11.10.2010 - 11.21.2010
Since the last episode, lots has been happening over in little New Zealand. I will give the extremely abbreviated version of our trip which I’m sure will actually somehow veer off into several longwinded diatribes thereby not being abbreviated at all. But, at least the thought is there. After leaving the Marlborough sounds, we took the ferry to the north island and spent some time in Wellington, the capital city, which lonely planet dubbed the “coolest little capital in the world” (hard to escape anyone’s notice as there were flags flying with the slogan at every street lamp. Unfortunately for new Zealand, they’re kind of like the red headed step child of the world. In fact, most people in the world probably think the country is part of Australia. So when something cool happens, they’ve got to go all out. it’s like little man syndrome, but for a country. Diatribe 1 over.)
After Wellington, which lonely planet has correctly dubbed a cool little capital, we moseyed on up through the central north island where I had a chance to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It is billed as New Zealand’s finest one day walk and it was pretty spectacular. Minus the part where I seriously thought I might get blown off a side trail no one else was on. I could just picture it in my head, “Tonight on New Zealand news, dumb American girl gets blown off trail after she decided to take the road less traveled.” To the point, but with a slightly poetic ending. There were other versions I came up with, but the basic gist, all’s well that ends well and I made it out alive and unscathed. We then headed north through Rotorua which smells like rotten eggs because of the sulfur from geothermal activity in the area. As you might imagine, that was a quick stop. We spent a couple of nights in the Coromandel at Hot Water Beach where the water is literally scorching hot. At low tide, beachgoers come with a shovel in hand and start digging on the beach to create their own very natural hot tub. There is a spring beneath the sand that is heated by the geothermal activity. It gets up to about 140 degrees. We didn’t have too much luck getting ourselves a hot tub as it seemed the regulars knew exactly where to dig, but we did get to feel the hot water bubbling up from under the surface. I had a blister on my toe as proof for a few days.
After departing from the Coromandel, we spent a night in Auckland to break up the drive. We then carried on up to Northland and spent our last four nights together in Russell, a cute little seaside town in the bay of islands. We attempted to go out swimming with dolphins, but in the two pods we saw, there were babies present and that means a no-go for getting into the water as it can stress mom out and she’ll stop producing milk. But, we still got to see two pods of dolphins which was truly incredible. They are such amazing little creatures which actually aren’t that little at all. They’re quite big up close and would definitely be cause for me to have a major freak out if one ever brushed by me while scuba diving.
Anyway, our last two nights in Russell, we were joined by my special friend who was constrained from participating on the whole trip due to the fact that he lives in the real world, unlike me, and had to work. My parents then headed back to Auckland for their flight in one car and Juan and I headed up further north in the other. Even though this is all part of the same entry, for everyone’s sake, I’m going to end it here and start another, thereby allowing me to keep my word that this will be an abbreviated post. I’m so tricky.