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Travelling 02/02/10-02/08/10 Round the world in 182 days

Dolphins, sky diving, maori, luging etc...More from New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 15 May 2010 | Views [593] | Comments [5]

Since last writing we have moved from the South island up to the North, where we went from Wellington to Taupo, onto Rotorua and then Auckland, and we are now almost at the most northerly point in The Bay of Islands, near the end of our time on the Kiwi Experience

Whilst still on the South Island, we went swimming with dolphins for a day in Rotorua, which was incredible.  Even though I've done this before, I've never seen quite so many dolphins - there were literally hundreds swimming around the boat, and when we were in the water they were all around us, coming right up close.  It was amazing to see so many, and worth getting in the freezing water for.  We swam amongst the dolphins for about 45 minutes or so, before cruising on the boat around a few more dolphin pods, all of which had several hundred dolphins. 

Once on the North Island, at our first port of call in Wellington, we spent some time at the national museum (still can count the number of museums visited on one hand, but getting slightly more cultural at least) - Te Papa - which is a huge building filled with interactive exhibitions about NZ's history, culture etc (it's actually a lot more interesting than it sounds).  The museum also now houses the largest Giant Squid ever caught, which was pretty impressive. 

From Wellington, we moved on to Taupo, where I did my skydive.  It sprang up on us pretty quickly, as we'd been told that the weather on the day we arrived in Taupo (a township on the border of the largest lake in NZ) wasn't clear enough for us to dive, so we'd taken our mind off it and thought we'd get round to doing our flight in the following two days.  However, once we arrived at the skydive office, the weather cleared up, and so they speedily (though obviously very professionally!) got us ready in the fetching skydive suits, harnessed us up, introduced us to our tandem master, and then we were off in the plane to complete the 20 minute scenic flight up to 15,000 ft - the height at which we were to jump (pretty high!).  At that point, the rather unsturdy sliding door on the side of the tiny plane was opened, and as my tandem master and I were at the back of the plane, closest to the door, it was my turn first.  I can't really remember the exit from the plane as it all happened so quickly, but the next thing I knew we were free-falling out of the plane, through an ice cloud (shards of ice hitting my face!), and then into the clear sky from where you could see incredible views over the lake and surrounding countryside.  At 15,000ft you get 60secs of freefall, but it goes past incredibly quickly.  The skydive certainly takes your breath away at first, but it was nowhere near as scary as the bungy jump.  It was slightly difficult though attempting to look in any way calm and serene for the camera man, who jumps from the plane slightly before you and your tandem master in order to film/photograph you on the way down.  But once the freefall was over (so quickly!) and the parachute was up, the rest of the flight down was incredible and very comfortable.  It was an amazing experience, and I would definitely do that again over they bungy!

The rest of our time in Taupo was filled with a full day hike over the Tongariro Crossing (known to be one of the best full day hikes in NZ), cycling round the lake etc.  Then in Rotorua we had a really enjoyable evening at a Maori village, where the villagers put on a show (think haka, singing, dancing etc), tell stories about Maori life, and then put on a big Maori feast.  I also spent more time there doing even more shopping, which seems to have been a theme of our time here in NZ. 

We spent a day in Auckland yesterday, before coming today up to the Bay of Islands - which is a series of about 140 islands just off the coast in Northern NZ.  Unfortunately the crappy weather we got used to on the South Island followed us here, and so although it's really pretty up here, the views have been dampened by the rain.  But we have the rest of tomorrow to enjoy it, and then we head back to Auckland, where 3 of the girls and I are hiring a car for a few days to head off to see some of NZ on our own




Just spoke to your Mum in Cornwall, they are enjoying their break and were heading to Lynn and Hubby for lunch. She told me about your new stories, so here I am fascinated by your description of all your energetic activities. Amazed that the water was so cold when you swam with the dolphins. The nearest to that was when I went snorkeling in Israel and had these large colourful fish swim up close and pick at my legs,which I did not like. Enjoy the trip with your friends and don't give lifts to bogey men. Love GMH

  GMHelga May 16, 2010 10:03 PM


We had a lovely lunch with Lynn and 'her hubby' Larry in Port Isaac yesterday. On Saturday we went to Clovelly and hauled all the way down to the harbour where I enjoyed some sea kosher crab and other naughtiness. I say 'hauled' as that meant a walk back up the hill but it's terribly pretty though a touch bizarre as no-one is allowed to own property there, they are all rented from the family that own the village.

NZ sounds amazing! I hope your last few days there are as much fun before the next leg of your journey

Dad Cary xxxx

  Father Abi May 17, 2010 7:42 PM


Just read Cary's message to you, when did he earn the name of ABI?
Next week is your Birthday, what do you plan to do, will you still be with your friends, it would be such an anti-climax after all the fun you've had, if you were to be alone. I hope to be able to speak to you then.
All love, GMH

  GMHelga May 20, 2010 10:49 PM


Just read Cary's message to you, when did he earn the name of ABI?
Next week is your Birthday, what do you plan to do, will you still be with your friends, it would be such an anti-climax after all the fun you've had, if you were to be alone. I hope to be able to speak to you then.
All love, GMH

  GMHelga May 20, 2010 10:49 PM


Happy Birthday from a rather less exciting London. No skydiving, bungie jumps, exotic islands, waterfalls or desert islands - following your comprehensive scenic tour with envy (except for the skydiving and bungie jumps!!)
Be careful and enjoy it all. Love from all of us.

  the godfather May 29, 2010 2:22 PM

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