Archive for the 'New Zealand' Category

by Squage
on Dec 23rd, 2006

The Last Week In New Zealand


Well as usual I’ve managed to find plenty of other things to do than sit and stare at a computer screen for a week – I tell you, I don’t know how Pat used to do it back at work. I guess he must just love computers.


Anyway, I’ve dragged Pat along to a net cafe here in Melbourne and have chained him to his seat so he can typ-er… watch me type without being able to leave to do something more interesting.

This is the blog for what happened in the last week of New Zealand. Are you ready? Then I’ll begin:

Saturday 9th December: Queenstown

  • After a mammoth blogging session, Pat and I met up with the gang (Kate, Jen, Jersey and Mette) to go and play Mini Golf – as the weather was still pretty nice
  • Mini Golf was great fun – and at a lovely location, at the base of the gondola:

    Sun Over The Mountain at the Mini Golf Course

  • After a good first three holes, Pat and Jen were in the lead so spent the rest of the first 10 holes trying to beat eachother…

    Jen momentarily forgets which type of golf she's playing

    …sadly, Pat then decided to bugger it all up in true Pat Scullion style, getting a 7, 5, and 4 to match Jen’s 3, 4 and 3.

  • Pat ended up coming 4th out of 5. Jersey won, one point in front of Jen, followed by Mette. Kate asked not to be mentioned here so we won’t say which position she came in (Er, Squage… – Pat) What? Oh, oops.
  • Needless to say, all had fun!
  • That evening we ventured to a pub Pat and Kate had stumbled across earlier in the week, called The Cow. It was rather reminiscent of a lovely English country pub, complete with wooden roof timbers and an open log fire.
  • For a change, Pat allowed me out to sample some alcoholic delights…

    Evening Meal At The Cow In Queenstown

    …and Mette and I realised we had a strange love between us… so went on an impromptue date:

    Romantic Meal For Two

    After a few bottles of wine, everyone was pretty Squage-faced:

    (As you can see, there were a few bottles consumed between us… ;-) – Pat)

  • Pat later on phoned Orange and all was sorted regarding the 200 quid… although for some reason Pat can’t remember the *exact* details. How very odd. (Yeah, shut it you boozy hypocrite – Pat) (Looks like Pat’s still a bit hungover and tetchy…)
  • Finally, some sleep was had… and Pat wished he’d gone to bed at about 10pm, rather than gone 12am… as he had a bus to catch at 8:15am.

Sunday 10th December: Queenstown -> Dunedin

  • After a FAR too early rise, Pat and the gang checked out of the hostel in a half-zombie-like state and trudged down the road to pick up the Bottom Bus* – saying goodbye to Flea (who was just about to take a Kiwi Experience group up to Christchurch) before falling onto the smaller of the two Bottom Buses that were there to pick us up.

    * Pat informs me that Stu Clark may be interested to know that the independant Bottom Bus company (affiliated to but not owned by Tourism Holdings) has recently bought out East As…

  • We had a good bus driver called Bloke, who was in his 50s and had the sort of good sense of humour you expect from someone who’s seen a fair bit of stuff in his time.
  • After a few stops off at little towns (nothing particuarly exciting – wide roads, small little shops and not a person in sight) we made our way into Dunedin.
  • First stop was Baldwin Street – officially the Steepest Street In The World:

    Baldwin Street

    At its steepest it’s a 35% gradient. Pat managed to walk from the base right to the top at a reasonable pace, without stopping, but was *exhausted* at the top:

    Comedy 'Help!' Pose

    Kate and Jersey attempted to run it. They got 1/3 of the way and gave up. Insane? Nope. What’s insane is that every year there’s a big race to the top and people do it in frighteningly fast times. Nutjobs.

  • After a trundling back down the street, the Bottom Bus picked us up and took us to a viewpoint of Mount Cargill for a panoramic view of Dunedin:

    Pat, Squage And The View Of Dunedin

  • Dunedin is Gaelic for Edinburgh – no coincidence as Dunedin was set up by Scottish settlers and is twinned with it’s English-language namesake. It’s a really nice city, quite studenty, with loads of places to eat and drink and quite a chilled vibe about it. Sadly we only had one night there so didn’t get to check it all out…
  • …but Pat did manage to get on a brewery tour. What are the chances?
  • Pat really enjoyed the Speights Brewery Tour, as:
    1. The tour guide was very amusing (knowing everyone on the tour’s nationality and being able to relate various parts of the tour to each person’s home country (apart from the Aussie family’s, whose country was joking slagged off at every opportunity))
    2. Pat got to see the brewing vats in action
    3. There was a good bit of interesting history
    4. There was free beer tasting.

    Personally, I think Pat might’ve been adding the first three points in just to seem like less of an alchy… (Honest, guv, it was interesting! – Pat) Yeah, yeah.

  • Most of the evening was spent chilling at the lovely hostel (complete with free Internet access and a nice warm, cosy lounge area), but later on Pat went for some food at an Indian Restaurant (nothing like sampling a bit of local cuisine, eh?) with Caroline (who we’d met in Queenstown) before they met up with Kate for some watching of Old School at Caroline’s hostel (Pat, Jersey, Jen and Kate’s place didn’t actually have TV)
  • FACT: Old School is still hilarious.
  • After watching that Pat and Kate made their way back to the hostel and Pat had a well needed sleep.

Monday 11th December: Dunedin -> Invercargill

  • This morning was a bit sad as despite meeting up again with Chris and Welshy, Jersey and Pat had to say toodles to Kate and Jen who were staying in Dunedin for another couple of nights. Still, they were all gonna catch up again in Christchurch, so that was good.
  • After saying tarrah and getting on an even smaller Bottom Bus than the day before (this time only with 7 people on it – Pat, Jersey, Welshy, Chris, Caroline, Molly and another lady who we’ll call Jane for the purposes of the blog – not that I’ve forgotten or anything), we made our way out of Dunedin:

    The Big Bottom Bus
    The awesomely huge Bottom Bus.

  • Lots of stops today, to see lots of wildlife and cool scenery – and the weather was perfect! Pat hoped that the same weather would follow him into Milford Sound on Wednesday. Would he be happy? Find out… Next. (n.b. below, in the entry for Wednesday)
  • The first stop was at Nugget Point: a lighthouse with plenty of cool looking rocks around it in the sea:

    Nugget Point!

    Nugget Pat!

  • After that we made our way to a beach called “Cannibal Bay” (named by Captain Cook or someone similar on docking at the beach and finding human skeletons on the sand. Turns out it was a burial ground, rather than a dustbin for eaten stuff)… and saw a real life Sea Lion! Wooh:

    Sea Lion at Cannibal Bay!

    He’s a male, apparently. You can tell because he’s a darker colour and… some other things. Pat can’t quite remember the details other than “Wow, it was a Sea Lion!”. He should really narrate Planet Earth…

  • After that the Bottom Bus stopped off at a nice beach for a beach walk… which Pat enjoyed, including the “through the jungle” trek back to where the bus was moved to – a very Jurassic Park feel to it, Pat said. Apart from all the violent dinosaur related death, I assume.
  • Penultimate stop was a walk through the woods to the lovely McLean Falls, which is owned by GlaxoSmithKline and is made of toothpaste:

    Minty Fresh!

  • Last stop of the day was at Curio Bay, where we went on a guided tour to the Petrified Forest, which looks like this:


    From what Pat could gather, it’s called Petrified Forest in honour of what was thought by the trees at the time:

    “Oh shit, there’s hundreds of tonnes of lava about to smash into us, drown us and turn us into a fossilised rocky mass on the coast. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-“*splat* *burn* *fossilify*

    Anyway, we waited there for a while and finally got the pay-off – seeing a cute little pengiun waddle in from the sea! I would show you the picture but, well, you can hardly see it so here’s an “artist’s” impression instead:

    I'm so, so sorry.

    After the tour Pat and Caroline went for a walk along the main beach of Curio bay:

    Curio Bay

    And saw ANOTHER sea lion – this one was female. You can tell because she’s lighter than a male and, er, some other telling signs. Probably:

    Not Dead.

  • In the evening we stayed in Invercargill. Not much going on there, but the hostel was quite nice (even if the dorm had no windows so waking up in the morning was a little difficult) and directly next to a Speights Ale House… where our driver managed to get us a deal where we got 20% off drink AND food… ALL NIGHT!
  • Lots of beer later, Pat fell into bed…

There we go! That was New Zealand.

What? There’s another 6 DAYS to cover? Oh, jeez… Pat, you could’ve told me before I wasted 3.5 minutes on that stupid penguin picture! (Hey, I didn’t want to stop an artist at work – Pat) You call that art? (No, but you do – Pat) Damn, he’s got me there.

Anyway, yes, let’s stop making this enormous blog entry even longer and just get on with it (Yes, please – Pat) Oi, just because you ca-(JUST GET ON WITH IT! – Pat)


Tuesday 12th December: Invercargill -> Te Anau

  • After a difficult wake up (and some moaning to/from various people about other’s snoring ) everyone managed to check out and get on the bus, just in time to see a rather ominous looking black cloud heading towards Invercargill
  • The small bus was a bit emptier today as Caroline and Mollie had gone to Stewart Island… meaning Pat had two seats to himself – a luxury. Jersey almost did but an extra person got on (a rather odd, mid 50s, skinhead German lady) and sat next to him. D’oh!
  • First stop was… a… place, which had a cool shop that allowed you to make your own designs for pendants made out of… some… blue… stuff. Pat made a rather unexpected design:

    Squage Blue... Shell... Stuff

    What are the chances? Pat was quite pleased as to do bone carving in the north island cost $40, whereas carving your own one of these cost $4. Sweet As!

  • After the carving, it started fully weeing it down so Pat and the gang ran back to the bus for the next leg of the journey
  • We made it to the far south coast of New Zealand, to a place called McCrackens Rest. It was a *tad* rainy, as you might be able to gather:

    McCracken's Rest 'Sit Your Ass On The Sign' Photo

  • After that we trundled to a farm to watch/participate in Sheep Shearing. On the way, we past some trees that were, ahem, rather windswept:

    Windy?  Methinks So.

  • Watching sheep shearing was an interesting experience for Pat.
  • After putting on a big anorak and boots, Pat and the Bottom Bus gang watched the farmer’s sheep dogs do some awesome work herding sheep around and about… and into the sheering shed:

    Sheep Being Squashed In
    Seems a bit cramped…

    Sheep Shearing.  Probably.

    Luckily Shearing Sheep Isn't Traumatic For Sheep
    Now, I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t look like the face of someone having a good time.

    There’s no point me banging on about animal rights and such like because, well, you’ll either agree with me already or be deeply offended by my saying anything (that seems to be the experience Pat’s had)… either way, your opinion isn’t likely to be changed by a blue blob on a soap box, so I’ll leave it there.

    But regardless, Pat didn’t really enjoy the experience and thought it all seemed a bit cruel. And no, he didn’t take part in the sheering, in case you’re wondering :-)

  • After that we had a quick lunch and made our way to Te Anau, our stop for the night
  • Te Anau’s a lovely little lakeside town – quite quiet, but the view across the lake to the mountains definitely makes it somewhere Pat and myself could stay for a good few days.
  • Only one evening was had of course, so Pat and Jersey took the opportunity to get some ace sunset photos by the lake, prior to heading to the pub (called The Ranch):

    Sunset At Te Anau

    Sunset Swing Shot

  • After the pub closed at 10pm (!!!) Pat and Jersey stopped off by the lake again for some cool long-exposure night shots (to be unveiled at some point)
  • Finally, Pat fell asleep on his non-bunk bed dorm bed at about 11pm and had a lovely sleep (following a frustrating experience on the hostel’s SHITE internet (1bps or thereabouts))…

Wednesday 13th December: Te Anau -> Milford Sound -> Queenstown

  • Pat awoke refreshed and ready for the long drive to and from Milford Sound, checking out of the hostel and hulking all his bags down the road to the Milford Explorer pick up point, by a cafe
  • Once on the coach, the coach driver kept us all entertained with his amusing anecdotes and mucking about on the mic, such that the 2 hour journey didn’t seem too long.
  • It was helped by the cool scenery on the way:

    Earl Mountains
    Earl Mountains – as seen in The Two Towers in one of the flyover shots (not sure which one)

    Pat With The Huge Mountain Range
    Pat about to fill his water bottle up in a mountain stream, complete with huuuuge mountains behind him

  • On the way into Milford Sound, we passed through the Homer Tunnel, which takes us under a mountain and down from 920m to a “mere” 850m above sea level – and into the huuuuuuge valley towards Milford Sound:

    These Photos Don't Do It Justice...
    It’s so hard to feel the sheer scale of these mountains with a photo… but trust me, you feel like you’re the tiniest little speck of dust looking up at giants when you’re in the valley. Just amazing.

  • Despite the slightly crappy weather, Pat was very glad to not be there in winter… whereupon you have to tackle roads with flowing water streaming down them, watch out for icy roads… oh and occasionally have to avoid enormous, house crushing avalanches coming from the mountains high above.
  • Once at Milford Sound we all made our way onto the cruise ship and were taken along the length of Milford Sound, right to the edge of the Tazman Sea. Here are a couple of photos of it, but again they just don’t do justice to the sheer size of the place:

    That Waterfall's Massive...

    Pat, Squage and Milford Sound
    (There’s more in the usual photos area…)

    To be honest, even when there we were looking at waterfalls thinking “yeah, it’s about 50m” only to find that they were 200m high… as with Franz Josef glacier, you get a real warped perspective with such huge places.

  • We saw some Dolphins too:
    Dolphins At Milford Sound!

  • After the cruise and a visit to the Underwater Observatory (a somewhat lame little underwater viewing platform with murky windows and next-to-no visability) we all got back on the coach (Jersey and Pat informed that the helicopter ride to a mountain peak they’d asked to go on was cancelled due to bad weather… Pat was partly glad as despite jumping from planes and bridges, he’s still scared of heights…) and started towards Queenstown
  • The journey back was 4 hours long, made less dull by a showing of Jackass 1 on the coach… which was much less consistently funny than the sequel. They really did improve things for Jackass 2. Can’t wait to see what happens with 3…
  • Eventually we made it into Queenstown, checking into Downtown Backpackers hostel (where we’d stayed previously) and Jersey and Pat wandered to a net cafe, which ACTUALLY FUNCTIONED for photo uploading and credit card bill sorting… then going for a Fergburger, a quick pint and sleep.
  • Twas another early rise for Pat tomorrow…

Thursday 14th December: Queenstown -> Christchurch

  • Pat woke up at 7am and checked out of the hostel, saying tarrah to Welshy, Jersey and Chris on the way (as they weren’t going to be going to Christchurch until Sunday)… and made his way to the coach pick up point for 8:15.
  • Once on the coach, Pat managed to blag two seats to himself, allowing some serious dozing for the first part of the 6.5 hour trip – well, inbetween laughing at the coach driver, Amon, who was easily the most amusing Kiwi Experience driver he’d encountered. Silly little things such as whispering over the mic (knowing most people were knackered/hungover/asleep) “You are all feeling sleepy… you will by your lovely coach driver a coffee at the next stop… white with two sugars…” oh and listing about 100 different words to describe going to the toilet at our first stop.
  • Anyway, at the second stop (the rather fairytale sounding Twizel) we picked up one extra person – who happened to be Mette!
  • Soon after Twizel we stopped off at The Bluest Lake In The World ™:

    Pat Smiling In Disbelief - It's Just SO Blue!
    ^^ VERY BLUE

  • The rest of the journey was spent catching up on the past few days – oh and watching Top Gun, which Amon decided should be enjoyed by all. Awesome, cheesy, awesome, badly acted, awesome, terrible, awesome stuff.
  • Once at Christchurch, Pat and Mette checked into a place called Oasis Backpackers, dumped their stuff off and went to search for cheaper accomodation for the next few nights.
  • Two hours of walking around from hostel to hostel experiencing a large “no room at the inn” issue, they stumbled across a hostel not listed in the Lonely Bible called Drifters. This was a good place as:
    1. It was cheap
    2. It was really nice
    3. They had twin rooms available
    4. The couple who ran it were lovely
    5. The couple who ran it were from Bicknacre (5 minutes down the road from Pat’s home town)

    Needless to say, this was the place chosen for the next few nights, despite being a bit out of town.

  • In the evening, Pat and Mette grabbed the free shuttle bus to go to the supermarket (complete with a bus driver who was playing christmas music at full volume and causing most of the passengers (you probably don’t have to ask if it included Pat) to sing along… awesome).
  • Following spending far too much money, they trundled back to Oasis, had a quick meal (mmm noodles) and fell fast asleep, knackered.

Friday 15th December: Christchurch

  • Pat had a long sleep but felt knackered (must be all the early mornings (and beer) catching up on him).
  • Pete (from Drifters) kindly picked Mette and Pat up from Oasis and drove them to Drifters, where they checked in and wandered along the seemingly neverending straight road into town
  • Quite a lazy afternoon followed, just wandering about near the botantical gardens:

    Aliens Have Landed!

    Taking the tram:


    Climbing the Cathedral tower:

    Mette Warding Off Attackers

    Pat Enjoying The View

    …and booking the TransAlpine train to go walking at Arthur’s Pass on Saturday.

  • After the cruisy afternoon, some chilling at the hostel was done and a well needed quiet evening (complete with watching the terrible What A Girl Wants – well, Pat spent most of the film berating it with a German guy, to the annoyance of all the girls in the room) and early night was had.

*cracks knuckles* Ok, just two more days to go…

Saturday 16th December: Christchurch -> Arthur’s Pass -> Christchurch

  • Woke up faaar too early in order to get on the 6:55am shuttle bus pickup to get to the TransAlpine station in time
  • Once on the train ready to leave at about 8am, and with the intial feeling of wanting to die through it being so damned early, Pat started looking forward to the scenic journey and to the nice walk during the day – frankly, he needed it, the big unfit beer loving pl(Hey! Melbourne Possums would be more than happy to “look after” you if I leave you in the park… – Pat)– I mean, it was good for Pat to have a chance to continue building his Beefcake physique.
  • Mette and Pat took various photos on the way to Arthur’s Pass as we travelled through the mountains, by gorges and over viaducts:

    View From The TransAlpine Train


  • Once at Arthur’s Pass it was a bit cloudy, but Mette, Pat and myself (who was of course along for the ride) were hoping it’d not turn into rain.
  • We went on a great walk through the woods and up along a river towards the base of a glacier (not a patch on Franz Josef)… part of the walk was on a proper path, but a reasonable chunk of the latter stages just turned into traversing over wet rocks – which Pat enjoyed, however his rather damp jeans did not.
  • Pat managed to get some nice photos of the area:

    Waterfally Fun

    Squage Chilling Out On The Rocks

    He turned around after this point:

    Uh oh!

  • On the way back, it decided to start chucking it down… and did for the 1.5 hour journey back to Arthur’s Pass… both Mette and Pat were SOAKED – fortunately Mette had brought some quick-drying trousers, rather than Pat’s excellent “Stay Wet” jeans, so she warmed up in the coffee shop soon after getting there. Pat was shaking for a fair while, though… amazingly he didn’t get a cold.
  • Anyway, the train soon arrived and we made our way back to Christchurch, through the same lovely scenery and noted that the weather had got rather nice again as soon as leaving Arthur’s Pass – by the time we were at Christchurch it was a lovely evening! Typical.
  • Another lazy evening was had and Pat went to sleep nice and early…

Almost there… I’ll make this one quick…

Sunday 17th December: Christchurch

  • After a nice lazy wake up, Pat and Mette wandered into town to see some cool street entertainment (a mental guy juggling knives whilst standing on the shoulders of two other guys…), check out the town market and for some souvenir buying
  • Sadly after Pat bought a shed load of bits and pieces, he found that, actually, Post Offices aren’t open on Sunday in New Zealand. Clearly he would expect them to be, after all they are in England, right? Oh, wait, no… (Shut up and get on with it – Pat)… so he had to take an extra bag of stuff with him to Melbourne. Oops.
  • Back in the hostel Pat packed his bags fully in order to make his 4am wakeup-and-get-to-the-airport challenge a little easier
  • Later in the afternoon Chris, Jenny, Jersey, Kate and Welshy arrived on the Kiwi Experience bus and so in evening a reunion was had, along with lots of beers and Pat said farewell to everyone (except Chris, who he would be seeing, feeling like death, at the airport in the morning) … twas quite sad, but Pat felt better in that he’d be bumping into everyone at various stages and places within Australia over the coming months.
  • Pat got to bed at just after midnight, rather tipsy and wishing that he’d spent a bit more money on flights in order to get a 6:15PM flight…

Monday 18th December: Christchurch -> Melbourne!

  • Pat I think has told you about this day already, but if you’ve forgotten it went along the lines of: woke up at 4am, tipsy and tired… went on plane to Melbourne… checked into hostel… went to sleep for 4 hours… did not much… had early night.

That marks the end of the New Zealand leg of the Big Adventure.

It also marks the end of me writing long blogs like this (you’ll be pleased to know). Things are going to be on a much less “Day By Day” basis from now on so expect more comment on particular events etc, rather and an itinery of Pat and my time here in Oz.

Thanks for your patience and well done for getting down to here. Both Pat and myself really appreciate you reading, it makes all this blooming typing seem worth it! :-)


Squage (and Pat)

Otherwise I’d NEVER have jumped from a plane.

(Not George) Bush saves skydiver as parachute fails

And where did it happen? Bloody Taupo of all places! The place I did a Sky Dive.

Hooray for bushes, eh?


P.S. Squage is writing a big blog entry to fill you in on the last week in New Zealand, but today nothing’s getting written as I’m hungover and tired and… er… that’s affecting Squage for some reason. Yes.

by Squage
on Dec 13th, 2006

More Photos!

Lots more photos are available in the usual place – will get round to doing some blogging soon too, but to summarise:

  • Saturday night was fun – mini golf followed by a lovely meal in a pub with an open log fire
  • We’ve just done 4 days of the Bottom Bus, which was ace – lots of amazing scenery (especially today at Milford Sound), lots of animal spotting (check out the seal photos in the usual place) and a relatively dry time drink wise (which I think Pat needed).

Tomorrow Pat and I are off to Christchurch, where we’ll stay until Monday morning at Stupid O’Clock – when we catch the shuttle bus for the plane to Melbourne, Australia. Looks like Chris is also coming over to Melbourne on Monday and will hopefully be sharing the twin room Pat’s got.

Actually, that’s just reminded Pat that he needs to check it’s not a double, so I’d best be off :-)

Take care peeps,


by Squage
on Dec 9th, 2006

From Franz Josef to Queenstown…

How ya going?

Right, hopefully this will bring things *actually* up to date… shall we give it a go? Yes? Good:

Sunday 3rd December: Franz Josef -> Wanaka

  • Woke up FAR too early, as bus had to leave at 7am to see Lake Matherson… all were cheesed off as it was poor weather and hence probably a waste of time
  • Royal our bus driver in a quite quiet state, either because he knew all on the bus were annoyed or because he’d been up since 3am
  • Once at the lake (following a brief “under the hat” nap) most people decided to wait in the coffee shop but Pat and Kate decided to make the most of it and went for a long ol’ walk around the lake circuit. Some lovely photos, despite the slightly crappy weather, were taken:

    Lake Matherson

    Lake Matherson

    Oh and me sitting on a log:

    Squage on a Log!

  • Pat, in his very tired state, got pretty cheesed off (for no real reason other than tiredness) in the next and final part of the bus journey on the way to Wanaka, but the views made him feel a little better:

    Knight’s Point – beautiful views of the west coast from a nice high vantage point:

    View from Knight's Point

    Haast River – awesome river rapids underneath a rather scary bridge:

    The Gates of Haast

    Rapids under the Gates of Haast Bridge

    Arrived at Wanaka and checked into the hostel – which was more like a hotel, complete with:
    – Free towel
    – TV in dorm room
    – Ensuites in dorm room
    – Fridge in dorm room
    – Balcony!

  • Fully awesome. It made Pat feel a lot better, as did a nice walk around Wanaka enjoying the gorgeous lakeside views and pretty high street:

    Lake Wanaka

    Pat at Lake Wanaka

    He decided in this afternoon that:

    1. He needs to get rich
    2. He needs to buy a place in Wanaka
    3. He needs to move to Wanaka

    He suggested something along the lines of marketing some cartoon character he’d designed… Squeege or something like that? No idea what he’s on about.

  • After a nice afternoon chilling out on the lawn outside the hostel in the sun (drinking some rather rancid 8.2% cider called “Scrumpy”, which was clearly White Lightning in disguise) Pat had a nice early night to catch up on the many hours sleep he so desperately needed.

Monday 4th December: Wanaka -> Queenstown

  • A lovely sleep was what was needed for Pat and that’s what he got.
    Pat woke up refreshed and after a nice breakfast sitting in the sun in front of the hostel, he made his way onto the coach with everyone else.

  • Twas quite a quick day, journey-wise, which was very nice!
  • First stop was at Puzzling World on the way out of Wanaka, which was hilarious:
    A huge maze (which Pat managed in 20 minutes bang on (usual time is 30 – 60 minutes) – hooray for the “always follow the left hand wall” technique):

    View of the Puzzle World Maze

    Some cool illusions:

    The faces follow you around the room…

    All the lines are parallel…

    A confusing “angled floor” room:

    Crazy Leaning Room!

    And a forced perspective room:

    I Love This Photo

    Twas great fun!

  • Stopped off at the AJ Hackett Kawarau Bridge bungy site, whereupon Pat and the other peeps on the bus were shown a 10 minute DVD all about how cool bungying was… which lead to Pat deciding he was NEVER doing it in A MILLION YEARS. I don’t think that was the DVD’s purpose…
  • Watching people (including Welshy and John) plummet off the bridge was, in Pat’s words, “F***ing scary in itself, let alone going up there and doing it”. He kept uttering “Why would you want to do that? Why?”
  • Still, on the coach journey from the bungy site into Queenstown, Pat started getting the nagging feeling that he’d missed an opportunity… and started considering the possibility of doing a Birthday Bungy on Wednesday…
  • In Queenstown, we stopped first for a nice group photo by Lake Wakatipu (sadly taken by one of the Kiwi Experience folks and not seen since) along with some other shots of the scenery:

    Pat and Squage at Lake Wakatipu

    Lake Wakatipu

  • We then stopped at Info & Track to book some activities. What did Pat book? Firstly, the Shotover Jet. Secondly, a Birthday Bungy. What a nutter.
  • Following checking in to the Discovery Backpackers hostel (owned by one of the big NZ hostel chains) we went for a prearranged Kiwi Experience meal at The World Bar.
  • Some things about The World Bar:
    • The food takes ages to be served
    • The staff are moody and unfriendly
    • It’s a bit dingy
    • The staff are moody and unfriendly
    • …The staff are moody and unfriendly
  • Anyway, after that fun experience Pat and the gang made their way down to the hostel bar; Altitude.
  • It was Karaoke night
  • Lots of alcohol was consumed
  • Lots of singing was performed
  • Pat and Kate got two free drink vouchers each for performing The B52s’ “Love Shack” (which those who were at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2002 will know is something of a favourite of Pat’s)
  • Lots more alcohol was consumed
  • Lots of really bad singing was performed
  • The World Bar was visited again
  • The World Bar closed too early
  • Sleep was had.

Tuesday 5th December: Queenstown

  • Pat spent a lot of today sitting watching me blog… and he loved every second of it (Yeah, cos I clearly wouldn’t’ve preferred sitting in the sun or going for a nice walk – Pat) – ok, so would you have preferred to do the Nevis Bungy? (…ok, sitting in the net cafe was fine – Pat) Good.
  • Aside from that, not really much to report. Went out again in the evening and Pat saw in his birthday with a nice pint of Bulmers

Wednesday 6th December: Queenstown

  • Pat’s Birthday!
  • Pat woke up somewhat scared and spent the morning trying not to think about the bungy
  • We checked out of Discovery and into Downtown Backpackers (much more of an independant outfit with slightly old dorms (carpetted walls? tasty!) but friendly staff, free internet, free breakfast and some nice (if rather hot) showers. And it’s $4 a night cheaper than Discovery. Winner!
  • Pat then went and threw himself off a bridge – I think he’s already banged on about that but all I’ll say is that I sat safely in Pat’s bag inside a locker throughout the whole insane experience.
  • To celebrate his jump, Pat:
    • Ordered a custom T-Shirt… the design of which will be revealed in the next few days…
    • Had a beer
    • Had a whole load more beers
  • A good evening was had all round:

    Pat Blows Out His Candles

    Group Sober Photo

    There Was No Alcohol Consumed

    It ended up in World Bar again before Pat finally fell back to the hostel and into bed, rather worse for wear…

Pat sends his thanks to Kate and Jenny for the lovely birthday cake they bought, which was presented to him in Altitude accompanied by “Happy Birthday To You” played on the bar playout system – class! Also, thanks to Welshy and Chris for the rather revolting drinks… it made Pat feel like he was a student again :-)

Thursday 7th December: Queenstown

  • Following the excitement of the bungy in the afternoon and the reasonable quantity of birthday-based beverages in the evening, Pat spent most of the morning in bed, rising at about 11:30
  • Today was quite a chilled day. Pat and Kate wandered around Queenstown for a bit, taking it easy and looking around in shops for a bit – taking a couple of cool photos of the lake:

    Cap'n Seagull Looks Out to the Lake

    And some attempted arty flower shots in between some rather posh looking lakeside apartments:

    Attempted Arty Flower Shot - Spoiled

  • I then dragged pat to this here Internet Cafe to finish off a mammoth blogging session (I think Pat’s getting sick of these PCs but I don’t know for sure (yes, yes I am – Pat))
  • In the evening we trundled to a bar called -5C, which is entirely made of ice and pretty damned cool:

    Pat Chills Out

    Pat, Jenny, Jersey, Kate and Mette really chilled out:

    N-ice Group Photo

    There were some n-ice sculptures:

    A Frosty Customer

    …er… everyone (f)roze to the occasion? (Get out! – Pat):

    You Nose It


  • After that we joined Sarah in Altitude and spent much of the evening in there, before Sarah, Caroline and Pat trundled to the Always Friendly World Bar ™, sampled some of their rather potent (and expensive) “tea pots” (actual tea pots full of various alcoholic concoctions) and eventually fell back to the hostel for a well needed kip at about 3am…

Friday 8th December: Queenstown

  • Pat woke up late again and spent the first few hours of the day wandering around town, checking emails and generally wasting time before his trip on the Shotover Jet at 1:20pm.
  • He quite enjoyed the Shotover Jet, as it was quite fast, did some funky 360degree spins in the water and was driven almost into loads of rocks in the canyon it passed along over the 30 minute ride… but for him it just didn’t quite stand up to some of the other experiences. Probably because he wasn’t bricking himself for 48 hours prior to doing it :-)
  • After the Shotover Jet, Pat met up with the usual kru and after a bite to eat they wandered up towards the Skyline Gondola, which takes you a full 450m above the streets of Queenstown for some amazing views – and also some crazy Luging and even more crazy bungy jumps
    Sadly it was raining but the views from the Gondola – and from the top – were still rather spectacular:

    Queenstown 450m Below

    View near to The Ledge

    We were a little confused regarding the fire risk, given the weather:

    Are You QUITE Sure?

  • Jersey needed to complete his “Thrillogy” (all three main Queenstown bungies) so we stood looking over the quite steep 450m drop as he wandered into the overhanging “Ledge Bungy” jump spot:

    The Ledge Bungy Jump

    Jersey Prepares to Jump... For Jersey!

    Pat could hardly watch, as standing by the drop was bad enough for him:

    Pat Enjoying the View

  • After Jersey successfully lived to tell the tale, we trundled for a quick pint in the Skyline restaurant, enjoying the views of Queenstown way below and listening to some beautifully sung relaxing tunes by a lady and her guitar in the restaurant.
  • At 7:55pm, Pat picked up something he was very excited about. I’ll show you in the photos for Saturday.
  • That evening, a few of us trundled to Hell’s Pizza and got some rather tasty pizza-based delights, then some beers and sat watching Shrek and some random New Zealand telly in the hostel lounge, before Pat bailed out early to get some sleep…

Saturday 9th December: Queenstown

  • Despite some nobbers wandering around the hostel corridors at about 3am chatting and shouting drunkenly, Pat had a really good kip (yet again falling out of bed at gone 11am)
  • So far today we’ve gone for a wander around town with Mette – checking out the cool grass market on the waterfront (including this cool display of colourful bowls):


  • We also stopped at The Best Ice Cream Shop In The World (can’t remember its name sadly but it’s on the waterfront and also sells chocolate if you’re around Queenstown) for some rather large ice creams – and a chance to have Pat get a picture taken of himself with yesterday’s exciting purchase:

    Sweet as!

  • After that (and some attempting to phone up Orange to ask why the hell they’d decided to charge Pat 200 quid for nothing, giving up after not being able to be understood by “Steve”, “Brad”, “Brody” or whatever the guy who’s clearly never left Dubai claims to be called this time) we trundled up here and I convinced Pat to spend time staring-er, I mean, watching me stare at this computer screen and blog.
  • This afternoon we’re going Mini Golfing. Should be fun!
  • Tomorrow morning we leave Queenstown and start our trek to the south of the south island – starting with Dunedin.
  • Pat’s not looking forward to having to get up 4 hours earlier than he’d like…

“…I’m Squage, Now You’re Up To Date”

by Squage
on Dec 7th, 2006

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time there was a bloke called Pat. He used to enjoy writing a blog every day in preparation for his Big Adventure. Then he went on his Big Adventure and became a slacker.

Yep, once again due to loads of other activities, Pat and myself haven’t had the time or inclanation to sit in front of a computer and blog for several days.

What does that mean? It means I’m now going to be blogging about the past 11 days of our Big Adventure.

It’ll be something of a trip down memory lane for me. For you it’ll probably be tedious.

(Thanks by the way to Chris and Mette for taking some photos for Pat during the period of camera-knackeredness, twas much appreciated! And yep, it’s now alive again… will explain how later)

Sunday 26th November: River Valley -> Wellington
After a somewhat iffy sleep on the slightly uncomfortable Orgy Dorm bed, Pat fell out of bed at 9and made his way downstairs for a “continental breakfast” (i.e. toast and cereal), which combined with coffee actually allowed him to open his eyes fully and begin functioning for the day.

With a pick up time of 1pm, we had plenty of time to have a wander around the gorgeous landscape surrounding River Valley hostel, so Pat, Mette, Hardy and myself made our way to the walk up the side of the valley for a big of exercise.

The first step was to cross the river via the bridge Pat’d been told about by the hostel owner. He’d mentioned something about watching out for the mechanism, which sounded a bit odd until we got to the “bridge” and realised what he’d meant:

Pat being pulleyed over the river

After pulleying each other across the river, a tough walk up the steep path ensued – but the view from the top of the path was certainly worth it:

Lovely view

Pat and Squage enjoying the view

(Thanks Mette for the photos :-) )

After a failed attempt to sketch the valley (he’s a bit out of practice) Pat and the gang wandered back down the valley, had some more pulley-based entertainment and chilled out in the hostel for a while (Pat unable to resist the temptation to be a nerd and help out Flea with her laptop (just a bit of space saving / file relocation… I think he misses Technical Services. Possibly)).

After what seemed like a neverending trek up a steep road to the coach, a seemingly neverending (well, about 4 hour) coach journey ensued, the highlight of which being going to a town whose every wall appeared to be covered in some cow/bull related drawings. This was probably the best:


Pat didn’t realise the cow had love hearts coming out of it until after this, in case you’re wondering.

Once in Wellington we got to Base Backpackers hostel and settled into our rooms (following the usual half an hour check in as the hostel staff barely cope with the mass of people arriving (give them their due, I mean it’s not as though they get bus-loads of people coming to the hostel EVERY DAY, is it? It is? Oh yes, so it is)).

After a freshen up Pat and the gang took a long walk to a bar called the Basement (can you guess which hostel this sat beneath) and drank the night away – culminating in a drunk doubles game of pool, which Pat thinks Chris and he won but can’t quite remember.

I swear Pat thinks he’s a student again.

Monday 27th November: Wellington
Quite a chilled out day today. After a late wake up to the sound of rain on the window, Pat had a wander around town to see if anyone would be able to fix his camera but to no avail (the best offered was a 3 to 4 week turnaround time, which wasn’t *entirely* ideal), then met up with Chris, Jen, Kate, Jersey and Mette for a wander around the Te Papa museum.

It was actually quite an interesting place to go… but I think you need to be a bit less hungover to fully appreciate it.

There were all sorts of interesting things to see – loads of Maori building mock-ups and historical info, plenty of impressive paintings, lots of info on volcanos and earthquakes and the occasional disturbing human creation (such as the “condom helmet”, which does what it says on the tin and was designed to catch the sperm of a certain type of bird in New Zealand that likes to hump people’s heads… how normal).

As it was, Jersey, Jen and Pat found that their hungover/tired minds enjoyed the kids’ areas a bit more:

Hungover Entertainment

Shocking new drawing from Pat

Hungover Entertainment
(Some day she might be your lawyer)

After a walk back to the hostel in the pouring rain, we all dried off and prepared for yet another walk in the rain – this time to go and see Borat. Pat’d seen it already, but it was a choice between seeing that or The Devil Wears Prada so he decided familiarity would be preferable to f***ing dire.

Twas very funny yet again, but again Pat felt that there were a few too many areas that looked fully staged… also his face keeps turning white whenever something to do with a naked fight is mentioned.

How odd.

Tuesday 28th November: Wellington -> Nelson
Despite a fairly early night, Pat woke up very tired today. Possibily this had something to do with waking up at 6:30am in order to catch the ferry over to Picton on the South Island. More likely it was due to having burned the candle at both ends for over two weeks…

Anyway, after a short coach journey to the ferry port, Pat and the rest of the Kiwi bus trundled onto the ferry (quite a large beast, complete with a (not actually finished) cinema, a couple of restaurants and a bar).

Through feeling tired, Pat spent most of the time resting in one of the many comfy recliners on the 8th deck (whilst listening to Dirty Si’s amazing “End of Uni 2001” dance set, which brought back so many great memories of dancing like a fool – sorry Pat, I mean like a professional (…idiot)) but made it on deck to take some photos of Marlborough Sounds as we entered the long channel into Picton on the South Island:

It was quite a lovely day for it as you can see. Not sure the mobile phone pictures quite do the views justice (who’d’ve thought? A shit mobile phone camera!).

Once off the ferry at the other side, Flea noticed that there’d been a mix up meaning that there were too many people to get on the coach to Nelson… so Pat and some of the gang kindly volunteered to wait around and get in a minibus for the trip to Nelson instead. Little did they know that this’d be the last time they’d be on the bus with Flea (and miss out on a couple of activities in the following days because of being on a “smaller” bus)… still, mustn’t grumble.

The minibus driver was a guy called Royal, who’s one of those people you can happily label a “character”. He’s got a slightly odd sense of humour and… er… likes cross dressing.


On the way to Nelson, the buses stopped at at little wine shop in the middle of a mass of vinyards (unsurprisingly) and were treated to some wine tasting and then the great opportunity to spend lots of money buying wine! They were, um, “interesting” wines, which might’ve been nice to send back home were they a bit less, er, “interesting”.

We got into Nelson and our smaller bus went into the Accent on the Park hostel, which was a really nice little place – although away from the main group of folk who we’d finally started to get to know a bit better (not that this is a point of bitterness, of course) – it certainly made a change from the large Backpacker Factory that was Base in Wellington.

A lovely hostel meal in the evening (served by the guy who was on reception a few hours beforehand) was accompanied by a bit of telly watching in the cosy hostel lounge, before Pat decided he was knackered and went to bed.


Yet again I’ve written too much detail and am knackered. Tell you what, from now on I’m just going to do a bullet point thing for “what happened on this or that day” and just do some more detail on asides here and there. I’m also going to stop writing my thoughts out in the blog for others to read. :-)

Wednesday 29th November: Nelson -> Westport

  • Went for a walk around Nelson Lakes – a bit foggy so couldn’t see mountain tops, but a nice wander none the less (Kate and Pat wandered further than the others and were pleased they did, as there was a cool looking wardrobe, which they had a look in onto to find that it didn’t have a back but rather some snow-covered trees. Anyway, to cut a long story short they became King and Queen of Narnia and lived there for (say) 20 years, before deciding to come back to New Zealand having not aged a day and with no time passed. Strangely the other guys didn’t believe us either)
  • Had lunch at a little town called Murchison – some “tasty” Vegemite sarnies, the Vegemite spread with Pat’s fingers as he didn’t have any cutlery on him (and felt a touch stupid when Jen went into the cafe they were eating by and grabbed some)
  • Went horse riding – Pat found it ok but a little frustrating, as his horse (Locky) wanted to eat all the time and whenever he’d started eating, Pat had a lot of trouble getting him to move again. Pat was annoyed as he felt that Locky knew he was a learner and hence could just get away with being a pain in the ass. The phrase “You know, for all the damage they do to the environment, cars are SUCH a great invention” was uttered at least 10 times throughout the 2 hour trip around the country paths
  • Got into Westport – a tiny little place, where you’d imagine some kind of horror film could be made. Really nice character though, but it may aswell have had tumbleweed rolling across the empty, wide streets for all the people who were around.
  • Hostel – Can’t remember the name but Pat changed from a dorm (which was unheated in a separate block in the back yard) to sharing a double room (which was heated, in the house, with lovely comfy beds and free towels (trust me, that’s awesome for a hostel)) for $3 extra.
  • During the Evening – Pat and Jersey went to a pizza bar (as recommended by a local) and had some LOVELY pizza, enjoyed a couple of pints of the local brew (Miners) and chatted with a couple of friendly locals. After that they came back to the hostel, shared some vodka & coke with Chris whilst watching the first Lord of the Rings film on a crap 4:3 TV (doesn’t really do the film justice) and then headed out with others back to the same pizza bar to continue chatting, drinking and playing pool until the early hours (Dex – the bar owner – kept the pub open just because he was enjoying chatting with us – and bought Katie (a canadian lass from Flea’s bus) a free beer because he was amazed she’d had 5 pints and not fallen over… nice)

Hmm, that wasn’t much less detailed than before. All that’s happened is that there’s a load of bullet points surrounding the endless blurb. Let’s try again with Thursday the 30th of November – the trip to the Poo Pub:

Thursday 30th November: Westport -> Mahinapua

  • Pat woke up nice and refreshed
  • Went for a walk along Cape Foulwind – mentally windy place and possibly the wrong time for Pat to test drive his hat (which amazingly stayed on – just). Walked along the cliff tops looking out to the sea and the huge impressive waves battering the shore. Certainly a good way to wake up if you’re tired!
  • Visited the Punakaiki Pancake rocks – very impressive scenery, with lots of splashing waves. They’re called the Pancake rocks because they’re made of egg, flour and milk. We also had some pancakes in a nice little restaurant, which are limestone formations that began forming 30 million years ago, when lime-rich fragments of dead marine creatures were deposited on the seabed, then overlaid by weaker layers of soft mud and clay. The seabed was raised above sealevel by earthquakes to form the coastal cliffs and coastline. The sea, wind and rain have since etched out the soft layers to form the unusual rock formations we see today.
  • Told we had a fancy dress party in the evening – A “P” Party. Pat was told he couldn’t get away with just being “Pat”
  • Stopped in Graymouth – a small town with about 1 street – to get some fancy dress gear. Pat tore his hair out trying to find something good before coming across an amazing discovery:

    Pat The Puppet Master

    Frankly I think the idea of wandering around with stupid soft toys rather pathetic, but there we go.

  • Hostel – a THL-owned pub called the “Poo Pub” in the middle of nowhere (well, by Mahinapua Lake) with some little dorm chalet things behind it. Lovely location:

    Fancy Dress!

    Fancy Dress!

    Shit dorm beds though. Still, that didn’t matter too much as Pat slept rather well after umpteen pints at the fancy dress party that evening. Some rather amusing photos were taken of some ace costumes:

    Fancy Dress!
    Plant and potato sack!

    Fancy Dress!
    Playboy Bunny!

    Fancy Dress!

    Fancy Dress!

    There’s more in the usual place. As you can guess, Pat managed to fix his camera. It was a rather technical job (sticking some duct tape to the front of the camera to wedge the lens cap open) but Pat managed it in the end…

  • Lots of beer, lots of playing about with puppets (still lovin’ them puppet dance moves, Sarah!), not quite enough sleep.

Friday 1st December: Mahinapua -> Franz Josef

  • Pat woke up less refreshed than yesterday and more tired and hungover
  • After a walk to the beach and back Pat felt a little better
  • Lots of banter with Royal on the coach to do with puppets and drinking
  • Stopped at the Bushman’s Centre (hunting lodge-type place) for breakfast, stopping for a mo to feed the deer:

    No doubt needing to be fattened up so they can’t run away too fast from the hunting folk…

  • Visited a LOVELY beach on the way to Franz Josef – took the opportunity to grab some photos:

    Lovely beach

    Waterfall by the beach

    Hard to believe it’s about 20k from a massive mountain range…

  • Got some photos of a massive mountain range (Westland National Park):

    Pat and the mountains

    Pat and the mountains

  • Got to Franz Josef – amoungst the awesome Westland National Park mountains and at the base of the Franz Josef Glacier (well, ok, about 10k away from it):

  • Booked in for Glacier Exploring on Saturday and grabbed some supplies (sadly no Kendal Mint Cake could be found, which Pat was disappointed in – kept moaning about this clearly not being a proper mountain town. What, Pat, aside from the MOUNTAINS all around it? (Shut up and get on with it, Squage, I’m starving – Pat))
  • Hostel – Nice place, good bunks, nice bar – all with a gorgeous mountain back drop (which Pat probably didn’t bother to notice (Shut it, ya bastad! – Pat) Sorry…)

Saturday 2nd December: Franz Josef

  • Pat had a great night’s sleep – despite waking up at 3am thinking, in a half-asleep state that a distant rumbling might just be a huge avalanche (well, it’s good to see that Pat recognised there were mountains in Franz Josef after all (Someone’s about to get left in an Internet Cafe – Pat) ok, ok, I’ll stop)
  • Pat and I put on our extra layers and made our way to the Glacier Walk Building – via a shop to get some sunglasses that Pat only just realised he might need whilst walking up a bright white glacier (…. – Pat) – which, er, is sensible. Yes.
  • After getting into some soggy regulatory hiking shoes, some thick socks, a large jacket and some gloves + hat, Pat and the gang made their way to the glacier on the shuttle bus thing
  • The glacier looked deceptively small from the other end of the valley, where we started our trek:

    You see that cave bit? That’s over 5 stories high. I KNOW!

  • Pat was rather nervous at this point, as he was concerned that the glacier trek would involve walks up near-vertical slopes, with humongous drops to his side at many points and lots of horribly small bits to try and walk through…
  • …and there were. Sort of. But it wasn’t bad enough to cause any fear. In fact, Pat really enjoyed trekking around, clambering up little steps and squeezing through tight ice caverns. Plenty of photos were taken:

  • It’s SUCH an odd feeling being on the glacier. The views were stunning and it wasn’t really as cold in the air as expected (Pat didn’t have gloves or a hat on for any of it) – but the ice was FREEZING (No shit, sherlock – Pat)
  • Twas very good exercise and flew by much faster than expected (the 4 hours on the ice went past in what felt like less than an hour) – I definitely recommend doing the Franz Josef Glacier Exploration if you get a chance – and do the 8 hour one, not the 6 hour one as Pat did, just because it’s not much more dosh and gives you a full 2 hours extra on the ice!
  • That evening, after eating pizza with Jersey in a bar with the cricket on (and Pat having no idea what to add to the conversation that was being had about the sport, through being fairly clueless about either Oz or England’s teams (Oi! – Pat) Well? (Ok, actually, you’ve got me there – Pat) Uhuh), Pat had an early night…

Right, that brings you up to the last night in Franz Josef. What happened after that? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see, as Pat’s in need of some food and then we’re going out to the Ice Bar in Queenstown… so we’d better dash.

Tarrah for now!

(A very tired) Squage

by Pat
on Dec 6th, 2006

# Happy Birthday To Me,

# Let’s do a bungy,
# Throw myself off a ledge,
# Plummet down a valley!

Yep. After several hours of mild panic and a moment of “I can’t do this” whilst just walking onto the bungy bridge, I got the courage and finally went for it…

There was definitely something almost numbing about standing with the front of my feet over the edge of the tiny little ledge on the bridge, legs tied together at their base, staring at the water 43 metres below and knowing that I was about to lean forward and throw myself towards the river, accelerating at 9.8 metres per second.

I even managed a wave to the crowd and a nervous thumbs up to the camera:

Nervous?  Moi?

(There’ll be better versions of these photos available shortly, as the AJ Hackett Bungy folk put them online within 48 hours but I couldn’t wait that long, hence the crap photo-of-a-photo jobby you’ve got here)

Straight after that, the dude who had secured my bungy chord counted down “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” – and by the “3” I was already ducking over the edge.

Wasn’t the world’s most gracious of jumps, but I tell you what – it felt UTTERLY AMAZING:

Taking the plunge

All about the style...

The feeling of acceleration was like nothing else, and watching the river flying towards me was the most mental thing ever – I *just* remembered to get my arms ahead of me in a diving position before my “head and shoulder dunk” in the water… which was actually more akin to “everything except my shoes dunk”.

After flying out of the river again (which was SO refreshing) I was sprung up to well over half the height of the bridge – and for a moment I thought I was going to come crashing onto some rocks (I suspect my head was facing some crazy direction but it was hard to tell) so a little bit of flailing arms occurred, before I safely zoomed back down to just above the river.

From then it was just a few bobs before I grabbed onto the post-bungy-untying dinghy’s support pole thing and fell into the dinghy, completely elated and completely exhausted.

Probably the most intense feeling, even beating Sky Diving probably because of the ground rush and crazy feeling of being tugged around by the rope. In other words, Sky Dive was a case of “Oh shit…oh shit… WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH” whereas Bungy was more “Oh shit… oh shit… here goes… HOLY CRAP, WOOOAAAHHHH JEEZ, YEAAAARHRRRRGH, WOOOOOOOOOH, BLOOOODY HEEELLLLL, WOOAAAH”. Hopefully that clears things up.

Anyway, woot, that was amazing. I’m SO scared of heights but I’d do it again.

I just might have a rest first.

And a few beers. It is my birthday after all :-)

Toodles peeps!


by Pat
on Dec 5th, 2006


Hi peeps. Just a quick one to let you know that I’m still actually here and haven’t forgotten about you. Squage is currently half way through a huuuuge blog entry, which’ll bring things up to date, but that might not get finished until Thursday so you’ll have to wait until then!

In the mean time, here’s a quick overview of things:

  • I’ve been doing all sorts of stuff since Squage last blogged:
    • Horse Riding (frustrating)
    • Glacier Exploring (amazing)
    • Fancy Dressing (hilarious)
    • Film Watching (also hilarious)
    • Hill Trekking (great fun)
    • Eating (mmm)
    • Drinking (too much)
    • Sitting on coaches (far too much)
  • I’ve been generally in great spirits, with only a day feeling rubbish through a lack of sleep
  • I’m going to have to get rich and buy a place in Wanaka
  • Small hostels are lovely
  • Local pubs and bars in tiny towns have really friendly people in them
  • Kiwi beer is gooood
  • Being a Veggie in New Zealand’s surprisingly easy
  • Duct tape is amazing…
  • …and can be used to force a camera lens cap open
  • Karaoke is hilarious
  • The Poo Pub is cool
  • The South Island is quite cold
  • This country is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Apart from Tilbury.

Tomorrow is my 27th Birthday and I’m feeling very old. I keep thinking about the fact that I’m nearly going to be 28 when I return to England and that I really ought to be getting on with something… just what, I’m still not 100% sure of yet. Still, it’s early days, I’ve only been travelling a month!

To be honest, I don’t know why I’m worrying – I probably won’t last until tomorrow night anyway as, for some reason, I’ve signed up to do a Bungy Jump off the Kawarau Suspension Bridge tomorrow. It’s going to be amazing, but I’m not exactly looking forward to it :-)

Right, I’m off to get some lunch (it’s 3pm already and Squage has kept me here since about 12pm with his bleedin’ blogging) – do check out my photos as I’ve just uploaded about 200 of them. Hooray for having a working camera again!

I hope things are good back in the UK / Ireland (Paul n Em) / USA (Stu B) – I look forward to catch up with y’all as soon as I can!



by Squage
on Dec 1st, 2006

Still A Week Behind On Updates…

Righty, in a VERY busy net place in a hostel in Frans Josef. Still a week behind on the blogging… here’s just one day’s worth cos there’s too many people waiting to do more than that.

Hopefully in the next few day’s we’ll get a proper chance to bring things up to date. But let’s just say this week has been awesome. We’re in the middle west of the South Island at the mo, having done such things as Horse Trekking and lots of hiking… oh and lots of drinking.

Anyway, just got time to do one entry, so here’s what happened a week ago:

Saturday 25th November
Today we woke up to the odd knowledge that we were only one month away til Pat’s first ever Christmas in the middle of summer.

For the first time, there’ll none of the dread of the 4 weeks of commercialised mess that is the UK in the build up to the once-meaningful event (ooh check my bitterness). I mean, we’ll be exposed to terrible Christm-sorry, Xmas advertising, but it’ll be Kiwi and Aussie advertising and thus a little more amusing.

Anyway, after falling out of bed, doing the three S’es and finally getting onto the coach, Pat enjoyed the views of Lake Taupo as Flea took our coach around the whole east coast… before we made our way into the roads enterting the Tongario National Park.

It’s one of the 100 great listed special protected uber heritage (N.B. I may have forgotten the real name) locations in the world and you can see why – it’s beautiful. Home, no less, to mount Ngaruahoe – a.k.a. Mount Doom – which Pat decided was a great excuse to start listening to the Lord of the Rings: Two Towers soundtrack on his iRiver… really added to the experience, Pat said. I thought it was a tiny bit sad :-)

Mount Doom looked AWESOME – cloud covering the top of it, but still looking massively impressive poking into the clouds. Still can’t imagine it? Don’t worry, allow me to illustrate using my elite M$Paint Skillz:

Who needs a working camera, eh?

That’s correct. Pat does.

Anyway, we all stopped close to it for a 2 hour hike across to the Taranski Falls, which were very pretty – Pat decided to get a photo of both of us standing at the bottom of it, which was, uh, refreeshing due to the freezing cloud of water at the base of the falls… sadly that photo’s on Chris’ camera and I’ve not got it off yet (oh and this net cafe doesn’t allow USB devices anyway, hooray!).

Just imagine what it’d look like – I’m not doing another rubbish drawing :-)

After the nice walk we got back in the bus and trundled all the way to River Valley hostel, which was surrounded by a whole lot of AMAZING scenery – in the low sun, the rolling hills and breathtaking valleys almost looked unreal.

The hostel itself was lovely, and included such things as a hot spa pool (complete with seedy underwater red light), which Kate, Jersey, Jenny and Pat enjoyed monging out in (for about an hour longer than we were supposed to… but hey, when you’re enjoying yourself, staring up at the beautiful starry skies, whilst being hot why would you want to get out to stand soaking in the fuh-kin freezing night air? You wouldn’t, as it’s rubbish. Trust me, Pat did NOT look warm on returning to his room.

Well, I say “room”… it was more “large dorm”. Called an “orgy dorm”, it consisted of two huge bunks, each with 16 matresses per level. Very funny, reall, just a little hard to get to sleep with all the bloody giggling going on.

I think Pat’s getting old and boring :-)

Right, that’ll do for now… bigger session on its way!!!

Sweet as,


by Squage
on Nov 27th, 2006

North of the South

Island that is. Yep, Pat, myself and the rest of the Kiwi Experience gang made our way into Wellington – New Zealand’s capital city and southern most dwelling on the north island – yesterday evening.

It’s a nice place. Smaller than Aukland yet with a feeling of more space as you walk around the streets. Probably because the streets are a bit wider here. Yes, I guess that’d explain it. (Note to self: delete this line, it makes you look like an idiot. As would leaving this bit in brackets in the blog entry).

Anyway, more about this place later but for now let’s catch up on the action since I left you last:

Friday 24th November: Taupo
Following a mammoth net cafe session Pat and I made our way back to the hostel for a lovely gourmet lunch: two succulent slices of the finest (cheap white) bread delicately toasted (until a bit burnt), with a mouth watering splash of soft fondant (cheap peanut butter) drizzled (spread with a crap plastic knife) on top of each slice.

Following that rather wholesome and filling meal, Pat had a chat with some of the other guys and gals before setting off with them to ANOTHER net cafe. This time to burn some CDs.

As soon as we got inside the net cafe it started chucking it down, but all was made good by the excellent selection of music pumping out courtesy of the English guy running it (Pat was merrily tapping his feet and singing badly-er, I mean beautifully). Eventually it stopped raining, luckily before we’d finished so after everybody’s CDs were done we trundled back to the hostel – via the delights of KFC and Subway.

Pat had a chance to use his slightly-broken-due-to-sand-getting-in-the-mechanism camera to take some lovely sunset shots of Lake Taupo (they’ll be online once Pat’s managed to catch up with his photos – currently he’s uploading ones from LAST Sunday… hooray for teh speedies internets!) before his camera decided the top half of the lens cap wasn’t going to open any more.

It’s still busted. Two camera shops haven’t been able to offer anything other than a four week turnaround. Pat’s planning on wedging it open… what could possibly go wrong?

Anyway, after a nice foot long Veggie Patty with all the extras (no olives though, thanks and can I have chilli sauce with that? Ta.) and back at the hostel the party commenced.

It was dutchie’s leaving do so, well, obviously we needed to have a party. Also, it was Friday. Also, it was a day.

Following everyone having their photo taken wearning Dutchie’s trademark hat, Pat had a few beers watching Duthie play a rather tipsy Chris (apparently having 8 beers whilst sitting in the sun can do that…) at pool. Rather than a typical, quiet pool audience Pat and t’others were having great fun cheering and jeering (slow, rising, goalie-about-to-boot-the-ball “ooohhhhhhhh”s being commonplace prior to each shot). Really added to the game – perhaps this should be incorporated into professional snooker touraments…

After that, we wandered to a bar called Mulligans, whereupon lots of slightly merry singing to the jukebox was performed (along with some consumption of fine ale (well, Tui)) and before long we were all in the wonderful club-type-place called Holy Cow!

Lots of drunk dancing was performed by all – despite the crap DJ whose idea of mixing was to just start the next song with 10 seconds to go on the current one (no beat matching) and whose idea of a playlist was to play songs in a seemingly random, genre-irrelevant order.

Pat, of course, didn’t complain as he never moans about DJs when he’s out. No.


Finally hitting the sack at 3:30am, we both looked forward to getting up at 8am…

Righty, I’m running out of time to carry on blogging, which is a bit sucky. So… I’ll have to fill you in on the details of Saturday and Sunday later on.

Until then… toodles!


by Squage
on Nov 24th, 2006

Sweet As!

How’re ya goin? Havin a cruisy day? Sweet as, bro (/sis).

Yes! Whilst Pat’s been spending most of his time doing crazy activities and drinking, I’ve been dedicating all my time to learning the intricacies of Kiwi colloquialism.

And blimey, what a load of stuff Pat’s been getting up to.

As you might’ve guessed, this blog is going to be a big one so I recommend going to grab yourself a beer, coffee, tea and make yourself comfortable on your chair, sofa or beanbag * before reading this.

* If that’s how you choose to life your life **
** By the way, anyone found any out of character easter eggs on the Dark Place DVD yet?


Excellent. Let’s start:

Wednesday 15th November: Aukland
After waking up to a lovely, sunny morning, Pat and I wandered into central Aukland (via a bus this time, rather than a 45 minute walk) with the intention of buying a nice new pair of shorts, having a couple of beers and sitting around in the sun.

After a short bus ride – whereupon we enjoyed some great New Zealand advertising (see below) – that’s basically what we did

I love this place

The one addition being a wander into the cinema to watch Jackass 2. I’m not 100% sure why Pat decided this would be a good idea, but he seemed happy to accept the recommendation of the shop assistant in the shop he bought some shorts in (he mumbled something about “so fit” and “would” – not sure what he meant by that).

Was Jackass 2 funny? Well, if you call an hour and a half of watching people do wholey childish and dangerous stunts funny, then yes.

So: yes. Go and see it :-)

That evening Pat and I wandered back to the hostel – at around sunset:

Bamber House hostel by sunset

We vegged in front of the telly – sadly, someone was watching White Chicks – and enjoying every moment of it(!!!!).

I almost didn’t blog this part because it’s so embarrassing to admit it was watched by us, however I feel you need to be made aware that if you watch it, you will hate the world. Gutter humour, shit acting, incomprehensible situations and characters… it was as if I was watching something written by a dirty minded 10 year old boy. STEER CLEAR!

After that mind numbing experience, we then headed off for an early night, to prepare for getting up at 5:45am in order to pack and catch the Kiwi Experience bus from central Aukland at 7:15am.

Thursday 16th November: Aukland – Bay of Islands
Upon waking up at Stupid O’Clock, Pat just about managed to pack all of his random bits and pieces (chucking out various things that he’d decided he no longer needed) and made his trek to the bus stop in the early morning sunshine.

We were slightly concerned by the mental woman who joined us at the bus stop just before we got on the bus, who spent a few moments mumbling then, on noticing her bus was running late, let out a wail.

Slightly disturbing.

Still, once the bus arrived and we’d got into the city centre, we had recovered from the slightly creepy experience and trudged from the central bus station to the Kiwi Experience pickup point, arriving *just* on time.

Bag thrown into the coach, we got on (saying hi to Ginny the coach driver) and vegged in a seat.

After a fairly quiet start of sitting going “nnngh I’m tired” in the coach, Pat got chatting with a few people on the coach. Some of the peeps:

  • Matt – From Maldon in Essex (under 10 miles from Our Home Town™), who works as a fireman and who reminded me a lot of Iain – a mate of Pat’s from, you guessed it, Maldon.
  • John (“Welshy”) – From Newport, and proud of it.
  • Abraham (“Dutchy”) – From Amshterdam, who’s a teacher, very amusing and wears his hat whereever he goes
  • Mark – From Preston, a down to Earth fella who’s decided to live and work in New Zealand – but holiday for a couple of weeks first
  • Volsch… Voltsc… Vol… German dude – From South Germany, works in IT for HP doing Java based entertainment
  • Chris – From Scotland, just graduated in Computing with Geography (yep) and looking to enjoy himself for a bit before getting a job in IT or something good :-)

After a fairly long coach journey we arrived at Paihia (the Bay Of Islands), checked into our hostel (The Pipi Patch) and made our way to the water’s edge to board The EXCITOR (with lots of sarcastic comments from Pat about being too excited to cope).

It was actually really good – a big-ass speed boat that seats about 20 (“so hurry up…”) with 1600HP between its two engines, bombing it out into the ocean over quite big waves – it was rather like a roller coaster, so Pat couldn’t help but hold his hands and legs out in his usual, inexplicable, “Wooh, I can’t possibly be hurt” roller coaster riding style.

It stopped by the “Hole In The Rock” for a quick chat by the captain about the history of the “Hole In The Rock”:

We then trundled through it and made our way to another one of the Bay of Islands (whereupon several large waves splashed into the boat and covered Welshy – but noone else (we didn’t find it funny, of course, no)), which included visiting a Yellow Submarine:

# We All Live...

Apparently a Beatles Song (I think it was “Mean Mr Mustard”) was inspired by that particular sea vessel!

After making our way back to the coast, we went to the Pipi Patch bar and spent the evening drinking and chatting. Pat pretty much stayed with the group of guys above, which I guess is what happens on the first day of something like this – something to do with Storming, Norming, Performing, Swarming or whatever that crappy group behaviour theory stuff is about.

Here Dutchie shows off his free Pint and Pint Glass, which he won by spinning The Wheel Of Fortune (drink four Export Golds and you get the chance to spin and win, for the…er… win!):


Foolishly Pat slept listening to his iRiver, meaning that it would be out of batteries for the next day’s bus trip up 90 mile beach to the top of New Zealand…

Friday 17th November: Bay of Islands – Cape Reinga – Bay of Islands
After an early start we sauntered out of the Pipi Patch into a Fullers Bus (owned, as Kiwi Experience is, by the lovely, friendly and not at all big, faceless, soulless sounding Tourism Holdings Limited) for our day up to Cape Reinga – the northern point of New Zealand.

Twas a rather long journey up there, not helped by the lack of an iRiver and the coach driver talking in great detail about Maori stories for just about every thing we went past (quite interesting, yes, but after a while you end up losing track of which of the brothers of the gods of the sea or land or sky or whatever it was was angry at the tree or forest or small olive grove god for doing something bad to do with splitting up some other gods in order to, er… something) which meant that sleeping wasn’t much of an option.

Still on arriving a Cape Reinga via lots of winding gravel tracks (Pat was convinced that the coach was going to break down at several, rather shuddery points) we weren’t disappointed by the views:

Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga

Pat and Squage at Cape Reinga
(A little wind swept)

After that we made our way to some feck-off great big sand dunes to take part in some sandboarding! I sensibly stayed on the coach but Pat braved it up this:

Big Ass Sand Dune

Pat informed me that it was almost worth it – yeah the ride down on the mini surf board, head first was fecking brilliant fun – fast, a bit scary and very exciting – however this was outweighed by the bastard-hard climb up the sand dune (very soft sand) and being blasted in the face with sand at the top, such that seeing and breathing was nigh-on impossible.

Pat has now gained a great respect for people who live in desert conditions. To be honest, I think Pat might’ve been better off if he’d, say, worn sun glasses and something to wrap around his mouth… not that this isn’t a sexy look:


Sadly the whole trip was marred when Matt careered down the smaller of the two dunes, hitting a minor dip at the bottom of the dune and smashing his face into the ground. He was unconcious for almost a minute, mumbling and incoherent for a few minutes and bloody groggy, in shock, sleepy and with a fecking great big swollen patch under his right eye. Pat felt awful as he really didn’t know how to help out in this sort of situation, luckily the coach driver looked after him so it was ok.

Still, Pat’s vowed to get a refresher on basic First Aid ASAP.

Note: Luckily Matt was fine in the end, after being taken to hospital that night and discharged in the morning – he’s now wearing sunglasses to try and cover the rather impressive black eye…

The coach journey back was quite crap as Pat and others needed to make sure Matt was ok, concious and not konked out for the duration… still, we got back ok in the end – via 90 mile beach, which was an odd experience to be part of:

Driving along 90 Mile Beach

This, apparently, is a road. Nice.

The coach had a bit of trouble getting off the beach… fortunately as this seems to happen a fair bit another coach was waiting to help:

our coach getting a helping hand


After a quick stop off at a Fish and Chip shop (apparently really great but Pat wasn’t massively bothered by it for some reason), we made our way back to Paihia.

That evening was another Pipi Patch bar experience, with a bit more socialising in the wider group – meeting some more folk:

  • Jennie – from Oop North, just graduated from Nottingham Trent Uni in Teh Law and travelling around with her Uni mate Kate…
  • Kate – also graduated from Nottingham Trent in Teh Laws
  • Chris 2 – a freelance “Research Engineer” who does work for such shows as Scrapheap Challenge – nice guy who’s a typical Keen Media Type™
  • Amy – also an Oop Norther, she’s been travelling for ages and from what I gather rather looking forward to getting back home, which is fair enough!

After a rather late night of drinking and chatting, Pat flaked out in the dorm.

Saturday 18th November: Bay of Islands – Aukland
After having a rather rubbish sleep due to co-dorm-inhabitant snoring, Pat grumbled his way to check out at 10am, dumping his ruck sack in the storage room in wait for the 4pm pick up bus.

It was raining outside but Pat figured he should get a bit of exercise so had a wander around a bit – not getting too wet – bumping into Mr German and Chris after a while and heading for a spot of lunch at the bar next to the Pipi Patch. They do the most AMAZING burgers, Pat tells me – yes, that’s right, an AMAZING VEGGIE burger. Who’d’ve thought?

After lunch we trundled (well, more “waddled”… it was quite a large burger) back to the Pipi Patch, where a game of poker was just begining between Chris 2, Kate and Jen. Pat, Chris and Mr German joined in and the game commenced (with rather high stakes – matches – being involved).

Amazingly, despite Jen wiping most people out and almost ending Pat’s game, he somehow came back via a selection of rather good hands, potentially foolish bluffs and blatant luck and won the game!

He said something about going to Vegas but I’m hoping he just meant Bas Vegas and not the other one. Actually, I hope he meant neither.

Eventually the coach picked us all up and we made our way back to Aukland… 4 hours without a charged iRiver to listen to was hard going but Pat just about made it through having bought the high brow magazine known as For Him Magazine to purve at look at for some of the journey.

On the coach Pat met John (“Jersey”), from Jersey (funnily enough), who’s a gardener for the local goverment and also fireworks display technition, which is pretty cool. Had a good chin wag, which helped speed the journey up and took Pat’s mind off the ill feeling that came from a) too much burger and b) reading on the bus…

On arrival at our destination Aukland hostel (the nice-and-central ACB) at 8pm, John and Pat wandered over to Base Backpackers Hostel to meet some of the other guys, then we trundled to Globe (something of a meat market, right below ACB) meeting up with some more Kiwi Experience folk.

Twas an entertaining evening of drinking, dancing and chatting (albeit in a slightly shouty way over the loud music (“YEAH… I CRY MYSELF TO SLEEP EVERY NIGHT…”</AdamAndJoeReference>)) and at about 2am Pat finally decided to make his way back to the hostel (albeit without John, who was – how shall I put it? – “occupied” following meeting a scottish girl called Debbie) and crash out.

Sunday 19th November – Aukland
The Kiwi Experience coaches don’t leave Aukland on Sundays, meaning the whole day was free to do whatever we needed.

Unfortunately (well, that’s debatable I suppose) Pat’s plan of catching up with blogging and photo uploading went to pot as he and John spent most of the day at Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World (no points for guessing which faceless, soulless sounding company owns this…).

It took a 90 minute walk from Aukland city centre along the harbour road to get there. You’d think there’d be some kind of free shuttle bus, wouldn’t you?

Well, you’d be right. It passed us approximately 1 minute from our destination. We were so impressed (mind you, between you and I think Pat needed the exercise so he can’t really complain).

Inside KTUW was really good – lots of interesting information about various sea creatures, a big penguin enclosure, an underwater walk way to view sharks, sea turtles, sting rays and various types of fish, a mock up of a hut used by Scott et al on their many Arctic adventures… plenty to read about and see, and all for about 8 quid.

Pat took LOADS of photos, but because this Taupo-based internet cafe sucks a bit he’s not had a chance to upload them so you’ll have to check the usual place in a few days.

After a quick ride back to central Aukland via a free shuttle bus (apparently they have one, who’d’ve thought?) Pat wandered into an Italian restaurant for a nice, civilised meal before heading back out to Base (meeting some of the guys), onto an Oirish pub called Father Ted’s (no coincidence) and back to the Globe (meeting Jen, Kate, Chris et al) for far, far too many drinks and lots of bad dancing (from Pat (who thinks he was dancing brilliantly but I’m not sure anyone else would agree)).

On the way back from the Globe, an unfortunate diversion occurred… well, it was unfortunate for John, Jen, Kate and Chris as the meat was really dodgy – on the other hand, Pat really enjoyed his 3:30am McDeli Veggie Sandwich.

Sleep then beckoned… a whole 4 hours before the coach was to turn up to take us south.

Monday 20th November: Aukland – Mercury Bay
Pat had 2 hours sleep (hooray for snoring dorm-sharers), but managed to be awake enough to check out and get on the coach for 7:30.

After a 1 hour coach journey around Aukland city centre, picking people up from various hostels (honestly, can’t people walk 500 metres?), we finally set off, with 47 other passengers.

This time our bus driver was Flea, who’s really friendly and has spent most of her life living at her folks in a forest valley in the North Island, although now lives in Aukland but with her folks place as a kinda holiday home (she’s got an old Kiwi Experience bus converted into her own mini house!)

First place she took us to was Mount Eden, which was nice as Pat and I had enjoyed it very much last time – sadly the weather wasn’t quite so nice this time but it was still cool to see the views again.

After that we went south, travelling for a while (with a charged iRiver to make things a bit easier for Pat) and after grabbing some food to use at a rather special BBQ (I’ll explain in a sec) we went to Mercury Bay.

Some folks headed straight to the hostel however many of us took the option to do some Kayaking to see Cathedral Cove (of course, I stayed safe in Pat’s bag on the coach).

Pat’s group’s guide for this was possibly the most stereotypical surfer dude in the ENTIRE WORLD. “Totally awesome!”, “Killleeeerrr!”, “Sweet AS bro!”, “Nooooo waaaaay bro!” and a whole load of funky hand slapping, punching and sliding were pretty commonplace. Pat found it very funny.

Pat and John took their two man Kayak out, with Pat navigating and John steering at the back… twas quite tough work (particularly on the wrists, which are still hurting Pat today (Friday))… but Pat enjoyed being out in the water.

What was enjoyed less was the almost inevitable capsising, which occurred on trying to land on a beach by Cathedral Cove. All was fine, but just as the kayak almost touced the beach it started to move to the right… just in time for a fecking big wave to spin it, John and Pat over in the water a couple of times.

Wet Passport in a supposedly dry pouch of a Kayak? Bring it on!

Still, it was an excuse for Pat to show off his flabsixpack whilst he let his T-Shirt dry and given the lovely weather that didn’t take too long. Pat wandered into Cathedral Cove (a big, impressive cave) and admired the lovely scenery as Surfer Dude made everyone some hot chocolate.

Once back in the (rather damp) Kayak John and Pat made their way out into the water again, getting rather tired now but still slogging on, before they all finally came back to the starting point.

Several crazy hand shakes, sweet as bros and killleeerrrs later, Pat and co made their way to the hostel (Turtle Cove), which was FULLY LOVELY.

That evening Flea took us all for a BBQ at her cool place in the forest, which was really ace – particularly wandering out into her “back garden” (a large, tree enclosed field) and staring up at the plethora of stars, visible without the glare of man made light for miles and miles. Amazing.

Following that we trundled back to the lovely, comfy beds of Turtle Cove.

Right, that’s MORE than enough detail for now. My hands hurt (oddly my wrists do too even though it was Pat who did the Kayaking… who’d’ve thunk it?) so I’m going to do a very quick summary of the days between Tuesday and now:

Tuesday 21st November: Mercury Bay – Rotorua

  • Pat had a poor sleep so was KNACKERED all morning and in a fairly cheesed off mood (as he gets when fully knackered)
  • Pat’s camera was a bit screwed through being put in a pocket full of sand – but it got better with some blowing and gentle smashing (contradiction?).
  • Wandered around some cool disused mine shafts at the karanga Lake Scenic Reserve
  • Went to Hobbiton and Pat posed as Gollum next to a Gollum statue
  • Went to Rotorua and did luging, which was HILARIOUS fun – like go karting but with no motors and more speed!
  • Ended up in a bar drinking again – really good night though, lots of amusement (you’ll have to see the photos later but they are quite amusing)!
  • Rotorua smells of rotten eggs

Wednesday 22nd November: Rotorua – Waitomo

  • Pat had a great sleep so felt much better
  • Lovely sunny day
  • Went to the Tipau Hot Springs + Mud Pools, which was amazing to see – there were big geyzers too, so Pat got some great photos!
  • Stopped off on the way to Waitomo at a town with two buildings designed as a Sheep and a Dog. Rather, uh, odd, but they looked comically bad. Pat, again, got some great photos!
  • Chilled in hostel for a while – Hostel was lovely, with nice balconies overlooking the countryside and a pool table
  • Lots and lots of drink was had by all, along with a BBQ
  • Amazing evening, including live acoustic guitar songs from two of the Waitomo Caves guides who happened to be around
  • Lots more amusing photos
  • Pat can’t remember getting to bed

Oh, and on this day Pat booked himself on a 12000ft tandem sky dive. He kinda needed the drink…

Thursday 23rd November: Waitomo – Taupo

  • Pat woke up at 7am, following getting to bed at god-knows when, feeling rather bad:
    1. “Nnnggh I’m Hungover”
    2. “Nnngh I need to check out and be ready to go to the Waitomo Caves by 8am”
    3. “Oh shit… I’m doing a sky dive today”
  • Pat managed to get out of bed despite of the above making him want to not leave it
  • Waitomo Cave Black Water Rafting was hilarious fun – wearning wetsuit, sitting in a rubber ring, floating around caves and occasionally jumping off waterfalls into the blackness, alongside staring at the amazing lit up cave ceilings thanks to the glow worms… it’s a great way to cure a hangover!
  • Pat spent most of the day bricking himself about the Sky Diving
  • Pat went to the Sky Dive Centre
  • Pat felt scared shitless
  • Pat got in a Sky Dive outfit
  • Pat felt scared shitless
  • Pat walked onto a Sky Dive plane
  • Pat felt scared shitless
  • Pat got strapped to a Sky Diver
  • Pat felt scared shitless
  • Pat watching the ground get further away
  • Pat felt scared shitless
  • Pat stared at the plane side door opening up
  • Pat felt scared shitless
  • Pat watched Amy disappear
  • Pat felt scared shitless
  • Pat was moved to the edge of the plane
  • Pat felt scared shitless
  • Pat looked up at the camera man who was co-diving
  • Pat felt scared shitless
  • Pat stared below in disbelief
  • Pat felt scared shitless
  • Pat fell from the plane
  • Pat couldn’t believe how UTTERLY AMAZING it was
  • Pat and his Sky Diver spun around a bit
  • Pat couldn’t believe how UTTERLY AMAZING it was
  • Pat felt the wind smashing into him
  • Pat couldn’t believe how UTTERLY AMAZING it was
  • Pat felt the rush of free fall
  • Pat couldn’t believe how UTTERLY AMAZING it was
  • Pat felt the parachute open and felt like he was flung up
  • Pat couldn’t believe how UTTERLY AMAZING it was
  • Pat slowly glided down 4000ft, taking in the awesome scenery of Lake Taupo and the surrounding area
  • Pat couldn’t believe how UTTERLY AMAZING it was
  • Pat landed
  • Pat couldn’t believe how UTTERLY AMAZING it was
  • Pat couldn’t believe how UTTERLY AMAZING it was.

So yes, Pat enjoyed the Sky Dive a little :-)

  • Pat and t’other folks went to Pizza Hut to celebrate our Sky Dives
  • Pat had an early night

Friday 24th November: Taupo

  • A 17km hike across the mountains has been cancelled due to high water levels in the trek route, so Pat has a free day.
  • I’ve hijacked his time to sit here and blog
  • Pat is starving
  • Pat’s hands are sore through typin watching me type
  • We’re going.
  • BYE!


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