The long road south…

Well, we are now both in windy Wellington!

Wow.. what a whirlwind the last 4 days have been! Where to start… Hmmm…

First of all I have not added new smugmug galleries as of yet. So the only images available at the moment are the ones embedded in this blog.

After waiting for a day to get the car fixed, we finally got the locks fixed at an AA approved repairer. But this was not until we got our car jump started again as the battery died before we got it to the repairers in the first place! Argh… so two fixed locks $kerching$ and a new battery $kerching$ and we were finally ready to depart on the morning of the 30th. Fem has been stuck in Auckland for the last 3 months so she was extremely happy to finally see the end of that city.

Hobbiton

Our first stop was was Matamata which was where scenes where filmed for Hobbiton for the Lord of the Rings movies.


That was an impressive and informative 2 hours and I highly recommend it for any good Lord of the Rings fans (looking at mum and Michelle). It helped that we had a really good guide who was really able to tell some interesting stories about the place and behind the scenes info about the shoot.

That night we stayed in Hamilton.

Natural Bridge and Glow-worm Caves


First this is the car that had given us some much trouble in Auckland but was actually well behaved on the long drive to Wellington. Here’s to hoping the worst is behind us!

The next day we drove to Taumarunui and on the way we visited the Natural Bridge and a nice waterfall.

This was in the gorge near the entrance to the Natural Bridge section.


This is the Natural Bridge itself. This is truly an impressive sight. You can see how small Fem looks in the image.


This was a waterfall we saw near the Waitomo Caves. Pretty impressive. 🙂
We also went on the glow-worm bout ride in the Waitomo Caves. This was very interesting and looking up in the cave at the hundreds of thousands of glow-worms made it feel like a starry night! No photos were allowed on that part so can’t share anything there. 🙁

That night we stayed in Taumarunui in a nice little holiday park. I enjoyed that one. Peaceful and quiet.

Mt Taranaki (Egmont)

The next two nights were spent at Stratford, which is the closest town to Mt Taranaki.
Unfortunately we camped at a holiday park the same weekend as a major stockcar racing meet, so there were lots of rev heads in tents all around us. They all arrived AFTER we got there, so we really could not pack up and leave. Plus the accommodation for the rest of town was most likely sold out. They were all harmless though, but they were noisy at night which did effect the sleeping for people who were not hearing impaired. (me: what noise?)


Yikes.. is that the time.. I have to go now, so in my next post I will detail the actual hike UP this gigantic mountain the following day. No we didn’t go all the way to the summit, but we did get a respectable way up. More in the next post in a day or two.

Hope you enjoyed this mammoth update. 🙂

A setback

After the Auckland Coast to Coast we drove to the supermarket in our new car. After a quick shop we got back to the car and I put the key in to unlock it and noticed that the lock fell inside the car and was loose. Argh!
I gave the keys to Fem who managed to unlock her door but also pushed her lock into her door as well. Double Argh!
So now if we lock the car the only way we can get back in is by unlocking the boot and crawling in to open a back door that way.

Sigh….

So now we have postpone the departure to Wellington until the locks are fixed. And since today (Monday) is a public holiday in Auckland we have to wait until tomorrow before we
can get it checked out by a mechanic. Plus more cost on the initial car repairs… frustrating but not much we can do about it.

Auckland Coast to Coast

Femke and I did the first serious hike today which was a 16km coast to coast hike through Auckland and its surrounding area. This involved going up and down two dormant volcanoes (Mt Eden and One Tree Hill) and walking through the Auckland suburbs.

More info and a map is here. The way down the path was not always physically clearly marked and the paper map we had was not overly detailed so we got lost a few times. This made for some interesting puzzle solving which included asking nearly strangers where we were! But in the end we finally made it to Onehunga. It was a small pity that after such a wonderful hike through some really good scenery that the end point was a rather disappointing park in Onehunga. Oh well.

My hiking boots caused me all sorts of pain again. I am really hoping this is just part of the wearing in of the boots and I did not get a pair of boots too small. We have a lot of hikes coming up on our way to Wellington and in the south island and I really need to be able to wear them all day comfortably!

Check out the photos of the Coast to Coast in my smugmug gallery here.

Out and about in Auckland


This afternoon we finally picked a used car car to use for travels! It is a 1997 Mitsubishi Legnum Station wagon. It was a little more than what we had planned on spending but it should be a very useful car and it certainly felt a lot more durable/reliable while driving than other model cars we has tried. It was at the mechanics and we picked it up not long ago. Fuel is $1.70 a litre here! Argh!

Yesterday Fem and I went up the Auckland Skytower, which is similar to the Sydney Centerpoint. It was well worth the trip as we had an awesome day for it, and was able to see for extremely long distances in all directions.

They even have glass floors in their elevators and in sections of the walkway.
Even after a while I was still not comfortable standing on it. As I recently got some new sneakers which are nice and bouncy. When I was on glass sections of the walkway my brain was telling me it was the glass that was bouncy and not my shoes!
Fem had a great time and was even jumping on the glass after a while!

Below is one of the many shots I got from the sky tower. I will update my photo gallery soon and display all the shots!

Last night we went to a local comedy club where we got to see 10 new NZ comedians. Most were pretty good, and they had an excellent female comedian MC.
Also with the seating for the night, we were literally right in front of the stage! With Fem and I right in front of them, all the comedians could easily see us, and as a result we got spoken to a fair bit through out the night.
A sample was:

Female MC (looking at me): Whoa! What’s your name?
Me: Um.. Matt
Female MC: Where are you from?
Me: What?
Femke: He’s from Australia.
Female MC: Ahh.. I see you have bought an interpreter!

Funny stuff. 🙂

Got a lot happening over the next week as we do a coast to coast hike at Auckland and start our 6 day trip to Wellington! So stay tuned for more!