Archive | October 2013

Blue Duck and Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The last couple of days have been very adventurous ones. Firstly we stayed at Blue Duck lodge up in the mountains and opted to do the horse trek. They said it would be suitable for beginners and Kelsey hasn’t ridden a horse in 10 years and doesn’t have any experience, so we thought we would be safe. They showed the 5 of us to our horses, that actually turned out to be ex-racers, not the usual steady trek ponies you would expect… 
We rode up the side of a mountain and across the top and down the other. As the paths got steeper the horses started to speed up, until we were galloping at full speed up the cliff face. Our guide’s advice was to stand up in the stirrups and hold onto the horses mane as tight as possible.. 
The hooves of the horse in front of me (Cordelia) kicked up a huge pile of mud (and other substances…) straight into my face, eye and mouth. Not ideal when your charging up a cliff side! It was quite amusing for the rest of us though haha!! The scenery as we trekked was amazing but quite a scary experience for kels! 
Afterwards we went on a bit of a bush walk and were lucky enough to see the blue duck! A very rare species of duck native to NZ. We got driven at crazy speeds in a jeep through the muddy windy paths of the forest which was really fun. 
Yesterday we opted to do the 20km tongariro alpine crossing after leaving the blue duck lodge at 6.30am! This walk was really tough at times… Lots of steps known as the devils stair case but as you can see from the photo DEFINITELY worth it! The land scape went from red rock craters to aqua blue lakes. It was like something from another planet. It was verrrry cold at the top
(Needed 5 layers!) and achey legs now but an achievement! 
In Wellington for 3 nights before the ferry to the South Island which we’ve been told is amazing. 
Hope everyone is well and surviving the storms down south! Love to all. Kelsey and cordelia xx

Fun in Taupo

Yesterday we walked 45 minutes along the edge of a river to a natural thermal spring. The water was boiling hot and we had a relaxing time sitting in the pool. That evening we went on a boat ride on lake Taupo, it was freezing out on the lake and we had four layers on, a hat and our hood, and the skipper gave us blankets, bean bags and wine to keep us comfy! We sailed over some quite bumpy water to see the Maori carvings on the cliff face. It was surprising to hear they were only done in the 1970’s, but shows how strong the Maori culture is in this part of NZ (photos to come a bit later).

Weather here has been quite changeable – rainy then sunny again, but generally on the chiller side. Today we purchased some gloves, thick socks and warmer coats as we have been told it’s colder in the South Island!
Onwards tomorrow with the Stray bus to a working farm in the mountains – hopefully some horse riding awaits yeeha!
Love Cordelia (and Kels) xx



Stray bus begins!

So far the stray bus has taken us to Ragland, where we stayed at a lodge in the middle of the bush. We went on a forest walk with a few of our fellow travellers and spent the evening eating fish and chips and playing silly games! Next morning we drove to Waitomo to go caving and look at the glow worms – in total darkness the roof of the cave turned into a night sky with thousands of pinpricks of light, was pretty magical. 
That evening we arrived at a Maori meeting house and were welcomed onto their family grounds. A small ceremony was held to welcome us and then all 50 of us touched noses twice to say hello or Kia Ora. Then we went to see the waterfalls and  a Maori man broke off some tree branches and showed us how you can eat the substance inside – a cross between apple and coconut! 
That evening after dinner they danced and sang for us and performed the huka. Then it was our turn and the girls were taught a short poi routine that we performed for the boys! Went rather well, although we definitely whacked ourselves a couple of times with the poi! That night we all slept in the meeting house on the floor with sleeping bags. 
After spending the day in Rotorua and smelling the lovely sulphur egg smell of the geothermal pools, we stopped off at Huka falls. The water cascading down this waterfall can fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in 12 seconds! 
Now we are stopping off in Taupo for a few nights before picking up the stray bus again. The lake here is the size of Singapore! Definitely missing the Australian sun as it’s raining today, but the volcanic landscapes of New Zealand are stunning. 
Love to all back home