Saturday, April 25, 2009

Easter Break Travels - Auckland

Day 1
well day 1 i suppose was spent traveling from melbourne to auckland, which is detailed in the following post. so here comes day 2 instead:
Day 2
one of the first things we did once we got there was to go the the nearest internet cafe, korean owned of course. seriously, the homepage was korean, all the writing was in korean. google results were in korean! omg... XD we stayed there for a good long time trying to plan out what the heck we wanted to do in auckland. it got really stressful cause it was activity overload. there was so much you could do and we only had a limited amount of time to do it. well, we gave up after a bit and decided to go to the tourist centre to ask for help later. we walked down queen st to downtown and ate lunch. oh we noticed that in new zealand, burgers kings are no longer hungry jack's like it is in australia. they're named burger king again. anyway, we went to that tourist centre where they helped us out immensly. they did everything for us. omg such a relief to have someone else do it for you. like travel agent, but free! yay! we knew that today was the only day that week that was sunny so we decided to do kayaking last minute right then. they got us booked a kayak trip on waiheke island and thats where we headed next. we bought lunch and ate it on the ferry ride to waiheke island, a good 50 min ride out. the kayak rental place was convienently located next to the ferry terminal and we got taught how to kayak. >.<; it was a gorgeous day to seakayak in open water! refreshing and sunny, with green waters under us. a breeze sometimes and if we went out far enough, there would be waves toying our little kayak around. ok, that part was scary. we stayed mostly to the coast haha. oh while trying to land the first time, sean dropped his camera into the saltwater. died. we did have trouble getting back into the kayak after we landed on a black sandy beach. it was really scary!! we kept getting washed back ashore, the waves were hard and the litle inlet we got ourselves in was dotted with rocks in and sticking out of the water. we paddled hard, wanting to get the hell out of there. our pants got wet heh. we werent expecting to go kayaking and i only had my jeans. (no other clothes wahh..!! my clothes were lost in the bag i forget to get from the bus!) and that is why you wear waterproof shorts wen u go kayaking. we paddled around the island a bit, it didnt seem like 2 hours had past, but it goes by quickly and your muscles tell you to stop. our arms were crusty with white sand but it was actually the saltwater that dried. we dragged ourselves out and ate at the ferry foodcourt, wet pants and all. lol and ferried back to mainland, showered and changed immediately once we got back to the hostel. it was getting dark too. we went back to the korean internet cafe and booked a tour online, staying there at the cafe until 1am XD

Day 3
we got up at 7;30a and ate breakfast, bread and nutella we got from a convienence store nearby. yum. we walked to the coach terminal 15 min away to go to matamata! thats where the LOTR's set of the shire was filmed! it took 3.5 hours to get there....yea...long way out... we went on the hobbiton tourand drove from town into a farm to see the shire! it was really cool to see all the hobbit houses. well not all. while driving there, the lady told us the history of the farm, and how peter jackson found the place and molded it, and how much effort he put into the place and everything. yes, i am being vague. but it was really cool. paramount studios has very strict guidelines on what we, tourists and everyone else can and cannot do on the premises. the set was suppsed to be temporary and after filming, it was supposed to be all torn down but because of some reason or another, it was saved. only 17 of the 30 or so hobbit houses are still there today. most everything else is gone, like the bridge and the mill and the tree above bags end. but the party tree is there- that is part of the farm and hey, bag's end is still there, theres even a small room built in where we went inside. it has suprisingly high ceilings for such a dinkly front door. there were colored stakes everywhere where certain events happened in the movie, like where gandolf came down the road with his wagon, where mat or perrin said this was the farthest he's been from the shire, where bilbo stood at the tree, the window where gandolf pulled matt/perrin in from outside the house, etc etc etc. tons of this stuff. no wonder the tour went on so long! the only thing was that the swamp is no longer there, and the pretty gardens are gone. the lake is there, its part of the farm like the tree. actually, those two things and the rolling hills there were why peter jackson decided to chose this place for the shire. perfect location. the perfect tree along the perfect lake with the perfect green hills. hehe we took lots of pictures. the guide told us that fans of LOTR actually would dress up as hobbits and have a party, complete with music right in front of the party tree. ppl would cos-play and reenact scenes! crazy... we didnt have those fans on our tour haha, tho it woulda been cool. darn! shoulda brought my hobbit clothes! jk jk! after the shire, we went to the nearby sheep shearing farm to see a little lamb sheared right in front of our eyes...the poor thing. then i got myself a milk bottle and hungry lambs got turned loose right in the barn. i was just holding the bottle of milk and a lamb almost ran into me to suckle the bottle. so hungry and so eager. the tour had only say, 15 people and 3 bottles of milk between us. all of a sudden, people were crowded around me, cameras in my face with the lamb nursing the bottle i was holding. the lambs were so cute! there was another one that finished early and was just walking around the barn. he was so soft! hehe so we went back to town and ate a late lunch. the coachbus to go back to auckland was late and it was getting dark. it was a long drive back to auckland and we ate dinner (korean). we went to the cafe again to look at other places we could go.

Day 4
today was cloudy and we just walked around downtown auckland. we window shopped for clothes and got some souvenirs. sean got his camera fixed. we ate lunch at a food court where they had yum cha. finally got my yum cha. it was not bad acutally. oh and there was boba too! quickly's acutally. i didnt know it was international. i was pretty happy. yum cha AND boba?! yes! we went to a internet cafe again, then went back and watched tv, then slept. we basically just chilled.

Day 5

we woke up later today and heard the rain and wind outside the window. gloomy and wet day =( we tried to contact airbus to get my bag back and they said it was found, but at the airport. a relief off of my mind, though still. since there wasnt much we could do about it, we went to a thermal spring. haha. logical right? =p we took the bus to parakai springs. i wanted to go to another one but this place was cheap. since i didnt have my swimsuit, i had to buy one. i randomly bought one at a nearby opshop(opportunity shop, like salvation army or goodwill but hipper). i was so rushing, got it 15 min before the bus came. haha it was sooo cheap at $6.50 for a top! we took the 1.5 hour bus ride there and the springs was more of a local swimming spot. they had an indoor and outdoor pool where many families were gathered. the really cool thing was they had a giant slide (!!), like one of those you see at waterworld! the only thing was that the water was all hot. even the slides! we got a private spa aka a jacuzzi, also filled with hot thermal water. i got dizzy after a while. but it was really nice to soak in there. so warm....=] and bubbly =) the place definately wasnt a resort, nothing fancy at all. next time, ill treat myself to one of those. we took the bus back and at dinner at a chinese noddle place off of queens. it was soo good cause it almost tasted homemade, like something my mom would cook up. the lady who billed me even spoke to me in canto. do you know how long its been since ive spoken canto?! ah... =] back at the hostel, we did laundry and packed for tomorrow.

Day 6
we woke up early again and got on the 8:30 bus to wellsford. it was 1.5 hour ride and on the next leg, a lady from parakai beach picked us up to go horseback riding! it took a while to get there, a long and windy road that passed though wide open green pastures with sheep grazing, so much sheep. sooo much sheep. seriously. so picturesque and new zealand hehe. =) we went horse riding on the beach for 2 hours wandering into the sand dunes with native wildlife and bushes. my butt and thighs hurt like hell. omg...i dont know how ppl horseback ride all day! it was a cold and windy day, even more so at the beach. but it was nice still. my 1st time riding on a horse and i was nervous but the guide was friendly and helped me out. the owner's dogs followed us out on our ride. after the 2 painful hours, we got off the horse on very shaky and legs. hurt to sit! we ate lunch there and discovered the farm a bit more. there was a little cat that we played with. oh and they have so many horses there! the same lady drove us back to town, we fell asleep in the car, so sore and tired. we walked a bit around town, as the ppl at the horse farm told us to walk it off to feel better while waiting for our coachbus to take us back. at the hostel, we rang up airbus as someone called about the bag but the work day was over so i would have to wait until the next day. well, we didnt have that long cause our flight leaves at 5;30am. we quickly packed and ate dinner (korean) and took one of the last airbuses to the airport. we got in contact with airbus lost and found again and the guy said he found out a way for me to get my bag. we waited for a park n' ride bus which came around every 15 min all night to bring my bag to me. and i got it back! omg...a week without my clothes and toiltries and i survived (living off sean's stuff)!! now i know that i really can pack light. i didnt need all that stuff that was in my bag all this time! ha...

Day 7
we hung around the airport all night and checked in at 3am for our flight back to sydney, then transfering to canberra. i didn't sleep for 24 hours it seems. oh! oh! the plane ride back was interesting. i felt like we were on the wrong plane cause it was full of south americans. everything was in spanish. the pilot was spanish, all the attendents. the ppl who sat around me, the movies. (well, i set everything to english so i could understand) but the plane actually took us to sydney, and not brazil or something. lol thank god. the explanation: the plane was an affilate of qantas and mostly did flights to and from south america. i think this plane was stopping in new zealand from south america to australia. i watched how to lose a guy in 10 days but didnt have enough time to finish. we arrived in sydney airport which was now familiar to us. we transfered to a domestic flight but didnt make it in time to catch it. there were so many ppl like us that had to transfer and it took too long getting our bags, going thru custons to make it on the plane to canberra. but we took the next one out. it was a really small plane, we had to go on the tarmac and go up steps to get to the plane, didnt use the long hallway that connects you directly into the plane. ppl on the plane were all business suited up, probably politicians, or something ahah since we were going to canberra. we took the taxi back to bruce and i finally fell asleep, having not slept for 24 hours. phew long long day. but id go back to new zealand anytime. that dang island has waay too much stuff packed in there for tourist to do. you can spend half a year traveling around. hmm maybe i should do that... =p

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