Saturday, April 25, 2009

New Zealand

New Zealand
April 3 – April 13
Easter break trip…

At about 4 a.m. on April 3, six fellow uni students and I left our apartment to head to the Brisbane airport. Later that morning, we caught our flight from Brisbane to Christchurch, New Zealand to start our Easter break trip! For our trip we were joining the Kiwi Experience, Southern Roundup tour and travelling all around the south island.

Stop # 1: Christchurch

Known for having the freshest water in all of New Zealand, it is a fairly small city with an old English feel to it. Right now it is their autumn, so the weather is crisp and chilly, but the colors are a sight for sore eyes! All we did in Christchurch was walk around and explore the city. We saw a couple markets, the casino, a botanical garden, and took a nap in a wonderful park. I was here on my birthday so we went out to supper and hung out at the bar that was part of our hostel. I definitely missed my friends and family that day!

Stop # 2: Westport and Greymouth

The ride from Christchurch to these stops was ridiculous, in a good way of course! I was intrigued the moment we got out of the city because it was our first taste of true New Zealand. We took the windiest, hilliest roads I have ever been on. It was also the most amazing scenery I had seen yet at this point in my life! If I could share the view through a video recording and let it do justice, I would! Instead, my memory will have to do for now. Little did I know, this was just the beginning with even greater things to come : )

We stayed at the Trip Inn Hostel in a small old gold mining town. It was basically a huge old farmhouse that has been transformed into a night stop for backpackers. Outside of the town was located Buller Adventure Tours where one day I went jet boating and the next did some horse trekking!

Stop # 3: Mahinapua

Our next stop was the “Poo Pub” in a town that consists of nothing, Mahinapua. To the left of the Pub was a lake with a camping area and to the right was the ocean. The ocean was a lot different then most- black sand, drift wood scattered the beach, and many rocks all over. This stop is part of the itinerary because a grumpy, hilarious old man owns the place and has been hosting it for years! They first cook a huge steak dinner for all 60+ travelers and later put on a costume party in the old run down bar.

After leaving the next morning, we take a short pit stop at the “Bushman Center” for an interesting experience, none-the-less. Basically it was to see a video about how New Zealanders hunt and trap deer. The main feature is the fact that they do it by jumping out of helicopters and wrestling them until they are contained. We also saw some possums and some other interesting animals. My favorite part of the whole experience was the ridiculous signs located all around the unique building.

We also took a stop at the "Pancake Rocks" which were some very unique rocks/cliffs/hills/formations that had built up along the coast to make for some wonderful scenic walks. As you can tell the coast itself was pretty nice!

Stop #4: Franz Josef

Franz Josef is a very small, very typical tourist town. I reckon the only reason it exists is for people to experience climbing and seeing glaciers. We stayed at a hostel/resort called the Rainforest Retreat…sounds alright hey? It was a pretty decent place with a really nice restaurant and bar. They also had a large hot tub for the guests! It was rainy and cold both nights we stayed here, so it was nice to be able to stay inside and sit by the fire, chat, and take part in some activities, such as a rock-paper-scissors contest.

Besides these, the main event here was the eight hour glacier trip we took. Quite the experience- the beginning and end were great, but the middle was a bit miserable! The day we left, a few of us had one more quick stop and that was to skydive over the Fox Glacier and next to Mt. Cook: ) which might I add has been rated the second most scenic place in the world to dive!

Stop #5: Wanaka

I feel in love the moment we drove in on the bus! Seeing all of the autumn colors with water and the mountains in the background was a, lets say, breath of fresh air! It is a rather small, very nice, ski resort town. If I had the proper attire for the situation I would have felt as though I was in a movie! I took advantage of the opportunity here and took a refreshing run! The hostel was brand new, along with everything else it had to offer, for instance the Mint Bar. We had a dinner here, followed by a fun night with an attempt at an Easter egg hunt. However, by time morning came, we were off once again.

A short time out of town, we stopped at Puzzling World. This was just to spare sometime for the others who either had or were in the process of going skydiving. It was a really fun place however. Honestly, I felt a little bit like I was on a school field trip, but there is nothing wrong with that right? We all love field trips. There was a large maze outside and all sorts of obstacle illusion mind-boggling rooms and activities inside.

Stop #6: Queenstown

Adventure capital of the world, here we come!! Getting into Queenstown was pretty exciting because it was the last stop, but the long awaited one we were all anxious for. Just outside of town was our first stop, which was when I experienced my first ever bungy jump at the world’s first ever bungy location, Kawarau Bridge. I absolutely loved it and could have done it over and over again!

We then made our way into town, took a group photo of our kiwi bus with a great view for a backdrop. Later that afternoon we took a gondola ride up to the top of a large hill and did some lugeing. Let me tell you what, go lugeing with the wrong group and everyone is going to end up hurt! Ha! It was great fun.

We took a walk around town and through the shops that day and ended it by hanging out at the hostels Altitude Bar where we had a night filled with group trivia. Not to mention it was lady’s night so I walked away with a red rose : ) We last went to The World Bar where they serve drinks in tea pots!

The next day I saved my money that I don’t have and just enjoyed the weather. We grabbed lunch at the infamous Fergburgers(delicious!! – huge burgers) where we just so happened to run into Jesse Metcalfe (aka John Tucker) and Jack Osbourne, along with a couple others who I didn’t know. Who would have thought, chatting on the sidewalk with a few famous people as if it is no big deal! This encounter turned out to be the highlight of some of the girl’s trip. We ended the night taking part in the popular “Big Night Out” pub crawl.

Stop #7: back to Christchurch

We jumped the long bus ride back to Christchurch, so we could make it in time to catch our flight back home. We got to the city in time for mass, so two others and I attended an Easter service. It was really nice to be able to still make it to church on Easter and listen to a good sermon and a ridiculous choir! Tonight everyone seemed to do a little of their own thing. So four of us girls just played cards, ate popcorn and hung out. Two boys went to the casino and won heaps! One guy went to the beach and another gal enjoyed a few drinks with our new roommate. All seven of us and our new English friend Sophie had a fun last night just having a chat and joking and laughing in our room.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


New Zealand photos....coming soon to blogs near you!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Busy Week # 2

March 23 – Monday:

When we took our free surf lesson we got to know one of the instructors some (David), so we exchanged numbers to get some more free lessons from him! So J and E called him up and he provided boards for them and they headed to Alex Headlands for a day of surf. They bought him lunch in return, became obsessed with meat pies, did a TON of walking, and had a great super at the Mexican restaurant Montezuma’s-where they fell in love with the nachos!

March 24 – Tuesday:

J and E spent another wonderful day at the beach and then we spent quite the interesting night walking around the Mooloolaba area with surf instructor David. Let’s just say it was an unexpected adventure! Can’t forget our favorite part when David flew off of his skateboard!

The girls wanted to spend one last night at Friday’s where we met some really fun local kids who happened to be the same ages as Jess and Elle.

March 25 – Wednesday:

The girls get up bright and early to grab the bus to go to the world famous (apparently) Eumundi Markets. They did a last quick shop at the Plaza to get their Oz headbands and that night we just chilled and figured out our upcoming travel plans and pack up.

March 26 – Thursday:

So before the girls came over to Oz, I did some bragging about the rainforest and waterfalls and cliff jumping, etc…I really did want them to get out of the city area and see some of the amazing countryside. You don’t have to go very far up the road to see some very natural, mind-boggling beauty. Lucky for them Kyal and some of his friends took them out to Gardner Falls for the afternoon. I was jealous that is for sure!

Early that evening we leave the Sunshine Coast to fly to Sydney for the weekend! It started as just the three of us and somehow turned into 9! It was great.

We were able to rearrange so that Jess, Elle, and I were able to sit together on the flight and it went very fast. We took an 11 person taxi into the city and checked into our hostel. We spent a while walking around the city and then hit the sack!

March 27 – Friday:

Today we jumped on a sightseeing bus. With this particular bus we are able to use it and hop on and off as much as we would like for 24 hours. We saw all the major tourist sights such as the opera house, the bridge, Bondi beach, St. Mary’s cathedral, Kings Cross, Hyde Park, etc…

Along the way, we spotted the MTV music awards and were able to watch all the stars walk down the red carpet! It was really sick! It would have been better if I had known more of the musicians, but Katie, Brittany, and Elle were freaking out!

After that we sat on the wharf at Darling Harbor and took in the view! We also watched a “magic” show that randoms put on for the public and try to get money out of us!

We took a long walk home, went on the roof to see out amazing view of the city, and lastly ran back inside after we got EGGED.

March 28 – Saturday:

Jess and Elle (lucky girls) got up bright and early to catch a bus to their skydiving sight! The rest of us took a very long walk and ended up at the famous fish market!

That afternoon we watched a show at the world’s largest IMAX theatre.

For the night, Jess and Elle spent some big bucks for a dinner at Sydney’s Tower restaurant. They said the view was well worth it! The rest of use went to a BBQ that the hostel put on at the roof! Probably the best food I ever had at a BBQ. It was really nice.

We later all went to a club down the road called SoHo. We waited in line and decided to leave because we definitely were not paying $20 to get in. They saw us all leaving and let us in for free : )

March 29 – Sunday:

Jess and Elle were able to swap their flight to fly straight out of Sydney, which was very very convenient! After we all said our sad good-byes, us other girls headed to Bondi beach to spend the afternoon relaxing! It was CRAZy busy and quite the sight. A lot of topless girls and silver foxes. Before we were all able to get our clothes of to lay in our suits, we were all fast asleep in the sand!

After a wonderful nap, we decided it was time to venture back and get some grub. All of us girls did our share of making a delicious supper at the hostel.

For the night, we ended up jumping on the tram to the casino! Some won some, some lost some…and some of us didn’t waste our money! Overall it was a really nice last night in Sydney.