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Leaving NZ

April 20th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (2 Comments)
We are in Auckland as I write this post and are getting ready for the off.  By the time you read this (scheduled) post we are likely to be in either Chile or Brazil – who knows!  We were unable to purchase reasonably priced flights to Fiji or The Cook Islands, because of the easter holidays, so we are left with no choice but to head straight for South America. The cheapest flights from NZ were to San Paulo via Santiago.  If we can get our bags checked out at Santiago then we won’t use the San Paulo leg.  We have to ask the nicely at the airport though.  So it will be interesting to see which country our next post is uploaded from.  The freedom eh! It is difficult to find the words to describe how much we have enjoyed our stay here in NZ, it has had everything we ever wanted and more – the landscape, the people and the outdoor experience – has to be one of the best countries in the world.  Hopefully we will return one day. Please don’t worry if you don’t see a post here for a week or more, it will take us a wee while to get acquainted with a new continent, culture etc.  As soon as we have some news to report we will upload.  Not sure what the mobile situation will be, but for now we will revert back to our global sim and we’ll have our mobile switched on at all times. I studied Spanish as a core module at uni but cannot remember jack shit and Sam is relying on me to be able to converse.  Interesting times ahead.  The iPhone has a translator , we’ll be sound!

Afscheid Danny en Janneke

April 19th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (0 Comments)
As our avid followers know we have spent the last three weeks travelling the south island and some of the north with our Dutch friends, Danny and Janneke.  We enjoyed their company so much and they provided us with endless hours of entertainment.  Sadly, all good things come to an end and we had to say our good-byes this morning.  It’s never the end, we will meet them again either in Holland or Ireland one day!  A great couple and great fun to be with with. Guys, if you happen upon this post, we wish you the very very best for the rest of your travels and thank you so much for the experiences and memories you have given us.  We hope our paths cross again soon.
De beste.
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The Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park is one of New Zealand's most spectacular tramping tracks, and is considered the most popular one-day tramp in New Zealand. The park is a World Heritage site which has the distinction of dual status, as it has been acknowledged for both its natural and cultural significance. A 17km crossing passes (roughly speaking) over the volcanic terrain of the multi-cratered active volcano Mt Tongariro, passing near to the immediately neighbouring Mt Ngauruhoe. It was just Danny, Janneke and myself on this occasion as Sam had a bad cold and wanted to rest.  The walk was hard but beautiful especially the volcanic landscape, visible volcanic activity and views of the surrounding countryside below. We decided to complete the track in the opposite direction which made it somewhat harder, actually much much harder, as 70% was uphill and steep at that.  By the end it felt like we had walked 50km, but worth every step. On a somewhat similar subject, I have just finished Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer and found it to be an exceptional read.  The story is nearly as old as the mountain itself and still rather controversial, especially here in NZ, but puts some interesting facts forward to support the claim that George Mallory did actually make it to the summit of Everest before Sir Edmund Hillary.  A great insight into this amazingly determined individual! P1050209 P1050211 P1050242 P1050245 P1050255 P1050256 P1050260 P1050261 P1050269 P1050272

Skydiving in Taupo

April 17th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (5 Comments)

Hurtling to earth from 12,000ft at 200km/h is an activity we though would never be included on our world trip, but we did it, and boy we will never regret it for a second! 

As most of you know, in a previous life I had a terrible fear of flying, to the point where I almost refused to get on a plane even for an hour jaunt from England to Ireland.  Thankfully, after a few sessions of Hypnosis I am relieved of that anxiety.  Never in a million years did I ever believe I would be able to jump from a plane and free fall from such a height.

It is worth all the hype, the 45 seconds of high-speed free fall was the most thrilling experience we have ever felt and are ever likely to feel again. It almost didn’t happen.  When we had the introduction and seen the video, I said I wasn’t doing it and that was that.  No way hosey!  Not because I was nervous at that particular point but I knew I would be when they opened the door hatch and would probably refuse to jump.  But after some persuasion from Sam I signed up and, once we handed over our cash, there was no turning back.

Surprisingly, I never felt that nervous.  I was last to board which meant I was first to jump – all I needed – and as the plane took off the tension did build a little.  Sam kept asking how I was, but I was still surprisingly calm.  I kept a watchful eye on the pressure gauge and as the needle rose my anal contractions followed.  Then a green light came on and it all happened in a flash – door opened, I shuffled an inch or two to the left until my legs were dangling, head back and we were off.  A 3–4 second period of sensory overload, no idea where you are, but then it all kicks into place and you can’t believe what you are seeing – flying like a bird.  Wow. Awesome. Incredible. 45 seconds feels like half an hour.  When they pull the parachute you glide for further 3–4 mins; take in the views while your body deals with the adrenalin rush/overload.  Before long you are touching solid ground again – some 5 mins in total.  What an experience!

Not until we were enjoying a refreshing drink did Sam tell me that she secretly arranged for me to jump first!  I feel betrayed!

Not only has this trip been the best decision we have ever made, it has changed our lives forever and probably in ways we will never know.  We see and act differently without knowing.  I suppose this is the ‘enrichment’ everybody keeps talking about.  I would never have done this jump 12–months ago that’s for sure!  This was a real high for us both and we savoured every minute. 

Wait until you see the video, I’m like a lunatic in the air while Sam is as quite as a mouse.  We’d do it again tomorrow.  Oh, and we have the t-shirts .

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Abel Tasman National Park

April 16th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (2 Comments)

Parade past golden-sand beaches, rocky outcrops and turquoise inlets, by foot or by kayak (Lonely Planet).

We did both. We hired a sea kayak on the first day for a half day and explored a section of the coastline, nothing to strenuous just drifting from island to island.  We were lucky enough to spot a colony of seals, two in fact, and it was great being able to get up close with the kayak.  They weren’t at all scared, just played among themselves – a magical experience.

On the second day we went for a walk along the famous Able Tasman Coast Track which stretches 51km.  We only lasted an hour or so before the heavens opened and we had to retreat.  None of us wanted a strenuous walk so when the rain came it was a welcome excuse to head back.

For us, the national park is stunningly beautiful and well worth a visit.  Its most striking feature are the golden sand beaches, they are incredible.  Sadly, we have no pictures that do them justice.  When you stand on a cliff edge and look across a bay it is truly beautiful – hard to take good (or any) pictures in the rain.  We also spotted a bird native to this area of NZ, the name escapes me but I’m sure you bird lovers will be able to remind us – not a particularly beautiful looking bird at that!

A relaxing couple of days!

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