This was the day we had to clean out the camper van...well i did while Jo slept off her hangover! It took ages! amazing the amount of crap you can aquire in 6 weeks! In the evening i made my debut in the AFL for steves local Aussie Rules team...it was only touch but apparently the Pommie was f***ing good haha?! we lost by 3 points though so not that good haha! :(
We left the camper off in sydney centre, after 4000Km in Aus, without dramas on the tuesday and met Katie agian to walk along the coast to bondi beach and back in the afternoon.
Wednesday we were up at 4am to get our flight to New Zealand...and at around 12.30 we arrived in Auckland! The campervan guy met us at the airport and drove us over the road to collect it! its a great big thing...much better equipped than the one in Aus and much more space!SDC10740.jpg i prefer this one and it is way cheaper!! happy days!
Yesterday we walked round downtown Auckland and went on a cruise round the harbour and today we are going up the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere! (Jo might jump off it!! with some peer pressure! haha)

Thats all for now!

Speak to you soon, Love Rob + Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 16:34 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

New Year etc....

(sorry no photos at the minute having technical difficulties)

sunny 34 °C

Well after airlie beach we had a LONG drive down to 1770 (yes thats the name of the town) it took us about 9 hours!! where we met up with Cat (my step sister) and her boyfriend tim. We spent the next morning in 1770 but the weather was rubbish and there was no surf...since that is all there is to do there we headed south to Bundaberg. Home to the alcoholic rum drinking polar bear that is the mascott of bundaberg rum! its not a real bear. the weather was still crap and we didn't really want to pay for a tour so we ditched the distillery pretty sharpish and headed to the camp site. Cat and Tim splashed out on a cabin that had a real life oven and tv so me and Jo were set! we made oven chips and played cards and drank beer...good times!
The day after we headed in convoy down to the jump off town for Fraser Island, Hervey Bay. (read about fraser island here FIRST) Cat and Tim had kindly organised a 3day 2 night 4 wheel driving/camping trip to the island for new year! So that afternoon we had our 4wd and fraser preparation video and talk....so boring, ha.
The next day the fun started! we arrived early at the rental place and got hold of "Deloris" the landrover defender (named by Jo because she was akward and tempermental like a woman apparently??!!)SDC10301.jpg we learnt this in the 1st 5mins when we struggled to engage reverse in the stupidly modified automatic gear box....in a 4wd...an automatic...what were they thinking?! anyway we packed her up and headed off to the ferry to the island which took around 40mins.SDC10309.jpg We started well on wildlife with dolphins and turtles swimming near the boat! the 1st road (which we later learned was the best on the island) was VERY bumpy and we started to hope it wasn't all going to be like this...haha! it took us mmmm around an hour before we got stuck in the sand and some 4wd pros behind us kindly pulled us out with their tow.SDC10344.jpg After another hour the ridiculous roads had broken 4 bottles of beer and all 12 of our eggs, ah how naieve were we??!! very! it wasn't much longer before the bbq sauce went and the mangos exploded! our 1st stop was lake birrabeen which was amazing.SDC10330.jpg Crystal clear blue water and bright white sand beaches, so good to swim in after the dramas of the 1st hour! we then headed to another lake then out to 75mile beach (the motorway)SDC10348.jpg where we drove about 20k and found a camp site while it was still light enough to cook! the next day was new years eve and we were all awake around 5am because of the sun on the tents.SDC10354.jpg we drove up the beach to the north of the island before the tide came in and cut us off, stopping once to fill up the water bottles in a resort half way. We reached indian heads, a headland at the top of the island key to the islands formation, and true to form got bogged in the sand. by this time it was 8.30am and around 35 degrees C. Again we asked some pros when we failed to help ourselves and learnt that the hire company had told us to keep our tire pressure far too high to limit us to certain parts of the island! By the time we got out of the sand and to the top of the headland look out it was about 40 degrees where it stayed all day!SDC10372.jpg it was then that Tim asked Cat where his wallet was and she said "oh i left it on the tap where we filled up the water" but by then the tide was in and there was no going back! the view up there was good but hard to enjoy in the heat so we headed straight to the champangne pools, huge rock pools (shark and stinger free) that were SO good to swim in! On the way back Deloris decided she had had enough and pretty much packed in right there on the beach so we had to call out the mechanics! we waited around for them and after deciding it was a gonner we swapped in to their defender "derek" a manual!!SDC10388.jpg he was all about business! we drove down and picked up tims wallet (lucky for cat) and set up camp. We drove up to Eli creek and swam in the brilliant cold fresh water after a hectic day! SDC10383.jpg
We had our new years meal, sausage pasta, and started a few drinks that carried on til 12:05 then we all collapsed in to our tents and slept for at most 5 hours until the sun was on the tents again! Eli creek was our first stop again and then we drove through to lake wabbi and then the famous lake McKensie. Then we headed back to the ferry and back to the mainland for the BEST shower ever!
We left Hervey bay the next day bound for Noosa heads...really nice place but a little upmarket for our travelling budgets so we only stayed the one night, the weather was also rubbish so no beach time either! We went further south again with cat and tim to Caloundra where we were very kindly invited to a family friend of tims' BBQ and we were given a bed for the night aswell!!
We stayed in caloundra at a campsite the next couple of nights and went out to steve irwins australia zoo and the glass house mountains that gave some pretty spectacular views.
After caloundra we travelled to brisbane and stayed a couple of nights with the irish guys we met at christmas...there isn't alot to do in brisbane so we pretty much found the sofa and the dvd player haha! after the mandatory shopping in the centre of town obviously!
Surfers Paradise was the next stop below brisbane on the Gold Coast. It is busy busy there...it's like florida in Australia with loads of theme parks and stuff and the Chavs that go with it haha! we didn't do the parks but had a bit of beach time (surf time for me) and we also drove out to tamborine mountain to the glow worm caves which was cool.
From surfers we came HERE! to Byron Bay...we have been here for 3days just chilling out!SDC10489_JPG.jpgSDC10500_JPG.jpgSDC10476.jpgSDC10495_JPG.jpg we were out last night with some canadian girls staying on the spot next to us in the camp site which was a good laugh, and also got another place to stay in Vancouver!! can't hurt can it!

So you must be sick of reading! ill try and sort the pics out soon!!!

Lots of love Rob + JO xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 02:24 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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