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And off we go!
Flights and campervan are booked, boots are desinfected: In march 2015, after one year of preparation, we're travelling to NewZealand.
Who would have thought that the best seats in the airplanes are actually gone more than 12 months before the flight... good to know for the next time ;)
Friday, 13.03.15 - Welcome to Wilderness Campervans
More than a year ago I found the company via internet and deemed it best - in my opinion the price-service-performance-ratio is at a very high level... Oh dear, what do I rant... It's a bunch of cordially people who obviously love their job and know what they are talking about.
The next morning is grey but dry. We have our breakfast in the camper [with toast! big thanks to Ingo&Constanze for their tip to take a gas-camping-toaster with us!] and then we have to take another 100 pictures of the pacific waves. Sometime we leave the beach and go on, direction "somewhere south". We do not have any plans, let's see how far we will get.
The day begins with sunshine, it is getting warm - this really remembers us of a summer-sunny-day at home.
We take a shower [whoa, they have beautiful facilities here!] and then drive on. Actually we would like to stay longer but we have to discover so much more - this feeling will not leave us within the next weeks ;)))
Monday morning, dull weather, we don't even see yesterday's mountain. But it is dry and warm. Our first step leads us to Novusglass, the New Zealand version of carglass - everything is fine, the broken windsreen has been repaired some weeks ago. Our next step leads us to the campervan-workshop, it is rather crowded, no chance before lunch break.
Those who travel to New Zealand want to see cascades, I guess. Here and now is our day for cascades!
At last these are only two of thousands [we can not go everywhere, unfortunately] but both are on our route by pure chance, so we place Jed on the parking-sites [there he can have a small-talk with other campervans about different tourists and their driving style ;) ] and walk one or two kilometers to the waterfalls.
Or: What has a Paua to do with wet trousers?
Paua: Maoriname for abalone/haliotis iris, a sort of snail [even when they look like and are called as mussels]. The "pauashell" is protected in NZ, fishermen are only allowed to get a certain
quantity under certain conditions; you may find some empty shells at some beaches, these shells are treasured as well, collected and used in jewellery and several sorts of souvernirs.
If I have understood correctly, you must not export more than one untreated pauahalf as a tourist.
As nice as it is on this freesiter - we go on along Southern Scenic Route, firstly to Riverton because there are some beautiful tracks they say. Not too long [hahaaa!] and with a great look-out.
Mores Lookout Track - from bush to beach - that sounds good!
In the morning the wind is gone and we set off under a sunny blue sky. Yesterday evening we have decided to drive towards Milford Sound after all, just to see some parts of the Fjordland. The
"problem" we have is that that fjord is about 120 kilometers away, which means - small street and many tourists included - a driving time of two hours each direction. So four hours return.
Because you have only this one street. To the fjord and back. No side roads, no loops, nothing.
Because we did not ride motorbike yesterday, we have great weather here and they have a bike rental at this campsite we decided last evening to stay a day longer at Wanaka. Not to drive the van one day may be recreative too. So we rent to mountain-bikes plus helmets [you must wear them in NZ], Tracy gives us a little map and some tips for restaurants and "early" in the morning we go on towards Wanaka.
We leave Wanaka under a slightly clouded sky, driving north and then towards the western coast. We still do not know our destination, perhaps something with glaciers? Or rather something at the ocean?
And are we going to see a little piece of Mt. Cook?
We have the next long cruise in front of us and we have to leave the site until 10, so we drive on rather early. Along Otira River and Arthur's Pass Nationalpark, across the Southern Alps.
In the morning we drive to Kaikoura which is about 10 km away. In fact we do not want to swim with dolphins or whales or in a boat, probably we had had to book a tour some days before, but we want to have a look at this place anyway. Until we find the way to the lookout point we pass through Kaikoura twice, then we find the signs to Kaikoura Peninsula.
Good gracious - today we will have the 3-hours-passage on Cook Strait to Wellington, thus through a windy waterway into the most windy town in the world. And that to me who becomes seasick on seesaw chairs already...
After this somehow noisier night we get up early, we have a long march to do. There are so many things I'd like to do at Wellington: CableCar, TePapa Museum, the perfumery at the cablecar's terminal, Botanic Garden and and and.
At morning we take a walk through Harcourt Park and gaze at trees, river and rainbow. So here they have made some parts of the movies? Mm. We do not recognize anything, but it is more than 15 years since [goodgracoius...]. After our walk and at the beginning of some slight drizzle we set out for northwest with a detour via Carterton.
This is not only "something" of Mt. Taranaki :)))
In the morning we see how the local kayakers handle sandflies: Spray. From top to bottom all uncovered skin gets soaked. The rest is hidden beneath neoprene. I'm not sure if the two got their wetsuit against cold water or rather sandflies.
However, we drive on across volcanic regions towards east.
We drive on towards north, Coromandel is our next destination, it is said to be soooo beautiful.
Passing Tauranga the dark sky turns into heavy rain, it's bucketing down again. But what we spot between the raindrops are lots of classic cars, hot rods etc., even some open ragtops,
After 'brekkie' I realize my intent and really take a bath in the creek. But only to my knees.
Cripes, THAT is cold - but what else do I expect, after all the water is coming down from one of the mountains round here.
Today we go off for the next kauri-park, there is said to be the second eldest tree accessable for public [rumours say that the eldest one is kept protected from public, no-one would tell you where it stands - I really understand that].
Before our journey we said: "But we do not drive the whole way from south to north."
Well, we have almost reached the south [only 26 km to Bluff left, offshore islands discounted].
We blame the weather ;)
The next day we drive back to Aroha Island on the road we came yesterday.
At the Pukenui supermarket we see some Minis, seems that Kiwis are fond of rallyes, aren't they?
Our last day with Jed today, we go off to Auckland again, this time we have to enter the city.
With the taxi we get down to the harbour, we had to choose at least for one quarter. Of course
we take that one with the most water ;)
As we are already in this part of the world we have to take a day at Sydney.
At the hotel we are welcomed by a very special committee: Two cockatoos are sitting at the window.
And in addition it is full moon, photographer and camera are in demand.
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