Monday, 26 February 2007

Road Trip

We picked up Betsy on the 22nd, and after stopping to clear out most of the contents of the local supermarket, we made our way to our first destination, Raglan, a world renowned surf spot on the west coast of the North Island. Betsy wasnt the fastest on the road, and despite Carl's best efforts we arrived at Raglan at dusk, just in time to see some lovely rollers and the last few surfers catching them. That night we headed out and found the one bar in town still open, but it was a cool if slighlly strange place with a good Ragae band playing. We debated staying longer in Raglan but decided to push on as we wanted to concentrate more on the south island. En Route though we had one or two little challenges awaiting.

First up was Zorbing, which involves climbing into a large ball containing some water and trying to stand up as it rolls down the hill. We did it in 2 groups of three and I loved it. Poor Julie didnt so much as Colie and I apparently stood and sat on her the whole way down. I went up for seconds on my own, but it was definitely better first time round, maybe the novelty was wearing off.

The next challenge was in Rotorua, and was a chance for me to take on the 7 meter waterfall that had capsised our raft 12 years ago. I was successfull in instilling the fear of god in everyone before we started, especially Sue who kept her eyes closed most of the trip. The scenery was really beautiful, not something I remembered from the first time. The first couple of small waterfalls were surprisingly tough. When the moment came for the big one I felt quietly confident, but still made sure I had a vice like grip on the holds as we went over the drop. As soon as we went over though I knew we were fine, there was no sickly tilting of the boat which flew straight and true and landed beautifully, though the guide at the back gpt sucked out much to his annoyance.

Later we met Ray and Amanda for some drinks, and in the morning headed to Taupo for out next task, a 15000 foot tandem skydive.
It was a bit cloudy so the jump time kept getting pushed back, so we passed the time sailing a pair of small catemarans on Lake Taupo, which was great fun if a little cold (i kept getting soaked).

The skydive was awesome, a full minute freefall (but still too short). There was a little cloud which we dived through and the scenery was really stunning (surprisingly enough I was looking around quite a lot).
Afterwards we headed south to Wellington, we parked outside Dee's, a friend of Coleys, who had gotten us tickets to the pub for the Ireland England match at 6:30am the next morning. Needless to say we were in good form after that game, but as we were catching the ferry to the south Island we couldnt celebrate too much.
I still had some stomach problems so became the designated driver. Betsy was a bit of a challenge but quite good fun to drive. The ferry crossing was lovely, smooth and sunny, with some nice scenery especially through the sounds on the south island.
First stop after the ferry was the wine region and some wine tasting, which I only partially sampled, and then we headed on towards Able Tasman area.

Today was a lovely relaxing day sailing around the Able Tasman park, which I had seen previously while hiking, but the sailing offered a really different perspective on it. The weather again was fantastic, since hitting New Zealand its been really excellent, warm and sunny every day ... long may if last.

Hei konā rā,