I spent January in Oz, staying with relatives. Went on a “surf camp” up to seals rocks, a couple of hours north of Sydney. I had a lot of fun, but have come to the conclusion that I need to build up some arm muscles if I want to do this properly-my paddling is rubbish and therefore I can’t catch decent waves 😦
Then I went horse riding out by the blue mountains, that was lovely-got a nice reliable horse called Duke (who I managed to canter on!) and saw some stunning views.
Went to see Franz Ferninand playing in Sydney, which was good fun and was in an area where there was some nice eye-candy, so I know where I’ll be heading back to for a night out when I get back! But for the moment I’ve decided to explore “next door” ie: New Zealand.
My last day in Sydney, before flying to Auckland was Australia day and I was glad to have stayed around for it. Started in the Rocks with fish and chips, moved down to the harbour and saw parchutes and planes around the opera house and bridge, then after relaxing to some funky music in the park, ended up in Darling Harbour, where they had a good fireworks display.
Am now in Pukekohe with friends of Mum’s, they have been great! Merilyn has a stack of pictures of me from birth onwards and so recognised me straight away at the airport! They took me up to their beach house in Wangamata.
Tried wake boarding, which is like water skiing, but on a board and you’re closer to the boat (jumping over the waves left by it). But yet again my arms let me down as I couldn’t hold on enough! I am doing press ups and eating spinach, but those popeye muscles are going to take a bit of time to develop! Went on a hike up the waterfall and back, reminded me a bit of some of the trekking in Thailand as we had to go barefoot through the river a couple of times (and at one point we decided to trek barefoot because we couldn’t be bothered changing). Also went out on the boat fishing, and swimming, so had plenty of time on and in the water. The house was right on the sand, so was just perfect. On our way back, stopped at a gold mine and a couple of little villages. The views here are just amazing, it is all so beautiful. The accents here took a bit of a while to get used to, basically to imitate a kiwi you need to speak with a boiled sweet in your mouth, replace i with u and e with i (so we went “triking” and “fushing”) and add “eh” on the end of every second sentence!
Have booked a bus ticket for the “kiwi experience” which is a “hop on,hop off” service that basically goes around both the north and south islands. So if I find somewhere I like, I’ll get off and stay and then get another bus later on (there are buses going around every day so plenty of choice). Am near Auckland (north) now, but am flying out of Christchurch (south) in the middle of March so I have plenty of time and will try and see as much of New Zealand as I can!