25 Augustus 2007
Tired and with frozen toes and fingers, but satisfied and proud not have broken any bones we crawl back into our space wagon. Tomorrow all our muscles will be sore and the bruise on my leg will turn dark purple I think.. haha. But we did it! We went skiing!
After looking around the “battle field” at Treble Cone for a day we decided to face the challenge. When the alarm rang next morning at 7.30 am we had a nice breakfast and headed towards the ski planes from Wanaka. After we squeezed in to our rented ski boots and inspected our skis vigorously the real fun started! Our two hour during class consisted mostly of finding out how to break while you come flying down the slope laughing unstoppable. Quite difficult haha. Luckily our Group consisted only of 4 people and we all fell on turns.
After a few runs from the
easiest slope our instructor reckoned we were ready for the next step! Of to the
ski lift! It looks so easy. Look he said, just move forward if it’s your turn,
put your ski’s in the right direction, the “chair” between your legs and of you
go! As easy as that. Hmm well, moving forward is already hard enough when it’s
your turn and don’t get me started on getting your ski’s in the right positions
and ridges. And why in the hell can’t I just “sit” on these chairs?!?
If I ever get a job at a ski resort, you can put me at the lift. The guy helping us must have had a good laugh! Coming down was a piece of cake and after some practice we were even going faster and managed to squeeze in some turns. But those lifts, life threatening I tell you haha.
On other thing that enjoyed me like crazy were those punky little kids of 5 years old who just when you think you are going fast and look super cool come speeding by ARGH. As if it’s nothing. But anyways, the snowboarding looked even harder and after taking a few shots of your coolest moves and a hot chocolate we’re quite proud! Reason enough to grab a mega burger at Fergburger’s in Queenstown and we actually almost finished the whole thing!!
Next day we decided to be a relax-day by basically making sure we’re not doing too much at all! Nothing to do with some muscle ache, but just because we felt like it! For real!!
Once we got (almost) everything back together we decided to go for another challenge. We want to see some penguins! So after a pitt stop at Bluff we kept going towards Porpoise- and Curio- bay. Along in the a fossilized forest there should be some breeding colony’s of YEPPERS (Yellow Eye Penguin), fur seals and Hooker sea lions were to be found!
After about a two hour drive we quietly crept up the beach we were kind of disappointed not to see anything! No penguin, no sea lion, no seal, nothing! After some asking around we seemed to be to early. They only come back ashore around 5 pm. So lets just wait… like 4 hours from now. While I made myself comfortable in the bus and read the lonely planet, Chris went for a stroll trough the fossilized forest, within half an hour later he was back and totally out of breath he knocked on the window of the bus. With big eyes he managed to sputter; come….now…penguin! Quickly got my shoes on, let’s have a look. And yes, perfectly hidden behind some bushes there’s a penguin. Slowly we get closer while we’re taking pictures as if it’s a matter of life and death. The yellow eye penguins only live on the Southern island of New Zealand. About 25-30 inches high they have a yellow stripe across their eye’s and they are really beautiful! (See pics) They can get to the age of 20n years and dive to well over 400 feet for food. Really impressive. I’m glad Chris found this one because it would be the first and the last YEP we would see. After 5 we couldn’t spot any others, just as we didn’t find any on the other beaches where we went looking for these special birds.
We did get to see a Hooke sea lion though at Sandfly bay. These a quite a bit bigger than the pervious seen fur seals. Definitely when they rise up and growl at you. Strange enough, many of the pictures taken are kind of “moving”!!
It was already dark when we got to Oamaru. When we drove up the parking lot a sign said “slow down, penguins crossing. Yeah right we thought! Like there would be so many around here! When we went passed the fence though, to figure out where to go look for them early next morning, we just ran into a bunch of “Blue penguins.” Definitely 20 or more. I think they were having some kind of work meeting, since they stood nice in a group and were quite noisy. We could get real close but since they were obviously distracted by the camera we only took one picture.
Next morning we woke up before sunrise to make sure we would be on time and be able to take some pictures. As soon as it gets light the birds get out to sea on their hunt for some fresh fish and don’t get back to shore before the evening. How they do it, I have no clue, maybe they become invisible or they have underground tunnels leading directly to sea but we didn’t see aaany penguins. And I’m sure they were there hahaha!! Luckily we got the chance to play around with a fur seal who even waved at us when we left, so what else do you want!
And now, now I’m already writing the last story from New Zealand. Time is flying by and also this country is stunningly beautiful and special. De mountains, lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, penguins, seals, the skiing in thick snow and the nice people… Did not want to miss it for anything in the world!! Our last few days will be spent in Christchurch where we will prepare for the next adventure Australia. Kind of exciting! Looking forward what we are going to get into over there! But more about that next time!
Greetings Rosanne en Chris
19 august 2007
After a few cold and cloudy days we’re happy to hear the weather forecast. Today is going to be a sunny day….only above the clouds though haha!! So guess what…we are going to the sun! Yes today was a whole new experience but more on that later on.
To keep up where we left last time, the crossing from Wellington to Picton was a good one. With the bus rocking in the parking lot due to the wind, we expected a heavy trip, but the three hour crossing was an easy one. Arriving in Picton at 1 am, made us decide to spend the night right there at the harbour.
After a short pass on the scenic route, “the Queen Charlotte drive” we set course to the south. A seal colony at Kaikoura would be our first stop. It’s amazing to see these animals chilling out just along the highway. After taking some pictures from a safe distance we got closer and closer. Of course Rosie wanted to pet one of these cute animals but it didn’t seem such an good idea to me. Just when she got closer one of the sea lion, who appeared to be a little sick, started to puke all around. Second guess, maybe not such a good idea to go pet them haha. We decided to spend the night there, so we basically slept among sea lions that night. Something else again huh.
After a long drive with a sick Chris in the back of the car we arrived at Hanmer springs. In the morning I made Rosie a nice breakfast, but apparently while making tea, there was not enough ventilation with only the rooftop open, and within an hour I had this major headache. Trying to sleep it away for a few hours didn’t work so Rosie decided to start driving so we at least would get somewhere today. After a big throw up due to the headache and a long drive it was nice to take a bath in the outdoor thermal pools (105 Fahrenheit) at Hanmer springs. Good timing by the way, because it was time for our weekly shower anyways haha.
All cleaned up and feeling not so sick anymore we fell for another sickness. The gold rush this time haha! We’ve been looking for the pot with gold at the end of the rainbow a few time’s already without any luck (see prev. pictures) and after passing trough a few gold towns on our way towards the west coast we decided to try our luck at Shanty town. Since the gold was only to be found till 5.30 pm we had to make up camp on the spot. On top of a hill with the most beautiful sunset we had a nice night of decent sleep. The next day we spent a few hours in the replica gold town and even tried our luck with the gold panning. We didn’t get rich but we have our own gold, whoohoo!!
After this gold adventure we went on to the Franz Josef Glacier. The feeling you get here among this wilderness is almost indescribable. A short walk of half an hour led us to a view point. About a mile further down you could see this beast dooming up from between the mountains. Of course that was not close enough for us, so the 2 hour walk to the terminal face of the glacier was next. The closer you get the more you feel yourself getting smaller. Big cliffs rising up straight into the sky at 90 degrees at both sides of the valley. In the past the glacier came trough here, but the last few 1000 years the glacier is slowly retreating and getting smaller. Getting closer to the face quieted us down quite a bit, and after taking some pictures and staring around in awe we walked back to the car along one of the steep walls of the valley. Waterfalls of at least 150 ft were really nice here, but somewhat didn’t’ fit in with the impressions we just got at the glacier. Tired but satisfied we camped up at a lake and had another look at the pictures. It felt like only now, when going trough the pictures again we realized how amazing this all is. Very Impressive!
After a nice morning walk around the lake and taking some pictures of the reflection of the mountains in the lake we went on to the next glacier here in this region. The Fox Glacier. I won’t bother you again with the whole same story but again this was a really amazing sight! The walk towards the glacier was not as long and difficult as the one before and also the glacier seemed to be a bit smaller. Still, when you look back at the pictures you can really see how small you are as a human being. We both agreed though, that the Franz Josef glacier was much more impressive.
Next was a nice drive on highway 6 which runs from the glaciers all the way down towards Haast where it turns inland. We decided to go for a short walk to Monro Beach. An easy track of supposedly 40 minutes return would lead to this beach where you could spot penguins. Well, we knew it! The short and easy walk turned out to be at least 50 minutes one way and going all up and down hill. To make things even worse there was a big tree that fell over the path, but after some going under, trough and over we made it across. We are not going to be stopped by something like this!
The penguins turned out to be changed in sand flies. There was none to be seen! After sitting quietly on the beach waiting for the big moment for them to get out of the water we decided it was time to head back. Sand flies were driving us crazy! Especially poor Rosie went crazy! Anyone who knows the “wimpiri’s” at Curacao, well these are at least 10 times worse! But no worries! We drive down towards Jackson bay where there also would be breeding colonies along the road. But sadly enough, after another walk, no penguin to be seen here. To make up though mother nature send us a few dolphins on the way back towards Haast on the way to Queenstown. At least we saw something! But to say there are penguins here, we have our doubts haha.
After getting our minds puzzled at “puzzling world” near Wanaka we decided to sty here for the night. Optical illusions in this puzzle park would drive you nuts. Faces in the walls which follow you when you walk by. Rooms where one corner would be high up and the other one real small, but you couldn’t see that with normal eyesight. Rooms that seemed to defy gravity so real life that it would make you nauseous. This really was a trip that made you wonder in the end, what is real and what’s not in this world!
So we woke up on the lake of Wanaka, an hours drive from Queenstown. This is a small town close to a few big ski resorts. It seemed to be another cloudy day, since we couldn’t see the mountaintops. After doing some grocery shopping we asked around at the information centre about different “snow-options” around here. We decided to leave the skiing for tomorrow and for today we would go up to “Treble Cone”. It would be a good day for this sightseeing, because the weather forecast would be sunny for the day. Only above the clouds though haha. Once again, up here in the mountains you realize how small you are. Enormous mountains with vast fields of snow. Once again very impressive. Look at the pictures and you might know how we felt about it all!
The Pirates of the Caribbean (as everybody seems to associate us with as soon as we tell them we are from there) are going to the snow! Tomorrow a ski lesson and let’s see how that all is going to be. It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be fun. That’s all we know so far. The rest…. We’ll tell you next time!
After a busy week with lots of exciting, new beautiful and impressive things it’s time now to find a sleeping spot and put the alarm at 7.30 am. (and that while you’re on vacation) so we can hit the mountains tomorrow morning. We’re all excited about it. We’ll let you know how it was!!
Happy-hugs and greetings,
Roos en Chris.
11 august 2007
This week, especially for the kind of jealous people back home, our update is not only about our adventures, but also about the happenings in and out of our campervan!
Our space wagon, or so called wicked camper is nothing more than a big station wagon which had a nice “makeover”(see pictures). Behind the front seats you have two big wooden boxes which also function as storage room. In between these boxes there is a small wooden tablet op which at night you use as the bottom of the bed to put the mattress on. The last mentioned is nothing more than 3 thin cushions, like the ones you use on your porch set. Everything put together, nice and warm under our (brand new) sleeping bags it looks a little bit like a bed. On your back you can fit yourself in nice and tight! On the back of the van (the trunk so to speak) is changed into a small kitchen with a 3 gallon jerry can for water and a small gas stove.
Your head stuck in between the sugar, the bread, peanut butter and some soy sauce in the kitchen and your feet against the back of the two front seats would be your best bet for a decent night of sleep. Oohshit, just have to grab the toothbrushes from underneath the bed so move everything over again haha. After some fighting with the curtains and aauw… is that your leg? Yeah uh, who’s else would it be haha? It is time to go to sleep. We are convinced that the designers of this design have never slept one night in their own creation. But hey, this way it stays an adventure every night over and over again! Haha.
At dawn (around 6 o’clock) there’s always something that starts making noise. It’s either the cars along the highway where we parked the night before or the birds in the forest. Usually we manage to extend the waking up rituals till about 8 o’clock but then it’s really time to go to the toilet. Finally relieved you soak in the beauties of this new morning. The stunning views most of the mornings when we wake up are the things that keep this fun in the morning. The advantage of a campervan really pay of this way when we park again on some beautiful places. Quickly you get back in your sleeping bag and wait till the heater has heated up the car a bit (this morning it was like 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the car brrrrr).
After trying to get to the bread, the peanut butter and a knife from the inside of the car Chris makes and heroic effort to go out and get everything from the back of the trunk. While he’s making some tea and some sandwiches I put away the beds again so we have a nice seating area for some breakfast. After breakfast it’s time for the shower (about once every two/three days haha) the bed and the table pushed aside and with a bucket filled up with 3 inches of semi-warm water (we have to be easy on the water and the gas) you try to squeeze yourself in between the two big boxes. While your on your knees cleaning your armpits and your butt the other one sits in the front reading the lonely planet to try to figure out what this new day is going to bring us. After a new bucket of water, the big exchange trick and while you’re at it rinsing your socks and underwear we get dressed again and we are all ready to face this new day!
Last week we treated our camper to way over 750 miles of gas and in a nice exchange for this it drove us to the most beautiful places. On the way from Raglan to Te Kuiti we ran into some people with their car stuck in the mud up to their license plate. Hmm time for a plan change and we decided to turn around and drive back to Hamilton from where we went to Te Kuiti. Here we did a nice tour in the “Waitomo caves". Here you find the so-called glow worm on the ceiling of the cave. With some glowing end of his tail he attracts all kinds of insects and this way he gets his dinner together. It puts up a spectacular sight of a star-filled-sky-like sights. Really beautiful!!
Afterwards we decided to keep going towards Taupo (on highway 3 and 1) and accidentally we arrived at “The hidden valley of Orakei Korako” situated on the Waikato river. After a quite night we went exploring the next morning. Rated as the best thermal area of New Zealand by the lonely planet, it provided us again with some stunning views. After crossing the river with a small boat you could really see the thermal activity around here. Boiling water pools, steam rising up from all the bushes, bubbling mud-pools and waterfalls are the result. Now it’s easy to see why they did parts of the famous movie Lord of the ring around here. Totally in awe about this whole day we went back to bed at night. Awesome day! The next day was one full of amazing sights again. After a quick visit at the Huka Falls nearby Taupo we drove up to the “Craters of the moon”. For about an hour and a half we felt really like we were on the moon. This walking track went to some moonlike shaped area with steam coming out of everywhere and boiling mud pools all over.
The next day we were just in time to see the force of the water at the Aratiatia dam. Three times a day they open up this mega dam. Not only they get electricity from this water, it also serves a some beautiful sights. The normally so calm and nice river seems to explode into a major wild white-water chaos. Imagine being a fisherman and sitting on the rocks, not knowing anything haha…ouch! The following morning again something new and exciting. At Kerosene Creek close to Rainbow Mountain we took a shower in a hot River. It even had waterfalls! Super cool doing this in this wild nature on the side of the road but don’t drop your soap! You’ll never find that one again! Haha.
By now we are up already for another hour and we’re looking out over the big Mangaweka river which we ran into last night going south from Taupo along the famous Dessert Road (highway 1). It’s a bright sunny day again and I’m wondering what’s going to be on our path this new day. But more about this next time.
Dushi bida! (Life is beautiful!)
Knuffel Roosje en Chris
04 augustus 2007
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. (John Lennon)
These words are put on a sticker on the dashboard of our camper. John Lennon couldn’t be more right. The only plan we didn’t change was the one of picking up our campervan. When we arrived at 10 o’clock the van wasn’t ready yet. Please come back at 12.30. So when we arrived again, after checking the mail and had some lunch it appeared the pickup was arranged in Auckland. About 3 min from our backpackers hotel. ARGH. That’s why \we got up at 7? Haha
After an adventure in the parking lot of a big supermarket,” oohwell, I’m sure i can take the trolley out of here, and then the wheels blocked,’ it was time to get on the road. Hmm Left, left. Don’t forget. Luckily we had an automatic otherwise i don’t know how often i would’ve opened up my door just because of the habit of shifting with your right hand. All I all it was pretty easy and after a short drive trough the city we got on Highway one. This one was going to be our main guide the next few days on the northern part of the North Island.
Our first night was a cold one. At night it is about 55. Fahrenheit in de car. And for us from the Caribbean that’s quite cold. After a few nights of playing with different sleeping positions, different parking angles and quit drinking way before it’s bed time so you don’t have to pee in the middle of the night, it seems that we are finally going to get some decent sleep. You learn everyday! Haha.
On our way to the most northern spot on the island (Cape Reigna) we visited sheepworld close by Warksworth. It’s kind off a rough business. Andy grasps the head of the sheep betweens his legs, pulls the skin tight so he doesn’t cut it’s skin and that’s how the poor sheep loses his wool in this cold winter. Rosie fell in love with the young sheepdogs, well they were really cute too! After all this we drove up to Pakiri beach. On the top of the hill the road suddenly ended, so we decided our day ended here too. Time for a sleep!
Via the beautifull Whangarei falls where my wild plans about swimming disappeared like snow in the sun at the first moment my big toe hit the water we drove all the way up to Cape Reigna. Known in the Maori legend as “Te Rerenga-Wairua” where the spirits of the death leave the earth. After more than 75 mi of driving, past the 90 mile beach and the humongous sand dunes you really get the “end of the world-kinda feeling”. The lighthouse is still working and looks out over the rough ocean where the Pacific ocean and the Tasman sea meet. This provides some spectacular sights when the waves can get up to 30 ft high. An indescribable feeling. Magnificent.
On the way back from the cape we slept near a meadow. It was raining alot and the wind was hard. Luckily we parked on a spot where we were not bothered by the mud and all the trees were far away enough. We really thought about all this. NOT. Haha. Here you see again, just as in Indonesia, where we had to find out how to check out your room before you stay there for the night, also here in New Zealand we have to work on our “parking-for the night-experience”. We think we’re doing a good job by the way, at least we think so!
After a long day of driving we got close to Auckland again. After a night on the parking lot of a bowling club in Helensville we drove all the way up to Hamilton. It rained all day and the wind is still strong, but we still had fun. In Hamilton we went to the zoo which was a nice one! During our search for this zoo we were deviated a few times by police and other important people, and when we bought a local newspaper it seemed they were taking care of a big drug-lab that was found in someone’s home. When we arrived in Auckland we decided to loop for s spot in the civilized world again. This due to the weather still hasn’t cleared up. Just to be safe. After a nice home cooked pasta with lots of vegetables we lay in our newly bought sleeping bags. Slowly but surely we are getting warm again. NICE. Looking forward to what the day of tomorrow our minds are slowly drifting away to the waterfalls and the hot springs to where we are going tomorrow. I’m going to take a quick potty-break and then hopefully I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night. Tomorrow will be another day people.
Dear people, greetings from us all the way from New Zealand. Keep checking the website, and keep in touch.
Rosie and Chris.
Every flyer who ventures across oceans to distant lands is a potential explorer; In his or her breast burns the same fire that urged adventurers of old to set forth in their sailing-ships for foreign lands. Jean Batten 1979 “Alone in the Sky”
These were the words that welcomed us on the big airport of Auckland. The second part of our adventure has started, and you can feel it!! It’s dark when we get into the bus which is going to drop us off in the city, and the sign along the road reads 10 Celsius which is about 50 Fahd. Brrr… it’s going to take a while to get used to.
During the ride I’m thinking back on the last week. 6 hours away from the hot Kuta we are now in Sydney. Funny that it took only 6 hours, because by the original itineraries we would have a stopover in Perth that would make everything much longer. Due to overbooking by our airline we were transferred to a different one so we were much faster in Sydney! A stressed out Brazilian at Kuta airport ran out of money, and didn’t have the 100.000 R (12 $) and so he was stuck here! Of course we helped him out, and paid his airport tax. As a friendly gesture back this guy and his girlfriend who picked him up at the airport dropped us off at boomerang, (or Kangaroo, as Chris called it…) a backpackers in the city centre. Came in handy huh!
After a good night of sleep we decided to go exploring the next day. A big city which is clean and spacious. Very nice, except or those moments that you have to cross the streets and you forgot again from what way the traffic is supposed to come. But, used to all the tourists, the made life easy for us. Not only by putting up pedestrians lights, but also the big “look right” signs that were written on the road. Life made easy for “dummies” like us! After a while we made it safely to the Sydney Aquarium situated at Darling Harbor. After using our “discount coupons”, (hey we’re Dutch after all!) we entered the aquarium. Home to over 11.500 aquatic animals like sharks, rays, platypus, penguins crocodiles and much more. They even have over 160 meters of underwater tunnels, what made everything even more spectacular! And even without getting wet!
On the way to the hostel we also had a look at the IMAX Theatre. Here you have the world’s biggest screen of more than 8 storey’s high where they project 2D and 3D movies. Too bad it was only Harry potter showing now, but hey, tomorrow is another day.
At night we made ourselves our first home cooked meal in more than a month. Toast with fried eggs. Simple but good, we are really looking forward make our own dinner again when we finally have the bus.
You put on your mask, the surge of he waves causes the stones along the shore to make their tickly sounds. Following a steep drop off you venture along some beautiful coral formations into the deep. Countless of beautiful colored fish make you feel like you’re in an aquarium. Gracefully a whole school of jellyfish floats by. Luckily they don’t sting. The turtle in the distance is being cleaned buy some yellow fish, and you’re just feeling happy. All of a sudden you get the chills of fear. Surrounded by al this beauty there’s this 9 ft bull shark approaching you. He’s looking straight at you. While it’s getting closer you realize it’s more like 12 ft. Slowly opening it’s jaws….. you extend your arm in one last attempt to scare it away. ……. Gladly you realize again that it was 3D mask you put on instead of that diving mask.
So lifelike was this movie we saw the next day. “Deep Sea”. A 3D presentation that beat all of our expectations. Really cool. If you ever get the chance, go see one of these movies. AWESOME. Even for us divers who are used to this underwater world there were many moments we just sat there in awe. We had another nice dive, again without getting wet!
Our days in Sydney are over. After our “dry underwater adventures” we strolled along the Sydney harbor bridge enjoying some spectacular views and of course the picture of the Sydney opera house could not miss out. The next day we packed our bags and left to the airport. After a short flight of less than 4 hours we could once again adjust our watches with 2 hours. Our current time zone is “GMT+12.00” which means that it’s 10 hours later than in holland and even 16 hours later than in Curacao.
After a day of walking around in Auckland and washing some clothes in our backpackers hotel, (in a real washing machine!!) we are finally going to pick up our “Crea Camper” tomorrow. Finally our own little home for some time again. We are looking forward to this and hope that we can share a lot of new and exciting adventures with you guys again. So keep checking the site and make sure you leave some notes in the guestbook. We love it!
E noho ra (goodbye in maori)
Roos and Chris.