A Travellerspoint blog

Day 155 Te Puketea Bay-Onetahuti Beach, New Zealand

Thursday 10th November 2005

sunny 25 °C

Woke up around 7am and I seriously had forgotten how uncomfortable it is sleeping on a thin piece of foam especially when its compared to a nice warm bed. Still here we were in this amazing place with the sun already shining and the gorgeous golden beach completely to ourselves. After eating Dennis’s strange but very enjoyable mix of oatmeal, chocolate, fruit and nuts all mixed together for breakfast we were on our way for what turned out to be a totally crazy and at times very tiring walk.
Again like yesterday the walk was amazing but today there was a hill near the end that totally crucified me and in the heat as well I was so happy to eventually make it to the campsite. Tonights campsite was at Onetahuti Beach which was actually quite a luxury one as it had a undercover cooking area and also flushable toilets as opposed to the hole in the ground the night before, what more could you ask for while camping.
The walk today was around 7 hours and after we pitched the tent all I wanted to do was go for a swim in the clear blue sea and after initially thinking it was way to cold I decided to brave it and go for the plunge and after the intial shock it wasn’t actually to bad. However around 20 minutes later I noticed some huge black/grey coloured object in the water within 5 metres of myself. Not sure at first what it was I decided to get out of the water on then realized it was a huge stingray fish swimming about, so I thought I would call it a day and give the swimming a miss.
After Dennis cooked yet another delightful meal we both sat on this huge rock next to the sea and after chatting for several minutes neither of us could believe what we were about to see. Looking out towards the sea and around 50 metres in the distance a pod of around 15-20 dolphins appeared and we spent 20 minutes watching them dive out of the water and play around with each other. To be there on the beach as the sun was going down and no one else around was absolutely amazing and to then see these dolphins was mindblowing. Then after the sun had gone down and the stars came out I sat staring at them for what seemed like forever in my own little world, thinking about what an amazing day it had been and looking forward even more to tomorrow.

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Abel Tasman

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Onetahuti Beach, Abel Tasman

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:26 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 154 Nelson-Te Pukatea Bay, New Zealand

Wednesday 9th November 2005

sunny 24 °C

Wahay adventure time or so we initially thought.
I woke up early so I could rearrange my rucksack for the camping trip and to sort out what I would be leaving in the car. We set off on the drive to the start of the Abel Tasman track where Simon and Jill would drop Dennis and myself off so we could pick up our kayaks. The kayak company told us the previous day that they opened up at 8.30am and that was it. Well we arrived around 10.30am and as soon as Dennis started talking to this woman I knew there were problems. They actually wanted us to turn up at 8.30am where we would then have to waste half a day kayaking with instructors before we would be allowed to venture out alone. What a complete balls up by them.
They then tried to make things better by offering us the chance to kayak tomorrow which wasn’t possible because we already had campsites booked in advance and I had cancelled my accommodation in the hostel I was originally staying in. Dennis and myself then had a chat and said sod the kayak company and that we would instead walk the entire route, all 51km of it in the 3.5 days.
The first days walking to Te Pukatea Bay was absolutely amazing and the shape of things to come. The beaches were amazing and the sun was shining and we couldn’t ask for anything more. Once we reached the first campsite right next to the beach we had been walking for 5 and a half hours and there were only 2 other tents here for the night. We got the tent pitched and Dennis cooked one of his speciality meals and after that I went for a walk over to a lookout point and then settled in my sleeping bag about 9pm.

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Te Pukatea Bay, Abel Tasman

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Te Pukatea Bay, Abel Tasman

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Te Pukatea Bay, Abel Tasman

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:25 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 153 Nelson, New Zealand

Tuesday 8th November 2005

sunny 23 °C

Game on for the Abel Tasman walk with Dennis and today we went ahead and booked everything up. The plan was to sea kayak part of the route for 2 days and then spend the other day and a half walking and then I would get the bus to Punakaiki to meet up with Simon and Jill. After getting it all booked up I then went to a camping shop to get myself a cheap roll mat to lie on while camping and then we headed back to the others as we has arranged to drive to Rabbit Island and relax at the beach for the rest of the day.
Simon a german guy decided to join us so him, Dennis, Simon, Jill and myself all squeezed into the car and spent the rest of the day in the blazing sunshine on the beach, swimming in the sea and making rather bizarre/strange sandcastles.

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:23 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 152 Nelson, New Zealand

Monday 7th November 2005

sunny 22 °C

Woke up fairly early and feeling pretty good considering the late night and amount of beers consumed. Dennis was going for a walk around the town today so I decided to join him and we immediately got talking about doing a walk he had planned (The Abel Tasman Coastal Track) for 3 and a half days. I had been hoping to do something like this while in New Zealand and thanks to him it was possible as he had the tent and all the facilities to go camping with. We headed down to the information centre to find out some details to see if it would all be possible and to see if I would be able to get a bus afterwards to meet up with the others.
After that we headed over to a very different and very nice cathedral for a look around and then after a walk around town headed to an area which allegedly is the centre of New Zealand. Well after getting to the start of a track that takes you up this hill the sign actually tells you that after more research was done the centre is actually 60km in a different direction. Somewhat abit confused by all this we still continued to walk up the hill where theres a plaque telling you it’s the centre of NZ and theres also stunning views from here. After a few photos and a few minutes rest I heard a voice I recognized and seconds later up walked Simon and Jill to our amazement. Once they got to the top they also told us about a walk down to some botanic gardens and a micro brewery along the way so Dennis and myself decided to join them to. First we visited the brewery where we sampled 5 of the beers they made before going to the gardens which were rather pleasant and so relaxing I sat on the grass and fell asleep in the sun for half an hour.
Tonight was suprising a rather dull affair compared to the night before. Theres was no Hans around as he left this morning and by 11pm I had gone to bed and crashed out.

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Flowers shaped like a bird, Nelson

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Christ Church Cathedral

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Christ Church Cathedral

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Miyazu Japanese Gardens

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Miyazu Japanese Gardens

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:21 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 151 Wellington-Nelson, New Zealand

Sunday 6th November 2005

overcast 20 °C

Today we were heading over to the South Island of New Zealand and even though I had researched my book a few days previous and not found to much to do here which surprised me, I was actually looking forward to it because theres a lot more walking tracks and mountains in the South Island.
Dennis the American guy who we met a few days previous was joining us in the car today and its always good to have someone new joining us from time to time as it gives us a chance to find out about other peoples travel experiences and Dennis has plenty of those. We set sail on the boat at 1.30pm and eventually got to Nelson around 6.45pm and headed straight to the Paradiso Hostel where we were booked into. We knew Hans the crazy german was staying in Nelson but weren’t sure where and I couldn’t believe it when I put the key in the lock and opened the door and who was staying there opposite me, yes the man himself. We were in fits of laughter and I think the whole of the town heard us and when we did eventually stop laughing the first thing hes does is shake my hand and then thrust a beer in my hand. Things at this point couldn’t get any better as he is such a top class guy and so funny.
Anyway after things calmed down Jill, Simon and myself headed into town to get some food while Hans went to the shop to get some more supplies of beer. By the time we got back to the hostel they had opened up the bus which is in the back garden and is the place to go after 10pm so you are not making lots of noise near the hostel. With the beers flowing tonight quite possibly turned into one of the funniest in ages. There was Hans and his stories especially the police uniform one which on here I cant go into detail in, Dennis and me completely pissing around doing stupid things which also I cant say to much about and then there was lobster girl also know as the girl who was as thick as shit and dizzy as hell and so sunburnt she was asking for the abuse we gave her all night.
Eventually though after all the beers had been drunk things calmed down abit and we all eventually decided to call it a night.

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:19 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 150 Wellington, New Zealand

Saturday 5th November 2005

sunny 17 °C

Spent another day on my own as I wanted to walk up to Mt Victoria and the others were going to drive up it. By the time I left the hostel it was around 12pm and straight from there I headed up the steep road where the track started to take me up the mountain. Even though its not actually that high its still a fairly steep climb which took me by surprise and it was very windy today but the views from the top made me appreciate it all the more. It was just a shame the sun never came out as I would of then been more than happy to spend a few hours up here relaxing, but instead after around 30 minutes looking out over Wellington I then headed back down the path.
The rest of the day was just spent trying to update my diary in an internet café but to no avail so I headed back to the hostel and did some washing before meeting up with the others so we could all go out for a meal and then watch the fireworks for Bonfire Night, which turned out to be a very spectacular display.

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Wellington from Mt Victoria

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Wellington from Mt Victoria

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:15 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 149 Wellington, New Zealand

Friday 4th November 2005

sunny 20 °C

Headed off out on my own today to see some of the sights of Wellington and it was definitely more enjoyable not actually planning the whole day out and not looking at a map constantly but instead just walking until I found places of interest. After walking up and down streets and not knowing where I would up end I eventually stumbled across the Beehive Building and Government Buildings and after that Old St Pauls Cathedral. Then as a lot of people has mentioned that the Te Papa Museum was well worth a visit I decided I would have a look around seeings as its free. Well after no more than 45 minutes spent inside I personally have to say that it’s the biggest waste of money ive ever seen. It’s a huge building with something like 6 floors but there doesn’t seem to be hardly anything inside it and compared to museums ive been to in London it was not worth spending 1 more minute in. But besides the museum so far I like Wellington a lot and the rest of it is definitely worth the visit so far.
Later I met up with the others and they had bumped into Hans the crazy german who had stayed in the same room as me in Taupo and they had planned to meet him later tonight and I was really looking forward to having yet another crazy night with him around.
We headed over to Base Backpackers where they have a bar downstairs and as the conversation was totally dull and boring I was just wishing sooner or later that Hans would turn up and it wasn’t looking good. Two guys then came over and said there was a pool tournament tonight with the winner getting a $50 bar tab and no boasting to much but I knew I definitely had a very very good chance of winning that, well that was until they told us it was doubles and I was partnered with Simon. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh one minute I was looking forward to get drunk on free booze then my illusions were shattered in seconds. Still I had a bit of confidence in my own ability and all I had to do was play even harder. After a few games we actually managed to make it to the final and we were playing the 2 guys who had arranged the tournament. At this point I thought maybe these guys are a lot better than they make out and they do this sort of thing a lot to try and get you to stay longer in there bar and drink more. However I don’t think they were expecting to get some stiff competition in the final no matter how many beers I had drunk. As for the game well I potted 7 balls and left Simon just the black to pot with the others having 5 balls still left. Simon in his same whack the ball around the table fashion hit the black around the table and somehow pots it only for the white to follow. All it needed was a gentle shot but that was it and the game was lost. Putting it mildly I was totally pissed off.
Luckily though Hans had turned up by then so I spent the rest of the night with him having a wild night laughing and joking and also with an American guy Dennis who he had met.

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Parliament House

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Old St Pauls Cathedral

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Beehive Building

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A church i forget the name of

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:32 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 148 Napier-Wellington, New Zealand

Thursday 3rd November 2005

sunny 18 °C

Today we were driving to Wellington which would be our last destination before we headed over to the South Island. Before that though we had to try and squeeze all our things into the car as Simon had invited a guy to join us on the drive there, his name being Austin and he was from Texas, and of all the places in Texas this guy actually came from Austin. So once Austin from Austin was squeezed in we made our way down to Wellington and this was a place that at least I had several things that I wanted to see.
We arrived at the YHA around 4pm and it’s the biggest of all the hostels we have ever stayed in although it is very nice and with the room I was in I even managed to get a decent view across the water. Simon had arranged to meet an old work mate of his so the 4 of us went out for a drink and then onto an Indian restaurant for some food before heading back to the hostel around 11pm.

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:30 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 147 Napier, New Zealand

Wednesday 2nd November 2005

sunny 16 °C

Simon and Jill arranged to go out on a wine tasting tour today so I spent the day going for a walk around town and then relaxed in the park for an hour.

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:29 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 146 Napier, New Zealand

Tuesday 1st November 2005

sunny 19 °C

Jills birthday today so at least we had something to do tonight and that was enjoy a few beers. After walking around the shops for 30 minutes Simon headed back to the hostel as he wasn’t feeling well so Jill and I spent several more hours walking around the town and then into a bar for a meal before meeting back up with Simon later so we could all arrange what we were going to do tonight. Before that though as Jill wanted a rest before heading out Simon and I went off for yet another round of golf although this time the course was nowhere near as good as the one in Taupo. As for food first we had decided on going for tapas but once looking at the menu there wasn’t any options for Jill seeings as shes vegetarian so we just had a few beers there before finding an Indian restaurant around the corner which in fact turned out to be very nice indeed.

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Posted by Reece Sanford 20:28 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 145 Taupo-Napier, New Zealand

Monday 31st October 2005

overcast 18 °C

Time to leave Taupo and to be honest it felt like we had probably spent 2 days to long here although the worst thing was we were now heading to Napier which I had no plans for at all. Once we arrived at the hostel I got the impression from the outside of it that it was probably the worst one we had found so far in New Zealand. The outside seemed very old and dirty and the inside wasn’t any better with the kitchen area being the worst (very very small and very unclean). A lot of people here just tend to come here for work like fruit picking and nearly everyone seems very cliquey and if you don’t actually live and work here then you don’t really seem to fit in.
As for Napier itself its not the worst place ive come to but its not a place I would probably visit again. A lot of the buildings are decorated in Art Deco and it has abit of a Texas feel to it. There isn’t really a beach here as well as most of it is covered in stones and rocks but having said that it was still nice to just walk along the sea front while I was here.

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:26 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 144 Taupo, New Zealand

Sunday 30th October 2005

sunny 18 °C

There were 2 things I considered doing today and I ended up doing neither of them.
First was going to visit Orakei Korako which is another thermal area although after going to one a few days ago I guessed once you’ve seen one then you’ve seen them all. The other thing I was interested in doing was going out on a kayak to see some Maori carvings but I missed the first outing and they were not doing 2 trips per day until the day we left. So it looked like it was going to be another uneventful day until Simon asked if I was interested in going for a round of golf. At first I wasn’t really to bothered but thought anything would be better than sitting around the hostel for another day.
We drove to the golf course and it was absolutely packed with people, and of the 2 courses they have one of them had a competition on it. We spoke to some people working at the golf course if it would be a problem seeings as we haven’t ever played properly before and they didn’t seem bothered at all so after hiring some clubs and buying some balls we were on our way. Some 3 hours later we finally finished to mine and probably everyone elses amazement we hadn’t managed to upset anyone and had somewhat of a good time. The even better thing was that we only ended up paying for 9 holes of golf instead of 18 and soon made a quick getaway before anybody noticed.

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:24 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 143 Taupo, New Zealand

Saturday 29th October 2005

sunny 18 °C

Woke up without feeling one ache or pain which was suprising considering the amount of times I fell over while snowboarding yesterday. Didn’t have any plans at all today and im surprised with Taupo because I was really expecting this place to be full of life and really busy with lots of things to do but unless your willing to spend money on activities like bungy jumping and sky diving theres not a lot here, and neither of those appeals to me at all.
Anyway after such a hectic day yesterday I was quite happy to put my feet up and relax.

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:23 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 142 Taupo, New Zealand

Friday 28th October 2005

sunny 12 °C

An absolute crazy day. After waking up luckily with no hangover I knocked on Susan’s door and to my amazement she was still buzzing with excitement about joining us.
After the 90 minute drive to the Whakapapa Ski Resort I had initially decided I was going to ski as
1) Ive already done it before
2) Snowboarding didn’t interest me and
3) Skiing is much easier than snowboarding.
Simon decided he was only going to go snowboarding though and told Susan it was easier so she decided to snowboard as well. I eventually decided to join them as Susan wanted everyone to stick together and we arranged a lesson together, although once on the lesson as Simon had already taken lessons before he was moved to another group.
The lesson the 2 of us had was a complete laugh and we spent most of the time either on our backsides or laughing and joking with the instructor, although I have to admit I was right that skiing is so much easier and it would have been better to try that instead of boarding.
After the lesson we were both exhausted so we sat in the café for some food which was pretty much wasted as I was so tired by now I didn’t even have the energy to eat.
Time was getting on now so we thought we better make fools of ourselves again and try and put into practice the things we had learned or not as the case maybe. After 2 more runs down the beginners slope and yet more time on my backside and likewise for Susan we both then decided to call it a day.
At the end we both decided skiing would have been the better option although both of us had a really great time and it was a complete laugh.
So when you read this Susan thanks for joining us on a fantastic day and it was great to meet you. Safe travels for the rest of your trip and I look forward to seeing the 3 of you again sometime.

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Whakapapa Ski Resort

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Susan the slightly mad but delightful woman

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Whakapapa Ski Resort

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Me snowboarding in middle of photo

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Two snowboarding pro's

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Whakapapa Ski Resort

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The WHA is pronounced FU haha

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Still alive after a hard days snowboarding

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:21 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 141 Taupo, New Zealand

Thursday 27th October 2005

sunny 19 °C

Not sure on where to go today but then luckily Fiona had emailed me and suggested some places worth visiting. First was Cherry Island which although closed there was still a nice area where you could sit down by Waikato River and watch people bungy jump from the cliff above, and then over to Acacia Bay.
I had then planned on reading up on things to do in the South Island seeings it wouldn’t be long before we were then but then got talking to 3 Irish girls after opening their bottle of wine for them. So the rest of the night was spent drinking wine, talking and then persuading Susan one of the girls to join us tomorrow when we were either going skiing or snowboarding. Although after finally getting to bed at 1am and having a few glasses of wine I wasn’t sure whether I really wanted to get up early tomorrow and didn’t know whether Susan would realize if she had made a mistake in wanting to join us. Although she did seem very keen and even gave me her phone number to ring her if I couldn’t wake her up. Anyway it was still a very good night and a great laugh no matter what was happening tomorrow.

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Cherry Island & Waikato River

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:19 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

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