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Guest Post – Finding love in a Haunted Prison by Global Goose

When you think of a haunted prison, the first thing that jumps into your mind is probably not finding the love of your life!

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This is a guest post from Kelly and Lee of Global Goose about how they met in a little slice of our own backyard in New Zealand.

“So, how did you two meet?”

This is a common question for Lee and me, since it is unusual for a lad from Lancashire, England to be with a girl from middle-of-nowhere Alberta, Canada.

When people ask us how we met, we chuckle to each other and say, “in prison”.

The response is usually disbelief, confusion, or nervous terror. “You met in prison?” people ask incredulously.

“Yes. In a haunted prison in New Zealand.”

The Prison - where the magic happens

This is usually when we get accused of making up tall tales, but this story is absolutely true. Lee and I fell in love in the dreary halls and courtyards of the oldest prison in New Zealand, a spooky and dilapidated structure which was built in the 1860s and is perched on a windy bluff overlooking the ocean.

Don’t worry we weren’t serving time! In fact, we were living there on the rickety bunk beds in claustrophobic dark prison cells out of our own free will!

Let’s back it up a bit and explain from the beginning…

Back in 2009 I was living in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and I had it pretty good. I had my own place and a rewarding and well paid job as a children’s art and drama instructor. I loved my job and my life. However, I just couldn’t help the thoughts of travel that kept bubbling up in my head. I wondered what else was out there, and I daydreamed about leaving everything familiar behind and seeing different sights, experiencing foreign cultures and meeting new people.

Hiking in Alberta after meeting in a prison!

Unbeknownst to me, Lee was experiencing the exact same if you only replace “Victoria, BC” with “Accrington, UK” and “children’s art and drama instructor” with “football club shop manager”.

So on a whim, we both followed that voice in our heads and booked a working holiday in New Zealand. I knew I wanted to do a working holiday so that I could have the chance to travel for several months rather than just take a short holiday. I could find work as I went along to fund my travels.

As I was preparing to leave, I saw a job posting for tour guides of a historical prison on the New Zealand backpackers job board website.

Napier Prison is the oldest prison in New Zealand, and was built in 1862. It was used as a prison until the 1990s, when it was officially decommissioned. It was reopened in 2002 as a tourist attraction and since then it has been a popular stop on the path of many travellers on the North Island of New Zealand.

I had previous experience giving architectural history tours of Victoria and so I applied. I found out that I had gotten the job only the day before I left for New Zealand, and so I booked a bus down to Napier from Auckland. When I spoke to Marion, the owner of the prison, on the phone she told me that backpackers worked for accommodation and lived within the prison cells. I knew I was getting myself into a once in a lifetime adventure!

Kelly on the Prison Wall

I arrived in Napier on a Saturday evening and the sky was already dark. I sat on my huge backpack at the bus stop and waited, gazing at the illuminated art deco architecture of this beautiful east coast North Island town.

Suddenly, an old white van pulled up in front of me and two tall good looking blond German guys got out, dressed in blood-spattered prison jumpsuits and ghoulish white face paint.

“Are you Kelly?” they asked, in a “Come with me if you want to live” sort of way.

“Yes…” I stammered in a dorky, bewildered Canadian sort of way.

I threw my backpack in the van and a few minutes later we turned up a dark road leading up a steep hill. I wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into.  The prison hosts “Dead Hill” scary night tours on Saturdays and I was arriving right in the middle of the action. As I stood outside of the heavy wooden door to the prison walls I could hear terrified screams coming from inside and horrible cackles of laughter. I gulped nervously as I was pulled inside the dark walls and taken through the eerie courtyards to a door which was glowing with a warm and welcoming light, the prison staff lounge. This is where I would wait until the actors and guides were finished scaring the living daylights out of tourists so that I could find the prison cell where I would end up spending the next two months.

"He had me at zombie"

As I opened the door to the staff lounge there he was, sitting on a long plastic table and kicking his feet. Lee was tall, dark and handsome, and looked like the beat up zombie corpse of a dead prisoner. He was wearing a torn white jumpsuit and caked on face paint and was bleeding fake blood from a gory gash to his forehead.  I’m not sure if it was love at first sight, but he certainly made a memorable first impression.

Over the next month in Napier we had many adventures together, climbing scenic waterfalls, taking underwater photos at the swimming pool, “breaking out of prison” by climbing up onto the wall, eating at Burger Fuel, drinking beers in the courtyard, and walking hand in hand through the Napier Botanical Gardens.

Our travel plans sent us in different directions for about six weeks, but we kept in touch and eventually ended up renting an apartment together in Christchurch on the South Island for about three months. It was a strange situation, as we didn’t know what would come out of our travel romance and what the future would hold for us when we finally had to go home.

The day finally came that Lee needed to go back home to England. We looked at each other, neither of us wanting to say goodbye. Then he said, “Do you want to come with me?”

Exploring England together

Two years later we are still travelling the world together with no intention of stopping any time soon.  Before we left New Zealand we took a tour of the South Island, hitting up Queenstown, Dunedin, white-water rafting on the Rangitata River and taking the TransAlpine scenic rail journey.

White water rafting the Rangitata

We have lived and traveled in England, Italy, Portugal, and backpacked across Canada and are currently planning trips to the USA, Southeast Asia and Australia for 2012.  I learned a lot from my working holiday in New Zealand, but one of the most important things that I learned was that travel romances can evolve into something more and that I am so glad that my answer to that question was “Yes.”

Relaxing in Portugal

So open up your heart to love on the road and keep your life flexible so that love can jump out and surprise you when you least expect it. That travel romance just might be something worth holding on to.

Lee and Kelly are two creative and passionate travelers who have teamed up to create an unconventional life together working as digital nomads and exploring this big and beautiful world. Everything they own fits in their backpacks and with no permanent address they are perpetual wanderers on not just a Gap Year but a “Gap Decade”. 

Together this Canadian girl and English guy have created Global Goose, a comprehensive travel resource for those who have been stricken by wanderlust. Their blog contains practical guides, stories from the road, interviews with inspiring travelers, and much more. They recently backpacked across Canada from Victoria to St. John’s and somehow survived a snowy Newfoundland winter.  Their future travel plans include the USA, Southeast Asia, and beyond!

Follow along with Global Goose as they continue to share their stories on Facebook and on Twitter.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

    • Cole

      February 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      Thanks Jonas! Let us know if you end up in Edinburgh 🙂

  1. D.J. - The World of Deej

    February 17, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Great story…I’m guessing there’s not too many people that can say “we found love in a prison.”

    • Cole

      February 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      Well not many people that I know (or want to know) anyway!

  2. Adrian

    February 17, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Interesting place to start your adventure! Congrats on your exciting experiences and good luck with your future travel plans!

  3. Edna

    February 17, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    What a great story to tell people! I love when road romances work out. My boyfriend and I met as new flatmates in Singapore, and people think we were crazy to get involved! But sometimes you meet someone and just know 🙂

  4. Sam

    February 19, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    Cool guys. Classic place to meet, way better than a bar! Keep up the great travels.

  5. Iain

    March 5, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Cool story guys. I’m from Burnley in Lancashire and have family in Alberta, most people know where neither of those places are!

  6. Lesley Peterson

    May 9, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    Aw, nice story and lovely pics! Isn’t Napier famous for its Art Deco architecture? Would love to visit it sometime…

    • Cole Burmester

      May 10, 2012 at 10:21 AM

      It’s really cute! And yup Napier is famous for it’s art deco because an earthquake destroyed all the buildings in the area and at the time that was the style it was rebuilt in!

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Oceania

Enjoy the very best of New Zealand on a luxury yacht charter

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Halfway across the globe for many, New Zealand represents the ultimate destination for adventure-seekers, culture aficionados and nature lovers alike. No matter what draws you to these exotic shores, there could be no better way to experience the best that this land has to offer than onboard a luxury New Zealand yacht charter. Chart your own course and let your expert and attentive crew fulfil your every desire.

New Zealand

Explore every facet of one of the world’s most breathtakingly beautiful spots, when you charter a yacht in New Zealand. Surf majestic swells. Study the mysteries and magic of the Maori culture up close and personal. Hike deep into thickly wooded, luxuriant forests. Learn every curve and rise of this rugged countryside intimately, as you follow New Zealand’s nine epic “great walks”, from Abel Tasman to Rakiura. Climb high up into the clouds, as you scale massive mountains.

Dive beneath the mirror-like surface of expansive lakes, nestled between green cliffs. Swim in the cool, clear glacial waters of fjords. Spend lazy hours drinking in the sunshine on deserted white-sand cove beaches with your New Zealand yacht charter anchored just offshore. Give into the laid-back vibes of a land that seems to inhabit its own unique space and time.

Discover the liveliest hangouts in up-to-the-minute, buzzy Auckland. Taste vintages guaranteed to convince you why New Zealand’s reputation as a world-leading wine producer is well-deserved. Sample slow food specialties from every corner of this nation, which is celebrated for its local produce and innovative cuisine. Treat your taste buds to meals, which make the most of the freshest, locally sourced ingredients, such as the area’s famed meats and fresh fish – all expertly prepared by your onboard chef.

Endless Summer – A superyacht made to go wherever adventure beckons

In search of the perfect yacht charter for your New Zealand adventure? Consider chartering the 49.9-metre (163.7-foot) superyacht, ENDLESS SUMMER. This brand new yacht, launched in 2017, has been specifically designed and constructed to travel over vast distances and to reach every corner of the planet.

Onboard this sturdy, powerful and extremely expansive, world-class superyacht you’ll be able to truly get to know the very best that New Zealand has to offer. Plus, with a superb interior, created by the acclaimed Varo Team, and a ridiculously spacious exterior which includes multiple al fresco dining areas, a Jacuzzi, bar and outdoor cinema – Endless Summer yacht will let you cruise in high style, as you unlock the secrets and national treasures of this wild and irrepressible land. There’s no better way to see, hear, taste, touch and feel the wonders of New Zealand than to journey straight to its heart onboard your own superyacht charter.

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Oceania

Five Thrilling Theme Parks in Australia

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Thrill-seeking individuals, rejoice – as we have found five of the most amazing theme parks in Australia! There are actually A LOT of them, but we’ve decided to narrow it down to five to make it easier for you to choose.

 

Up for a blood-rushing and heart-stopping challenge? Try some of the most extreme rides that we are about to discuss below!

Dreamworld in Gold Coast

Ride/s You Shouldn’t Miss: The Buzzsaw, Mick Doohan’s Motocoaster, The Giant Drop, and Wipeout

 

With nine huge thrilling rides, eight family rides, eleven kids’ rides, and twelve Whitewater World rides, anything that you could possibly want in a theme park can be found here. It has been called as one of the world’s best theme parks by Adioso, as well as the number one Amusement & Water Park in the South Pacific by TripAdvisor.

Warner Bros Movie World in Gold Coast

Ride/s You Shouldn’t Miss: DC Rivals Hypercoaster, Arkham Asylum, Wild West Falls Adventure Ride, DC Doomsday Destroyer, and the DC Comics Super-Villains Unleashed

 

Make your own dreams come true by seeing your favourite DC Superhero and cartoon character in person! The Warner Bros Movie World is part theme park and part studio, so you can even take a side trip by visiting famous movie sets. Take the kids for a fun day out, as they have kids’ rides including the Justice League 3D Ride, Junior Driving School, Kids’ WB! Fun Zone, and Road Runner Rollercoaster.

Luna Park in Melbourne

Ride/s You Shouldn’t Miss: The Great Scenic Railway, Twin Dragon, Spider, and Pharaoh’s Curse

 

Luna Park is one of the most visited theme parks in Australia, not just because of its rides, but also because of the view that it offers. There is no entrance fee too, so make the most out of your Australian by visiting one of the most well-loved theme parks in Oz! Before you buy your plane ticket though, make sure to book a car hire in Melbourne rather than taking a bus or hailing taxis, It will surely make your trip cheaper and more convenient!

WhiteWater World in Gold Coast

Ride/s You Shouldn’t Miss: Super Tubes Hydro Coaster, Triple Vortex, The Wedgie, and The Bro

WhiteWater World is Dreamworld’s sister park, so you know that it’s as good, too. It might be too cold to go down a waterslide with winter in town, but during the summer time, this park is where it’s at. It houses eight thrill rides and over twenty other slides, so you will never run out of choices. Each and every slide has an amusing name, too, so make sure to include the name when you post those amazing pictures on Facebook and Instagram.

Jamberoo Action Park in Jamberoo

Ride/s You Shouldn’t Miss: The Perfect Storm, Funnel Web, Banjo’s Billabong, and The Taipan

 

It’s just about an hour ride south of Sydney, so it’s really easy to visit. It has over 10 watery worlds, as well as other rides to explore. Everyone, including kids, will have a blast here, as there is a pool for every age. Do not miss the Funnel Web, as it features the world’s largest spider sculpture – definitely not for the faint of heart!

 

Feeling pumped and excited for your visit in Australia? We hope you give our suggestions a try, have lots of fun!

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Oceania

Australia – The Ideal Backpackers Destination

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Backpacking all around Australia is a fantastic way to experience the sights of one of the world’s most exciting holiday destinations. For the traveller who loves nothing better than trekking around a beautiful country, Australia is the place to go since it’s the most popular country for backpacking worldwide.

One of the best things about backpacking around Australia is that you could spend an entire year exploring each region and still not see the attractions by spending as much time as you want in each area. You can plan your route ahead of time or be spontaneous and go where the spirit moves you.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

What Australia Has To Offer

Australia is a backpackers dream. The country is perfectly set up for anyone who wants to spend six months or even a year exploring. Hundreds of hostels for hikers and backpackers are throughout around the country; the accommodations are clean and comfortable, and it’s easy to arrange transportation from one location to the next.

Heading down under offers the opportunity to make friends from around the world who share your love for backpacking. Some suggestions to follow before you begin your Australian adventure can contribute to making the journey everything you expect.

Food and Drink

A lot of backpackers travelling around Australia take advantage of the abundance of Asian cuisine that’s available in the major cities and small towns. Asian food is inexpensive, filling, and tastes great. Cooking yourself is a good way to enjoy the food you like and save money since you aren’t dining out every night. Check out this article if you are looking to dine on a shoestring.

Australia also has one of the most vibrant coffee cultures.  Visitors from Europe are often surprised at the quality and variety of coffee blends in the Country, much of which is due to the influence of European immigrants who brought their coffee culture with them.

And if you are “outback” they even have a way of making real Italian Coffee in the bush with a portable coffee machine called the Handpresso; a lightweight coffee maker designed to take easy serve espresso pods, giving you real Italian Coffee on the road.

Backpacking Destinations and Itineraries

Outdoor Activities in Cairns - Diving

Outdoor Activities in Cairns – Diving

If your have between three and six weeks and want an unforgettable experience, the east coast of Australia offers the chance to see the sights of Cairns and Sydney, with Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road if you want to extend your trip. In Sydney, visit the harbour and take the coastal walk between Bondi and Coogee Beaches. Blue Mountains National Park is to the west of the city. Towns near Port Macquarie are ideal for bush walks with some of Australia’s best surfing on the coast.

Before you go to Cairns, pop over to Magnetic Island for some of the best walks on the east coast. The best way to observe koalas in their native habitat is on the Fort Walk. If skydiving is on the bucket list, head over to Mission Beach; the most inexpensive spot in the area to learn skydiving. When you get to Cairns, you’ve arrived at the Great Barrier Reef.

The Gold Coast of Queensland is a beautiful, laid-back region. Explore the World Heritage Gondwana Rainforest, camp out or hike the trails. Surfer’s Paradise Beach is known by surfers worldwide. Make new friends at the cafes of Burleigh Heads.

Fraser Island is a must-see destination. The World Heritage site is the largest sand island in the world. Meet Australia’s wildlife or explore the cliffs, the rainforest or go on a whale watch tour. You may even spot one of Australia’s endangered dingos. The island offers accommodations for all budgets.

Backpackers can stay in group accommodations and enjoy the restaurants, bars, or cafes. Agnes Water, on the main coastal road in Queensland, is another famous surfing spot and is on the Great Barrier Reef’s southern tip. Accommodations include hostels with basic amenities to luxury apartments and retreats with WiFi, swimming pools, bars, and bike rentals.

The Whitsundays are an island chain off the coast of central Queensland. The landscape is stunning, the beaches are secluded, and the people are friendly. The islands are on the Great Barrier Reef, with accommodations that are eco-friendly. Airlie Beach is known for hostels for backpackers, with diving, snorkelling, swimming, islands to explore, and exciting nightlife.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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