April 30, 2008

New Zealand at a glance

The sign "Caution! Fresh paint" is somehow missing.... picture postcards come to life.

April 29, 2008

culture schock at home

So, I have spent like all weekend sitting in the the sund and uploading my NZ photos on my laptop - all 800 of them. Labeling, editing, resizing, sorting, organizing, reorganizing and finally putting them all together in one short presentation. Looking back at the photos is really great, it seems soo far away already, but there really are some brilliant shots.

What a brilliant country that is.

April 24, 2008

the spirit of australia

ur Kiwi experience is over... what a blast it had been. I haven´t really realized what actually happened the last months. It just flew by at the speed of sound. Looking at the pictures it seem pretty surreal.

Now I am back in Hamburg and it´s soo akward. nothing has changed. That´s like the hardest part of returning home after being away for a while... their life just seems to have stopped while yours didn´t.

So after having traveled to the end of the world for a slight chance of maybe finding out what to do with my life... I think I might have come to a solution, which will cause me some sleepless night. Nevertheless I guess that´s what I will do in the next year. Since I have always wanted to stay in Sydney for a longer period of time, the only "easy" way is to get a working holiday visa. But this is just possible until the age of 30... which would give me almost two years time! :-) That´s at least a start, something to look forward to. Now the info hunting has begun.

The spirit of Australia has capurted me at first sight! Sydney 2009 here I come!

April 20, 2008

cheers mates!

It hasn' t really stopped raining the whole day of yesterday... what a drag! We went
to Sydney Wildlife to see some Koalas, Kangaroos and all those "cute" spiders and
reptiles there are in Oz! The most venomos spider in the world lives in Sydney...
hhhmmm, revise my decision....!?! The Koalas were really cute! Cuddling up to sleep
all day long! The afternoon we spent shopping, you could shop till you drop here...
seriously... unfortunately the season are revised here, so we can' t really do anything
with all those awesome autumn stuff back home.... damn! :-( The summer stuff that is
on sale .. is as usual only available in the big sizes! Oh well!

At night we met up with some Aussies and joined them at their after work drinks...
that was fun. Met a lot of people. We went to some other bar with some other people
we just met there at the pub. They were saying the bar we are going to is really
trashy and not that hot... so I was thinking some place like in the Schanze or Kiez...
but surprise the place was really cool! Not at all soo trashy. There we met other guys
from Sydney... it is sooo easy to met people here. All of them were doing after work
and the best thing is, all drinks until 11pm - it was like 9 pm back then - is on the
company... yep, they were all wasted! ;-) So, we chatted with this group of people,
and they looked like Advertising guys, but turned out to be lawyers... ok. We got
teased because we went to Kiwiland... why in the world NZ!! Well, it was quite fun, all
drinks were free for us as well, so we joined the office party there. Australian beer
isn' t all that bad, eh! ;-)

Today we spent a bit hung over at Bondi Beach.
The sun decided to shine for us on our last day down
under, so we headed to the beach! Did some coastal
walking and chilling in the sun! Nice day! Compared to
Australia now, NZ really has this end of the world feeling to
it. Auckland is compared to Sydney a village! :-)

So, tomorrow we will unfortunately fly back home... looong
way to go again. We are really sad to leave... it hss been a
rally awesome trip, time flew by like crazy. We haven' t
really gotten the chance to really realize where we have
been and what we have seen in NZ. Sooo much to see
and do in soo less time. I will be back though soon!

After 4000 km on the road and 20 days at the end of the world, our trip comes to an
end... it' s a wrap!
Thanks for keeping up with us and I will see some of you in a few days! :-)

April 18, 2008

Sydney @ its best

Oh , we love Sydney!!

This morning it poured down rain like crazy! we were pretty pissed, not a repetition of
Auckland, please not! Anyways you can also do a lot of stuff in Syndey while its bad
weather so we hit the streets and walked all the way up to the CBD to get some
brekky on the way. After we went to the Queen Victoria Building to check out my
favorite store, Witchery, it finally cleared, thank god! We went down to The Rocks
and did the Phylon look out climb, to see the city by daylight this time. Awesome
view. It still feels really unreal to actually stand in front of the harbor bridge and the
Opera House now.

The rest of the afternoon we spent at the Botanic Gardens. There we discovered that
one shouldn' t be surprised or even scared if the eels that are in that little pond there
eat the ducks!! aaahh, yeah... glad we didn' t know that when we were in the
Waitomo Caves wading through waist deep water with eels in it. Maybe just the Oz-
eels eat meat!! ;-)

After we almost got lost in a huge underground mall, somehow all of the innercity
malls are connected, we went down to Darling Harbour to have some "after work"

Now we are gonna hit some bars here in Newtown! :-)

April 16, 2008

good day Australia!

Good day from Australia!! :-)

Catching up on some free internet access while waiting for the rain to stop. yeah,
right, Sydney and rain ... again... it was really sunny in Auckland this morning. Great!
We were up at like 4>30 am since we had to catch the flight at 8:50am, return the car
and since it was an international flight, be there three hours in advance! Hurray!

Arriving in Sydney was somehow like coming home... :-) We caught a shuttle - since
it was the cheapest way to get into the city - and the Indian driver dropped us of in
Newtown saying that the hostel we are staying in is across the street... well, it turned
out it wasn' t and we had to walk 4km to reach this freaking place! Aaarghh!
The hostel is really great - thanks Maria for the recommendation - we are not staying
in the main building but next door, so it' s more like a shared house, typical Sydney
style! The room is pretty neat as well.

Now I am gonna show Anke around the city. Am leaving asap since in this TV room,
where the PCs are, there are like 20 backpackers lying around watching TV... you
just want to scream at them! Don' t they have anything to do at all!!!??!!!

Oh it has been wonderful, as always! We walked all the way down to the Opera
House so we could still see it at twilight. It was awesome. So surreal though. There
we also watched a spontaneous performance of some artists which was really good.
Sitting there on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.... way awesome!! :-)

April 15, 2008

farewell to the seas

It couldn' t be stopped ... the last day in NZ has arrived. What a
shame... and Kiwiland is crying because of it! Rainy day toady
as well! :-( But that doesn' t make it easier on us. Can' t we just
stay a little bit longer...

It has been a fantastic time here on the other side of the world. I
can honestly recommend anybody to come and visit this
beautiful country! It' s really worth it.

I can definitely say, that I will be back... more sooner than later.
Now we are heading of to spend some days in Sydney, Australia....

There is more to come! Hopefully, I will find the time to write, because I have a lot on
my agenda the next few days, let' s see what will become of it!

Jamie vs. Gordon

Yesterday was not that good, weatherwise. It poured down rain, all
day long. So no Sky Jump for me! Seriously I wanted to do it! We
walked around the city all day! But it' s not taht of an interesting
place to do a lot... the beaches and islands around Auckland would
be awesome, if the sun would shine! Our last days in NZ are spent
with typical Kiwi weather. :-(

Oh well, last night we cooked a German meal for the Kiwis. Oh, you
all stop laughing...! Everyone is still alive and no, I won' t cook when
I am back! Sorry! ;-)

We thought it's just gonna be just us staying at the house, but Elaine invited her son
and his wife over as well, plus the Japanese student was still spending the night, so it
was 7 people in total. Oh oh! We decided on making Rolladen with potato mash....
yummy... never made that one and not for 7 people!! After we stormed through the
NZ supermarket in the search of all the ingredients, thanks to the Dr Oetker' s english
version of a German cookbook that was at the house already - we rushed to the
house to find everyone already sitting at the table waiting for us. So, this time we
were the next Jamie Olivers cooking show! :-) Nothing burnt down... and seriously it
really tasted good. They even wanted seconds. :-) For desert we made vanilla ice
cream with hot boysenberries... yummy! The chocolate cake we had for the
Japanese girl' s birthday was rather interesting! We also sang a happy birthday to

Tonite we' ll get some real Kiwi food.

April 14, 2008

It never rains in Kiwiland

Finally we have made our way into Auckland... it was
really pretty easy to find the place where we are
staying at right now. We just drove on in... without a
map anything... thank god for my photographic
memory! :-)

For the weekend we had gone up to the Bay of Islands... beautiful beautiful... when
it's sunny outside. We thought about hanging out on the beaches and do some
snorkeling with the dolphins up there Well, no
chance! Since we left Auckland on Saturday morning
it poured down rain, the sun wouldn' t even come out
at all! How frustrating! We were sitting there in Paihia
and of course, there was nothing happening ...
nothing, zero, nada! At night, the whole place was
just empty! Oh well, so we sat there in this nice bar
while it poured down rain with gusty winds!
The night was also pretty interesting, since our room joined the kitchen and those
three English girls were chatting at the top of their lungs.... really world changing
stuff, I might say.
Yeah!! So, of course, no dolphin swimming today, since the sea was so rough, they
wouldn' t let you into the water. And just dolphin viewing.... well, no thanks, I have
seen enough dolphins already. But never swam with them! :-( Fortunately this has
been the first two days with typical NZ weather!

Today in the morning we drove up to the memorial of the
Rainbow Warrior, the Greenpeace ship which was shot at in
the harbor of Auckland. What a o\picturesque bay it was...
would have been even better if it was not that stormy outside
and a bit of light would have been a treat. There is not much
to do up there, when it's raining, everything happens on the
sea! So, we drove back to Auckland.

Right now we are in a big internet cafe which looking around might as well be in the
middle of Tokyo ... only Asian people around... pretty interesting...

We have finally crossed the 4000 km margin with our car today...wow!

Two days to go!! How sad is that!

April 11, 2008

black water rafting

Toady was our adventure day!

We went down to the Waitomo glow worm caves and had a blast. We did this combo
which lets you do all the cool things in one go! We were a group of five and the
guide, Daz a typical Kiwi guy, and three guys from the UK. Fun group. First we had to
change into a wetsuit, awful pants, harnets and gum boots! That was a shocking
outfit! I just ignored the fact that I was working for the fashion industry, god looked we
stupid!! :-) After some "dry training" on ropes how to use the rope and safety
instructions we went to the cave entrance. It went straight down ... like 30m and we
had to abseil it ... by ourselves! Standing on the edge of the ramp, I was like ...
alright, I am leaving. But it' s easier than it looks like. You slide down in a breeze.
From then we did some exploring of the caves, black water rafting and rock climbing.
It was amazing. The glow worms are awesome. The glow brightly. I didn' t know that
they were dying out, they only exist in Southern Oz and NZ these days... so even
more enjoyable to see them. It looked like a night sky full of little stars! After watching
the glow worms we climbed some rocks... steep ones and climbed through tiny holes.
It was really fun.

In the end we had to climb up the 30m we came down. It was really steep. But we all
made it. Daz shot some really cool pictures of all of us during the tour, but ... cannot
upload them right now... later on! Unfortunately my digital camera decided to quit on
me and broke down. There is nothing to repair anymore, which makes me really
mad, why now?! I hate it!

Right now, we are on our way to Auckland. We stopped at Raglan, this amazing
surfer beach and laid down on the beach for some hours before continuing on the
two hour drive to Auckland, one of our final destinations.

April 10, 2008

thermal wonderland

The Spa was sooo great. It was set right on the Lake of Rotorua and you could sit in
one of the pools and look over the lake... awesome! And since it gets quite chilly at
night, even better. It was pretty quiet in there as well, so no crowds. The pools were
all outdoors and ranged from 37 up to 42 degrees. So you could like jump from one
to the other. After a while you also get accostumed to the sulfur smell, which smells
like rotten eggs. And it does smell like that in the whole area. Sometimes it' s still
gross though!

We had a really nice backpackers and we had our own little house, more like a
shared house, with three guys from the Netherlands and a couple from Switzerland.
We had a lot of fun at breakfast, all sitting at the table and chatting. We could have
stayed there like one more day! But time is running out and we had to drive to the
Wai-O-Tao Thermal Wonderland, which is a Park full of volcanic activity and amazing
thermal pools. It' s amazing, the colors range from yellow - sulfur- to orange and the
smell.... uuuhhh, was disgusting at times, when the hot smoke hits you surprisingly
while walking past the pool. There the Lady Know Geyser is still active and erupts
every day at 10:15am - with a little help from a package of soap. It wouldn' t erupt on
time if they wouldn' t help a little. That' s also the reason how they discovered that the
geyser is still active, way back. around that thermal area an outdoor prison was
located once and the prisoners did their laundry like right next to the geyser when
they one day found their laundry like 15 m next to where they washed it! The geyser
erupts with a steaming water fountain up to 20 m... it was really impressive. Although
we thought it would go off with a loud bang, but it was quite smooth!

At noon, I thought it was about time to have another tattoo. :-) And since the Maoris
were the ones who "invented" it - they all have amazing tattoos here! So, as we
walked by this neat tattoo place I just walked in to see if they have space... and they
did. Three more stars!!! I love ' em!

In the afternoon we went to a Maori village, the only one that is still lived in Rotorua.
A Maori Guy showed us around and this was really interesting. They live in an active
thermal area and they are cleverly using the hot water streams for cooking and
bathing. Quite impressive. Also, the ground is soo hot they never get cold feet!

After the village we sped of to Waitomo, to do the cave tour the next day!

indulge in Maori culture

After spending half day in Taupo, we are now in Rotorua. The Maori must see town
in NZ. They have a lot of villages and of course Thermal pools here. We are staying
at this awesome backpackers here. Really cosy and we chatted to this Kiwi for like
an hour what to do and what to see! Really nice mate. Tonight we are about to leave
for the Polynesian Spa here in town, which is a big area with hot springs and thermal
pools, really nice thing to do when its getting colder outside in the evenings now!
Looking forward to this!

Tomorrow we' ll go and see the Geysers and more volcanic areas and amazing
sights. But time is running out now...

craters of the moon

Today we had a really great day... amazing nature things! We were exploring around
Taupo. This town lies on the beautiful Lake Taupo and is surrounded by volcanos.
Some of them are still active. The whole area is still moving, boiling and shaking.
They actually had an earthquake on Friday, April 4th, a small one, but it was one.
They are still waiting for the big shake though.

We started our tour at the Craters of the Moon, which is a volcanic active area and
well, looks like the craters of the moon. You wouldn' t expect there to be soo much
activity, because as always in NZ nature hits you by surprise. To enter this area you
had to pay 5 NZ$, which is really cheap, most of the times you don' t have to pay
entry to the national parks... just donations! Nice them kiwis! :-) So, we were entering
this park and you can go around on wooden bars along the craters. All you can see
at first is smoke coming up from holes in the ground, looks more like someone lit a
small fire. Coming closer you can see the little craters and smell the sulfur. You can
feel the earth is boiling underneath, it' s really hot. That's why you cannot walk on
sole ground, because you feet would get burned badly. There was one amazing
crater which was called the mud crater. It was really big and you could up and see
into it, it was all mud on the ground and it was like bubbling and boiling. Looked more
like boiling water in a big bowl, except it was brown mud. Spooky. Smoke
everywhere! They also make swoooshing sounds! It felt like walking through Jurassic
Park there. Pretty impressive!

Then we went on to the Huka Falls, they are provided the area around Taupo with
electricity, so we thought, they must be pretty huge waterfalls there. Nope, weren't!
They were not soo big, but pretty impressive. The water is crystal clear and turquoise
... as all the water around here is. You just want to jump in and take a few swims
there! Too cold though!

After that we went to the Bungy Jump. Watched a few jumpers. Scenic bridge there,
but wouldn' t get me jumping. We were thinking of doing the sky dive over Taupo...
we even went to the local airport to check it out. But ... aahh, yeah we chickened out!
:-( Not really my thing. It was really busy and they squeezed like 10 people plus
tandem partners in the small, tiny, scary looking plane! ahh noo! Maybe if there
would have been somebody to talk us really into it, we' d go for it but since none of
us really really wanted to do it... the idea of it sounded great though.

April 09, 2008

a trip to Mordor

What a day it has been!

Yesterday we were discovering the night life of Wellington... well, there was actually
none, since it was Monday night and everyone probably still hung over from the WE,
so not a lot of people around. The street where all the pubs and bars are on
reminded me a bit of the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, although, no red light and a lot
cleaner and nicer! We found a pretty good Irish Pub though, they are like everywhere
down there. And had some real food .... yeah! No more sandwiches or instant soups
for a change! Then we discovered a bar which had Daiquiries for half price... yep,
they were really good - strong as well, so they did their job! :-)

This morning we ran around Wellington and did some sightseeing. There wasn' t
much either. Oh the cable car ... we rode this for two minutes then the ride ended....
ok, pretty short track! We walked down to the city via the Botanic Gardens, which
were pretty neat, and checked out the Government Buildings. But either than that,
Wellington is a pretty unspectacular city! So off we were towards the North.

Right now we are in Taupo on Lake Taupo. We took the Volcanic Explorer Highway
which goes straight through the National Parks of the volcanos... First it was really
nice, could also have been driving somewhere in the US, looked a bit like the
Carolinas, going to the country side, then there were huge sings, with road conditions
and "Drive with Care" warnings and the road turned into Desert Road... yep, that was
the perfect name for it, because there was nothing there! Reminded me somewhat of
Death Valley, but more scarce. The clouds were really low and it looked a bit spooky.
They used the backdrop for Mordor in L o t Rings... that' s how we felt... going to
Mordor! Straight!

Finally we arrived in Taupo this evening. The hostel is ok, but there are weird people
hanging out. We cooked at the hostel tonight - another first here - and the kitchen
was overflowing with 'kids" ... pretty annoying... Thank god we still have a bottle of
wine in the fridge... that' ll do it! :-)

Tomorrow we' ll probably go white water rafting in the morning... and then we' ll see!

April 08, 2008

New Zealand continued

We'v e made it..... to the North Island.

The ferry ride was actually not that bad. It was clearing when we left Picton this
afternoon. How exciting to go on the ferry with the car. It was huge, which movie
theater and everything on it. The trip was quite stormy though. Well, ipod on shuffle
mode and no worries! I stayed on the sun deck all the time, sitting down on the floor it
wasn' t that windy and the sun was quite strong! Standing up, you' d got blown away!
Luckily we didn' t get seasick! Yeah!

From Picton the ferry takes you along the Malborough Sounds. Really picturesque!
Reminds of the Fiorlands. We had sun, so it looked amazing with the dark turquoise
ocean and the lush green rainforest! Brilliant!

Wellington is called the windy city! Well, truth is, it' s even worse than Hamburg. And
it drizzled this evening, so not much to see. Someone also switches out the sunlight
at like seven and it gets dark from one second to the other! So, we' ll be off to do
some sightseeing tomorrow and then off up North towards the volcanos, Thermal
pools, Geysers, Maori villages, beaches, dolphin encounter, white or black water
rafting and more. Currently we are thinking about doing the big jump over Lake
Taupo. Skydiving is on the agenda... m a y b e!! :-)

New Zealand part 2 is about to begin ...

farewell to South Island

Here we are in Picton, our last stop on the South Island. Tomorrow we'll catch the ferry to Wellington and off we are to the North Island. The ferry ride is supposed to be amazing, the ferry takes you out through a bit of Malborough Sounds and out via the Cook Strait into Wellington. I am honestly a bit scared of the ferry ride, because everyone I talked to was seasick, it gets crazy out there. But according to the friendly guy at the check in desk, we are on the newest and fastest boat, and tomorrow should be a fine day. Well, lets wait and see, if I need to pop in some pills and walk around like a zombie for the rest of tomorrow. 

Tonight we are in Picton at this neat little backpackers. We already stayed at the "sister" hostel in Nelson and it was really cool there. They have this thing, that they serve chocolate pudding with ice cream every night at 8pm. That is a really really nice treat. We first thought, ahh ok, nice, but then at 8pm the guy from the office yells through the hostel ... "chocolate pudding for everyone please" and everybody jumps up and starts for the kitchen. Seriously that is not a pudding they serve here... it' s even better, it' s more like fudge with vanilla ice cream!... and it's delicious... ! So, yeah today we already had the fudge... thank god we are leaving tomorrow, we wouldn' t be recognised if we' d continued eating it. ;-)

Oh, another thing: we think that NZ is the new Mallorca for the Germans... it is crazy, everywhere you go there are 90% Germans around and not the young backpackers, no way, older ones (60 and up as well) and they are everywhere. It' s like when Kiwis ask you where you come from and you say it, they go like, ah of course! It' s pretty annoying we think, that Germans are everywhere. We have to watch our mouths really carefully, when we see strange people passing...they might understand us! ;-) A lot of the German backpackers we met, they stay here for a year or longer, work and travel... well, more travel than work... most of them quit there job and most of them were "fired" by their bosses, so now we know, how on earth everyone seems to be able to afford a leisure life like this for more than a few months... !!  aha! One girl was telling us that she was fired by her boss and now she is able to do this, and we were like "oh so we are paying for your journey to NZ or what... very interesting!" well, she was not amused! ;-) 

But there are also a lot of other people from around the world hangin out at the backpackers, in Nelson we had a pretty good time with people from the US, CA, UK and SE.... but compared to their stories and what they already have seen, our 4 week trip seems like nothing. It' s definitely not enough time... but one thing is for sure... I will be back!

April 07, 2008

stop and stare

Woo hoo! We finally made it, we went kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park. And seriously... we were sooo good! Yep! Unfortunately our group, consisting of 6 people plus guide, was not one of the fastest, due to two Asian girls who had no clue what they were doing at all and zig zag kayaking around the bay like crazy. We would have rocked this thing, we went soo fast, but untrained or unfit as those girls were, we all had to wait up and stop one bay earlier because they almost fell out of their kayak they were so tired. Anyways we had a great time. The weather wasn' t that great, but it didn' t rain luckily. Was a bit cloudy, but perfectly fine for a tour on the water. We were paddeling for almost three hours on turquoise waters, the Tasman Sea, and rainforest coastlines, yellow sandy beaches. Picture Perfect! We had a break at the beach with our lunch and we also got hot chocolate... Yummy... with milk foam! our guide was running into the little store while we were on our way to the beach to start the tour and she bought milk, I was joking, saying ha ha ha, maybe we get a latte later. Well, indeed we did, but we all prefered hot chocolate! 

And from the little beach, we walked back to our car, instead of taking the water taxi. It took us two and a half hours, which was quite ok, since we never lost the view of the beautiful coastline. We are still wandering if the Asian girls ever made it to the car park, they left after us, but it took them with their poor fitness level, probably forever. But in the end it got a bit tiring, we were lacking of caffeine... that's another thing in NZ, the coffee, well, the latte (here they call it trim latte not skinny latte) is superb...everywhere! Just a little side note! :-) It was a great day!

April 06, 2008

seals up close and personal

Today has been really awesome... again...we wanted to kayak today in the Abel Tasman Ntl. Park, but as we got up in the morning it poured down rain. So, we decided to go to the most northern point of the South Island... the Farewell Spit. After driving up and down the most curvy road I have been on ... let me tell you, motion sickness sucks!! We drove into the clouds, they were hanging pretty low toady and then it was the most beautiful day, blue skies and sunny. So we went to this little town which is the last town on the South Island, it actually had the feeling to it... nobody there! The guy at the hostel told us this morning, that there was the most beautiful beach up there, he has seen, so we went there. The beach is called Waraiki Beach! 

After driving on unsealed road for half an hour, we came to this car park and had to continue on foot to the beach. We had to climb over a little fence and tramped on a trail across a sheep farmland. The didn' t bother at all, kept on munching grass. Then another fence climb and we walked across land where bulls were standing on...it could also have been in the Alps, it looked like it. Lush green fields and rainforest... then up a steep hill and puuufff there it was ... the most brilliant beach I have ever been on. Big impact! The sand dunes were high, there were rocks in the ocean and the beach was.... well, endless sand!! Stunning! After regaining our breath again we strolled over to the rocks, where a seal colony was supposed to be. 

We checked out the rocks and yeah, there were some there. Cute!

Then out of the blue, well, out of the ocean came a seal.... like 5 meters next to us, crossed the little beach to this little pond thingy and jumped in there. We were like ... aaahhhh what is that? Then as we walked up to the little pond... there were five seals in there.... we were THRILLED... that was sooo cool. We stood there and they started their show... seriously they started to play. Jumping in the water, splashing, goofing around like crazy... that was like in Sea World, except it was NATURE and we were 1m next to it.... AWESOME!!! That made our day... :-) we almost floated back to the car! Everyone who crossed our path we were telling them to go to the little pond... :-) 

After this excitement we drove back to that little cafe overlooking the Farewell Spit, the Craddle Kitchen. Neat little hut... real stunning view out on the ocean. Great day...

Oh, and as we came back to the hostel, the door to our room which was right next to the reception was wide open. Obviously there had been a fire alarm caused in our room and the whole hostel had to evacuate.... and we haven' t been there!! Damn! Why that happened? They didn' t know... lets hope for a quiet night!!

Do I need to worry that the Cashier at the local drug store was asking for my ID when I bought the bottle of wine this evening?!! Everyone who looks younger than 25 yrs of age need to show ID!!! Aahhh..... that hasn' t happened to me since ... what, I was 16!!! Well, except the US...!! Weird... Should I be flattered then? :-)

Tomorrow we are then of to Kayak in Abel Tasman ... finally... we are quite excited...

April 05, 2008

noah´s arch

After having spent the day at the glaciers hiking we went on towards the west coast... driving hours all alone on the highway... ahhh no, let' s call it street. We arrived in this small town, Greymouth. We finally found a place to stay for the night which was really cool. It was a hostel in a pretty old building, that survived the flooding years back and therefore is calle Noah' s Arch. Each room has a different theme... we stayed in the Pigs room, which was in pink and decorated with little pigs. 

Today we mostly spent driving... hey, we already drove 2000km in NZ... we are doing pretty good! 
We went from Greymouth up the coast.. the road was curving along the Tasman Sea, like 2m next to the roads was the turquoise ocean... looked amazing! We stopped south of Westport to see the seal colony there. Fur seals lying on the rocks chillin'! 

Then we... well, I drove all the way to Nelson. Three hours! Which was not that exciting because the road winded along the mountains inlands. Here in Nelson we stay at a pretty cool little, cosy Backpackers. It's really nice. We sit there with a lot of people from different countries chatting. We are also close to the end of our white wine... so ... yeah, I get back to that now. 

Tomorrow we hope that the weather gets better.... it' s quite stormy here. We' d plan to do Kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park. Then get the ferrie to Wellington on Sunday. 

Let me introduce you to Franz Josef and Fox

... the most amazing natural phenomenas I have seen so far... we were driving like for two hours through the thickest rainforest... lush green palm trees and breeches... the air si quite humid ad it' s hot outside... then you turn the corner and puuufff there is one glacier in front of you! In the rainforest... that' s like out of this world! It' s unqiue in the whole world that glaciers are right next to rain forests. 

The Maori Legend says that the glacier Franz Josef is the tears of a Maori girl who lost her love in some war.... tears that have gone to ice... isn' t that sweet. 

We unfortunately missed the glacier tours, where you can actually walk on the glacier, so we went back to the thermal face just to look at it. Awesome. Fox Glacier is right next to the Franz Josef glacier, which was named after some Austrian Guy, was it the Kaiser maybe! The Franz, as we called him, was even more impressive, because you walk back there through the rainforest and through the almost dried out river bed back almost to the thermal face. So we did some hiking back there and starred at the glacier for some time. Beautifull. Unfortunately we missed the tours
we' d loved to go back up there. The helicopter rides were too expensive as well. But we' ve been there. 

Still slow internet access.... aaaawwwww I am soo counting on Wellington...

April 03, 2008

glaciers meet rainforests

Leaving Lake Wanaka to the Westcoast over Haast Pass, we were expecting it to be another "highway to hell" like our unspecatular journey to Milford!! Fortunately not! :-)

It was amazing ...as always.... scenic route and it was just us and the road. We actually saw sheeps running around without fence and they were standing right next to the road. Sooo cute!!  
Haast Pass winds right through a lush rainforest - its fresh smell is incredible - and right through to the Tasman Sea. As backdrop are the snow covered mountains... awesome! After three hours driving we are actual in the middle of nowhere... Haast is a little town... no, five houses and two lodges and one supermarket.... pretty much happening here! It's more or less a base for the people going to the glaciers. 

That's what we are going to do tomorrow. If the weather is clear we'll go for a half day hike on the Franz Josef glacier... with ice axes and stuff... that sounds real fun. 

Oh, still no photos to upload since the PCs are sooo slow, it would take ages.... shortly, when we reach civilisation... that's be in about 500 km up the coast... there might be a real internet cafe again.... maybe, but with the kiwis... you never know!  ;-)

April 02, 2008

let´s conquer the west coast

After spending the night in uneventful Queenstown ... we went on to a small town right next to it, called Arrowtown. It was sooo pretty, it had one Main Street and looked like out of a Western movie, with little stores instead of the salons. Really pretty. 

Then we went on .... driving all alone on the winding roads to Lake Wanaka. Also, really beautiful and laid back town.

There we hiked up Mt Iron in what felt like 30 degrees C. Why is the route up the mountain allways in the sun and the way back hidden in the shadow? Up that Mountain we had the most breathtaking 360 degree view over Lake Wanaka and the whole area.... amazing. The widness of the country is amazing.... there doesn' t seem to be a border at all!


After spending the morning in Milford Sound, we drove all the way back to Queenstown to spend the night and continue towards the west coast. 
The weather is still amazing... sunshine and blue skies.... yeah! It got really chilly that night. The hostel we stayed in was really neat... we had our own little hut... sweet.
Queenstown is a typical resort town, skiing in winter and hiking in summertime. Since it is midseason here, not a lot of people are saying there, so not much happening. Queenstown is however the center of party all night and adrenaline kicks... you can choose between bungy - it actually the place where bungy was invented - helibungy, jet boating, river surfing, skydiving, sky swing, shotover bungy and what else you can possible imagine. We watched some bungy jumps, they all chose to get dipped into the water .... brrr, it was freezing. Actually we wanted to do white water rafting, but we thought it too cold, we are gonna do that up north.. And NO we didn' t chicken out!! ;-)

April 01, 2008

would you recognise a hobbit, if you met one?

Please excuse any spelling mistakes this HYPERLINK "mailto:f@" \l "$%" f@#$%^ PC is from the 90ies and so slow I don't see what I am writing.... I should have taken my macbook!!!

Oh my god, what a trip it had been. 

We started of pretty smooth here in Te Anau back to Milford Sound. Trip takes about two hours on a scenic quite spectacular winding road. Well, we always stop at really breathtaking scenery and after ohhhing about it go on! That' s our thing, so let it go!! ;-) Anke drove like for the first hour and then we changed. It already began to get dark, well, actually here it' s like ppuuuffff somebody switched the light out. So, I was driving and the road was ok, when it started to rain and wind and fog. Then it rained really hard and the windshield whiper isn' t working at all ... of course!!! The roads starts picking up and got really steep. Oh, how mysterious this is... spooky, we like it! :-) Then after 15 minutes it wasn' t that funny anymore, because we still had an hour to go and it didn' t get any better. One couldn't see a thing, all fog or clouds or what that was. Of course, we were the only car on that freaking road... it got quite quiet inside our car, let me tell you! I followed the middle line, just to be safe, didn't want to run us down the shoulder or anything. To make things worse, Anke happily discovered that there wasn] t any mobile receiption anymore... so, there we are all alone on this freaktrip and no we would not even get in touch with anyone ..... luckily the one and only hostel up there had our bed bookings. It sounds not that bad, but one should have been there... it was really spooky. Then after a steep turn the road went into a tunnel... not a "normal" tunnel of course, hey we are in Kiwi-land, nothing is normal.

So this tunnel, was out of the 1950s, I guess (the road to the Sound was built in the 90ies so don' t you all wonder)... pitch black .. no we don' t need lights at all, we have our own, right? *ha ha ha* It went to a one lane road and it wouldn' t end.... it was creepy.... ! After the tunnel the road didn' t get any better, the trees started hanging in the road. Basically, we were quite freaked out, when we' d finally would arrive in this lost world of this lonely planet... it resembled a scene of Jurassic Park meets Lord of the Rings! If we'd seen a hobbit standing there on the side of the road... hitch hiking, wouldn' t have surprised us at all.... seriously.... 
Well, after 2 hours of highway .. well, track to hell.... we arrived at the hostel and it poured down like crazy. 

At 11 pm the lights were switched of at the hostel ... well, the generator was cut off, only security lights... what a cosy place it was. For real, it was really a neat place, with big sofas and a lot of backpackers.... 

During the night the storm picked up and got worse, so in the morning, it felt like during the middle of a hurricane... we were like, ok, now we are stranded in the middle of nowhere because we can' t go on the boat onto the Milford Sound... !

We caught the boat at 10am and it was quite stormy and still raining, but with raincoats and a good humor, it worked. Actually it was magnificant... the Fiordland is awesome, it looked really ... again, like out of a movie set, the mountain tops were hidden by the clouds and the water was bottle green. Really mysterious.... The sun came out in the end again and it changed the whole scenery... quite astonishing.... we didn' t get to see dolphins, but sea lions.... ok, we can live with that, we'll be swimming with the dolphins anyways, later on!! whoo hooo!

That was it from the Milford Sound, now we are heading back to Queenstown and then off to the Franz Josef Glacier to the Westcoast of NZ....