Ko Pha Ngan, Krabi, Bangkok, Auckland, Whangarei, Paihia & Rotorua
14.03.2011 - 10.04.2011 20 °C
I know it’s been quite a while, almost a month since my last post… time is indeed flying! At the moment I'm in Taupo, the largest town near Tongariro National Park. Tomorrow I'm going to do the trans alpine crossing with two French girls I met earlier today. It’s going to be a long day as I have to get up at 5.15 and walk for approximately 8 hours. And as you well know, exercise is not my main hobby! But apparently this crossing is one of the must do's in Kiwiland so I've just stocked up on food and will try to get to bed early. I've never done so much hiking in my life as here in NZ... but it’s wonderful!
Since my arrival in NZ on the 31st of March I've spend a few days in Auckland, two in Whangarei, three in Paihia (Bay of Islands), two in Rotorua and now I'm in Taupo already. A quick summary; Auckland was a nice start! I spend the night in an easygoing hostel in the Parnell neighbourhood, the loveliest in Auckland! I climbed Mt Eden, visisted the Auckland Museum and went to Rangitoto, a volcanic island in the Hauraki Gulf near the town. Fortunately I met a nice French guy in the hostel, Jacques, who’d been in NZ for a while on a work and travel visa and we explored the city together.
After that I spend two days in Whangarei (pronounce Vangarai -- WH is V is Maori), a quiet and slightly boring place, but I had a nice bush/country walk to the local waterfalls and met up with a few other travellers to check the glowworms in the local forest which was very cool! At some point they were spread over de entrance of a small cave, seemed like something out of LOTR! The next day I moved on to Paihia where I met up with Patrick (whom
I know from back home). We travelled around the Bay of Island for a couple of days. Went on a dolphin cruise, saw the Treaty Ground where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, walked around Russell (former hellhole of the Pacific) and viewed another waterfall. The power went off for a couple of hours one evening so we spend the time playing sh*thead with candlelight with a group, which was quite cozy! I'm pretty dimwitted when it comes to cardgames, but surprise, surprise I was actually pretty good at this one, or lucky anyway! After three days Paihia I went on to meet Lennart (friend from AEGEE) in Rotorua to spend the weekend together. He just moved to Auckland and already knew some nice places in Rotorua and could show me around. Haha pretty typical.. I'm travelling the world but I've hardly spend a day not speaking Dutch so far!!
The first full day we went to a local Maori village (Whakarewarewa) and saw some traditional dancing and singing. It was nice but also felt a bit awkward somehow. In addition, a Maori local showed us around the thermal pools they use for cooking food and bathing and we saw the Pohutu geyser erupt! Pretty neat! After that we walked around the bush and found a fast flowing river with some cool waterfalls. When we heard the screaming and laughter from the people rafting on the river we decided to do that too! So this morning we went on the crazy river near Okere Falls and had a huge jump down from the waterfall! Very exting and scary... but great! After that our last stop together (while already on the way to Taupo) were some remote thermal pools and we had a relaxing swim together with two French hitchhikers (Rozann and Agathe) we had just picked up. The water was so warm, a very odd experience! And I’m happy to say not as smelly as most pools near Rotorua … I'm glad to finally breath clean air again! Well, that's as far as my Kiwi experience goes so far. I love it so far! I've never seen such bright greens and blues, it’s definitely a different colour spectrum here. Guess you have to see it to believe it!
Furthermore, I also want to share with you a little about the last two weeks in Thailand. It rained almost the whole time which was very disappointing of course. I'm happy we did have nice weather and endless slumbering on Ko Tao. As we could do so little because of the bad weather we felt even more confronted with our approaching split-up. We had become like an old married couple, worrying immediately if the other was away a little longer than expected haha! After Ko Tao we did a visa run to Burma (a very long boring day) and then turned to Ko Pha Ngan where we stayed in a remote, unfriendly resort (but relatively cheap!) and just went out for food and the Full Moon Party. Most of the time we were reading in bed, eating bad 7/11 food while the rain poured down. It was pretty much the same in Krabi where we spend our last few days together. But the Full Moon Party was nice, it’s absolutely an experience! Drunken en drugged people lying asleep on the beach or going for a swim… we felt underdressed as most party-people had on neon outfits and painted faces! We partied till half past six and then took a bumpy, nauseating ride back to the resort... a once in a lifetime experience! So many people, everybody talking to each other and going crazy, great fun! After Ko Pha Ngan we moved to Ao Nang, a beachside near Krabi which was a bit dull but nice. The weather was the same unfortunately so we couldn't rent a motorbike or spend a day at the beach anymore. On the 27th me and Marije split up and I took a horrifying endless bustrip back to Bangkok. The streets were floated and the driver would not drive on without a full bus making a 9 hour trip into a 14 hour one! I arrived in BK around 1:30 at night and had to look around for a hostel on Khaosan Rd for about an hour. The next two days I walked around town, bought a lonely planet for NZ, shopped, and had time to catch up with Matthias and Jeroen (Groningers me and M. met twice before in Hanoi & Siem Reap). We had some drinks and tried a shisha before saying goodbye on the 30th when I flew via Kuala Lumpur to lovely, sunny Auckland! I won't bore you with any more details, I know this post is way too long already!