John's Around the World Adventure 2005/2006

New Zealand-Travelogue  |  Travel time: December 2005 - June 2006  |  by John Davies

New Zealand: North Island

Following what felt like two days of solid travel, it was wonderful to arrive in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. Fuelled by huge optimism and expectation, excitement levels were sky high in anticipation of the adventure that would now begin to unfold over the months ahead.

Auckland certainly did not disappoint, initially anyway. Everything was so green and clean making our way from the airport. We arrived in Auckland city at 5am, desperate to find our home for the next few days, to soften the jet lag blow.

It certainly was an experience, sleeping in a huge hostel with many like minded people around. Dorm beds were to be the new reality, leaving the luxuries and creature comforts we so take for granted at home. We had expected Auckland to typify New Zealand. How wrong were we!

Despite this, there were still a few things to see and do to keep ourselves occupied for at least a few days. Named the "city of sails" we thought it appropriate to visit the modern Viaduct Harbour, walked to a pleasant Aquarium and explored the marvelous Sky Tower complex.

Auckland's Sky Tower Complex

Auckland's Sky Tower Complex

Auckland City and Harbour View

Auckland City and Harbour View

After leaving Auckland with our rental car (nicknamed the 'hound' due to its extreme prowess), our first stop was a sleepy old gold mining town called Thames, on the eastern Corromandel Peninsula. From here, we stopped at the port town of Tauranga where we spend a nice evening sampling the local beers in an Irish Pub.

Corromandel Penninsula

Corromandel Penninsula

Tauranga and Mount Mungani

Tauranga and Mount Mungani

The Hound- Toyota Corolla

The Hound- Toyota Corolla

Thames Beach

Thames Beach

Next was the University town of Hamilton, modern, clean and fairly impressive. From here we also paid a visit to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, sailing below the masses of glowworms on a narrow boat. Our next stop was a trip to 'Sulphur City', the very eggy Rotorua. Here we visited some truly spectacular thermal reserves, exploding water geezers, mud pools and even had time to learn about the traditional Maori culture.

Hamilton Riverside

Hamilton Riverside

Hamilton Riverside

Hamilton Riverside

Surroundings of the Waitimo Glowworm Caves

Surroundings of the Waitimo Glowworm Caves

Champagne Pools at the Waio Tapu Thermal Reserve, Rotorua

Champagne Pools at the Waio Tapu Thermal Reserve, Rotorua

Champagne Pools at the Waio Tapu Thermal Reserve, Rotorua

Champagne Pools at the Waio Tapu Thermal Reserve, Rotorua

Hot Water Geezer at the Waio Tapu Thermal Reserve, Rotorua

Hot Water Geezer at the Waio Tapu Thermal Reserve, Rotorua

Bubbling Mud Craters, Rotorua

Bubbling Mud Craters, Rotorua

Acid- looking pool at Thermal Reserve, Rotorua

Acid- looking pool at Thermal Reserve, Rotorua

From here, my next stop was the skydiving site of the Great Lake Taupo, caused by a huge (and I mean huge!) volcanic eruption many thousands of years ago. I persuaded Sol to join me in braving it for a 12,000 ft tandem skydive, a freefall of 45 seconds (it felt like a lifetime until the parachute ejected). My instructor kindly chose to tell me afterwards that 'at least we had a good parachute this time' Aww!!!

Great Lake Taupo, the biggest lake i have even seen was the venue for my 12,00 ft skydive!

Great Lake Taupo, the biggest lake i have even seen was the venue for my 12,00 ft skydive!

Weaving through the hills, mountains and national parks was amazing (we hardly saw another car around, maybe due to the fact that sheep outnumber people 5:1??). The scenery and driving challenge was indescribably getting better and better the further south we traveled (a trend we later discovered was consistent all the way south).

Our next stop was Palmerston North and then on to the lovely coastal city of Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. King Kong was just being premiered here as we arrived and this was just one example of the many things to keep us occupied, making the city very vibrant at our time of visit. We also took the spectacular cable car up the mountain to a lookout over the City. Spectatular!

Winding through the New Zealand National Park Hills

Winding through the New Zealand National Park Hills

Wellington Harbourside

Wellington Harbourside

Wellington City Lookout

Wellington City Lookout

© John Davies, 2006
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The trip
 
Description:
Following masses of preperation my trip of a lifetime was finally a reality. Beginning in the adventurous New Zealand, before taking in delights of Australia over Christmas. Bali was next on the agenda, trading in the comfort of the West for drastic cultural differences of East Asia. The modern city of Singapore next acted as a stepping stone for travel over-land through Malaysia and island-hopping around Thailand. My Adventure finally ended amongst the neon scyscrapers of Hong Kong.
Details:
Start of journey: Dec 01, 2005
Duration: 6 months
End of journey: Jun 02, 2006
Travelled countries: New Zealand
Australia
Indonesia
Singapore
Malaysia
Thailand
Hong Kong
The Author
 
John Davies is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 13 years.
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