We were very busy the last weeks on New Zealand, so I try to summarise our adventures chronologically in some short-stories:
Harwoods hole and lookout:
After the great hikes we made our way down south, heading to the west coast.
We visited the "Harwoods-hole", which is the deepest hole in NZ. You can not go down, except
you have climbing gear, but still it was worth to see it. Pretty close to the hole was a nice
lookout from where we had an amazing view of the Abel Tasman National park for the last time.
Following the mighty Buller river to the west-coast, we came up with the idea to do some white-water-rafting there. So on the next day we found our self on a rafting-boat with our guide (which must have been an descendant of "Dain Ironfeet"). He was very experienced and funny and navigated us safely through the rapids of the mighty river... Although it was sometimes really scary we always had a good laugh with him! :-)
On the west-coast we visited a town called Hokitika. It is famous for its beach where all kind of cool things are made out of driftwood, which the ocean flushes on the shore.
Franz Joseph Glacier:
From there it is not far to Franz Joseph. A small town next to the New Zealand mountain range, where also the Franz-Joseph-glacier is. The glacier was discovered by an Austrian and he named it after the emperor of the Austria-Hungary monarchy.
We hiked to the spectacular glacier. Standing in front of it reminded me a lot to the mountains back in Austria...
The next days were very rainy, so we went to Dunedin, a big city on the east-cost to wait for better weather there. In this city you can find the steepest street in the world. It's really steep and we were exhausted when we reached the top. (Driving up was not possible with our car. Simon tried it once when he was in Dunedin earlier and failed half way.)
I saw a post-girl delivering the post to all the houses in this street and thought:
Well that must really sucks to deliver post here every day. What the hell did this poor girl wrong in her job, to have this freaking street in her deliver-territory?? :-)
Once the weather turned better we drove down to the south coast, through a region called "The Catlins". This very windy region is famous for its untouched nature. Large primeval forests, lonely long sand beaches and many small rivers and waterfalls.
Made a quick stop at NZ most southern point on the South island, mainly just to have been there... ;-)
The weather there is always very windy and the sea very rough. On a good day you can see Steward-island on the horizon and so we did. And there is the only animal (seemed to me), which can stay longer on this damn place, without freezing its ass off... (Määähh!!) :-)
In Te Anau we did the Milford sound and the Doubtful sound. Two fjords on the west-coast (pretty much down in the south of the island), which you can visit by a boat-tour.
To the Milford-sound leads also the 4 to 5 days long Milford-trail. One of NZ great walks and probably the most beautiful and stunning hike in the world. Unfortunately it is pretty tough
to do it in the winter, as you have to cross snow- and ice-fields as well as mighty ripping rivers. So you must be very well experienced and have the proper gear to do it in the winter or totally mad.
Well we are nothing of both, so we took the car to the sound... :-) But I swear myself if I will be ever back in NZ in the summer, I am going to do this trail...
OK, back to the Milford sound itself:
Pretty amazing and wonderful scenery. You have to be there on your own to know what I mean.
On our way back we had our first car break down (of two in total) in NZ. But we were able to fix it, so that we could drive to the next car mechanics in Te Anau.
So beautiful the weather was on the Milford sound cruise, so bad it was on the next day when we did the Doubtful sound. But the scenery there was also nice although the weather was bad. We saw millions of waterfalls going down the steep mountain walls on both sides of the sound, which was very amazing to see. And it was pretty funny to stand on the upper deck of the ship during heavy swell, rain and strong wind, just trying not to get overboard... :-)
After the sounds we made our way to the city which calls itself "capital of outdoor-adventures in the world" or simply Queenstown.
There is really a lot of outdoor- things to do there, like hiking, mountain biking, rafting, sky-diving, bungee-jumping, skiing,...
We hiked up to the Queenstown-hill from where we had a great view of the town next to the Wakatipu-lake.
You are connected with a rope and jump from a cliff into a canyon (formed by the Shotover-river) and then you swing in the canyon. Like on a swing at the children's playground, just a little bit bigger. It is actually the highest cliff-jump in the world and the funny thing is you can choose how to jump down the cliff!! :-)
So Simon and me both went down with a small children's three-wheeler, making some flips down the 70m before swinging into the canyon. This was fu^^ing awesome and for sure a pure Adrenalin-kick.
On the second jump Simon and me did a Tandem-jump and I do not know who shouted more when we went down this stupid cliff... :-)
We made our way to Wanaka, a nice small town next to the Wanaka-lake (haha, of course...!!) and surrounded by mighty mountains. It is on of my most favourite towns in New Zealand. Life there is chilled and not that hectic than in Queenstown and there are still lots of outdoor activities you can do there...
On day we walked along the lakefront, enjoying a nice sunny day with amazing views to the mountain range next to Wanaka-lake.
Another day we hiked up Mt. Iron from where we had an amazing view of Wanaka and its amazing surrounding landscape.
But hey, we were skiing in New Zealand!! Although we just ride our skies for maybe 5 meters... :-)
Luckily we got all our money back for the ski-rental and the lift card, many thanks to Krystle at this point!
A visit to Aoraki or better known as Mt. Cook, New Zealands highest mountain is also a must-do.
We drove to the village, which has actually the same name. From there we hiked to a good viewpoint next to a lake, from where you can see this massive 3724m high giant. Unfortunately it was a little bit foggy, so we could barely see the top of Cook. But on our way to the village we already had some stunning views of Aoraki...
The last stop before we reached our final destination was Lake Tekapo on the lake (guess which one!! :-) ) We hiked along the lake front up to Mt. John. Once again we were lucky with the weather and had some really amazing views of New Zealands impressive mountain-range, called the New Zealand Alps.
It was also our last night in our camper-van. And when we woke up on the next morning the ground was covered with a 10cm high mantle of snow. We thought that now it is really to cold for camping any longer and really the point to leave Kiwi-Island...
Last stop on New Zealand was Christchurch. Once the city with the most beautiful gardens before a big earth quake in 2011 destroyed big parts of the city. Christchurch is slowly getting rebuilt but today you can still see lots of ruins in the city.
On our way to Christchurch our car broke down the 2nd time and it took us 2 days to ask for spare-parts and get it repaired. So we did not have really time to visit much of Christchurch. But still we saw the botanic gardens, Simon showed us his former working-places, we visited
the host-family of him and one of his old working-mates. His name is Greg, he is from Hungary and really a nice guy!!
Very early on the next morning we had our flight to Sydney. Time to say good bye to Kiwi-land, it was a pleasure and I promised myself to return at someday!!
Only one thing left to say at this point: "Hello Down-Under, nice to meet you!!" :-)