Posts tagged ‘New Zealand’
Same time, last year, on the other side of the world..
hat, sweat, heat, walking, hitch-hiking, swearing, loving, full-moon, water, boots, dirt, backpack.
Life is just so relative!
New Zealand – North of the North Island
Last week has been my last week in New Zealand so long. There are far too many other places I haven’t seen yet to just stay there. Not much happened in that week. I finally went up the sky tower. I also went diving one last time at the poor knights islands just before I left for Sydney. These islands are a marine reserve where no fishing is allowed which is awesome for the underwater life. I was able to see a few sting rays, moray eels, clown nudibranchs as well as a lot of other fish. I also walked a few hours through Whangarei where I stayed to see Kauri trees and its waterfalls but that’s about it.
The photos of the last week are added at the end of the last New Zealand album VI. Around poor knights islands from the boat and of the sailing boats..
New Zealand – North Island
After getting a relocation car to go from Wellington to Auckland, I drove up the west coast of the North Island to New Plymouth. First, I stayed another night in Upper Hutt and helped bringing a tree down – thanks, Owen. In New Plymouth, I stayed at the YHA with a new, crazy-but-funny manager and had the whole camping area for myself. I started running and doing some sports again. Cool thing!
Next day I stopped at the Waitomo caves and decided to take a tour before driving on to Hamilton. Interestingly nobody else was there to take part in the tour at 5 pm. So I got a maori guide all for myself. We talked about stuff and I was allowed to take pictures of the cave and it’s glowing worms. Cool thing!
Afterwards I stayed a night in Hamilton. Unfortunately, I arrived quite late. I couldn’t find a hostel but got suddenly invited to camp in the garden of the security-guy I asked for directions. Thanks Tim ..and cool thing!
Back in Auckland I met Lukas and Nora after we overcame their daylight-saving problems. They took me with them on their special-exciting-due-to-first-time-left-lane-driving trip north to Paihia. On our way we went to a fast food restaurant, a toilet in Kawakawa and had a screw-incident. In Paihia I didn’t go to see Kauri trees. Instead I had a closer look at the Rainbow Warrior. That is more remarkable when you know that the ship is to be found at 27 meters below sea level since 1987 – with a great visibility and awesome fish. I also talked to a mewing Parrot named Rocky. Special cool thing!
I headed on south with the two to Rotorua. I didn’t do much there, but we went out for a steak which was my first meat since some time. Then our ways separated again. They were off to the south and I headed back to Auckland to see The Killers in concert. Sweet as!
Now, that’s where I’m still staying – Auckland. But have a look at the cave, toilet and lake Rotorua yourself..
The only question left is: are we human or are we dancer? Uh, and before I forget.. next stop: Sydney on the 19th.
New Zealand – through the middle of the South Island
It seems like I’m always a bit behind with blogging. On the other hand, you probably wouldn’t believe me, if I’d start to write about future events. Or would you? If you’re good at- or open to other perspectives you may find out which book I’m reading in the current album new zealand V.
Anyway, first after relaxing a few days in the small town Picton, I went to do the Queen Charlotte track. 71 km of best weather and awesome views, but also walking again with a heavy backpack. Afterwards I went to Nelson and further to Greymouth where I took the Transalp train via Arthurs Pass to Christchurch. The train ride was quit nice but a bit overrated and hyped. In Christchurch I decided to rent a car for just a day to head back to Castle Hill, an area with a lot of rocks – boulders famous within the rock climbing community. After a great climbing day and night stay at a campsite nearby, I drove back, returned the car and was off north, to Kaikoura. If I ever got more time I have to go there again – nice people, awesome climbing – sweet as!
In Kaikoura I saw, again, no whales, so I just had a relaxing day reading and basically doing nothing. The next morning brought another bus ride and the ferry from Picton back to the North Island. In Wellington I took part at the Earth hour what everybody should have done.
..and I thought about writing of coming back to Europe at the end of this month – but come on, nobody would have believed this April fool hoax anyway.
New Zealand – Steward Island and East Coast
As I started to like driving around, I had to return the car. Well, finally after 23 days (three more in exchange for the battery-problems). Driving here is great fun. You got less traffic and lots of awesome roads. I got used to changing the gears with the left hand soon and the others got used to driving on the right side of the road. Alright, I admit, eventually I also used the left side.
What I also really like are the speed advices at almost all turns and corners and the little bumps in the middle of the road which are so annoying to drive on that people usually just stay on their side of the road.
So for the record, I went to Steward Island and did a bit of walking there, saw lots of birds and enjoyed my favourite spot so far. Afterwards I drove up the east coast and landed now in Picton (the start of the South Island tour) again.
The photos will follow as “new zealand IV”. For now enjoy my two latest jumps:
Now, I’m going to stay and relax a bit here in Picton before I’ll do some final walks in the South Island. Problem is just ..I’m a bit sick of fish and chips now.
New Zealand – Picton to Invercargill
Right, I rent a small car in Picton and went up to the northernmost part of the South Island (Abel Tasman Park, Golden Bay, Cape Farewell). I did an awesome track at the top of the Abel Tasman Great Walk and earned sunburns on my legs. The weather changed from the best to the worst and it was mostly just rain and clouds. So I headed on to the west coast and downwards. In between in the middle of nowhere I got a dead car battery. Thanks to the couple of Switzerland who helped push-starting the car again.
Then I had my failed river-crossing and another track I could not do caused by too much water and too strong currents. I saw closed roads at the glaciers and not much else. But, you know – tell an Austrian about glaciers. When the weather changed again for a few days, I did one of my best walks into the Mt Aspiring national park. Awesome valley, nature, climbs, mountains, huts and people.
Afterwards I drove over to Milford Sound. Interesting roads, but when I finally got there on a boat it started raining again. So I didn’t get a very good sight and mostly pictures of raindrops. I headed further south on the west coast and did a track at the Green Lake, which got me into pretty deep mud and a night-walking experience that was quite dangerous and stupid I guess. Well, no achievements without risks ..and don’t ask me what the achievements were!
So to summarize..
~ walking at beaches I had all for myself – check
~ driving with no traffic along stunning roads – check
~ river crossings – check (failed only once)
~ walk through deep mud – check
~ stay in a hut surrounded by awesome mountains and glaciers – check
~ do a night search-the-track – check (although unintentionally)
~ tramp alone through the bush – check
~ get bitten by sandflys – check, check,.. (at least 200 times)
~ do something really stupid and dangerous – check, check and definitely check (not what you might think – mac)
Then February suddenly ended (totally true, on the 28th to be specific!) and it got Autumn. My next stop was Steward Island.
New Zealand – Taupo to Wellington
Alright, in the end everything is different. The first excursion was more a walking with a huge backbag on the side of the street than tramping on a track in the backcountry. Although, I left the small day bag with stuff I wouldn’t need in the bush in the lodge in Auckland, the backbag was still heavy. Also, it was hot like, well, you know where.
Nevertheless it was a good test for me and my equipment. I got to use my tent, went to a nice lake at the end of a long walking day and got into the luxury of a hitchhike possibility by an retired farmer who just got back from hunting with his dogs. I stayed a bit in Turangi, a small little town along a nice river – with a Burgerking but not more else. I planned to head south along the east route of the famous volcano crossing there. Then it started to rain.
The weather forecast was quite uncomfortable. That’s why I decided to forget about the three to four days in the mountains and head directly towards Wellington. Now I know, Wellington is touristy and you can go out till late possibly every day but Auckland seems really sleepy in comparison in my opinion. I went to stay a bit at a friends of a friend of my mother further in the north of the city which was a very welcome experience. Unfortunately the days of sunshine were few and it started pouring down again. I decided to use the next fine day to take the ferry and head over to the South Island and to rent a car for some time. The advantage would not only be the less time it would take me to go to the places I wanted to, but also as I could leave as much of my stuff as I wanted in the car. Quite handy when you’re just planning a one- or two-day trip.
Next is something about the South Island and Steward Island ..although the jump pic is already from down here..