The NZ Trip Report of Ultimate Doom (Part 1)

Kia Ora,

This is the second of two MON Productions NZ trip reports. As Colonel (Matt) mentioned earlier, we both travelled to NZ completely independently of each other. Not only did we travel to the same country, we also visited many of the same places.

Since I was in NZ for about a month, this is part one of my adventure.
Day 1: Sydney to Auckland
Our flight out of Sydney was delayed by an hour and a half – we arrived in the middle of Auckland’s peak hour. For some logical reason Auckland airport isn’t directly linked to the city by any form of transport. The airport shuttle buses have to drive along a motorway, cut through residential streets and join another motorway to get to the city. Auckland’s roads make Sydney’s roads look organised.

Day 2: Auckland

Today we met some family friends who recently moved from Hawaii to NZ. We visited Kelly Tarltons Undersea World – it’s basically a big aquarium and drove around Auckland harbour.

First silly observation: shopping trolleys/carts are called trundlers in NZ. But this varies between supermarket chains.

Day 3: Auckland to Waitomo Caves

We began the morning by visiting Skytower which is the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere (apparently). The views of Auckland and its surrounds were quite spectacular – and some nice Nightingale photos were taken.
At midday we joined our tour group to begin our ‘grand adventure’ of NZ. The first stop was Waitomo Caves. After dressing in wetsuits and being equipped with a giant rubber ring we walked, swimmed and jumped through a section of the caves. Sitting in a rubber ring as you float along a cave illuminated only by the faint green glow of glow-worms is an interesting day to spend an afternoon. Cold though…

Day 4: Rotorua

After leaving Waitomo, we headed over to the town of Rotorua. The town quite literally stinks – being in a volcanically active area the smell of sulfur would frequently waft over. At many places in and around the town steam would come from the ground – some places harnessing this for geothermal pools. Very relaxing.

Rotorua is also home to Zorbing. The point of this activity is to be stuffed into a large hollow plastic ball and roll down a large hill. It actually looked really boring! I chose not to do it. Those who did said it was fun though…

We also saw quite a few geysers, mud-pools and yet more steam vents. After seeing 5 of each they kind of lost their novelty (or was it the sulfur smell…)

Day 5: Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo is the largest lake in NZ – although by world standards quite small. But it was nice to be away from the smell of sulfur and boiling mud pools.

The evening was spent on a lake cruise which included the catching (and consumption) of several very nice trout.

Day 6-7: Napier/Hastings

Today we left the tour – temporarily – to visit some family in Napier and Hastings. Napier was mostly destroyed by an earthquake in the 1930′s so it now contains many examples of Art Deco architecture. It is now contains some of the best examples of Art Deco in the world.

Day 8: Napier to Christchurch

This morning we are going to catch up with the tour – who have spent the last 3 days travelling by road and sea to Christchurch.

Napier airport is very cute, its a single building with 2 ticket desks. They have 5 gates, which are real gates in a wire fence – very technical – no airbridges here!

Our plane was a 50 seat Q300 – its the first turboprop I’ve been on in a very long time. On board with me was the Nightingale – my bag needed to be repacked.

It ended up being an eventful flight unfortunately… The plane developed a ‘technical problem’ and we were forced to divert to Wellington, windy boring Wellington.

We finally got to Christchurch about 2 hours late, but alive…