New Zealand, I think I love you

By Nicole

New Zealand, I think I love you.

Day 1: Muriwai Beach and a bunch of Ganets…

I’d been avoiding you for a while because deep down we all knew I’d have a really hard time leaving….

I was hooked from the first bird that splatted into the windshield at a high rate of speed (immediately after pulling out of the driveway).

But don’t worry, I did make it on that ship bound for Antarctica!

So here is a little snippet of what I did in New Zealand. I only had the 1-15th of February, yeah I’m fully aware that’s not enough time but I worked with what I did have.

I also had next to no time to plan anything, so thankfully my friend Jeremy who lives in NZ took some time off work and planned the North Island for me.

So to give you an idea: I spent the 1st-12th seeing the North Island too to bottom from Cape Reinga to Wellington. On the 12th I flew from Wellington to Queenstown and proceeded to visit Wanaka, then take a portion of the Southern Scenic Route from Queenstown to Invercargill.

Things I failed to do…

Where am I? The Sahara??? No, Surprise! Did you know there are big sand dunes in NZ?

Seeing the Emerald Lakes of Tongariro: completely socked in with clouds that day (that was even putting it off a day due to weather), not too sure they actually exist. (Yes people, that’s sarcasm).

Summiting Mt Doom for sunrise: This falls along with the Emerald Lake fail… shit weather.

Summiting Mt Taranaki: while I thoroughly enjoyed the region of Taranaki… the mountain itself was shrouded in thick clouds the entire time I was there.

Scenic flight to Milford Sound: I had managed to convince a local company to take me on a scenic flight and cruise from Queenstown to Milford Sound in return for shilling out some blogging skills. Yet again, weather dismantled that plan by going to holy hell the morning I was lined up to go and the tour was canceled (totally 100% do not blame the company, I appreciate them not wanting to risk it).

Cathedral Cove, too busy: it was pretty to see in person, but we arrived a little too late in the day so the lighting wasn’t amazing which is fine but good god damn it was a zoo. Interesting place and I still enjoyed it, but I didn’t even bother to take a photo of it. It seriously was as packed as the Mecca pilgrimage, just with more selfie sticks.

Tramping up the Isthmus Track near Wanaka: This is a multi-part fail. I got up and the weather looked nice (yeah yeah I know it can change in a second here). So I began the drive out there. I was using the map on my phone and well according to west google said the trail should have started I turned up a little dirt track that zig zagged up a mountain. It eventually led to a house. So naturally I turned the car around and proceeded to leave since this was very clearly not the trail head. A woman who must hold a few records in track came barreling down the hill after me in an apron with spatula in hand to scream at me to never return here again, it’s private property and that I needed to leave immediately. Well what the fuck does it look like I’m doing? I’m guessing either a meth lab or they’re keeping people chained up in the basement. Either way, fucking weird. Also when I got back to the bottom I looked, there was no sign or anything indicating that it was private property. What’re you weirdos hiding up the side of the mountain? But as I reached the bottom it began to pour down buckets of rain so I didn’t even bother trying to find the track.

So all these fails make it sound like it was horrid weather during my 15 days in NZ… it actually wasn’t, there was quite a number of days with great weather. It’s just happened to not be great on days that were heavily weather reliant because of activities we planned.

The wins:

Cape Reinga: this is the far north of the North Island. Perfect sunny day and a very attractive place.

Bluff or bust! This was the sign in Cape Reinga.

Sunset over Piha: just look at the photo…

New Zealand, I think I like you…

Seeing New Zealand’s Big Things:
I didn’t know about this until I was told that I had to get my picture with big carrot, and then the big L&P bottle, the big loaf of bread, a giant dog made of corrugated metal… and it just escalates from here. Jeremy thought it was hilarious.

Yup that’s me with the big L&P Bottle.

Swimming in a tow tide pool on a tiny island:
You can see if from Paritutu Rock just outside New Plymouth but at low tide one the little Sugar Loaf Islands has a nice little pool that forms on it. So we swam the channel between it and the island nearest the coast and climbed up to it. (I don’t recommend this unless you’re pretty confident in your swimming skills).

The world’s cleanest outhouses: NZ deserves an award for how clean and non-gag-inducing-smelling it’s outhouses and public toilets are. I’m not even kidding!

Catching up with friends: I got to meet up with people that I’ve traveled in the past with finally!

Roy’s Peak Track: The view is worth it, I promise!

Getting weird in Wellington: it’s full interestingly unusual people.

So there’s just a little of what I did in New Zealand. I know for sure I’ll be back. Other things to note: I can confidently drive on the other side of the road now, I actually look the right direction when crossing, I survived pretty much being a vegan for 12 days (ok I had milk in my coffee in the am), and I learned that the ‘wh’ in Maori names is pronounced as the letter ‘f’.

I will eventually share with you more photos (my MacBook Pro that I have been fighting fiery desire to smash into a million pieces kept freezing up and then the battery died… so the few on this post is all you get till I get home)…. Im writing this up from my car bed… as in me lying inside a sleeping bag in the backseat my little rental car at windy Monkey Island campground… when I getting around to those photos I’ll also give some more insights on info that may be useful to you if you’re planning to head out to NZ!

*But seriously though Apple… my MacBook that I bought in 2014 is the absolute worst!

I have two more days on the expedition with Oceanwide before I arrive in Argentina after a whirlwind trip across the Ross Sea to Antarctica from NZ!

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