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Entries about animals

last day driving on the long and windy road


View New Zealand - 2014 on Ils1976's travel map.

I was just so glad that the Vodka did the trick coz I slept like a baby and the best thing of all, I didn’t even woke up with a headache. Still a bit drowsy because I am not totally awake yet, I tried to got dressed as quickly as I could coz I was a bit hungry as well (must be the alcohol ??? ) and by the time we got rid of our backpack, it was time to dig in. Instead of the usual cereals with toast and jam and a bit of fruit, this time we even had the possibility to have some scrambled eggs and just like the rest of the group, I wanted a piece of that. Usually I am not into hot food in the morning, but an egg is always an exception to me coz I just love them so much.

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When we were all decently fed, we could leave for our final day. Later this evening, we are going to have to say goodbye to more than 30 people and it is strange that although most of us only know each other for about 3 weeks, friendships can be made and I am even sure that a few group members are going to stay friends for quite a long time.

Although we were scared in the beginning of what to expect, I must admit to myself that we had quite a good group and I guess something like this doesn’t happen too often, especially with about 30 girls, but maybe it helped that we had 3 guys to make sure we didn’t get too crazy.

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It didn’t took too long to get all the bags packed and as soon as everyone was ready, we all jumped into the bus for our last day here on this tour. For the very last time we had yet again more than enough hours on the road but luckily we were also going to have enough stops on the way as well.

Now that we were in the vicinity of Mount Cook, we initially wanted to go and drive to a place where you had a nice view on the mountain, but sadly enough the weather was once again so bad that it wasn’t going to happen. The mountain was surrounded by fog and rainy clouds, so there was no point in going there in the first place coz we weren’t going to see the mountain at all. Like most of the group, I was a bit disappointed as well coz this meant that yet another amazing thing wasn’t going to happen or even worse, couldn’t be seen, but staying here in this country makes me so aware that nature is the big boss in town and she alone decides what is going to happen!

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Unable to do an early walk, we drove through some beautiful landscape for about an hour till we reached Lake Pukaki, which is really beautiful because of the blue tint into the water. A few pictures richer, we drove on again, only to stop again at yet again another lake, to be more precise, lake Tekapo. The colors of the water were beautiful as well, but the most beautiful thing were the hundreds of lupins growing alongside the lake. the views were stunning, but the moment we had our group picture taken, the weather changed on us again.

Not wanted to stay in the bad weather, we all just jumped into the bus for another 2 hours drive.

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It was already way after 11 AM when we arrived at the sheep farm Morelea (which basically means more grass), owned by Stan and Angie. This sheep farm is really big, so it goes without saying that Stan can’t do all the work by himself. Luckily his eldest son Mitchell helps out as well and future plans are that he is going to run the farm instead of his parents, but till that day arrives, he is just another help on the farm.

Upon our arrival, we were welcomed with some yummy scones and biscuits and together with some refreshments, it can be considered to be a very good early lunch. When we all finished eating those yummy things, it was time to go and have a closer look on the daily life on the farm. Since we were on a sheep farm, the main activity besides keeping the grass green so that all the sheep could eat, was shearing them as well.

Mitchell took us all along to the barn where a few sheep were awaiting us. It didn’t took long before he grabbed one and starting the shear it, but although I know it didn’t hurt the sheep, still it looked a bit rougher than when I go to the hairdressers and I started to wonder if these girls and boys don’t get stressed out. Probably not, but still, it can always happen of oourse.

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After the shearing, Mitchell also gave us an explanation of the difference in wool and about 5 minutes later we were out of the barn and into the sun again, ready for another few hours on the road, but not before we first could see a little demonstration of corralling the sheep.

To me it didn’t look all that easy and it even looked like quite a bit of hard work for the dog, but you could also see on the expression of the dog that he loved every minute of it.

It was nice to see all the sheep together, but taking pictures of them wasn’t always easy, especially of the pet lamb Lucy, she is quite a star and acts like it as well, but still, she is so damn cute.

As soon as we said goodbye to Angie and thanked her for the biscuits and scones and so on, it was time already to go back on the road again, We had yet again a few hours drive ahead of us before we made a quick lunch stop in one of the many towns on our way towards Christchurch, where we arrived about a few hours later.

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We first drove towards the city centre, where we quickly drove around the major highlights of the city with a quick photo opportunity at the cathedral which was destroyed by the earthquake in 2010. It must have been really devastating, when you look at the remnants of the church as well as all the empty places in the city where once stood a building but nowadays is just a pile of stones or even a newly "build" parking lot.

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Still it amazes me that so many places are not rebuild, but when Helen explained to us that there are still some light earthquakes, it is understandable. Till this moment, they are still thinking of what to do with the city and how to rebuild it and by the year 2020 they should definitely have a solution.

As we arrive back to the edge of the city centre, it is really time to say goodbye to almost 1/3 of our group. It is a sad „adieu” but with social media and stuff, I am sure we all stay in touch. After driving into another block of streets, we dropped of Kelly from the UK and than it is our turn. Me and Tania are going to stay in the YMCA of Christchurch and believe it or not, it really is fun to stay at the YMCA!

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Check in went very smoothly and the staff was more than friendly but the minute we dropped of our stuff at our room we were on the move again. As we arrived at Christchurch the weather was suddenly so nice, especially when the sun came out, that we wanted to make the most of it, after all, when the sun shines, you have to make the most of it, something we learned of being in this county for more than 3 weeks now.

Since our hotel was nicely situated almost in the middle of the city centre, we went for a nice walk through all the „highlights” of the city. Unfortunately those aren’t that many since the earthquake, but still, it is nice to see that people do survive terrible things and that they do try to do something about it, especially when you look at the many street arts in various streets just to brighten up the neighborhood.

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From all that walking, we got hungry as well and since we were almost back at our hotel, we decided to have dinner in the YMCA and to my surprise it was even restaurant quality for a good price. So in the end choosing to stay in the YMCA turned out to be one hell of a good choice.

Although it was already starting to get dark, we still wanted to go for a run and since we were so closely situated near the botanical garden, this was just the perfect opportunity. Not many people were out there and running on your own in the dark is very good for the soul, for mine that is. I just loved it and it was also nice and warm outside, so all in all the perfect situation.

Once we were back in our room, it was time again to get packing coz we were going to leave for Australia in the early afternoon and to be honest, I was looking forward to it so much. Since the day we booked this trip, I was so excited to visit Sydney again and it goes without saying that I was looking forward to tomorrow.

By the time I closed my eyes, it was already way after midnight, but that wasn't too bad, I was already dreaming of exciting things to come.

Posted by Ils1976 01:14 Archived in New Zealand Tagged landscapes churches buildings people animals monument city friends road tour sightseeing group oceania Comments (2)

a glowing in the dark experience


View New Zealand - 2014 on Ils1976's travel map.

Making sure that we weren’t going to miss our bus to the caves, the two of us set our alarm clock yesterday evening, since we already had to leave at 7 AM, but hearing the noise of one alarm clock is worse, but the noise of two, that’s just insane! One thing is for sure, we were quite awake!

We quickly got dressed and ate some instant porridge with a cup of tea and than we were on the move towards the ferry building so that we could catch the 7.20 bus from Naked Bus all the way to Waitomo. Upon our arrival, we noticed that there were three buses in total, but with a bit of asking around we were on the right one in no time and we even got a nice enough view coz we were in the first row. Talking about a great deal.

Exactly at 7.20 AM our driver left Auckland behind and it was a good 2 hours drive towards Hamilton where we had a 15 minute break and about another hour and a half later, we arrived at the small town of Waitomo. Most of the people got out here, so it seemed that me and Tania weren’t the only ones who wanted to see the famous glow worms.

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Since we were still a bit early to go on our tour, we wanted to get something warm to drink and although the town isn’t that big, we eventually found a nice enough cafe where they served an excellent cup of tea and they even had a yummie pineapple and cheese toast. I have to admit it was but a quick bite, but we needed to get a little bit more food in our system before our tubing through the caves.

As soon as it was time for our tour to the caves, we walked down the street towards Caveworld, where we booked the whole „water tube adventure”. It seemed we were the first once to arrive at the „scene”, but a short while after even 3 girls from the UK and a couple from Germany arrived as well and together we would form a group for the next 2 hours.

Our guide arrived a few minutes later and as soon as he introduced himself we could all leave in the van towards the spot where we could change into our swimmers and where we got our wetsuit. It wasn’t that long of a drive, about a minute later we arrived already and the two of us were wondering why we drove all the way while we could easily had walked, but hey, when in Rome!?

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Getting in our swimmers wasn’t that big of a problem, but as soon as the wetsuits were handed out, that was quite another ordeal. The one I got seemed just too small, Tania on the other hand had a different problem. Hers was just too big, but it seemed that not all sizes were available, so we just had to go with the flow. Easier said than done and although most of our group already had their wetsuit on, mine wasn’t moving anywhere, my god, who on earth invented this shit!?

With a little male help from our guide, eventually I even got suited up so to speak and after even getting my boots on, there was a quick explanation of the lights on the helmet and off we went, after a few group shots that is.

The drive towards the cave wasn’t all that long, but a bumpy one and I was glad I had my helmet on coz more than once I said hello to the window of the van. My God, I just hope that I survive this thing!

As soon as we arrived at our cave, we all got our „tube” and after crossing a meadow, we finally arrived in some kind of forest and to be honest, I expected a hobbit to pop out any minute. It was really fairy-like. Without even knowing it or should I say realizing it, we entered the entrance of our cave. On came the lights and as we walked a little further into the cave we suddenly had to put off our lights and than the most amazing thing happened, we saw our first glow worms!

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To say it in the words of a kiwi, that’s mint bro!!!! (I don’t know if this is written correctly though ????)

Our guide gave us an explanation about the life of a glow worm and I have to admit, it doesn’t sound that appealing when you know it is actually pooh of a worm that makes the glowing effect, but nevertheless, it is quite nice to look at.

From here we walked further into the cave and got the see even more glowworms and a few minutes later it was even time to try our tube … OMG, the water was just freezing and went through our wetsuits like nothing, but hey, that’s part of the adventure I suppose. As soon as we walked for a bit, it was time to test our tube and with our heads pointed to the ceiling while gently floating, we saw another bunch of glowworms, that's what you call an experience. I know it is but a stupid comparison, but it looked like thousands of stars in the sky on a very dark night. Like I told you, no comparison, but that’s how it looked like.

After floating for a while and even crawling between some zip lines, we arrived at our first waterfall where we had to jump backwards into the depth, oh well, it was but a few meters and thanks to the tube we landed safely on our butts, but on the other hand, we were soaking wet as well. The word "freezing" popped up in my head more than once!!

Going deeper into the cave, we once again made kind of a snake and floated a bit more, but this time we went with the flow, much nicer when you come to think about it, I like to see what’s coming, but that’s just me! :)

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A few meters further up, we arrived at the second waterfall which was about 7 meters high and although our guide made the appearance we had to jump off it, when we finally arrived, it turned out it was just one gigantic slide. Man, I really loved this, but once again, in the end you were soaking wet and the water wasn’t exactly warm.

We weren’t that far removed from the end of the tunnel and although we had lots of fun slithering through the water, jumping of waterfalls and that sort of things, in a way I was also glad to be out of the water again, because I was frozen as hell.

The walk back towards the van wasn’t that long and walking once again through the forest, I am sure I saw something moving between all the ferns, so maybe there was a hobbit somewhere. Anyway, I was glad to be back at the beginning and after a warm shower and a cup of hot coco I felt like a human again.

Since we still had lots of time to kill till we could take the bus back to Auckland, we first looked up another cave, but not wanted to sit in a boat and pay a lot of money for seeing another group of glowworms for just 15 minutes, however amazing they are, we decided to go for a walk instead. There weren’t that many trails, but one trail in particular, the Waitomo Walkway, went up to some kind of lookout and since it was only an half hour walk, we even could have some lunch afterwards as well and this time we went for a wrap with fries, one word only : delicious!

We stayed at the porch of the cafe till it was time for us the leave, I was a bit tired and closed my eyes while enjoying the rayes of sun on my back and head while Tania updated her latest blog and checked out more things on the internet and believe it or not, before I even realised it, it was time to leave already.

Just as punctual as it was this morning, our Naked bus arrived right on time and although I tried to stay awake this time and gazed at the beautiful sceneries, I couldn’t but help to doze off from time to time. I am bad when it comes to traveling with a bus, I can’t help it, but I constantly fall asleep.

It was already 9.30 PM when we finally arrived back in Auckland and we still needed to look for something to eat. It was dark outside and just by looking at the different streets, we quickly noticed that there weren’t lots of options, so instead we went for the quickest one and went to a local supermarket and bought ourselves some noodles which you can make in a microwave oven. I don’t know if this actually is healthy, but going to the Golden Arches isn’t as well so, we took our chances.

Dinner wasn’t too big of a success, like we expected in the first place, but I was just too tired to think about that and after a quick shower, it was time for once again a well deserved nap, after all we are on our holiday, we can relax!

Posted by Ils1976 11:42 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes people animals adventure tour group oceania Comments (4)

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