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Travel mad!! Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Trip to New Zealand

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 18 September 2009 | Views [641]

at victoria park market

at victoria park market

Well I’d been in Australia less than 24 hours and yet there I was getting ready to go to New Zealand. I’d landed in Emerald on the 15th September at about 11am and we’d spent the day shopping before heading over to Springsure where I was going to be living for the next few months before I start my travelling round Oz. We’d been out for dinner at the two Carol’s (the only takeaway place open in this little town) and then I was packing to go to NZ. I bought a lovely little suitcase whilst I was in Emerald because god knows I don’t want to take my monster of a case for a few days. Its bad enough mum wants to take the laptop with her but apparently there’s internet in the place we’ll be staying so fair enough. I’m not going to be the one carrying it though because my neck is sore enough after carting it around for the previous two days!!! It was an early night for me because I’d not had any sleep for days and we had to be at the airport before 7am. That wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t 70kms away..........................

Oh dear god I can’t believe she did it!! We’d gotten up and driven all the way to Emerald and mum had forgotten her bloody passport!!! She’d forgotten she’d need it, even though we were going on an International flight and of course she’d need it!! The first flight was going to be from Emerald to Brisbane, followed by a short flight to Sydney before we went from there over to Auckland. The guys at the check-in desk are trying to figure out if they can transfer us to a later flight but whatever they tried to do we were going to miss our connecting flight to Sydney so we weren’t going to make it. Mum had to leave as well because her visa was running out. She’s here on a holiday visa which means she’s only got a year. Thankfully she’s been lucky so far because normally you’d have to leave Oz every 3 months for the visa to remain valid but she’s had bridging visas so it’s not been necessary. This time though she HAD to leave so that she can apply for a new holiday visa and you have to be out of the country to be eligible. We’re screwed..............

After phoning Virgin (who we were flying with) I managed to sort flights out that would leave that afternoon from Emerald so that we had enough time to go back and get Mum’s passport. It kind of worked out better because then we were flying to Auckland from Brisbane so it saved us from having to go on an extra plane and we only got to Auckland about 20 minutes later than with our previous flights. The main problem was the extra expense. It cost enough without having this extra amount put on but at least they didn’t charge us for new flights, which they could have done. We finally made it back to Emerald and checked in and then it was just a case of waiting around. I was still so tired and not looking forward to it but it was going to be nice to see New Zealand I suppose.

The flight to Brisbane was just as vomit inducing as the day before, as the plane went up and down in the sky and we were both relieved when it was finally over. We made our way over to the International Terminal, which was a bit of a novelty as neither of us had departed from that terminal before. It’s huge but we made our way over to the check-in desk and then we were free to relax and wander around.  Needless to say it wasn’t long before our stomachs dictated where to go and so we headed over to The Noodle Box for some delicious Asian cuisine. I ordered far more than I could actually eat but since I was still eating gluten I had to make the most of it (and oh boy was it delicious!!).  We finally headed through security and made our way towards the duty free...............

This part of the trip is always dangerous and that day was no exception as I found myself ogling a pair of sand ugg boots, which were made in New Zealand. Before I knew it I’d bought them but not only were they tax free, they were also in the sale. They were so cheap and so comfy I just couldn’t resist!! Australia is probably not the ideal place to have them since it’s so bloody hot but I’m sure they’ll be handy in winter when I’m travelling round in my van (that’s the plan anyway- to travel round Australia in a campervan). I find my mum wandering around duty free with a trolley, not that there’s any booze in it yet but she’s already regretting bringing the laptop because it’s so heavy!! She finally picks what she wants and is surprised to find you can buy it now and pick it up on your return, which is fantastic because now we don’t have to try and pack it into our suitcases on the other side. Before we made it to the plane I managed to spend even more money on an opal necklace and a pair of earrings but again they were in the sale!! I just can’t resist a bargain!!!

Finally we were on the plane and on our way to Auckland. I’ve never been so restless on a plane and to make things worse the old guy who was sat next to me wouldn’t stop coughing all over me. It felt like the longest journey I’d been on so far and I couldn’t stop fidgeting. I was almost ready to scream out that I can’t take this anymore when it was announced that we’d be landing shortly and thank god we did!! It was a long trek to immigration but finally we were there and we didn’t have much longer to go. I had the best (or possibly worst) compliment ever when the lady at immigration looked at my passport and declared she thought I was much younger than I actually was. I’m 24 but for some reason she thought I was about 12!! I’ve been told I look about 18 before and have been ID’d on several occasions but 12!!! We collected our luggage and made our way outside for the hotel transfer to come pick us up.........................

By the time we got in and went to bed it was nearly 2am and I was exhausted. I don’t want to get up early but I just know mum will be up early and wanting to go out and she didn’t disappoint me. She woke me up at 9am and so we were both in awful moods and the day had only just begun. I got up and had a shower before we headed over to the main reception to find out about breakfast. It’s not included but we were both hungry and the information said it was open till 10am. We got there though only to find out it finished at 9.30!! There was some manky looking bits of bread and some boxes of cereal but it was so expensive we decided to go back to our room and order a taxi to take us into the city centre. There was some information leaflets highlighting some of the things you can do and I found a market I wanted to go around. Needless to say mum didn’t want to but we finally decided to go to the market first and then head to the waterfront for her. The taxi was really expensive ($50) but we’d hoped the market was going to be worth it!!

Victoria Park market was nothing like we expected................ and it certainly didn’t look like much from the outside. It turned out the market was more of an arcade of shops with a small courtyard and to be honest most of it looked derelict. We went through the gates anyway and were amazed at what we found. It’s not very big but what’s there is fantastic. We were going to stop for a couple of hours and ended up spending most of the day there!! We got there about 11am and stopped in a little cafe for breakfast before heading round some of the shops. There weren’t many but the ones they did have were better than any I’d seen before. My favourite was a shop that had loads of sheepskin, which I knew would make my older sister jealous when I told her about it!! She is slightly odd in that she has an obsession with sheepskin and so it was my mission to find something that she would like (it shouldn’t be too hard). Whilst wandering around the shop I came across the perfect thing- possum fur...................... there was a pelt in there and it was so soft I knew Claire would love it but what would she do with a pelt??? There had to be some other way I could send her possum fur!! I’d already bought myself some gloves that were made with it (along with merino wool and silk) and had possum fur around the cuff but they were a bit expensive to send back as a jokey present. I asked the owner of the store if they had any small pieces of fur and low and behold she had the perfect gift!! They were small, light and were pure possum fur, not to mention very very soft............. nipple warmers!! Not that I thought she’d use them in a million years but it was so funny I just couldn’t resist! We wandered around the rest of the shops and I bought a few more bits and pieces, but they were mainly presents and then I sat down and wrote out some postcards. I knew I would make Claire jealous with the sheepskin and to top it off I’d found pure lanolin being sold in another shop. We’d trekked around our local town trying to find the stuff (without success) and here it was in every store. My younger sister Amy would have been jealous of the feast we had for lunch- delicious fresh sushi and because I’m such a kind sister I took a picture of it for her. I’m not completely bad because I found a lovely pair of shell earrings that I knew she’d love. Every holiday we went on she bought some shell jewellery and so I couldn’t help buying her some. We must have gone around the market at least twice before we finally decided we should move on and find somewhere else to go in Auckland- we were only here for the day. Before we left though we got some takeaway for that night’s dinner, which was a great idea at the time but it meant we had to cart it around for the rest of the day.

We got the bus into the town centre and started looking around but we were a bit fed up of shopping by then. Mum wanted to head towards the waterfront but first she decided she wanted to go to the off licence for something to drink that night. On our way to the front we walked past a barber’s shop and since I’d been the last one to cut her hair about 4 months previously Mum thought it would be a good idea to get it done. When asked what she wanted done she replied (like she always does) do whatever. BIG MISTAKE!! The woman cutting was foreign and didn’t really understand and the end result was just so funny I couldn’t stop laughing. Even before she’d finished cutting I’d wandered what the hell she was doing. Her hair was two different lengths and the top layer was curled under so that it looked like a mushroom or as though she had a shelf of hair. It’s hard to describe but as mum stood up to pay and looked at me I couldn’t contain myself any longer. That was it- I laughed and laughed and couldn’t get control. I’m pretty sure the people in the barbers thought I was crazy and a few times I was starting to calm down but one glance at mum and it set me off again. I had no idea how I was going to make it through the rest of the day because I just couldn’t look at her- it was too hard!!

It was getting late by this point and so we headed for the water. On the way we passed the bus station and since I needed a wee we headed in and whilst we were there found a bus that would take us to our hotel. The stop was a few streets away and wasn’t for another hour but at least we knew where we had to go. We finally made it to the waterfront but didn’t stop long as we were both getting cold by then (I’d been cold for most of the day) and so we headed for the bus stop. We got there just as an earlier bus was pulling in to the stop and it cost us a fraction of the price the taxi did and soon we were on our way back.

I was so relieved to make it back to the hotel. I heated up my takeaway, repacked my case and got ready for bed. I’d bought a face mask while I’d been out and decided to try it. I put it on and walked from the bathroom into the living area and mum nearly jumped out of her skin with fright. We both laughed as I started to dance around the room with ‘jazz hands’ and then finally it was time for bed. We had to be up early again the next day as our flight was first thing. I couldn’t wait though as it would mean that my travelling was nearly over and I would actually get to spend a few days doing nothing in the same place, even if it was Springsure.................................

When we finally landed in Emerald it was about 4pm and I needed to head over to the Telstra phone shop near Woolworths because whilst I’d been in New Zealand my phone had started playing up. No matter what I did the sim card wasn’t working and the phone wouldn’t turn on. I was terrified I was going to lose all of my phone numbers because I hadn’t written them down and most of them were for my English friends!! It started out pleasantly enough with the guy asking if he could help but by the end I was glad to be leaving and I’m sure he felt the same way. All I needed was a new sim card and they could sort it out so that I kept the same number but first I had to remember my number!! With it being a new Australian one I hadn’t learnt it yet so I looked like a fool trying to remember what it was and then he put his foot in it telling me it should be saved in my phone............... the look on his face when I told him that would all be good and well if I could turn the damned thing on........... I think we both wanted the ground to swallow us up. To make matters worse he had to phone to activate the sim and his colleagues were starting to laugh at us by then. To add insult to injury we couldn’t take the back of my phone to get the new sim card in. I was so glad to leave and because it was late by then we decided to eat in Emerald at a fish and chip shop. They had a sign up about needing staff so I thought I’d apply and was told to go back the next day. I got the job and was told I’d start the following week, which was lucky. I didn’t have the energy left to start any sooner!!


Tags: airport, bus, duty free, haircut, market, plane, water

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