Travel, Uncategorized

Fiji, New Zealand and Rugby World Cup 2011

Before I start this blog I must mention a friend of mine, BRADY MCMAHON..

BRADY

He was very angry and upset that he didn’t get a mention in the last one! He mentioned me in a few of his blogs so I suppose I owe it to him. Brady is a friend I met in Korea, he’s American but don’t hold that against him. All I have to say about him is one time he tried to kill me by pushing me in front of  a bus.

So from Korea I travelled to Fiji, where I would meet up with Phil, we hadn’t seen each other in 7 months at this point (all together now “awww”!). So 3 flights, 14 hours and a hangover later I arrived in Fiji, where you are greeted in the airport by men singing and playing guitars! I arrived at 6am in the morn and Phil didn’t get in until 7pm so I spent the day sleeping and then went to meet him. Phil had been travelling for about 48 hours at this point, so as you can imagine, the reunion was a romantic one!!!

Fiji really is paradise, full of picture perfect scenery. The beaches are sandy and beautiful, the water clear and turquoise. Mainland Fiji is nothing to write home about, and is actually a tourist trap, with friendly people outside shops trying to drag you in. They ask where you’re from and it seems that they have memorised one famous person’s name from every country! When we said Ireland, they all said “Ah Brian O’Driscoll” but couldn’t say much else about him! Once you leave the mainland and head for the islands, that’s when you realise the beauty of Fiji.

The islands vary in size but many of them are very small. We stayed on some

Beach Hut

which you could walk around in 10 minutes flat. Many of the islands don’t have electricity, or they only have electricity for a few hours every day. Of course there are bigger, more luxurious islands, which have all the mod cons, but we wanted to experience the smaller ones and the lives of the locals who live there. And my god did we experience everyday Fiji! On one island we stayed in a tiny hut right on the beach, with no toilet, so when you needed the bathroom you had to bring your torch and wander into what was like a small forest to locate the toilet! And on another we discovered a tarantula in our bedroom 5 minutes before the electricity was about to go out for the night!!

Fiji is the most relaxed place I have ever been, the people are so laid back and everything runs on “Fiji time”, which means it happens when it happens! Fiji is a place you go to if you want a holiday where you don’t actually do much. We spent our days on the beach, snorkelling and kayaking (although after I floated out to sea and away from our island that was the end of that!) and our nights eating great food, meeting travellers and drinking Cava with local Fijians.  We snorkelled with manta rays which was a truly amazing experience, we snorkelled with reef sharks and got to touch one, which was an exhilarating experience, and we watched a rugby world cup game squashed into a room with about 40 Fijians from the neighbouring islands who had no tv’s and that was an exciting experience! Overall we loved the 2 weeks we spent in Fiji, again I could write about it all day, but I have yet to write about New Zealand so I will finish writing about Fiji by saying AMAZING!

From Fiji we flew to Auckland where we were meeting up with Boca and going to some world cup games!!! We spent about 3 and a half weeks in the North Island, in Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua,Waiheke Island, Lake Taupo and Wellington. Auckland is a great city and it was even more alive than usual because of the world cup. Being there for the world cup is something I will never forget; everyone was in great spirits, and there was an excitement around that you couldn’t miss. There were people from all over and everyone was there for the same reason; to cheer on their team and to have a good time!

We went to the game between Ireland and Australia and what a game it was.

After Irl beat Australia

The atmosphere in the stadium was electric, it was sensational, and when the final whistle went, the crowd went wild! There was a huge Irish crowd there and security had a hard time getting us all to stop singing and dancing after the game! The Kiwi’s were as happy as us that we beat Australia, so that night it was like New Zealand had won a game! If you were in the city and you had the Irish colours on, the Kiwi’s loved you!!!

The south island of New Zealand is sure to leave you breathless. Even Phil was left in awe and as he says himself he usually doesn’t take any notice. But on the south island you can’t help but notice your surroundings, especially when travelling along the coast. We rented a camper van to travel around the south island and it was the best thing we ever did. With the van we got to see so much more than you would if you used public transport. We could travel on our own time and make our own plans. We basically travelled the whole of the south island apart from a little bit in the south. I don’t know if I can pick a favourite place but Queenstown is spectacular and Wanaka is so picturesque.

You could never get bored in New Zealand, there are so many crazy adventure activities you can do, and you can do them everywhere! If you had money to burn you could do something adrenaline-pumping in EVERY town

Me and Cian Healy

in New Zealand. Some of the things we did included white water rafting, a sky swing (for those of you who haven’t seen the video please watch it just to see Phil’s face!!), a luge, and a sky dive. We saw a glacier, we went to a Maori Experience, we saw geothermal activity (those areas really smell like rotten eggs!), we saw mud pools and geysers exploding 20 foot into the air. We went to so many hot thermal pools and springs, which by the way are amazing, we saw kiwi’s (the bird not the people!) and we went whale watching. We went to 2 rugby world cup games and we met some of the Irish team in Rotorua in the pub, we went on a tour of different vineyards and as a result Phil now considers himself a wine connoisseur!!

New Zealand was too good to put into words, there is so much to see and do and the people are really nice and friendly. We spent 7 weeks there in total and if we had more money, we could have easily spent another 7 weeks travelling around. Once again I haven’t even scraped the surface on what I could write about New Zealand but I will leave it at that for now!

Until next time 🙂

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