Michi, Sunday, January 30. 2011
Merten, Thursday, January 27. 2011
So, we are back from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Actually already 24 hours ago, but we were a little too tired to look though the pictures and post ...
Pictures show us up on the main plateau with "Mount Doom" aka Mount Ngauruhoe, some of our many co-hikers at the "Emerald lakes" and the steep (!) descent from the crater, look for the small coloured dots!
Michi, Tuesday, January 25. 2011
Today we decided spontaneously to move on instead of staying in the prebooked motel that we've planned for 3 nights. It was just not the place for us - unfriendly and not so clean. Now we are sitting on the veranda of a perfect Bed&Breakfast with a glass of wine that was just offered to us and all our laundry done by our great host (no, we are not having a slave, we are paying for the washing).
Anyway: the weather did improve very much so we are going to walk the "Tongariro Alpine Crossing" tomorrow. This is a 19,4 km walk through a lava field around "Mount Doom" (those of you who know The Lord Of The Rings will know that). Hopefully we will have a clear day tomorrow so that we have a good view and take some nice pictures for our next post
Not to forget our small highlight yesterday: we went to a wildlife park where they have a Kiwi-bird encounter to raise the threatened birds. We actually saw some in their nocturnal room walking around. We fell in love with these funny small creatures and ended up on becoming godmother and godfather of the small chick "Toddy" .
But they had not only Kiwis in the park but all sorts of other animals and yes, we spent some money on this animal food but the ducklings were just so sweet...:
Michi, Sunday, January 23. 2011
Today the weather got even worse than yesterday. Our host told us, that here in Taupo 200 mm of rain fell during the day.
But: we did not want to stay all day inside so we went for a Maouri center where we watched some traditional dancing and singing and took part in a guided tour. It was really interesting to get more information about the history and culture of New Zealand's (or Aotearoa as they call it) native people.
Unfortunately we did not see any Kiwi birds in the special decorated house but this is planned for tomorrow again. If they open the Kiwi-park at all - today it was closed due to flooding...
Anyway we had some great experiences today and even got some impressions of New Zealand's thermal area including two of their geysirs:
Michi, Saturday, January 22. 2011
Today it is raining again - fortunately we have a good tent that left us pretty dry the last night and now we have a really great lodge accommodation with two warm / hot private pools and so on.
But enough of that, before the rain started we had a trip from Paihia further south were we visited the Kauri trees. These are the oldest and biggest trees of New Zealand - the greatest one (Tane Mahuta = Lord of the forest) is about 2.000 years old, 51,5 meters high and the trunk girth is 13,8 meters. So a pretty large one. As the Kauri trees have very delicate roots is is not allowed to walk near them, so on the picture you do not see the Tane Mahuta but another big one. Just spot Merten on the picture
We continued with our journey to the next campsite which we did not like at all. So we decided to drive some towns further south and camp there. This was absolutely the right decision. We ended up at a town called Bayleys Beach at the Tasman Sea. The beach there is absolutely amazing - 100 km long and an official state highway during times of low tide. We did not dare to take our small rental car on there (insurance!) so we had a nice walk and watched the sundown before we went to the local astronomer who showed us the full moon and Jupiter through his giant telescope.
Michi, Wednesday, January 19. 2011
By now we have settled into a quieter part of this holiday. After having spent half of Monday in Auckland (which we found to be just another big city... with good outdoor clothing outlets...) we made our way up north to Paihia. First we were a bit sad because it was raining like mad here on Monday. We tried a short walk on the beach but after 2 minutes we were absolutely soaked.
As a kind of compensation we are staying at probably the best place we have been to so far. We are hosted by two very nice Dutchmen and two other British couples are staying here as well. The view from the lodge is just amazing and it is really friendly here.
Today the weather improved and we got sunshine all day long. After a great breakfast we went a bit out of town to visit a glow-worm cave. We were the only visitors and our Maori guide provided us with a lot of background to the cave and the glow-worms. Really impressive!
After an afternoon on the beach were Merten tried out swimming in the Pacific Ocean we followed the recommendation of our travel guide book and went to dinner at the local "award winning restaurant". It was absolutely stunning and we really have to think back when we last had such great food. The evening ended with a conversation on our hosts' balcony with trying some of their own honey (they have some beehives around here) - jummy
Tomorrow we are going west and visit the Kauri trees - the biggest and oldest trees growing on New Zealand (picture to follow...). As we are camping the next two night we do not know if we have Internet access but stay tuned
Michi, Monday, January 17. 2011
Some days of really great weather just ended when we flew to Auckland today (it is still warm but with not so nice weather coming from Australia...).
Leaving from Nelson Airport today was really an experience. Living in Germany we are used to security checks, passport controls, little plastic bags for your allowed liquide in the handluggage and so on and so on. Today was ... different. For check-in the lady at the counter only wanted a name from us - no ID or anything, just a name. Later we found out that you could not go through Security before the boarding time because they only had one gate and one exit but many flights So when they called out our flight we went through Security check wich was: show your boarding pass. No x-ray of hand luggage, no walking through a metal detector after taking off your belt, nothing. Strange experience.
Tomorrow we are driving to the Bay of Islands where we are expecting some great beaches and maybe a bit better weather
Michi, Friday, January 14. 2011
The last two nights we spent on a really great campsite. Nevertheless we had no internet there (or better: did not want to pay for that...) so here is what we did the last days.
We arrived on a rainy day at Mount Cook which is the biggest mountain of New Zealand (3.755 m high to give an educational figure). Hence we could not see a lot of him. Anyway, yesterday when we got out of our tent in the morning the sun was shining and the mountain was really looking at us.
We decided on a longer walk to the glacier lake which was just amazing. During the walk we were happy to have our hiking boots available as it turned out to be: climbing, river crossing, walking on stones, ...
Once we arrived at the glacier lake the view was just stunning and so we decided to have a lunch break there and relax a bit.
The walk was estimated by our travel book with 3 hours, it took us about 5 hours as we often stopped to have a closer view at our surroundings or get a refreshment.
Back home at the campsite (as a compensation for the rained off day before) Mount Cook presented a perfect sunset and we got some very nice pictures. We still have to get used to the fact that the moon is the other way 'round than at home...
Today we are again in Christchurch and will head further north tomorrow for another night of camping before our flight to the north island comes nearer.
Update to follow...
Merten, Tuesday, January 11. 2011
We are only here for a week, and already we have seen so many things. Today we had a glimpse at the wild life and got within a few metres of wild penguins and sea lions!
This is the main attaction of local city of Dunedin, which does not look too nice, but has a few more things to offer like the Cadbury chocolate factory which we will tour tomorrow morning Also the hotel is nice and has a washing machine in the room, so we could do some laundry as well. Tomorrow we will continue further north for a second attempt to see Mount Cook (maybe with no rain, as we will be camping the first two nights of this trip...)
Michi, Sunday, January 9. 2011
Yes, it was very warm today. Well for us only used to winter temperatures 25° felt like a very warm day.
This morning we got up pretty early to go to Milford Sound - an amazing fjord leading into the Tasman Sea. As we basically had no wind at all we decided for a short cruise around there. It was really great to see the huge mountains, glaciers and waterfalls from such a near distance.
Coming back to Te Anau (where we spent two nights in a wonderful B&B) we went to the local pub for grilled stuff - jummy. This is one thing we noticed quite early about the "Kiwis" (people living on New Zealand): they love meat - favorite dish seems to be anything grilled with meat...
Merten, Friday, January 7. 2011
Sorry for not updating in a while. Something still unknown crashed the site, and only a full re-upload could repair it. No idea what happened, it was not us definitely.
Anyway, our trip along the Southern Alps was marked by loads of rain, which meant no panoramas yet interesting driving conditions...
Today, upon leaving this region the weather improved, so at least we got a glimpse at what we should have seen the past few days as well:
For all our endurance sports friends - apparently cycling around here is also quite common. But watch out that your front tires do not get trapped, when our Kiwi friends put up this sign:
Merten, Wednesday, January 5. 2011
Merten, Tuesday, January 4. 2011
Today is our first day on New Zealand. Actually we arrived yesterday but were too tired to see much. Gladly we are coming back to Christchurch later during our trip to get a better impression of the city - yesterday we only got to the icecream-van in the park
Merten, Monday, January 3. 2011
Merten, Saturday, January 1. 2011
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