Place 49 – Day 379: Auckland – Biometrics & Back in The Hostel Life

Waking at 05:45, we all hopped in the car with Kim’s family’s bags and drove to the airport. There was no traffic, but we did need to stop for some fuel on the way.

We got to the airport and it was pretty busy! We walked all the way to the correct check in location and left Tom & Maggie there. It was pretty emotional for Kim!

We deove back and we were very tired. We had a late checkout from the hotel, so we didn’t have to leave until 12:00.

We slept when we got back until around 09:45. Curtis then had a coffee and we got packed and did a bit of admin.

We eventually checked out at 12:00 and moved all of our baggage to the car. We walked to a coffee shop in the centre of town, got a ham and cheese croissant each and a coffee for breakfast.

We left the coffee shop and Kim did a bit of shopping around the city centre. Once Kim had finished, we walked up to the Visa Application Centre for Curtis to get his biometrics for his visa completed. We turned up 15 minutes early but were seen anyway and had it completed just after the original planned time, which was a result.

Once we finished there, we went to get Curtis’ hair cut. We went to his usual place and were told it would be 20 minutes. We waited for 45 and were then told it’s another 30 minutes and the were 2 people ahead. We didn’t want to wait any longer so we left and went back to the hotel.

We picked up the car and drove to our next accommodation.

We are officially back in hostel life! At least for the moment. We got to the place and no-one was there to check us in. We called and they said we cannot check in until 16:00. We spoke with them and asked which room we are in and we were allowed in. We went to the room and it was disgusting with bugs everywhere and also a lot of mould, so we asked to move to another room we had seen which looks nicer.

Once we were in the new room, we waited to get our key at 16:00 and then had fun with them regarding payment…we went to the shop to get some drinks as we were very thirsty!

Once we got back, we moved all of our bags in and Curtis started to feel a bit unwell so we relaxed for a bit until he felt better.

We went out for a late dinner at a cheap Italian place which was OK but nothing special.

What was special was the sky after our dinner during our walk around!

We got back and did more admin as well as catch up on some TV.

It’s weird, and certainly not as nice, to be in a hostel again, even if it is a private room (shared bathroom)!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 49 – Day 377: Auckland – Complimentary Upgrade

We woke up at 07:00 to get the car packed up and head off on the road to Auckland.

We were in the car for a couple of hours and then stopped just past Hamilton where we met the family we met up with in Rotorua.

We checked out their place and had a drink and snack whilst chatting away. Lovely piece of land they have!

After a couple of hours, we got a move on and drove to Auckland, but not before a brief stop at a recommended ice cream shop where there were huge ice cream scoops!

We got back on the road for the remaining 45 minutes and headed to our hotel. Kim booked a nice hotel for us to lounge in for a couple of days before her parents leave the country. We got to the hotel and brought in everything from the car and we then checked in. When checking in, we were given a complimentary upgrade on each room, which was perfect!

We checked out the rooms and put our bags in and then jumped back in the car and went to Takapuna for some lunch. We stopped at Nam Nam first for a Banh Mi and then went to Tok Tok for a Vietnamese coffee.

Post lunch, we drove to our former apartment and got all of our bags and put them in our car.

We drove to the hotel again to drop our car off and then Kim and Tom took the rental car back as required.

We got back to the hotel and got some items packed and then all sat together and watched the film Unbreakable.

We left after watching the film to find some dinner.

We wanted a Japanese noodle box but our usual place was closed, so we kept walking. Kim noticed a hidden place that has delicous sounding Japanese food.

Once we found the entrance, it was beauitful and looked like Japan!

We ordered a smorgasbord of food, each of us getting chicken katsu curry but we got tempura prawns and chicken karage for the table. It was excellent Japanese food and very authentic.

We left here and walked back to our hotel, with a beautiful view of the city.

We got back to the hotel and headed right to bed.

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 60 & 67 – Day 6 & 1: Rotorua & Taupo 🇳🇿 – 15000ft Skydive!

We were up early to get a bit of breakfast in us before driving to Taupo. The drive from here in Rotorua to Taupo is around 1 hour, so we left with plenty of time.

We needed to be at the location for 12:00, but we got there around 11:30.

We were doing a skydive at Skydive Taupo! We decided on the 15000ft skydive and Kim booked the handheld camera for herself.

We arrived and were greeted with a very happy set of employees which made everyone calm. That being said, neither of us were really nervous.

It was us two and Tom doing the skydive today!

We all sat and went through the information and safety videos and then went and got all suited up. We had a jumpsuit and harness on, an old school pilot hat and some thin plastic goggles.

We waited for around 5/10 minutes and then it was our turn! We met our tandem masters who introduced themselves. Kim had a kiwi guy and Tom & Curtis had Germans.

We all crammed into the plane and off we went.

The climb took about 20 minutes and during that time, we had to use oxygen masks as we got too high to breath!

Eventually, it was time.

Kim was the first of the three of us to go, followed by Tom and then Curtis as he was stuck at the back of the plane.

What an amazing experience! The first fall is a shock and takes your breath away, but it was an incredible view and a surreal feeling.

We had 75 seconds of freefall followed by 4 to 5 minutes of crusing with the parachute, and we got to control the parachute too!

Once we landed, we were all super happy and super glad we did it.

We went out for a spot of lunch after. We went to a place called Dixies at which Curtis had a Cuban Sandwich and Kim had potato wedges with multiple toppings including sour cream and chilli sauce.

We then drove the 1 hour trip backto the house and just completely chilled out. Tom went for a bike ride so we waited for him to come back and then we had a similar dinner as yesterday.

Tomorrow is a chilled day, we think!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 60 – Day 5: Rotorua – Mountain Lunch, Impromptu Luge-Ing & Blue Lake

We had to be up at a pretty good time so we could get to the gondola for 12:30.

We met some friends of Kim’s parents there as they had booked a lunch in the restaurant at the top of the mountain.

Once we all arrived, we went on the cable car to the top and entered the restaurant. The food was a big buffet, with multiple areas including salads, curries, roast meat and vegetables and dessert.

We sat and chatted for a long while whilst ensuring we ate as much as we could!

Once we left the restaurant we eventually decided we wanted to do a quick luge run, so we did so. It was great fun and us two had a great battle in which Curtis came out on top .

We left there and drove to blue lake. Unsurprisingly by the name, this is a lake of which is blue. We walked in the water a little and then sat and chatted for a while in the very warm heat!

We said goodbye and drove back home. We were so warm, but we went to the supermarket just to get suncream as we were running out.

We chilled for the evening and had bacon, eggs, beans and toast for dinner.

Pretty early start tomorrow, with a very fun and scary day!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 60 – Day 4: Rotorua – Free Banh Mi!

We had a very lazy start to the day and we didn’t go out until around 13:00.

We just went for a walk in the centre of Rotorua whilst Tom cycled. The centre is quite smelly, due to the sulphur around the area, but we walked up and down the streets anyway, just looking around and taking in the sites.

We stopped at a Vietnamese cafe where us two and Maggie got a Vietnamese coffee and we both got a Banh Mi each too. When it was brought out, we had an extra Banh Mi, so Maggie got one free!

We left here, went to the shop and walked back to the car and chilled out when we got back home.

Tom got back from his mountain biking and we had some dinner. We just had salad, as we did yesterday.

We did absolutely nothing for the rest of the evening and itwas brilliant. We have plans, at least for the next couple of days, one of which is crazy!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 60 – Day 3: Rotorua – Hot Tub Chillin’

Our hosts provided us with breakfast, which was very kind of them! Tom was even treated to some fish caught the day before.

We finished our breakfast and coffee, got ready, said goodbye and thank you and then got on the road.

We were driving to Rotorua, but stopped at Taupo on the way for a coffee. The McDonald’s in Taupo had a airplane as a kids play area which is awesome!

We left Taupo with our coffee and drove to Rotorua.

After arriving, we explored our large house, which can fit at least 10 people! We then went out to the shop to get food for dinner.

We relaxed for a while when we got back and then Kim made a steak salad which was delicious and beautiful!

After dinner, we jumped in the hot tub briefly, with a glass of bubbly!

We didn’t last long in the hot tub as it wasn’t that fun, so we got out and chilled.

Kim and Tom went to the supermarket to get some ice cream for dessert and then we hunkered down for the rest of the evening to relax.

We’re in Rotorua for a few days, so have some fun things planned!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 66 – Day 1: Napier 🇳🇿 – Lack Of Sleep & Cold Sea

We got onto the boat and got right into bed in our cabin, planning to get to sleep as quick as possible.

Some of us slept well but Curtis only got about 30 minutes!

We were woken at 05:30 and had to grt up and ready to leave the ferry.

We got into the car and down the ramp into Wellington fairly quickly. Curtis wanted to take everyone to a cafe he went to in Wellington whilst there for work as they had humongous coffees and excellent food.

We arrived at the cafe and it looked a bit different, so it was already odd! We got XXL coffees, which are rightfully huge, and then looked at the menu, which was again different.

The XXL coffee (with a pepper shaker for size comparison)

We got some fairly adequate food from here and ate it, but it was no where near as good as Curtis remembered and had clearly been taken over by new owners.

We left here and got on the road towards Napier, where we are spending one night.

Once we eventually got to the AirBnB, noone was home and we couldn’t get hold of them, so we had to go out.

We went down to the beach where Kim had a swim in the very cold see and we took in the incredibly hot 35° sun.

We went back to the house and our host was in, so we met him and got aquainted with the house.

Curtis fell asleep for an hour or so, and so did Tom.

Kim and Tom went to the shop to get a little bit of food for dinner and then we sat out on the balcony looking at the tremendous views.

We plan to sleep early as noone really slept too much last night.

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 54 – Day 12: Christchurch – Banks Peninsula, Akaroa & Christchurch Centre

We only left the apartment around 12:00 as we caught up on sleep from being awake late last night.

By the time we left, the weather had improved and we got into the car with some scorching sun!

We drove to Banks Peninsula which is around 1.5 hours away from Christchurch, up in the mountains. Google Maps took us to the top of a mountain, but we got exquisite views from there!

We drove from here down to Akaroa. Akaroa is a small french inspired town due to its 10th century French colonisation. Most of the shops and roads have French names and it felt just like being in France!

We needed some food, so found a cafe and got a coffee and cake. The coffee was pretty disappointing, but it was what we needed.

We left here and went to a shop where we got some ham and cheese and then went to a French bakery and got a baguette.

We sat on a park bench overlooking the harbour eating baguette with ham and cheese.

We walked around for a brief moment and then strolled back to the car.

We drove all the way back to Christchurch and got back to the apartment, briefly, and then got back outside and walked the 20 minutes to the city centre.

In the centre, we walked down a nice street which had a few shops on it, called New Regent Street.

We had the tram go past us, also. It was a nice old style tram!

Walking on from here, we went to the Botanic Gardens and saw a lot of big and unique trees.

We left the botanic garden and on the way back home, we came to one of the most affected areas from the 2011 earthquake.

There are few buildings here now, but there still stands the Christ Church Cathedral, which is one of New Zealand’s top historic buildings. Unfortunely, the earthquake tore large holes into this cathedral and so it is cordened off, though it is part of a restoration project, which is estimated to take 7-10 years.

We got back home via the supermarket and fish and chips shop (to get more chips) and we had some leftover chinese for dinner.

We sat and watched some TV before hitting the hay, with a long drive planned for tomorrow.

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 63 & 64 – Day 3 & 1: Queenstown & Oamaru 🇳🇿 – 300m Swing, 134m Bungy, Seals & Blue Penguins!

We were up early(ish) today and ready to go out.

We had to drive to Kawarau Bungy Centre, but firstly we had some time to kill, so we went into the centre of Arrowtown for some walking around.

Whilst there, there was a small Sunday market going on, which we had to go and see! There was a Swedish food stand, so we got a cinnamon bun each.

We walked around a bit more and Tom got a pie, then we had to get back to the car and drive to where we needed to be.

We arrived and got checked in. This meant we had to get weighed, get our weight written on our hand and on the other hand we got a number written as well as an indication of what we were doing.

We eventually got onto a bus to take us up to Nevis Canyon. The ride was bumpy and down some tiny, tiny mountain roads, until we eventually reached the top.

Unfortunately, it was on a ‘wind break’ when we arrived, but we could still look around and see how incredibly high up we were!

This is where the swing went from

This is where the bungy went from

Eventually, after about 3 hours of waiting for the wind to die down and for them to get all other people completed, we got harnessed up and sent right out to the swing.

It became windy when we got there, so it was briefly delayed again, but a few people went and then it was our turn! We went together and then Kim went again but with her mum.

The swing is a very thin swing which you are clipped into and you then do a very sharp drop 70m downward and then swing 300m, before swinging back a little and then you get pulled back up.

Kim loved this and Curtis didn’t mind the actual swing but the drop was not too fun!

Kim went again with her mum and still loved it then! Maggie had a great time.

After our swings, we walked back up but Kim wasn’t done there. Right after, she had to go right to the bungy area where she was doing a 134m Bungy, which is the largest in New Zealand!

Kim had a briefing and then was taken across onto a suspended platform in a small cage with a few others, ready to jump.

Kim was all fine until right before her jump, where she struggled to wave and smile at the cameras whilst standing on the edge. Kim did a terrific swan dive off the ledge and bounced a few times!

We got the bus back to where our car was and then drove on up to Oamaru, with a stop on the way for some food.

Once we got to Oamaru, around 21:00, Kim read that there should be penguins near the harbour, so we went down to try and find some.

After an hour or so of waiting for penguins, we didn’t see any and were asked to move on from where we were standing. We were able to see some seals, though!

When walking back to the car, someone pointed out two penguins who were really close! We were unable to get photos as the lighting was awful, but they were tiny and cute!

We eventually got back and were all tired. We showered and then headed to bed. We are driving straight to Christchurch tomorrow.

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 63 – Day 2: Queenstown – River Bodyboarding

Curtis and Maggie both woke up with colds this morning!

We all had croissants for breakfast and then Tom & Kim went out to do some river bodyboarding.

The river bodyboarding was a 4+ hour trip in which they had to drive down to Queenstown, get picked up by a bus and get driven out to a river. Kim and Tom ended up being with an American family, but their guides were very good!

They eventually got to the river and were told that they couldn’t use the GoPro, which was a shame, so we got no footage of the event.

The first go was a bit more difficult as they had to get used to it, but on the second run it was much easier and it was all a lot of fun!

Once completed, there was a small snack area with musli bars and juice and then they had to get back on the bus. The bus took a very long time to get back to Queenstown and once back there, they went to the supermarket and then back home.

Whilst Kim and Tom were out, Curtis and Maggie chilled. Curtis got a lot of visa related things done and watched hockey.

When everyone was home, we had salad again for dinner and watched a bit of TV. All of a sudden, it was 22:00 so we all headed off to bed. Tonight is our last night in Queenstown but we have some fun planned tomorrow!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale