Abel Tasman, Franz Joseph and Queenstown – New Zealand

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Woohoo, I bought a new camera! It was pretty hard because after the earthquake in Japan canon had a big supply problem.. I got off the bus in Nelson and checked every big store in the city. Only one store had a Canon 60D but they had to send it to Nelson. I stayed there for 3 days. It wasn’t too bad even if there is not much in Nelson to do. I had time for some normal things for a change like laundry, going to the cinema and cooking.

DSC04594A week ago I got onto the Stray (the name of the bus company)  bus again it was a really small one. It was just me and 3 girls there (4 girls after a few days). It’s pretty funny that so many girls are on the stray bus although all the “woman talk” drives me nuts sometimes 😆 . Our driver was a native New Zealander (Māori) called “trouble”. All the drivers have nicknames but this guy is a really nice guy (no trouble at all, bro). He stops at allot of the scenic views and because we were a small group we made allot of extra stops.

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After Nelson we arrived at the Abel Tasman National park. We stayed there for 2 nights so we could do some trekking in the park. This is also one of New Zealand great walks but after the Queen Charlotte track I wasn’t ready yet for another 3 days of hiking. We (a Canadian girl named Heather and me) decided to do a day walk. We took a water taxi in the morning which dropped us off at a bay and walked back passed some really nice beaches and views. The track is not nearly as hard as the Queen Charlotte do. Normally you can do some real stunt work here as well like flying a stunt plane and parachuting but the weather forecast wasn’t too great. During the hike we were lucky do because we had no real rain. We did have perfect sunsets 😎 .

IMG_9571The next morning we headed for a little place called Greymouth. During the way we saw a huge ugly looking pig and its owner. It was one really big ugly pig that it even surprised the driver.

The rides here in New Zealand are really beautiful. The coastal road we were driving on there was one of the  most beautiful coastal roads in the world and we stopped at a place with huge pancake rocks and blowholes. The ocean is quite fierce here in the winter so it makes for a nice show with water squirting out of the blowholes. Greymouth itself is a pretty dead town but a tour through the local beer brewery always makes everyone smile. Back in the hostel you get talking with the locals and discover the totally different lives the people here live. No computers, traffic jams and nice clothes. Here people work as “fallers” (the woodworkers that cut the trees), fisherman and hunters. Its special to see a two story house here and pretty much every house is made out of wood. Wood fires burn in every home , café and hostel which make you really feel like your somewhere remote. Different rules apply here for work, living and traveling. I really didn’t expect it to be so isolated but if you consider that there are more people living in the largest city of the north island (Auckland) than in the entire South Island (where I’m traveling) you’ll get an idea.

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Up next was Franz Joseph where 3 of us got into an helicopter and flew to the glacier for an ice walk.  I had never few in a helicopter so that was really exciting (I really got to get me one of these) but the ice walk was a bit disappointing. I know I shouldn’t compare this one with the ones I saw in Chile but I can’t help myself to say it was a bit of a grandma glacier. With that I mean there was no challenge at all. In Chile the glaciers where steep with big crevasses, multiple dead ends and backtracking. At the end you were tired and got a glass of licker with some 100 year old glacier ice. This was a cakewalk and we were back in the chopper in no time. The next day we visited the famous Fox Glacier which looked more challenging but because of safety reasons we weren’t allowed near it. Just taking pictures from a distance…. I was a bit disappointed. Of course the scenery looks great but I want to feel it! Touch it! Rub my freaking face in it! 😈 . This is not the “Extreme sports” New Zealand it promises it to be. Ow.. and yes i know i may sound a bit spoiled.. 😮

Good thing there is always Queenstown! The big party town of New Zealand. Our next 3 days where here and it has everything a winter sports town needs.. Except snow that is because I was a bit early for that, haha…. Still the partying was hard and booze was flowing in every pub.  I went for some horse riding there as well because in the surrounding area they recorded LOTR (Lord Of The Rings) and X-man. To see these landscapes you have to have a horse of course. Makes you feel more like a rider of Rohan, haha.  This was also the place to skydive but the shitty ash cloud from Chili prevents planes from taking off. Nothing to do than more drinking then, hehe.

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Next story is about one off the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my life “the Milford Sounds”. Be sure to check it out!

I know I haven’t updated the site to much lately but I’m really buzzy traveling. There is so much to do here and I’m either sitting in a bus, doing some activity or sleeping. I’m going to try to update the site more often. Be sure to subscribe on the right to get an automated email!

Cheers,

René