A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Roisine

5 whole days out of Neoprene!

Toss a coin at the next junction

sunny
View Little jaunt round the world.... on Roisine's travel map.

Since the last one, we stayed in Te Anau for 2 nights. It seemed the easiest base from which to see Milford Sound and the caves. Went diving again at Milford Sound and really enjoyed both dive sites. They were so different even though they were pretty close. That is a lot like the New Zealand landscape in general. We have found that driving from one coast to the other, the landscape can change dramatically. The backdrop of the Southern Alps is stunning, with Mt Cook standing highest and clouds tumbling over the peaks. Then, a glance towards the Grampian mountains finds rolling hills and blue skies. Further into the centre, the roadside view becomes rocky and almost desert like, then the drive out to the east point lands you in a volcanic valley, again, lush and hilly.

The main constant we have found in New Zealand has been the hospitality of everyone we have come across from the smallest of villages to the main towns. Everyone is pleasant and helpful. Things you would think twice about asking from customer service people at home, just aren't a problem. Practically every town we come to, I find myself thinking, "I could live here."

However, we only have 4 days left now. We're still not planning anything but after we go on another boat trip this afternoon, this time to see a volcano, penguins and Hector Dolphins, we'll set off again and see where we end up.

Oh... I finally had apple cumble and custard yesterday! I've been thinking about it since I got to Australia and finally found it in Timaru for lunch yesterday... Aah... very good! However, I did also realise that since Jess left, I've not been having nearly enough fruit and veg or water... and i'm not being fed my daily multivit either. Therefore I have ended up with another cold. You'd think, at 28 I'd be able to do those things myself!

Posted by Roisine 13:28 Archived in New Zealand Tagged automotive Comments (0)

Dolphins and Whales and Seaweed and Trains and Cars and Ice!

It's been a busy week!

sunny
View Little jaunt round the world.... on Roisine's travel map.

I am currently staying in a place called the Glow worm cottages (i had to didn't I!) and I'm on an internet bus... actually an old bus which now houses 9 pcs... odd huh!?

Well, so far New Zealand is being utterly amazing! We drove up to Kaikoura as planned and ended up staying there for a few days. There was just so much to do there, we didn't want to leave. John Boy did his Open Water course in 2 days! Very proud of him especially since his first diving experience was negative. I also got to dive again which was great... However, it was incredibly different to diving in Fiji! The seaweed and general underwater plant life was so hard to wade through and made swimming out to the dive point really difficult. I managed 2 of the 4 dives before my little legs just wouldn't kick anymore.

We went swimming with the dusky dolphins in the morning of our second day there. An unbelievable experience! There were litterally hundereds of them and we are just dropped off a boat into the middle of them. At first, it is so cold and the visability under the surface is so bad, it's a bit unnerving but i warmed up very quickly when a group of 5 dolphins started playing with me. You are told to make noises through the snorkel to keep their attention and I was mostly laughing the whole time, which seemed to work obviously! We swam with them at 4 different points each one getting more exciting. Apparently the dolphins like to circle you to see if you can keep up... it is so tiring! It really is no wonder my legs were giving up on me!

This was followed on the 3rd day by whale watching! Could it really get any better?! We saw 2 sperm whales on the surface of the water. Although you can really only see the top of their backs as far as the dorsal fin, it is enough to imagine the size of them under the surface. They are magnificent, I had never imagined how huge they really are! The second one we saw was being irritated by the dusky dolphins playing around it so it didn't surface for long, it got annoyed and flicked its tail and humphed back down into the water.

The night of the last two dives, myself, John, and Jack, the other guy doing his course at the same time, didn't get out of the water until 8pm, so Nigel, the instructer, took us back to his house for dinner. There was nothing else open in town so we bought some easy food between the 3 of us and his wife helped us cook up dinner. It was so kind of them and we had such a lovely night.

I was quite sad leaving Kaikoura, I hope we get to go back there soon.

At the minute, we are in Franz Joseph having just climbed the glacier here. Started out at 8:15am and got back around 5pm... it was pretty much a solid climb for the whole day! I had really no idea what to expect from a glacier, having never seen one I had no picture in my head of what it would be like. It was breathtaking! The guides were actually hacking out steps for us to climb as we went! Through huge valleys and crevasses, up steep inclines and down sheer ice faces... It was hard work but utterly worth it. I am falling asleep as I type now but what a day!

Heading down to Te Anau in the morning, planning to dive in Milford Sounds on Monday and then visit the caves on Tuesday before heading off. The plan from there is that there is no plan, and I love it! I'm not sure when I'll get online again, so it may be a week till the next blog again... I'll work on getting more photos on as well.

Posted by Roisine 21:29 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

My reef disappointment

...and possibly some more sea cucumbers!

storm
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We finally had our trip to the great barrier reef today and unfortunately I couldn't dive. I was very disappointed, I had been looking forward to it since Fiji and this was the last day I could go. I still have this chest cold and a slightly weird ear and although I feel absolutely fine, diving with congestion is just silly. I was almost tempted to just not tell anyone and go ahead, but some wise words from a pro diver friend of mine convinced me otherwise.

I did snorkel however, and this time, I really enjoyed it! I even saw another shark and a turtle this time. And yes! I once again got to hold a sea cucumber! He was my friend for some time because the guide forgot about him. When he finally remembered and took him back to the bottom, I was worried that the cucumber would now be lost as he was quite far from where we picked him up but apparently that's ok. I did check on him later and he seemed fine, don't worry.

It's Jess's last night tonight, it's a shame she has to go home, we've had a really cool time on our adventure. John Boy and I fly to Christchurch, New Zealand tomorrow and from there, we pick up a car and drive North to Kaikura. I'm looking forward to being cold again!

Posted by Roisine 02:20 Archived in Australia Tagged travelling_with_pets Comments (0)

A whole lot of rock!

Orions belt is upside down!

sunny
View Little jaunt round the world.... on Roisine's travel map.

Got up bright and early at 4am feeling excited and awake. I slept really well being on my own even though I was in a tent. Woke up to the sound of dingos howling in the distance and a crazy old Dutch lady singing to wake up her crowd. The morning stars were really clear, I found Venus, the Southern Cross and a shooting star. Even found Orion's Belt even though it was upside down.

As we drove to Uluru, the light was just starting to spread across the horizon. The rock is strong and fierce in silhouette, it was easy to image the fear the first Aboriginal people would have felt coming across it for the first time. I have enjoyed learning more about the Aboriginal way of life over the last few days. Being close to the rock made the history and culture even more present. The sacred womens' spot where ancient women came to give birth, I found particularly powerful. The thought that so many thousands of ancient lives started in that cave makes you realise why the Aboriginal people hold Uluru in such high regard. We had a talk from Ezichial, a 70 year old Unungu man who told us that they don't want us to climb the rock. He said it is dangerous and for people to die on such a sacred place makes them very sad. It is very true though... we seem to have this need to claim and conquer places we visit but the sense of achievement, as the Unungu said, should come from gaining knowledge about the history and understanding it rather than climbing it and being able to say "I've done the rock!" So what if they believe the rock was created by giant boys playing with stones or that the small rocks falling down were made by the spirit of a snake avenging it's dead nephew. It's their beliefs and none of us can really fault them for believing in crazy stories!

I felt the same when we visited the rainforest last week. This amazing ecosystem where plants and animals cleverly rely on eachother for survival and adapt to use eachother's abilities... I had to ask what part us humans play in it. The answer was, nothing at all. We are utterly pointless and worse, we don't even respect it for what it is! There was a discovery some years back of a tree which has properties capable of curing AIDS. When the scientists discovered this, they sent out teams to collect more, only to find that the area and all of these trees had been cleared for development. To this day, they are yet to find any more of these trees.... Oops!

So... I may be being slightly melodramatic this evening but being at Uluru and Kata Tjuta really made me think about people and made me quite sad for several reasons. However, I have also found myself almost looking forward to being home and back in real life having these images stored in my mind. Even though I didn't manage to capture the perfect sunrise (sorry dad, you'll just have to go yourself!) I still know that I know these places... that's a very good thing.

Posted by Roisine 01:58 Archived in Australia Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Top of the East Coast

Saying goodbye to the kids

sunny
View Little jaunt round the world.... on Roisine's travel map.

It has been difficult to get any decent amount of time online the past week or so. Everytime we stopped somewhere with internet access, there were 40 odd of us competing for time. I'm not good at writing under pressure and although I keep a written journal with the intention of just being able to copy directly to this, it never really works that way in my head!

Anyway, this is the last day of my Contiki tour. We made it all the way to Cape Tribulation in 16 days, the first day somehow seems so long ago that I can barely remember where we stayed yet at the same time, could have been yesterday.

It has been an interesting part of my trip. I have met a few great people, possibly even one or two I will see again somewhere along the way. The highlights for me where seeing the dolphins at the most Easterly point, staying on a farm in Adora Downs, jumping off a cliff into a creek (ok, not that big a cliff, but still, it was lots of fun!) drinking cocktails in a swimming pool on Long Island, and of course, a major highlight for me, meeting all the wildlife along the way! However, strangely, I think the lasting image I will have of the East Coast will be the Jacaranda trees. They were in bloom when we arrived and started losing leaves along the way creating hazey bubbles of purpleness on all the roadsides. I'm not sure why I was so taken by them, they just had a very calming effect.

I haven't gone diving yet, but I plan to next week and I am very much looking forward to it. We meet up with John today and then we'll decide what to do next. Today, part of me wants to finish and come home, but I know that's because the tour wasn't exactly what I had been looking for in my trip, I think I need to do the extra month to get my adventure back on track and make contiki just a part of it rather than the main part.

I'll get back online in a few days and let you know where i'm off to next... Ooh, it's very exciting!

Posted by Roisine 19:42 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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