From leaving brisbane in January 2009 til now June 2009!!!

New Zealand Travel Blog

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Tina’s Blog


So I’ve broke my promise ��" it is now June and I said I would have all my readers (aka Leesa and her Jazzercise class) updated by May ��" sorry! As they say it’s better late than never.


It’s been half a year since I have updated you all, so this can be a pretty lengthy piece. There’s lots went on. So if you are reading this….STOP….and get a cup of tea before you begin.


Glad to see you have kept reading on. Now, I left off just after xmas, leaving Brisbane and coming back to New Zealand.


Before I forget, I did try to write up my blog one day, I must have typed up about 2 or 3 pages, forgot to save, and it crashed and I lost it all as I was typing it directly onto the internet.


Anyway, I said my goodbyes to Gill and flew back to New Zealand. I was sad to leave her, but at the same time excited to start my travelling around New Zealand. I arrived back at the visa part of the airport (which I now dread, after the last time I had to wait over an hour for them to deal with my visa and then to eventually get it and then find out my bag has been left in Sydney!). This time round my visa is STILL wrong and I have to wait again….praying that my bag would will be there! I get out and search drastically for my bag…phew its there! I’m then approached by a sniffer dog jumping up to my bag and barking. Mortified and as worried as I can be, thinking someone has stitched me up with drugs. The police man (owner of the dog) asks me if I have any fruit in my bag. WHAT?! It turns out it’s a sniffer dog for fruit and veg. After answering no, he then asks me if I have had Subway in my bag. Fortunately I had a Subway that morning…I walked away with a red face!! I haven’t eaten Subway since!!


So, I arrived in Auckland. I had booked “The Kiwi Bus” where I had been told so many different things about it; some were good, some were bad. I stayed with a friend I had worked with in Auckland for a couple of nights to catch up with her, we had a few drinks, but nothing like the last time I was in Auckland (where I near missed my flight to Brisbane), I was glad about that.


I turned up for the kiwi bus fresh and breezy and ready for an adventure! The bus driver, small, shaved head and a big hole in his ear asks me my name, “Tina Airlie” I say. He looks at me with a puzzled face, ‘no no no no no, there’s no way he is about to tell me I’m not on his list!!  After the palaver I’ve had TWICE just trying to get into the country.’

“Ermm sorry, just wait there, your not on my list, I will phone the office”

He tells me to hop on the bus and hope someone doesn’t turn up as his list was full. “What? What do you mean? What if everyone turns up?” I ask him about 10 questions without even taking a breath. Being kiwi and laid back about everything, he tells me to chill out and it will all “work out”, which wasn’t the answer I was looking for and with me being a planner, it was obvious I was getting anxious.

It does all work out in the end and I stay on the bus. I was glad as during all the pick ups a girl sat next to me, Katie, and we hit it off straight away ��" it’s funny how you just know you are going to be good friends with someone the minute you start talking to them isn’t it? I wonder what that is, is it fate, coincidence or something else?  It’s a funny old world!


We stopped off at Mt Eden, about 10 mins from Auckland. It was so beautiful; it made me sad to think that all I did in Auckland was work and walk up and down Queen St. In the end I started to hate Auckland. I think if I was there any longer I would never want to go back. Mt Eden reminded me of The Law Hill a bit, just looking over the whole city. The sun was shining and there was no cloud insight which made it even better.


We then stop off at Mercury Bay, a beautiful beach where people on the bus had the option to kayak. I decided I just wanted to lie on the sand and soak up some sun! Cam, the kiwi driver noticed me walking down to the beach and asked if I was ok. He looked at me strangely. I found out later that I had walked the wrong way and ended up at another beach (on my own). Everyone else was playing volleyball and football (bonding) and here’s me lying on another beach wondering where everyone else was. I pretended that I wanted to be on my own to read my book, but it was clearly because I didn’t listen.  I think by the end of the trip Cam knew me well enough to know I was a bit clumsy at times.


The first night, I shared a dorm with 4 other girls. We are all chatting and Katie mentions she’s been known to talk in her sleep. I confessed I’ve screamed once in my sleep in a hostel (in Bay of Islands with Claire) but that’s the only time I’ve known myself to do it. We switch the lights off and go to sleep.  My bed was under the (open) window. It must have been about 2am and I scream, “AHHHH THERE’S A CAT, A CAT JUST JUMPED ON MY HEAD!” Well you can imagine the girls thought I was talking in my sleep. Katie says, “It’s ok she’s only talking in her sleep….Tina shut up and go back to sleep!” It was actually true; a cat had actually come through the window. One of the other girls got up and switched on the light and found the cat. We laughed about it in the morning.


The next day we head off on a nice walk - Karangahake Scenic Reserve. I was pretty glad I did the Kiwi Bus, it made it so easy and I didn’t have to think about anything.  We then went to Te Puia Geothermal Reserve where we saw……I actually can’t remember. I can see it in my head, but I can’t explain what it was. I know it was something to do with sulphur and I remember it stunk! Ahhh I think it was the temperature of it. To be honest, Dave (a gay guy on my bus) was distracting me as he fancied the tour guide ��" who also seemed a bit gay. So I think that seemed more interesting at the time.


The disaster of luging


I’m scarred for life and that’s no joke! It all stared with Cam (the driver) telling us he was undefeated at luging. For those of you who don’t know what luging is, the only way I can describe it is a sledge on wheels going down a mountain, where you pull your handle bars back if you want to brake.

 We agree to wait on each other and race. Bad idea ��" it says “no racing” for a reason. We line up.

“On your marks…..get set……..GO!!!!”

We’re off!! I’m third. Cam first, Katie Second and then me. There’s no one getting past me! My hands are shaking with the vibration of the steering wheel; I am going so fast, I can’t brake! I can feel someone right behind me, there’s no way he is getting past me! We approach a bump; I lift off the ground I am going so fast! I then take the corner too sharp and tumble to the ground! I hear a few voices shout “Are you ok?” I give them a wave to say I am still alive. One guy stops and comes over to make sure I am ok. Bless him. My leg is badly grazed and all I want to do now is get to the end. I have to get back on my luge and ride to the end.

I get to the end and the look on Cams face tells me who won the race, Katie beat him; he was defeated by a girl! I show Katie my leg and she squirts her bottle of water on it and says, “Aww you have to clean that.” I scream with the pain but I’m still laughing at the fact Katie beat Cam. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry!

I hear you asking “Wasn’t there a guy right behind you before you fell?”  Well yes there was! His words were “I thought you were a goner!” It was fine though as I got my own back when he started chatting me up at the bar later that night and I told him where to go! haha!


My leg seemed to be a good conversation starter. People would see my leg and say “Oh you’re that girl that fell off the luge, are you ok?”

Not exactly what I wanted to talk about, but it got people chatting…..and for those who know me, know I’m not the quietest person.


The next night we went to a Maori night where they did a performance and the Hakka and served a massive haungi (where they cook all the food under ground on hot rocks). To be honest the amount of food they served I did think they might have needed a field to have cooked all of it underground, but I didn’t question out loud, as I was too busy eating! For those of you that know me well enough, it’s the only time I am quiet ��" when I am eating! The performance was really good, I love watching the Hakka, there’s just something about it that gives me goose bumps.







As much as I love being with people, one thing that I have learnt to do is enjoy my own time. Before I left to go travelling, Lynne (a friend from home) set me challenges and one of them was to go to café by myself in Dundee, as she was aware of how often I was always with people or using my mobile and told me I had to get used to being on my own at times. I went to ‘our secret café’, a café Jill, San and I went to before uni for tea and toast. I took some cards I wanted to write to my family to say goodbye and found myself crying on my own in the café. What a good start!!

The point to this paragraph was that being on a bus and sleeping in the same room with the same people for 3 weeks is pretty tough and I never thought I would be saying I wanted to spend time on my own. The bus was great, I wouldn’t change it, but I did feel old on the bus, and being 21, that surely wasn’t right??


I felt myself saying I couldn’t do a lot of the activities as my leg was sore and I felt a bit of a bore. A lot of people complained they had no money as well, so I wasn’t the only person not doing anything. One day, while people were zorbing, I decided to go to watch a sheep show. I wasn’t very enthusiastic about it at all!! However, I think it was one of the funniest things I’ve been to see! The sheep all lined up, they all looked so different. They got some of the audience up on stage to milk the cow which was hilarious! The man hosting it made it fun to watch and a bit of a comedy show! I would definitely recommend it!


My love for New Zealand


New Zealand has to be one of my favourite places, it has so much. One day we are at a beach, the next at a sheep show and the next at a waterfall. It’s amazing. We all went to see Huka Falls Creation, it’s a MASSIVE waterfall.

And of course New Zealand is best known for its adrenaline activities, one of which I did - my skydive. I loved it! I bandaged up my leg for it, however you can see in some of the photos my bandage flying off in mid air! Very attractive I thought.


My leg was still a bit sore and I had planned to do a 12mile hike the next day. I had been cleaning it with anti-sceptic cream and leaving it for the air to dry it out (which I thought was the best thing to do). I asked Cam if I should do the hike considering my leg, he said I should cover it as it might get a bit dirty and I felt like it was just an excuse for me not to do it. So I decided I was definitely going to do it. I struggled, but so did everyone else. It was really good to bond with other people as we were all encouraging each other. Three American girls wore little hot pants and a fleece jacket. I was freezing and I was wearing full length jogging bottoms and a rain coat, so I can’t imagine how they were feeling. I could barely feel my hands! At one point Beth (one of the American girls) and I thought about turning back, if it wasn’t for one guy ��" who wasn’t even on our bus ��" to say, “Only 10 mins more to the top and then all down hill from there”, I think we might have turned back. I stuck with the American girls and we were so pleased once we had finished. I was really proud that I had completed it. Our fingers had all swollen.  That night, it was a well deserved celebration, we went to the pub quiz and played blind date. Knowing everyone’s voices I picked Saam ��" a dorky but kind and hilarious guy. Rachael was Cila and gave us a ‘pretend’ horse ride on the beach….which I didn’t take seriously (we were in a pub joking about) but Saam clearly did, as he asked me when we were going on our date. He soon got over it when he fell in love with one of the girls he met at River Valley.


It was good to see the people on the bus gelling and the bus journeys were getting funnier. My leg was still sore and I was adamant it was getting better. The bus stopped off at a waterfall where we were all able to jump in….not everyone did but I would have liked to, but I sat at the side and watched as “my leg was sore”. I was getting fed up of it ruining my trip! I was being boring. One night in River Valley I sat at the table with hot water, honey and lemon as I felt I was coming down with something (clearly an infection from my leg, however I was in denial). River Valley was strange; the hostel had an “orgy room” which was such a palaver! The “orgy room” was mattresses all lined up next to each other and there was no normal dorm beds left! Katie and I decided to sneak in one of the groups rooms (which had a normal room) and take our mattress and lie on the floor. It worked pretty good as most people were down by the lake (skinny dipping) while Katie and I sat and had a girly night and spoke about boys and I even think we cried together!


River Valley was in the middle of nowhere ��" no one got a signal on their mobile and there was only one computer. Tragic isn’t it.

We were in the middle of a forest/river.  In the morning we noticed two hunters (this was obvious as they had a gun in their hand and a deer on their back (they had broke the deer’s legs to make it fit on their back ��" they hiked it on like a rucksack.) We walked over and spoke to them. Whilst chatting to them, Andy (one of the guys on our bus) walked past us and we persuaded him to put a deer on his back. It was hilarious how he didn’t hesitate to put a dead bloody deer on his back. He had just showered and put fresh clothes on, only to have to do it all over again!


Whilst Andy complained he had blood stains on his clothes, I was still complaining my leg was sore and that I was beginning to feel unwell. My graze seemed to be getting worse; it was turning green with puss seeping out of it. I looked in my mini first aid kit (very limited to what I could put on it) and pressed some gauze onto my green pussy wound. Not the best idea. When we stopped at the next town, I went into the pharmacy to ask their advice. The pharmacist told me straight away it was infected and that I needed to go to see a doctor to get antibiotics.  The pharmacist told me, putting gauze on my wound was the worst thing I could have done and I needed to soak it off, the sooner the better. It was disgusting, there was yellow goo running down my leg and I can see the disgust on people’s faces on the bus ��" as Katie made me do it on the bus!


We arrived in Wellington and I headed to the doctors, Katie came with me for some moral support. I was glad she did, she made me laugh, or otherwise I think I might have cried. When the doctor left us in the room for a couple of minutes she started pretending to be the doctor with the stethoscope around her neck, standing at the computer. “Quick Tina take a picture of me!” she said whilst the doctor walked back into the room. We both turned bright red with embarrassment. The doctor seemed to understand though, she was an English girl who seemed to understand that travellers want to capture every moment in a photo.  


I came back to the hostel and Sue (a Korean girl that I became really close with) had made my dinner. It was lovely of her, but the doctor said I couldn’t eat for 2 hours after taking the antibiotics. I couldn’t not eat it though, right?


Katie left that night. I didn’t know if it was because I wasn’t feeling too well or whether I really didn’t want her to leave. Probably a bit of both ��" but I found myself crying after her boyfriend picked her up from the hostel. She had met her boyfriend in Fiji, he was a kiwi. He stayed in Auckland but came down to wellington to meet her for the Sevens rugby game.


The next morning we had to get up to catch the ferry over to Nelson. That morning I woke up feeling sick. I thought it might have been because I ate Sue’s dinner after the doctor telling me I shouldn’t eat for 2 hours. I slept the whole way on the ferry to Nelson. Once we arrived, we had to queue up for our room key. I physically couldn’t stand, I felt dizzy and thought I was going to faint. Once I got my key, Andy took my bag to my room and I lay in bed and slept for 14 hours solid. People came in and out my room to check on me, giving me water, cold clothes for my forehead and Sue even brought me a banana. I felt like I was in hospital, with my visitors coming in and out. I felt happy to know I had people that cared. Once I woke up properly I realised I didn’t say goodbye to Cam (the driver). We had become really close over the days, but I knew I would see him again in Queenstown ��" which we have done. Every time he has came down to Queenstown we have went for a drink or hot chocolate to catch up! I actually just said goodbye to him last week as I wont see him again as he is off to Asia for a few months and when he gets back, I will be in oz!


Anyway, back to Nelson. I went to the doctor again the next day, and Rachael was happy to accompany me. I liked people coming with me. The doctor changed the dressing and Rachael and I walked back to the hostel and watched a film ��" fools gold. I didn’t see any of Nelson apart from the doctor’s surgery, as I pretty much slept the entire time.


It was obvious there were groups forming. There was about 20 of us that all wanted to be on the same bus. I bonded with a few people, especially Rachael and Andy (a couple from England) and the Canadians (Dave, Kayla, Zack, Jacqui and Jason). They all made me laugh.


One day Kayla said to me, “Tina you would never know what I have just remembered…….I think I have forgot to put the address on the post card that I sent earlier today” Now normally people forget to put a stamp on, but not the address. Kayla was really sweet and we called her ‘Our SJP’ as she was a lookalike of Sarah Jessica Parker.


Jason constantly would come into the dorm drunk and put the lights on and talk loud, which got very annoying at times. I got my own back though in the morning when I turned my hair dryer on and switched his light on.


I remember one day Zach said to me, “What’s the biggest city in Scotland Tina…………..Dublin?” Everyone in the room looked at each other and burst out laughing. What a Zach moment!!


Dave (100% gay and as camp as ever) was my valentine this year. I loved him, he was so sweet.  


We arrived in Queenstown on Valentines Day. I hadn’t read or looked at anything about Queenstown; I just imagined it would have been like Auckland. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. It was a small village like town (it reminded me on St Andrews a bit) with a massive lake looking out onto the mountains, and in the 4 months I have been here, I have never once been bored looking at them.


When I first arrived I stayed at Base hostel for about 3 weeks, as it took that long to find a job. I eventually landed in a burger joint called Fergburger (a famous gourmet burger bar that seems to be a tourist attraction in Queenstown) the busiest restaurant in town!


Everyone from my bus left to go on and it made me think about the amount of people I had met whilst travelling and would I ever see them again. It’s funny how you bond so quickly with people when you’re travelling, you hand out your email address at least three times a day. 


After getting a job I found a flat, it’s a 10 min walk from town and only $125 per week. (79 Thompson Street) and it has an amazing view looking out over the river and mountains. I’ve grown to love it but hate it at the same time. It was nice in the summer but a nightmare in the winter. It’s an old house with no double glazing, furniture and décor from the 70’s, condensation, dampness and mould! It feels like I live in a cardboard box- it’s so cold! But I love my flatmates.


I live with an Irish Girl Martina, from Donegal. She’s a chef. We get on really well. I think she must get fed up with me as I’m forever texting her about recipes and advice on what I am cooking. There have been a few times we have cooked scones, cookies and pancakes at midnight as I’ve pretty much forced her into it.


The other room has Gemma and Lee, an English couple. They both work in Fergburger as well. We all get on really well, which is the reason I have stayed here. If I didn’t like my flatmates I would have definitely moved out as the flat isn’t the nicest. I thought it might have been hard to live with people I work with, but it turns out we never really see much of each other. There have been a few dinner nights where we have all sat at the table and eaten with each other, which is nice.



The time in Queenstown has gone so fast and it is only 3 weeks until I head to Australia. I’m really excited about it, warmth and seeing Gill (who I met in Thailand) again!! I will miss Queenstown, but I think I am ready to move on. Queenstown is beautiful and I would love to live here forever if I was doing the work I love to do, but there isn’t much in my field. Australia will just have to do. Haha!


Oh I think I have forgotten to mention, I have joined a netball team, we have lost every game but it is good fun and the girls are really nice. 



Ok the computer just crashed and I think I have lost a paragraph. It was the paragraph about my birthday. Maybe a month ago I was a bit down thinking about home and thinking that a lot of my friends had forgotten about me and never contacted me. I think I was a bit anxious about my birthday as well. I get on well with everyone at work, but you never know how well you’re really liked. I had a fab night out for my birthday though; nearly everyone from work came along. Martina my flatmate tricked me with my gift and wrapped up a massive box and stuffed it with a duvet and put little goodies in it. Jen baked me cakes and gave me a fleecy blanket, which I have wrapped around me whilst I type ��" much needed in this house! Gemma my other flatmate cooked my fave ��" chicken fajitas and baked cakes. Libby baked me her speciality cake and my friends from back home send me gifts that I definitely needed. I loved all my gifts and cards; it reminded me how special I am to have such great friends near and far!


As for now, the ski slopes have opened so I hope to get up a couple of times before I leave and try a bit of boarding or skiing. That will be a laugh. I leave Queenstown to head to Christchurch on 3rd July. I am hoping to meet up with Laura, if she can get a cheap flight from Auckland. Then I fly from Christchurch to Sydney on 6th July to Sydney and make my way up to Brisbane. I can’t wait!!


I hope I have updated you guys enough for just now. I will  update you in a few weeks when I am settled again.

Miss you all

Love Tina x x x


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