December 2017 - April 2018
  • Day123

    Auckland Area

    April 10, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

    For the end of our trip we stayed in and around Auckland. Many people said that the best thing you could do in Auckland is to leave as quickly as possible. After spending some time there I can say that it's one of the nicest big cities that I have ever been to. Nice decorated inner city walkways and many green areas.
    But its also true that there is not much to see in the city, so we stayed about half an hour outside in the countryside. Lots of farm animals were lurking around our place. Especially a huge goat named Mr Jangles became our best friend :)
    This brings the trip to New Zealand to an end... Overall it was an amazing experience and we enjoyed so many aspects about this beautiful country!
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  • Day110

    Northlands

    March 28, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

    On our way to the northernmost point in New Zealand we stopped on beautiful beaches, lush forest areas, magnificent waterfalls and caves abundant with glow worms.
    Unfortunately we couldn't go all the way up north because a road slip caused the route to be closed for at least three more days. Therefore we had no choice but to turn around.Read more

  • Day105

    Coromandel Peninsula

    March 23, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Visiting Hobbiton was amongst the most important things to do here in New Zealand. And on the way to the Coromandel Peninsula we finally had the opportunity to do so. The 90$ for a tour (not possible to do it self-guided) are quite a lot of money. But seeing this beautifully made film set with all the small details makes it worth the price. Especially as you get a beer for free ;)
    At the Coromandel Peninsula we went straight to the Hot Water Beach. A part of the beach where you can dig your own hot water spa pool that's just a few centimetres deep. But that just works well if it's low tide, otherwise you'd have to dig like two metres deep. Which is what Julia did! Unfortunately still no hot water but we still could enjoy it while sitting in the tidal area.
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  • Day103

    Waitomo Caves

    March 21, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    A short hop from Waiotapu further to the West are the Waitomo Caves. A famous series of caves that are mostly known for the glow worms that inhabit large sections. The glow worms are maggots that use an illumination to attract insects and lure them into traps. These cruel little maggots look like stars at the cave roofs. Overall the tickets for the Waitomo caves were overpriced because you were not allowed to take pictures and the boat ride was a bit lame. But if its your only chance to see the glow worms you should take it!!
    Another one of our highlights was the Kiwi House in Otorohanga, a lovely little zoo which really cares about the animals. As the Kiwis are so hard to find in the wild it was our chance to see these adorable flightless birds.
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  • Day101

    Rotorua region

    March 19, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    The next stop on our highlights tour was Rotorua. The first thing to notice was the distinct and intense smell of sulfur all over the town. Unbelievable how people could live with that for a long period of time. Maybe you get used to it... So we explored the city in an afternoon and there's a lot going on: Many hot pools, Geothermal activity, Maori culture... There we also tried the traditional Maori food Hangis, a mashup of all kinds of local ingredients (Kumara, a sweet potato; potatoes...) that is slow cooked in holes in the Earth using the thermal heat. Not a definite recommendation but worth a try :)
    Besides that we sticked to the Tourist attractions: South of Rotorua is the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland, a quite expensive park with all kinds of thermal activities like a Geysir and smoking colourful water holes. Next to it was a pretty cool attraction for free, the Mud Pools. A bubbling mass of dirt.
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  • Day99

    East Coast

    March 17, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    We left out Hastings and Napier, just because we didn't find anything worth of interest there in our research. So we made a bit of a detour on the way to Gisborne via the Waikaremoana region but due to heavy winds we ended up not staying there as long as we thought we would. After a short hike to a lookout we moved on.
    Gisborne itself had some shorter walks as well, especially a shorter coastal walk was nice for us. It was raining pretty hard for the whole day so we weren't in the mood for a whole lot of outdoor activities.
    Despite another rain forecast we went for the Reef River Slide. A natural slide going over 15m down. It takes a bit of courage in the first place to jump on the sleeping mat and jump down it. But after the first metres it's just fun and games until you hit some stones before going into the water :D One of our highlights!!
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  • Day96

    Tongariro Region

    March 14, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 5 °C

    For the next stop we decided to go to the Tongariro National Park, the so called Big Brother of Taranaki. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is named as the best day hike in the world. So it was a must-do for us despite the weather forecast wasn't that great. And it turned out that the lady in the information center was right after all.
    After a smooth start in the morning the high winds made the crossing pretty tough. Additionally the view wasn't clear. So we were lucky that we got a glimpse at the beautiful colored Blue Lake in the craters. One does not simply walk into Mordor aka Mt Ngauruhoe, which was the Lord of the Rings setting for Mordor. On the way up I lost my beloved hat :( And on the way down the sun came out and it turned clear but we didn't want to go back :D

    After the 6 hour hike we stayed in Taupo for the night and enjoyed a swim there in the refreshing lake. Just a short drive north the famous Huka Falls were a great spot to visit.
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  • Day92

    Mount Taranaki

    March 10, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    From Wellington we moved along the West Coast up to Mount Taranaki. An incredibly scenic volcano and impressive feature on every map due to its circular shape.
    After consulting the local tourist information we decided to head up to the summit esrly on the next day to avoid a wind that is coming up in the afternoon. Therefore we slept right at the trail head so it saved us some time in the morning. With the wind chill the temperature went down to 8 degrees. We still managed got up at 5:30 and hike for three hours before making the first break. Another hour later we were on top and as soon as you were out of the sun it was freezing cold. But the views from there were stunning and absolutely worth the pain of getting up so early :) The descent was a bit difficult because a steep part was unsealed so you could basically just slide down and fall all the time.
    After spending the night in New Plymouth we made another hike. This time up to a ridge line next to Mt Taranaki. Little did we know that it was two hours of stair climbing. Once again it was worth it because we were able to get an almost perfect reflection of the mountain.
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  • Day88

    Wellington

    March 6, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    After a detour to Motueka visiting friends of my mum we headed North. Finally crossing the Cook Straight to the North Island.
    We had beautiful weather in the Picton but it turned worse on the other shore with a temperature drop down to 13 degrees. After arriving in Wellington we first explored the city center with the parliament and took the tram up to the Botanic Gardens. From there we walked down to the city again.
    Before finding a spot for the night we went to the Weta Workshop. A series of buildings that became successful as the studio responsible for the costumes and CGI for the Lord of the Rings movies. Since then they have made a lot more movies, like Avatar and iRobot.
    For the second day in Wellington we went to the National Museum. The entry is for free and we enjoyed all the exhibitions about New Zealand and the Maori culture. After an empty battery of the van we fled the city.
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  • Day83

    Arthur's Pass

    March 1, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    After my mum arrived, Arthur's Pass was our first stop. We are happy to be back on the road. And Arthur's Pass was an amazing spot!
    The scenery stretches over to the West Coast with heaps of possibilities to stop and have a break/hike. First we explored Castle Hill, gentle slopes covered with rocks. We spent about an hour walking and climbing over them.
    The next stop was at Cave River Stream. It was a tip from some friends in Christchurch and turned out to be a memorable experience. After a short walk to the cave entrance it turns pitch dark within 25 metres and we were up to our hips in ice cold water. As you make your way up through the cave the current intensifies and and some point we had trouble going up the rocks. It's an intense one hour walk and I'd recommend it to anyone.
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