North Island

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

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