clo_again: (Monkton - Where are we going?)
Today I did nothing. Well. I repacked my backpack (it took me an hour. I have so much crap), was annoyed again at my hostel for closing the kitchen 'for cleaning' when I tried to make lunch at 2pm (SERIOUSLY YOU CLEAN IT AT 11PM EVERY NIGHT WHICH IS WHY I CAN'T MAKE TEA PAST THEN. WHAT. THE. FUCK.) so I stalked off downtown to post a box of stuff home including a rugby shirt I bought my dad as a present (I saw a nicer one today after I posted the box and was so pissed at myself for not finding the All Blacks shop here before), all my collected leaflets, my bone necklace in case Australian customs confiscated it, shells I'd picked up, a few of my t-shirts because I've bought more, a few bits and pieces like keyrings etc.... all of which cost me $64 to post. And that's “economy” rather than the fast post. I really hope it gets there because I love some of the stuff in that box but I just can't carry it all back to Oz. It can take up to 25 days though apparently, which means I may even beat it home and dad'll have to wait for his present which kind of sucks but I'll take it getting there intact over it getting there fast.

Actually it's just occurred to me that the necklace I bought the woman (and kind of want to steal for myself because it's so pretty *wants*) has paua shell in it, but I didn't post it because it would've made the box too expensive to lose. Hm. Australian customs are obsessive but I don't know if they'd be quite that bad. Also it's more annoying when I'm only there two weeks anyway, during which time it'll sit in my backpack, and then it'll go back to the UK.

Maybe I'll hide it in a sock or something, just in case. Though I really don't think they can be that bad. Maybe. Hopefully.

ALSO TODAY, in my day of nothing, I sat in Starbucks for hours reading and messing around on the laptop to avoid coming back to the hostel, had another 'famous' Fergburger, updated my travel diary almost current and finally, finally, after looking over most of New Zealand, found New Zealand stickers small enough to fill all the gaps on Beaver's lid so now he's totally stickered up. I keep turning him around to look and admire the pretty. There're tiki stickers. Tiki stickers. I love the ugly little tikis over here; they're so ugly and incredibly freaky that they stop being ugly/freaky and become cute. I even bought a bag today with one on, though I shouldn't have spent the money. I saw laptop cases with them on in Franz Joseph but now that I want a laptop case I, of course, cannot find any.

I have hopes of Christchurch though. Apparently it's as big on the souvenirs as here or Auckland, so hoprefully... A tiki laptop case for Beaver would be awesome or failing that, a plain one that I can buy a big tiki sticker for.

Also also today, I spent $10 on a magazine called M2 'the complete lifestyle magazine for the New Zealand man' because Hamster was on the cover and there was a great article on him inside, with a gorgeous picture of the TG3. I was even happier I bought it when I discovered their review on Star Trek started one paragraph with the exclamation “By Grabthar's hammer!”Clearly NZ magazines win at the random scifi references. :D They also asked Chris Pine if Kirk wasn't just about fighting and fucking, then gently mocked his shock at a journalist saying fuck. Win!

I'm a little sad that I never made it to Arrowtown today as I was contemplating, because it looked really cute on a postcard I saw this afternoon. But I was mainly going to see the Ford of Bruinen location and when the LotR location guidebook mentions you might have to get your feet wet in the river to get there, on top of all the rain there's been recently... I figured it was probably more effort than it was worth. Not to mention it's the kind of thing I'd rather do with another LotR fan, so maybe I'll drag people along next time I'm here. I'm definitely coming back to Queenstown when I come back to NZ because yeah okay, it's the party capital but it's also pretty. It's the only NZ town I've been to with actual personality approaching that of a European town. Plus being able to just glance up anywhere and see snowy mountains or a beautiful lake with snowy mountains helps a a lot.

Tomorrow I have to be in town at 7:45am to head to Dunedin.I'm thinking I might have to take a rain check on the scenery and sleep, but every time I think that I end up unable to sleep because I'm worrying that I'm missing the pretty scenery. Even though New Zealand is nothing but pretty scenery. I only have five more days of it. I can sleep on June 12th. Or rather 11th, since I'm planning to sleep away as much of my flight as possible.

I have time to kill. Bah. I hate having time to kill in this hostel because there's nothing to kill it with. I have one episode of Good News Week left to watch... but I can't download the newest one until maybe Monday so I don't know if I should hold out. Mmmmm.


And to conclude, I just went looking for this on Youtube on the offchance they'd uploaded it and there it was! My camera was attached to my laptop uploading pictures through the whole thing and I was just mourning not having a record of it this morning, but hurrah for Youtube.

Okay, brief backstory: this is from the Tasman Bay Backpackers which is where I stayed in Nelson, probably one of my favourite hostels of all despite the crappy internet. Every night at 8pm we got free chocolate pudding and ice-cream which was so awesome that George, amazing talented George who was already there when I arrived, had composed a song about it. (By the way, he is totally going to be famous today. We watched him write another song called 'Japanese Lady' and then none of us could stop singing it the next day. So. Talented.)

I'm not in this vid but I am just out of camera shot applauding with everyone else. I'm so glad they uploaded it.

And finally, now you've waded through all the random backstory, here it is: George Woodhouse sings 'Chocolate Pudding'. Trust me, it's worth watching just for George. :)

God did I love that hostel. <3 Though maybe it would've been less awesome without random guitar-toting blonds but maybe not. Free chocolate pudding doesn't come along every day.

That's put me in a good mood. Hurrah! :D And I'm leaving this hostel to-mooooorrrooowwww. Double hurrah!
clo_again: (Pigs Might Fly)
Today I went horse riding through Lothlorien, Amon Hen and Isengard. Plus locations from >Prince Caspian and Wolverine. We waded across rivers that came up over my boots even on my horse and cantered and I kind of loved my horse for the afternoon (my afternoon horse was a sweetheart called Wilson. YES I THOUGHT OF HOUSE), even before I found out he was one of the Prince Caspian horses. And our guide's horse this afternoon was a horse of Rohan. They had a bunch of film star horses. It was awesome.

Then I went for dinner with an American guy I met yesterday and then for drinks and it took me actually almost falling asleep on the table to get away. I left my hostel at 8:30am this morning and didn't get back until past 10pm; I have every excuse to be tired.

But the horse riding was so worth it. It was such a beautiful, awesome, freezing day. So, so worth the two months of anticipation; my only regret is that it was too muddy to canter more than twice. Apparently in the summer you can gallop all the way around the track we took, which just means I have to come back but until I've made back all the money I've spent on this trip... it was still an awesome day. I'm so happy I did it.

Tomorrow... tomorrow I'm sleeping in. And posting a box of all my souvenirs and crap back to the UK so I don't have to carry them anymore, which'll be nice. Now, I'm going to go sleep. It's an actual question over whether or not I can stay awake even long enough to change into pyjamas.

One of the girls I've met on this trip just friended me on Facebook... and we already have two mutual friends, one of which is K who I went to uni with and am bridesmaiding for.

...The world is really very small.

And on that revelation, bed.
clo_again: (John Simm - Made of awesome)
When people said that New Zealand eats money, they really weren't joking. I was just going to do the (free!) museum today but in the lift last night I spotted a poster for this LotR tour including Weta and... yeah. They actually pick up outside the museum though, so I'm figuring on a couple of hours museuming and then the tour and then some shopping to actually find somewhere that sells NZ jumpers/sweaters because it's really getting cold. Everyone keeps telling me to buy thermals for the south island.

Worse, I think they're actually serious. Where do you even buy thermals from? I don't exactly live in a country where you ever need them.

On a different note entirely, I ordered Paul McDermott's The Forgetting of Wisdom three weeks ago. Thought to ask my parents this week if 'anything had arrived for me recently' and was told no, nothing. Sent an email back basically along the lines of !!!!!!!!???????

And this morning they emailed to say "Well a book called The Forgetting of Wisdom arrived for you a week ago, is that what you meant?"

...And my parents were worried about me on my trip. You know what, I think they should spend more time worrying about the fact they have no clue what's going on.

Now I have to apologise to a nice Amazon marketplace seller for telling her the book hadn't arrived. Sigh. At least I hadn't asked for a refund yet, just double-checked when it was posted, so it is just a matter of grovelling a little.

Parents. There're no words.

(On yet another note, I'm staying in the YHA in Wellington and it's lovely. My view is out across the harbour and kicks ass, plus the beds are the most comfortable of any hostel so far. Nice hostels ftw! I'm a bit sad that I'm only here the two nights but tomorrow I head to Nelson. And in Nelson there's the shop of the jewellers who designed the One Ring for LotR... and they make replicas. No I'm not planning on emptying my bank account at all.

clo_again: (More Rain?)
A picture post for those not on my Facebook or who'd rather check it out here.

So today I went to Hobbiton (rather, a farm near Matamata owned by the Alexander family but really, Hobbiton.

Here be hobbitses precious. Rather rained-on and soggy hobbits... )

After getting back from Hobbiton slightly soggy despite the massive umbrellas they kept on hand for obviously such days, and very excited about The Hobbit film after spending the whole forty minute bus trip talking about it and the fact that they're actually making two films, The Hobbit and then a second film about what happens between Hobbit and Rings, which I did not know and is VERY EXCITING :DDD, I was kind of tired and didn't want to do much. However, the tour bus had come in on a different road than I'd been along before and I'd noticed a park with lots and lots of steam rising from it really close to my hostel. So, since I'm leaving in the morning and I hadn't yet seen any hot springs or boiling mud or anything that Rotorua is supposedly famous for, I stuck on my raincoat and went along.

Now, you have to understand that I find this place entirely batshit. I cannot imagine why anyone would look at boiling mud and think it's sensible to build right next door to it. So I went into the park stepping warily in case of sinkholes and thinking of Centralia which I've found both fascinating and terrifying ever since I first stumbled across it (probably I think, in reference to Silent Hill which used the idea of the town abandoned due to a coal fire. Yes I was thinking of Silent Hill too and twitching considerably even though I haven't even played/seen it). Anywhere that has steam rising from the ground cannot be safe, really. And as I walked around the admittedly impressive park, with steaming ponds and lakes (one complete with ducks), deep holes in the ground from which the sounds of boiling water could be heard or worse, boiling mud, puddles in the path that steamed, a distinctly unpleasant smell and more-than-slightly alarming orange tape around a few areas where apparently the ground had subsided into a sinkhole and they hadn't had time to build a proper solid fence yet... all I could think was 'I'm so freaking glad that I'm leaving here tomorrow.'

I'm not saying it wasn't an impressive park. It's not just everywhere you can wander in and see mud bubbling happily away while clouds of thick steam rise through autumn trees. But what gets me, especially when I stumbled through the steam along a wooden path to find myself on boling mud flats with dead trees and water that would probably burn my fingers off if I touched it, was this place is in the centre of town. There're houses and hostels and shops built all around the edges of this park. From the orange tape, clearly new sinkholes and hot pools open up on occasion.

Who in their right mind would live next to that? I have no idea, same as I have no idea why people would want to stay in Centralia. You couldn't pay me to live here in Rotorua. Seriously.

Have some pictures of why )

I need to pack and book my Uluru trip which I still haven't done, so I can cancel my disappeared card... and all I want to do is watch another episode of Good News Week (the two latest podcasts downloaded today, hurrah!) I'm tired and it's lovely to have the hostel room to myself for a bit so I can watch stuff without headphones. Eh. Maybe one more episode. Then productivity. Probably.

I really enjoyed Hobbiton today. I bought a LoytR location guidebook from the little shop after and it mentions the horse riding stables I'm doing my day's riding with (I need to call them soon and give them card details; must remember!) There's also apparently a superb LotR shop in Queenstown. I might've got a bit excited over that. LotR shop! :DDDD Awesome!

And now productivity. Yes.
clo_again: (Doctor Who - Rose)
Am in [ profile] acityofwonder's! I actually caught my bus and made it to Brisbane on my lonesome with no problems. Feel v. pleased with self. :D I have a very fluffy cat* sleeping at my feet, Good News Week downloading (for free! but very slowly) off iTunes and many, many shiny plans for the rest of the time I'm here. All is awesome.

* I wish to steal him. Sssshh. Don't tell Kellie! ;) Even though she's reading over my shoulder.

Also, in a week I'll only have one more morning left in Australia (until June anyway) before I fly to New Zealand. So really, that's over a third of the trip gone.

It feels like I only just got here. Sigh. Met a lovely guy from London on the bus up from Sydney who'd been travelling for a year and still had another year to go after three months home over the summer. I had envy. Going to try and meet up when I'm in London in June for a drink and continued envy. The people you meet backpacking are so, so awesome. Hopefully I'll meet some crazy LotR fans in NZ. I wish I had a slashy LotR t-shirt to wear so any slashers could pick me out and we could squee together. Hm. Or even just a "Still not King" one.

I forgot to say that while in Canberra with [ profile] mayakitten, we saw a student with a bag covered in Doctor Who badges, including things like "VOTE SAXON", "BEWARE THE WEEPING ANGEL, love from the Doctor" and "I SURVIVED THE TIME WAR". I desperately wanted to pouncetackle her and declare my love for Australian Doctor Who fans for being awesome.

I also kind of wanted to steal her badges but searching has just thrown up this site so now my life is all good. I should actually check out getting them while I'm here in Oz because the postage is cheaper. Hm.

Tomorrow. Now I have an eighteen hour bus trip to sleep off while GNW downloads. :D I hope I can still iTunes them all when I'm back in the UK too.


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