New Zealand Adventures
Trip Start Feb 02, 2008
54Trip End Aug 19, 2008
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The other day we went to a lantern festival for the Chinese new year. It was a free event held in Albert Park - Auckland, and as the names suggests, it had lots of lanterns. There were teapot lanterns, dog lanterns, penguin lanterns, house lanterns, general normal lanterns. There was music and some of those dancing Chinese dragons, and some small fireworks with a BIG sound. I shall put up some blurry but fun pictures of the lantern festival soon.
We also went up the SKY TOWER. Which is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. Its 8 meters taller than the Eiffel tower, and stands at 328 meters. If we had more time in Auckland we would probably do the "Sky walk", which is where you get all harnessed up and walk around the outside, above Auckland on a beam 1.2 meters wide. Scary, but some really nice views. We just went up to the viewing tower, where you are safely inside a big building surrounded by alot of glass. There are glass panels in the floor where you can see right down to the ground. There are some nice reassuring signs that let you know that the glass wont break. We went up at 11pm so we could see the city at night. Its an amazing sight. Auckland is a huge city, with 1 in every 3 New Zealanders living here. If anyone has a bit of time to spare and finds themselves in Auckland I would recommend the $18 trip up there. (Thats about 7.20 in English Pound)
Auckland is apparently the "Crime City" of New Zealand, which definitely has alot to say about crime in New Zealand. Auckland is safer than Leamington, no doubt about it.
Our hostel (The Fat Camel - Nomads) kindly gave us a free city tour on our first day, so we got to see some nice sights there. We went up the dormant volcano Mount Eden, which is the only (I think he said only, if not the guide said "One of very few") place in the world where you can see two bodies of sea at any one time. The pacific ocean on one side, the Tasman sea on the other. When you are stood at the top, you can see more people living in between these two seas than the population of the whole of the south island. (For those of you who don't know your New Zealand geography, Auckland is the biggest city in NZ, lying on the thin bit on the North Island. Its not the capital though, thats Wellington (Also on the North, although at the bottom).) We also saw the harbors, filled with thousands of boats. Hence why Auckland is dubbed the city of sails. There's also Auckland's oldest building, a sugar factory and a few more things like the harbor bridge and some rich peoples houses.
We also went to the Auckland museum, which is free for students. Its huge and so requires a full day, with three different filled floors. The ground floor is filled with treasures from the Maori culture. It has some amazing instruments, boats, clothing, weapons and a Maori meeting house (The interior is amazing). The first floor is all about natural history with some live animals too. There are hundreds of moths and butterflies and insects to look at, and to be honest it has frightened us about the rest of the world. Australia is a scary place as far as wildlife goes. And apparently Malaysian beetles are not very nice... It also has some ancient history bits and a fantastic volcano section, with one of those earthquake houses. (The kind that simulate it). The second floor is dedicated to New Zealand wars, from WW1 to WW2 and some other bits and pieces. There is also a reconstruction of 1890's Auckland, with shops and houses to look in, its lovely.
We've also been to the "Auckland Star light Symphony" which is another free event with classical music under the stars. There was also a nice laser show and some spectacular fireworks, it was fantastic and FREE!!!
Today we are catching a bus to the Bay of Islands in the north (Paipia, if you want to look at it on a map.) We might attempt to swim with dolphins, and we will no doubt head to a lovely place called Russell. We also hope to visit a forest and see some of the famous and huge native Kauri trees.
After that we plan to head down to Rotorua, where I might undertake some white water rafting and white water sledging. (Its like body boarding, only on some rapids rather than a nice sandy beach...) After thats its to Lake Taupo to do some real adventure sports. A skydive and bungy here I reckon (I've been told its the best place for it.) Then to the Tongariro National Park to do the Tongariro crossing, renowned as New Zealand's best day walk. Its also Mordor, for anyone thats seen Lord of the Rings. Then to Wellington, cultural and political capital. Then maybe some more national parks.
It all sounds very very fun and I shall let you all know how it goes. And pictures will also come soon. If the last section, about adventure sports has scared anyone you should know that there has not been a single death ever, in New Zealand, for any adventure sport. :)
Love Bernie xxxxxx