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!

Waitomo Caves

Wednesday, 17th January 2007 |  by  |  New Zealand  |  No Comments  |  Share

We left Hamilton, the largest inland city in New Zealand to continue down the north island to the Waitomo Caves, the home of Glow worms. We drove a few hours to a little campsite near the caves and specifically ‘Rap, Raft and Rock’ where we’d booked to do a 6 hour session.

I woke up quite excited raring to get down into the caves, we arrived at the office to meet simon, our guide for the day and took a short minibus trip to another hut, where he kitted us up in wetsuits, lovely purple trousers, and our miners helmets. Then another minibus trip to the cave entrance where the fun began (if getting kitted up wasn’t fun enough).

After a little safety talk and some instruction (quite rare for New Zealand) we walked down to the rappel point and lowered ourselves into the dark, a 28 meter drop into eel infested, freezing water. We were a group of 6 so one after another we waited for our turn. Once all of us were down and Simon had followed, we got out of our climbing harnesses and with our lights switched off, started to paddle through the water into the darkness of the cave system. As it got darker we started to pick out the glowing worms above us until we came out to a chasm absolutely covered in them, looking up was like looking at the stars. Simon created a huge bang on the water, as well as scaring us to death, the worms thought it was feeding time and started to glow brighter. He told us about the worms and how they weren’t worms at all but maggots, they glow because they cant go to the toilet so they burn their ‘waste’.

We walked further up to find the caves getting narrower and narrower until we were on our bellys scrambling through the mud, fantastic (or awesome) fun! at one point we came out at an underground lake and some of us jumped in the freezing water for a quick swim to clean off, absolutely pointless as we had to go back the way we came, through the mud.

Once back to one of the joining systems, we grabbed rubber rings, once again switched off our lights and with the aidf of simon floated down a pitch black river, the glow worms showing us the way, maybe simon too. At the end Simon told us to get off our rings to climb out of the caves, he didn’t mention however that were I was, was still 8 feet deep and surprisingly to me and Becky we went straight under, more freezing water. When we surfaced everyone else was standing looking at us and Simon chucking to himself.

Lastly (5 hours after we started), it was time to get out to daylight and dry land, this involved getting our harnessed back on and a further 28 meter rock climb out, with wellys! not a pair of scarpa boots in sight….

Have a look at the photos here

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/

Sweet as Bro

Friday, 12th January 2007 |  by  |  New Zealand  |  2 Comments  |  Share

We were told if we spent more than 2 days in Auckland and you’ll be bored… But no, this is our 5th day, we still haven’t eaten at the harbour, climbed one of the many volcanoes or been to the park. But until we’re back to fly out we’re calling it a day here. We’ve been up the sky tower twice, shopped, shopped, shopped, watched Casino Royale, attempted to buy a car but decided against it, walked, walked and walked, had a Dominoes Pizza (2 large pizzas cost $16, about 5 quid), had a subway (again a subway here is about 2 quid), Bex got a hair cut, travelled on the Link bus ‘the long way around’. Maybe we didn’t get bored because this is the first time we’ve been able to do some of this stuff for a few months, who’d have thought we’d get excited about Starbucks.

We’ve loved Auckland, its a really clean, friendly, spread out city where the road signs are polite and the pedestrian crossings sound and look like computer games, where the little green man actually walks when its time to go, then gives you a count down until the lights will change. The buses have screens just like in Total Recall, which show the news, weather, trivia (New Zealands favourite flavour is Chocolate, closely followed by Banana) and a map that shows you where you are, where the next stop is, and what your likely to see when you get off.

We’re staying in Auckland Central Backpackers, the biggest hostel we’ve been in with 10 floors of rooms the biggest kitchen you’ve ever seen! More of a hotel than hostel (but with hostel prices).
If you haven’t already, you can see some photos of Auckland here

So midday we’re off to get our Hire Car (a lovely nissan sunny) and drive north to Whangarei, a 3 hour drive, where we’ll be walking about the treetops and playing in the waterfall

Vinaka Vakalevu Fiji – Part 2 (2007)

Thursday, 11th January 2007 |  by  |  Fiji  |  1 Comment  |  Share

More notes on Fiji! if you missed part 1 :

http://earth.kitjunkie.org/fiji/vinaka-vakalevu-fiji-part-1-2006/
1st January 2007 – Kim’s Place – Becky
“Kim and his family picked us up from the Ferry. We took a slow ride over VERY choppy water, with one child steadily emptying the boat of water with a bucket, Kim had on hand steering and the other trying to catch dinner with his fishing line. Andy had no problem fishing as a small flying fish committed suicide by jumping into his lap. 40 minutes later we had settled into our bure, which had a swinging bed. Andie (Kim’s wife) had prepared dinner for us all, a HUGE plate of noodles and Curry, Rice and Chicken, A root vegetable, coleslaw and pineapple. We didn’t even dent the mound of food, apparently Kim has it nightly or he can’t sleep.”

2nd January 2007 – Kims Place – Andy
“At low tide the island Kim’s house is on is connected to Turtle island, a very elite resort where recently Britney Spears had her wedding. We walked between the two to look at the crabs and explore the mangroves, not getting too close for fear to security shooting us from there little watch tower. We headed back to see Kim preparing the boat (emptying the water out) for our return journey.”

2nd January 2007 – Korovou – Andy
“One of the staff, Moses, wasn’t impressed we were staying in the dorm and kept telling us to move into the ‘Love Nest’ next to him and his wife to be. After a little bartering we did move into our own little lodge for 3 pounds more. One of the guys we were talking to at dinner ran an outreach program back in Canada to teach kids how to break dance, he gave us a fantastic demonstration and taught one of the local kids some moves.”

4th January 2007 – In the Island Village – Becky
“We got on the boat to the Village, a 30 minute trip with great views of the coast of the island, we arived at the beach of the village and our guide went to the chief to ask permission to enter. Andy was pronounced Chief of the group as he sat down for another Kava ceremony. While we were drinking Kava, the local women set up a market on the floor selling, craft items, as soon as we’d bought something they started packing up as we were their only customers for the day. I was really impressed with the school whose school motto was ‘the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom’. School was out as its the summer holidays here, so the kids were around the village, helping parents and playing volley ball (and wearing party hats)”

5th January 2007 – Manta ray – Becky
“Iva and Cody were in the shallow water, feeding the fish bread and pancakes trying to get their trust before trying to grab them out of the water, they never caught any. Later we all went (Me, Andy, Midla, Jordy, Iva, Kathie, Thierry) off Kayaking to another island, pulled our Kayaks up onto the beach and spent the next hour snorkeling, I saw loads of purple starfish, and a 2 meter sea worm (Yuck). Kathie and Midla disappeared so Andy went on a rescue mission to find them and came back towing the girls along. That night Mike and Tam (Codys’ parents) put on a fire dancing show, fantastic Jordy joined in and so did some of the staff. Absolutely amazing”

6th Jauary 2007 – Back to Octopus – Andy
“Said good to the friends we’d made and headed off the Octopus. We decided to spend our last 2 nights in Fiji here as we loved it so much over Christmas, I was amazed that some of the staff had remembered me. That evening we played some games for champagne, My team and I won a few bottles. There were only 5 or so games and we were still up for more when we finished, as we’d (England) had just lost the ashes miserably, we thought we’d rematch the Australians to the cereal box game. All good but Becky (due to her previous training with Toni) won for England, we couldn’t stretch to champagne so it was a Fiji bitter instead. After most had gone to bed (including Becky) we carried on drinking, Anna, a Yorkshire girl living in Sydney convinced us to dive in the pool, shortly after the manager came over to suggest we called it a night, an hour and one more dip later and we did. In the morning, Anna and I were checking out in the office when some of the staff were chatting about the rowdy lot the night before, we sat there sheepishly.”

More to come later!

Vinaka Vakalevu Fiji – Part 1 (2006)

Wednesday, 10th January 2007 |  by  |  Fiji  |  No Comments  |  Share

Well we’ve left Fiji and arrived in Auckland, back to the City, and the Internet.

So we thought rather than trying to summarize the last 4 weeks, we’d post snippets of our journal, anything we think might be interesting… This could be a long one.
17th December- On our way to Nadi Airport – Becky
“Andy got called into the ‘Restricted area’ at Rarotonga airport while I was in the toilet, when I got back Sam had told be where he was and was winding me up saying he’d seen all sorts of funny things through the door. Apparently they’d seen something odd on the xray of his bag, which turned out to be our gas lamp, they we’re very excited by all his camping kit and Andy was in there chatting a little while, even got offered a cup of tea. The time difference in Fiji is 22 hours! We missed Saturday completely!”

18th December – Staying at Horizon in Nadi – Andy
“The music here is Hilarious! Fijians love Boney M, Cyndi Lauper, Earth Wind and Fire! Grease Mega Mix! Its in the shops, on the radio, at the hotel. We bumped into Sam again, he’s on the FeJee Experience, a 52 seat coach touring the mainland, 2 of them left on it this morning, tourism is definitely suffering because of the coup”

20th December – On the Yasawa Flyer Ferry – Andy
“The Ferry ride is a great way to see the islands! Glad we’re away from the mainland, amazing views of tiny islands, very cool, every time the ferry comes to a stop at a transfer point, flocks of boats race to the side of us to get their supplies, passengers, family who’d been shopping in Nadi. It reminded me of sheep running to the gate when the farmer arrived. Our first stop is the Island of Tavewa right at the top of the chain of islands, climbed into the locals boat and raced to where we were staying, Coral View. The boat couldn’t get all the way into the beach so we had to jump out and paddle the last 50 meters with our packs through the water, first time it stepped into the water in Fiji, very warm.”

22nd December – On the Beach, Tavewa – Becky
“The hammocks are great, I want to get one when we get home, theres Pumice all over the beach which has floated over from Tonga (There was a Volcano eruption there recently). One of the guys who lives here has been coming out every day to rake it up into a pile, I guess he’s getting bored of it, today he left a patch and wrote BULA in 6 feet letters”

23rd December – Octopus – Becky
“Octopus, WOW, Not going to want to leave, Hammocks everywhere! Our dorms fantastic! individual beds (no bunk beds) with mosi nets, fans and reading lights. Huge, hot powerful showers! Fantastic Food. We joined in the Kava ceremony, my first bowl and my tongue was numb”

24th December – Christmas Eve – Becky
“Got ready for dinner, as we left the dorm I saw Charlotte was wearing exactly the same outfit! Over dinner the villagers came over to sing Christmas carols to us, which was amazing! All Fijians can sing amazingly, odd to hear ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ in Fijian. Andy won a Fiji Bitter by playing paper, scissors, stone with the barmaid”

25th December – Christmas Day! – Andy
“Woken up by a very excited Bex who’d been outside with Charlotte and found presents! Very unexpected. I got up and we opened our cards and presents. The rest of the day was lovely, on the beach, swimming in the sea, in the hammocks, with Christmas music playing in the background. It may be 32oC but we still played Monopoly! Becky Won (Probably by cheating)”

27th December – Octopus Still – Becky
“Went Snorkeling with Andy, Charlotte and Pete. It was amazing! The water was so clear, we saw thousands of different types of fish, almost sculptural pieces of Coral, Pete spotted a Ray hiding under a ledge, and Charlotte and I were surrounded by thousands of tiny glittering fish. Andy went to do a ledge Dive in the afternoon, he said it was quite dark and scary in places, he saw a shark! a moray eel and managed to stay under for 47 minutes. In the evening we watched
Indiana Jones around the pool, as it started to rain we sat under umbrellas and ate popcorn. It wasn’t until it poured down did they decide to pack away the projector.”

28th December – Bounty Island – Becky
“Bounty’s a tiny island, only a few acres big. Andy thought it was like a tropical Huish Woods, with paths all over the place. We came across a partly dismantled shell of a building, that after some investigation turned out to be the Celebrity Love Island House. Andy was overly excited because the dorm was converted from a production room and there where sockets all over the place”

29th December Bounty Island – Andy
“We walked around the island, in 20 minutes, so then we borrowed some kayaks and paddled around, another 20 minutes. Becky struggled (Partly because she’d picked up a left handed paddle). The Islands close enough to the mainland to get mobile signal, the first time since we’d come to the islands. We spoke to our parents and wished the a Merry Christmas!”

30th December – Wanna Taki Cruise Boat – Andy
“I love boats, already I’m happy we’re spending new year on here, Becky’s feeling a little queezy but I’m sure it will pass. We both jumped off the top of the top deck, 8 or so meters up, quite a drop.”

31st December – New Years Day – Becky
“Holly, Meredith and Andy spent the afternoon trying to convince me England’s a nice place and that i should miss it, all they could come up with was Bumble Bees, Hedge Hogs, Wetherspoons, Castles and of course our friends and Family. We had a traditional dinner, a Lovo, food cooked in an underground oven with hot stones. Chatted till midnight, the staff drank a ridiculous amount of Kava and some of us jumped off the boat, we were warned about Barracudas, so no one spent any time in the water!”

Happy new Year!

Bula from Nadi in Fiji

Tuesday, 19th December 2006 |  by  |  Fiji  |  No Comments  |  Share

Bula,

We’ve been here in Nadi on the main island of Fiji now for a few days, preparing for the next few weeks on the outer islands, which (hopefully) is all done now!

But before we tell you about our next few weeks, lets tell you about Nadi and how we nearly didn’t even come here.

During our stay in Rarotonga we became friends with an American guy called Neil; he’d flown down there to meet his boat the Kwia and to sail it back to Hawaii. When his boat came in he left the hostel to go stay on his boat, but we bumped into him a few times after- our last day, we heard the Kwai needed some more crew to go to Hawaii and Christmas Island, we were very, very tempted, even got off the bus at the port… But sorry Neil, we’re here now…

More about Nadi: well if you get a $20 phone card you can talk for days and days and days… You can get a bus the few miles into the city for 65 cents (20p), taxis are obscenly expensive at 1 pound 50… Although there’s been a high military presence on the island due to the Coup, they haven’t got enough vehicles so have got all the hire cars… Cheesy music is loved here, especially Boney M! everything is 6 dollars (food, hair cuts, drinks, taxi fares, shopping).

Today was our busiest day by far (meaning we actually did something), we caught the 11am bus into town for some shopping, preparing for the lack of civilisation, we bought water, toilet roll and bug repellent, shampoo and choc biscuits. Nadi (as you might have guessed) is a cheap city for shopping, we also bought new sun glasses in the christmas sale (random) and I got my hair cut, something I’ve wanted to do but haven’t had the courage, so I have a new ‘Fiji Style’ hair cut, like I usually have it but shorter, involving a cut throat razor… We had dinner in Prouds, their version of Debenhams. Now back at our hotel, Horizon.

Tomorrow we are getting picked up at 7:15am (Becky says ‘Oh my God!’) and taken to the harbour to meet our boat and sail off to The Yasawa’s for Christmas and the New Year. We’re hopping about the islands, and are staying on the Wanna Taki Boat for New Year! back to the main land for the 8th and off to Auckland.

We’re sadly missing Samoa and Tonga due to their political and military issues.

So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Don’t have too much fun without us!

Andy and Bex

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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Painting a Picture with Words

Sunday, 10th December 2006 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  1 Comment  |  Share

I’m no wordsmith, and do struggle trying to get across just how amazing this place is which is a real shame! So, if I describe the last few days to you, you’ll have to imagine its much better than it sounds, because it really is.

So last night we went out for Chris’s last few hours on the island before he flew home to the US for Christmas. 10 or so of us went to an Indian Restaurant for Dinner, they were having an all you can eat buffet for NZ$15 which sounded like a great idea, the food was very nice but hot food in a hot country, I don’t think anyone got past a plate and a half. Once finished we said our goodbyes to Chris, he went off to the Airport and we went off to Whatever! bar. Now this bar is very cool, its on a platform maybe 20 foot up in the air overlooking the sea to one side and the harbour to another, they play very interesting dancy remixes of 80’s/90’s songs, we liked it. Because there are no street lights there is very little light pollution, so the stars are amazing! We stayed there for a while, watched Chris’s plane fly overhead and went to find Bill in the hostel bus to go home, lovely evening, the rest of the day was taken up by swimming in the sea, chatting on the beach, the usual…

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The day before, Friday was Beckys Birthday, so as a special treat we had our washing washed in a proper washing machine! First time on the trip, and it made a refreshing change to hand washing in the sink. I took Becky out in the evening to the nicest restaurant we could find on the island, the Windjammer, we dressed up (shirt and shorts instead of a tshirt) and caught the bus around to the restaurant. It really was very very nice, we had drinks, meals, deserts and it still only came to NZ$80 (which is about 28 quid). Its very hard to spend money out here. We then went on into town, actually we didn’t have a choice, after 4pm the buses only go one way around the island, so you have to go all the way around to get back home, bus routes are easy, you either get on the clockwise or anti-clockwise bus, and they both go to the same places for the same price. The bus company’s called Cooks Transport, just like home. Anyway we went into town had a few quiet drinks and headed back.

What else, well I’ve been SCUBA diving a few times, Becky’s not to keen so she stays on the beach while I’ve been out on Dive Rarotonga’s boat. I went to a places called Paradise and Crocodile Alley both of which are a little way out from the harbour. They’re both about 18 meters down and you get about 50 meters visibility, which is amazing, hundreds of fish, Parrot Fish, Picasso Fish, Sea Cucumbers, Spanish Dancers, I cant remember any more names, beats diving in the UK.

Big news out here at the moment is that an illegal Chinese Fishing Boat ‘Tim Tom’ has been caught and impounded, the police force (which is 8 strong) has been very busy. Ironically the Police Station (which is massive for those 8 policemen) and the Court House were both gifts from China.

We tried to walk back from the airport, walking along the road is hard, not because of the heat, or the traffic, or the pot holes, but because you cant walk 10 metres without someone offering you a lift, a lovely Canadian couple drove us back.

The Christmas decorations are going up on the Island. You’ve already seen the inflatable snow man and there’s much more of that, Budget Car Rentals have been putting a huge neon sign up on top of their building all week so we’re excited for the big switch on. The Christmas message this year in the Cook Islands is “If you drink and drive, drive carefully”

Nope… no proposal on Beckys birthday.

The Moons is upside down! Could someone remind me which way the toilet flushes in the UK? I want to have a look here!

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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Kia Orana!

Friday, 1st December 2006 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  1 Comment  |  Share

Its a lovely friday afternoon and we’ve just come into town to do a bit of food shopping. Working out if food here is more expensive is a bit of a struggle, all that mental arithmetic to convert dollars to pounds…

We’ve had a relaxing week touring the island and chilling on the beach. One day we hired bikes and cycled the 36k around the island, in the heat it wasn’t as easy as we expected, we also cycled though a small amount of torrential rain, which was refreshing. On our tour we cycled on the inner road first, past the prison, which oddly wasn’t on our tourist map, the prison really represents life here, 2 foot white picket fence with no gate. We joined back on to the costal road by the airport just in time for a Air New Zealand Boeing 747 to take off infront of us and take us off our bikes, we hear that it’s called jet blasting and an evening of fun here on the island so we’re going back with others to sit at the end of the runway and wait for a jet to land. Next was into town, locked up our bikes and had some lunch, the afternoon was taken up with us gently finishing our ride back to the hostel, the one road around the island is really nice, with great views and every now and again a little layby with toilets and drinking water.

Another day was taken up to snorkeling off of Fruits of Rarotonga, the fish certainly aren’t shy and swam round us in swarms, I made friends with a Picasso Fish that seemed to follow me for hours. Stuart you’re right, best cafe ever!

More days, sitting on the beach, swimming in the lagoon, playing cards with Germans (Sven just because we don’t speak german doesn’t mean we didn’t know you were passing tips to Phil). Watching movies when the rain comes.

The hostel’s very friendly and entertainment is provided by the 3 year old daughter of our host who stays up late and climbs anything that stays still, cars, rooves, plants, us if we stand still long enough, as with everywhere we’ve been in the last couple weeks (only a couple weeks?) we’ll be sad to leave.

So we’ll leave it at that, more to say, don’t want to bore you all.

We’re off to foodland!

Speak to you later!

Bye Dave and Sin, Paul and James, and Sven, have safe trips.

PS. Anyone heard about Fiji?

Clothes: Rohan Expedition Shirt

Monday, 27th November 2006 |  by  |  Kit  |  2 Comments  |  Share

The last thing I did before we left was went clothes shopping, never too keen to spend money, these shirts were 45quid each and took some convincing to buy them, but i’m already glad I did.
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