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Our Wedding Day

Our Wedding Day

Sunday, 10th January 2010 |  by  |  Wedding  |  3 Comments  |  Share

We woke up in Oceans Resort in Whitianga after Andys restless night, I however slept like a baby. Lots of beauty sleep ready for the day to come.

Our ceremony wasn’t until 5 o’clock so we had a little bit of relaxing to do. We broke all the rules and stayed together the whole day and headed across the road to the beach, we chatted about our future to come and the more trivial matter of lunch. Midday soon came and I headed off to have my hair and makeup done, the clouds were gathering above and the salon talked of nothing else but rain! Even though our wedding wasn’t until later that day the thought of pouring rain encouraged my hair dresser to use an entire can of hairspray to ensure it would stay.

Andy came and picked me up after I was done, looking a little out of place with fancy hair and make up and shorts and t shirt! Andy had not wasted any time and had gone for a run, swam in the sea, accepted a cup of tea from a couple on the beach and been kind to a young girl who was stranded on the beach in the pouring rain. And yes, it rained- so much that Andy couldn’t even see the cliffs opposite.

As Andy picked me up there was no sign that it had even rained, the clouds had gone and the sun was out for our wedding day.

We headed off to Villa Toscana, a stunning, breath taking villa secluded in the mountains above Whitianga and Mercury Bay. For anyone interested Mercury Bay was the place that Captain Cook first properly landed and met locals (without accidentally killing them). We only had 45 minutes to get ready before Mark, Gordon and Diana arrived so Andy went off to have a shower and I wandered around the villa stunned by how amazing it was! Before I knew it Mark and the rest of the gang arrived and I finished getting ready.

I was very impressed with Andy that even though we had been dragging my wedding dress around for the previous 3 weeks, he hadn’t looked and resisted the temptation to look. I had been trying to throw him off the scent by pretending to worry about strap marks and creases but I will never forget how he looked at me when I appeared from our bedroom.

We had a few photos around the Villa, then headed off with Gordon and Diana to Lonely Bay, a winding road around the bay for about an hour. We were expecting a few people on the beach but when we arrived at the top of the path to the beach there were many cars and we started wondering how busy the beach would be. As the path opened up onto the beach people soon realised what we were there to do and as we picked our spot on a rock by the waterside our spectators gave us space (as the ceremony progressed we soon forgot they were there until a little applause broke out as we kissed, lovely).

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We stood on our rock and Gordon kicked things off, as it was just the two of us we had worried that we would pick some readings and words and when the day came he would just be reading them back to us, so Gordon had kindly suggested he write the ceremony and that it would be a surprise to us, it was beautiful, we wouldn’t have picked anything better. We’ll tell you more when we get home.

Mark took us off around the beach for a little photo shoot, we wandered around as people congratulated us. We had great fun with Mark and can’t wait to see the photos!

Next it was off back to Villa Toscana for our Wedding Breakfast, a feast of sea food as follows:

  1. Avocado and Tuna on Ciabatta
  2. Shrimp Cocktail
  3. Whitebait with toast
  4. Tomato pasta with a different kind of fish
  5. Crayfish with Tomato salad
  6. Panna cotta with Strawberries
  7. and a strong Italian Coffee

All fantastic! Lovely, lovely food, a huge thank you to Giorgio and Margherita, not just for the food but their hospitality over that last few days at Villa Toscana.

And then off to bed…

We have a few photos here while we are waiting for Marks.

Mr and Mrs Bateman

Christmas time down under

Saturday, 26th December 2009 |  by  |  Wedding  |  1 Comment  |  Share

So where did we leave you? Christmas eve, well we checked in to Auckland Central Backpackers after getting the airbus into the city. We mat an excitable/drunk guy called Dylan who was desperate for us to come to his party on a boat (right up until a french girl caught his attention). I went straight to bed and sent Andy to go find provisions before the shops closed for Christmas. That was it really for the 24th, sleeping after our flight, I did wake up long enough to enjoy the Dominos pizza Andy brought to our room, a large Ham and Pineapple and only £3.50!

Christmas Day!

We were up bright and early ready to go, it may have been the excitement of Christmas, it just may have been jet lag.

We left the hostel at 10, day bags packed and ready to explore Auckland. The sun was already beating down without a cloud in the sky. Our main goal for the day was to walk to Mt Eden, climb to the top and sit and have some lunch. As always Andy launched off at speed and come 11:20 we were sat at the top admiring the stunning view of the city, Andy was plotting a route to the next Volcano along suggesting ‘we could get there by 1’.

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A little after 1, we were sat on a bench on the side of the other volcano (that’s 2 of the 48 already today!). It was a pleasant walk leading through the shiny shopping district of Newmarket, sadly all closed up, it is Christmas day after all.

Dear readers, you may think this is enough for one day and we could walk back to the hostel. However during lunch while admiring the new view from the new volcano, Andy had concocted a new plan with the words ‘there’s a beach down there, we could get there by 3’. We never got there, while navigating through the mangrove swamp, I suggested ‘this’ll do’.

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We were back at the hostel by 5 after using the Auckland sky tower to re-orientate our selves, conveniently situated next to Auckland Central Backpackers.

After a speedy doze (from exhaustion!) we got dressed up to go out for our Christmas dinner that Andy had secretly booked at the Orbit restaurant on the top of the 348m sky tower. The tables and chairs gently moved round so that we could see the whole of Auckland as it turned to nightfall and the lights came on to illuminate the city. The food, view and company were brilliant!

Menu

To Start:
San Danielle Ham with thyme roasted pumpkin, rocket, shaved parmesan cheese and vincotto for Becky
Hot Smoked Akaroa Salmon with raw fennel salad, horseradish and potato, summer peas and board beans, honey mustard vinaigrette for Andy

Main:
Becky had Turkey Ballottine with sage and apricot stuffing, pepperonata, confit kumara, butter broccolini and cranberry compote. And for Andy Angus Pure Beef Fillet with grain mustard whipped potato, buttered asparagus, sundried tomato tapenade and jus

Dessert:
Traditional Christmas Pudding: cranberry foam, poached figs, eggnog ice cream and glogg jelly
Chocolate and Hazelnut Bavarois: served with bailey ice cream, espresso sauce and hand made macaroon

One thing we did notice during dinner was the Christmas music, it’s all songs about snow.

And quickly boxing day

We packed up and headed out to pick up our hire car, already affectionately named Burt which we felt fitted well with the brown interior and cassette player, neither of us had driven an automatic before but how hard can it be? well 20km in and Andy’s still trying to find the clutch at every set of lights!

We headed out of the city to Mission Bay for lunch and a paddle on the beach. We’re now 350km south in Taupo, we’ve had a swim, cooked some food and retired to our tent.

Tomorrow? Well we think we’re going to go for a swim in the lake, and then head off to Wellington, but we’ll let you know in another installment!

Till the next time!

Andy and Becky
(Written from the comfort of our tent)

Shopping, Eating and Movies

Friday, 30th March 2007 |  by  |  Singapore  |  No Comments  |  Share

Wow! What a few very busy days! We have been trying to pack as much in as we can. Our first day was a long sightseeing trip, going via Raffles and the Theatres (they look like giant sparkly bug eyes next to the river) and Parliament house. We have gone in most of the shopping malls – Andys face lit up when he saw the vast Electronics Mall!!

We found the City Mall too, where some citys might have a tunnel under the road Singapore has the City Mall is a 60,000 square feet under the city shopping mall

We ate a traditional ‘Malay’ meal of chicken satay, fried rice and noodles on a street cafe near the very impressive Sultan Mosque. Chanting can be heard during dusk when it is the call to prayer, makes a rather cultural backdrop for dinner! Then, a speedy trip to Orchard Street- the main shopping street before the shops closed at 9.30 (midnight tonight!). Luminous signs and cleverly lit up shops guided us down this long road (think Oxford or Regent Street in London then double it), once the shops were closed we popped back onto the Underground and headed to the river and the Merlion glowing under the nightlights. It is interesting to note here that Rough Guide to Singapore says this is the ugliest statue they have ever seen, well it’s not that bad…
Today was started by us heading off to the beach, Singapore doesn’t have ay natural beaches, so, as Singapore does, they designed, reclaimed and crafted their own on an island to the south, complete with two choices of getting to it, 1. use the monorail located at yet another huge shopping mall on the harbour, over a bridge conviniently dropping you off at the beach or 2. go to the local sky scraper, head to the top and get on the cable car that carrys you over the water to the island, crazy (If you zoom in on the map here, you can see the little cars). Its a lovely beach if a little odd as its facing a harbour so there are huge tankers sailing past.

After leaving our urban beach we headed off to the URA building, rather unexcitingly Singapores Urban Redevelopment Authority but Andy wanted to go since we got here. It was a city designers dream, lots of tiny models, plans, more even smaller models etc. Fascinating… But I did learn something, according to the Singapore designers the Northern Lights in Alaska are man made… hmmmmm (Andy writes: The URA is a really great place to visit! They have 3 models of the Island in various scales on display showing Singapore now and the future, they have displays explaining what they want to do with demos of lighting to be used, mock ups of buildings and areas, its more of a gallery than a planning department. Oh if Somerset County Council had one. If you come to Singapore I think this place should be first on the list! You’ll have more of an understanding of the city and the transportation system they have! Becky however, may not agree)

Finally headed back to the hostel past a food court for noodles, chicken and rice, I think its safe to say we’re going to miss a hearty dinner and drinks for two for 3 pounds.

If you’re wondering about the title they are the three things Singaporians love to do.

Happy 75th Birthday Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sunday, 18th March 2007 |  by  |  Australia  |  No Comments  |  Share

We’ve been in Sydney and about now for 4 days, having left the city for the sea side town of Narrabeen, we came back in today to help celebrate the bridges birthday!

Sydney is a vibrant city, full of people! We estimated that there are more people in Sydney than we saw in the entire of New Zealand! It has been quite an effort getting used to full streets, busy shops and full cafes. We escaped to the seaside for fewer people and to get used to Australian way of life from a distance.

Our first day and a half was spent sightseeing, lovely Christina from the hostel gave us a map and route, first port of call was the botanical gardens which overlook Sydney Opera House, where we took endless photos of it and the Harbour Bridge (both iconic landmarks are much bigger than photos make them look), walked round The Rocks- the first part of Australia to be colonised by 700 odd criminals and very quaint- old cobbled streets and European style old houses. Then the Aquaruim- hopefully the only time in Australia that we will come face to face with very big, scary and evil looking sharks! The Aquaruim was awesome, underwater tunnels in the seal and “ocean” areas, an enormous crocodile and vast containers of brightly coloured fish.We also visited the Australian Museum and the Museum of Comtempary Art. After the aquaruim and Museum, we (well Becky mostly) have been checking the lawns for spiders and snakes, any piece of water for jellyfish and crocodiles and we haven’t even dare go in the open sea yet! Damn Aquaruim and Museums!! Today we went on a boat from Manly (Sydneys premiere seaside town) to Circular Quay. Manly, if you can imagine it, looks very much like Torquay! Wasn’t quite what we were expecting!
We were staying in Kings Cross- very swanky during the day, THE place to have a street address, by night it turns into restaurants, strip clubs, “adult entertainment” etc. It is fair to say that this place does not sleep and is full to brimming with quirky characters. We stayed at the Blue Parrot, a bright yellow house situated on the “quieter end” (yeah right!) of Kings Cross. You could compare Kings Cross easily with Soho!
We have been trying some “Australian food”- e.g. kangeroo! We made it into spaghetti bolognase- Andy remarked it tasted very much like horse!! Think that is another story altogether…

See some photos here!

Into Mordor – There and back again

Monday, 12th March 2007 |  by  |  New Zealand  |  1 Comment  |  Share

See the epic journey in Photos

It was a wet, foggy, miserable day in National Park, so what better than watching all three Lord of the Rings in the comfort of the National Park Hostels Lounge? If we could see outside the window we would have seen the towering presence of Mt Ngauruhoe aka Mount Doom across the fields. As we watched Lord of the Rings (LOTR) we prided ourselves that we had seen a lot of this landscape in the film, from snowy topped mountains to waterfalls in forests; a lot of the scenery is classic New Zealand scenery. All I needed for our epic journey on Friday is a good looking blonde haired elf, a short ginger dwarf, an old grey haired man and a couple of very small people. Oh and not to forgot a Ranger who mysteriously is the real leader of men on earth. Excellent.

We set off first thing in the morning (7am!) to a brighter day. We started quite high up; above the low cloud level anyway! We first skirted round the infamous Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom!) looking angry and forbidding, red dust and jet black scree in a perfect cone. We trudged over marsh (fortunately with no dead things with glowing eys to lead us to our doom) then up a very very steep rock climb (Frodo and Sam surely had blisters by the end?) and to a stunning lookout over the mountain. As we looked into the West (no not elf ships!) we saw Mt Taranaki on the horizon peeping out through the clouds.

We carried on, our mission to catch the 3pm bus at the other end; through craters, volcanic rock, scree sloped mountains. We had beautiful views of “Orc country” no wonder than Peter Jackson chose this landscape for Mordor. Our highest point was “Red Crater” a stunning view of a massive red rock crater, before the journey down. This wasn’t as easy as expected, over a kilometre of rough, slippery grey scree or gravel. No wonder Boromir was so adamant that he wasn’t going anywhere near the place. After pretty much sliding down, praying that we weren’t going to break anything we got to a look out point over the Emerald Lakes.

The Emerald lakes, are, exactly how they sound, 3 bright turquiose lakes at the bottom of the mountain. They were pretty impressive at the top, looking like little puddles but closer inspection found them eeriley still….as if some monster with tentacles was biding its time before snatching small hobbit sized creatures…..hmmmm. We braved it and sat down near the edge for a well earned scroggin snack.

Off again, across a vast crater guided by white poles the Tongariro Crossing continues over Central Crater to Blue Lake. Blue Lake (an old volcanic vent) is also known as Te Wai-whakaata-o-te-Rangihiroa (Rangihiroa’s Mirror). Quite a mouthful. We were on the way down now towards Ketetahi Hut. The walk to the hut had magnificent views across to Lake Taupo (at least 100km away) and what felt like half of Middle Earth…sorry New Zealand. It might well could have been, there was no houses, settlements or any sign of human interference for as far as the eye could see, and it was a long way.

After refreshing ourselves at the Hut (but no lambas bread for us) we carried on down, through alpine scrub and further to dense rainforest with waterfalls and bubbling streams. We arrived for the bus 1 minute too late, the bus had gone, our mission seemingly failed. However there was a glipse of good fortune (Elvish magic me thinks) there was also a bus a 4.15. Phew! What an adventure!

Summary of the last fortnight

Thursday, 8th February 2007 |  by  |  New Zealand  |  No Comments  |  Share

Taupo:

Photos : http://www.kitjunkie.org/albums/v/travelling/nz/taupo/

Went sailing on Lake Taupo (but no breeze at all!), visited the CRATERS OF THE MOON! – a highly thermal area near Taupo- boiling steam, bubbling mud, pink and green earth. Huka Prawn- the most hilarious fun you can have with 15cm Malaysian Prawns, Huka falls, watching bungy jumpers fall over rivers and come up drenched, the nicest Top 10 park yet (I will go on a jumping pillow!)    

Rotorua:

Photos : http://www.kitjunkie.org/albums/v/travelling/nz/rotorua/

Smelt the sulpher smelling air, went to the Rotorua musuem (which could be mistaken for the Woolacombe Bay hotel!) saw the iconic bowl players on the green, saw bubbling mud pools everywhere.

Gisbourne:

Beautiful city on the East coast, streets lined with Palm trees. wished we could have stayed longer.

Napier:

Photos : http://www.kitjunkie.org/albums/v/travelling/nz/napier/

Art Deco city of the World- nearly every building has art deco esque designs, there is even an art deco weekend coming up where cinemas show 1920 films, have balls and drive around in old cars. There is “Bertie” the Art deco man who walks around Napier in full kit (unfortunately we only heard this and didn’t see him). Road out to Hastings was lined with beaches on one side and winerys on the other.

Wellington:

Lovely scenery driving from Napier to Wellington, mountains flanking the road, Upper Hutt road was interesting. Cor blimey it’s windy here in Wellington! Only had a brief wander around Wellington as we arrived late and left early. Saw huge amounts of public art all over the city, men chainsawing concrete in parks to create more sculptures. Apparently there is a life size cave troll and winged Nazgul hanging over a building somewhere. But no pizza shops! Want to visit the impressive museum and watch Lord Of The Rings again! (There is a cinema here that will always show it) Haven’t seen any of the film sets yet either- there are a few around Wellington including Rivendell. We went across the Cooks Strait on the ferry in the morning, beautiful views across to Wellington the “Garden City”.

Picton:

The entry point to the South Island. Went through the Marlbrough sounds which were stuning, all huge mountains, turquiose sea and sandy white beaches. Drove up the Queen Charlotte Drive (the car only just managed this feat!) which gave spectacular views over the sea and sounds.

Nelson:

Photos : http://www.kitjunkie.org/albums/v/travelling/nz/nelsonlakes/

A very nice little city, on the seafront. Is home to the “One ring” which I couldn’t find….grrr. Swam in the Tasman sea off the coast of Nelson, found a gorgeous beach called Cable Bay, had takeaways! Bought a new camera- both of ours are now dead! Went for a long 2 day walk around the Nelson National Park, stayed in a backcountry hut. (got blisters….and lost my sunglasses!) Met up with Zoe.

Abel Tasman National Park:

Photos : http://www.kitjunkie.org/albums/v/travelling/nz/abeltasman/

Andy should be writing a more detailed account of this, but for the moment, Zoe, Andy and myself kayaked for 3 days in the beautiful National Park- all sandy beaches, tiny coves, seals, warm water, compost toilets, blue penguins, sacadas (bloody noisy and very ugly beetles) wood pigeons, impossibly tight kayak skirts, massive amounts of kayaks on otherwie empty beaches, water taxis making waves, 4 year old children making us laugh, pumping water, nappy rash and boil in the bag food.

Huka Prawn!

Saturday, 27th January 2007 |  by  |  New Zealand  |  1 Comment  |  Share

On our last day in Taupo (it was raining- HARD!) we went to Huka Prawn Farm- sounds rubbish but it was one of the most hilarious things we’ve done so far! They have made a simple prawn farm into a huge place, eveything has a prawn embellished on it or a cast iron prawn or you can buy prawn t shirts etc everywhere! Shawn the Prawn (a giant pink prawn) guides you round. We went on a guided tour of the facililties, fed baby prawns which was very funny (they felt like tiny spiders crawling over your arms!) then we could go fishing for the larger prawns (they were Mayalsian Prawns- around 15cm long! The clever thing about this farm is that their neighbour the thermal water power station wasted heat heats up the water just enough for the prawns to live.).

We collected our bamboo fishing lines and off we went with ice buckets in case we caught some. In only a few minutes I had caught my first massive prawn, unfortunately I was so excited that I threw it across the gravel (missing the ice bucket completely) and he sat there for quite a while. We tried to pick him up, but as he was still very much alive he keep jumping and twitching- very tricky to get hold of! After much hilarious laughter (15 mins!) Andy braved it and after a few attempts got the blooming thing into the bucket- it didn’t die straight away either- but jumped out of the bucket in Andys’ face. V funny! In the end I was becoming a bit of a natural at catching the whoppers (caught 4 altogether!) Andy didn’t catch anything, said his equipment was rubbish.

We stayed in Rotorua that night as because we could take the prawns that we caught away with us we tried to cook them. However neither of us have ever cooked prawns before and we felt so guilty that these poor creatures were alive only a few hours previously and now they were bubbling away in a pan of water! Andy attempted to eat one, but as we didn’t know where to start (pulling legs, tentacles, heads off??) we decided to give up!

Thank you Becky (Ed’s Becky) because as soon as I saw the leaflet for Huka Prawn I remembered you had been and enjoyed it so that was the entire reason we went!

New Plymouth

Sunday, 21st January 2007 |  by  |  New Zealand  |  No Comments  |  Share

We arrived in New Plymouth to meet Jordy, Midla, Jo and Jude (you may remember that we met Jordy and Midla in Manta Ray in Fiji) to spend a few days with them. It was a hairy drive from Waitomo – through mountains and gorges and although it was only 100km or so away it took over 3 hours. We arrived a bit early-Midla and Jordy were both out so we entertained ourselves along the New Plymouth seashore. We walked along and found a rather bizarre art piece called the Wind Wand biult and designed by the famous New Zealand artist Len Lye. (only famous in NZ perhaps?)

Midla showed us around New Plymouth- the only place I have ever seen with sea and mountain in a few km of each other. She took us back to her house to be suprised when Phillip (also met in Manta Ray) appeared from the Kitchen. Midla and her house mates had organised a BBQ and party that evening, we met all their friends (most of whom were English! and/or cricketers!)

The day after Jo had promised to take us up the mountain (Mount Taranaki in Egmont National Park- not Eggplant Andy!) so Phillip, myself, Andy and our guide Jo hauled ourselves up the mountan for 2 hours. It was a pretty spectacular sight, you could see the entire of Taranaki, New Plymouth on the coast- and sometimes you could see the two other volcanoes in the area.It was a really clear day, the wispy clouds seemed to be only a armstretch away from us we felt so high up. We were lucky to see some flora that apparently only lives on Mount Taranaki (little white alpine flowers).

That evening all of the house (and Adam- Judes’ boyfriend) took us to the local park. Every year they put on a display of lights and activities called the “Festival of lights”. It was awesome, the trees, waterfalls, lakes, fountains were all lit up, laser beams dancing over the lakes and scaring the ducks! There was a ‘Big Band’ free concert under the stars which we danced and listened to. The park itself was enormous, it had a zoo and ampitheatre at one end and a cricket pitch at the other! Apparently some of “The last Samauri” was filmed here, Mount Taranaki a good stand in for Mount Fuji.

Adam took us (and Phillip and Jo!) to the zoo the next day- a very cute litttle zoo with a huge monkey enclosure, a sleeping (perhaps stuffed?) red panda, big scary birds with huge claws and the funniest farm animals. They had been sheared- the llamas were completely shaved within an inch of their lives except their heads which were big and fluffy! The ampitheatre is actually a music arena, with a stage and some pretty big named bands that have played there- UB40, REM and the Pretenders just three that I can remember.

We had such a good time in New Plymouth, we picked up the brochure “Emmigrating to New Zealand” and had already decided what house we wanted. (In the photos it is the blue one on the sea front that I’m standing infront of) But I’m sure we wouldn’t have loved it so much if it wasn’t for our fantastic hosts Jordy, Midla, Jo , Jude and Adam. Thnk you all so much for a brilliant few days, you should definately go into the homestay business!

Auckland – Bay of Islands

Sunday, 14th January 2007 |  by  |  New Zealand  |  No Comments  |  Share

Hoorah! We have a car! A white Nissan Sunny- classy! We drove off, relishing our freedom when we got toa motorway and I got a bit scared so did my usual thing on motorways, drove really slow in the slow lane (they call it that here) and annoyed everyone else. Kiwis had better get used to some traffic jams with me around!

We stopped off at Goat Island Beach, a black sand and rocky beach, looking over islands dotted around in the bay. No members of the public are allowed on the beaches as they are Nature Reserves. However one island was devoted to Goats. Why??

We drove on, meeting our first sign of Kiwi lunacy; unsealed roads! They are gravel roads and on this trip they seemed to play Russian Roulette on which piece of road they were going to seal or not. We drove up this 80kmor so road, every couple of km would be sealed, then a stretch of unsealed, then back to tarmac, gravel, tarmac, gravel. It took a rather long time. We did come across the wizard made out of wood though on the side of the road.

Russell “the hell hole of the Pacific” was suprisingly beautiful, a tiny little village with a harbour, cafes on the pavements and amazing views of the other islands. We had a little explore, found “long beach” which Andy ran into the water and then confessed later it was so cold his feet had gone numb!

We parked up at a Top 10 holiday park- we had been recommended these by a honeymooning couple in Fiji, they are camping/caravan parks with little apartments and motel rooms. We enjoyed a bit of luxurious camping for the evening, looking forward to our first big trip out tomorrow- Swimming with dolphins!

 The boat departed at a rather early 8am, so you all probably realise I struggled to wake up and do much for at least an hour- which was a problem as we had to leave the campsite by 7.50 and I woke at 7.30-Gah! Fear not, we made the boat- Tim was our dolphin watcher- he would casually stand ON TOP of the boat with hands holding super strength binoculars looking for tiny changes in the waves that would pinpoint the dolphins. We did this for about an hour and a half before be found our first pair of dolphins- a mother and her baby! They hung around the boat for ages, riding along the front of the boat, ducking and reappearing next tothe sides of the boat. Unfortunately New Zealand rules that if there is a ‘juvenile’ in the group we were not allowed to swim with them. So after taking loads of photos and enjoying their company we set off in search for other ‘common dolphins’ which live further out to sea than ‘bottlenose dolphins’ which we had just seen.

We searched and searched for another hour and a half, and eventually we headed over to some boats that we crowded around a pod of dolphins. They were amazing, Andy even saw one jump out of the water in the classic dolphin way. Awesome! We had to go back to Russell because our time had run out and although we didn’t get to swim with them it was still one of the best things I have done since travelling. Wow!

Look at the photos of Tim and dolphins here:

http://www.kitjunkie.org/albums/v/travelling/nz/auckland2russel/

Farewell Rarotonga!

Friday, 15th December 2006 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  2 Comments  |  Share

It is our penultimate day in Rarotonga and we (again) are sad to be leaving. We have met so many nice and friendly people here (photos of a few of them below) that this part of the trip has been as much about the amazing scenery as the people.

Over the last few days we have been relaxing on the beach and swimming. On Tuesday there were the most enormous waves (the photos don’t capture the hugeness of them) but very abnormal for Rarotonga. I sat at the top of the beach on a table and still the waves came up the legs of the table. Normally the lagoon is pretty still and calm so it was quite a different experience on the beach that day.

Yesterday we put up the hostels Christmas decorations- tinsel overload! Leticia (the family’s little two year old) was having great fun pulling them all down again! I was lucky to get a photo of the Christmas Tree decorated because this morning it was bare and she was rolling baubles around the floor. We had clubbed together for a BBQ last night- very odd (Christmas decorations and BBQ).

Andy and I have been planning Fiji (I want to go to Nativiti Island over Christmas). Most of the Yaswana islands don’t have electricity or phones (some are even low on water!- thank goodness we have our water filter!) so we will be out of contact for about 3 weeks over Christmas and New Year. We will be probably camping over both important days, ooh and maybe a bit of swimming, snorkeling……

Enjoy the photos- the waves were bigger than it shows- honest!

If we don’t email before we go to Fiji, have a happy Christmas, and we get the first rays of the 2007 sunrise 12 hours before you guys in the UK will!

Becky and Andy

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Hope you like the photos!

Another hot day on Rarotonga

Wednesday, 6th December 2006 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  5 Comments  |  Share

Its 11 am and 33 degrees…

After all our lazing on the beach we decided to do some exercise, we walked across the island, we caught the 9:30am bus after a late night out in the Banana Court (the local club). We got off just outside town and started to make our way into the centre of the island, its a few miles on the road until you reach the ‘Jungle’.

The road walk was a nice steady climb past the islands power plant (a shed with a couple portable generators in it it seems), past some farms and to the ‘car park’ at the top. From here on in it was scrambling over and under trees, up banks, down banks, vertical scrambles up tree roots. Apparently a path but more like a mud slide. We made our way up the 7k and 350m height gain up to the Needle, a 60 metre high rock looking over the island, fantastic views of all the coast!We stopped there with a couple of american guys for lunch, then started to make our way down, this point was pretty much the half way point of the walk. Scrambling down, or ‘falling’ was just as hard if not harder than going up! Sliding down banks, paddling through streams, ending with a little paddle in Wigmores pool, a waterfall at the end of the hard part. All left for us to do was walk out on the road and back to our Hostel! showers and a good nights sleep.

Tomorrow we’re leaving the Hostel to go stay in a beach hut for Becky’s Birthday! (Toilets and Showers of our own! Hurrah!)

Here are some photos of the Island.

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Hope you like them!

Forget Tahiti, We like Rarotonga!

Sunday, 26th November 2006 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  3 Comments  |  Share

Morning! It is Sunday at 11.30 in the morning, it is very quiet here as everyone else has gone to church. The beaches are all deserted so we decided to go for a swim! It doesn’t feel that hot compared to other days but its still a lovely 28oC! We are deciding whether to stay here an extra week and maybe stay in Samoa and Tonga less (the guide book scared us rather a lot…) It’s a shame we have a deadline to come back otherwise we would extend our time everywhere!

We are staying in a backpackers place- like a youth hostel in the uk. We have made a few friends already and we played cards with them most of yesterday evening when we had torrential rain for 3 hours!

We have been on a bus journey round the island…. we only wanted to go 10 minutes up the road but ended up going all the way round because the bus only goes clockwise after 12.30pm on Saturday! (it only takes 45 minutes to go round anyway so we weren’t too disappointed!)

The money is NZ dollars and i have never seen triangular coins before!

Thats all for now, we are off for some lunch and some more relaxing as everything is shut today!

Bex and Andy

(Are you all jealous yet? wait till you see the pictures!!!)