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  • Goodbyeeeee Bondiii, helloooo Mariska. New Zealand here I come, finally an airport shuttle that was perfectly on time, so my coffee and the beach picture had to be quick ones. On the airport I needed to spend all my Australian cash, it seemed like a very long time ago I travelled international. Australia was a great succes, I will definitely come back again. The flight was on schedule, finally I watched a movie again since ages, X-men apocalypse,I didn't know that it existed haha but fun to watch. The movie ended when I arrived in New Zealand perfect timing and it was only a 2.5 hour flight anyway. Time goes forward 2 hours also, it is now 10 hours difference with Home. Thankfully a part of home will be there soon. I arrived 16:05 and had to wait an hour which felt really long. My own suitcase arrived on the belt while I was waiting on Mariska, so I knew I was on the right spot :). Finally around 17:20 she was there, so nice to hold her again. Felt like ages since I held somebody I loved that much. We said goodbye to a new friend of Mariska where she travelled with in Shanghai and moved to our hotel in Auckland with the name Shakespeare. What we did there I obvious and I will leave that to everybody's imagination ;-). Love was in the air, sleep found us eventually :p good night world.Read more

  • Well this feels as an holiday within my whole journey. Pack your stuff together and head for a good cozy breakfast. So far it was rainy all the time in Auckland but now and then the sun came through. We took a cab to our Campervan near the airport anyway so we were all good. We arrived at the rental and it appeared that they didn't place the rack for the bikes jet. They pointed at our camper and we tought it was what we booked. Than after an hour (they appologised with a bottle of wine and a nice New Zealand hat) they parked this huge ass Camper in front of us. Not the Mercedes they first pointed at but one al lot bigger. A Volkswagen Crafter, it had all the specs we asked for plus a little more. If it was what we ordered or not, 7m long vehicle with a complete kitchen, stereo and tv, couches changable to a queensize bed, BBQ, outside table & chairs, toilet & shower and much more little things. So all we needed now was to get the mountain bikes. Well no problem with that it was at an other place so finding it with that huge vehicle was the hardest part. After this it was time to get provisions at the super market. Apparently we looked both under 25 years old and only pasports would do. Wow strange rules apply here.
    Get moving to Matamata (2x Mata? 2Mt4a?)with the whole house it was the first stop so we figured out this Campsite map on the TomTom and chose the cheapest (free) in the neighbourhood of Hobbiton. Actually this whole area already looked a lot like the Shire from The lord of the rings. Even if you don't know the movies you should know the beautifull landscapes that they used for it. After a 2 hour drive it was already dark and the campsite was nearby, from the highway it was a sharp corner left and right and this Camper didn't agree with breaking from 110 to 30 in 100meters so the turn left and right became like a proper highway exit. With the speed of 60 I flew with almost no steering movements into this dark parallel road and down a hill straight onto the campsite and a dead end next to water ( thankfully a totally empty site, more a parking lot anyway).
    I stopped the car like a maniac and to finish it off I reversed a little, straight on the best spot we could ever imagine. This place is called Bob's landing and fitting how I as Bob landed the Camper literally on the spot. The next day we would see how beautifull it really was, but I was existed about it (adrenaline rush ;-) ). We checked out our new home from the inside, had a proper diner cooked by chef Mariska, had some well earned alcoholic beverages, transformed the living room to bedroom and had a good nights rest ;-).
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  • A travelers tale by Daniël van der Prijt.
    It all started with waking up here, it is just amazing. Wonderfull landscapes, the clear water, sometimes a little sunshine, the smell and sound of nature it was just perfect. Time to go explore the shire and head for Hobbiton movie set. To make it clear to all, it is more like the movie than you would think. If it had more interiors and actors you would think it was real, there is so much detail in everthing. It is expensive but I can understand it takes a lot of effort to maintain the quality. We had a little bus trip to the garden of the hobbits, walked to the house of Bilbo and Sam's. The guide tested our knowledge of the films and for 9 out of 10 questions I had no problem answering in full detail. Even to notice that they moved the bench were Bilbo and Gandalf were smoking pipe on ;-).
    Nice film facts also passed by, like fake trees, perspectives, extra hobbit houses for background filling, nice facts on how the party was acted (with or without alcohol) in fact it was a real party with family, friends and home made beer with a few % alcohol in it. In the green dragelon we had a taste of this and stronger Southfarching beer, nice to add to Untappd app haha. After this we were near the end of the tour, we enjoyed this familiar but totally new experience. To the glow worms for more extra ordinary experiences. Really nice caves with stalagmites and stalagtites and some nice displays. Not something new but nevertheless beautifull especially the singing of the guide in the cathedral room where the acoustic was ideal for this. We entered a little boat deep inside the cave and in total darkness the boatman took us under millions of little glow worm lights. The worms light up when the digest their food, with this light they draw mosquito's closer into their silklike webs and when the food got stuck they pull the line in and eat it all. They do this for 9 months and become a butterfly without a mouth so they will starve within 4 days or get eaten by their own or other predators.
    A nice bedtime story but first from "there a bit back again" to Rotorura ;-). We found a nice spot and stayed in the forrest north of Rotorura in the area of some colder springs that we would visit the next day. Almost a private spot again, just one car and we think it is because it is spring here so not jet tourist season time jippie :). Same ritual, with diner and rebuilding the Camper, played some yahtzee Good night
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  • Holy shit 😆 if this is half of the time... so much more is coming. I am really amazed by how quick things appear to pass by and feel so long ago at the same time. The main reason for this blog was exactly because of this. I seriously have to think back for wat was 2 months ago but feels like a year ago at least. Moskou.... was that this year? Uzbekistan and Kazachstan feels like I was there a long time ago and that I rushed through it in days while it actually was almost 2 weeks. From Japan and Kuala Lumpur on I found that the social experience became more and more pleasant which results in not only memorable sights and adventures but also memorable people and the stories of their experiences. This means more information to process and remember what makes it feel to stretch the timeline from days into weeks and months. Australia was the start of a totally new way of travelling. I planned to backpack and didn't expect it to be such a social thing. The hostels really help, you meet young travellers and they are in for the same things as I am. Sightseeing, daring activities and party. The perfect mix and that's why it went by so quick but seemed so long ago. I loved every part of it.
    Now back to New Zealand: We woke up in Levin or somewhere near it 😉, and moved to Wellington to catch the Ferry and go ASAP to the South Island. We tought going early would give us a change the same day but it had to be the next morning. Our 6,6m long Camper didn't fit today😕. No problem, camp in the middle of Wellington and find a supermarket to fill up our food supplies and some outdoor shops to gear up better for this rainy weather. A relaxing day but still a little tired from the tough hike yesterday. We had some things to celebrate including me being halfway but more to finishing off our North Island journey together with some more romance. The Italian Veni Vidi Vici was a perfect place to do this. We had a lovely time and slept even peacefuller. Be with peace and sleep well, I am ready for the next half 😆.
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  • Yeah getting up early again 😑 especially after that whole bottle of wine 😆. We needed to be at the Ferry at 8 and we were there exact at 8:00 and good enough for a spot in the end of the camper qeue haha. Why is everybody so damn early here? Don't know don't care, places are fixed anyway. Had to wait 30 minutes again and than they figured that the big vehicles go all the way to the top of the ferry, nice narrow passage ways for this huge ass camper. But if the trucks can do it so can I, and actually it was no problem at all also because I love those situations 😇. The Ferry left a little past 9:00 and cought up the schedule even with the current against it. We enjoyed our time with talking to a local couple and learned that the weather is different between west and east. Something I found usefull information 😉 and some more info they gave us. We walked around the ship when it passed through the Marlborough Sounds for some nice views and shots and we even spotted a seal. The Ferry arrived around 1200 and we were ready for our ride to Abel Tasman, we made it that far since it was still early and early enough to get the bikes for an exploration trip through the mountainbike park over there. How awesome this was is to difficult to describe, maybe the fact that Mariska's bravery has to be mentioned here says a lot. I have no problems with heights at all and trust complety in my capabilities but even on a few points I tought I was going to tip over or end in the side of the tracks stopping with my face against a nice soft tree or something 😂. The solution is moving forward I always say and Mariska did it in the manner she felt better with. Happy? No? Adventerous yes 😉. Afterwards glad she did it? Yes definitely 😆. The little exploration ended in a 16km long trip and it wad getting dark really quick, this part was also a little exciting for me since I had to get us in time out of this full grown forrest before it went pitch black without stressing Mariska to hurry up a little more. We just made it in time and even a local guy who passed us said the track was in a horrible muddy state and taking it slow was the best thing to do. The trip took us 2.5 hours and felt much longer but we washed the bikes in darkness so it was long enough haha 😉. Moving from this place to a nearby campsite for self contained vehicles like ours. Feels like a little family gathering when you park your home next to similar vehicles 😊. We gassed out our neighbours with some black smoke coming from our open window while we were burning the left over pizza's from yesterday. Good first impression but even better to eat some professional baked pizza again. Sleep comes easy here so it was the next thing to do since it was really late already. Good N-Z nights 😉.Read more

  • Yeah Dusky Dolphin Day, today the dream of Mariska is going to become reality. It is time to meet Flipper in real life, I have no clue if Flipper is a Dusky Dolphin I guess not since Flipper has one color and a long nose these were white underneath and had smaller noses. I just hoped that it would be as she expected, what I expected was something similar to the swimming with whales. This wasn't really the same she expected but ok... we are talking about wild animals in their natural migration from South to North... so you can't expect anything actually. We had the group at 12:30 and thankfully not more than 16 people, still enough but better than 24. Especially if you must enter the water 2 at the time without splashing. We arrived early checked in and since it was a sunny day 2 cold drinks on the terrace would do fine. We got called by our color code to get our wetsuits. Yes I expected cold water like 12 degrees but when they gave us a hoody and gloves I tought the were exaggerating. Everybody to the bus, to the harbor, out the bus, on the boat (but this was still on the trailer) so boat in the water and off we go. The good thing about this company is that they have three boats searching for Dolphins and that there were 2 earlier shifts with the potential locations of these fast swimming mammals. We found them within 20 minutes and wetsuits, snorkel gear and gopro's, everything was ready ( I asked about the temperature and the water was 9 degrees cold enough for hooddies and gloves 😉). Everybody in the water when the boat stopped and the horn sounded.
    The first attempt a few dolphins came passing by but none for me to see, but the gopro caught a few I noticed afterwards haha.
    2nd attempt I was faster in the water but saw only a few dolpins on the surface to far away for me to see under water. Apparently they like to swim underneath you and these fast swimmers were on the move and not playing around, so the trick was to see where they are heading and just be in their path, I climbed back on board almost last (so you are the first back in) but there were a few more coming so I jumped back in instantly and in time to see them passing by and got them on camera.
    The third attempt I was first in the water and holy shit it felt like we were overrun by dolphins instantly. I swam down and made some noises to be interesting for a dolphins curiousity, but these thick wetsuits didn't help swimming down and the dolphins kept going. The dolphins however had no problem swimming right at me and at the last moment swim around missing me by a few inches.
    At the fourth attempt the density of dolphins was less but some off the dolphins that passed slowed down to take a better look and after a breef halt they seemed to feel the pressure of the moving group and moved on.
    They fifth attempt was the last but not the least. The dolpins came in groups of 3 to 4 and it looked liked all the dolphins were scattered around but all heading the same way. I got some amazing shots with the gopro even when this was hard to realise, you can only spot the dolphins 10 meters or less in front of you and because of the goggles you can't see good on your left or right when looking forward. This was an amazing trip, we got some soup and hot chocolate while the 3 boats came together around the group of dolphins which we swam with the past 1.5 hours. The group was huge, I think at least a 130 in total and they where splashing and tumbling in the water all the time. Good for some great shots from above the water 😆.
    Back at the Dolphin Encounter we finished up and went to drive the Alpine route to Waipara, here we were planning to have a drink but this was not the place for us and moved to the beach in Amberley. We guessed it was the beach since there was nothing to be seen at the horizon except a dense mist. The site was nice and we were not the only one, you fill in a card and with some money you put this is in a mailbox how easy is that? We had a dream come true today and champagne was the way to celebrate this. Cheers on Flipper 😄
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  • Dreamed about flying Flippers, that's not entirely a dream it's real😉. The beach site we woke up was covered in fog when we arrived and less spooky now. We moved to the mountainbike track above Christchurch, Burwood Forrest the barman had said, it was hard to find with all these roadworks around. When we arrived it looked a little like home and the track was partly on dunes as well. A really nice track through beautiful forrest, a little short but on almost the farthest point when we turned back the jamming and skipping of my chain showed his last jamming. It broke for no good reason at that moment, I had to laugh because it only had to survive 6km longer. Instead of walking back we just continued the track while I was stepping on a chainless bike and it worked excellent. Going as fast as Mariska most of the time 😈 and we were laughing about me making a stupid figure on a broken bike 😉.
    We delivered the bikes totally in ruins in Christchurch, there was enough wrong with both while we used and maintained them properly for only 2 weeks. Maybe bad luck that we broke a lock, a chain, a few gears and a rear wheel 😑.
    Ok next stop: New world supermarket yeee and Food fight at Domino's haha a real yeah 😆.
    After that ASAP to Castle Hill on the way to Arthurs Pass for some awesome boulder time.
    We arrived at these rock formations and read the sign: "These rocks are not man made or moved" haha why would it we tought? Well if you see the full picture of the formations you could think it was man made. We first planned 45 minutes here but spend over 2 hours because it was so much fun climbing around there. Definetly worth a visit or everybody. From there to Arthurs Pass and all the way to Devils Lookout with the demonic Kea birds haha, hilarious and beautiful (Ara looking) creatures. They made fun of some Chinese there when they didn't understand that feeding them wasn't allowed. Our dubbing of the birds was even more hilarious 😆 When we turned to see the view again is was covered in clouds. We fled for the mist back the way we came to our campsite near Castle Hill. Everyday is different but everyday is wonderfull.
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  • From lake Pearson past Castle Hill, which is now full of good memories, to lake Tekapo.
    Our waste reservoir was full and because of that the toilet somehow flooded, so within 15 min we found a dumpsite to clean this shit up (thankfully not that disgusting because this blue mint bag makes it a blue liquid with a minty odor😉).
    At Tekapo we walked on the shore for a while and tried to sail some rocks on the water. Nothing better to do? Yes, but simple things are neccesary ones in a while 😊. From here we went up mount John, famous for looking at stars with their telescopes. We had this nice cup of hot chocolate with an awesome view here. Again bad weather came rolling in and we headed to mount Cook, past Pukaki where the weather was better and made this amazing lake even more beautiful. We slept for 50$ on the so far (for us) most expensive campsite at Glenn Tanner. It had power and water and we needed both. A nice site and closest to Mount Cook to make it easier for tomorrow.Read more

  • Popped out of some gorgeous pine and green pasture covered mountains and landed on the beach!
    Napier went through a horrible earthquake in the 30s and so when they rebuilt it they did the whole thing in art deco style. It's a beautiful city and definitely unique in this day and age.

  • Again a perfect place to wake up, a wet start but not for long. We checked our spot and the nature is just awesome here. Every 100 meters it changes completely and that keeps on surprising us. We moved off down the curvy road through the mountains from where we came yesterday. We arrived at Hamurana springs within an half hour and started out morning strawl through this little area. We found out pretty quick that these springs were cold ones, around 11 degrees. But still a very beautifull site with tall trees that looked like sequoia trees and a gorgious clear stream. Animals all over the place and a few Chinese tourists 😉. Our trip went past the lake Rotorua and it's town further on to Waimangu and the Vulcanic valley there. We arrived in time to do the walk down the valley and be able to get the last bus back. We did the walk down a bit faster and included the beautifull inferno lake with also the famous white silicone sand 😆. We actually arrived at the lake and had the bus before the last one. This gave us more time on the campsite and we went looking for the natural hot springs and found one a bit outside our camp. It was down the stream and the idea is simple. You follow the stream untill you are at a point that it is colder than 45 degrees. So from boiling point at the top you can walk a few km but you will get a wonderfull hot bath in the middle of the forrest surrounded by ferns and other tropical plants. In the beginning a few locals from Wellington were there also (they had a race like the drifting my nephew does, but than on a dirt track ;-) ) good times and they left after a few minutes to leave us alone in our romantic hot spring. It was to hot to stay in that long and the night was falling so we headed back. The cold walk wasn't cold enough, we were still hot when we arrived in our mobile home and instantly slept like babieszzzzzz.Read more