NZ North: Lake Aniwheniwer and Blue Duck Station

In the afternoon we drove to Lake Aniwheniwer which is a cultural stop. A Maori family own a hostel and have close links with the local community and mori for their tribe. So in that afternoon they take you to look at some stone wall carvings and then to the mori where they welcome you onto the land by singing and everyone completes the hongi.

That night they cook a hangi which is a traditional meal cooked in the ground. This was pretty tasty; mainly the stuffing!

This one night stop costs $95 dollars so it’s pretty pricey but quite a unique experience.  If your tight on money, work out your alternate route (Rotorua to Taupo) in advance otherwise you won’t end up saving money. Unless you plan to hitchhike!

There were great (paid) activities you could do throughout the afternoon such as bracelet weaving, bread making, poi making and in the late evening eeling.

Can definitely recommend the bread making as it tasted so good ( its fried like doughnuts) and the late night eeling – used to feed the next stray bus so no waste.

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Day 6 AM: Lake Aniwheniwer day trip to a maori school.

This was a very unique and nice experience to share with the kids from the school.  Their school was fantastic and it was lovely to hear about their progress with their academic achievements because of the visits.

Day 7: Blue duck station (farm)

Quiet day just enjoyed being in the middle of nowhere.  Did a long and very muddy walk to a waterfall.

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If you are not on the Stray bus it’s not necessarily worth the detour.  There are hikes there but we couldn’t do them due to the bad weather.

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South Thailand – Phuket

Onto Phuket…

Some really bad planning on our part meant that we were travelling on Songkran. This is Thai New Year, a national holiday and the day to engage in a massive water fight. No one is safe! So unfortunately the traffic was awful. Anyway we got to the bus station in Phuket not too late. However, we then had a 40 min journey and the only transport on offer was a 450B beemo….the sides are completely open. Needless to stay we and our stuff got completely soaked… as we couldn’t get our phones out the driver then dropped us at the wrong place and even though we asked him to wait, by the time the reception had told us this wasn’t our hostel, he had disappeared. Lara ran down the street but nothing… b*&^rd!!! So after a meltdown, and realising there were no taxis on duty as they were all in the water fight, we decided it was time to walk. We had been calling taxis for 3.5 hours by this point! The walk was only 30 mins but with all our stuff and water carnage going on things weren’t looking good. We stared walking and by the time we got to the end of the road a scooter stopped to ask if we needed a ride. In desperation we paid him the 250B and proceeded to balance myself, Danielle, x3 massive bags and a Thai man onto a small scooter. I wish someone had a picture! So we made our way through the soaked streets of Patong. As I said before no one is safe…the driver tried his best to tell people to not wet our bags, and a lot of people were respectful of this, but Songkran almost reminded me of reading lord of the flies and with that we got completely soaked.

So anyway sadly we missed getting involved in the new year celebrations and just got pissed off! Travelling lesson 1 million and 1: make sure you know dates of all festivals and public holidays!

The next couple of days we hired a moped and explored the beaches to the south of the island.  Firstly Karon beach where we sat for a lovely sunset. We’ve managed to see loads of stunning sunsets on the west side of Thailand.  Karon beach is really busy with loads of water sports, however it’s still a nice spot with great soft sand and blue seas for swimming.

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The next day we went a bit further south to Nai Harn beach and Karon view point. We managed to get lost and find a small deserted beach with just a few fishing boats and a great cheap place to have lunch.

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We also made sure to have a little explore of patong at night time….don’t worry we did not go to a ping pong show!

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From Phuket we got a ferry to Koh Phi Phi, this was 350B which included the transfer from our hostel to the Pier in Phuket.