A Travellerspoint blog

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Singapore

Singapore Sling

4 hour bus journey to Singapore, met up with someone from Belgium on the bus as we travelled down to the Singapore boarder. At the boarder since the immigration desk were taking so long and the queues were so big our coach left without us...great! i decided that me and border crossings are not so good. So onto the public transport and had to quickly learn the train system to get to the hostel. Finally found the hostel which was clean and in a great location. That night i visited little India of Kuala Lumpur and had another Indian that day, yep fatty haha! The next day i got up bright and early ready to explore Singapore. First stop was tourist information. I soon discovered how many shopping malls they have, i think it was 40-50, the whole of Singapore is just littered with malls selling designer brands. Errmmm yep nothing i can buy on my budget.. next stop was the National Museum of Singapore, think i spent a couple of hours there it was so big. learnt a lot about the history of Singapore which was actually quite interesting….. I also saw the memorial statute and St Andrews Cathedral. Later that day i was due to reunite with Rosie so back to the hostel. Uploaded some photos which were a long time coming and Rosie arrived after a delayed flight.
That night was incredible, we made our way to the glamorous waters of Marina Base Sands which is home to the iconic views of Singapore night life and the breathtaking hotel of Marina Bay which consists of three great pillars of Hotel blocks joined together at the top with a long standing boat. We first watched a light, sound and water performance which was just outstanding. Light was projected onto spraying fountains of water to create images together with dramatic music, with the backdrop of amazing Singapore in the background and all its lights and sky rise buildings. it was like nothing i have ever seen before, and i believe you would only see this in Singapore. After the performance we used are charm and coolness and made our way up to the boat at the top of the marina hotel, free of charge teehee....it was free for hotel guests, the hotel is probably one of the highest stared and most expensive in the world, or you can pay $30 each just to go to the top and see the view. so we walked into the lift where a guy swiped his card and casually made our way to the top where we were greeted by some more pass only entrances. luckily we got talking to some guys who we followed through and then there we were on the top of the boat with the elite of Singapore :) once we took our pictures on my dated phone, both our cameras had ran out of battery out, we hedged our bets and headed back down to ground level. it was immense :) After this we headed to Raffles hotel for the iconic 'Singapore Sling' cocktail drink, scrumptious! The bar was kind of strange though, set in a 1920's setting, and free nuts where the shells were happily thrown on the floor giving a laid back feel about the place. The next day was our last day in Singapore. We walked around the Botanical Gardens, but it was so unbelievably hot we had to rest, getting old haha! Then came down the rain./ a bit strange the weather, it was boiling and then all of a sudden down came the rain storm and thunder....After this we checked out the shops and i bought a new pair of Havaianas since my last pair had been taken away from me :/ Flight from Singapore wasn’t great, Jet star pretty budget, no food and freezing cold. Blanket for $7, ridiculous.

Posted by jessicajhunt 01:51 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

New Zealand Auckland

The beginning

We made it to Auckland safe and sound, now 12 hours ahead of England which was a strange feeling at first. On our first night we met up with Omar, a friend from Sheffield, and went for dinner on the Quays. A tad expensive but the wine and food was delicious. In Auckland we went to see the museum of Auckland which was huge, and went to see a Maori performance . The Maori dancing and the Haka were pretty aggressive and intimidating. If anyone has seen the rugby team do the Haka they will know what i mean. We then took some pictures of ourselves with the rugby world cup, I had to say its very small and didn’t look so mighty on the stand. That evening we went to see the rugby match Australia v Wales, where Australia won and Rosie ate a Kiwi McDonalds burger (angus burger with beetroot and an egg) We learnt how New Zealanders are big fans of Wales, and they have kind of adopted them as there second team. In Auckland we also caught the ferry over to Rangitoto Island to visit the 600 year old volcanoes and hike up to the summit. It was quite a windy and cold day but once we were walking off came the jackets. It was a steep climb on rubble encrusted lava. The view on the summit gave us 360 view of Auckland and the Haurak Gulf. The day wasn’t so clear so the pictures failed to capture the beauty. After our walk what else but an ice cream, valentine Hokki Pokki was the choice (honeycomb and toffee)
Sunday the day of the rugby world cup final wooooo :) the atmosphere was incredible....thousands and thousands of people filled the streets of Auckland. We watched the match in a nice bar since it was pretty cold outside. What a match, so happy that NZ won....we really got into it and felt almost proud by the end of it haha! Then back out into the streets where we saw fireworks and even more people littering onto the streets....probably the busiest and craziest Auckland city has ever seen. If this was England there would have been riot vans and maybe a few fires haha! It was really nice to see though, everyone was so happy and the spirits high. children in their family cars were waving the flags, cars beeping in unison, it truly was inspiring to be here at this time. 2011 world champions!
The next day we went to Kiwi Day Out where we watched some singers that we had never heard of, nice sunny day for it though. and then headed down to the central of Auckland to see the rugby players tour through the city streets. The atmosphere was brilliant but i couldn’t see a thing....short arsss isnt great for this, although a radomer offered for me to go on his shoulder, i kindly declined.

Posted by jessicajhunt 18:43 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Kiwi Experience has began

North Island

After the antics of the world cup were over we joined the legendary kiwi experience. We weren’t too sure what to expect since we had heard quite a few stories. This was are first introduction to driver Ma, good memories. first stop we explored Auckland a little bit more and the 360 view on the top of Mount Eden. Then back onto the coach and to our first destination which was the Coromadel Peninsula region where we stopped off to do the cathedral coastal walk which was beautiful, deep blue seas and clear sandy beaches.
Then off to our first night stop in Hot Water Beach. We arrived at the lodges which were gorgeous, set in a country setting, a little like centre parks but the real thing. reasons behind the name are that for two hours either side of the low tide hot water rises from beneath the surface and you can dig you own hot water pool during these times. So at 12am we all made our way down to the beach in the pitch black and it was freeeezing cold. The walking across the beach was sooo cold and then all of a sudden it was hot, it was so serial. we dug our own spa pool out of the sand and out splashed the boiling hot water. Really it was boiling hot, absolutely incredible. So picture this, there we were lying in our bikinis in the freezing cold air, lying in hot natural springs looking up at the millions of stars across the sky. it was absolutely beautiful, a moment i will never forget.
There were some really cool and friendly people on the bus who were all up for a good time :)the next day we were back onto the bus, pretty tired from our adventures the night before. this journey took us to Waitomo where i did the legendary Black Water Rafting! freezing cold waters, wet wet wet suits, and dark black caves..I was thinking what the hell have i let myself in for haha! But as we got going it was wicked. clambering through small caves entrances and lunging into the ice cold waters was epic. The famous glowworm caves were brilliant, high rising caves littered with glowing lights. Once we learnt the stories of the glowworms life however it took away some of the magical feeling of all the lights.....basically they are just glowing maggots that eat and eat and evolve into a steroid looking mosquito with no mouth and stomach, so as a result they cannot eat. so they have sex for 30 plus hours, give birth to all the babies and then die. what a great life haha! Once we finished the caving we went for hot soup and bagels, yum! That night was the night of 'curlys'.. the only bar in the small village of Waitomo owned by a man who goes by the name of curly...apparently he is an international star hmmmm me thinks not. the night was fun, few glasses of wine later and all was bliss. curly decided to get drunk also and the next minute the bar was taken over by us and the shots were flowing!
Our next stop was in Rotorua which stank of eggs. This was due to the volcanoes and the sulphur gases that seep out of the grounds. these however create hot water springs which you can bath in. so off we went to one of the top 10 spars in the world. it was lovely, completely put my body to sleep and met some English farmers haha. After this we went to the bar at the hostel which hmmm was full of young people and a white t-shirt competition – maybe not.
Next stop was Taupo which was home to the largest lake in Australasia. it sits in the crater of a large volcano . Because the lake was so vast it looked like you were on the coastal edge. Beautiful but the weather wasn’t so much. we wanted to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is one of the worlds top 10 one day walks, but the weather wouldn’t allow it so we decided to do it on our way back up NZ. that weekend we went out with some people we had met from the kiwi experience and it was a blast. i dressed up as zombie using supplies from Rosie’s Bangkok hospital experience, bandages. It was so much fun, typical night strut my moves on the dance floor, mouthed off at bouncer who wouldn’t let my friend in to the bar and drank tequilas even though I was already wasted – classic! the next morning we were all a little bit worse for wear.
Next stop was River Valley. situated in the middle of no where literally! i had a feeling it wasn’t very well known among New Zealanders. However it was beautiful, quaint barn conversion, warm and cozy....it was raining outside when we arrived and so roast dinner it was....scrumptious, some of the nicest beef i have ever tasted. After some mulled wine, yes i know not Christmas yet but it was going to be hot soon and I didn’t want to miss out haha! Then we headed to bed in the 'spooner room' yes SPPOOOONNNN, it was like a room i have never seen before. long wooden beds with mattresses laid across! some people did some rafting and horse riding, but since i was trying to save my pennies for the south island i refrained and did some yoga on the riverside.
Our next stop was Wellington. It was quite a long bus journey so we didn’t get there until the evening. we had already booked ourselves on the ferry to the south island, since we decided to do Wellington on our way back up. so into the hostel for a few drinks and bed. At this stage not much to comment on about Wellington, apart from the fact its named 'windy wellington'. this was the stop that we left our amazing bus so that we could skip to the south island.

Posted by jessicajhunt 18:44 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

South Island West Coast

fun fun fun

Ferry over the Cook Straight with lovely sceneries. Bumped into the farmers again and we played cards. Once we docked into Picton on the south island, we jumped onto our next kiwi bus which had no one on it, but we did have our Cambridge buddies with us. By this point we had already decided to stay longer at our next stop so the amazing kiwi bus behind could catch us up :) so it was all good. Long journey over through Nelson and up to the Abel Tasman National Park in Kaiteriteri to be welcomed by the pouring down rain...
Chilled out for the night, we needed it after our late nights. the next day the sun was shining, up bright and early ready to do the walk along the coast of the Abel Tasman National Park. the sea was a bit rocky and the water taxi jet boat was flying over the waves. the walk was gorgeous though, beautiful blue water, amazing forestry landscape, and beaches. Although it did chuck it down half way through our walk and we got soaking wet. All fun and games i say. That eve our amazing bus arrived, had a few drinks in the big fat whale pub. the next day was gorgeous and we went to relax on the beach, had a bit of fun on the flying fox and then back onto the bus heading for Westport
Westport we didn’t do a great deal. Made a group lasagna, and learnt that if you put two layers of cheese through the lasagna, it tastes epic ( an American style). We then watched Zoolander in the coziest living room ever!!
Our next stop was the legendary poo bar in Lake Mahinapua. But before we arrived we had a few stop offs to do some walks, one of which were the pancake rocks...hmmmmm blowing gales, pouring down rain and in my opinion they lied about the pancakes lol, i just couldn’t see because of all the wind and rain so i felt a bit bitter.
Lake Mahinapua was in the middle of nowhere. There was a lake, and an old man, I think he was around 80 years of age, and a few huts with beds, toilets and a bar. The guy that owns it thrives off the backpackers and he probably wouldn’t survive without us. An epic hot cooked dinner consisting of the biggest slab of steak you have seen....then off to get ready for the fancy dress party. the theme was something that begins with the letter 'p' for poo bar. Since I wasn’t feeling adventurous and wanted to save pennies I decided to be a pussy cat haha. some of the costumes were brilliant though, people took a while thinking these ones through.
Back onto the bus bright and early the next day, still half drunk from the night before. But this day was taking us to the legendary glaciers of Franz Josef. However before we arrived we stopped off at the weirdest cafe/museum/shop thingy. very strange...it was a possum and deer museum. So anyway we watched a video playing to the soundtrack of top gun about the history of how New Zealand catches it deers...yeh a little interesting but i needed foooodddd.....so to the cafe and asked for a sausage sandwich . $10 bloody dollars and i am not to sure what meat the sausage was, but it did the trick and sorted me out.
Arrived in Franz Josef which was settled in the Westland National Park and did a short walk which lead us to a full frontal view of the awe striking glacier. Franz Josef was a beautiful little town, cute shallys and amazing sceneries of the Southern Alpes. Chilled out for the night, cheeky drink in the bar with a bit of snake and ladders.
The next day was our day to walk the Glacier, i could not wait and was so so excited woooo. This is one of the only places in the world where glaciers descend into the rainforest albeit one another. They gave us full on gear. We had to wear special boots to fit our crampons onto, thick jackets, hats and gloves. I looked a little silly. The walk was incredible. We climbed our way up through the glacier and through the ice caves. Since the glacier changes so quickly with melting and movements everyday the guide said that the glacier looked different everyday and they had to re carve the paths as they were going along. so as we were walking there was no set trail and in certain parts he had to hack step ways into the glaciers with his ax, it was brilliant to see. We reached the peninsula and the view was just incredible, like nothing i had ever seen before. i felt lucky to be able to experience this and see such beauty.
Once we arrived back to base straight to the hot pools it was. we got a free spa day by doing the glacier hike. ahhhhhhlush, perfect after our 6-8 hour hike up the glaciers. That night a brilliant prank was pulled on our awesome driver Lauren. One of the girls wrapped everything in her room in tin foil, it was brilliant and so funny. That night we also had our own personal firework show for bonfire night. Lauren the driver and the wildest girl ever stingray haha held the fireworks in their hand and just let them rip. bloody hilarious, definitely would not have this going on in England. Laughed so much and managed to get hold of a sparkler –happy days.

Posted by jessicajhunt 20:01 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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