A Travellerspoint blog

New Site for Pictures

The blog is now letting me download photos, but please keep this link in your bookmarks, because it won't let me download pictures for long.

http://usera.imagecave.com/jaders/

Posted by Jaders 17:26 Comments (0)

Adrenaline Junky

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I'm in a small town of Queenstown right now, where it's famous for the adrenaline activities it offers. So I sucked it up and went sky diving! I jumped from a plane at 12,000 ft above the amazing Remarkables Mountain Range and Lake Wakatipu. Above the clouds I sailed through the air at 200 km/hr for 45 seconds of free fall. It was so hard to breathe with air flowing into my nostrils and my mouth at that speed. But as soon as the parachute was up it was clear sailing. I drifted down to the ground at a slower speed, 100 km/hr, gazing at the beautiful scenery around me. It was a euphoric experience once I landed on the ground. I couldn't believe that I had just jumped from a plane so high above the ground. It was such an amazing experience.

To continue my adrenaline experience, I decided to go on a jet boat on the Shotover River through the Shotover Canyon. I think I was more scared of that than I was sky-diving. The boat could operate on only 4 inches of water and travelled at speeds of 80 km/hr through the narrow canyon. The boat was also famous for it's 360 degree turns on the river. That was so scary. But the scariest thing of all (for me) was when the boat decided to break. We were drifting down the river backwards and I was ready to jump out onto the embankment. But eventually (not soon enough) the boat decided to start again and I got to dry ground.

I am on my way to Milford Sound tomorrow for an overnight cruise in the beautiful Fiord region. It should be an amazing time, and maybe a little less adrenaline.....

Posted by Jaders 17:17 Comments (3)

Lean, mean, hiking machine!

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Over the last few days I have hiked over 71 km along the coast of the Queen Charlotte Sound peninsula. From Picton, I got a ferry out to Ship's Cove, where Captain Cook sailed to and kept his base when travelling within the Sounds.

My first day of hiking I decided to walk out to a waterfall to avoid the crowd of people that got off of the ferry. Here I discovered a bird called the weka that tried to steal an apple right out of my hand! I walked 4.5 hours to Resolution Bay and then to the start of Endeavor Inlet where I stayed the night at Furneaux Lodge. It was a nice resort except for the backpacker's section, which was hardly worth the money I spent there.

The second day of my trip, I didn't go very far. I hiked up to another waterfall, where I managed to slip on some rocks and bruise my hip! I was going to hike up to the other side of the mountain to see an old mine but decided against it when I discovered that it was a 6 hour hike. I chose not to because I would have gotten back later and it didn't seem like anyone else was going up there either. I didn't want to be by myself if anything happened. So I headed instead along Endeavor Inlet to the Endeavor Resort. I sat on the dock with the owner of the resort and helped fisherman unload their boat. That night I got to have my own little cabin to myself!

The third day I walked from Endeavor Inlet to Camp Bay and more specifically Punaruawhiti Bay to Noeline's Homestay. This was by far the nicest place I've stayed since being in New Zealand. When I arrived, Noeline made me drink lemonade and eat homemade scones. I relaxed on her beach for the afternoon and then walked 10 minutes along the beach to the Punga Cove Resort for supper at the Cafe on the dock. When I left the next morning, Noeline made sure that I got a hug and a kiss before I headed off. She told me that she just started travelling herself 9 years ago after her husband died. He was absolutely terrified to fly so they never travelled. Now, at 76 years old, she houses backpackers in the summer to save money for herself to travel in the winter. She has even been to Jasper and loved it!

The fourth day of hiking proved to be the most strenuous. I walked to Portage Bay, 23.6 km, in 7 hours and 45 minutes, in the blazing sun and across two mountains. It seemed like I was going uphill forever. But for about 80% of the hike that day I was hiking up steep inclines. When I finally got to Portage Bay I was never more relieved. However, the resort had failed to make my booking when I had contacted them over a month ago. For my trouble they let me have a room to myself! I had supper with a couple of Canadian women from Calgary in the cafe and even tried mussels.

The next day I was refreshed and ready for more. I walked only a couple of hours to Lochmara Bay. The lodge there was very unique. They had a couple of enclosers full of local parrots and tuataras (lizards). They also had a spa, massage therapist, free kayak use, and many trails around their property. One of the trails had tree carvings of faces called the Punga People. They were really spooky. They called the woods on their grounds 'The 100 Acre Wood'. They had an area called Hammockville where hammocks were placed everywhere for the guest's enjoyment. They also had a Glow-worm Grotto for people to discover in the evening. It was a really relaxing time.

My last and final day I gladly walked down hill to my final destination of Anakiwa. It was a cooler day out and I was enjoying not hiking in the direct sunlight. However, my happy mood was disturbed when 2 km from Anakiwa I angered a wasp. It managed to get between the sole of my foot and my sandal as I was walking. I tried to remove my sandal as fast as I could but it wasn't enough. The little demon stung the bottom of my foot three times before I could remove it. So for 2 km I limped to the jetty to catch my ferry back to Picton. The people that passed me on the track told everyone in Anakiwa, so when I got there everyone knew and I was famous!

So I managed to finish the whole 71 km Queen Charlotte Track, practically unscathed. Apparently most people only do portions of the track, but I was one of the few who made it from beginning to end.

Posted by Jaders 13:56 Comments (4)

Earthquake!!

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After Rotorua, I headed to Waitomo, which is a small town with only a few hostels/lodges and bars and of course its famous caves. I went on a cave tour to the Ruakari Caves. They discovered the caves when the Maori followed two wild dogs into the entrance. Therefore, they called the caves 'den dogs' or Ruakari. I saw lots of formations within the caves and of course glow-worms.

That night I went on a night abseiling adventure within a crevice in the earth. It was so awesome! I abseiled 150 ft and at the bottom there were lots of slugs and giant spiders! I was in my glory. My guide and I poked and prodded the holes where the spiders were hiding and got to see some very beautiful spiders. After that we abseiled another 150 ft, but this time without our headlamps on. There were glow-worms everywhere! It was so spectacular to see the glow-worms all around you and when you looked up you could also see the night sky. It looked like you had stars all around you!

My trip down to Wellington proved to be horrible. I had to go back to Rotorua and wait until 11:30 pm to catch the next bus. So I had to wait in Rotorua for a very long time. Sitting infront of the information center/bus station I waited and waited until a very creepy man came along and wanted me to stay with him. So I called the police and they suggested that I stay in the foyer of the police station until my bus arrived. So I camped out in the police station for 6 hours. The bus ride overnight was horrible and I couldn't sleep at all because the bus was packed full.

But once I got to Wellington, I slept for a couple of hours in the lounge of the hostel because I couldn't check in yet. It was too early. But the day I arrived, there was an earthquake, at 2 pm and 4.6 on the Richter scale. While here I have taken a tour of the city, including Mt Victoria and Scorching Bay, which were amazing. I have also visited a huge museum, called the Te Papa. It has six floors, but I only found two floors to be interesting. I don't find there to be alot of things to do in Wellington, mostly because of the bad weather we've been having. But I walk along Oriental Parade along the docks every day. It is very beautiful.

Within a few days I am taking a ferry over to Picton, where I will start my 71 km journey through the Queen Charlotte Track. I'm very excited!

Posted by Jaders 12:59 Comments (2)

7 km away from flowing magma

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I finally left Paihia and travelled a full day (8 hours) to Rotorua. Around Rotorua there is lots of geothermal activity. There are many active volcanoes, including Mount Tarawera and Rainbow Mountain. Apparently, I am only 7 kilometers away from flowing magma under the Earth's crust, whereas most places around the world are at least 30 kilometers away.

I went on a tour of two geothermal valleys. The first was called Wai-o-Taupo, which means 'sacred waters'. On the way out there I passed through a place called Earthquake Valley. This is where the Indo-Australian and Pacific tectonic plates meet. I got to see Lady Knox Geyser, which is actually quite pathetic. It was discovered by a Maori who set off to bathe in the hot pools, when he accidentally dropped his soap in Lady Knox (soap was received from the Europeans). To his suprise Lady Knox 'erupted' and shot out water into the air. So, in order for her to blow, she needs to be provoked.

The actual geothermal park of Wai-o-Taupo was much more interesting. I got to see boiling mud pools, natural hot springs and steaming mountain-sides. Some of the hot springs there reached 200 degrees celcius!

The geothermal park of Waimangu was similar to Wai-o-Taupo except it had more to offer. It was an hour and a half walk along a track, which had 32 stops where you could look out onto the colourful array of hot pools and the like.

The following day I headed out to a buried village called Te Wairoa. It was buried with the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. Not only did this volcano kill at least 150 people, it also destroyed the 8th wonder of the world, The Pink and White Terraces.

Later that evening I went on a tour to the Mitai Village, which is a current Maori tribe in the Rotorua area. They performed for us and taught us about their culture and then eventually fed us a really good meal, called the Hangi. A hangi is a meal that is prepared in the Earth, due to all of the geothermal activity. It takes at least 4-6 hours to cook. They had chicken and lamb, as well as kumara which is their sweet potato. It was very delicious.

After that I was guided through the Rainbow Springs night tour. I got to see glow-worms, Kiwi's, Kea birds, Tuatara lizards, and lots of trout that are bred on site.

The glow-worm is actually a bug that is in its larval stage. It lives in a silk sheath and when it moves back and forth within this sheath, it produces light.

The Kiwi bird is the only bird in NZ that is flightless. It is endemic to NZ and is highly endangered. The females are larger than the males and they also have a curved beak instead of the straight pointed beak that the males have. The male also is in charge of incubating the eggs for at least 70-90 days. They are omnivorous and eat berries, roots, worms and bugs.

The Kea parrot is a grey and yellow bird and is also endangered in NZ because of poaching. They are considered sheep killers because they peck at the sheep's kidney area which causes them to eventually come down with disease and die. However, they are considered to be as smart as Gibbon monkeys or dogs.

I am currently in Waitomo, where there are lots of caves to explore. I'll keep you updated in the weeks to come.

Posted by Jaders 18:24 Comments (3)

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