Christchurch

After a horrendously long coach journey, we arrived in Christchurch. We had been told by most of the people that had been there that due to the earth quake there still wasn’t an awful lot to do there but it’s still worth seeing, so we only gave ourselves two days here. We had also pre-booked our accommodation separately from the kiwi bus as we were told it gets very booked up, so we were dropped off last.

By the time we had checked in and got ourselves sorted it was early evening so charlie and I decided to go check out the westfields they had to get some dinner and possibly see a movie. Of course we forgot that we were in NZ and not England, so when we got there pretty much everything was shut apart from one lonesome English themed pub. We had already arranged to meet up with dustin and as we hadn’t eaten we had no choice but to go into the English pub. After we had eaten we decided to go watch some film no one had heard of as there wasn’t a whole lot else to do and it was still pretty early. The film was surprisingly much better than any of us expected! In the cab ride home I couldn’t help but feel christchurch had a bit of an eery feel to it, as I had been asleep for most of the drive up here I had missed out on seeing a lot of the destruction that sadly still takes over most of Christchurch. So driving around it at night, it felt like a ghost town, partly because nearly everything closes at 5pm so there arnt many people around at night, but also because at night when it’s lit up parts of the destruction looks like something from a zombie film, sections of the street are fine and then you turn a corner and there is just half a building surrounded by rubble, it’s very sad.

The next morning we wanted to get out and see some of Christchurch. The lady at reception was very helpful and gave us a whole list of stuff to do. We started off at a memorial that I had been told to go and see. It’s situated where an old church used to be. Huge parts of the church were ruined during the earth quake and so the rest of the building was knocked down a few months later. An artist decided to creat the memorial here and has put out a white chair for every person that was killed during the quake. There is also a makeshift staple at the back that holds a list of all the names of the people that died along with there ages and where they were from. It was very moving. The artist had clearly chosen chairs to try and represent the people as there were baby seats, rocking chairs, wheel chairs, everything you could think of.

We met up with dustin here and decided to walk through the red zone, which is the area still cornered off due to the destruction, but parts are open to walk through, to the re-start centre. The re-start centre is very cool. It’s a shopping mall that was created soon after the earth quake hit but as they had little resources all the stores are made from shipping containers. Also within the mall is the quake live museum. It’s an interactive museum all about the earth quake, how it happened, how it affected different areas and what they are planning on doing with the rest of the city. It also has a very moving section that has testimonies of different peoples personal accounts of what happened to them during the quake. It’s very cool to see what they are planning on doing to the city in the future as its almost like being able to create a city from scratch as most of the remaining buildings are to be knocked down.

Once we were done at the re-start centre we decided to head back over to westfields for an early dinner and to go to the cinema AGAIN! We went to see OZ this time which was ok but a little disappointing. Then the 3 of us decided to walk back to our hostels as it wasn’t too late and we didn’t have any change for the bus! As soon as we set off it started raining but we didn’t have much choice so we carried on. Dustin came back to our hostel for a couple of drinks before heading back as he had a very early start the next day.

The next morning charlie and I headed back up to Auckland to spend the night before setting off to Thailand!!

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Our weekend down south

We set off around midday down to Dunedin and tweedy had kindly volunteered to drive first, so the rest of us pretty much fell asleep straight away! The great thing about NZ is that there only really seems to be one road that gets you to each place, so you don’t really need to worry about directions or getting lost! Mobs had gone in Petes car so he wasn’t by himself which meant that Karen and I could stretch out in the back!

We arrived into Dunedin early afternoon and headed straight for our accommodation. As it was Easter weekend EVERYTHING was fully booked so luckily we had managed to find a hotel/apartment style place that had 2 double rooms left. This meant that we somehow had to try and sneak the other 2 in. Luckily, as it was Easter weekend, the receptionist left at 4pm so by the time we had checked in and lugged in all the bags she was gone!

We got settled and tweedy and charlie had spotted a nandos on the way in so we went and had dinner there. Once we were done an had made contact with the other girls we got ready for the rugby! Dunedin is a huge student town and the rugby there is always a massive event so we had pre booked tickets. Sadly it wasn’t an international match but we were excited all the same. We met the other girls and followed the crowd to the match.

We were watching the highlanders, which were the local team, against the reds, which were an Aussie team. As it didn’t make a difference to us who won we decided to support the locals, as according to mobs they were due a win soon! The match was so much fun, even though the highlanders lost. It was defiantly a highlight of our trip. Once the game was done we headed to the octagon in town as this was supposedly where everyone goes out. Again because the stupid Easter weekend rule everything had to shut at midnight. So we had a couple of drinks in one of the bars before heading over to where Ella, Sophie and rosy were saying. The downstairs part of there hostel was a huge snooker hall, so we went there and carried on drinking whilst attempting to play! After a variety of different matches we headed home, once again stopping at McDonald’s on the way!

The next day we had a bit of a liein and the others got nandos for lunch! Then we went over to Cadburys world, something mobs and I had been looking forward too since we decided to go to Dunedin! Ella, Sophie and rosy were supposed to leave that morning on there bus but as they weren’t having the best time and Pete had a practically empty car they decided to stay with us instead!

Because it was the weekend the factory was closed but we were still able to go on a great tour. As soon as we went in we met our guide who was a crazy old NZ man who had spent a lot of time in the uk. We each got a goodie bag that had some on NZ most popular Cadburys treats in it. The chocolate in NZ is very different to the uk, I think it has something to do with the milk or sugar, but ours is way better! They also love marshmallows in NZ and lots of the Cadburys chocolate bars have marshmallows in them, which seemed very bizarre to us!

We watched a short video about the tour and this history of Cadburys in NZ and then we set off. We started outside looking at 2 old Cadburys delivery trucks which supposedly still work! The whole way round our guide was asking us questions and who ever gave the right answer got more chocolate! Next we watched another short video about how they make jaffas. Jaffas are not Jaffa cakes like I thought! They are a NZ thing, they are similar to a smartie but more circular and are only orange. Next we started to climb one of the Cadbury towers. The walls inside the tower were covered with old chocolate and all you could smell was chocolate, it was my heaven! When we got to the top our guide pressed a button and suddenly there was a huge chocolate waterfall in front of us. It was awesome! When we came back out we were given samples of melted chocolate to try which were sooooooooo good! When our tour was done we all stocked up on cheap chocolate and Karen even tried the Cadburys chocolate cola, it wasn’t very nice!

When we were done we went back and got the cars and went on a hunt to try and find some penguins and seals. After driving round for a while we eventually found the seal beach. We starts strolling up the beach when we saw a family walking the opposite way to us, we asked if they had seen any seals but they said no, there weren’t any. We carried on down the beach anyway. When we got to the very end of the beach, we were about to turn around and come back when luckily rosy looked round a huge rock and found 2 massive sleeping sea lions! We were all so amazed that we had found them and that we were so close to them! We all started taking pictures when one of the sea lions woke up, and wasn’t very happy about us being there. The good thing about sea lions is that when they are on land they are very slow and there isnt much they can do but growl at you and try to charge. We quickly got the hint and started to back away. We headed back to the cars, amazed by what we had seen and set off for penguin beach. After a short drive we were there but the car park for the beach was miles away on top of a really high cliff, so getting down to the beach would take about half an hour. We decided against it and instead headed back to where the girls were staying for a big group dinner, mainly cooked by Ella. Once we’d eaten we played more pool and then headed back to our place to watch movies.

The next morning we were up super early to start the drive to Milford sound. It was my turn to drive so after we packed everything in we were off. Luckily the day before charlie had brought an aux cable so that we could listen to music through the stereo as you get no radio reception at all! I drove for a few hours along pretty much the same round until we stopped for lunch. Then charlie an I switched and he drove most of the rest of the way to Milford. We made it just in time for our cruse after mobs tried to collect what he thought was fresh spring water, turned out to have stuff floating in it and no one drank it!

The cruse was amazing and Milford sound was so beautiful. It rained while we were there, but that’s very common, and in actual fact makes it more beautiful as the waterfalls are stronger. We saw tones of waterfalls and even a colony of seas which was really cool. As bloody usual I started feeling sea sick so had to sit inside for most of it, but I still had a great view.

On the way back it was Karen’s turn to drive. I love you Karen, but I have never been so scared in my life!! The roads are very windy down through Milford and I spent most of the journey clutching Charlie’s hand!! We got to we’re we we’re staying pretty late and as we had to be up early, decided to have a chilled one. We made dinner and played cards and who am I until we all called it a night.

The cars had too be back by 10am so we left at about 7 to make sure we had enough time. We arrived back in queens town with loads of time to spare, so we dropped all our stuff at our hostels and got some breakfast from the furg bakery. It wasn’t until Pete and the girls arrived that we heard how terrible there morning had been. Ella had left her phone at the hostel and on the drive back had got a speeding ticket. Everyone was pretty tired from our long weekend do we all went and napped. That evening was charlie and I’s last night in queens town so I thought it would be a nice idea if we went and had a nice meal, just the two of us. So charlie made a reservation at captains. We went down and had possibly one of the best meals I’ve ever had! To start we had muscles, then for main I had there award winning lamb (it was unreal!) and charlie and the fish special, and for pudding we had a white chocolate cheese cake, again unbelievable. I would 100% recommend it to anyone even near queens town, it was that good!

When we were done we went to meet the others at base to start pre drinking. When we checked into our room in nomads we also bumped into our old friend dustin so he came along too! After a while we headed down to the fat badger for goblets of beer! Milsey also came down to see us so we had a great group. Tweedy and Sophie weren’t feeling too well so they headed back after fat badgers while the rest of us web up to world bar AGAIN! Not long after we got in rosy was a tad too drunk so Ella took her home. The rest of the night is a bit of a blur as we ended up getting very drunk. All I remember is that we ended up getting yet ANOTHER furg burger before calling it a night at god knows what time!

The next morning charlie, dustin and I started the long arsed journey from queens town to Christchurch. All I’m going to say is it took 8hours and I was hung over. Not a good combo!

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Queens town

On our way into queens town we made a stop at the aj hacket bridge Bungy where we watched a short info video about aj hacket and all the different experiences they had to offer. Once it was finished we all had to pay for our bungys or canyon swings in advance, so there was no backing out from here! Charlie paid for his Nevis and somehow I got convinced to do the free style ledge jump over the whole of queens town, so I unwillingly paid for mine too!

Once we had all paid we were able to watch the people doing the bridge jump, one of them being our friend Helen. She was terrified and got talked into it just like me, so I felt for her. But she did it, and with no hesitation! She did t enjoy it much apparently but she was glad shed done it!

When everyone had jumped we carried on into queens town and took a huge group picture before started the long process of checking everyone into nomads. It was actually really lovely, the best hostel we had stayed in so far. Once we had dropped all our stuff off we found Caroline and were pleasantly surprised to also find out our other 2 friends george and Callum had managed to change there flight and we’re also still in queens town. We also found Casey too who we hadn’t seen since Auckland so that was lovely.

We headed over to world bar where we were going to be drinking that night to get our wristbands before taking a stroll around the town and also bumping into Millsy! He took us down to the lake where we chilled out before charlie hit a duck in the face while skimming stones, so we headed to get ready for our night out.

That night we started out at altitude bar attached to the base hostel. After our free shots and a few more drinks we headed over to world bar. They had a free bar tab going of up to a $1,000 so you can imagine it was madness! They also did really great cocktails that were served in tea pots which was cool. We stayed and parties the night away until charlie decided he wanted McDonald’s and so began his routine of getting a mc attack which is two big macs every night before we want home!

The next day was a bit of a right off for me due to my terrible hang over! However charlie, dan, adam and emma all had there Nevis Bungy jump. As its so high up you can’t go and watch so I spent most of the morning in bed recovering before helen and I got up and headed down to the lake as there was a small market going on so we wanted to check it out. We got quick massages which were lovely before bumping into dustin, George and Callum. Just as we bumped into them I got the call from charlie to say he had survived and was on his way back so Hellen and I thought it would be a nice idea to get them congratulation cup cakes from this cute shop we had found!

We found them in the Nevis store uploading there videos and pictures. We presented them with there cup cakes which they were very happy with before heading down to get a world famous ferg burger. We had herd so much about them and were all very excited to finally try one! The shop was busy but not too bad so we didn’t have to wait too long. The burger was AMAZING!! But also huge, I couldn’t finish all of mine in one go! As it was still early afternoon we decided to go luging so we went back to nomads to book our tickets and then went straight up. As the luging track is so high up you have to get a gondola up. The view was unreal. You could see for miles, you could look out over all the town, see the whole of the lake and see where it met the mountains. It was so beautiful. We got to the top and grabbed helmets and went onto the track. Now the best way to describe luging is that it’s like go carting but without the engine. You have to pull the handle bars towards you a little bit to release the breaks, and pull them all the way towards you to break properly. It was great fun and you go a hell of a lot faster then you would think! We had a great time and had loads of races before heading back down!

That evening as we were all so shattered from our day of activities we decided to have a night in, we were going to go to the cinema, but there wasn’t a film that we all wanted to see and nomads had a cinema room so we decided to save some money and stay in instead.

The next day the boys had decided to watch the lord of the rings trilogy so we had a very chilled day. It was also the day that the rest of our group that we left behind arrived! So mid afternoon we were all reunited again! And in true kiwi bus style we started planning our night out! As it was Helen’s birthday soon some of us decided we should go to ice bar to start the night off. As we booked the tickets on bookme.co.nz there were only a couple of spaces, so it ended up being me, charlie, Casey, dan and helen.

We started off drinking in the hostel with everyone until 9pm when we were told we had to stop. In usual youth style, when told not to do something we did the opposite, so we all headed to matt’s room to carry on drinking. Casey an I ducked out to go to the bathroom and the next thing we knew it was all kicking off! Turns out one of the receptionist had caught everyone drinking and was screaming at Matt. One thing lead to another and before we knew it Matt was being thrown out and told he was no longer aloud to stay at nomads. It was all very crazy and not something that could be sorted with everyone fairly drunk. So we all left and tried to forget what had happened!

Everyone else headed over to world bar while charlie and the rest of us web to the ice bar. God knows why but that night I had decided to go out in shorts…to an ice bar! I was bloody freezing, but the bar was awesome! Your only really able to stay for an hour as its so cold and I think in the end we stayed for less but we had a great time! Charlie found a penguin costume while we were putting our coats on so he obviously put it on and wore it for most of the evening! Inside they had an ice hockey table, an ice chandelier and an ice photo booth! It was great! Very quickly though I got super cold so thought it would be a great idea to put on a coat as trouser! I looked insane, but it worked!

Once we were done at the ice bar we went over to meet everyone else at world bar and again partied hard! I don’t know what time we left all I know is as usual charlie polished off two big macs and a cheese burger this time!

Again the next day was a bit of a write off as everyone was so hung over! Neither charlie or I can remember what we got up which shows it can’t have been that eventful! That night as we were no longer aloud to drink in the hostel everyone went down to the river instead. It was really cold in the evenings as it was starting to get into autumn in new Zealand so we didn’t stay long and decided to attempt an early night especially as I had my canyon swing the next day!

The next morning we weren’t up too early as my continent swing was at about midday. Emma and I were doing it together so we grabbed our stuff and made our way down to their shop in town. When we arrived we checked in and were weighed, there were 3 other girls also doing it with us so once everyone was done we hopped in the car to do the short drive to the site. On the way we watched a video showing all the different ways you are able to do the swing. I had already made my mind up that I wanted to do the slide. When we got there we all got harnessed up and took it in turns. Emma went first and god know why but she decided to lie flat in the air and drop like that! I screamed for her while watching it! Next it was my go so they set up the slide. I was sat on the edge and they were chatting away with me which was freaking me out as you never know if they are just going to push you off! After a min or so they said it was time to go and I was pretty much frozen to the spot so they had to pretty much push me! But once I was of it was amazing! You free fall for what feels like forever, and falling over the canyon means you drop so much further! All in all it was amazing! And I was very tempted to do it again but decided against due to money. So we all headed back after buying our pictures and charlie came to meet me to watch my video!

While we were there charlie found out that milsey had been able to get us a really good discount for the shot over jet as his friend worked there and they had 2 spaces left if we went right now. So we ran straight over and jumped in the car that takes you down to the canyon, which was actually where I’d just done my canyon swing over, only this time we were getting in a boat! We got there and put on the really attractive water proof jackets provided before jumping in the boat. The boat is equips with 2 special water jets that makes the boat go so fast. We started off down the river and soon enough we were doing 360degree turns and getting super close to the surrounding rock walls. We were in the boat for about 20mins and was good fun. We were super lucky that we had got the discount though as if we had paid full price I wouldn’t have been that impressed!

When we got back we were both super hungry a we hadn’t really eaten much that day, so we went to a great sushi restaurant in town and grabbed some dinner. While we were eating we bumped into some of the girls and made some plans for later. We all got ready an layered up this time as we were pre drinking by the lake again. We all went down and started playing drinking games when all pod a sudden some crazy guy started shinning these lights on one of our friends pippa. Apparently it was light healing, something to do with different coloured lights doing different things. He wasn’t charging anyone so we all had a go! I don’t think it did much but we humoured him and sat there for a while before heading back to the hostel to drop our extra layers off and heading out! I planned on not getting too drunk as I had my Bungy jump the next day, but unfortunately it didn’t quite work out as planned. Ended up getting very drunk and didn’t get home till super late.

The next morning I had to get up to do my Bungy and it’s safe to say I could think of nothing worse!! I was so hung over and just didn’t want to go. We had decided that as it was up where the living was and we were going to have to buy a gondola ticket anyway we may as well go luging again. We had to pretty much run all the way down with the girls as we were now running late which very much didn’t help my hangover! We got to the top and I started freaking out. I just saw how high it was and felt sick. It’s strange because when I did the canyon swing it was higher, much higher, and I was fine. I guess this was because I had to actually jump, there was no one there to push me. The lovely lady at reception tried to give me a sympathetic pep talk while she weighed me but it didnt help. I did the walk down to the platform and just felt worse and worse. I really didn’t think I could do it. I got harnessed up and just started feeling worse and worse. Soon enough it was time to jump and I just froze. I physically couldn’t move. The guy on the platform clearly saw stuff like this all the time so didn’t have a huge amount of sympathy and just said if you don’t want to do it I’ll take off your harness and let the guys behind go, otherwise you need to go now. I don’t know what changed but I started to run, then paused, then carried on and ran off the edge! It was horrible, I cried and hated it!! But soon enough it was over. I was nearly sick when I got back up, not sure if that was from the hang over or the nerves. We went into the cafe at the top to get something to eat and try and settle me before going luging again. Luging was great fun again. I fell out my cart this time because I was going too quick!

On our way down from luging we bumped into the others all playing mini golf in the sun and decided to join them. Charlie kicked my arse even with me cheating, so that tells just how terrible I am! Half way though our game we heard some one shout Charlie’s name, and low and behold it was milsey and his girlfriend who’s name is also brooke, very strange! So they joined in too and offered to have charlie an I over for dinner at there place later. So we made arraignments and finished our games. Once everyone was done we headed into town with mobs, Karen and tweedy to hire a car for the weekend so we could head down to Dunedin and Milford sound. After traipsing round different companies we found one and got it booked. Then we grabbed another furg burger and went down to the lake to sit in the sun and organise stuff for our weekend trip!

We chilled for a bit longer before making our way over to milsey and Brooke’s place. It was just outside of queens town so we jumped on the bus to get there. It’s amazing how much nicer/helpful bus drivers are in NZ! We got to there place fairly quickly and dinner was pretty much ready when we arrived. It was so nice to have home cooked food again as we had been living pretty much on pasta since we had got to NZ! We had a lovely chilled evening catching up and when we were done milsey dropped us back. It was also our lovely friend Caseys last night 😦 so rather than heading straight home we came out for a couple of drinks to say goodbye.

Thursday was pretty much everyone’s last day together as people were either heading further north or further south like us. It was also a really beautiful day so most of us put on our swimming costumes and headed down to the lake to sunbath. Again it was a nice chilled day and we didn’t really get up to a great deal. That night a it was everyone’s last night Ella had booked a table at a nice restaurant and we all went and had our last supper! It was a lovely evening and a really nice way to say goodbye. Afterwards everyone headed down to the lake to pre drink before going out. As Friday was the start of the Easter weekend, for some bizarre reason all the pubs and clubs shut at midnight. I wasn’t feeling too great so called it a night early but charlie stayed out and had a good time.

The next morning we all had to say our sad fair wells as there were only 9 of us heading down to Dunedin for the weekend, Ella, rosy and Sophie had it included in there bus ticket so they left before us, and Pete had decided to hire his own car. So we picked up the cars, stuffed everything we owned into them said our goodbyes and set off.

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Wanaka and sky diving

Once again we were up early to set off for wanaka. Our first stop was at lake matheson near fox glacier as you can get some great shots of mount cook in the reflection. After we grabbed some breakfast from the lovely cafe we set off again.

We stopped again for a picnic lunch where charlie nearly adopted a passing dog. He was very cute and nearly followed us onto the bus, but guy was having none of it!

As soon as we got in to wanaka charlie and I as well as our friend hits had to jump out and meet the sky diving team. We hopped into the back of there can and watched the safety video explaining how everything was going to work. Once we were there we paid and decided if we wanted videos and photos. Then it all happened relatively quickly as I think we were the last jumpers of the day as it was around 4pm. We got into our jump suits met our instructors and film guys and before we knew it we were harnessed and in the plane!

The journey up took much longer than I expected. After about 5mins I thought we were really high and nearly there but we were only about 2,000ft up!! After another 10mins my jump master handed me the oxygen mask as once you get high enough you need to put it on. Another 10mins passed and then my jump master started double checking all the straps and tightening them even more and the next thing I knew the door was open and charlie was gone!! If I’d blinked I would have missed it as you fly out so quick, then we shuffled forward and my lugs were tucked under the plane, my head was pushed back and boom we were out!! The free fall was unreal, it’s a feeling that I don’t think you can even explain!! You don’t even really take in the scenery at first as all you can think about is the fact that your falling!! The 60seconds passed super quick and soon the parachute was up and we were gliding through the air. It was an amazing feeling, you really do feel like your flying! My jump master even let me steer the parachute and we spun round left and right, it was crazy. The view was so amazing, it was possibly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen!! And then sadly we were getting closer to the ground and so it was time to land. I gave the controls back to the jump master and we landed very smoothly. It was the most amazing experience, something that I think everyone should try!!

Once we were all down we got to watch everyone’s videos and laugh at each others faces when we jumped out! As charlie an I brought some special package we got free t-shirts too so we had to pick those out before heading back to our hostel.

Once we were back it was the strangest feeling, it was almost like due to the amount of adrenalin that had been pumping we all crashed out after! We forced ourselves to have dinner an then called it a night as we were exhausted!! Plus tomorrow we would be arriving into queens town and we wanted to save our energy for then!!

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Franz Josef

After last night it’s safe to say I wa rather tired and still couldn’t quite see the funny side yet, so when we stopped at the bushman centre about 5mins after setting off I was again unimpressed! The centre was half cafe half museum in a wooden shake in a field. Aside from this you then had to pay to go into the museum and were being shouted out by some crazy woman if u decided not to go. The people that worked there were unbelievably rude and the seat put a bloody hole in my leggings. I did not enjoy this morning one bit!

Thankfully we soon set off again and our next stop was far more enjoyable/amazing!! We stopped to do a short up hill walk and when we got to the top the view was unreal, you could see right out to the start of the Franz josef glacier. Stunning is an understatement!

After everyone had taken pictures we set back off again and soon arrived into Franz josef town. This was where charlie and I had planned on doing our skydive so we had already been booked in, all we needed to do was turn up. First though, we had also decided to do the glacier hike the next day, so we rushed in and paid for that before heading to the skydive shop.
When we turned up we were bitterly disappointed to discover we couldn’t jump as there plane was being serviced and no one had bothered letting us know. So we grabbed some lunch and I tried cheering charlie up!

After that we headed back to our hostel which was really lovely. And we quickly realised that we would be re-united with some of our group that had gone ahead of us. So we went in search of Caroline, Callum, George, dustin and nick and decided we should have a nice big reunion dinner before heading out. We sent the boys to the super market and they returned with a huge Mexican feast!! Everyone helped out and in no time we had 3huge plates of nachos, chicken fajitas with all the trimmings, it was amazing!! I was actually so full I had to go have a nap before going out!!

That night guy was announcing the winner of the fancy dress competition so everyone was very excited, it was also a beach party theme at the bar we were going to so most people had there costumes on again! Eventually guy announced that I had won!! I was over the moon!! Was a great start to the night and we all ended up getting very drunk, including guy!! George even ended up being stood on a table doing the Harlem shake, it was great!

Sadly the next morning we had to say fair well to the guys again as they set off for wanaka, but we had our Franz josef glacier hike so we weren’t sad for too long! We headed straight down there and got kitted up with boots, trousers, jackets, hats, gloves, the works! After a surprisingly quick safety talk we headed to the heli pad. Our group consisted of charlie and I, helen and dan, Emma and two other couples. We left the two other couples to get the next helicopter and the 5 of us jumped in. Emma and I were sat in the front and we got the most amazing view! The journey was super quick and before we knew it we were standing on the glacier. It was so beautiful. We met our guide who was a crazy ginger kiwi and we started our hike. He showed us the different types of ice and explained that the bluer the ice was the less oxygen there was in it. We stopped at loads of different areas, he took us into ice holes and little caves that had been created. We also went through an ice crevasse that was only just wide enough for us to fit though! Our guide was actually fantastic all be it a little crazy, he knew so much about the glacier and could answer any question you put to him, which was impressive as he only look about the same age as us! We carried on going and every time he spotted something cool he would dart off, check it was safe and then start digging steps in the ice for us to climb up.

After a couple of hours we had actually finished the set route and still had an hour to go so our guide decided to take us off the beaten track and to a cave he had found earlier but hadn’t had time to check out. I was the first person behind our guide and so when we got to this cave he turned round to me and said “if I get stuck, there’s a rope in my bag, chuck it down to me.” it’s safe to say I was fairly terrified!! But he disappeared down this hole into the cave and luckily didn’t get stuck! He decided it was safe enough for everyone to go down and of course I was bloody first in line!! I slid down into this hole and it was unreal!! It dropped down god knows how far but the ice was the bluest thing I’ve ever seen. It was so amazing, a real wow moment! Once everyone who wanted to had gone down and come out safe and sound we carried on to another cave. This one was much larger and open though, very different to the pervious one that in comparison was more like an ice hole! We all went in and took it in turns to look over the edge, again it seemed like it was never ending!

Soon after it was time to head back and hopefully try and do our skydive again. We rushed back and got changed and ran straight over, only to be told again that we couldn’t do it because of the weather. We were told to try again at about 4pm to see if the weather had improved at all but we could already tell it wasn’t going to happen. We went back to the room to start looking at where else we would be able to skydive instead and found out that the next town we were going to, wanaka, we could possibly do it there. We went back at 4 anyway, already knowing what the answer would be as the weather had got even worse. We headed up to the bakery to see if some treats would cheer us up, and then remembered that included in our glacier hike was free access to the hot pools all day, so we headed over there.

There were 3 different man made pools, all different temperatures. It was really nice to chill out there and warm up but we didn’t stay for too long as we were both super hungry! So we went back, had dinner and crashed out after our busy day!

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The Poo pub!

The next morning we all woke up a little worse for wear! We jumped on the coat and started the journey to lake mahinapua, nick named the poo pub.

On the way we stopped a couple of times, once at punakaiki (the pancake rocks) which is also home to one of the largest sea colonies. There were some super cute seals, there were even a couple of baby ones swimming around changing each other!!
The second stop was for supplies, as tonight was going to be a fancy dress competition and the theme was H2O! I had already decided that I was going to go as a shower!! Don’t ask me why, but I figured it was original and no one else would go as it, and if I could pull it off well I could possibly even win, the prize being a free canyon swing down in queens town, normally worth over $200!

Needless to say, creating a shower costume was rather tricky! I figured the best thing to do was to have the shower pole somehow stuck to my back and then have the shower head over my head and somehow get a shower curtain surrounding me! Well I ran from fancy dress shop to hardest store to the NZ equiverlant of tescos all in an hour! I managed to find some sort of pimp stick in the fancy dress shop that I was going to use as the pole as well as a shower curtain. I then found one of those things that u hang your socks and pants on to dry in the hardware store to use as the shower head as well as some metal thing to stick to the top of the pole and have the drying thing hang from! I then found some glitter as I decided I needed some water coming from the shower and was going to use some of Charlie’s string for this. I then found super glue and duck tape and that was me done!! All in all I think I spent about $20. My theory was as long as I didn’t spend $200 and I won then I was saving money!

Charlie had decided to go as poseidon so he brought a sheet to wear as a toga, some wool to creat a bread, the same pimp stick as me, a girly kids dressing up tearer as that was the closest he could get to crown and some tin foil.

We got back on the bus and began trying to creat my shower straight away. Now I must give credit where it’s due and do I would like to give thanks to all the people below for there help and dedication in helping me creat my great costume: Emma, helen, dan, charlie, adam and hits. I think that’s all!! If I missed you sorry!

We arrived at the poo pub and quite quickly realised why it had such a nick name. It was a shit hole!!! The place was rank, there were cameras everywhere to stop people drinking there own alcohol, the rooms smelt like cat wee, you had to pay extra for a duvet and we were already paying $30 for the night, we had also payed for dinner which also was pretty shit. In short the place is a huge waste of money and was NOT nice. However, we tried to put that aside and get on with the costumes. Some hours later we were all ready and headed down to the bar. Everyone looked great!! The majority of people had come as some form of bay watch characters, there were pirates, mermaids, frogs sporn and even a bath! It was great fun and we managed to get a huge group picture too, even the bus drivers got involved, guy even went as far as having costume changes though out the night!!

As my costume was rather heavy and uncomfortable I decided to head back a little earlier than most, plus the drinks were bloody expensive and we couldn’t exactly pre drink! Once I was just drifting off to sleep I get woken up by charlie with his bloody toe AGAIN! He had somehow managed to split it open on something! I bandied him up and we went to bed.

What happened next ended up being one of the strangest nights of my life!!! I had gone to bed with my ear plugs in as I do when sharing a dorm and yet was still woken by the loudest snoring I’ve ever heard at about 4:30am. In my half asleep state I took them out to try and figure out who was making so much noise. After a couple of mins trying to figure it out I realised it was coming from the bed above…charlie! So I started kicking the bottom of his bed to shut him up. It stopped so I lay back down again. A couple of mins later it starts again, so this time I punched his leg from my bed, again it stops and again I lie down, and gain a couple of mins pass before it starts again. This time I’m really angry and tired so I get out of bed to hold his nose!! As I stand up and look over his bed I’m confused by what I see. There was another head lying next to charlie! In my half asleep state I think to myself, maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me, maybe he has fallen asleep with a pile of clothes next to him, so I touch it and sure enough there is a blond girl in bed with my boyfriend who is making all the noise. Now I’m really confused so I grab my phone to shine the light round the room thinking maybe someone has slept walked. But no, everyone else is still sound asleep in there beds. It’s at this point that I don’t know what else to do. So I started punching charlie in the arm saying “what the fuck is going on!?” he wakes up, looks at me very confused, then looks at the girl and say “huh? I though that was you!” he then try’s to wake her up, poking her saying “erm excuse me, but you have to leave.” she then starts to wake up and say “what the fuck!?” charlie says “erm my girlfriend is in the bed below, I don’t know who u r but u have to leave.” still half asleep the girl then says “are u fucking kidding me!?” charlie says “no, I think you’ve got me mixed up with someone else!” at this point she wakes up properly, stares at charlie for a couple of seconds and then bursts out laughing, says “omg hahaha sorry!” and runs out the room. By now everyone else in the room is awake and wondering what the hell is going on! Charlie explains that he has no idea, he felt someone climb into bed with him but just assumed it was me wanting to snuggle and so didn’t even turn over. We were all so confused at how she had got in with out anyone realising, she even must have climbed lib my bed to get into Charlie’s!! We were all very confused and eventually fell back to sleep.

The next morning we discover the girl, who’s called camilla, had actually been getting with one of the other boys on the bus also called charlie, and it just so happened both Charlie’s had been sleeping in the exact same bed just different rooms. So when camilla left the other Charlie’s bed in the night to go to the toilet, still very drunk, rather than turning left out of the toilet she turn right and climbed into bed with my charlie! It was very bizarre and by the time everyone was on the bus the story had got round to everyone, evidently she won “dick of the day” (another one of our bus rules, anyone who does anything stupid gets written in the book and at that start of the day guy reads out the nominations and we all vote, the winner has to wear a dick of the day high viz jacket all day) and im sure the story will be retold to all of guys future buses!

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West port and paddys day!

We were greeted by our new driver who was in a full paddys day costume, green beard and all!! And as we started our journey he started telling us some of the “rules” of his bus! First things first, no one was aloud to say f**k or mine, if they did, no matter where we were or what u were doing, u had to do 10press ups or sit ups, this included the driver! Secondly, the last two people back on the would get hand cuffed together for being late, didn’t matter if u knew this person or not!! Thirdly as we were in new Zealand we were no longer aloud to call flip flops anything other than jandels!

Once the rules were explained, we set off, only for a short distance though as guy our driver said f**k and had to pull over to do his press up on the side of the road!!

Once we were properly on our way guy commenced a speed dating game for everyone to get to know each other. Everyone sat in an isle seat had to jump up move one space forward, they then had a min with this new person to ask the usual questions before moving again. We did this for 3rounds before stopping for lunch.

We soon arrived in Westport and had previously been warned about it by our last driver flea. Her words were something like “it’s full of inbreds but there all nice enough people if u can get past the extra fingers and mono brows!” We arrived early evening and started our preparations for paddys night!! We had already been told we would be doing a 3legged pub crawl, but as there were so many of us it turned into a 4legged one instead!! It meant one poor guy had both his legged tied to a girl either side! Charlie was lucky enough to only get one girl as there weren’t quite enough people!
I was tied to a guy called dan who I had met during speed dating on the bus, and a German girl. We slowly set off but quickly got the hang of it and we’re leading the rest of the group!

We got to the first pub where they had a live band playing, we grabbed a drink and attempted some Irish dancing before heading to the next pub. The second pub was where we really got a feel for the strangeness of west port!! Whilst standing at the bar I got asked to join an odd group of guys 3times, I declined explaining I was tied to someone and was promptly then called treacle bum by a different guy with 6 fingers!! Just my type!! We quickly polished off our drinks and headed to the next bar!!

The last bar was nice and was where we remained for the rest of the night, once we had finished our final drink we were aloud to be untied! We had a great night and danced the night away with our new bus friends!!

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South island

The next morning we woke up early and jumped in a cab to meet the bus. We didn’t want to wake Nathan as it was the weekend so we snuck out! Once we met the bus it was a short journey to the ferry port, however the ferry journey itself was way longer than we all expected! 3hours later we arrived in the south island to start the next part of our trip.

As we had spent 2 nights in Wellington we had lost a couple of people from our group 😦 but we also lost our bus driver!! Which we were all fairly relieved about!! Our new driver was called guy, and right from the start we could tell we were going to have more fun! For starters there were now 2 buses driving in convoy which means double the amount of people travelling. Secondly our new bus driver seemed a million times better than our last one, and thirdly our first stop was at a vineyard!

When we arrived at the vineyard we were split into two groups as there were so many of us. We stayed outside and sampled 4 different wines, 3 white and 1 red. As many of you that know charlie and I will know, neither of us actually drinks wine, but we thought this would be a great way to start. And surprisingly enough 2 of them weren’t that bad. I still didn’t enjoy them a huge amount, but I could defiantly taste the different flavours which I’m sure is a start! On the plus side, the vineyard also had the cutest little cafe that sold the most amazing oils and sauces as well as a small fudge shop that had the most AMAZING fudge!!

Once we had eaten our body weight in fudge samples and the rest of our group had bought 3 cases of wine between them, it was time to leave and carry on the drive to kaiteriteri. When we arrived, checking in took bloody ages as there was about 102 people to check in! Once we were settled, showered and had eaten dinner we started the room party! Needless to say, it got a little out of hand with the majority of people drinking 2 and a half bottles of wine each!!

The next day it was time to make a move and unfortunately leave the majority of our group behind as they had decided to stay an extra few nights in kaiteriter. We said fair well and set off again!

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Wellington, barmy army and te papa

We arrived into Wellington early evening and the bus dropped us in town, so charlie and I jumped in a cab and headed up to Nathan’s house.

The taxi driver was lovely and gave us some great tips about what to do while in Wellington. After a quick but steep drive, we arrived at Nathan’s beautiful uni house. The house is sat on top of a hill that looks out over the whole of Wellington, the view was incredible! Once we had dumped our millions of bags we sat down and had a good old catch up.

A couple of hours later Nathan gave us the option of him cooking or going out for some food, but we decided to have a quite on and spend some time with Nathan rather than going out, so he began dinner, following his house mates strict instructions! Not long after Nathan had started his house mate arrived home to discover his blender smoking and so quickly took over!!

Dinner was amazing and we were all so full we couldn’t move! So we set up camp in front of the tv and had a chilled night in. It was actually really nice to have a break from drinking every night and be staying in a home rather than a hostel!

The next morning, despite being able to lie in charlie woke up bright and early as we had decided to try and see if we could get tickets to the cricket as we weren’t able to go to the rugby. After we had spoken to everyone else we made our way down around lunch time to see what the situation was. We managed to get tickets fairly cheep so we headed in to watch the match. We were really lucky with the weather as it was a beautiful day and England were winning too so we couldn’t have asked for much more!

Towards the end of the match we decided that as it was our only full day in Wellington we should also go to the famous interactive museum. We headed down there and managed to get 2 hours in before it shut. It was really cool and very interesting.

Once we were all done we went to meet Nathan and his house mate for a quick drink before dinner. Charlie and I said we would treat them both to dinner to say thank you for having us, so Nathan’s house mate suggested a great little Italian place. We head a great meal and once we were done we headed out to a couple of really cools bars for a few drinks. We had also arranged to try and meet our other friends that live in Wellington but unfortunately we couldn’t. After a while we headed back to Nathan’s, after charlie got himself an ice cream as we had to be up early again to catch the bus down to the ferry port to head south.

It was so lovely being able to spend time with Nathan though, and thanks again for having us, you guys are the best!!

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Lake Taupo and River Valley

The next morning we were due to head off to lake Taupo, however our bus driver did a stop at a sulphur hot pools area first and those who didnt want to go we’re able to roam around rotorua a bit longer.

Charlie and I decided against the hot pools as they were so hot you weren’t actually able to bath in them, and it was quite expensive so instead we went to grab some breakfast at a place called the fat dog. They did the most amazing food and the portions were HUGE! I ordered a hot chocolate which genuinely came in a bowl!

Once we had set off after breakfast we only made one stop as the drive to Taupo was the shortest one on the whole bus route. We stopped at a place called hooker falls which was a stunning waterfall. After a few quick photos we jumped back on the bus and drove into Taupo.

As charlie and I had booked somewhere different for us to stay we dropped the rest of the group off first before heading to our hostel. The majority of our group had also decided to do there skydive that afternoon so we headed straight over to wish them all good luck and see them being carted off in the limo!

Once they had gone there was a small group of us left that decided to head down to the natural hot springs that you were able to swim in as they actually flowed down and joined with the river that forms hooker falls. After a quick taxi ride we arrived and jumped straight in.

The water, at first glance, just looked like part of the river, and it wasn’t until you got in that you realised how hot it was. There were different areas that were hotter than others but most of the time you could just mix it with the cold water from the wider part of the river and it felt just like a bath. There were a few other people down there too who had all brought beers with them so we all decided that we should bring the rest of our group down the next day with some beers as we all enjoyed it so much, plus it was free!!

Once we had all turned into wrinkly prunes we headed back to our hostle to get showered and changed and wait for the skydivers to return. Once they were back and we heard how amazing there skydive was we all decided to have a big night out to celebrate, so charlie an I headed over to their hostle and ended up dancing the night away!

As Taupo was so lovely we got to spend and extra day here and as everyone was feeling a little worse for wear we decided to have a chilled one. We grabbed some lunch and some of the boys thought it would be a good idea to go fishing on the lake, but after minor research we discovered that it would be far too expensive, so we settled on just sunbathing by the lake instead.

On our way down there the boys all spotted a golfing game. There was a hole out in the middle of the lake and if you managed to get a whole in one you won $10,000 so of course try all had a go, sadly none of them won, although a couple actually got it on the green which was an achievement in itself!

We finally pulled the boys away and got to an area by the lake that we could all lie down on, dispite it being a hill and no one being that comfy, we got settled and chilled there for most the afternoon. Also as we were laying by a lake there was no real sand just stones, so we settled for the itchy grass instead. After an hour or so we decided the grass was too much so charlie and i pitched the idea of taking some beers to the hot springs instead. Dispite everyone still being a little hung over the general consensus was this was a good idea, so we headed to the liquor store and jumped in a cab.

The afternoon was spent almost exactly the same as the day before only this time it included drinking! Once we had all had enough it was dinner time and then get ready for round two as two more kiwi buses had also arrived into Taupo that day so we were told it was going to be a big night! And it sure was, esepcially for charlie who decided to get completely inialated and ended up eating 2 big macs. I decided to make friends with the poor lady trying to surve him and so she let us try out a brand new burger which wasn’t going to be available for another 3days! We felt very privalidged!

As you can imagine the next morning, having to get up for the bus was no fun for a very hung over mr Lucas and due to his struggles we almost missed the bus. Luckily I managed to convince our bus driver flea that he was just coming and not trying to stop himself from being sick, so we got on and started the drive to river valley.

After a stop for a 2hour walk, which I declined, we arrived at river valley. It was a lovely place that reminded me slightly of the farm stay in aus. It was in the middle of no where and I’m pretty sure our bus were the only people staying there. But we all grabbed our places in the “orgy dorm” which was where the majority of us were staying. It was a big room with a single bunk bed that took up half the room, as both the bottom and top bunks could fit 10 people each! So it was like one big sleep over!

That night we also had paid for a huge roast dinner which was amazing! There was tones of food and was great value for money. As there was not a huge amount to do at river valley, we all decided to try and have a night off from drinking, however this didn’t go quite as planned. 10 bottles of red wine later there was singing, guitar playing and Caroline falling over while simply standing up!!

The next morning a few of the group went white water rafting, but charlie and I had decided against it as due to the drought the water lever was super low so we didn’t think it would be as good. Apparently that wasn’t the case and the people that went had the best time. We spent the morning chilling out before having to do the huge treck back up the hill to get back to the bus and head down to see our friend Nathan in Wellington!

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