Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Surfer dudes

We've just spent the last couple of days at different beaches and we're not afraid to say that we're now fully qualified surfer dudes! We were born to bodyboard!! Seriously it is soo much fun, especially today when we went to Piha with Georgie, Barry and Graham. The waves there were huge and we had a great day catching them ha ha!

We're heading off for a quick tour of the North Island tomorrow and first stop is Raglan which is a surfers Mecca!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas on the beach

We've had an absolutely brilliant Christmas (even though we were missing our families). Got up and opened all our pressies. I got a few pressies from home and we both got each other bodyboards and other bits and pieces.

We went to the local catholic church where they were having a Samoan Christmas mass - it was all in Samoan (so we didn't understand much) and most of it was sung with all the Samoans wearing white dresses (even the men!) with garlands of red flowers hanging around their necks.

At lunchtime we headed to the beach for our barbie and to try out our new bodyboards.
The bbq was really gorgeous but there weren't really any waves for the bodyboards - more like trying to surf on blessington lake! A typical Christmas night followed of lying on the sofa watching films, drinking Baileys and eating far too much rubbish.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas eve

Really looking forward to Christmas now and the pressies are building up under the tree. Had a gorgeous Christmas eve with the house to ourselves, eating loads of rubbish, watching movies and preparing our food for our Christmas barbie! Finished the night off by taking a stroll up Franklin road which is a road near us where every house is completely decorated with Christmas lights and there were carol singers and it was absolutely gorgeous...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A star is born...

We were in the Irish bar in the Viaduct with Georgie, Barry and Graham - 3 Scots that we've met recently when the news came in that GMTV were broadcasting live outside. Needless to say I was out the door in a second trying to get my face on screen. Naturally I had to wake up a few people at home so that they could see me - it didn't matter that it was only 5.30 in the morning at home!

After standing there for about and hour with Georgie, practising our waving and screaming, my big break came and I got to stand behind a man that was being interviewed (about his dying father) and waved like a lunatic. Luckily Siobhan recorded it (and tells me I was fantastic) I think the video is doing the rounds at home at the moment!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Dinner with the Kiwi housemates

Its the big build up to Christmas now and its just totally different over here. Apart from the fact that its scorching hot (some shops still have fake snow in their windows though) the streets in town aren't really decorated like they would be at home except for 1 shop which has a giant Santa outside it - complete with freaky winking eye and beckoning finger. He's known locally as Pervy Ol' Santa!

There just isn't the same atmosphere at all with most people just looking forward to 2 weeks off in the sunshine instead of the big day itself. So to ensure that we aren't missing out on our festivities we have the house decorated to the max with bits of tinsel and baubles everywhere.

We had a really nice dinner with the other guys in the house and it really started to feel Christmassy then. Had a big roast chicken and just sat around chatting with the crappy Christmas CD on in the background. We'd been saying to Ben and Candice that we really missed the idea of sitting in front of the fire on Christmas night (none of the houses in Auckland have heating because its so hot), so just before dinner Ben produced a little cardboard fireplace for us. He'd made it and painted it and glued in twigs and sticks for us to make us feel at home for Christmas - so nice. You can see the fireplace in the picture!

Also this week we both got confirmation that we're starting new jobs on the 9th of January and we're both delighted because they're ones that we really wanted.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Ropes Course

We decided to go on a day tour out of Auckland so we went to a forest about an hours drive from our house to do a 'ropes course' which basically meant that we spent about two hours climbing 7 metres up into trees and then crossing huge gaps in the trees on tightropes, cargo nets, flying foxes and other 'obstacle course' style things - it was very Krypton Factor! At the end of each set of obstacles you got to get down from the trees by going on a flying fox. The last one was about 150 metres long and was so much fun!!

What wasn't as much fun (well Ciaran thought it was hilarious) was when I got stuck on a cargo net 10 metres in the air. The idea was that you swung 'tarzan style' on a rope from one tree to the next, which was about 5 metres away then jump onto a cargo net and scramble your way onto the next tree. Unfortunately, when I swung across I couldn't reach the line in time so ended up dangling in my harness for about 5 minutes - got the biggest bruise in the world on my arm from it but managed to climb up the net as soon as I heard that an instructor was on the way to 'rescue me' - that would've been so humiliating!

Then it was time to go to Mirawai beach and after a picnic lunch of fush & chups we spent a couple of hours splashing around in the water and getting knocked over by huge waves - not a bad way to end the day...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Calamity Ciaran

I started work this week which isn't very exciting, in order to make things a bit more interesting Calamity Ciaran had a much more 'interesting' time. He spent half a day running around trying to buy tickets for the U2 concert on Paddy's day in Auckland (couldn't get any). Then a girl crashed into him (he's fine, it wasn't a bad bump). Next day he left the car in a pay and display place but didn't pay so the car got towed....
Apart from that it was a great week!! Lots of sunshine and trips to the beach in the evenings...

Sunday, December 04, 2005


We've just had a fantastic weekend. Friday night we met up with a group of other backpackers in town and had a great night out, we all arranged to meet up again on Saturday morning in Piha.

Piha is a tiny little beach town (one shop, one bar etc) about 30 miles from our house. The drive there took about an hour through really beautiful scenery. Then we turned the corner and got our first glimpse of Piha beach - WOW! Really long, beautiful ironsand beach with huge waves. We had a great day messing about on the beach and spent hours in the sea - it was so hot that it was impossible to walk on the sand without your flip flops!

Then that evening we watched a beautiful sunset over the ocean. We all stayed in the backpackers beside the beach which is this amazing house (like you'd see on MTV cribs) surrounded by beautiful greenery with a little river running through the garden that leads up to a waterfall where you can also swim. Had a BBQ on the deck and just chilled out with some music and chatting to the others. A perfect end to a perfect day.

This morning we travelled back to Auckland via Karekare beach. This is the beach where they filmed the Piano a few years ago. It's really beautiful and quite rugged but we loved Piha much more. It's so close to home that we reckon we'll be spending a lot of weekends there....

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bay of Islands and the real world....

The job hunt began last week - depressing - but I got a 1 week contract the day after I started looking so hopefully that's a sign of things to come. It was good to have a short assignment just to ease me back into work. Elaine is also starting a job today in a property management company, she's not sure how long it will last for but at least we're guaranteed a break at Christmas. Her job is based in the Viaduct in the centre of town which is the fantastic harbour area they built for the america's cup competition a couple of years ago.

We've spent the last couple of days in the Bay of Islands which is an area about 4 hours north of Auckland. The drive up there brought us through lots of different national parks and all along the pacific coast. It was really beautiful and the bay itself was absolutely stunning - beautiful beaches, blue-green sea and so many nice parks and trees all around.

The weather here at the moment can only be described as SCORCHING!!!! It's factor 30 suncream everyday and as much swimming as we can do. Our local beach is about 10 minute drive from the house in Mission Bay and is a really nice place to swim, quite calm water and hopefully no sharks....

Being in the Bay of Islands was just amazing and we can't wait to go back and spend at least a week up there. We're both really amazed at how beautiful the North Island is because everyone always says the South is the best. The vegetation is lush and really tropical and the sea is warm with great waves - might even give surfing a go!!