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New Zealand - North Island

Not Finished Yet

Apparently there are mountains in the Fiordland area too - except the weather was so appalling whilst we were there, that we really didn't see anything other than rain - and truly spectacular waterfalls! (There's always a good side to everything - without the rain, no waterfalls!)

The best mountain I've seen in NZ is Mount Taranaki (in the North Island). This is an extinct volcano, and it just pops up from a completely flat plain. We did a two day walk around the base of this mountain and it was fantastic - we had beautiful weather and great views for the whole walk. We also met some very stupid people who were staying in the same hut as us. In the evening, there were three of them trying to do a crossword. One clue was "liable to cause offence"... "ANGER" shouted out one of the cretins - urm, no!


We've had quite a few boat experiences - what with New Zealand being a series of islands, this probably doesn't come as too much of a surprise!

The dullest was the ferry from the South Island to the North Island, where we witnessed first hand some of the better (?) parenting skills in NZ (It was a bit like sitting in the sweetie isle at tescos "Darron - I'll bash your bloody brains aut" and so oon!) The most exciting trip was the speed boat ride across to Ulva Island - a bird sanctuary.

The trip which made me most sick was the ferry from Stewart Island to the mainland (where the crew were placing bets on who would chuck first) and the most anticipated trip was the 'cruise' on Milford Sound on Christmas day... where we saw bugger all because it rained torrentially all day!


While we've been in New Zealand, we have managed to miss every visiting superstar, generally by a matter of hours.

As we drove towards the Fiordlands, we heard on the radio that the Japanese royal couple (Prince?) had just left Te Anau.

We were just losing the signal of the Dunedin local radio station when somebody excitedly phoned in to report a sighting of Gwyneth Padrow in the main shopping street

Finally, we could not be arsed leaving our motel room in New Plymouth, when we saw on the local news that Tom Cruise was in town. He is here to film "The Last Samuri" on the slopes of Mt Taranaki, because it looks a bit like Mt Fuji. (We could have joined the crowd hanging around outside his mansion - this was quite an esteemed crowd including the local weatherman!)

Lord of the Rings

Yes, we went to see the film, soon after it came out. No we didn't recognise anywhere we'd been - although every time we've walked through a dark wood here in NZ, we've said "this is very Entish - just like Fangorn". Sad really

We also went to see a Lord of the Rings exhibition at "Te Papa" (Literally "The Place" - actually the National Museum), where we got to see lots of different bits of armour and wigs. New Zealand is very proud of its latest export.

Exciting Stuff

We did a bit of caving while we were in Greymouth. Our logic was that it was raining, as it always does on the West Coast, so it would make sense for us to go jumping off waterfalls underground. The best part of this 'experience' (apart from the glass of wine and hot spa afterwards!) was seeing all the glow worms! Mike was convinced that they were trying to communicate to us through patterns of light - I think he had too much wine!