Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Island Hoppin' around Auckland!

Sunday finally had better weather then the rest of the rainy weekend... it still rained some but on and off and with the sun out, very weird day. Kathryn and I woke up early and took a chance to take the ferry to Rangitoto Island around 9:15. Rangitoto Island is near Auckland, it erupted from the sea in a series of dramatic explosions around 600 years ago, which makes it the youngest island in the Hauraki Gulf and the last and largest volcano to be formed in the Auckland volcanic field!!!!! I loved seeing all the volcanic rock and the native plants that inhabit the island! It was very beautiful and i couldn't believe i was on a volcano!

Sabrina was going to go on a boat tour also so she joined us and we were the only three on the train for the guided tour, usually it takes 4 hours to hike all the paths and get up to the summit but we had also planned on meeting up with the other girls on Waiheke island around 2:30 and i'm running out of weekends to fit in all my plans! The train was still fun and we got to see a lot of the island as well.

Volcanic rock!

Heading up to the summit!

pretty colors.

Once we got near the summit we climbed a very long set of stairs and each step led me to another breathtaking view from that height of the entire gulf, I could see the city where i've been living and the lighthouse, sailboats and other islands, it was amazing!

This was the crater!!!! very deep!

Auckland :)
Me at the top of the summit of Rangitoto Island!

It was very peaceful, i wish i could have stayed longer and had lunch admiring the view even longer.
Kathryn and I tried and tried for a decent picture but the windddd would not let us! haha

An old military base was at the top of the Island!

My feet on a volcano!

Volcanic rocks everywhere! I might grab some!

haha i did grab some! shhhh don't tell!

the lighthouse

Rangitoto Island was really pretty and made me even more fascinated by nature than i already always am! I couldn't wait to meet up with the others back in Auckland to go to Waiheke!
Once Kathryn and I got back we saw Lara, Sara, Brandie and Natalee right away and had 20 minutes before our next ferry ride to Waiheke which was a little further away about 40 minutes, i know that because that is the island i am doing my research around!!!! Its beautiful from the boat but i had never been on it yet so i was excited to see it up close! It's one of the larger islands here and has 3 villages on it! We only visited for the evening but seeing some is better than none at all!

The shuttle driver took us to Vino Vino she said we would love it and we sure did! The view from our patio table was gorgeous!!!! and back towards the right is where we anchor the boat for work to eat our lunch! Lara and I recognised it! The pasta was deliscious but so was the wine! Waiheke is known for their vineyards and do wine tours daily so we each tried a glass and were not disappointed! Lara and I even shared the BEST chocolate mud cake ever, it was gone in a minute i'm not even kidding! The chef goes, i can see you didn't like! haha This is the life!

Brandie and I, cheers to being in NEW ZEALAND with great FRIENDS! <3

We found a path that led down to the beach and it was sooooo pretty! I miss seeing the beaches back home so this was very lovely!

The color of the water here is perfect!
peaceful and relaxing again <3

It had been a long day and was getting late so we took an earlier ferry back, i wish i could have had more time to explore but we had a little taste of Waiheke, now i know why people rave about it all the time! I love this Maori carving! I got one at a souvenir shop a few weeks ago because it means happiness for the whole family <3

Goodbye Waiheke Island!

I had a great time today Island hopping around Auckland, It's amasing how different the scenery is from the inner city where i live to a 15 minute walk down to the harbour! Its definitely a perfect little get away when the city becomes too much. Then again i always was a beach and water person, i have to be near it!
I honestly can't get enough of New Zealand, It is becoming such a favorite of mine, each thing i do and see and experience i love so much, i can't even pick favorites anymore because its just about everything! I will definitely come back to New Zealand next chance i get, there is so much more to do and see, I wonder how NZ's summers are!
Today is tuesday and i had the last couple of days off from work, It was really nice to hang around get things done around the place like laundry, grocery shopping and journaling, but we only have a few weeks left to do research, i'm hoping we can work fast and accomplish our goals. Yesterday they said the weather was too bad to go on the boat, we already sorted all of our first set of samples so we need to go on the boat to get more, Hannah went on the boat today and got sediment samples so tomorrow it's back to sorting for all of us. That's just the thing about scientific research though, some weeks you have a lot to do and others there isn't much you can do, especially when its all weather dependant. Steve seems so happy with how its all going though so i have no worries! I can't believe i have been here for 55 DAYS! The time is flying by so fast! I'm glad you all are enjoying my blog! I miss you all so much! Oh and in a couple weeks i'm going to be going to AUSTRALIA!!!! To the gold coast, surfers paradise!!!!!! I can't wait!!!!!!! Australia is another country at the top of my list and it won't be my first visit there that's for sure! Don't worry Kimmy i'll say hi to a Kangaroo for you!

Monday, July 20, 2009

"I have my own HAKA!"

All Blacks vs. Australia rugby game saturday night!

I was so excited to see New Zealands rugby team the ALL BLACKS play at the stadium! We waited for the bus to take us pretty early so we could eat before it started, also we knew it was sold out and would be very busy there! I had my All Blacks shirt on with the Haka written on it which is a Maori chant the All Blacks do to intimidate the other teams! Its really cool, i love how the Kiwis embrace the Maori culture in everything they do! :)

Kathryn, Lara, Sara and I stayed nearby to the stadium while others bar hopped, but we enjoyed pizza and sparkling grape juice in the court yard of a very lovely italian restaurant! We had a while until the game so we hung out for a while there.

Matching hats! :)

We finally got to the stadium and had to wait for the others, luckily they remembered the time and we all went into the stadium to find our seats!!!! There were soooo many people!
The stands eventually were packed full! I couldn't believe it! Right when we sat down we saw both teams warming up and stretching, these dudes were beasts! They have no padding on like in football and tackle each other every few minutes! Its absolutely insane! The first few things that happened was the Maoris came out and did a dance and their haka! Then the All Blacks came out and everyone cheered!!!! The Australia team and fans did their national anthem and it was so amazing, followed by New Zealands which was just as amazing but even better since i was rooting for them this time!! Finally the All Blacks did their Haka facing the Australian team all lined up, it was so great! The Aussies looked really scaredddd! haha

The All Blacks HAKA video!!!!

My row!

We had tattoos to put on! We aren't Kiwi's but very supportive of NZ!!!! :D

This guy was nuts!

The Aussies!

A rugby touchdown is called a TRY! and this video shows one!!!! So exciting to watch!

We won!!!!!!! In the beginning we didn't start off too well, then they tied it at 13, 13 then finally we pulled through with a few more "try's" they call it (like a rugby touchdown) and won 22, 16!!!

The crowds went wild it was soooo exciting!

Lara and I happy that our team won!!!!

When the game was over the entire stadium had to somehow get up one staircase to get out! It was so crowded! Then they hearded us onto a train which took us to the city but the people here are very friendly and made sure us Americans didn't get lost and miss our stop! People payed lots of attention to us when we were in line, curious why we're here and stuff and making bets on if we were canadian or american! haha It was a very fun night, i'm glad i got to watch some real rugby!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Skytower dinner @ Orbit

Last night we had our group dinner at Orbit, the revolving restaurant at the top of the Sky tower here in Auckland! It was all the original group members plus two of the newer girls. Me, Lara, Hannah, Sara, Kathryn, Brandie, Laura, Nigeen, Phil, Aaron plus Courtney and Sabrina. We got all dressed up and took taxis since it was raining. I was so excited to go to the top of the tower since i hadn't yet and the elevator ride freaked me out a little because it has a window on the floor! Our table was so pretty and once the fog cleared up the view of the city was amazing! Aaron is the first to be leaving us and gave an emotional toast while at dinner, it makes me sad to think i have to say my goodbyes soon to all of my close friends here. I had the yummiest seafood risotto dinner and baby potatoes! My favorite food is potatoes in any form, mashies are 1st place though! haha It was such a lovely dinner with everyone, some are planning trips to Florida already and they better follow through! :) I'm going to miss them all SO much! I'll never forget all the memories i share with each of them.

Nigeen, Brandi, Sara and I on a glass window!
Laura, Hannah and I
Me on the observation deck of the Sky tower!
The elevator going up! don't look down its so scary!
At the dinner table ready to eat!
My side of the table :)
Nigeens face! haha
my two lovely dates Kathryn and Lara <3 align="center">

Aarons lovely toast at dinner.

The city of Auckland

Me at the Orbit :D
My favorite group picture! I love my friends! <3
Tonight we are going to the stadium to see the ALL BLACKS play against Australia! It's the New Zealand RUGBY team!!!!! I'm looking forward to the Haka which is a Maori cultural chant they do before it starts that intimidates the opposing team! It's sweet as! I hope they win! check back to see pictures soon!!!!
love and miss you all very much! x0x0x