Fantastic weekend on Great Barrier Island, an island just off the coast of Auckland. Started off badly when, after an extremely choppy, two-hour ferry ride on Friday, we arrived at the unsheltered port to torrential rain with no sign of our backpacks. We were all herded behind barriers, hair plastered down the sides of our faces with the rain getting heavier, children crying and people shouting: it was like we were prisoners of war!

Anyway, we all awoke in the Stray Possum Lodge in the same mixed-sex dorm room. This meant the girls could experience the olfactory delights of Stuart’s towel first-hand and rejoice in Dan’s snoring; sadly they didn’t reciprocate with naked pillow fights for our entertainment. Spoilsports.

The sun was shining and so we decided to go for a long walk. Which for us was very strange. Especially given that it was a six-hour “tramp” up Mount Hobson and down past natural hot springs. Spectacular views and a mad German woman kept us in high spirits and, in true Secret Seven fashion, gagging for a slap-up feed. Swallowed my pride and drank Export Gold and we ate literally twelve inches of the Lodge’s home-made pizza.

The next day we went Kayaking around the island and into the Pacific Ocean. I was in a two-man kayak with Sue who managed to casually tickle the water in front while I was left to actually row/paddle both of us along. This was an issue of contention. Anyway, we then went snorkelling in a secluded bay among the little blue fishes and big puffy ones (evidentally I’m crap at identifying and remembering things like fish species). Barbeque in the evening, walk in the morning and then home for a slap-up Chicken Balti! Hurrah for 0800 CURRIES!