A Travellerspoint blog

Arriving in Australia

Back pack on rest for a while

Well most of you who have been reading our blogs and facebook will know that we are in Australia and have found ourselves a 3 bedroom house in Adelaide suburbia sorry no swimming pool but we do have a small yard big enough for BBQ parties though we can’t afford a BBQ just yet after spending all our money on a house bond and rent and furnishing it!! Oh and a car so Martin doesn’t have to wait for buses after night shifts!! And after an expensive 7 month world trip yes the credit cards have been hammered!! Thankfully Martin has a good job that pays well every 2 weeks. I’m a kept woman!!! No job for me yet it takes awhile. As I’m not qualified to make sandwiches or coffee or responsible enough to poor pints!!! Very fun eh? Yes it seems every job needs a certificate which costs money! I have applied for some nutrition related jobs so fingers crossed there but will see how things go. Also I’ve applied for a job on the trains on a casual basis. I’m meeting with lots of people about dietetic volunteer work too – not that I don’t like having time to myself I hate being in debt and can’t stand doing nothing about it!! Time and patience eh?

Oh I almost forgot I had started to compile a list of things that started to irritate us while we whre travelling especially in New Zealand (yes it did make me realise it was time to have a break from backpacking!!).

So here goes a list of backpacker irritants (sorry if I offend anyone...);
• Snoring
• Playing with coins/keys/plastic bags late at night or early in the morning in dorm rooms
• Not being prepared for bed or early checkout if sharing a dorm!!
• Wheelie cases in particular outside rooms on wooden floors early in the morning and at busy airports
• Kids with dim parents who can’t control them in backpackers shared accommodation
• Walking poles in any situation (walking sticks are ok if needed for mobility but not the sporty ski pole kind used for fashion)
• Door slamming in particular at night
• People who speak in corridors late at night or early in the morning forgetting that there are perfectly good common areas away from our bedroom door!!
I think that’s it well I’m sure there must be more. Perhaps I’m getting too old for backpacking???
Anyway the backpacking is over for a bit well until we fly back to the UK in August via Singapore for 3 nights and Hong Kong for 3 nights – though we are NOT staying backpackers this time!!!!!!

Oh we’ve joined couch surfing check out the site we are on it but no couch available yet. We hope to afford an airbed soon for visitors though I’m sure if we have friends or family over for a onger time we can manage to get a proper bed!!!

This will be our last blog for a bit probably til August when we start up again for a short time.

Gina and Martin xx

Posted by martgina 19:39 Comments (0)

South Island New Zealand

Filling in Martin's gaps

So here we are in Queenstown 'the activity centre' of New Zealand. I love it here though it does make me feel like i should be spending all our money on ways to kill myself! Well you will be glad to know that our one attempt to do this yesterday failed - well only just in my case! we spent a good deal of time deciding which 1 activity we could do in our very limited budget and plunged for river boarding, which for those who don't know what it is well it is boogie-board on a fast river down grade 3 rapids. When i looked at the video it looked tame but when I'm in the river flying down in a fast current kicking trying to stay off the rocks and the get stuck in 'the man eater' rapids I decided that it wasn't really my idea of fun! thankfully one of the guides pulled me out of the rapids which where churning me under for the 3rd time and I'm here to feel all the aches and pains of being pulled in all directions. And to top that off I paid good money to do that!!!! Had more fun today by walking up Queenstown hill and racing Martin on the Luge - he won of course (I'll use my aching muscles as an excuse). We leave Queenstown tomorrow after some cheap drinks tonight. We head for Mount Cook and more walking the Lake tekapo for watching the nights sky.

But lets see what else since my last blog??? yes Martin told you all about the Milford and Kepler track which yes where amazing even if tough. You will have to wait for the photos to really see what they where like. And I know martin loved kayaking on the Milford Sound for his birthday - Milford is just stunning. It is a small place and has more sandflies than people so it isn't a place to hang around for long. The bus journeys to and from there are worth doing by themselves - beautiful. Before doing all our walking and filling up on lovely dehydrated backcountry cuisine (yes sarcasum!!) we finished our farming up in the North Island which was a great experience even if hard work. We also said a sad goodbye (for now) to Bridget and Craig who spoiled us with a lovely beach weekend and lots of good food (and wine!). We flow down to Christchurch got the transalpine train across to Greymouth which yes you guessed it - was stunning (again!!). Greymouth was a cool place not much there but it felt like a real town and we went on a great brewery tour of the Monteiths beer - lovely. After that we got back on the bus to Franz Joseph and Fox Glacier did some great day walks around them. Unfortunately we couldn't afford to do the walks on them but thought we got to see what we wanted and had good weather. It is so weird to see glaciers after walking through rainforest, different to the ones in Canada. From Fox glacier we had the most stunning bus trip to Wanaka, we where a bit tired and really didn't do much in Wanaka apart from chill out pritty place though the hostel and all the activities are too expensive for words. What else - oh yes Te Anua - stayed in a great ensuite room and went to the glow worm caves which where magical like the starry nights sky in a cave.

2 Week left here not long at all - Australia on 13th march then work!!!!! HELP! Martin even has a start date! We will be in Adelaide so let us know if you are wanting a place to stay 'no problem'.

look forward to hearing from anyone hope the snow is slowing!
love
us xx

Posted by martgina 23:40 Comments (0)

These boots are made for walking....

and that's just what they did.

all seasons in one day 19 °C

Martin here...

IknowIknowIknow it's been ages since our last entry and we say that everytime - but we really are sooo busy!!! You wouldn't believe it... Anyway in a few weeks we'll be back to the relative stability and peace of a job, so i'm sure we'll get time to upload all our pictures and write lots in the blog - we really do want to share our travels with you. Missing our friends is the biggest downside of travel.

Today I want to talk about walking. Here in New Zealand it's called Tramping, Hiking in England, and in Israel they probably have a name for it they're not allowed to say. One of the oldest activities of humankind, we've been doing it ever since we came down those trees, and it essentially remained unchanged. Except wherever walking is particularly beautiful and scenic - in such areas we're made to pay a fee and expected to use ski poles and wear high-tech underwear. But I digress again...

We did some really pleasurable walks here, e.g. the Pinnacles on the Coromandel peninsula, but i want to tell you about the 2 biggies: The Kepler and the Milford.

On the Kepler, we thought we'll save some money by avoiding the huts and camping instead (and by not buying skipoles or high-tech underwear). Rucksack weight was nessecarily heavy because of this. Also, you can only camp in designated places that are spaced out widely on this track - we had to do a 4-day hike in 2 days, essentially. I have not experienced the resulting amount of physical pain for a long time, it was quiet excrutiating. It didn't help that all our gear got wet on the first night due to condensation (long story...) in the tent....

It's a tough walk but the rewards are fit for a King - some of the most amazing alpine scenery anywhere in the world. Even in my knackered state i was awestruck.

Handy hints: forget camping, stay at Luxmore and Iris Burn hut, split your mileage, and enjoy!

Compared with the Kepler, the Milford is a walk in the park, physically at least. Pack was much lighter (Camping is not allowed) and you MUST stay in all the huts, you can't skip one because it will be full with the previous day's crowd. Walking on it you won't notice how popular it is because it's very well managed and you can walk alone (if you want to) most of the way. We were relatively lucky weatherwise, which in Fjordland means we only got moderately moist as opposed to thorougly drenched.

The scenery is very varied, we'll post pics as soon as we can. A great way to celebrate my 40th (gulp!) birthday. The day after we arrived in Milford we went out Kayaking on the Milford sound, small group, 16 km, including kayaking underneath a waterfall and riding a huge wave thrown up in the wake of a big ferry. Gina was in the Kayak with me and didn't love it quiet as much as i did, but it was my birthday after all!! Also, my wife is a great hand on the paddle and the guide said we did very well, surfing the big wave like we did. Not that i'm having a midlife crisis or anything.....

We'll fill in the gaps later... signing off now. Hope you're all well, we miss you, and we'll write more soon.

Love from us both

Martin

Posted by martgina 14:55 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

NZ North Island

Happy Christmas and 2010!!! seeing as we haven't written since before then! The festive season made me a tad lazy so sorry if we have been out of touch! and I (Gina) have not answered any e mails lately!! We are now in Taupo in the middle of the North Island New Zealand. We did the Tonogariro Crossing yesterday (Mordor!) got picked up at 5.40am started walking at 7am and finished at 2.30pm 19km later up as high as 1900m we climbed 1000m up!! oh yes my legs are aching today and last night I was sound asleep by 9.30pm and didn't surface until 8.30am this morning. It was stunning though even with all the other coach loads that do the day hike (apparently NZ best one day hike). We will post some photos when we get the chance, but it went through volcano craters and glacier lakes stunning.

We are going back to Auckland tomorrow to stay just one night with Bridget and Craig (from Africa overland trip) before we go and try our hand at Eco farming check out http://www.otamatea.org.nz/ - we are staying with Paul.

We had a fantastic Christmas in the Bay of Islands staying at the Pickled Parrot near the beach we went swimming on Christmas morning followed by champagne brunch then all the backpackers cooked something and we ate far too much and drank plenty just like a normal Christmas day except in the sunshine!!! (sorry I know it is snowing badly in Europe!). We did a few things in the Bay of Islands though we where very lazy too! We did a great sailing trip in the bay and stopped at one of the islands - Martin had a go sailing too. We went and checked out the Wangarei Treaty house where NZ as we know it now was born! we saw a cultural dance Maori style - Martin got up to try out the haka (sorry to say the photos haven't come out too well!). After the show we did a nice little walk to the local falls via mangroves. From Paiha we got back on the bus to Kahoe farm http://www.kahoefarms.co.nz/ which was fantastic we highly recommend it there. We stayed for New Yrs (change of plans from ninety mile beach). The rooms where fantastic value and the hosts friendly and good fun. One of the owners is Italian and every yr on new yrs puts on a football tournament - he slits the guests and local friends into teams give them names ( we where Manchester City - didn't bode well now really!) and even shirts to wear! and from 9.30pm (with plenty of vino and beer ingested) the foot ball matches started! Martin and I made great defense believe it or not! Martin is a great goalie (learn something new every day!!) and I took on the side throws and back defense. After 5 games we hadn't let in a single goal! unfortunately our attack wasn't so good and only had one goal (lots on 0-0's). If we'd won our last game we would have made the final so we both tried to help out the attack and ended up conceding a goal and lost! true to Man city style I think (not that I follow football at all!). anyway the final was held at midnight (minus our team) - the first football match in the world of 2010! apart from fun and games we also did a fantastic days kayaking in the majestic Whangaroa Harbour. Climbed the dukes nose to get fantastic views of the harbour and bay. We walked to some rock pools on new yrs day to sooth our aching legs (from the football and arms from the kayaking!) check out the pic here www.kahoefarms.co.nz/kfrockpools.jpg (not us).

What else have we done in New Zealand since we last wrote!! We went to the Coromandel Peninsula which was also beautiful - we stayed at another good farm stay http://www.colvillefarmholidays.co.nz/ Colville farm and camped in their big field had fresh chicken eggs in the morning, walked up the surrounding hills (didn't find the glow worm caves though!!). We stayed one night in Coromandel town to hire a car to drive round the peninsular and check out hot water beach where we dug our own hot water spa right on the beach (cool stuff!).

We've been back to Auckland a few times and last week Martin's good friend popped over from his holiday in Australia to see us (Peter). We had a great time climbed Rangitoto Island (volcanic island in Auckland bay), chilled on mission beach bay and ate lots of Asian food - thanks to Bridget and Craig x

Well I think that's it!! off to do some work for a change now! Then the South Island calls!!!!
Hope everyone is keeping warm and well x

Posted by martgina 16:03 Comments (0)

Aitutaki to Auckland

Hi guys,
we made it to Aitutaki Atol it was a strange experience for me very relax plane trip where you get called to board 5mins before departure! the flight itself was amazing only 45mins and take off and landing we got to see the islands from the sky - a free sight seeing tour! It is just stunning. We arrived in Aitutaki to be met by our accommodation manager barefoot - no flower necklesses that's only for non backpacker accommodation! Our lovely bungalow over looked the sea on the sunset side it was nice self catering but basic stuff. A bit pricy for what it was but still nice. Food wise the shops of the island where basic too as it is mainly stuff they grow there otherwise imported at cost (it seems to be mainly corned beef!). So we got back to basics cooking wise and had fish curry with local herbs and roots and cocnut! the tuna was amazing and fresh. Unfortunately our first 5 days where overcast and rainy but it gave us an excuse to be totally lazy and I caught up with my post cards and reading!!! Martin practiced guitar (not that he needs to). Then the sun came out for our last 6 days! wow the lagoon colours are out of this world we did a snorkel trip and saw 15 or so angle rays we swam over them for about 10 mins. We also stopped on 2 untouched motos (islands) in the lagoon for lunch and strolling. It is so worth going to Aitutaki just for that. We also did more cycling round the island but it was way more humid then Rartonga. We kayaked on the lagoon and did lots of snorkelling from our bungalow. Oh yes we saw some more local dancing including fire dancing good but not quiet up to Thai standards.

Though Aitutaki was gorgeous we where ready to leave after 11 nights especially as the non local bungalow manager was a bit stressy with us about a phone call we had to make (my lovely old mobile company back home have been sending debt collector letters for a closed account!! silly sods!). We had one more night in rarotonga which was great we had the best sunset of our trip to not the best fish n chips. Rartonga is such a nice place we got lifts all the time no one likes to see you struggle with bags.

Had one long night where we waited until 3.40am for our flight to Auckland and arrived very tired to Auckland and had to do the whole bio security thing they even cleaned martins walking boots and the tent! thought they did do a great job i did say maybe we should take it back but Martin didn't think that such a great idea!!!

We've been here in Auckland for almost a week love the city my mate Matt has shown us around a bit and taken to some great restaurants. We've mostly been walking round the city and sorting out our Australia visa etc for working. Tomorrow we go to the Coromadel peninsula for beaches and trekking. Then up to the bay of islands for Christmas and Pukenui for New Yrs after that we hope to do some voluntary work on an eco farm - will keep intouch!!!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS and NEW YR everyone if i don't write again before xx

Posted by martgina 19:23 Comments (0)

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