New Zealand is still calling

Montag, 23.02.2015

I’m ‘home’ now for about 5 weeks already but my heart is still in New Zealand. I’m really homesick it might sounds crazy but I felt more at home the last 6 months in New Zealand then I ever felt in Germany. I love my family especially my mom to bits but if I could just take them and live with them in New Zealand it would be perfect. Everyone is just so stressed over here. Most of the people are quite rude, especially in Zagreb where I’m living since 3 weeks for my exchange semester, and always in a hurry. People always seem to compare themselves with others, what clothes they are wearing and and and. Especially at the school where I’m going to right now but I will write something about that later. It’s not bad over here and actually I shouldn’t complain. I have a lovey room with good roommates, a good school, Zagreb is a nice city and I even got a job since a couple of days but its just not the same. It’s a total different feeling over here. And what I hate the most that everyone is trying to tell me what to do with my life. You should do this, do that. Stay in Germany it’s the safest country, good education and health system. Do your master it’s better. But what is better? Am I happy because of more money or the security? Probably not. I just love traveling and exploring new cultures and a different lifestyle and I think I found myself more than I would have found myself anywhere in safe and gold old Germany. I’m happy to be German and I would never deny it but my heart is somewhere else. Not just because of the country, also because I’ve met someone there. As I already wrote in my last blog entry, I met my boyfriend over there and even it was just a short time we had together, spending that time almost 24/7 and traveling together just bonded us in a way I never felt before. It’s just different from everything else and it’s quite scary. I haven’t seen him for about 6 weeks now and I miss him like hell. It’s hard to have contact on a daily basis because of his job, my studies and the time difference of 12 hours but I’m 100% sure it will work out somehow because it’s just meant to be! I wasn’t looking for anything or anyone and he just came into my way and turned my whole world upside down.

I will be in Croatia until the end of may, if everything works out, and we will hopefully meet up in june then. Where and how isn’t sure yet but as I said already it will work out!

I will write some things about Croatia on that blog as well because the name of the blog is ‘nz calling’ and it’s still calling me and always will!

Off the beaten track

Samstag, 31.01.2015

Well I can say I’m lucky as. I got, through different circumstances, the possibility to go with stray on a trip around the north island. At first I discovered that the pass I bought was valid for the North Island as well and my manager was even willing to give me some extra days off! The other point was and still is that special person I was talking about in my last blog article. I met him before my first stray trip to the Bay of Islands in November. He was my driver and came in the night before to get his manifest when I was working. And that’s where everything started. I’ve did my south Island trip with him as well and then all plans changed and he spent New Years Eve in Auckland, or he had to spent it there because of some roster changes. Good for me because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have seen so much of the North Island as well. After getting the okay from my manager and booking myself on the bus I had to work again for a couple of days and then off we went but knowing it’s going to be our last week together for the next couple of months. The weather was amazing as we left Auckland and it staid like that for the whole trip. The slogan of stray is ‘off the beaten track’ and the north Island is representing this slogan as nothing else does. Literally every single stop here is special and just awesome. The first stop was Raglan. Raglan is a surf town with awesome beaches. Our hostel was in the rain forest and was just really nice. A couple of people went surfing but the rest of us just went to the beach to chill and swim (and trying not to drown while swimming like me). Raglan is one of the most dangerous beaches in New Zealand and I know now why. The waves are pretty strong and one got me and was dragging more and more to the open see. Getting back from there is super hard because the waves are getting even stronger and higher. I don’t really know how I got out there without getting rescued but I got out and survived yay.

I was looking forward to tonight’s for ages already because it was the night of mozzie burgers. My lovely boyfriend made burgers or basically everyone helped but he knows how to make them perfect. It was more than delicious and everyone was able to roll themselves somewhere afterwards. After the burgers came the booze and we were sitting around the campfire, having a couple and just enjoying lovely talks and company. The region around Raglan is famous for glow-worms, the glow-worm caves were on the day planning for the next day but you can see them even outside of the caves. As it got dark, off we went to see them and really, the whole driveway was full of glow-worms. Just magical and impressive.

Everyone went to bed quite early because the next day was promising to be a long and adventurous day. We drove away quite early to Waitomo. Waitomo is famous for the waitomo glow-worm caves and there are a couple of awesome activities. You can go for about 4 hours inside the caves, either choosing the wet option or the dry option and then walking, floating on a boat or abseiling through the caves so there is something for everyone. People who didn’t wanted to pay kinda lot of money just went on walks around the caves or just chilled out in the sun. Afterwards we drove off to Mourea the first cultural stop on that trip. I was very much looking forward to that stop and the next one as well because cultural stop meant we were spending nights with Maoris. Before getting to Mourea we stopped at a waterfall where we met Ruth and her daughter. Ruth is living in a tribe in Mourea and she and her family are always welcoming stray passengers in one of their Maraes. A Marae is kinda a community centre of the Maori tribe with a big meeting house and a smaller house. That’s the holy house. They celebrate wedding and funerals as well in there. Before we were allowed to spent the night with the Maoris we had to go through a ceremony where they invited us to be a part of their family, of their whanau. After that ceremony everyone went outside, spending the afternoon playing games and having fun. After a couple of hours, an amazing dinner was awaiting us, roast beef, veggies and much more and lovely dessert as well. Everyone was shocked again to hear about my passion, eating butter and cram pure but well everyone has their secret obsession.

And then finally it was time for the show. Members of Ruth’s family showed us traditional songs, as the Haka, a warrior song and also traditional weapons and were teaching us Maori words. After a while, the guys learned to dance the haka and we, the girls learned a dance as well. We had so much fun that night and it ended with everyone sleeping in the Marae together telling stories. It was a wonderful day and night, hearing more Maori stories about their forefathers and history.

The next day they made us a lovely breakfast and off we went in the direction of Rotorua and afterwards Lake Aniwhenua.

Rotorua is known as a really smelly town because of the sulphur lakes around it but it wasn’t as bad as described. Basically every one of the bus did something in Rotorua. Some people hopped off to spent some more nights there, some went off to go on an ‘East bro’ trip. A trip to the most eastern point of New Zealand. Sadly I didn’t had time to do it but well New Zealand is still calling and I will be back to do it!

Other people went on the bus to Hobbiton, but I already went there so we went to Agroventures, a fun park for adults. They’ve got 5 different attractions there and you can decide how many you want to do. I did for of it, just not the bungy because I already did one in Queenstown and rather wanted to save my money. Mozzie did everything. The first thing we did was freefall extreme. We got special suits on and then went outside on something like a trampoline. After practicing a bit how to put your body, basically the same way as if you go skydiving and one after the other went flying. You lie down and they blow a lot of air below you. Because of the strong air and the special suit, you’re able to fly but sadly not able to control your face. After that we went on the jetboat, the sweep and the swoop. We had so much fun there and it was an awesome day.

 

Back in Rotorua, we picked everyone up and went to Lake Aniwhenua. On the way there, we picked up a maori guy wo told us a lot of stories which was really interesting. In the region of Rotorua is the largest man made forest. It’s huge and it’s just one big tree next to the other. 80% of it is owned by Canada.

We stopped next to the street on our way through the forest, got off the bus and followed a small path through the forest to some rock carving. This place is really special because it’s made from a maori tribe who isn’t there any longer. Normally when one tribe gets killed, everything gets destroyed, so there are no historical buildings or remains from former maori tribes.

Before getting to the lodge next to the lake we went to visit a water fall where we got to hear more stories. The tribe our guide was coming from was the tribe of the eels. Every tribe is famous for something else and they are famous for eels and eeling. As we got to the loge, we got to meet nades. Nades is half maori who married a maori guy from another tribe and has a dream. Most of the people of the region they are living in are poor and the education standards are not really high. Together with stray she’s trying to get the best for the children from the local town. I will explain in a bit how. She welcomed us to their home as part of her whanau, family. It was a lovely day so everyone wanted to go for a swim but first we had to prepare our meal for the night. We would have a ground cooked meal, cooked the way maoris used to cook since ever. They digged a hole into the ground and heated the stones in there, after that different trays with meet and veggies went on the stones, wet sheets were put over it, a plastic plane as well and then to cover it a lot of soil. The food was being left in there for about three hours and got slowly cooked, without any oil, just with the steam. This is the healthiest way to cook a meal and I was really looking forward to it. The afternoon was spent with swimming in the lake, kayaking, playing games, cooking class, weaving and a lot more. After about three hours they opened up the foodplace and it already smelled delicious. And it was delicious. It was more than plenty of food and soo good. They told us to eat with our fingers, because it’s the traditional way of eating. I loved it! And after the amazing meal there was dessert as well. There were a lot of leftovers but that’s on purpose. At first it’s the point of maori hospitality that there is always something left over because it shows that everyone is satisfied and not hungry any longer. And the leftover had a goal. As I already said, the region is quite poor, so many kids won’t get any breakfast before going to school or even lunch. So the project of the lodge, nades and stray is to feed those children. So every time a group of stray is coming in, they will bring the leftover food to the kids. They started this about 1 ½ years ago and those kids changed totally. In the beginning most of them weren’t concentrating, just screaming, not interested in anything not even their culture and through those meals they finally get the feeling that someone cares about them. They present songs and cultural pieces and they are starting to being proud to be Maori. Also did their future thinking change. Now as they meet people from all over the world, they want to explore the world as well. Sadly the school was closed when we were there, so they brought the food in the night to all the elderly people who need care as well. We went instead to another amazing place in the morning.

As already said, the region around Rotorua is full of thermal and sulphur springs and after driving off road for a bit and walking a bit through the forest we got to a little river which ended in a small waterfall and a pool. And this river was warm! It was amazing. Such a nice place. Everyone was smelling like sulphur afterwards but no one really cared.

After that we were heading in the direction of Taupo. Before getting to Taupo we stopped at the Huka falls, one of the most photographed waterfalls. They are pretty impressing indeed, especially the colour of the water.

Taupo is famous for its money valued skydive and six people got picked up there to go skydiving. Some people hopped off again in Taupo and the rest just relaxed at the lakefront.

We went to get some burgers and were already wondering because 7 police cars passed us with sirens on but we had no clue where they went. Well we found out a bit later. After picking everyone up, we were already on our way to the Taupo airport to pick the skydivers up, when mozzie got a call. Apparently the plane crashed but everyone got out. That was the first information. When we got to the airport our 6 skydivers already went with the police and we got told that even the pilot survived. So after waiting for a couple of hours we were able to pick those 6 up again which were pretty shaken for sure but just happy to be alive. The pilot managed to save 12 lives and himself and even managed to steer the plane into lake taupo after the engine failed at 4000 ft. He jumped out as the last one at around 1000 ft. Everyone was still quite shocked but just happy that this plane crash ended as good as it ended and we continued our way to whakahoro/blue duck station. Blue Duck Station is a 5,200 acre high country farm that is both a working station and an environmental conservation leader. This stop is a two night stop and truly amazing. No phonesignal, located in a beautiful surroundingBlue Duck Station is a 5,200 acre high country farm that is both a working station and an environmental conservation leader Blue Duck Station is a 5,200 acre high country farm that is both a working station and an environmental conservation leaderBlue Duck Station is a 5,200 acre high country farm that is both a working station and an environmental conservation leaderis making this stop a perfect stop to relax, hike and be adventurous as well. After checking into lovely wooden houses next to a fire place we enjoyed a home cooked meal and had a lovely night next to the fire place playing wizard sticks.

The next day, everyone did something different like hiking, kayaking, hunting but we truly did the best thing. We went horse riding. With a group of 8, most of them unexperienced riders, is it not always easy to go horse riding but it was really good. Mozzie joined as well (a boyfriend who loves dogs and horses, nothing more to wish for!). We went horse riding for about 4 hours in beautiful scenery with views to the Tongariro National Park and over the whole farm. There was another girl who had experience as well and we were allowed to wait a couple of times and then canter after the other horses. After a while everyone was trotting a bit. After about 2 hours, we got to a river and were able to go kayaking for a bit. Beautiful river as well!

We got back really hungry but just happy as. After another lovely dinner we went to bed quite early because of the lovely meeting time the next morning at 6 yay. There was a reason for that time, the tongario crossing, one of the nicest hiking tracks of the world and it’s a shame I didn’t had time to do it! We dropped everyone off for the crossing and just spent the rest of the morning together and basically said good bye because I flew out one week later and mozzie went down to Wellington and further down to the south island. I’m normally totally not sensitive when saying goodbye but this goodbye was horrific. But well we already said we will try it and its meant to be so it will work out! I got on my bus back to Auckland around lunch time and was so sad I can’t even describe it. But I’ve got so many amazing memories in my heart from that trip and I will keep them there forever! I can’t believe how lucky I actually am to see so many beautiful things and to spend so much time with wonderful people.

Aotearoa, I will miss it like hell, but I will be back for sure!

South Island

Dienstag, 13.01.2015

After doing my Bay of Island trip with Stray, I decided to do the rest of my travels with stray as well. It’s the perfect way to see as much of New Zealand as possible in a really short time. Sure it would be amazing to travel by car and just stop whenever you want but my time was limited so it was the perfect option. Due to knowing almost everyone from stray I got a pass for a cheap as price. I already had my flights booked down to Christchurch and my train onto the other side, the west coast as well. I got the shortmax pass which meant I could travel around the whole south island and up to Auckland again, and even more but that’s a different story. Stray provides a lot of different passes and services around whole New Zealand. Basically it’s really easy. You buy a pass and it entitles you to travel with it for 12 months. So you’re able to hop on and off as much as you want. As already mentioned I didn’t had that much time so I just booked the bus as given. I arrived in Christchurch on the 29/11 and was quite shocked because it still looks quite destroyed, or basically there is no city centre. It’s all flat. The earthquake happened 4 years ago and they are still in progress of renovating and it will take a couple of more years. I had a lovely small hostel not far from the ‘city centre’ and I had time so I just walked around. The nicest thing about Christchurch is the botanical garden which is one of the nicest ones I’ve ever been to. It’s huge and has a lot of different sections, amongst that two beautiful rose gardens, one cultivated one and one heritage one. Just amazing! So I spent about 4 hours in there, went back to the hostel and enjoyed the free bbq of the hostel. Looking at the fact that I had to get up quite early the next morning to catch my train I made my way to bed and got up really early.

 

A shuttle brought me to the train station where the trans alpine train was departing at 7am.

What an amazing train. So much space and most of it is out of glass so you can see everything. They’ve got a viewing waggon as well where I spent most of the time. The landscape was really nice and time just flew. The highest point is Arthurs pass and it was freaking cold up there so I was hoping for better weather on the westcoast.

When I arrived, my bus was already waiting for me and out of coincidence I had the same driver again as I had up to the Bay of Islands, Mozzie. It’s always good to see familiar faces and it wasn’t just him but also other people I went to the Bay of Islands with or I met while working at Nomads. It was a lovely group and it wasn’t hard to catch up with them and to make friends for life. The first stop was at Franz Josef Glaciers which was a stop for 2 nights. After checking in we headed straight to the restaurant/Bar to claim our all you can pizza and a couple of drinks. We just sat there ages with everyone but a lot of them had to get up in the morning to do the glacier hike. I didn’t had $300 left over so I basically spent the next day with walking around, exploring the surroundings and just enjoying my holiday.

The next day we had the most epic drive ever, from Franz Josef to Wanaka. The first stop was at Lake Matheson, an amazing mirror lake. If there is no wind you can see the reflection of Fox glacier and we were lucky enough to have amazing weather. After that we did a photo stop for some lovely group photos and made our way through haast pass and makarora towards Wanaka. As I already said that drive can’t be described in words, you actually have to do it. It’s basically 8 hours full of the most amazing landscapes. So if you ever get to New Zealand, do that drive!

Wanaka is a nice small town next to a lake and after checking into Base (one of the not really nice base hostels, I got lost several times. The only positive thing about it that you don’t have to do limbo to shower which is quite common in all the other hostel) we just relaxed and prepared ourselves mentally for Queenstown. I was really looking forward to Queenstown and didn’t got disappointed. On the way we stopped at ‘Misses Jones Fruit store’ who sells amazing homemade ice-cream, like cookies and cream mixed with mixed fruits. Best ice-cream ever. After arriving in Queenstown everyone checked into base and I checked into Nomads for sure. Nomads in Queenstown is amazing! Really new and big, directly next to the lake. Queenstown is just a perfect city, not too big and surrounded by mountains and the lake. In the night we met up with the whole bus and went out for sure. Queenstown is famous for all the activities, the nightlife and for its burger places. The most famous one is the furgburger and the furgbakery. Always bloody busy but soo good! And not to forget the devilburgers and the Find. So basically we had burgers every day, but all the meet comes from New Zealand and every single cow is standing outside here and you can taste that in the meat as well.

I was quite nervous that day/night because I had my bungy jumpy booked for the next day. And it was not just any Bungy, I said to myself if I going to do a Bungy I want to do the highest one in New Zealand yeah so I did the nevis Bungy the next day. 134 meters high, 8 seconds of free fall and just absolutely amazing! So much adrenalin and fun. I went there with two friends and at first you get picked up in Queenstown and it’s about an half hour drive into the canyon and then you see the bungy. Hanging there over the river and it’s scary as hell. But as soon as we got the platform we had so much fun and I just wanted to jump. The jump itself was so much fun and I would definitely do it again. Afterwards we went back to Auckland and met up with the rest of the group. The weather was brilliant so we decided to take the gondola up the mountain and do the luge. The luge is basically like go-karts but without a motor and you just race down the hill. So much fun! So it was a pretty active and adrenalin day but just so good. And for dinner Burger for sure.

 

The next day we just chilled out at the lake and went on a boat party in the night. Drinks and Burgers on the boat while the boat sailed into the sunset. Stunning!

The following day was a chilled day again and a chilled night because we were leaving Queenstown the next day in direction of Mt Cook.

On the way to Mt Cook we passed a stunning lake, lake Pukaki, which is turquoise and just unbelievable. The hostel of Mt Cook is surrounded by mountains and it’s a 3 hour return walk to the glacier itself and the lake of it. The water was so cold that even ice was swimming in it but sure we had to at least dip our feet in there but for more was it definitely too cold. Back to the hostel I finally found some time to cook for myself and we had nice chilled night again with the whole group. I was really much looking forward to the next day, to Rangitata because we were going Horse riding there and I knew that they had Jack Russels as well so I was excited as hell.

On the way to Rangitata we made a stop at Lake Tekapo. A wonderful lake with a small church in front of it, apparently one of the most photographed spots in whole New Zealand, but very understandable.

After that we drove straight to our hostel in Rangitata. That hostel is basically in the middle of nowhere but just beautiful. Really small but it’s one of the hostels you feel like home. We had a group dinner planned for that night and because our lovely bus driver is an amazing cook, he cooked as roast chicken with veggies and potatoes and a lot of other stuff. Everyone helped together and it was just a really nice atmosphere! For dessert we had chocolate pudding, made from the owners of the hostel. But before dinner the most important part happened: we finally went horse riding. About 6 or 7 people from the group went with us and as we got to the farm there were not just adult Jack Russels but puppies as well and me happy as hell. I was the only experienced rider so I helped girl (german surprisingly) to get all the horses ready and soon we headed out. We went for about 1 ½ ours through the forest and water and it was just beautiful Because all the other weren’t that experienced we just stepped but the girl took me afterwards down there again for a canter. All the horses there are ex race horses so we just had a race against each other. An amazing day ended with everyone sitting in the lounge together, watching a movie.

The next day was another day with an activity I was waiting for for ages. Swimming with wild dolphins. We drove from Rangitata via Christchurch to Kaikoura, a lovely fishing town directly at the see. After checking in to the hostel we did a nice walk and visited a seal colony. It was the first time I’ve seen seals in the wild and it was another amazing experience. Now I really couldn’t wait for the next day to go swimming with the dolphins. We had to get up at 4:30 but it was totally worth it. The weather wasn’t the best but as being animals of the water, dolphins don’t really care about rain. After general instructions we went on 2 different boats and I was quite lucky to get on the bigger boat because the smaller boat didn’t had a chance to swim with the dolphins, the waves were just too high. We drove for about ½ hour and I felt pretty good even without taken any seasickness tablets and I was really proud of my stomach without knowing what would happen in the water. After the dolphins were spotted we were allowed to go into the water and swim with them. What an unbelievable experience. Heaps of dolphins were swimming with us and playing with us and it was even better than expected. Until the point when I got seasick. Yes that’s right I managed to get seasick on the water. The waves were just too high and I couldn’t see the horizon any longer so I got out of the water. The boat ride back was horrendous but I survived and was still pretty thrilled about the experience.

Back on the bus I snuggled into my comfy pants and slept on the bus drive to Picton. In Picton we took the ferry to Wellington and even here were the waves really really high so the whole huge ship was moving as hell but I was able to sleep through and after arriving in Wellington almost 4 hours later I felt much better. In Wellington I checked in again into Nomads and we spent the night with having nice dinner in the bar next to it and catching up with other drivers and passengers. The next day is the longest drive of the whole circuit, from Wellington to Auckland. It takes about 9 hours and I basically slept most of it. After arriving in Auckland I felt really lost and I didn’t really wanted to be there. But I had a special person I met on the bus, or basically already before and Auckland seemed much better then. But I still couldn’t wait to go on my next journey but I didn’t knew at that point if I would even travel in New Zealand again. But more about that in my next Blog entry.

It’s just a couple of days now until I fly out and it’s weird to write about all of this because it seems so far away and time just flew, but I know time is just going to fly and then I can go back to here.

 

Cheers

Settled in and dont wanna leave again

Samstag, 10.01.2015

Leaving Australia 2 ½ years ago was already hard enough but I’m getting the feeling that New Zealand is going to be even harder. It took me a while to be honest to settle in and also a while until I wasn’t sure any longer if Australia is better than New Zealand. I can’t really answer that question. I love both. But what I really love about New Zealand is the short distances. In Australia you have to drive for hours until you get somewhere but here in New Zealand there is something new and beautiful behind every corner. And the people are amazing as well. The difference between Oz and NZ is as well that I got my hostel family here. I’ve been living in that hostel for 5 months now in the same room with the same people and I can’t imagine living without them. The same applies to the rest of my colleagues and managers and all the other people living in the hostel for ages. As well the people from Stray for example, you meet them every week at least once and you are so used to have all those people around you. It took me three months but after that three months I really started to settle in and now just the thought of leaving makes me cry. I normally don’t have that when I go somewhere that I have to cry when I say goodbye but Australia was already really hard and saying goodbye to NZ in about 4 weeks is going to be horrific. I just love everything over here, the whole atmosphere is so different, the people and everything. I can just advice everyone to come over here at least for a holiday and get this laid back and relaxed feeling. I already learnt this from the aussies but the Kiwis are even more chilled and relaxed and it is an amazing environment to live and to work in.

But no one has to be scared now I’m definitely coming home in one week but yeah that’s another question where is home. My family is there and all my friends and I love them all to bits but every time you spend some more time in a place you leave a piece of your heart there and you keep that place in your heart. But I know I can always come back and I most definitely will come back here!

After my half year in Croatia and in the Netherlands I’m going to write my bachelor thesis and no one knows what is coming afterwards. Not even myself.

 

Cheers

Advent and Christmas

Montag, 22.12.2014

Thinking of Christmas brings things in your mind like cold, snow, jackets, dark, Christmas markets and much more. Over here it’s a bit different. It’s summer so it’s warm most of the time. Here in New Zealand compared to Australia the weather still changes a lot but it never gets cold. So Christmas feeling = zero. When I came back from my trip around the south island the whole reception was full of Christmas decorations, a Christmas tree with blinking lights and much more. They started selling Christmas stuff around the beginning of November and everyone is making huge plans for Christmas. Which is actually not on the 24th but on the 25th. So the 24th is the day everyone is just going to the beach and chilling out, everything is open as normal and then the 25th is the important day. It’s the day of gift giving, lunch and dinner with the family and just celebration. I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do on the 24th. I could have gone on a big boat with a lot of people from the hostel but it doesn’t feel right for myself to go somewhere on the 24th and just drink. So I probably going to a dutch restaurant with my roommates and other dutch people and we will have raclette there. On the 25th I’m working in the morning and after that we will all go to our managers house to have Christmas dinner and play games! That’s going to be really nice for sure. On the 26th (Boxing Day) I’m working again but everyone will go to the races and I’m not really into the racing industry so that’s totally fine for me. So a totally different Christmas than back home but I knew that before and it’s going to be good as well.

To get through the advent time my amazing mom send me an advents calendar which I put up on my wall. It is a self-made one, so I’ve got one package to open every single day. She used to do that when I was younger but I was so happy when I received that package because it brought a bit of Christmas feeling from back home here to New Zealand.

It’s the 22nd today and still no Christmas feeling but the weather is awesome now so we just run around in shorts and shirts and that’s a nice exchange for having no Christmas feelings.

 

Cheers

Bay of Islands

Mittwoch, 17.12.2014

Already a couple of weeks ago I finally used my bus pass from stray I’ve won on my first pub crawl. I won a trip to the bay of island which are up north from Auckland and meant to be amazing and beautiful. From there are trips starting to cape reinga which is the most north point of New Zealand. I had 3 days of in a row as well so I booked my trip and one week later I went.

Saturday morning I got picked up in front of the stray office and met randomly a friend of mine which I met on my first night in Auckland. She was going to the bay as well. The buses of stray going up to the bay are quite small so the group wasn’t that big either but it was really nice and a lot of lovely people. Everyone introduced themselves and it’s always really interesting where people are from and what their purpose is/was to come to New Zealand.

At one point our driver decided to stop at a market in a smaller town. It was amazing because it was a market for local people and I love places which are not common tourist places. That’s the amazing thing with stray. They really take you to places off the beaten track and show you the other side of New Zealand.

We got to Paihia which is the main City up in the Bay of Island around 2ish and the weather was amazing. At first we all paid for our trip up to cape Reinga for the next day. Stray offers heaps of activities for every place you go to, in cooperation with the local agency, for a cheaper price than normal. After that we went to our hostel. Normally I would have stayed in the Bay of Adventures because it’s the Nomads Hostel up there but everyone from my bus was staying in Pipi Patch (the base hostel) so I decided to do the same. Stray has contracts in every city with the different hostels, so if you’re traveling on the bus you have a bed guaranteed for at least one night and that for a cheaper rate.

I stayed in a room with the girls I met on the bus and it appeared later on that I’m going to meet all of them at least once again, one was even on my bus on the south Island.

The weather was awesome in the beginning so we took a walk to a local museum which appeared to be bloody expensive so we all walked back and just chilled for a bit.

We all signed up for the BBQ of the hostel so we had the best steak and food we all had for a while and because Pipi Patch has the most popular bar in town (the town is basically living of its tourists) so everyone staying up there was coming in later on. We all know we had to get up the next day really early because our bus up north was picking us up at 7ish but still it got quite messy and that’s how we felt the next morning. But surprisingly everyone survived the rollercoaster busride and it was amazing. We had a kiwi guide and he was telling us a lot about the maori history and culture. And then one of the best parts came: 90 mile beach. It’s not even 90 miles long but it looks like and its just straight. So we drove that beach up for about one hour and went further up to the cape afterwards. Unfortunately we weren’t that lucky with the weather this time. Cape Reinga is marked with a light house and actually you can see where the two different oceans meet, but it was really foggy that day so we couldn’t see that much but it was still nice to be as far up north as possible. I love to get to those points. I’ve already been to the most western and eastern point in Australia and now the most northern one New Zealand.

 

After spending a bit of time there we went back down again and stopped in Manganui at a fish and chips place. They meant to have the best fish and chips. We ate there in it was as good as promised. We got back to the hostel around 6ish totally knackered and all of us went for a nap. Noone of us was up to do much that night so we just relaxed and the same the next time, the weather was shit anyway. We all went for coffee and then whole Paihia had a power cut because of an earthquake happening in the sea before gisborne.

In the afternoon our bus came to get us back to Auckland and an amazing weekend was over. I loved every bits of it and once again it was amazing to get out of Auckland for a bit and see something different and have a good time with lovely people!

 

Cheers

25th Birthday Kiwi Experience

Donnerstag, 27.11.2014

As promised in on of my last blog article I going to write a bit about the 25th birthday of Kiwi Experience on Waiheke Island.

It was the week of the parties. First on Wednesday the brochure launch party of Stray and then on Thursday the Birthday celebration of Kiwi.

Stray and Kiwi are the biggest bus companies here in New Zealand so those parties are really popular. I had to work while the Stray party but I really wanted to go to the Kiwi party.

There was a private Ferry just chartered for everyone who was invited, the whole industry.

Amazing food was already awaiting us on the boat and the one hour ferry ride went by really fast. From the harbor of Waiheke buses took us to the Winery where the whole party was.

It was amazing. Not just that we were lucky with the weather, it was a great venue and then all this food, and the bar tab for sure. Really good and tasty wine and cider and real and nice cheese, even mozzarella, for once.

So we were sitting happily next to the camp fire eating and chatting away. In-between a lot of games were played and people/hostels were honored.

Sadly everything nice has to come to an end and at 11 the buses came and brought everyone back to the ferries which took us back to Auckland. But well fair enough we still got time left to go the barcrawl to end this really nice night.

Huge thanks to Kiwi Experience for organizing such an amazing party night!

 

Hobbiton

Donnerstag, 27.11.2014

Hi Guys

I made the decision to write in English from now on. At first its easier for myself and secondly everyone can understand it so I hope its alright for everyone!

By now I already saw a bit more of New Zealand finally. Doing small trips is getting me closer to all the amazing sights New Zealand has to offer.

One of those trips was Hobbiton. I booked it with one of my roommates and we made the amazing decision to take the cheap bus in the morning at 7 after a Pubcrawl and to take the bus back around 6ish.

Hobbiton is located next to Matamata in the South of Auckland and it takes about 3 hours to get there by Naked Bus, one of the several bus companies in New Zealand. It’s sadly not possible to visit Hobbiton without booking a tour so they make heaps of money of all the thousands of tourists coming there every day. But when you’re in New Zealand you can’t miss out on that so fair enough we paid an affordable price and had a lovely day.

We got picked up in Matamata and the tour started. Already on the way to hobbiton our driver told us a lot about the surroundings, mostly racing horse studs or dairy farms. And don’t forget the sheep’s! They are everywhere. But they have to. About 4 million people are living in New Zealand right now, most of them in Auckland and about 45 Million sheep are living here, everywhere. But they are really cute so that’s totally acceptable.

But Australia got, surprisingly even more sheep’s, you just don’t see them because it’s so big!

Finally arrived in Hobbiton we entered the last bus who brought us to the real entrance of all the hobbit holes and the whole film set. Our tourguide was a kiwi from Matamata which was pretty cool, he knows heaps of people who actually played in the movies.

The land Hobbiton is on, is a huge farm. They’ve got sheep’s and cows. When they makers of the Hobbit were looking for places to film, they were looking over whole New Zealand because they were looking for 2 main things. A big pine tree and a water hole. That’s what they found at the ‘Alexander Farm’ and they convinced them to film there. The filming took place over 3 Months and after the second movie they decided to leave all the holes there and let people visit it. Luckily, because it’s amazing! You walk along all the Hobbit holes for about 2 hours with your tourguide explaining you everything and telling you what scene was filmed where and a lot more funny and interesting facts no one would have thought of.

 

After visiting every single hole, the last stop was the green dragon. The pub of Hobbiton.

Everyone got a beer or a cider in there, which are tasting really good. For the films there was special beer produced with just 2% alcohol in it, so no one would get drunk of drinking it over a long period.

This beer was for sale afterwards but was sold out really quick. But still the drinks they are serving in there are just purchasable in Hobbiton itself and cost a lot.

After being in the green Dragon for a while we went back by bus to the ‘base’ of Hobbiton which is the office with a café and the compulsory souvenir store which is really expensive.

After spending a bit of our time there we took the bus back to Matamata just wandering around the city, having lovely coffees and chatting while waiting for our bus to bring us back to our ‘base’ Auckland.

Totally done with the day we went to bed around 9ish but it has been an amazing day and I would recommend it to everyone because you can’t miss out on something like this while being here!

 

Cheers

 

Maritim Museum

Mittwoch, 05.11.2014

In der Hospitality Industrie zu arbeiten hat so einige Vorteile. Man lernt viele verschiedene Leute kennen, es wird nie langweilig und man bekommt sehr viele Ermäßigungen und Einladungen. Wir werden eingeladen um den jeweiligen Betrieb oder das Angebot dort besser kennenzulernen und um es so besser an unsere Kunden weiter zu geben.

Eine davon war letzte Woche vom Maritim Museum in Auckland. Die eine Hälfte unserer Hostel Crew war Donnerstag dran und hatten weniger Glück mit dem Wetter aber wir 2 Tage später hatten richtiges Glück. Es war richtig warm so das man locker im Top draussen sein konnte. Blauer Himmel und weit und breit weder Wind noch Wolken. Der perfekte Tag also für einen Cruise durch den Harbour.

Erst haben wir eine kleine Führung durch das Museum bekommen. Dort wird alles gezeigt, von den ersten Boten über die ersten Dampfschiffe bis zu den ersten Siedlern die nach Neuseeland kamen. Auch das Boot mit dem Neuseeland den Americas Cup gewonnen hat ist dort ausgestellt. Der Americas Cup ist der anspruchsvollste Segelwettkampf und ist sehr schwierig zu gewinnen. Leider hatten wir nur eine kurze Führung von einer halben Stunden, ich werde also definitiv dorthin zurück kommen und mir alles nochmal selber in Ruhe anschauen.

 

Danach ging es auf das Schiff. Ein altes Schiff mit dem früher bevor es Straßen gab alles transportiert wurde. Es hat einen flachen Rumpf und Boden und war somit perfekt für die Flüsse im Landesinneren geeignet. Das Schiff fuhr mit der Flut bis zum Ende der Seezunge/ des Flusses und das Schiff wurde während der Ebbe beladen. Dadurch das es flach war lag es perfekt auf dem Sand. Mit der Flut wurde es wieder nach draußen getrieben.

Eine Stunde lang fuhren wir kreuz und quer durch den Hafen und konnten die Sonne und das Wasser genießen.

Danach wurden wir noch vom Museum zum Essen eingeladen und hatten das beste Essen seit langen. Man konnte uns danach im Prinzip rollen aber es war einfach zu lecker um es stehen zu lassen.

Ich werde das Maritim Museum auf jeden Fall unseren Gästen weiter empfehlen, es ist viel interessanter als ich erwartet hab und der Besuch lohnt sich richtig.

Diese Woche feiern die 2 größten Busunternehmen ihre Partys und die auf die ich gehen kann ist auf Waiheke Island. Ich bin extrem gespannt wie es wird und werde natürlich davon berichten. J

 

Cheers

Dolphins & Co

Montag, 27.10.2014

Vor ca einer Woche habe ich einen Punkt meiner persönlichen ‘Bucketlist‘ abgehakt:

Ich war Whale watching! Es war mehr als genial.

Mit noch einem Holländer aus dem Hostel gings Mittags los und wir hatten richtig Glück mit dem Wetter. Es war zwar bewölkt aber das Meer war ruhig, da es ausnahmsweise überhaupt nicht windig war.

Auf das Boot der ‚Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari‘ passen um die 100 Menschen aber wir hatten eine richtig kleine Gruppe von nur 15 Menschen. Umso besser für uns.

Es ging erstmal über eine Stunde aufs Meer raus und wir saßen alle gespannt ganz vorne in der Hoffnung so schnell wie möglich Delphine zu sehen. Nach einiger Zeit hält man jede noch so kleine Welle für einen Delphin aber leider ließen sich diese nicht sehen. Da unser Kapitän seinen Job aber schon seit 13 Jahren macht hatten wir viel Vertrauen in ihn das er auch an diesem Tag Delphine und vielleicht sogar Wale finden würde. Die ersten Tiere die wir in Massen gesehen haben waren Seevögel. Sehr lustige Seevögel. Sie sehen aus wie Möwen nur in grösser. Diese fliegen friedlich herum und von einer zur anderen Sekunden stürzen sie sich senkrecht ins Wasser. Bei den ersten Malen schaut es so als würden sie abgeschossen und würden einfach ins Wasser fallen aber sie können auch schwimmen und jagen Fische unter Wasser.

Dann hatte ich das Riesen Glück des Tages. Schon alleine diese 2 Tierchen haben meinen Tag perfekt gemacht! Ich habe 2 Pinguine gesehen! In freier Wildbahn! Ich liebe diese Tiere über alles und bin immer noch mehr als glücklich das sie da rumgeschwommen sind als wir vorbei kamen.

Und dann endlich kam das Signal das Delphine und sogar Wale in Sicht waren.

Und tatsächlich in ca 100 Meter Entfernung konnte man die Fontäne des Wals sehen wenn er ausatmet. Allein das war schon beeindruckend aber es sollte noch viel genialer werden.

Auf einmal kamen die Delphine und zwar nicht nur einer sondern mindestens 20.

Delphine sind sehr neugierig und sie lieben es mit Booten zu schwimmen. Es ist echt beeindruckend wie schnell sie sind. Sie waren einfach überall, haben gespielt und gejagt und man kann dieses Gefühl gar nicht so richtig beschreiben.

Das Wetter dort draußen war genial, wir hatten komplett flaches blaues Wasser, blauer Himmel und Sonne. Der Motor vom Boot war ausgeschalten und wir haben uns einfach treiben lassen. Ein wie gesagt unbeschreibliches Gefühl. So viele Delphine, Seevögel und natürlich die Wale. Es waren insgesamt 2 die auf der Jagd waren und immer wieder um uns herum aufgetaucht sind. Um sie herum die Delphine (Bottlenose Delphine) und die senkrecht ins Wasser stechende Vögel. Die Wale gehören zur den Brydal Whales und waren ca 15 Meter lang. Jeder war einfach so fasziniert das es komplett still war und man es einfach nur genossen hat. Ein wunder wunderschönes Gefühl das wie schon paar Mal gesagt nicht zu beschreiben ist.

   

Leider ist auch das schönste Erlebnis irgendwann vorbei und es ging wieder zurück nach Auckland.

Dieser Tag wird immer unvergesslich bleiben und auch nicht so schnell zu toppen. Ich bin noch den ganzen Tag durchs Hostel gehüpft vor lauter Freude.

Solche Tage sind ungemein hilfreich für die Tage an denen alles falsch läuft. Man kann die Erinnerungen hoch holen und sich daran erfreuen. :)

 

 

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