NZ is like England, just nicer!
Trip Start Sep 22, 2007
46Trip End Aug 16, 2008
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T: So what is weird and strange in this new country on our Big Trip?
R: Everything is farmiliar, but still different. We are very much reminded of England, yet, it's completely different an island.
T: The people are very friendly but not in the polite and distanced way the English are.
R: There is good and bad weather, but the good prevails.
T: Food is good here! I ate the best fish and chips in Devonport, Auckland.
R: People go barefoot, but not because they are drunk - it's warm here.
R : People drive on the "wrong" side of the road, but it's still right before left. Weird!
T: NZ has green hills with sheep as in Wales or Scotland but also tropical beaches.
R: Compared to South America, it's VERY expensive (prices as in Europe!), but soooooooo much easier! We both understand and speak the language, things can be organised very efficiently, there's always toilet paper and you can throw it into the toilet.
T: By the way, the hop from Santiago de Chile to Auckland (which is a 13h flight) earned us a considerable amount of money. How much was it Rebecca?
R: Well, we got 560 US$ each for one additional night in Santiago, plus the night at the Sheraton, meals included, lazy afternoon at the pool, complementary soap stolen from the bathroom. Well, that's what happens when Quantas overbooks you on this long-distance flight. We didn't really mind.
T: Kiwis (the New Zealanders) would say, that's CHOICE! The Kiwi English is not always understandable. We have indeed our problems sometimes
R: When they say TINT they mean tent, a chillie bin is a cooling box and jandals are flipflops.
T: But let's go back to our arrival on this lovely island. We arrived in Auckland just to sort some things out - e.g. I bought a "choice" daypack from Deuter and the shop assistant gave me discount just because she thought we are funny and entertaining. That's something!
R: We also went to Devonport, a district of Auckland that's on the other side of the bay and decided to buy a house there. Imagine cycling 10 min through your laid-back village with beuatiful wooden houses and tropical gardens, take a ferry and then cycle another bit to the office. And when you come home from work, you go surfing at the other end of the village.
T: After a full day bus ride through the north island which brought us to Wellington we started to gather our camping equipment. Because our original plan to buy it used did not work out we shopped around for bargains.
R: Anybody wants to buy second hand camping stuff for 200 NZ$ in mid-february?
We took the ferry to the South Island where we picked up our rental car. Apparently, we have a really good rate - they gave us the most ugly car on the street ever! We call it Gollum.
T: It is a Daihatsu Sirion. What is worst despite the small space and ugly shape is that the coulour is golden! And of course, it is a right-hand car with the blinker on the right side. Therefore, we always wipe the wind screen when we want to turn
R: From Picton, it was a scneic drive along the coast to St. Arnaud, a small village in the backcountry. We stayed on a beautiful campgriound by the beautiful deep blue lake.
T: The camping reminded us of our weekends in Holland. The fellow campers were very helpful providing us with a pump. We bought a huge double mattress (which is much better than any dorm bed) but could'nt find a pump in the store.
R: After a day's rest, we went on a 3 day hike into the mountains. The first day was long and hard with steep and difficult climbs over rocks. The whole day we walked on a ridge that had magnificient views and sheer drops on both sides. Very rocky and dry steppe vegetation.
T: Just to cite Rebecca as she was saying in Patagania all the time, 'the lichen and mosses of the southern tundra' are growing here. We discovered a thing that looked like brain corals.
After the strenous hike along the ridge we finally saw the hut. It was at the time when Rebecca was really exhausted and annoyed by the route.
R: But really, why does the track always go over the highest points on the whole ridge???
The Angelus hut was a neat red cabin by 2 deep blue lakes, surrounded by high grey mountains
T: The second day was very different from the austere Ridge Track. It led us down along a little creek fed by the Angelus Lake. The waterfalls accompanied us for two or three hours until we found ourselves in a dense fairytale forest. We expected gnomes and elves behind the stones and trunks.
R: Unfortunaetly, it started to rain just when I felt I couldn't walk any further with that heavy big backpack and my sore knee. We were sodden within a few minutes. Yes, the pleasures of life in the wilderness!
T: The last bit of the route took us across a stream, actually it was through the river. Knee-deep and icecold.
R: Well, there was already a fire burning in the hut, so we could dry our clothes above the iron oven, we still had lots of hot chocoltae and soups. When the rain stopped, we put up the tent in high grass next to the hut and then had dinner. The only other people in the hut was a large Kiwi family with the most entertaining and lively kids. We had a great evening playing cards with them!
T: This brought us to the conclusion to buy a deck of cards for ourselves. The next day we returned to our camp ground on the other end of the lake and relaxed on the beach while our equipment was dried by the sun.
R: Now, we are back at the North coast in a touristy little beach town. Tomorrow, we'll set off on another 3-day trek, the famous Abel Tasman coastal trek. 1 day with the kayak, 2 days walking. It's pretty expensive and crowded, but we expect an amazing scenery with turquoise water and lovely beaches.
T: At this point I have to say a big Thank You to my most generous brother, helping me out on the financial side. Soon the German state will hopefully send some help, I still can get some child support for one and a half years!
R: But now we have to do our shopping for the trek and tonight's barbecue. Hope to hear from you soon!