Crouch. Touch. Pause..... Engage!

Trip Start May 27, 2011
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12
26
Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Frienz Hostel
Our car. A lot.
What I did
Watched quite a bit of rugby.

Flag of New Zealand  , Auckland,
Saturday, September 10, 2011

North Island

So, New Zealand eh? When we arrived the NZ press had already whipped the general public into a frenzy about the Rugby World Cup, the Kiwis were ready to receive the world to their islands. Flags adorned the houses and pubs - making sure they didn't miss out any countries flag, lest they be accused of unfairness (the Kiwis seem very much geared towards fairness). We arrived in Auckland on the day of the opening ceremony at Eden Park and quickly motored away from the capital and all the fun... unfortunately our time here is very short - and every day we had a plan (vague) of where we should be / who we were seeing / what we should be looking at.

We started in Waitomo Caves, which is 3 hours south of Auckland - this was to meet up with some friends and black water raft. Black water rafting is basically floating around a dark cave in a rubber tube -whilst looking up at the glow worms who are resident there. They are actually maggots not worms, but the marketing team decided that calling them worms as it was a better sell. It was fun and strange at the same time - floating in the pitch dark was very relaxing if a bit unsettling. The instructors were typical Kiwis - enthusiastic and impervious to danger. It fact one of them (called Monkey apparently, although I doubt it was the name his mother gave him) pointed out a hole under the water to avoid (nicknamed the human washing machine) and then promptly jumped in it. A full 10 seconds later he re-emerged and, with a manic glint in his eye, he whispered 'sweet as!'. If you say so mate...

We headed out towards New Plymouth the next day (schedule to keep) and passed through some stunning scenery, the first of many types. In fact the scenery is so stunning and varied it became my job (which indeed it actually is) to edit the photos on the road to keep up with the demands of the camera - on average we were changing the SD card every day... and it wasn't just pictures of cute lambs (I only took around 250 photos of lambs) there were lakes, rivers, valleys, hills, mountains, seascapes, glaciers, volcanoes, rolling fields, caves, crevasses, sulphur lakes, desserts, canyons, fiords and meadows. The landscape is quite literally ridiculous. Never mind Lord of the Rings, some of it looked straight out of the Tellytubbies, so green it glowed. Must be all the rain - and there is a tremendous amount of the stuff.

New Plymouth was the location of the first Ireland match, up against USA. The US fans were quite vocal (read:annoying) and the Irish fans were jovial (read:drunk). Ireland won 22-10, but their performance wasn't great. Our next match was an important one for Ireland, they were playing Australia who had recently beaten world cup favourites the All Blacks (New Zealand to the uninitiated). It was being held at the biggest stadium in New Zealand - Eden Park in Auckland... The Irish fans were out in force, in fact I would say that the amount of Irish people we met in New Zealand, including our mates who we travelled with since South America, made me wonder if there was anyone left in Ireland :). The atmosphere at the game was electric, and may of aided the win (WIN!) against Australia, it could be the biggest upset of the world cup (at the time of going press)... amazing!!  Anyway enough about the sport, lets talk about the hotties. Ok, no no, I won't bore you with my favourite player (I love you Richie McCaw), the ones that look best in tiny pants (Dan Carter) or the one with the most tremendous beard (Adam Kleeberger of Canada). Nope, I won't do that.

So for our final stop on our flyby in the North Island we dropped in on friends in Wellington for a curry (real food I've missed you). Before hopping across to the South Island and much much more rugby, with a bit of extreme sports thrown in!
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