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To the southern hemisphere

and back

Follow me during my nearly five months in New Zealand


New Zealand, Oct Posted on Wed, October 24, 2007 02:19PM

It’s a small backpacker world. Right now I’m sitting at a place called Patagonia in Queenstown because I ran in to a girl that I met in Paihia. She’s looking for a job down here and Patagonia is one of the places she would like to work at. It’s a hot chocolate cafĂ© with free wifi, perfect. I’m sipping on a thick mexican chilli chocolate right now. Other than that girl I’ve also met Claire and Elliot, two people that stayed at Fat Camel same time as I, Elliot played football with me that rainy Sunday.
The two danish girls Signe and Ditte that was in Paihia with me sat in the spa pool in Franz Josef, Tim was there too. Bumped in to Signe and Ditte here in Queenstown a few days ago too.

When I was in Makarora I woke up in the middle of the night cos my bed was shaking. It was an earthquake down further south which caused large rocks on the road and blocked the only way in and out to Milford. Luckily I stayed in Queenstown a couple of extra days before going down to Milford to do the Milford Sound cruise so that they could clear the road. But on the way down with the Stray bus the road had been closed again, this time due to heavy snow. To do the best of the situation we re booked the Steward Island ferry to the same day we were supposed to do the Sound cruise. The ferry didn’t leave until 16:30 so we had some time to kill. That’s when Maria recognized a guy on a poster. It was a guy in a wheelchair playing rugby. Maria worked at the paralympics four years ago and had seen him play. Apparently his team were playing just a few blocks away. So before the ferry over to Stewie we went and watched some rugby. As I entered the grandstand I heard someone calling my name, turned around and there was Ina and Franzisca whom I’d met at Fat Camel.

Most faces are from Fat Camel as you can see and the reason I went there was because Ellen (the dutch girl from the swing dance night) said that I had to go there. I knew Ellen went down to Dunedin after Christchurch and I was thinking of meeting her there after Steward Island. On the bus towards Dunedin we filled in a booking form for the night, everyone filled in whatever the prewritten formed said except Maria end Courtney, “We’re gonna stay with our friend Ellen at YHA”. So I asked “Ellen, the dutch girl?”, “Yes!”. So the reason Ellen said Fat Camel was so good is because she had so much fun with Maria and Courtney who are now on my bus on their way to meet up the same dutch girl as I. Small backpacker world isn’t it…

So I’m back in Queenstown after a short trip down to Steward Island and Dunedin. I was, and still am, sick so I couldn’t really enjoy it to the fullest. And it was raining most of the time. But the ferry over was brilliant. It was very windy and waves were a few meters high. So why pay almost $100 for a shotover jet that last a few minutes when you can get this for $55 and it lasts an hour. This is by far the roughest sea I’ve ever seen. Walking around was almost impossible. One second you were smashed to the floor and the next flying in the air. Not everyone on the ferry enjoyed thought. I wish we had better weather on Stewie and that
I was feeling better cos it looked like a beautiful place.

On our way do Dunedin we stopped at a beach to look for sea lions. Yeah right I was thinking. Every time we stop for dolphins or penguins we never see them. But I took my camera and went down towards the beach. Everyone was heading to the lighthouse but I took a small path down directly to the beach. As I came thru a curve all of the sudden a giant sea lion was laying four meters in front of me. Slowly took my camera up to take a photo, turned on but instead of the normal gray screen a plack one with red text came up “replace battery”. Fuck, ran back to the bus and got a new one then quickly to the beach again. The sea lion had moved but were still on the beach.

Once in Dunedin and before meeting up with Ellen we went to the Speight’s brewery for a nice little tour. I got a little pissed when they had a big viking with horns on his helmet. The guide actually defended the helmet and said that they existed. But he also talked about vikings in the 13th century…

After we went out for a beer and then me and Courtney went to YHA to say hey to Ellen.


New Zealand, Oct Posted on Fri, October 19, 2007 12:20PM

Artist: Amy Winehouse
Album: Back To Black [2007]
Track: Rehab
Why: For some reason most people got this song stuck to there heads. So instead of just saying “no” everyone sings “no no no”. Starts to get pretty annoying cos I don’t really like this song…

Rain rain rain and then some rain. Since we arrived at Picton with the ferry it has been raining almost every day. First stop was Abel Tasman national park. I was really looking forward to this stop and to do a three day hike here but it was just pouring down. Hope to go back here later and try the hike again. because all the rain, clouds and mist I could hardly see the surrounding but just before we left with the bus it cleared up a bit and the beach was beautiful.

Now and then they put in a two day stop, Barrytown is one of these places. Don’t know why they choose Barrytown because it’s the worst place so far. Not only were there hardly anything to to there (except dressing up as a texas hooker with moonboots) but the hostel was dirty, kitchen smaller than our room and most things out of order. Couldn’t even supply us with enough warm water. But it did have a nice beach were, if you are lucky, can find some greenstone. I’m however not so lucky as you might have guessed…

Further south and more rain. Franz Josef is another place looked forward to. Here you can get a chance to do a glacier walk with guides. I was well up for a full day on the glacier but bailed the day before. Mainly for the shitty weather but also that I know I’ll get a second chance with my family in November. Matt who also skipped the glacier walk after an email saying in capital letters “do not do the walk if the weather is bad”. So instead of getting up way to early in the morning we had a late breakfast before we hed out on a walk. I had all my camera equipment with me and got some nice shots of small waterfalls and creeks. I have to buy a rain protected camera though. It wasn’t raining all the time but enough to get my camera wet. But i finally got some use of my gore tex pants and my new hiking boots works like a charm. Mat however did not have any waterproof boots so I put some logs out for him on the worst places. The track we walked took us thru a beautiful forest and all the way up the the start of the glacier. I’m so glad i did this walk instead of the expensive glacier one. Almost 17km later and 5 hours of walking we arrived back at the hostel and straight into the spa pool before some time in the sauna.

Makarora and finally some sun! When most of the people either went jet boating, flying or took the bus to some blue pools me and Maria set of on a hard hike up to the ridge, 2.5 hours straight uphill tampering roots, rocks and bad fitness level. But it was well worth it once we got over the treeline and we could see the view over the snowy peaks. The last section took us about 20 minutes up and not even 5 minutes down. All the way down to the village took about an hour.

Home of Fergburgers! Yes I’m down in Queenstown right now and have been here a few days. will spend four nights here before I’m heading to Milford Sound and the Steward Island. I was expecting something else from this city but I’m so glad it wasn’t like that. Queenstown is a very qute little city, guess I’m lucky arriving in the middle of high seasons. The winter season has just ended and it’s still a bit to cold for summer season. So It’s not as busy as it normally is. Everywhere you look you see people with serious bikes like Specialized or Trek and everyone is carrying a Nalgene bottle or wearing Arc’teryx jackets. This is really a place I could move to for a couple of month. After Steward Island I think I’ll stay here for a week to check out the mounting bike tracks around the city. With all the bars around here this was the perfect place to celebrate Nicoles birthday. She turned 22 two days ago so after alot of beers they all went out to Buffalos, mainly because we get 2 for 1 when showing our key from Bumble’s. I wish I was in better mood for partying cos they all seemed to have great fun. It got a little better after Mal forced me to drink five awful shots.
Cheers buddy!

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