Dreadlocks, Hygiene and farewell to New Zealand

3rd – 9th March

After Rotorua, we headed to Lake Tekapo again. I’m with a bus who haven’t visited before, so they have signed up to do the Tongariro a Crossing and such. I bigged it up massively so I hope they enjoy it… As for me, I’m going to chill by the lake and catch some rays and catch up on my diary writing (it’s a hard life).

Tekapo is buzzing because the Iron Man is on this weekend. And we all know what that means: my future husband is lurking around somewhere.

***

After a chilled couple of days in Tekapo, we headed to River Valley. The lodge where we are staying is literally in the middle of nowhere. It takes an hour drive to the nearest house / shop / get phone reception. The people that run the lodge are a little bit… How do I put it politely… Inbred. The guys have thick dreadlocks down to their waist and they’re a little bit too friendly: trying their luck with every girl in sight. Probably thinking, finally, someone who’s not my sister.

The scenery is stunning. An emerald lake is surrounded by rolling golden hills. The weather is hot so perfect for a dip. I had great childish fun jumping off the zip wire and high rocks with the ‘lads.’

When the weather cooled down, I went on a run with the lovely Lou. We came across a beautiful dun horse. He wandered over and let me stroke him. Ah, I’m feeling very content with life right now.

During dinner, I was speaking to a rather simple boy from Essex. As lovely as he was, within 2 minutes of conversation he tells me that he tried a banana for the FIRST time in his LIFE last month. WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL. Is this the new Joey Essex? He dunno why he’d never tried it before. Innit though.

I had a great last night with the Kiwi Experience. When I finally crashed into bed I was very thankful I was in a bunk-bed room, rather than the ONE bed that sleeps 32, known as ‘the orgy pit.’ Yes, that’s an actual thing. Welcome to River Valley.

***

It was a long, painful journey to Wellington with tonnes of traffic. After saying goodbye to my lovely Kiwi peeps, I trekked up the hill and then HELLO Julie and Brett! Had a great time telling them all about my North Island adventures – seeing baby dolphins, black water rafting, Maori experience and making tonnes of new, very special friends.

HURRAH for a proper shower! Feeling clean has never felt so good and never have I been more excited to get my laundry done.

***

The last few days in Wellington have really felt like home. I’ve been on runs, baked cakes, I’ve even met up with a friend from my old school! (Leah). It was so bizarre to see her her and great to compare our New Zealand adventures.

I thought I’d be super prepared and organised and get out some Australian dollars here. Mad to think I’ll be in Australia tomorrow. I finally found the recommended ‘TravelEx’ after walking up and down Lampton Quay about 900 times. When asking to purchase some Australian dollars, the man behind the counter said, “Sorry. We’re out.” I actually thought he was being funny. It seemed funny that a money shop would run out of money. He wasn’t kidding. “We’ll have more in tomorrow afternoon.” Yeah, I’ll be in Australia then, pal. No worries, I’ll get some at the airport, just may have to queue a bit.

Julie and Brett took me to an amazing Surf n’Turf restaurant for my last night. It was mouth-wateringly-good. I was so full it hurt. How on earth do I thank them for their kind generosity? Flowers / wine / a thank you card all seem a bit pathetic for how overwhelmingly kind they have been to me these past 6 weeks. They have helped make my New Zealand adventure so special and comfortable. Shout out to J & B: you’re the best!

I’m shattered but too nervous / excited to go to sleep because then it will be tomorrow: the next leg of the adventure begins. New Zealand has been everything I had hoped for and more.

It could have been a great love story

Happy valentines day! Running on very little sleep at the moment. Last night the Danish were being SO loud and SO drunk. Then whoever was on the bunk above me was snoring like a pig.

It was an emotional goodbye saying farewell to the girls as I made my way to Lake Tekapo. I’ll see Annie and Hannah again in a couple of days, but it was a sad farewell to Rachel, Jade and Sophia. Travelling is like an emotional rollercoaster. You become so close to people in such a short space of time and then before you know it, one of you hops on a bus / flight / ferry and that’s it – they’re just a memory. We’ll all keep in contact via Facebook though, and we hope to meet again as a group at some point back in England.

I’m staying in Lake Tekapo for 2 nights but have no accommodation for tomorrow night. Apparently there is NOTHING available. Oops. But hey, panicky Liv isn’t that panicky. “It’ll work out.” I tell myself.

Hurrah! It did. Someone cancelled their reservation in a nearby motel 10 minutes ago so BAM, that bed has my name all over it.

The late afternoon was spent lazing by the blue beyond blue lake.

I’ve just written a really, really long paragraph and then deleted it all because it made me sound so lame. Long story short: got talking to a beautiful man on the beach. He was hitchhiking around New Zealand. I was really enjoying his company…So much so that this panicked me and so I said goodbye. Why Liv, why.

The next day, on my little backpack trek to the motel, who am I following but beautiful man from the beach yesterday!!! I don’t believe in fate – but if I did, this would be it. I could have said hi and then we could have hitchhiked together (sod my own travel plans). We could have gone around the world together and then eventually buy a house in England, get a cute dog and live happily ever after.

Instead, I turned into a cafe to buy a coffee and a muffin before heading onto the motel. I am the worst kind of person.

***

Survived my lonely motel experience. Actually really enjoyed it! Finally had a great night’s sleep. Did a mighty solo hike up Mount John (accidentally went the extra long route) but that made it feel even better when I finally reached the summit.

Hannah, Mike & Annie have now arrived! After a chilled night in Tekapo cooking dinner together, tomorrow we will venture to Christchurch. Fingers crossed there isn’t another earthquake. 2 days ago they had a 5.7 and aftershocks are quite likely…