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New Zealand

Curious what backpackers do in New Zealand? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day3

    Wandering around Westport today enjoying the Autumn sunshine and a break from the heavy rain of yesterday. Last couple of days I have been sorting out my house and battening down the hatches prior to my departure. Also got out today to enjoy this small town on the wild west coast of New Zealand that I have called home for these last 3 years, and no doubt many more into the future.

    Its a mining town built on gold and coal and still has that affluent vibe, despite its recent decline as it’s coal becomes too uneconomic to mine in our globalised world. For me it’s ideally located on the stunning West Coast with magical Karamea to the North and Punakaiki and Greymouth to the South an easy 90 minute drive on one of the worlds most spectacular coast roads.

    It also has a small airport and Wellington is only a 45 minute flight away on a little 9 seater plane. The Pilatus PC12 is actually a pretty amazing plane which is flown by the Australian Flying Doctors and the US Special Forces because of its legendary reliability and its ability to take off and land just about anywhere and fly in any weather. It needs to here, doing the Westport to Wellington run, and its almost always a pretty bumpy ride. But, hey, I like roller coasters and I have always felt 100% safe in the hands of Sounds Air. Westport sits at the mouth of the mighty Buller River and has the river, beaches, lagoons and a busy fishing harbour.

    A stroll down to the harbour takes me to the newly built walkway out over the wetlands and lagoons, past the Lost Lagoon and to the Shingle Beach, which is actually inland somewhat from the river mouth. The river and the harbour has always accommodated some pretty large ships but the last of these, the big cement bulk carriers, recently departed after the nearby Cement Works closed. I noticed one of them - The Westport - was sold and renamed and now plies the North Sea and between Copenhagen and Malmo as the Fjordvik. Strange to think I watched it sail past my house not long ago and now its on the other side of the world.

    Soon I too will be on the other side of the world too; blogging from Japan, England, Scotland, Iceland, Morocco and Greece.... stay tuned :-)
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  • Day1

    A large meteor streaks across the sky trailing red and green sparks like a giant firework. Big, spectacular, so close I think, at first, that it's a firework. Streaking east to west above the pitch black Cook Strait: that's the first sign.

    The following morning I awake to a large double star hanging in the sky above the entrance to Wellington Harbour. A UFO? No its not moving. So a UO then, until I remember that NASA launched a giant very high altitude balloon from Otago on the South Island yesterday. That must be it, reflecting the rising sun. Sure looks spooky though and I can't help but keep going out and looking at it and pondering it's existence. What this interest does allow me to see though are all the Spook jets and military transports leaving Wellington airport early in the morning after thier 'secret' meeting down in Arrowtown, near Queenstown the weekend just gone. The CIA Director, the Head of the FBI and big chiefs from the other Intelligence Services of the 5Eyes alliance. A most unusual gathering: that's the second sign... or is it an Omen?

    All that distraction and I'm late for work on my last day at DIA. I've been working as a Solution Architect for the Department of Internal Affairs for almost two years now but today is my last day before I head off on my big overseas adventure for 4 months. Barrable Travels.

    First stop is Japan in a few days time after I relocate my belongings back to my place on the S Island and say my goodbyes to the wild west coast. Can't help but feel I'm heading into a potential war zone what with those two tinpot dictators screaming at each other over the Korean peninsula and rattling thier sabres.

    The next morning the UO is still hanging in the sky but this time it looks further south... can it really be that NASA balloon? It looks smaller today too so may be. The Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour are glass smooth but a Northerly is blowing strong and I just have this weird feeling something big is going to happen soon. Maybe it's just the anticipation and excitement building as I prepare to depart for the Northern Hemisphere, but it feels more like a premonition.

    New Zealand is a 'safe place' far from the madding crowd and the madness of just about everywhere else in the world. But it is not untouched by the winds of war blowing through global geopolitics. See you later Chief Spooks... I wonder what you were talking about all weekend; or maybe you were just in Queenstown to go bungee jumping :-)
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  • Day1

    What to call this blog?, Around the world in 120 days? Tim's big adventure? The Trip 2017 or just Barrable Travels...

    Day one dawns with a brisk Northerly and a a clear blue sky. I finish packing the van and leave my rented flat after 22 months. I'll miss the place on Wellingtons south west edge on its wild south coast overlooking Taputeranga Island and out to Pencarrow at the mouth of Wellington Harbour. It's a glorious rugged piece of coastline only 20 minutes from the centre of the capital city.

    The ferry sails out into a wide blue day with a few fluffy white clouds and that brisk ever present Wellington wind. I sit on the top deck outside watching the white caps and the stunning scenery.

    I sit proped against the bulkhead the 'helicopter pad' and the fluttering red ensign of New Zealand in front of me, the mountains of Wellington in the distance. My mind drifts to another ship, or ships; the US carrier fleet that was then wasn't but now is sailing towards the Korean peninsula. "We're sending a very big fleet, its very powerful" says Trump. "We will anihilate it in a massive preemptive strike" says Kim Jong Un. I'm not sure who is the biggest tinpot Dictator, the biggest blusterer but the "toys" they have to play with are anything but laughable.

    The ferry leaves the open water of the Strait and enters Tory Channel, the oddly named West Head to our left. It's actually the easternmost point of the South Island. The Marlborough Sounds are tranquil and green the turquoise waters glistening in the sun. Such an idillic setting with its little houses nestling among the green tree clad hills in little isolated pockets by the waterside; thier only access via boat.
    Such a peaceful place and such a peaceful lifestyle. That is both the beauty and the bane of New Zealand… nothing much happens here and its easy to forget the crazy things happening in the world. And with that thought my Seattle Seahawks cap catches a gust of wind and flies out to sea to join its bretheren… it was going to join me on my travels but I guess it had other ideas 😃

    Later we dock in Picton and I head south west in my trusty Honda Elysion… through elyision fields and the long straight run down the Wairau Valley with miles upon miles of golden vines on every side stretching to the green forest clad mountains to the north and the the largely brown and barren mountains to the south. An idyllic setting with lots of famous vineyards and glorious sunshine. Spoilt only by the incongruous big domes of Waihopai Spy Base, one of the 5 Eyes eyes and ears intercepting global communications, a part of the ECHELON global spy network. Some have even taken advantage of its presence naming their vineyard Spy Valley 😃

    So there we have it again amidst this green and pleasant land the presence of the anglo-american empire. 5 Eyes or FVEY; the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. We may be a long way away geographically but we are very much part of the empire.

    Onwards and upwards to the alpine town of St Arnauds and beyond we wind into the mountains and start to follow the mighty Buller River as it winds its way 150km to the sea. As I’m winding my way through the Upper Buller Gorge a black breasted native Robin hops out onto a roadside post and watches me pass. Yes we have Robins with black breasts here, like we have Black Swans and the All Blacks, lol. The Robin is normally a shy retiring bird that hides in the bush; so thats the fifth sign.

    The deciduous trees are splendid in their Autumn colours and the native forests spread out in their multi been hued splendour on every side. Easy to see why they call it ‘the bush’ its like one big thick bush spread like a carpet across the mountains. As we approach the west coast it becomes even more primeval with so many Fern Trees and Nikau Palms poking out of the bush. Ive driven this road so many times its almost second nature now with its hairpin turns, one lane bridges and tight pathways blasted out of overhanging rock faces. All in all the Buller Gorge is a stunning place.

    Its a glorious day for a drive and 4 hours after departing the ferry the River opens out onto the alluvial plains and becomes wider and deeper and even more magnificent. It is NZs largest river by volume of water flow and after heavy rains it is like an unstoppable force with whole trees tumbling down to the sea in its fearsome flow. Today it ambles along, the sun glistening on its deep blueish green water.

    Finally to my home in Westport and I grab a sweet and sour chicken from the takeaway and kick back with my feet up to watch the news. The contents of the van and the unpacking can wait until tomorrow...
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  • Day6

    Oh boy, leaving on time, which is a miracle and then we have a small mishap with a curb and a tyre, next minute we're changing tyres and duck taping the flares on the car!! This is an interesting start to our winter moon festival experience! 1.06pm

  • Day36

    One of the main reasons why to come back to New Zealand were Andrew and Yvonne. I did the internship with Andrew at Taranaki hospital in New Plymouth and got to know Yvonne She spent some days with me in Auckland before I left the first time. They got married in 2013 and I was invited, couldn't do the trip just for a wedding then. So I was so looking forward to seeing them again. I took the bus yesterday from Auckland to Palmy, a scenic journey throughout the Island, passing lake Taupo, the volcanos and finally arriving in Palmerston North. Andrew picked me up and Yvonne was home shortly after. Again, so lovely to meet them again.
    Today we woke up at 5:15 for the Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day. It's a day to remember those who served for those countries or lost their lives doing it. The date was the beginning of the battle of Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915. The battle started before sunrise, that's why the service starts at dawn. After the service we had breakfast with friends of Andrew's and Yvonne's, played Settlers of Catan, went for lunch and for a walk and had another round of Settlers of Catan in the evening. So that was again a really nice day surrounded by wonderful people.
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  • Day37

    What an adventure! I had to get up at 5 to drive to Paraparaumu. Driving means myself in Andrew's car, which he was so kind to lend me for this trip. I had some exercise the day before driving around Palmy with Andrew next to me. Being alone makes quite a difference even more if the car is manually. Well, I managed to get there without any problem and shortly after I was on a boat to Kapiti Island. Overnight guests were brought to a different beach then the day tour visitors. This was a bit delayed because of three guys. They were on their jetski the day before - and then they were not anymore, couldn't get on, so they swam onto the island, stayed the night there, lit a fire and went to the lodges in the morning. So that was a big thing since Kapiti is a Reserve and the idea of fire taking over is scary and they could accidentally introduced pests. So we were brought to the middle of the island where we could climb up a little hill. I did it with Frauke, a woman from Göttingen. Up there we saw nothing since there was mist from the ocean. That made it very magical and i liked it a lot. Later on we overnighters, a group of eight, were brought to our lodges. After a coffee I went to the Western lookout for sunset, it was stunning. Then we had some wine and nibbles, diner and some Kiwi-information from Manaakai, our guide. Shortly after that we started for a kiwi spotting night walk. Now let me introduce you to our group: There was Bird-Fan, 45-ish with his huge camera; a eldery couple around 70ish, he a typical Mr. know it all; an older woman, around 80 with her daughter and finally Misses and Mister Tipsy, having started already with apero right after we got to the cabin, she around 55ish he more 65ish. All very nice and lovely people, don't get me wrong and I enjoyed it heaps to spend this time with them. But that walk was just so hilarious I have to share it: So, to begin with, we should be as quiet as possible with minimum lighting to increase our chances to see those unique animals in the wild. You know the situation when people at a certain age just can't whisper anymore and just talk quite loudly? So that started right away between Mr. and Mrs. Tipsy. They were right behind me and it went on and on and on. I am sure all Kiwis were warned. Then when you are quiet you get to hear all sorts of sounds, heavy breathing (again, Mrs and Mr Tipsy) shuffling feet - also the ones your body produces, for example coming from Mr. Tipsy. Which was commented by Mrs. Tipsy with: "Well honey, that wasn't the call of a Kaka." This alone was so absurd. But then there was another fart and Mr. Tipsy said that this time it wasn't him and so the eldery woman made her excuses. Oh dear. Some time later our guide had a look if there were still 8 of us. It was ment as a joke but actually only 6 of us were left. Mr. and Mrs. Tipsy had decided to go back. Without telling anyone. So our poor guide had a day which began with some stranded dudes on the beach, a fire and big worries about pests and ended with some missing person. So that was sorted out and the walk ended at some point. I was quite happy no one I knew was with me because I wouldn't have been able to keep myself from laughing the whole time. Oh and Kiwis? We haven't seen a single one 😊Read more

  • Day38

    Kapiti Island has a long history, being a tactical place for Maori for example. It has been a bird sanctuary already in the 1890ies. Then it was still a settlement for farmers with cows and sheep, many trees and bush chopped. Unfortunately with humans also pests are coming to an island. New Zealand was a mammal free country until the first Maori introduced rats. With 'white men' the situation got worse, many birds were extinct or on the verge of extinction because some of them can't really fly anymore and more important, their nests, eggs and chicken stay on ground. Very easy preys for rats, stoats and others. The possum, which is highly protected in Australia, is a pest in NZ. He eats heaps of indigene vegetation which also is a big problem. In the beginning of the 20th century they started to get rid of the mammals on the island. Cow and sheep are quite easy but with the others it's way more difficult. They killed 20'000 possums for example until 1980ies. The rats were the biggest challenge Getting rid of rats is a all-or-nothing thing. If one survives and is pregnant, you can start from all over again. In the 90ies they started a huge rat poisoning on the whole island. They had to protect one bird, the weka, since that one just eats everything and would have been at risk. No problem with the other birds. They were successful and in 1998 the Island was pest free. In 2010 a stoat was seen on the island. A huge stoat hunt was started and 3 animals were found and killed. How did they happen to be there in first place? Every person, unless you are struggeling with your jetski, is searched for anmials before entering the island. The distance to the mainland is 5km that none of these animal can swim this distance . What they think happened was that one female, pregnant stoat was on a piece of wood washed from a river into the sea by a storm and half by taxi, half by swimming she arrived on the island. They continued a intensive search for those animal for two years but haven't seen one since. Flora and fauna are coming back in large numbers and doing very well. It's actually where most of the brown spotted kiwi lives, 1200-1500 animals. Next week 32 birds will be caught and brought to other places on the mainland to establish new population or mix the genes with the ones already there. We got all those information from Manaakai, a young Maori whose family lives on the island. When the nature reserve was declared, his great-great-grandmother refused to leave the island so there is private property and that's were we slept in cabins. All in all a fascinating place, I would have loved to stay a bit longer.
    Those parokeet you see on the pictures are Kakas. Very curious and very intelligen. They open bags, steal food and do not believe you not having any. Beautiful little fellows. Unfortunately this is not natural behavior being that close to human that's why I tried to shush him away. Very unsuccessfully as you see...
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  • Day39

    I had a night out with Yvonne and Andrew on thursday after coming back from Kapiti Island. We started having delicious pizza and then we went to a bar where there was a quiz night. I love them. I don't understand why we do not have them in Switzerland or I haven't got across one. They have been my backup plan in case being a doctor would not be my thing. I would start a quiz nights business back home. There are 8 categories with 10 questions in each. Sometimes it's riddles, sometimes general knowledge, it can b everything. We weren't exactly very good but we had heaps of fun (I might just open that business anyway).
    Today I finally bought new sunglasses and planed my next two weeks. I will rent a caravan and cruise on my own up the north island to Auckland. I am quite excited about that! But first I will spend the weekend with Yvonne and Andrew in Welly.
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  • Day190

    The Waihoanga Gorge Kauri walk was predicted to be a two hour return journey, however, they obviously do not know my obsession with nature and all things trees. We spent three wonderful hours rambling, exploring, being in awe amongst giant Kauri, Silver Fern and questionable, strange native luminescent blue mushrooms. It was a divine overload on all senses, lush autumnal colours, smells, and silence. Peace in its purest form.

    I feel this huge forest has so much to offer, which requires endless days of discovery. A real gem with rare and 80% (?) native flora and fauna to New Zealand.
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  • Day73

    Zwischen dem Lake Hawea und dem Lake Wanaka liegt die kleine Stadt Wanaka. Die Wanderung auf dem Roys Peak Track führt auf den Kamm eines 1600 Meter hohen Berges. Der Blick über den Lake Wanaka ist von dort unglaublich. Das Highlight in Wanaka ist jedoch die Möglichkeit selbst ein Flugzeug zu steuern.

You might also know this place by the following names:

New Zealand, Neuseeland, Seulandia Barô, Nieu-Seeland, Ziland Foforo, ኒው ዚላንድ, Nueva Zelanda, Nīwe Sǣland, نيوزيلاندا, ܢܝܘ ܙܝܠܢܕ, নিউজিলেণ্ড, Yeni Zelandiya, Яңы Зеландия, Neiseeland, Новая Зеландыя, Нова Зеландия, न्यूजीलैंड, Niusilan, Zelandi Koura, নিউজিল্যাণ্ড, ནིའུ་ཛི་ལན྄ཌ།, নিউজিল্যান্ড, Zeland-Nevez, Novi Zeland, Шэнэ Зеланд, Nova Zelanda, Sĭng-să̤-làng, Керла Зеланди, نیوزیلاند, Nova Zilanda, Yañı Zelandiya, Nový Zéland, Nowô Zelandzkô, Çĕнĕ Зеланди, Seland Newydd, Ny Zeeland, Zelandaya Newiye, 10.1073/pnas.0801507105, Nowoseelandska, ނިއުޒިލޭންޑު, ནིའུ་ཛི་ལེནཌ, New Zealand nutome, Νέα Ζηλανδία, Nov-Zelando, Uus Meremaa, Zeelanda Berria, زیلاند جدید, Nuwel Selannda, Uusi-Seelanti, Nýsæland, Nouvelle-Zélande, Novèla-Zèlande, Nei-Sialun, Nij-Seelân, An Nua-Shéalainn, Eni Zelandiya, Sealainn Nuadh, Nova Celandia, न्यूझीलंड, 𐌽𐌹𐌿𐌾𐌹𐍃 𐍃𐌰𐌹𐍅𐌰𐌻𐌰𐌽𐌳, ન્યુઝીલેન્ડ, Yn Teelynn Noa, Nuzilan, Néu Sî-làn, ניו זילנד, न्यूज़ीलैंड, Nouvèl Zelann, Új-Zéland, Նոր Զելանդիա, Nove Zelanda, Selandia Baru, Nov-Zeland, Baro a Selanda, Nova-Zelando, Nýja-Sjáland, Nuova Zelanda, ニュージーランド, zis. poi cnino, Selandia Anyar, ახალი ზელანდია, Jana Zelandiya, Ziland Tamaynut, ЩIэ Зилэнд, Nyuzilandi, Жаңа Зеландия, Nutaaq Zeeland, នូវែលហ្សេឡង់, ನ್ಯೂಜಿಲೆಂಡ್, 뉴질랜드, Джангы Зеландия, Выль Зеландия, Mordir Nowydh, Жаңы Зеландия, Nova Zelandia, Mueva Zelanda, Neiséiland, ЦӀийи Зеландия, Niyuziirandi, Nui-Zieland, Neuva Selanda, Növa Zelanda, Zelandɛ ya sika, ປະເທດນູແວນເຊລັງ, Naujoji Zelandija, Zelanda wa mumu, Jaunzēlande, 紐西蘭, Aotearoa, Нов Зеланд, ന്യൂസിലാന്‍റ്, Шинэ Зеланд, У Зеланди, နယူးဇီလန်, نیوزلند, Niu Djiran, Yancuīc Zetlālpan, Sin Jia̍t-lân-jia, Nòva Zëlanna, Niegseeland, न्युजिल्याण्ड, न्यु जिल्यान्द, Nieuw-Zeeland, Novi Selande, Nouvelle Zélande, Nòva Zelanda, ନ୍ୟୁଜିଲାଣ୍ଡ, Ног Зеланди, ਨਿਊਜ਼ੀਲੈਂਡ, Novèle-Zilinde, Nyuu Ziilan, Nowa Zelandia, Neuva Zelanda, نیوزی لینڈ, نیوزیلنډ, Nova Zelândia, Musuq Silanda, Nuvelizelandi, Noua Zeelandă, Новая Зеландия, Новый Зеланд, Nuveli Zelande, न्यूजिलैण्ड्, Саҥа Зеландия, Noa Zelanda, Nova Zilanna, Ođđa-Selánda, Finî Zelânde, Naujuojė Zelandėjė, නවසීලන්තය, Nova Zelandija, Niu Sila, Neyuusilaand, Zelanda e Re, Нови Зеланд, Nya Zeeland, Nowo Zylandyjo, நியூசிலாந்து, న్యుజిలేండ్, Зеландияи Нав, นิวซีแลนด์, Täze Zelandiýa, Nuʻusila, Niu Silan, Yeni Zelanda, Яңа Зеландия, يېڭى زېلاندىيە, Нова Зеландія, نیوزی ینڈ, Yangi Zelandiya, Nova Zełanda, Uz Zelandii, Nieuw-Zêeland, Nula-Seleäns, Nouve Zelande, Bag-o nga Zelanda, Seland-Gu-Bees, 新西兰, Шинзелендин Орн, ניו זילאנד, Orílẹ́ède ṣilandi Titun, Saen Saelanz, Nieuw-Zeêland, i-New Zealand