A Travellerspoint blog

NZ!

sunny 19 °C

Hey guys!
givin out a little shout from a place they call "The Mount" where Anna is working at the backpackers we've been staying at.
Actually quite a lovely place... lots of really pretty dutch and Danish girls... some Canadians (3 of us at least from Edmonton here!)
Things went really well qafter the last post I wrote from Taupo. we got picked up by a nice Maouri woman (the local native's here are called Mauoris) who took us around to see the geothermal powerplants here... I got a photo of part of it... but missed the huge valley of steaming pipes and turbines... amazing stuff.... and she told us of a series of earthquakes in the area about two weeks ago - Dad, perhaps you could look up "Rotorua" on USGS? it's on the north island. there are guisers in the middle of towns and things and hot pools everywhere... and then got picked up by the most wonderful lady right before dark... a really beautiful Irish woman with many stories to tell... wonderul energies there and she wants to visit Canada. I told her that I wuld put her and Leah into contact. I just know they would love eachothers company! anyhow... she drove us to Rotorua, where we camped out on the side of the highway where we could hear the mudpools bubbling and "blopping" all around us... had to get up nice and early because it was on privately owned land and there were construction crews moving in... so we got an early start. the whole place there smelled really stronglty of sulfer, it's nickname was "Rotopooa".. .wonder why? I actually like the smell there....
Next day all of our rides were Mauori people... first guy had a full mask of Mauori art tatooed on his face. cool guy. Next guy had a gun in the vehical... which he made us aware of from the start. He was a hunter and was very knowlegable of the area. I even got to ask him about the wallabies that we saw the night before... they are introduced... thought I was in tasmania when I saw them...
next ride was a huuuuge french-german-mauori guy... think he had a drug problem, which we later figured out... but he picked us up twice... took us around town to sell crystals and read our auras.... apparently I've got alot of green... alot of live! hahah
ok. weird time to leave off, but my time is up.
got to go. hitching to north of aukland! Vipassana time!

love you guys!

Posted by fenderson 16:11 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Back on the road with my thumb out

random sporatisism is my norm...

rain 17 °C

OK. my travel plans have taken an interesting twist.
I originally planed on spending most of my time on the south island of New Zealnd then doing a bit of the north. Nick and I decided one night at 2am to head to the norht island for a bit. We're headed to the vipassana center in just under a week. see some of the sights along the way. so we jumped a bus 4 hours later to Picton (5 hours), the ferry port on the S. island. took the boat ($45nz/3 hours) to Wellington. Spent a night in the backpackers there after our attemps to camp on private property were spoiled. good times with the germans in the hostel. set off in the morning. spent $9nz on an hour long train ride and a short bus out of the city to a nice hitching point, on the Kapi coast, near Kapi island. (This was Nick's first hithiking experiance, BTW) - Waited no longer than 10 minutes and got picked up. In the car was our german friend from the hostel, who had been waiting just down the road from us. The driver (dutch/cuban) had plenty of room and felt very good about filling his car full of travellers and gear. We drove for about 5 hours, to Turangi.. stoppping at a few sights along the way and pitching a few bucks on petrol (a mere fraction of the would-have-been $75nz bus ticket each)
While in the car I was communicating with Henning and Maki via text (I get free text messaging on my mobile phone on weekends here in Nz) and made arrangements to meet up with them in Turangi. met up, got some beer and headed out to the nearest country spot, set up near a river on a narrow path. Henning, his brother, Cort, and Maki and then Nick and I... we built a fire, drank our beers.. told stories and jokes, and then it started pouring rain and we had to move into the one big tent. continued to tell stories and more jokes, and then jokes that made us all sick... and eventually, at some point slept... not before wandering in the rain in the forest watching the many, many glowworms dotting the forest like stars in the sky.
good times... Went to the local thermal pools, just down the road after breakfast... stayed in until we were all woozy and then wandered about the hot sprigs and mudpools in the nature conserve. Henning, Maki and Cort had to continute on so we parted ways and
Nick and I checked into the backpackers in Turangi... as our gear was throurally soaked and the weather was not improving. Was a really nice backpackers... had a nice big climbing wall which we climbed on until we couldn't climb any more yesterday after the hot springs. we even got into free climbing... which was reall fun. Nick took a fall... about 5 metres before his rope pulled taught. just about shit himself... was weak as a kitten afterward from the surge of adrenaline. was bloody great. I can't wait until my rock climbing muscle groups are strong enough to do what I want to make them do! I'm definetly a lifer.
Hostel was really nice. Courtyard in the middle and rooms all open into the courtyard. Cheap, ($21 for 4bed dorm), immaculately clean and all the anemnities. Spent the evenning last night, being properly exahusted, playing chess and cards and talking with an ameriacan fellow, Matthew. really great day, all in all.. and I got a chance to dry my tent!
Hit the road again today... after a lazy late checkout. Walked about 1.5km out of town. got picked up by a civil engineer... he drove us to Taupo, where we presently sit at an internet cafe. Thinking of heading up north to Rotorua or bay of Plenty... lots of volcanoes, thermal pools and things.. and Anna, (my old roomate from Canada) is up in the bay of plenty. We don't really plan very far ahead.. so we'll just see where we end up!
ok... I'm spending too much time on here. got to go. will write again soon! life is great right now!
hey - was it easter this weekend just past? just occered to me... maybe it's next weekend?

Posted by fenderson 20:05 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (4)

It's autumn here!

Falling leaves, climing me

sunny 13 °C

Christchurch is probably the most beautiful city I have visited yet on this trip. The beauty is unparelled. I spent the day in the Botanical gardens with Nick today... clibing trees, and taking photos. Helped Nick buy a camera the other day - he's loving it. When you see some of the photos we've taken in the last couple of days, you'll shit. I swear. I've never seen anyhting like what I've seen today. The gardens had a really nice miniture bonsai section, fern and tropical greenhouse garderns, orchid terrarium with venus fly traps, pitcher plants and a whole variety of orchids (oh my god that was beautiful) Really beautiful duck ponds, giant gum and redwood trees... just all around wonderful place. I'd live here just to have gardens like that close to my home. Nick and I went to the rose gardens... spent over an hour meditating and literally "smelling the roses". I've never experianced anything quite like that... each type of rose smelled distinctly different.. we tried to find names for what each one reminded us of... we were running about, splitting up, shouting across the garden "come check out this one man -it smells like lemon-thai!" or hairgel, or old lady's perfume or sandalwood... or whatever it was... and we were giving out reccomendation of our favorites to the other garden patrons... we got alot of smiles today.. from random people. was really fun. Afterward we got some $5 thai food and helped Nick buy a tent...
Now yesterday was a bloody cool day.
I hooked up my celphone yesterday (BTW, my new phone number is +64 02102375175) got some sushi and hit up the local art gallery. I think my favorite artist would have to be Kees Bruin. If I could paint... I'd paint like that. He's a local and that link only brings you to a couple of his works. I have never seen that kind of realism in oils before... they looked like photos.. and we're a very intriging mix of fantasy and reality. stunning....
after the gallery wnr out and scope out some shops for a few things, grabbed a bite and hit the climing wall at the YMCA where Iam staying. 13 meter wall, $19NZ to rent a harness and shoes and climb all evening. I climbed until my hands could no longer hold onto anything. (they are starting to respond a little better today, I couldn't even open a beercan or dial a phone yesterday) I bloody loved every bit of it. Cimbed some crazy routes and pushed myself way past what I thought I was capable of. Where was I all of this time? I'm a lifer for now on. ordered a pizza with the guys at the center and climbed until it arrived. was a very welcome pizza by the time it got there.
Went back to Nicks hostel - watched "Almost Famous" I actually really like that movie and haven't seen it in a long time... and it sparked a really meaningful conversation about life beteen Nick and I afterward... not as spiritul as the one the evening before, but it very quickly turned that way when we met a lady named Joy. 66 years old, came out for some fresh air... overheard our talks and joined in with a very strong presence. She was a healer. very, very kind woman whom we talked to for the next 2 hours at least. Her an I resonated very strongly. We exchanged energies, she gifted me with healing energies.. Nick was following very cloesly on, loving every minute of it... I've got Joy's contacts in Cairns, Australia and we had a great hug before we parted ways. lovely lady... Nick has been so inspired by all that has happened to us in the last couple of days he has signed up for a vipassana retreat here in about a week... and we're goin hitchhiking for a bit, so it looks like. Very interesting to both of us how receptive he is to all of this. gets him very excited... people have been coming up to us and giving us hugs and all of the lot. things are getting interesting.. must be doing somehting right.
well besides all of that, planning my escape from the city for tomarrow or at the latest, the next day. not even sure where I am going yet... maybe Dunedin area? that direction, I think...
It gets pretty cool here at night. It's 13c outside right now and it's only 8:30pm... I'd say 18-20 degrees during the day, 10-12 degrees during the night is about accurate for where I am right now.
Money is going to be a bit of an issue here pretty quick unless I really restrain myself... either that or spend my super-special-savings I was keeping for a eurotrip... or just max out my credi card.... we'll see how it works out.
I'll write again soon and try to find a way to get some photos online... it's a matter of finding a comouter that has photo software and decent enough prices so that it doesn't cost me an arm and a leg... but belive me, I've got some gorgeous shots.. swamp cypress, gold leaved in a duck pond at sunset and the like. never seen this variety of beauty before... and again, you have to witness it for itself...photos are just shadows. albeit, pretty shadows.
ok. love you guys and I'll keep you all posted.
this trip is back on the go.

Posted by fenderson 00:49 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Kiwi land!

Different than I expected! Much like Canada but with an interesting twist!

semi-overcast 17 °C

(I wrote this first part yesterday, when I arrived)
I'm in christchurch!
got here at about 2 in the afternoon. I don't think they do the daylight savings time thing here... or maybe it's a different date.. I don't know.. so I'm still 18 hours ahead of Alberta time.. even though I crossed 3 timezones and DST set us two hours closer before I left Sydney.
I allllmost missed my flight to Nz. I must have turned off my alarm (had only slept 2.5 hours beforehand) woke up and it was 6:30. half hour past when I wanted to be up by... my wakup call (chrysi) had slept in too... I was only woken up by my roomie who thought I had already left because I had everyhing of mine in my room, set out ready to go.. so he was checkjing to see if I left. I snapped awake and was out of the door in less than 3 minutes. missed my bus, the next bus (20min later) had a mechanical problem and could go anyhwere, the next bus hit a car pulling out and got held up (another 20 minutes) I got to the airpot 1h20m before my flight departed. big check-in line (I was second last at final call for check-in) and then a huuuge line at customs. I got to the termianl and waited 5 minutes because the flight was a little late. Ironically enough, I was 3rd or 4th person to walk onto the plane... anyhow.. that worked out...
It's Bloody beautiful here... the leaves are changing colours, it's actually fairly warm (22c today) and the people are really friendly... people giving me directions.. already been invited out to dinner by an elderly lady I met outside of the airport and roadf on the bus with.. aschool teacher. has seen the world. was rich and lost her wealth when she married a young fijian boy after her husband left and he took her money and so forth. I found a wicked hostel in an old style building for cheap. Met a british guy and we've been hanging out, he's on the computer next to me.. Interesting experiances in transport too... got sniffed out by the canine unit (the dog was looking for veggies, not drugs), got a random passport check (had to wait in some little rooma and such) and had my tent cleaned by the ag-quarintine... you know...
but yeah. so far I love it. beautiful city, friendly people, good vibes. I'm gonna like it here! my hostel is right in between the art gallery, the art museum, a climbing wall and the botanical gardens. I think I'm set for a couple of days... and the hostel room has it's own balcony. and it's almost half the price of a Sydney hostel.
(ok - it's day two now, at night)
Went out last night with the boys... just hung out in the park.. with the british guy and a couple of germans. had some beers and talked it up. good times. Got woken up this moring by the guy from the hostel saying that I had to get up. I was like "I'm checking in again" he tells me that my bed is taken already and they're full... eugh. so I got up and checked into the YMCA, 1 block away. nice facility. really good showers, nice bunks, lockups and clean rooms. they've got a gym and a climbing wqall that are reasonably priced. Think I'm going to do the climbing wall tomarrow with Nick.
Spent the day today shopping for climbing gear. found a nice harness for less than $100, marked down from $160. Think I'm going to pick it up... even though I can tell I'm going to blow a few times that getting myself set to clim and abseil... but I really want to get into it here. met some good peope today.. climbers that gavbe me lots of reccomendations. got some gear books, business cards and reccomendations.
Wandered about a little bit of the botanical gardens today. beautiful here... all of the fall colours are coming out here really nice. some of the trees starting to drop their leaves and such. Looks very similar to mirror lake in camrose.. but a nicer city surrounding it and replace the lake with a nice shallow river swiming with ducks and some kind of weird birds that make me laugh when I see them. was a little cooler today, and a fair bit cooler tonight. got some nice fish and chips today... read about a lateral thinker, Edward de Bono and his 6 thinking hats (that one is actually a note for me...copied off my arm.. the felt tip marker I wrote it in is fading fast)
But yeah.. this place is much more similar to canada than it is to Australia.. so far as what I have seen... the tree life and most of the birds are more simalr to back home... the people are much different but are really nice. The pay phones here are really weird. the don't take money. they take smart cards and cost 70 cents per call. so I need two calling cards to dial home... and the dial tone is really weird... really high pitched actually makes my head hurt a little... very bizzare. Still don't have my celphone hooked up. have to find that shop that deals in sims. would be a good thing to have with me... but I'm not paying an arm and a leg for it because it's not 1000% neccesary at this point. would just be nice.
I like the archetecture in Christchurch. I am definetly looking forward to getting around this country... lots to see... lots of crazy extream sports here. the kiwis are crazy about it. lots of wool products.. sheep rugs, merino everyhting.... kiw-fruit chocolate (I'm sick off the half a bar that has left the package and made it's way into my mouth as I've been typing)
what else to say about my initial impressions? I like it. there is a distictly different energy about this place. it's definetly got a certain zing that australia didn't have... the people are aware but relaxed... and I can sense a certain technologial presence.. might just be the blue neon and high power LED lights and environmental awareness or somehting.. but I think these Kiwis are on to somehting.. I'll have to report my future findings.
shite.. that's abit of an entry. I'll leave you with that for now.. and I'll write again as things unravel (or reravel) here!
oh - and perfect timing. they close in 10 minutes... suppose it's just about time.. 2am!
ok. write again soon!

Posted by fenderson 01:20 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Jumping the "ditch" in the morning

Breaking the gravitational pull of Sydney is a hard thing to do!

sunny 21 °C

ok guys. To whomever figured I was going to be stuck in Sydney forever: I'm leaving in the morning! in 6 hours or so, as a matter of fact.
Flying into Christchurch.
Been really enjoying myself here, much more than anticipated... kind of sad to go... but the journey must go on!
Life here has consisted of spending as much time with Chrysi as possible... She had her birthday party a couple of weeks ago.. we rented big hotel suite. 9 people crashed on almost every sleepable surface in the place... worked out really well. Good times with Chrysia and Laura. eating pizza in the rain and other such fun. Life has been very real lately. Have thourally enjoyed my time here.. and Chrysi.. I'm really gonna miss her... She is travelling to Greece for about a year, leaves on the 11th of April.
Been hanging out with Brandon and his housemates every day or every other day. Good times with Brandon. We're experts at doing nothing in particular. Quite fun, really. (We're planning on meeting up in Thailand!)
What else to say? been growing all the time... experiancing heaps of new things... eating really good food (really good kabab tonight!)
and I'm bloody exausted. I've got to finalize all of my packing here and touch my head to the pillow before I have to be up and going again!
Love you guys heaps... hope everyhitng is well.. and you'll be hearing from me plenty more with much more exciting news and photos and things..
oh and I've got a bunch of Sydney photos to post of here yet... soon!

Posted by fenderson 08:44 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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