11.30.2008 65 °F
We are currently in Auckland getting ready to leave tomorrow to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Jungles, street food, and beaches here we come! We had to change our travel plans yet again (it's hard to find flights around Xmas) but we're happy with 2 extra weeks in Malaysia.
Though we're sad to leave NZ, we're excited for a change in scene. More adventures to come!
Our last week in New Zealand has been beach filled, and has been very relaxing! We headed to the Coromandel Peninsula where we tried (unsuccessfully) to dig a hot tub at the famous hot tub beach. There were tons of people out there, but the "low" tide was still crashing around the rocks, filling in everyone's hard work. It was still great though, and we were able to relax on a beautiful beach in the sun.
We then headed to a the famous Cathedral Cove, a beautiful limestone arch that you can walk through...the beach wasn't bad either...
Our last night on the Coromandel we had the most amazing sunset at our beachside campsite.
Also at our campsite was a great trail that lead to a giant Kauri tree. They are very rare here, and most have been logged. We walked up at dusk and the bird life was incredible as we sat by the old growth. Pretty amazing!
We headed north to the Bay of Islands where we took a hike out to a waterfall that went through some amazing mangrove forests. It was pouring, and awesome to stand in the rain with the seeds dropping all around us.
Later that night (Thanksgiving) we began an overnight cruise around the Bay of Islands. It was pouring (even by Juneau standards). By the time we reached the boat all of our clothes were completely soaked through, but they had tea and were playing Cat Stevens so all felt cozy and like home. That night we did some fishing and Matt caught 2 of the 4 fish caught! They were mackerals, and the crew kept them for bait.
We then had our Thanksgiving dinner, which was mostly meat because we hadn't caught any fish to eat. Matt had a lot of pasta and salad. Needless to say we were missing our turkey, mashed potatoes, jello salad, and PIE...we were also missing the company from home. But, we still managed to have a good time with people from all over the world.
The next morning we did some snorkeling in some very cold water...didn't see too much but we were able to feed the fish with some raw mussels which was cool.
We kayaked out to a beautiful white sand beach with turqoise waters, took a little hike, swam, and relaxed. On the way home, we tried some sea urchin eggs (a japanese delicacy, $500 per kilo) and some raw mussel...it was pretty tasty, but the cooked fresh mussels were amazing (and huge).
We had our last night with Herbert (the car) on a beachside campsite. We made a really nice dinner and enjoyed a bottle of wine we had saved from the Marlborough region. We befriended some fishermen and they gave us fillets of snapper for the occasion.
We made it to Auckland and unknowingly stumbled upon their "Santa Parade" where all of the streets in the city shut down (including the one by our hostel)...we had to change plans and drop off the car and hike all of our belongings through the crazy streets (good training for SE Asia). We made it though and are staying at a great place. We checked out the parade, so weird to see so much holiday cheer in 80 degree weather. Very fun though.
We went to a casino last night! Erin had yet to experience one, and was pretty good at the roulette table...betting on black kept us going. We did loose it all at blackjack, but it was a good time. We almost got kicked out for taking this shot...whoops.
As you can tell, life has been tough. However, it was hard though to be away from loved ones at Thanksgiving, but we're glad to hear that everyone had a great festive time. It's always so good to hear from people back home! Next time...Malaysia