A Travellerspoint blog

Catching Up and More Auckland

Rain and Sun makes the day VERY interesting...

all seasons in one day 16 °C

Hello one and all!

I just wanted to upload a few more photos. Here is some I took wandering around Rotorua. The first is the Rotorua Museum...What a beautiful building!!


THis is a little (actually medium-sized) Bird in Rotorua park.


Lake Rotorua had a number of beautiful black swans....


My last night in Kiwi Pakas...Look at all these boys wearing Stripes, and then silly Hankyop in the middle with plaid plaid, plaid!


And this pic makes me laugh everytime...Hankyop and I must have been sharing a joke...hahaha



Some photos taken in Auckland...


The sky tower takes up almost every pic!! heh!


This was taken on Poisonby...I went for a nice long walk today in search of the Hard to Find (But Worth it) Second Hand Bookstore. It WAS hard to find, and WOULD have been MORE worth it had they a copy of Atlas Shrugged, which I have been trying to find. I bought a copy of Heinlen short stories instead.


I know this is hard to see, but this really takes the cake. I thought Europe's smoking warnings were blunt. The ciggs here have horrible photographs on them with really awful warnings. This one says "Smoking Causes Gangrene"...they also have pictures of withered fetuses, shrivling lungs, rotten eyeballs, and throat cancerous legions on their cigg packages...no kidding!

I had a nice day today, walking around the city, dodging the occasional raindrop and trying to keep warm. I'm very thankful to Auntie Cathy for giving me a warm fleese pullover! I needed it today. I got back to the Hostel and its nice and warm here...mmmm...I took a little nap after washing some undies and now I'm waiting for mum to get on Skype...it seems we're having some technical difficulties. I'm online and she SAYS she is, but she's not showing up....arrrg! Technology can be so tricky sometimes!!

I've got some Thai Baht ahead of time and reserved a place for tomrrrow night in Bangkok. Hey MOMS ON! GOTTA GO

Lub croftee

Posted by LadyCroft 20:57 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)


well, the temperature of the air is cold...but the water is NIIIICE

all seasons in one day -7 °C
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I've not got much time to really get into detail, so i'm just going to Get some of these pictures up.


Here's Theo, Martin, Lindsey, Matthew and JB at the Globe in Auckland, the night before we left.


Theo in the front and JB behind at our Hostel's geothermally heated pool. mmm

The Geyser behind us!!!


Wai-o-topo geothermal area....smelly, but fun!

Oh and this is me and Martin on the Way to Rotorua yesterday, Thats Lake Taupo!


THe weather had turned pretty rainy, but there are strange patches of sun. I think when it rains we'll just sit in the hot springs. NO idea what's instore for tommrrow....Keep ya updated.

Hugs and Love from FAR FAR away!


Posted by LadyCroft 18:09 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Auckland to Rotorua

Two French Men, a Dutch Man, and an Irish Girl get into a car....sounds like the start of some kind of bad joke...

sunny 18 °C
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but actually its the beginning of lots of good times!

Martyn and I are getting along great! He was in Auckland a few weeks ago, and knows all the cheapest super markets to shop at and the least expensive places to eat. After my long internet session last night, we met up with the french boys, Theo and GB, who he had been in touch with for some time. We met up with a brother sister couple Matthew and Lindsey and we went for dollar sushi. It was pretty yummy and it was everyone else's first time eating sushi! but not mine!! yum!

Then we went to the Globe Bar, just downstairs from Central City Backpackers. It was a pretty good dance club, and I was suprised to see so many people dancing, playing pool, and doing all the usual antics reserved for the weekend, all on a Tuesday night. We raised a few glasses and soon some of us were dancing to the crazy loud music. It was fun seeing people from so many places bring all their own style to the club. It was dizzying trying to keep up with all the accents and styles and I emmensly enjoyed it!

Around 1:30 I went upstairs to bed, and still I could hear the thudding beat of the music coming from the guts of the building...as if it has a ferocious heartbeat into the wee hours of morning. But this didn't stop me from collapsing into the most comfortable bed I've slept in in 6 weeks, and sleeping so hard that I didn't ruffle any of the sheets by morning. It was if I was made INTO the bed!

I got up early, before Martyn, and showered, dressed and went in search of yogurt and berries, tea, and i even got a dunkin donaut, which I could NOT resist. (Chocolate frosted with rainbow sprinkles, if you have to know). Martyn and I joined Theo and GB at 8:30 and well all squeezed into a small silver sadan with all our bags and headed South to Lake Tapou.

A little backround here. I was planning on going north from Auckland, but the offer to share a rented car was too good to pass up. The car is only $15/ day. Thats it. Not per person. Per DAY! So the four of us are splitting gas, which isn't too bad.

I was mostly interested in going, however, because Martyn told me about this amazing walk between two volcanos that took 8 hours. I really wanted to do it. I mean WOAH! The broshours looked amazing. Martyn, Theo, and GB also want to go sky diving, which I'm definatly not interested in doing, but thats here in Lake Tapeo too.

Anyhow, driving 3 hours from Auckland we arrived at Lake Tapaou and we all split a large pizza and walked along the wake. The air was brisk and cool, but the sun just warm enough to be really pleasureable on the back. I got some great pictures here, but I've reached my limit for the month so I'm going to request that they up my limit, until then, those of you with face book, go there, I'll try to update my photo album there.

We got back in the car and drove another hour. THe hills became rather rugged and the green rolling pastures gave way to pine tree forests and rocky mountainous stuff. We arrived at Rotorua just now and checked into the YHA, also known as Kiwi Packers. Now all four of us are on the internet...heh.

Sadly, the weather is going to turn crap for the next few days, and there is a strong advisory out that doing the 8-hour walk is a BAD idea. So I think, sadly, that I will not be able to do it. But there is lots to do around here. Rotorua smells like sulfer because the entire ground and bedrock is laced with geothermal activity. There is a hot pool right here in the YHA which I will be getting into as soon as i'm done typing. There are gysers to go see, and some short walks that shouldn't be too bad even in the rain tommrrrow. Furthermore, there are hot mud baths that should be really nice to relax in!

So I've got 2 full days here to chill and then I've got to return to Auckland, probably by bus, as I doubt these guys will be ready to go yet. I'm not sure what else is in store, but I'll keep the updates coming.

I'm in really good company, the guys are really nice. GB and Theo are trying very hard to speak english and we all end up laughing most of the time at all the miscommunications that go on...but since I speak pretty good french we always work out what we're trying to say. They they yell at me not to speak french because they want to learn english, which is good, but I WANT TO PRACTICE FRENCH! hahaha.

Scenery is amazing. Air is sooooo fresh and clean. NZ is so enviornmentally conscious its ming-boggling. At the ATM the scean that asks if you want a recept says "Please consider the enviornment before answering this question: do you want a recept". Signs along the road read "Know when you are tired". I havn't seen one speck of trash ANYWHERE. Not in the city, not in the suburubs, or along the roadway. I've never seen a country so desirious to remain clean and so dedicated to enviornmentalism. Its truely awe inspiring.

I love you all much! kisses and hugs

Posted by LadyCroft 20:50 Archived in Fiji Tagged backpacking Comments (0)


Leaving is so hard to do...

sunny 26 °C
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Hey everyone

Sorry for the terrible long interlude. I was in Nananu-i-ra, and as i will explain later, i couldn't leave (it was TOO awsome) and I had no internet there....so here's what I've been doing.

here's me at the Beach at Beverlies just before Sunset.

Taveuni was just outstanding. I hiked in Bouma National Forest to two amazingly beautiful waterfalls. At their base were deep blue pools that begged a hot sweaty hiker to delve in, and delve in I did. You could swim right up to the thundering water and swim underneith. The suction wasn't too great (the locals were doing it) and then it would push you out the other side. The wind blew forociously my heart raced with excitement feeling the stinging water against my face, and being so close to a torrent of water that fell from almost 100 feet into the a most beautiful natural swiming hole. One could also climb up on the rocks behind the waterfall, and jump in: about a 15 foot drop. The water was deep: not sure how deep, but i never touched bottom.

I spent 4 of the days with Charlie and Helen, and I'll never forget all they're amazing stories of crewing on boats and sailing the world. They left a few days before me. I was sad to see them go!
helen and charlie

Here's me at the International Dateline.

I also built a MONUMENTAL SAND CASTLE, which I might have mentioned earlier: here are the photos

I was sad to leave Beverlies Campground in Taveuni. Bill, the owner, became like family, and Suk-my taxi driver, took such good care of me. The ferry from Taveuni to Suva was pretty rough.

The Sofe used to be an old Russion Cargo ship- its primary occupents were cockroaches, and it rolled back and forth incessently in the rough seas, and menuvering with a 35 pound pack on your back, isn't easy. I'll tell you. The indoor area might have been a nice place to chill, only the TV remained on all day playing loud and I mean LOUD jesus preach-festing programmes. I stayed on deck the entire time. and slept. Nearly all day. We stopped in Savu Savu on the way and i dashed to the Copra Shed hoping to see some of my friends there, but Leto, Lop to, Wyora, and Morning Light had all left already. Rebording the Ferry I had to find somewhere suitable to sleep. It got too chillly to sleep on deck, so I found a spot off to the side inside where the kung foo movie-volume still blasting- was now playing. I laid my sheet on the ground, and lay upon it, wrapping myself around my back like a huge body pillow, and slept: or tried to sleep. I mostly slept anyways, waking up periodically. But THEN THERE WAS LIGHT! AND LO! WE HAD FINALLY ARRIVED IN SUVA!

Suva was a city. The big Smoke. ew. I had no desire to linger. I deplaned (do you deplane off boats?) and walked to the bus station. I was 40 minutes early for the bus to Raki Raki, so i drank some tea, ate a scone (both delicious and both coming to a whopping 1.30-cheap!) and then did some shopping. I planned on staying in Nananu for 3 days. THREE days....just three days....yeah. right.

The bus ride to Ellington Wharf, outside Raki Raki was splendid. The scenery was dramatic, the land rising on either side of the bus into dramatic rock formations, mountains, splashing streams, and villages full of waving children and friendly smiling villagers. It was a 3 hour bus ride on the King's Road and most of the way was unpaved and pretty rough. but it didn't matter. It all added to the charm and adventure that IS fiji! I walked from the Bus stop to the wharf (forgoing a 2$ taxi ride) passing goats tied up to the side of the road chewing grass and saying "baa" at me as I passed.

At the wharf I summoned (via the phone there) a boat ride to Nananu-i-ra island. It was a 15 minute boat ride, which I enjoyed emmencely, feeling the wind in my face clipping across the choppy waters to the beautiful Island of Nananu.

I would soon fall in love with this place. But not for a few days exactly.

[/b]at low tide you can walk between Nananu-i-ra and Dolphan Island, which is what I'm doing here, the day before I left. Guido took the picture! THANKS GUIDZ!

McDonalds Cottages were really nice. Apparently lots of people had left that weekend and the place was mostly empty. My 6 bed dorm only had me and a nice guy named Thor, who was taking Kite-Surfing lessons on the other side of the island during the day. I enjoyed the quite vibe for a few days. I took a kyack out and paddled around a bit, read my book, and watched the sun set every night. I cooked my food and drank lots of water and tea.

Then on the last "planned" day, I was really in the mood for some society. I walked to the other side of the island (a long arduous 10 minutes) and meandered up to Safari Lodge.

Tim, Sake, Rebecca, Me, Guido, Ima, and Roger- I miss you!

THIS PLACE WAS AWSOME. It was full of amazing people from all over: Canadians, Aussies, Kiwis, Americans, Japanese, Argentians, Brits and more! They were all young and spunky. The bar was open all day and music played loudly and everyone gathered around the dinner table each evening and chatted and played games and watched movies. OH SAFARI LODGE! Where have you BEEN my whole life?!?

For a measly 4 dollars more, i was moved in. My dorm was way up at the top of the hill behind the lodge, and it was BEAUTIFUL! It was newly built, only opened a few months ago. The kitchen was lined with windows the entire wall faced the eastern sun and the ocean stetching into the distance. I kept telling myself I'd probably just stay one more day. But I was enjoying myself so much, i stayed, and stayed again, and then stayed until just the day before I flew out.

On my first day in Safari Lodge I splurged on my last fiji adventure and signed up for a day kyacking trip with 5 others. We were bused south and dropped with our kyacks into a river. We paddled the river into the mouth of Viti Levu Bay. The river was beautiful, as we paddled in dappled sunlight underneith a canopy of thick green foliage. Eitherside became a dense mangrove forest full of birdsong and the droning of insects. The brackish water gave way to the slightly wavey bay water, and soon we were paddling hard against the wind, large swells washing over the bows. (they were 2 man kyacks, i was in front). it was thrilling, and not -at-all scary. I just sang songs in my head and got a good rhythem going. Soon me and the old man (my paddling buddy) were far ahead of anyone else! WE ROCK!
[b]me and captain dick in Undine, our aptly named little boat...big boat actually: it weighed like a billion pounds.

Soon we turned the corner of the bay, the hard part behind us. Our guide, a local gal named Bola, led us towards her village. It was a bit scary traversing the coral, and one had to paddle in at just the right angle and time, so avoid hitting the coral wrong. But once we cleared it, it was smooth riding to the white sandy beach. A small bevy of children met us and squeeled with delight, looking with big eyes at our paddles and boats. We then picniced upon sandwhiches, somosas, pasta salad, chips, and oreos. We drank tang, and finished with coffee. It was stuffed!

Despite the protest in my arms, I was eager to keep going and soon we were paddling again, the wind mercyfully behind us. We were making really good time, skirting the coral reefs, seeing manta rays and fish gliding by beneith the water below us. The land was a dramatic mix of greens, terraced gardens, forests, grassy vallys, and scrub dotted peaks. Pecular knobs of rock jutted unexpected upwards from the already vaulted earth and nestled between these outcroppings and the auqa-marine water lay tiny villages full of thatched dwellings. The sun began its slow decent towards the west, and soon we could see Ellington Wharf in the distance. I wondered to myself if my fellow paddlers would be willing to kyack all the way to the island, as we were given the option to get out here. Luckily, everyone wanted to paddle on. So we pushed our burning shoulders and arms the last 6 kms out to Nananu.

We arrived feeling triumphant as well as utterly releived to have made it. We went for a nice swim and then I trekked, arms and shoulders screaming, up to my dorm and had my first hot shower in weeks and weeks. It felt amazing. that 4 extra bucks were worth it. I thought.

The next few days at Nananu were some of my best in Fiji. I will never forget th friends I made. Guido, Roger, Sole, Warren, Rebecca, Devin, and many others. I snorckled, and walked the entire way around the island. Once, I was really thirsty, and happened upon a mango tree, gathered the fallen fruit, and had the most satisfying snack of my life.

Speak of food. How did I do? The meal plan there was pretty pricey, as were the individual meals. So I went to a tiny store on the other side of the island and bought potatoes and pasta. I ate A LOT of potatos and pasta for a few days. Fried potatoes, boiled potatoes, backed Patatos, hashbrowns, etc etc. I had butter, salt, pepper, and olive oil to spruce things up. but it was boring: let me tell you. I also had some peanut butter and crackers, and there were enough papayas on the trees around the place for me to eat fruit each morning. I also drank a lot of tea. So i survived!

We had an awsome grog session Saturday night, our friend Sake coming from a village in the mainland, and bringing Kava with him. We all sat around the traditional Kava bowl and passed around the grog in coconut halves, clapping as we did so. A lovely feeling of numbness starts in your face and begins to spead as one drinks the grog. Later that night I would go out with some of the others for a midnight walk to the pier, where we sat on the boardwalk watching the vivid stars and the expansive milky way spead out above us and twinkling with the light of ages.
Soli clearly ENJOYING the Kava, with her poor bandaged stingray afflicted leg in bandages, and Warren, the charming and handsome Aussie owner of Safari Lodge.

I dreaded leaving. I really did. My last day i was up with the sunrise, its light flooding my dorm room-the sun was just this massive orange ball, its heat already apparent at 5:50 in the morning. I swam in the ocean for the last time. I relished the drones of the insects in the trees. I said goodbye to my new friends. but i'll tell you, i was looking forward emmensly to a delicious meaty curry in Nadi!!


Here's Guido and I having fun while watching my last Fiji Sunset! There are more pics of Guido creating "liquid fire" but its too much to post them all here-but they're all so amazing.

I was given a private (and free) ride back to nadi, since it was already going there to pick up some new arrivals bound for Safari Lodge that afternoon. I mailed back my tent, skyped with my mum and went to my dorm to read.

I opted for a 2 man dorm, 3$ more, but would garuntee a quieter nights sleep in this busy hostel. I finished reading "A Woman of Substance" which was hard since I cried hard during the last 50 pages. This 800 page behemoth of literary greatness brought me to tears again and again, and sometimes I just put the book down and cried hard. It was SOOO good, and I havn't read a book that engulfing in a long time.

So then, as i'm red eyed and still snotty, 3 pages from the end, there is a knock at my door.

Martyn introduces himself: he is dutch, and the receptionist told me i was bound for Auckland in the early morning. He asks if we might share a taxi ride. I agree readily, explain my pityful state to him, and also my need to finish out the last 3 pages, and then a few minutes later, book finished, join him and another solo traveller named Vinet downstairs. We drink hotchocolates and orange fantas and talk about travelling. Vinet is a really cool guy born in China but raised in Australia, whose claim to fame is killing Zena, warrior princess in the finale episode, which is pretty dam cool. He spent the last four months meditating and eating raw food in the Lao Group. As for Martyn, turns out we're on the same plane the next day.

We switch seats so we're next to eachother. And then take the bus together into the city and then stay in the same room. He has plans to meet 2 french boys who are renting a van and heading south to Rotorua and Lake Tompo (or something like that) and doing a long day hike. I think I'm going to join them.

Right now we have yet to meet up with them. We've left a note at their hostel up the road. The hiking down south will probably be outstanding, and I'm hoping to get an 8 hour hike in between 2 volcanos in a landscape that looks somthing like mars.

I might still go north as planned, but things are up in the air until I meet and approve of the French boys. I'll return early to Auckland this weekend (where I might see ROGER from Safari lodge again, if I"m lucky) and then I'll be taking my milaria medication and planning on going to bangkok next Tuesday! WOW

Auckland is beautiful. Its fresh, sunny, and 60 degrees, a glorious early spring day. Downtown is full , i mean, packed full of young people, backpackers, and college students. Everyone here is beautiful, trendy, hip, unique, etc it seems. Everyone's got somewhere to go, or nowhere, because here is awsome. I found a good place up the street (actually Martyn showed it to me, he was here 2 weeks ago) that serves up massive oriental dishes for under 7 bucks. The hostel is 8 stories tall, and brimming with more flavors of people than baskin robbins has icecream. It's 26 bucks a night, and i'm in an 8 man dorm. Under the bunks are huge lockers where one can store their bag and lock it tight while away, which is cool. The internet is pretty decent too.

I'm off to post much of this to the travel blog. Much love to everyone and i miss you all so much.

Posted by LadyCroft 22:39 Archived in Fiji Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Taveuni -the Garden Isle!

in the rain, in the sun-but usally in both!

One of the strangest things about Taveuni, is that it will be a blindingly bright, hot, and sunny day, and next thing you know, it's misting-a nice soft light rain. You look up. You see blue sky. There isn't a cloud in sight. And yet it mists. and mists. Where does it come from!??

Very strange indeed.

I arrived Taveuni last Sunday and shared a Taxi ride with a LOVELY couple from England with whom I'd met on the ferry. We made it to Beverlies CampGround just a 15 minute walk from Matai. Bill, the owner is REALLLLY nice.

It POURED rain the first night, which was the test for my new tent and guess what!? I actually stayed dry! Yippeee! I visited the International Dateline and stood in both Today and Yesterday (pretty weird!) and also watched the locals slide down the water falls outside Weyevo. (looked like total suiside after 12 hours of rainfall...but the locals made it look easy!!)

The rain cleared up and I've gone on long walks from Weyevo to SomaSoma. The towns are really small and cute, it doesn't take long to see all there is to see here. And yet the charm is in talking to the locals, buying fruits and veg at the market everyday, and making friends with all the doggies that roam freely about the place.

The place is exceedingly buggie, might I add. I suppose much of the outdoors of Fiji is. There is a prepondernce of creepy crawlies that particularly like to live in the outdoor showers/bathrooms at Beverlies Campground. By day its mosquitos, spiders, and centipeds. By night, its usually the above, plus short fat orange lizards that look gecko like, plus huge moths the size of a small childs head. In Fiji there are ants everywhere. All over the tent, IN the tent, on your dinner, on the beach, in the woods, on the rocks, crawling up your leg, on your face etc etc et al infititum. or whatever. There is a particular spider that lives IN the toilet, which is really REALLY disconcerting. He likes to chill right in the bowl above the water line, and its not like i'm going to flush him or anything, cuz i'm not about to piss off the spider gods, in a place where spiders outnumber me 1 million to one. There is another spider that's made his web from my tent to the tree above, which i guess is okay cuz then he'll eat, well-other bugs.

There are also crabs EVERYWHERE. By night, shining one's flashlight over the sand, one can see 5 or 10 crabs at any one time scuttling this way and that. One crab lives underneith my tent right where my pillow is. It was really disconcerting hte first night hearing him (or her) scuttling and scraping this way and that, literally inches beneith my ear!! At first it really disturbed me, but now I"m quite use to it, and it doesn't bother me.

I still had a very slight ear ache so I went to the doctor here in Somo Somo. Bill, who owns Beverly Campground and who considers me "family" now (his Grandfather is Irish) told me that the doctor was only $20. Well, turns out it cost $50 for the consultation (special tourist price) and another $20 for the anti-biotics. 2 days later my ear feels back to normal, but dammit if that didn't blow my whole budget!! So I've been laying low, not really going anywhere or buying anything or doing anything.

I DID build a momumental sandcastle which got rained upon soon after its completion. Then a dog came and pooped on the remains. THen a small child came and pile drived the remains (both the dogs remains and my castles remains-so i had a good laugh about it) I did finish reading my book (sooo sad its over, have to find another). I Did make a mini-dinosaur bone repilca out of white coral i foudn on the beach, which another dog came and puked on, and then another dog came and peed on. (Whats with the dogs!?!?) I did memormize more Yeats. I Did go to Audrie's Cafe and eat chocolate cake and coffee and had a cup of her delicious homemade khalua (got the recipe too)- other than that I've been cooking very simply for myself and keeping my budget to under 20 / day to make up for the evil price gouging doctor.

(ps on this story: Bill feels really bad about me paying so much to the doctor: he actually went to town and let her know his indignation and informed her that he shall NOT be sending any more of his clients her way...so there. Aw, bill is SO nice)

I had planned on leaving on the Ferry to Suva Friday (tommrrow) but turns out its Fiji Day tommrrow, and the next Ferry doesn't leave til Sunday! FIE!!!

Good thing is, i can start spending somewhat more normally because thats 2 more days of regular budgeting to account for. So I think tommrrrow I'll see if i can find any local festivities to attend (there might not be any) and Saturday I'll go To Bouma National Park and hike to some waterfalls.

My plans for the next few days (modified:)

9 AM Sunday ferry leaves to SavuSavu. Arrives SavuSavu at noon and departs at 1PM and arrives Suva very frekkin late at night. (11 pm ish) THen early the next morning I'll get on a bus to Raki Raki via the Kings Road

My new friends, Helen and Charlie, will still be able to take the ferry back to SS tommrrow, and I shall miss them very much!! They were great neighbors and were just full of amazing stories about sailing from England, through the carrebian and into the pacific. They've been just inspirational, and now more than ever i want to learn to sail and do a round the world trip via sailboat. Oooh the possibilties are endless.

Once they're gone, I"ll still be in good company. A couple named Lucas and Peter (Peter is a girl) from Australia are here with their two children and are staying at Beverlies as well. They have a little bure to live in , and are staying in Fiji for 10 months! wow! They have lots of good advice and I feel very safe with them around> Furthermore, as aformentioned, Bill has been very good to me and keeps a close eye on me too. I've also come to know many of the people in his family, his neices, nephews, grandsons, and his wife, of course, who cooks a really good fish and taro dish! yum!

Anyways, I shall try to update before leaving Taveuni, but if not it shall be from the mainland of Viti Levu-Suva or possibly Raki Raki.

take care everyone!!! miss you tons!!

Posted by LadyCroft 20:17 Comments (2)

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