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Queenstown - Fav City in NZ

It might be the nicest city in NZ,m but I had my worst hostel experience ever! Niels dropped off the campervan while I stayed on the horse farm. Therefore, I had to use public transport from Te Anau to Queenstown. It is a very scenic drive, especially when Lake Wakatipu comes up.

Queenstown is a little town situated by the lake and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It is definitely has some of the most stunning scenery I have ever seen. The city has many restaurants, laid-back cafés and fancy bars. It’s a pity that I only have 15 days in Queenstown. You could easily spend 4 days checking out some nice walks, restaurants cafés with their great selection of coffees, cakes and biscuits. The city is also famous for its many adventure activities like bungee-jumping, skydiving, skiing and much more. Therefore the city attracts many young people who are seeking adventure, and know how to party.

The time passed by very quickly whilst visiting a few cafés, exploring the city center, having the famous Fergburger (gourmet hamburger) and going for some beautiful walks along the lakeside.

Hoping it would be much quieter, I chose a 4-bed female dorm. But sharing a room with 3 young girls is not always a good idea. The first night the girls came back making a lot of noise. But that wasn't not enough. The next night I was woken up because of weird movements and noises on the bed above mine. It took me a while before I understood what was going on above me (it seems a male was invited into the female dorm). A few hours later the two other girls came back (at least they were alone) and, without any consideration, they switched on the lights and packed their stuff. Without a lot of sleep I got up early and left for the airport.

This experience taught me a lesson and the next time in Queenstown, it will be a private accommodation 😉

Scenic drive and Lake WakatipuQueenstown 02

Queenstown 01

Young people enjoying the nice weather Queenstown 05

Views along the lakesideQueenstown 06 Queenstown 07 Queenstown 10 Queenstown 22 Queenstown 23

Having a great coffee and a biscotti in one of the lovely cafés Queenstown 11

Making friends with some ducks on one of my walksQueenstown 25 Queenstown 27 Queenstown 30

Goodbye Queenstown! Queenstown 34

Eva´s Horse Farm Experience

Why isn’t life always as easy as getting a job on a horse farm in NZ... On our way to Milford sound Niels spotted a cowboy at a petrol station. He made me ask the cowboy, if he needs help with his horses. For obviously reasons he was very confused and told me to call him the next day. But I never did so. Instead we drove by the horse farm the next day. Andy – the cowboy - offered Eva a job straight away. Now I was the one being confused. I asked him if he doesn’t want to know about my horse riding skills, experiences and so on, but he only answered “No, you told me you can ride horses”.

Two days later Niels dropped me off at the horse farm, not without checking-out the place first. I got her own room and started working the same day. I got introduced to the horses and the daily work, which was split-up between Emma, Andy (see section people) and me. A usual day on the horse farm was as follows: breakfast sometime between 6:30 and 8:30, feeding the chicken, ducks and horses, getting the horses ready for the trek and taking the tourist for a beautiful 2 hours ride. The surrounding landscape is picturesque. On the top of the hill you have an amazing view over lake Te Anau with its snow-capped mountains. After coming-back we had lunch and got the horses ready for the next trek. Furthermore, we did farm work like draining, grooming and training the horses. Luckily, it wasn’t high season yet, hence the average amount of horse treks were only 1-2 a day which left us with enough time to do other stuff. I also learned how to ride a quad-bike because Emma and Andy are starting a second business with the quads. Most evenings ended by watching “Lonesome Dove”, a western series of the 80´s.

The 9 days on the horse farm passed by way to quick! I could have spent more time with Emma, Andy, and the horses but I was also looking forward to meet my awesome Dr. MueWi in Melbourne.

@ Andy and Emma: Thank you so much for the great time, you made a dream come true. Every time in future when I use one of your tips and tricks regarding Natural Horsemanship I will think of you guys!!!

Amazing views of the surrounding mountains while horseridingSouth Island Horsefarm 12

South Island Horsefarm 01 South Island Horsefarm 14South Island Horsefarm 15 South Island Horsefarm 06

My last trek 🙁South Island Horsefarm 13

Having a break with a nice view over lake Te Anau


South Island Horsefarm 07

Two new born lambs and a pretty cow on the way South Island Horsefarm 09 South Island Horsefarm 10

Everyday we were having fresh eggs from our happy chickensSouth Island Horsefarm 04

Andy is giving the new horse a lesson: Its called "The Circling Game" he sends the horse around and teaches him to come back to him. South Island Horsefarm 02

Quad Biking is fun tooSouth Island Horsefarm 03

Goodbye lazy horses 😉South Island Horsefarm 11

The Fjordland National Park

If you are in New Zealand you have to pay a visit to the Fjordland National Park. Next to the Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park it was a highlight while staying in New Zealand. The drive starts in the nicely situated town Te Anau which is surrounded by mountains. From there it took us around two hours to drive all the way to our campground at Milford, where we met our favorite Finnish family again. The drive up north itself is already one of its kind. Endless numbers of look-outs with spectacular views made us forget about the windy streets.

The most spectacular stops were “The Chasm”, which is a waterfall running through a deep canyon. The mirror lakes, which perfectly reflect the surrounding snow covered mountains. And last but not least a place in the middle of a great meadow where we had a nice view into the canyon towards Milford Sound.

On our way back we stopped at the Divide for a 2 hours walk to the Key Summit, which offered spectacular 360 ° views of the Fjordlands.

@ Peppi: Thanks for the sunniesSouth Island Milford 25

The only way to really see Milford Sound is by taking a sightseeing day cruise which offers incredible views. South Island Milford 03 South Island Milford 04South Island Milford 18South Island Milford 19South Island Milford 21

See the third dolphin from the left. He just caught a big fish and holds it in his mouth while playing in the waves of the boatSouth Island Milford 22South Island Milford 23South Island Milford 24

Our first meeting with a kea - the world's only alpine parrot.South Island Milford 02

The drive between Te Anau and Milford Sound offers amazing views through unspoiled mountain landscapes.  South Island Milford 15 South Island Milford 27

View of the Mirror Lakes. The lakes provide reflective views of the Earl Mountains.South Island Milford 13

Beautiful Fiordland mountains from Key Summit, Routeburn TrackSouth Island Milford 30

Lunchbreak along the road in the company of a keaSouth Island Milford 05South Island Milford 06South Island Milford 07

Someone conquered our camperSouth Island Milford 08

Great spot for lunch time on the lake Te AnauSouth Island Milford 01 South Island Milford 11

Farm Stay at Campground

It was supposed to be a very short stop-over only – we ended up staying a total 7 nights. On the way to Milford Sound we stopped at a campground 60 km away from Te Anau. Basically it is in the middle of nowhere, you won’t find much more than a petrol station and a minimarket. But the campground we found is a true travelers-gem. As it turned out, it should be the best campground on our whole trip. Our stay at Mossburn Country Park was pleasant right from the start: everything was well organized and very clean. Stuart and Colleen (owners of the campground) had a pet lamb (abandoned by its mother), a few sheep, alpaca, chicken, a cow, a dog (called Andrew), a pie choc and a pie hen. As Niels needed to work on his presentation for his PhD defense, the true free Wi-Fi was much appreciated. Most camp groups offering “free Wifi” hand out a voucher for 25-45 MB of data!! We liked the place a lot and extended our stay for one more night, the day after we extended it by another night.

Becoming friends with Stuart and Colleen is every easy. They are lovely and welcoming people. We got invited for dinner as well as coffee and Eva went with them to a “festival” in “town”. We (especially Niels) truly enjoyed the time in our camper without any driving. After 3 days we decided to drive to Milford Sound but the weather conditions didn’t allow us to. The road was closed for 1,5 days due to snow and fallen trees therefore we enjoyed 2 more days on the campground – chatting with our neighbors, Coleen and Stuart and playing with Andrew.

Finally with a delay of 4 days (without any regret) we headed to Milford.

Curious lamb exploring the surrounding

South IslandFarmsty 02

Feeding time for young and oldSouth IslandFarmsty 03 South IslandFarmsty 04

Some of the animals around the campground South IslandFarmsty 05South IslandFarmsty 06 South IslandFarmsty 07

Sneaky Andrew is looking in the campervan while Eva is cooking - no idea what he is up toSouth IslandFarmsty 08

The lamb and Andrew want to join for dinnerSouth IslandFarmsty 09

Impressions of the campgroundSouth IslandFarmsty 10 South IslandFarmsty 11 South IslandFarmsty 12 South IslandFarmsty 13

South Island (East Coast and South)

Unfortunately we have to admit: it is true the South Island is more spectacular than the North Island.

The planning for the total kms to be driven was 3.500. After leaving the North Island we already drove 2.500 km. Therefore, a decision was made: to make our journey more enjoyable we skip some parts on the South Island. Starting off on the east coast, going down south through the Catlins and the Fjordlands we finally made a turn West to our final destination Queenstown.

Surprisingly Evas birthday came up on our way from North to South. It would have been the best birthday ever… The day started with a perfect breakfast: croissants, a birthday cake and a great latte macchiato while enjoying the view of the snow-capped mountains. At noon we were booked-in a whale watching tour in Kaikoura, where marine animals (e.g. whales, dolphins) are plentiful and year around to be seen. But as it turned out the day was only almost perfect. The amazingly sunny day without any clouds turned out to be too stormy for our tour so that they canceled the trip only 1 hour prior to departure. After receiving the bad news we did not burry our heads in the sand: we drove towards the south along the beautiful coast with some nice stops for short walks. In the evening Niels tried to make-up for the canceled trip by building Eva her own private cinema in the camper including homemade popcorn. Although the whale-watching tour would have been nice, it was one of the best birthdays Eva ever had.

Next stop Christchurch. The city is impressive – we did know about the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 but had no idea about the destruction it caused (70% of the buildings in the CBD have been torn downby now). Although it’s been nearly 4 years by now you still see a huge amount of empty spaces and ruins. In the first place it gave us the impression of a depressive place but as we found out the city has a vibrant and livingly atmosphere. Ever since the vision how the city will be rebuild was introduced a lot changed.

The Catlins are a combination of farmland, waterfalls, roaring waves, large beaches and steep cliffs. Especially, the walk along the Surat Bay where sunbathing Sea Llions lay around everywhere was great.

Birthday view from our campgroundSouth Islands 26

Eva on her 31st birthday (age is just a number)South Islands 25

Views along the beautiful East Coast South Islands 21 South Islands 22 South Islands 24

Private CinemaSouth Islands 20

Insights of ChristchurchSouth Islands 19 South Islands 17 South Islands 18

The Moeraki Boulders are unusually large and round boulders lying along the Koekohe Beach. You can see them either isolated or widespread. South Islands 11 South Islands 12 South Islands 13 South Islands 14 South Islands 15 South Islands 16

Nugget Point in the Catlins on a stormy day South Islands 10

Huge seaweed in the Curio Bay which Niels found more interesting than the famous petrified forest (around 180 million years old).South Islands 02

View during day and sunset from our campground in the CatlinsSouth Islands 03 South Islands 04

Our favorite place in the Catlins: Surat bay with its Sealions and the view from the hill at the end of the bay, where we laid down in the grass enjoying the sun.South Islands 05 South Islands 06South Islands 09.01 South Islands 07 South Islands 08

The Purakaunui Falls are one of most-photographed waterfalls in New ZealandSouth Islands 01

North Island – South of Auckland

As far as the eye can see: "Kerrygold Land". The most common landscape while driving around the North Island are atomic green fields with happy cows and sheep. The whole scenery seems to be a reminiscent of the Kerrygold Butter...

Our first stop were the Waitomo Caves. They are famous for their huge number of glow-worms. First the tour led us through stalactites and stalagmites into a large cavern from where we took a boat into the pitch black. After a while the whole cave ceiling started to glow – looking like the Milky Way. By producing light Glow-worms attract mosquitos or flies which follow the river into the cave. With their sticky fishing-rods their prey gets caught.

Next stop Hollywood. Most of the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” movie scenes were not shot in some film-studios but in different places around New Zealand. Hobbiton is one of them. If you like the movies we'd highly recommend going there. You'll feel like being in the movies themselves. The whole scenery is very beautiful with a love for detail some might call sick. The tour guide gave us some insights of director Peter Jacksons work. He must be a crazy perfectionist. For example, he made the workers built a tree with 10th of thousands of leafs. After the tree was built he didn’t like the color, so every single leaf had to be recolored by hand.

The next few days we met Dimi and René (see section "People"), who were also travelling in New Zealand. While chatting and eating a lot, time flew by. Due to the very good and plentiful food we needed some activities after saying goodbye. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is supposed to be the best day walk in New Zealand was the solution to our growing bellies. The whole track is 19,4 km with an altitude between 900 and 1.800 meters above sea level. The views of the volcanos and the beautiful green colored lakes were amazing - worth every single step. After staying near Wellington for the night, we gave the city a short visit before finally saying good-bye to the north island. The Ferry ride to Picton through the Cook Strait offered nice views of the Marlborough Sounds.

Kerrygold land everywhereNorth Island 00

Hobbiton with its beautiful scenery and the hobbit holesNorth Island 09 North Island 08 North Island 07 North Island 06

Breakfast with Dimi and René North Island 10-00

View from our campground, surrounding and our cut neighbors (in the southern hemisphere everything seems to be the other way around the swans are all black)North Island 10-03North Island 10-01North Island 11

Rotorua has the most dynamic thermal area – here you see an exploding mud pool (smelling like hell)North Island 12

Impressions of the Tongariro Alpine CrossingNorth Island 13North Island 14North Island 15North Island 16North Island 18 North Island 20 North Island 19

View of the Lake TaupoNorth Island 23

Some islands in the Cook StraitNorth Island 24

North of Auckland - Norckland

The grass is greener on the other side (of the world).... The day has come: Picking-up our new home for the next 5 weeks. We got an "upgrade" straight away to the premium brand. Right from the start Eva wasn’t satisfied with the “upgrade” because it wasn't cozy. Everything in the camper seemed to be alright but nothing was well thought-through. The two employees convinced us (mainly Niels) give it a try. The camper was new, a German brand and a diesel, so we gave it a try.

The journey started. Heading north to the black sands of Piha at the west coast of “Norckland” (north of Auckland). The view of the coast as you drive down is great as well as the beaches themselves. On the way we hardly saw any cars and the beach was completely empty. Not fare from the beach we stayed on a shabby D.o.C. (Department of Conservation) "campground" with dumping toilets.

The first night came and we soon should find out why noone else wanted our premium brand camper van: it wasn't possible to sleep in the camper (neither in the top bed nor in the bottom one). The top bed was designed like a hammock, which is nice for 2 hrs but not for more. The bottom one is even more of a disaster: you basically sleep on a metal frame. The next morning our choice was easy: the camper needs to be returned. It took us only 1 hour to drive back and after some discussions and waiting time we were happy to received the camper we booked.

It was love at first sight and everything changed. This time the journey started with a great feeling. The next 6 days we explored Norckland. Starting on the east coast with a cruising tour to the famous Bay of Island, where the dolphins played around our boat on a perfect sunny day. Then we headed further up north to Cape Reinga the place where the Tasmania Sea and the Pacific ocean meet. We walked in the sand dunes at the 90 Mile Beach, wandered around the Waipoua Kauri Forest with its gigantic trees, and were enjoying our camper. Only the windy roads were a bit of a downturn. The 1.000 km from and to Auckland with an average speed of 40 km/h took us about 25 hours, which is insane (in European measures).

Our home02_Bay of Islands01

Impressions of the black sands of Piha and the way up01_Piha05 01_Piha0401_Piha0101_Piha06

Cute welcome committee on the campground 02_Bay of Islands02

Best burger in camper/town02_Bay of Islands03

Bay of Islands tour with dolphins all around  02_Bay of Islands16 02_Bay of Islands11 02_Bay of Islands10 02_Bay of Islands09 02_Bay of Islands08 02_Bay of Islands07

Our boat actually went through that hole02_Bay of Islands06 02_Bay of Islands05 02_Bay of Islands04

Sweet little town of Russell in the Bay of Islands02_Bay of Islands17

The ninety mile beach 😉03_Cape Reinga0503_Cape Reinga1103_Cape Reinga01

Amazing sand dunes behind the Ninety Mile Beach03_Cape Reinga10 03_Cape Reinga09

On the way to Cape Reinga03_Cape Reinga07

Lighthouse at Cape Reinga03_Cape Reinga08

One of our favorit places - Spirits Bay 03_Cape Reinga03

Niels found a human eating plant 😉07_Waipoua02

Waipoua Kauri Forest: The oldest Kauri is approx. 1.200- 2.000 years old with a height of 51 m and 14 m wide 06_Waipoua 05_Norckland15

Auckland - The city that always sleeps

People walk, talk and work slow! during the week most shops close at 5 pm (apart from grocery stores, restaurants and bars) and after 7 pm the city is deserted. Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand with around 1,2 Million people. But it feels more like a small town. Everything is unbelievable relaxed. The busiest Café-restaurant and bar district of Auckland (Ponsonby) which is supposed to be "damn cool" is still too quite for us: On a beautiful and sunny Saturday afternoon in spring only a few people were sitting in the Cafés and bars. Besides a crazy group who are having a “pub golf” it was disappointing empty. After the last month in South America, where most things are exciting as well as exhausting it’s a complete change and it seems we need to get used to it.

Walking through the CBD feels like being in Asia. The high number of Asian people is unexpected. In the streets you mainly hear mandarin. Chinese grocery stores and restaurants are on every corner with products, we have never seen before.

Everything in Auckland is very nice - but nothing is stunning although the environment is beautiful. Auckland has two lovely harbors, a lot of water, great parks and its close to gorgeous beaches which makes it a perfectly situated city. But still we didn’t fall in love with it. Sorry Auckland!

Crazy group having a pub golf in fashionable PonsonbyIMG_3639

Auckland's Sky Tower. With its 328 metres, it´s the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand and the most famous landmark of the city.IMG_3584

Some impressions of the city and the beautiful harbourIMG_3589IMG_3596IMG_3598IMG_3592

Lovely cafés everywhere ...IMG_3604

and one of the plenty gardens in the city IMG_3608

People playing cricket everywhere. For New Zealanders (also known as Kiwis) it's the most popular summer sport. IMG_3631

Very dangerous - a freshly painted benchIMG_3640

Best cookies in the world! Our favourite is the caramel taste. Follow the instruction to eat them (although it might be a little messy when you aree not used to it):
1. Nibble one corner off the Tim Tam to reveal the wafer.
2. Flip the Tim Tam and bite the opposite corner off.
3. Dip one end into a warm cup of tea or coffee and suck. The Tim Tam will work like a straw, drawing up the liquid.
4. As soon as you feel the tea or coffee in your mouth you need to be quick and put the whole Tim Tam in your mouth. It will melt.
5. Enjoy!!!

Ps. Niels will bring 10 packages to Germany - we are more than happy to share 😉

Fabulous city and harbour views from the top of Mount Eden. Panorama01

Mount Eden is one of the region’s 48 volcanic cones and the highest natural point in Auckland. Panorama02

2 thoughts on “New Zealand

  1. Hallo ihr Lieben,
    ihr hinkt ja mal total hinterher! ;o)
    Über 1 Monat seid ihr nun schon in NZL und noch immer nix geschrieben. BOA!
    So schlimm ist es ja nun auch wieder nicht.

    • Hey Dimi,

      wie kommst du denn darauf? Wir waren nie in Neuseeland! Das ist einfach eine Verschwörung 😉

      Niels hatte am Mittwoch seine Disputation (alles perfekt gelaufen), daher wurde der PC für anderes benötigt. Wir werden jetzt aber eine Aufholjagt hinlegen!

      VG aus Melbourne

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