Volcanoes, Dolphins and a Minor Mental Breakdown

19 Feb

Had some sweet as transport today: on the back of Brett’s stunning vintage motorbike. Unbelievable how smooth and comfy it was. My last memory of being on the back of a bike was when I was about six and Dad zoomed down to the cricket field in the village. I cried.

Brett on the other hand was a lovely, safe driver. He loves his facts and told me lots about the south coast of Wellington through the helmet inter-com as we cruised around the picturesque bays.

20th Feb

Up and out the door by 7.30 with all my gear, plus a little Tupperware box with my lunch in. Ah, it’s been rather blissful these last couple of days. Being on the move constantly is exhausting and so I’ve been very lucky to stay at Julie’s IN MY OWN ROOM these last couple of nights. What luxury.

Hurrah! Veronica is on my bus (we thought we’d said goodbye for good about a week ago). We chatted for ages about anything and everything.

Driver is called Dave. He seems chirpy.

Arrived at the ginormous lake Taupo about 3pm. It’s cool, but in my opinion, not as pretty as lake Tekapo in the south. The whole scenery is a lot different here. In the south, the scenery was UNREAL with all of the breathtaking mountains and turquoise lakes. However, so far, the North is like England on steroids. So still very cool, but not quite as OH MY.

21st Feb

Alarm went off before 5 this morning. Me and my new friend Fran are going to tackle the Tongariro Crossing (a 20k hike through volcanoes, zig zagging around emerald lakes).

At 5.20 I rushed back into the room to find Fran fast asleep. Come on Fran! Bus leaves in 10 minutes!

Let’s do this. Others that had already done the crossing and had also got to know me joked that I would probably run it. At some points I wanted to go a little quicker, but I didn’t want to leave Fran – I was enjoying her company too much. She’s a fabulous human. Because I was so comfortable, I was tempted to do the add on 3 hours up Mount Doom. But then sensible Liv said no. I was wearing shorts and trainers. It was extremely steep, slippy and sharp. Others were returning with slashed legs, muddy blood trickling down to their ankles. Maybe not… Instead I did the Tongariro summit (an extra hour or so). Fran waited at the bottom to have some recovery time whilst I marched on into the sun. I’m glad I did it. The views were incredible. I picked up Fran again at the bottom and we saw the Emerald lakes. Stunning!!! I take back what I said about the North being a bit more ‘meh.’ The views were crazy. It all felt pre-historic with clouded smoke rising from the ground.

The long, steep downhill towards the lakes was really tricky, but also fun. We were sliding all over the place! I cut myself a tiny bit on my hand as I saved myself from a tumble. The last few hours were long but I still felt pretty energised. I wish I had captured Fran’s happy face when we finally reached the car park. They say the crossing should take 6-8 hours. We took 6.10 (but that’s with me doing the summit as well), so we did the normal route in 5.10. Not bad!

Sat waiting for the bus to leave, Fran realised her sports bra was on back to front. Her boobs were poking out the back hole that was accidentally in the front, and the front bit on her back was all baggy. “I thought they weren’t very supported.”

24/02

Came through Auckland yesterday and now in the beautiful Paihia (bay of Islands, at the top of the North Island).

Mental breakdown: bank card is blocked.

I have $6.

Damnit it. I have $5. Shouldn’t have bought that banana.

It was a stressful 6 hours but by that evening, it was all up and going again. Thank goodness! Had a celebratory salted caramel and cashew nut gelato.

Now to enjoy this beautiful little paradise… Cruise on a boat and come by a pod of 20 dolphins? Why not. I don’t know how else to describe it other than saying it was ‘magical.’ They all seemed so happy. They were extremely playful but also had such a peaceful manner about them. The male and female would jump side by side, perfectly in sync whilst the youngster showed off by the boat.

On the way back, I sat right at the front of the boat and stripped down to my bikini – attempting to fix my hideous tan lines.

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