Off to Oz-1st stop Cairns

Not going to lie I was very sad leaving NZ and even contemplated staying and working a bit I liked it’s much, but  decided to keep going and keep the flights I had and see what new adventures were waiting for me.
Greeted off the plane with 30degrees heat helped me cheer up! Finally a bit of sun, think I’m getting paler since I started travelling!!
I got the free shuttle to my hostel Gilligans, right in the centre of town. I couldn’t check In yet so I decided to go straight across the road to Peter Pans to book my East coast trip. Definately not as easy as I thought. I’m doing it at the busiest and most expensive time of year :/ lucky me!! So lots of things were booked or limited spaces. I was lucky I was on my own or I wouldn’t have had a hope! Finally after a few hours I managed to put together a trip that would get me to Sydney by Xmas with plenty of trips and activities along the way.
I just about fit in a grocery shop and a walk around Cairns before cooking and bed as I was up very early in the morning for scuba diving.
Scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef had to be done. I went with Deep Sea Divers, they were very good and professional but the boat was crazy overloaded and so was a bit squashy, also there was a lot of hidden costs like to have a guide on ur dive was an extra 15dollars per dive even though I was certified. So not really sure what the other 140dollars was for, the lunch was gorgeous but not worth that much!
At least the diving was beautiful though and I’m starting to get the hang of this scuba diving thing now! 🙂

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All set 🙂

It was a full day trip with two dives so definately felt it when I got back. Staying I’m Gilligans I wasn’t going to get away with staying in again. Divers got free cider then ladies got free champagne in Gilligans bar so it was a good night!
Up early again the next morning for a bus tour to Port Douglas, Mossoman Gorge and Cape Tribulation. Overall the tour was very disappointing. We say Port Douglas at 8am when everything was closed and we were very rushed, gorge was nice but again rushed and Cape Tribulation was fab but again not much time there.

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Cape Tribulation

We also did a crocodile cruise which was ok we saw one crocodile. My last day in Cairns was probably my favourite. Went to the local fruit and veg markets after a long walk on the promenade, which were so fresh and cheap so that was a good breakfast day! 🙂 Then it was lagoon time. The man made lagoon in Cairns is beautiful such a good idea.

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Lagoon

We spent a few hours there soaking up the sun and having a swim before going back to the hostel for lunch and continuing our ray catching at the hostel pool.

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Ciders in the pool

Tunes pumping and drink offers all day made a really good vibe so we stayed there for the evening. Eventually I had to go cook and pack up everything for my early Greyhound bus in the morning.
Cairns is a gorgeous town just pick the tours wisely 🙂

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I found Nemo!!

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Second Chance for Wellington

On my way back to Auckland on the Kiwi experience we stopped in Wellington again so I stayed two nights so I could have a proper look around.
We stayed in Base hostel in the city centre it’s a nice hostel but the kitchen was not a pleasure to cook in but the free dinners were actually not bad so can’t complain.
I got an early night and got up early to fit in as much as possible into my one full day in Wellington. I’m glad I did. Wellington has lots to offer, I really liked it here.
The museum is brilliant and free!! I’m not a huge museum fiend but this place blew me away, the war section is world famous and I understand why. The wax models were unbelievable. The whole exhibition is so interactive and well done.

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Huge wax models!

The rest of the museum is also amazing but a lot to take in. If you have time it would be good to do it all over two visits.
Wellington is famous for its coffee so we went for a nice coffee and customary cookie 🙂 We got a lovely day so we took the cable car up to the Botanic gardens.

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Cable Car

We got a perfect sunny day for the gardens. They’re really well laid out and there’s a walk from the top back into the city so we did that. Ofcourse we couldn’t pass the playground without testing it out!

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Big children at play! 🙂

Got back down in time to have a wander around the shops. There is great shopping here not that we could take advantage of it!  #broketravellerproblems
Wellington has lots of quirky cafes and cool bars and I’m sure we didn’t see the half of it. We didn’t make it up Victoria Hill but that’s meant to be gorgeous aswell. Wellington surprised me, it’s a place I wouldn’t mind living and working in.

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Streets lined with outdoor cafes

Stroll around Christchurch

Arrived in Christchurch about lunch time refreshed from my early night in Tekapo. I had heard there wasn’t a whole lot to do or see in Christchurch and I have to say I agree.
Definately happy I went and saw it but it’s still very much in recovery after the earthquakes. Lots of construction sites, not many shops or cafes we could only find one supermarket in the shopping mall which was nice. It had frozen yoghurt!Always a winner! 🙂
We had a stroll around and say the cardboard church, the white chairs and some graffiti.

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Temporary church

The park and botanic gardens were across the road from the hostel so we had a look around. Actually a really nice Park, huge aswell.
Back to the hostel to cook our last ‘family’ dinner and have a few drinks.

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Proud of our cooking 🙂

We decided to check out the Christchurch nightlife. There was races on so we felt a bit underdressed but the bars were good. We were all shocked at how expensive it was though, no happy hours here :/
Christchurch hasn’t much to offer just yet but still worth a look.

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Cool graffiti everywhere

Lake Tekapo

I was so devastated leaving all the lovely people I had spent most of my Kiwi trip with I wasn’t even thinking about where we were going next! Queenstown is where everyone kindof splits up because people stay longer or less and some do deep south.
It was nice short drive to Lake Tekapo with a new driver which was so refreshing! We stopped on the way to see the most photographed church in New Zealand. No idea why?!

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Hasn't a patch on Irish churches!

Lake Tekapo took me completely by surprise! The lodge we stayed in was gorgeous.View of the lake from the room with a large outdoor bbq area and huge kitchen and lounge area all facing onto the lake.

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View from our room

Even with a bad hangover and exhausted from Queenstown, the beautiful weather and surroundings inspired us to hike up the nearby hill. Well worth it, the views were gorgeous!!

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I made it!

After our walk and some lunch of more tuna and rice cakes! #cheapness
I sat down by the lake and did some diary writing and chilled. Was such a nice break from the madness of Queenstown and we were so lucky with the weather.

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Sitting by the lake

This area is known for its star gazing. I decided against the night observatory tour as it was crazy expensive, most people didn’t do it. However after dinner and a chill out in the TV room we went for a stroll on the beach. The stars were astounding I was genuinely shocked, didn’t think I would be. We could see all the constellations so clearly and we even saw a shooting star! 🙂
Up early the next morning for a run before getting a bus on to Christchurch.

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Lazy Kaikura

As the bus left Tekapo the weather progressively got worse :/ Big change from the sunny day we had yesterday.
By the time we had our breakfast stop and a photo stop the weather had turned to strong wind and rain so all dolphin and whale tours were cancelled for that day.
We got enough of a break in the weather to see the seal sanctuary which was really cool to see. There were seals everywhere I nearly stood on a baby one camouflaged into the stones on the beach!

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Baby seal hanging out 🙂

Luckily we were staying in a lovely hostel so we could chill out and ignore the bad weather. I actually had a single bed, not a bunk! #littlethings
We made the cold, windy trio to the supermarket and that was tough enough! So it was cooking and sorting my backpack for the evening. Exciting stuff! Another bonus was the TV room with a hard drive full of films so we got to watch Great Gatsby before bed.
We were all delighted to see the sun shining the next morning so we finally got to see the beautiful view of the mountains that surround Kaikura.

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View over Kaikura

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We took lazy to the extreme!

Last stop on the South Island next it’s to the ferry back to the North Island.

Milford Sound Day Trip

I had heard mixed reviews about Milford Sound before I went and I discovered why.
What the guides don’t tell you before you go is that your experience of Milford Sound is completely dependant on the weather. Those that got a clear day were astounded by the place but those like us unfortunately who got a misty, drizzly day were very underwhelmed 😦
It’s a very long day with 4 hours drive each way, 2 hours on the boat plus some scenic stops along the way.
No doubt the landscape along the way is spectacular.

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Waterfalls everywhere!

However because it was so foggy and misty we missed many of the amazing views nearer Milford Sound itself.
The boat was comfortable and a good tour guide that highlighted different parts of the Sound. But the weather meant it was hard to stand outside very long and you had to use your imagination a bit to think.how amazing it would be on a clear day.

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Milford Selfie

Don’t get me wrong I could definately tell it was an amazing place, you just couldn’t help feeling a bit cheaper after a very long, tiring, expensive trip.

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We also got to see seals having a nap which was cool. We got really close.

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Seals chillin'

I’m happy I went for curiosity purposes but I wouldn’t consider it a must do. Maybe if the weather was different I’d think different.

Amazed by Franz Josef

One of the great things about the Kiwi experience is you go to places you might otherwise skip. I had never intended on doing the helihike up to the glacier because it’s so expensive but now after doing it, I would definately say it’s one of the best things iv done this whole trip!!

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Selfie on the Helicopter!

The day we arrived we had time to explore the nice, small town and do much needed laundry and cook dinner. It was a productive evening!
We booked in for the 9.15 glacier heli tour and hike. They told us it was always 50/50 whether we would go or not because the weather is so changeable. Luckily we got to go but we’re the last group to go for the following four days!!!
Its an expensive trip but so worth it. We had a great guide that hacks in steps in the ice as we go along and we have to wear all the gear with the spikes on the boots and all! What we definately didn’t expect was the extreme tight squeezes through the bright blue walls of ice. So surreal.

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The hike was reasonably easy and we had lots of chances to stop and take it all in and have a snack.

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I made it!! 🙂

The helicopter ride was only about 5mins each way but it was amazing!! The pilot even did a few dips and swivels for us to make it even better. Loved it!
To top off the trip we got free entry into the hot pools afterwards, that went down a treat! Perfect end to the perfect day.
The bar attached to our hostel was really nice and great deals on drinks. As it was a Friday night we decided to go out for a few and be sociable! 🙂 Great night!

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Toasting Franz Josef 🙂

Queenstown didn’t disappoint!

At first glance of Queenstown I wasn’t over awed. I was actually surprised at how small the city was and how little there was in it. I was wondering what all the hype was about. After a quick stroll I saw the first beauty of Queenstown, the lake front.

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People sat out at the lake all day enjoying the view, eating ferg burger or having a beer. Lovely atmosphere with gorgeous surroundings. After a trip to the supermarket we soon realised how expensive it was here. Simple groceries could be nearly double the price here. Pity it has to be this way, a lot of travellers would stay longer if it wasn’t so expensive.
Queenstown is very much known for it’s nightlife. The pub crawls are excellent we got to try lots of different bars with discounts and fun games. The ice bar was definately an experience.

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Freezing my toes off!

The second day a group of us decided to rent bikes and cycle around the lake. We planned to just go for a few hours and turn around but the views were so amazing we kept going and cycled all the way to the peninsula and back, 40k altogether! We were lucky with a beautiful day aswell.

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Where I fell in love with Queenstown

The hostel did 3dollar dinners so that gave us a chance to some of the delicious food in Queenstown during the day. I literally rolled out of Queenstown!! The Cookie Bar cookie sandwiches and ice-cream, free fudge tasting, devil burger next door, real hot chocolate and ofcourse the famous Fergburger. Lived up to every bit of the hype!

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Tropical Swine- My favourite

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Mini cookie sandwich

Not to mention the 5dollar domino’s and the Ferg ice-cream!! Choice was endless. You were never bored in Queenstown. Any activity possible was available here. We did the looging from the top of the gondola. So much fun!
I refrained from the canyon swing and bungee, I know I’m a big chicken! But those that did them loved them.
We played golf frisbee in the nearby Park, I ran around the lake in the sunshine and watched all the holiday makers sit outside in the lake side restaurants.

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Drinking at the lake is legal until 10pm

I stayed 5 nights in Queenstown and that included a day trip to Milford Sound. I could have stayed longer because it was so beautiful but at the same time it does exhaust you physically and financially. Queenstown would be a great place to work because you need money to enjoy it here longterm. So many nice restaurants, bars and activities.
Unfortunately this is where I had to say goodbye to a lot of good friends I had made that were staying longer or going different ways. Great memories though.

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Birthday looging

Wonderful Wanaka

Again arrived to Wanaka with no expectations. It’s a popular spot for skydives but I had my one done so wasn’t sure what Wanaka wouldnhave to offer.
We stopped a lot on the way at scenic stops, again the scenery and waterfalls and clear water are just mind boggling!

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Just another amazing view!

We settled into our hostel and then had a wander around the town. Again a very small, new built town but really nice. But the main attraction is the fantastic view all along the front of the town. Made you want to live there so you could wake up everyday to the view.

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Taking it in 🙂

We had heard about an old school cinema across the road from our hostel so we decided to have a look. I hadn’t been to a cinema in over 6 months so it was a great treat. It got better when we got in and saw comfy couches and a car you could sit in and the smell of home made cookies. Heaven! Went to see Legend which was a really good film so we got great value for money.

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Sneaky pic of the cinema

The next morning we got to Puzzle World on the outskirts of the town. Nothing too exciting but was a bit of craic and the maze was a lot harder than we expected!

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Puzzle World

Dress up in Lake Mahinapua

The drive here was very scenic aswell. It’s actually hard to get a snooze on the bus because in afraid il miss something. Scenery is constantly changing!
We always make some photo stops along the way. On the way here we saw the Pancake Rocks which were actually really cool to see.

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Pancake Rocks

The lake itself was nice but nothing spectacular especially considering other lakes wev seen here. The hostel is there especially just for the Kiwi bus and everynight they have a themed fancy dress party.

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Mahinapua Lake

Our theme was ‘Sorry I’m late I was…’ it was quite handy because we could basically go asbanything. Our aim was not to spend much if any money on a costume!
So I went as ‘sorry I’m late I was busy doing my homework’ So original! :/

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Fancy Dress

5dollar drinks helped the night go down well and we also got a roast dinner beforehand included in the price for some extra soakage. We also got to make our own jade bracelets or necklaces I really enjoyed that. Nice tobhave something I made myself.

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Making Jade bracelets

Everybody made an effort so we all got to know eachother and relax.
Has a much needed lie in the next morning with a huge free breakfast  of pancakes, cereals and yoghurt. Ate way too much as usual!! With a food baby and a sore head it was back on the bus to make our way to Franz Josef 🙂