Travel

New Zealand: Lake Taupo

Well, hello again!

Another day another new experience!

I was sad to leave Crash Palace, my favorite hostel of the 8 day trip of the North Island of New Zealand. Although, I wasn’t exactly sad to leave the smell of sulpher behind. Well, it turns out hot springs have a slight smell of it as well. Originally I really wanted to do a mud bath and maybe if I go back one day (with Kevin) we’ll do the fancy Polynesian Spa. This time, however, Analeise and I really wanted to do something free just to balance out expenses. Lucky for us, Kerosene Creek wasn’t too far off our route to Lake Taupo.

Relaxing in the hot freshwater spring was exactly what our sore bodies needed after zorbing the day before. Hot springs are supposed to have many therapeutic elements within them so we lounged around for an hour or so and fell into complete relaxation mode. I would certainly visit again and visit other natural hot springs in the area. I’m just glad someone warned me to try and not submerge my head in the water. Whew! Also unfortunately, the area did have some trash thrown around, so remember: clean up your mess. I cannot stress this enough.

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After our relaxing plunge into Kerosene Creek we decided to continue our exploration of free places to see on our way to Lake Taupo and visited Huka Falls. No amount of photos will ever be able to fully detail the incredible force that is Huka Falls. The water is….astronomically and remarkably powerful. It forces itself through the passageway and pours over itself into the falls.

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And alas, this very dramatic photo of the falls.DSC07129

So the overview!

We stayed at the Tiki Lodge Hostel in Lake Taupo for $23.52 USD the first night and $30 NZ cash the second night (we booked it separately after deciding to stay another night). Overall it was a fine hostel. We had the six bunk room with private bathroom to ourselves the first night and then only had one other female roommate the second night. They provided free breakfast of cereal, bread, and jams with coffee and tea. The only thing was you had to get there early because they rarely replenished anything so once it was out- it was out.

So the only things that we spent money on this day was food!

  • $20 NZ cash on breakfast in Rotorua
  • “Expensive dinner” in Lake Taupo is what I wrote in my notes- my guess is about $40 USD! But, hey, sometimes you just have to eat well.

That’s all for this post, friends!

Until next time! (Maybe a crazy boat ride and some Glowworms?!)

Mary A.

 

 

 

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Travel

New Zealand: Rotorua

Hello again, friends!

So! So far we have been through a crazy Cyber Monday sale to the Coromandel Peninsula and then through The Shire! Now on to day three!

After Hobbiton we continued the drive to Rotorua where we stayed at the Crash Palace Hostel! This was my favorite hostel from the trip. We stayed in a two bunk, four person dorm for ($28 a night). Our roommates were two other female travelers that I secretly wanted to be friends with really badly, but never got the courage to exchange information with. (I’m not always so outgoing). The hostel holds events every evening so we played beer pong (sorry, mom!) the first night and then went to their free dinner and watched LOTR in the living room with some other travelers the second night. It is true what all of the city’s reviews say: the area does smell overwhelmingly like sulfur! Despite the rotten egg smell the town has so many things to offer: tours, cafes, and yummy restaurants. We even got to experience one of their evening markets that had a plethora of food stands up and down the strip!

There are so many activities that start off in Rotorua. I wish we had done something more cultural like Whakarewarewa- The living Maori Village. (Next time!) Instead of listing out everything the area has to offer I’ll just include their website’s link: http://www.rotoruanz.com/visit/to-do/

So now for what we did!

 

The morning of our third day we decided we needed to witness active geothermal activity as there are quite a few spots in New Zealand. One of the most popular is Wai-O-Tapu near Rotorua. It costs $20 USD to get in and takes about 1-2 hours to walk depending on your speed and how often you stop to take photos. There are also three different walks you can choose from that take you throughout the Thermal Wonderland.

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Before we start and instead of me trying to explain the science behind why they are the color that they are, I’ll just share this photo with you first.

 

 

So every color that we see is due to specific mineral deposits! I took so many photos while walking around, especially at the “Champagne Pool” for obvious reasons- I mean, just look at it!

DSC06866DSC06870DSC06874DSC06986DSC06978DSC06977So I did just learn that it’s called Champagne Pool because of the efflux of carbon dioxide, which is just like Champagne! Neat!DSC06969

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DSC06934DSC06912DSC06905Another popular spot in this Geothermal Wonderland is “Devil’s Bath” which gets its color from deposits of sulphur that sit on top of the water.DSC07013DSC07027DSC07044DSC07049

Wai-O-Tapu was an easy, education visit that was also a lot of fun! There are other mud pools and geothermal activity spots in Rotorua that you can visit as well!

On to the next activity

We continued our day that late afternoon by rolling down hills in giant hamster balls. That’s right- we went zorbing! For those that don’t know what zorbing is, it’s basically just rolling downhill in big plastic balls called orbs. It was first played in Rotorua so you just know we had to try it, too! Here’s the video I made! Now this is the first video I’ve ever made from my travels so please be gentle! I’m hoping to get more into video-editing in the future!

We went zorbing through “OGO Rotorua” and paid $88 USD for three different routes: a steep, rapid ride, a quick, windy ride, and an individual downhill that we treated as a race (Analeise won!). It’s definitely a little pricey but I found it so worth it. But you can choose to do just one if you’d like! Here’s their website with all their info: https://ogo.co.nz/ They also have a photographer that takes photos of you after your rides so we purchased those also for about $20 NZ cash each.

I have to say, this was one of my favorite activities that we did- maybe even my most favorite! I have been wanting to do this since seeing it on “No Tomorrow” on Netflix (such a good show- such a shame it only had one season!) and it was on my bucket list so…check! Overall, I would highly recommend it just for the fun experience!

So in a nutshell my expenses included:

  • $22 USD entry fee for Wai-O-Tapu
  • $18.50 NZ cash lunch at this Thai restaurant in Rotorua’s center
  • $88 USD three route Zorbing fee
  • ~$20 NZ cash Zorbing photo purchase (each)

My notes seem a little shaky now that I’m rereading them but this day’s total was a rough estimate of $108 USD and $43.50 NZ cash for Wai-O-Tapu, Zorbing, photos, lunch, and a towel fee at the hostel. This is also the night we had free dinner at Crash Palace Hostel which helped with the expenses a little.

Alright, yall! This is all for now! Stay tuned for day four where take a dip in some hot water and witness the power of the falls.

Until next time,

Mary A.

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Travel

New Zealand: Hobbiton

So many little hobbit holes! That’s what you’ll find within this blog post because I made it to Hobbiton!

When we started planning New Zealand this was the first thing on my “need to see!” list. Basic information: Tickets are $85 NZ or $58 USD and you book your tours on the Hobbiton Tours website! They run frequently but, of course, make sure you book in advance! They make it easy enough with three pick up locations in Matamata, the LOTR-esque town, and Rotorua. On the drive through the bountiful hills which is the Alexander family’s sheep farm the driver shows informational videos and offers insight into the discovery of the area. And finally, you’re there. In Hobbiton.

Well, Hobbiton was…wet! As soon as we stepped off of the tour bus it started raining all over the lush green hills and studio set. Thankfully the tour is prepared for this and has a fully stocked umbrella area ready for the occasion. In a way, once it calmed down it almost made the set a little dreamier.

Besides the weather upon arrival and the crowds (as it gets extremely busy), it was a perfect wander through the Shire. It was exactly how I always pictured it: a tranquil landscape with pops of color, beautiful vegetation, and intricate details surrounded by New Zealand’s enormous lush topography.

DSC06590DSC06594DSC06596DSC06615DSC06618DSC06636DSC06659The area is full of so many tiny perfectly situated details entailed to ensure individuality for every hobbit home as, of course, every hobbit is different.

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The tour winds its way up and through the hills of Hobbiton and through the Green Dragon for a complimentary “Southfarthing” adult beverage. DSC06757.jpgDSC06765DSC06769

Alright so the specifics!

On our way from Coromandel to Rotorua we stopped at Matamata for the tour. This is what I spent for the entire second day on our trip:

  • $19.94 breakfast (at the delicious cafe right next to the Tatahai Backpackers)
  • $6.89 snack
  • $10.51 lunch
  • $ 57.29 Hobbiton ticket
  • $~20 NZ drinks at hostel

So USD total: $94.63 and about $20 NZ cash (give or take a few bucks for a magnet or two)

Also here’s me looking really big, frizzy, and dorky in front of the first hobbit hole that I saw.

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From the Shire we continued our journey to our next destination of Rotorua where we visited some roaring falls and rolled down a hill in a hamster ball! Stay tuned!

Until next time, friends!

 

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Personal

Back To My Roots

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And it was my birthday! I am now a 23-year-old cat loving international flight attendant from South Texas. I am constantly searching something bigger but always appreciative of what’s around me and what I have. I’m a beach baby that loves being in the snow, too. I guess I’m pretty normal. I am one of three sisters and yes, we all look alike but have very different and strong personalities. My parents are the root, the strongest bonding that we owe everything to. I try to breathe in more outside air than recycled, but sometimes that isn’t quite possible. I met the love of my life through work on the hardest and longest flying days I’ve done this last year. I’m a jack of all trades and master of none. I think that’s okay. I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing in life, but I think that’s okay, too. I’m not exactly sure if I rock at packing a suitcase yet or not…oh well. But anyway, this post is supposed to be about my birthday shenanigans. So let’s begin:

Continue reading

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FAlife

“CREW”- I DID IT.

I am currently sitting at Terminal B’s Starbucks patiently awaiting my Frappuccino. I officially have my crew luggage next to me, tags and all, and a badge around my neck that says I am an employee of the airline industry. I am a flight attendant now. I am finally coming to understand that. I did it. After years of flying and pondering the life of those paid to fly I am now one of them. But you know what I have learned is, it is not just about the glamour and neat destinations that you assume it to be. It’s hard. It is so busy. All we want is that our guests remain comfortable and safe. If you need anything, we try our best to provide it, and if in the case- God forbid- anything occurs, our main priority is getting you to ground safely. The rest is just extras. Continue reading

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FAlife

Mary On Board!: Week before Miami

Hello, all travelers and readers!

As I mentioned in the previous post I have very exciting things happening right now in my life. The biggest (besides turning 22 and graduating university) is having the opportunity to become a future flight attendant. In order to officially state that I am a FA I have to study, train, and pass exams that prepare me for the job. To prepare for training, however, I have assignments that needs to be completed and clothes to shop for. So far, the clothes have been the hardest part! Apparently khaki slacks are non-existent at our local mall and shopping centers. Also, who knew white long sleeve button-up shirts were so expensive? As of now, thanks to my wonderful parents, I have purchased five shirts, three black slacks, and three new cardigans. The training wardrobe is nothing too fancy: a white, beige, black color scheme. The cardi can be any color of our choosing though, which I suppose is nice. I also know nothing about Miami so if anyone has any recommendations on what to see or do while I’m there- holla at me! I believe I only have Sundays off in the Lord’s name but that will be a nice vacation to see the beach (oh my gosh) and eat some yummy food. I’ll be in Miami for three and a half weeks and will have a roommate and a pretty nice hotel. I’ve started to pack (kind of) already because this weekend is full of birthday celebrations for my grandma and me (holla, same birthday). I can’t believe time is going by so quickly. Continue reading

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Personal

Post Graduation Updates;

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Well, would you believe in the time since I last posted on here (and in the past few days actually) I managed to take all my finals, graduate from university, and accept a job offer as a future flight attendant! I packed up my room from College Station, moved it all home (that’s a story in itself), and in 8 days I will be traveling to Florida for the first time for training (after I turn 22 on Monday!) Things are definitely moving quickly and they are definitely very, very good. I miss my friends from university, especially those I won’t be able to see for a longer period of time, but I have no worries about our friendships. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into freshman year as I applied for a Freshman Leadership Organization, but I am overwhelmingly content with where it took me and who it brought into my life. My heart is full with love, some missing, and a lot of hope for the daily. My traveling continues now. I always felt as if I was born to keep moving, to gain stories from outside lands (outside my hometown, that’s for sure), to greet, meet, befriend, love new people. To smile in new places and bring home new cherishes. I am happy right now, sitting in bed with Piper by my side as the whole house falls into a deep, quiet slumber. Rhythmic hums from ceiling fans and my sloppy keyboard typing on this new Surface 3 I received as a graduation present are the company Piper and I currently keep. This is nice. In a week I will be preparing to board a 5 AM flight, I will eventually land in Florida, and the month of new travel experiences will begin. And I know I will be happy then, too, and every moment in between. Home, base, and beyond.

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Bonus!: Now I’m actually going to have travel stories to share with you all! I can be an actual travel blogger officially! In the next post I will list the few steps I’ve taken to prepare for training. Speak to y’all soon!

Mary Anna Flight Attendant

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