28.06.2010 - 06.07.2010 4 °C
Back at our hostel in Christchurch, we set about dinner on our own, feeling a bit down having left the family. Obviously food was the only thing that could cheer us up and we were thrilled to be handed a bowl of chicken wings, onions and rice by a lady who'd made too much. She seemed a little overwhelmed by our gratitude...but it was fantastic and of course we could never have made them. We then set out back to Base Bar to meet the London boys, but were disappointed when Liam and Mikey pissed off to a strip club, probably to show off their pole dancing skills that they had honed earlier in the evening at the pole dancing competition. They had also entered Laura, much to her surprise when whilst at the bar, her name was called. Needless to say,she didn't feel the need to partake. Much of the evening was spent drinking and chatting with Andy and Clarky, Laura demanding of Andy what he would cook her for a three course dinner date...it sounded lovely, but she was less keen on dessert, which was Andy himself.
The next morning was a typical early Kiwi morning and we were feeling a little worse for wear. This didn't matter however, as we had decided that the people on the bus would be shit and we wouldn't need to bother with them. As they walked past us on the bus we rated them positive or negative in the cool stakes...they didn't stand a chance after the family. We arrived in Kaikoura again, and realised that our assessment of the bus had been correct and decided that the only girl we had bothered to talk to was boring and a pain in the arse. We felt like we had fully completed Kaikoura on our last visit and didn't fancy another 4 mile trek to see some more seals so the day drifted by with sleep, internet and food. We did make another appearance at Pommie Mike's pub quiz and watched the beginning of Notorious, a film about the Notorious B. I. G.'s life, being surprised by how interested we became...we must have been bored.
The next day, we went up to Picton to get the ferry across to the North Island and we arrived in Wellington when it was already dark. It looked like a really cool place so we were sad we could only stay a night, but we had used up all our extra time in Queenstown. We went for a walk along the harbour which was really nice and Laura was thrilled when we passed a playground with a slide. Donna not so much. We both decided to walk up as far as the last tree with lights on to have completed Wellington.
Taupo was our next stop which we really liked. We stopped at a waterfall on the way and whilst waiting for the Kiwi bus to reappear, Donna turned around to find Laura in deep conversation with the two old men in the giftshop about the dangers of skydiving. Typical. We were told that unless you were skydiving, the highlight of Taupo was the natural hot springs by the river, and that they were free. Not sure if we would go in given that it was already 5pm and freezing, we weren't sure what to expect when we got there, convinced it would be lukewarm river water. How wrong we were. The pools were approximately 85 degrees, and Donna, in typical ginger style couldn't get in straight away. Laura was in heaven though. The pools were tiered and we were disappointed to see the first one was full, but once we got a bit higher, we found our own private pool. We were delighted. Eventually some English lads showed up, which we were not happy about, but they were actually really nice and after 15 minutes talking to them, they had somehow convinced us to cut out America and head back to Thailand.
That evening was ladies' night in Base Bar and this of prompted all the guys to dress up as girls to get free drinks. This was entertaining for us, as we spent at least the first hour deciding whether one of them was a really unfortunate boy or a really unfortunate girl. When Donna saw the hairy armpits, it suddenly became clear. For the second time that day, Donna left Laura alone for 2 minutes, returning to find her surrounded by old men...only this time no one was speaking. This looked rather odd as the men were practically sitting on Laura when there was plenty of space anywhere else in the bar. She then caught Donna's eye mouthing 'how has this happened again?' and insists it was not her fault. Donna would like to point out that this has never happened to her...
The next day we went to Rotorua and given that Laura was feeling ill, and Donna hungover decided that the most strenuous activity they could manage was the cinema. A great idea as 'Get him to the Greek' was truly hilarious. The next day we went to the Polynesian Spa...more thermal pools but a little less rustic. Seven varying temperature pools overlooking Rotorua Lake. We then spent the evening at a Maori village which included buffet dinner and Maori dancing. It was so much fun and the food was incredible. Laura who had reacquired her appetite was thrilled although Donna honestly thought she might explode especially when Laura insisted she could not leave until they had both had dessert. Laura still thinks she could have had another plate whilst Donna put on a poor show, and we were both annoyed that we missed the tea and coffee...we are backpackers after all and must get our money's worth.
Our final Kiwi stop was Auckland where we were reunited with Steve our bus driver from the South Island. We were shocked to realise that we were actually pleased to see him as he brought back happy memories of the family. We were less pleased that Auckland was grey and rainy and as it was a big city there was not much to do as we didn't want to spend money. The highlight was accidentally bumping into Chalky in the bar at Base which resulted in far too much drinking and our entry into a speed pool competition. After complaining that neither of us could play pool, we were promised that in the first round we would play each other. Donna was onto a winner until she potted the black in true Donna style, Laura was out in round two despite the fact that the halved the number of balls she had to pot...how embarassing.
Before leaving Auckland, the time finally came for us to get rid of the Winter clothes. There was a second hand clothes shop across the street and Laura was distraught when she was told that they couldn't sell her clothes and they would have to go to a charity shop instead. Tropical Brasil, the jumper Laura stole in Sydney didn't even make it across the street for fear of embarrassment so it was left in Base. If anyone sees it, treat it with care. We were both keen to move onto Fiji in search of Sun...