New Zealand, beautiful weather, friendly people and overwhelming landscapes

Tuesday March 27th, 2007 by Daniëlle

The 15th of March we set foot on New Zealand. Our flight through Singapore to Christchurch went well and we past customs quickly. Our hiking boots were given a quick cleaning and our wooden souvenir from Vietnam and our toy feather were inspected thouroughly, but did not cause us any problems. We were welcomed in such a friendly way the New Zealanders made us feel right at home in the land of the Kiwi.

The first two nights we booked a hostel in Christchurch to refuel before we would hit the road. The city tour of the Lonely planet through Christchurch was a nice walk through the town centre, city parks, the river and passing beautiful Englisch style houses ending up in the botanical gardens. Autumn has definitely set in in New Zealand, most flowers are gone and the trees are starting to show their first beautiful autumn colours. Chesnuts could be found in the botanical gardens, another sign of autumn.

Christchurch    Botanical Gardens

The food is delicious, we really had to hold ourselves back not to buy the complete assortment of the supermarket. A lot can be bought in family size packages, but canned vegetables are hard to find. The prices are compared to Vietnam a lot higher, but relatively cheaper or the same compared to the Netherlands. A few times we prepared a lovely meal for ourselves.

Our rental car is a Toyota Corolla from 1999, colour white, license plate CFR756 and with almost 200k on the odo. When we picked up our car we only had to look for major damage, the already present dents were not an issue (renting costs only 25 NZD a day). Outside the main roads in New Zealand you can encounter many gravel roads, which probably explain the little dents. Our little car drives fine, we only miss some music, there is a radio present, but it is hard to fine tune on a good channel.

Until now we followed the Southern Scenic Route from Christchurch through Oamaru (yellow-eyed penguins at Bushy Beach), Dunedin, Otago Peninsula, Owaka, Nugget Point (nice view with sealions), Porpoise Bay (Hector Dolphins) through Invercargill to Manapouri. Overnight stays in Backpackers Hostels cost about 20 to 30 NZD per person per night.

In Oamaru one of the yellow-eyed penguins decided to pose for passphotos, made by photographer Edvar, really cool. The Otago Peninsula really was worth visiting, we saw: albatrosses, sealions, kingfishers, black swans and again yellow-eyed penguins. On Victoria Beach we were chased by a male sealion, although we were still the advised 30 metres away from him and not between him and the ocean. According to us this lumpy fellow liked to practice his territorial skills on passing tourists. These animals are definetely not afraid of you, luckily you can outrun them, but for the elderly we advise to bring a stick for selfdefence :D .

Yellow-eyed Penguin

After this little adventure we headed back to our car in the dusk. Unluckily I stept in a hidden hole when I stepped down from a fence and sprained my ankle. Since I still was able to move it in all directions, I knew it was not broken. Without being able to cool it, we stumbled back to the car me using Edvar as a crudge. Again we used our first aid kit and I wobbled around with my ankle taped in my hiking boots for a few days, but now my ankle seems to be fine again.

One night we stayed at Falls Backpackers near the Purakaunui Falls. We were welcomed by the son of the house, a very nice guy. The hostel was run by his mother and she has the habbit to make pictures of all her guests and put them into albums for future people to look through. Scanning the pictures I found a picture of Danny my diving buddy in Vietnam. Edvar made a picture of it. A very nice hostel with very nice people where you instantly feel at home. The location is also near a lot of sights in the area (Nugget Point, Jack’s Blowhole (did not make it with my ankle), McLean Waterfalls). The Cathedral Caves were closed, because of a rough ocean, so we missed those.

Nugget Point    Purakaunui Falls

In Manapouri we had our first acquaintance with the little vampires named Sandflies. Little black flies, which will land on every piece of uncovered skin and will try to suck the blood out of you. The little bumps they leave behind can itch like hell. Manapouri is very small, but you can have nice little picknicks at the lake and you have easy access to Doubtful Sound, one of the fiords of New Zealand.

The first day in Manapouri we walked the Circle Trail, first cross the river with a rowing boat at Pearl Harbour and after that a nice firm walking trail of three hours with a nice view. The second day we explored the road to Milford Sound with stops at the following sights: Mirror Lakes, Trail at Milford Sound, Trail at the Homer Tunnel (Kea), The Chasm Falls and the Marian Falls.

In Milford we saw a wounded penguin (the paw did not look good). Also saw the destroying big parrot the Kea, very funny as long it is not your car they are molesting, thanks to Edvar’s well chosen parking spot our Corolla was left alone. The road to Milford Sound is lovely with very nice stops and we would definitely recommend it.

Kea    Kea

Our overnight cruise to the Doubtful Sound was also a great success. Spotting Bottlenose Dolphins and Fur Seals and kayaking through the Fiord. Admired a marvelous sky filled with many stars at night and heard the Kiwi call out in the wild. The wildlife of the ocean in New Zealand is spectaculair, but we do miss the great mammals a little bit. The only native mammals are two species of bats, the long and short tailed bat. New Zealand is trying hard to reduce the damage caused by the many introduced species. On the hitlist are the following animals: Possums (The only good Possum is a dead Possum, Squashum), Stouts, Deer, Rabbits (in national parks you are being warned for poisoned carrots). Tourists are even advised to try and kill these animals with their rental car, when one af them is trying to cross the road. But don’t try this with deer … ;)

Doubtful Sound Bottlenose Dolphin

New Zealand tries to get more and more Islands plague free, so the native animals get a chance to survive and will be protected against extinction. Examples are the following animals: Kiwi, Red and Yellow crested parakeet (Kakariki), Takahe, Tuatura (reptile), Kea and the Weka. The native animals never had to worry about natural enemies and do not have a good run and hide instinct. Birds are very curious and approach tourists up close. Examples of those are the Fantail and the Tomtit. Edvar’s parents have a nice experience with a Weka.

After Manapouri we drove on to Queenstown, where we met Edvar’s parents. Three days of chatting and exchanging experiences of New Zealand. Spoiled with lovely souvenirs which I will not reveal to keep it a secret to the people at home ;) , thanks again. Nice little apartment, visited the botanical gardens and the Kiwi Birdlife Park. Spent a day in Arrowtown, and old city founded during the goldrush with a Chinese area and Wanaka where there was a nice exposition with pictures of the world viewed from above by the photographer Yann Arthus-Bertand. Really magnificent pictures.

Tuatara    Photos

Said goodbye to Edvar’s parents this morning, who will be heading South and we will be heading North. On Easter day Sunday 8th April, we will take the ferry to the Northern Island.

Danielle, Edvar, Wilma, Maarten

For more pictures, check the Photo Gallery.

6 Responses to “New Zealand, beautiful weather, friendly people and overwhelming landscapes”

  1. Mams wrote:

    Gelukkig, jullie zijn weer online. We hebben ondertussen zo vaak gekeken en zijn razend benieuwd naar jullie belevenissen in Nieuw Zeeland.
    Normaal staat bij ons op zaterdagochtend de pc niet aan, dus dat zegt wel wat.

    Paps is ondertussen bezig je appartement te verkopen.
    De tekst heb ik gelezen, de foto’s moet ik nog en dat ga ik nu maar eerst doen.
    Veel plezier verder en pas goed op elkaar.

    Dikke kus, paps en mams

  2. Judith en Gerben wrote:

    he kanjers,

    Hmmmm wat klinkt het allemaal heerlijk en de foto’s zien er prachtig uit. Ik wil ook!!!

    Hoe het hier is? Na omstandigheden goed. We hebben de 20 weken echo achter de rug, mams is meegeweest. Voor zover ze konden zien waren er geen afwijkingen, yeah toch nog goed nieuws na al het slechte. Wonder doet volgens mij veel aan sport want ik voel aan alle kanten boink boink. Ik heb nu echt een buik gekregen, het geflubber is weg en kan mijn buik niet meer verbergen.

    Boven begint het beetje bij beetje ergens op te lijken. De deurkozijnen staan en ze zijn nu bezig met de dakramen, wat scheelt dat aan licht zeg. gerbens handen jeuken en wil maar door en door. Hahaha als hij zo doorgaat krijgen we het nog op de geplande datum af ook nog.

    De trouwkleding is gekocht. Jullie raden het nooit ik ga toch nog in het wit. Had echt niet verwacht. Was bij bibet geweest in Deventer eerste winkel en gelijk klaar. Nu alleen nog schoenen. We moesten wel even op zoek naar een nieuwe eetlocatie want Molecaten is ontruimd door de belastingdienst. Nu gaan we naar een landhuis in Twello en we hoeven maar 600m te lopen voor onze slaapplaats. Gisteren mijn vrijgezellen party gehad. Stelletje mutsen stonden hier te zingen in de tuin, de buren zullen wel gedacht hebben. We zijn heerlijk wezen relaxen in de sauna. Want alles wat ik leuk vind om te doen zijn actieve dingen en met de buik vonden ze dat niet zo’n verstandig idee. Moet zeggen de sauna is me prima bevallen, ik moest er alleen een kunstwerk schilderen. Nu heb ik dus een eigen gemaakt schilderij hier in huis liggen.Van mijn zus heb ik nog een schitterende pandora armband gehad.

    Hé begrijp ik dat goed uit het bericht van je ouders is er een koper voor je appartement? Zal wel onwijs tof wezen.

    Lieverds ik ga maar eens wat doen. Geniet, geniet en nog een geniet van al het schitterends dat jullie zien en meemaken

    Veel liefs Juger en wonder

  3. Carla en Gerard wrote:

    Hallo vakantiegangers

    Wat leuk om direct te kunnen vertellen (en te kunnen lezen aan deze kant) hoe jullie de reis ervaren. En wat gaat het snel. Al 6 weken weer onderweg. Oma leest gezellig met mij mee als er iets nieuws op jullie site staat. Een reactie geven vindt ze “raar”. Maar toch lezen we trouw jullie berichtjes. Veel plezier verder. Van Oma, Carla en Gerard

  4. pa en ma wrote:

    Hoi Danielle en Edvar,
    Wij zitten in Timaru, op weg naar Christchurch en hebben jullie website weer te pakken. Gefeliciteerd, dat het gelukt is. We zijn zo weer op de hoogte. Gisteren de blue eye en yellow eye gezien. Prachtig, dinsdag met de Transalpine Trein. Liefs pa,ma

  5. Jeroen Bossenbroek wrote:

    Een aantal keer per maand bezoek ik met veel plezier jullie website. Super gaaf om over jullie avonturen te lezen. De verhalen zijn erg leuk en soms herkenbaar. Samen met jullie foto’s krijg je (waarschijnlijk) een goed beeld wat jullie aan het beleven zijn.

    Veel plezier daar en blijf vooral veel verhalen schrijven en foto’s maken!


  6. Wan wrote:

    Hey Globetrotters,

    Nou ik was blij verrast dat met jullie kaartje. Erg bedankt! :-) Het was vandaag aangekomen. Tof zeg dat je ouders ook in Nieuw-Zeeland zitten. Doe Maarten en Wilma ook nog de groeten. De verhaaltjes blijven leuk en verrassend, ga zo door. ;-)

    groetjes, Wan

Website problems

Saturday March 31st, 2007 by edvar

As most of you would have noticed, was offline for a couple of days :( :x :evil: :cry: .

It took me lots and lots of hours ( :evil: ….) to solve the problems, but after trying to restore backups, to modify my PHP pages (and a lot more), I finally found the cause: my hosting provider was so nice to forget to tell me that they installed a newer version of PHP on the servers!!! And yes, my website don’t like this newer version!!!

Fortunately, it’s now solved (and I will soon write a cute email to my hosting provider! :lol: ), so I hope you can now enjoy our stories about New Zealand and don’t forget to check the 88 pictures in the Photo Gallery!

Stories and pictures of the last couple of days (including Fox Glacier and whale watching in Kaikoura) will follow soon, but I now have spent enough time on the internet … ;)

Animal spotting and tramping in the bush….

Thursday April 5th, 2007 by Daniëlle

After saying goodbye to Edvar’s parents we headed to the Westcoast. We spent our first night in Wanaka, in a simple cabin. We checked out Cinema Paradiso, but it was not really our thing. After that we had a pizza. Our internet update took a lot longer than we had expected so we were not able to travel a lot of kilometres this day.

Next moring we had a lovely bread with salmon at the Salmon Farm as a recommendation by Edvar’s parents. After that we headed towards Fox Glacier and tried to find a roof over our heads in Okarito. We almost felt like Jozef and Maria, because there were no more available sleeping spots, but in the end we could stay in an old schoolbuilding, which was rebuild as a hostel. Really one of our nicest overnight stays until now. Except for a Spanish guy we had the place all to ourselves!

Fox Glacier           Kiwi

We decided to organise our own nightspotting adventure. In other words: scare the hell out of nightcreatures with big lights, in this case the headlights of our Corolla. Trying to find Kiwi’s, but although you hear them somehow you do not seem to be able to see them…. grrrr. Although we did see a wonderful owl and a lot of crossing possums and no worries you animal lovers, we let them walk in peace.

In the morning we decided to walk in the area around Okarito and again saw some new birds the Silvereye and the Tui. The Tui is really cute with its lovely little white feathers under its chin and it can make a lot of noice. Since my ankle seemed to be fine again, I decided to try driving on the left side of the road myself. I really felt like I was having driving lessons again, I had blushes on my cheeks from driving on the left side of the road. Everything went fine and soon I converted into the little race monster I normally am.

Regrettably I really am a woman (excuse me for ladies that do have a good spatial insight), but somehow I managed to hit the sidewalk while I was trying to park the car, which the rim did not really enjoy. After that I had my part with driving on the left for that day so I returned the wheel to Edvar. We drove on to Hanmer Springs for an overnight stay and on the way over there spotted a few Wekas, although they did not seem to be as nosy as the one Edvar’s parents encountered, so no picture.

The next day to Kaikoura for some Whale watching. Spermwhale watching to be exact, try and find their blowing water at the horizon. We could hop on board straightaway on a little bit a rocky sea, but were able to keep our intestines down :) . Saw two Spermwhales, a large group of Dusky dolphins and Fur seals. Very nice tour which we can certainly recommend.

Sperm whale     Dusky Dolphin

The Lazy Shag, the place where we were staying was run by a hardworking asian lady, really a lovely person. When we noticed the mess some of our fellow backpackers had made of the kitchen we helped her with the dishes. She really appreciated the gesture and as a reward we were offered a delicious piece of carrot pie, really very nice. We strawled along the cliff and the coastline. A little bit of rock climbing and carefully passing by three Fur Seals, but these are the nice ones.

Then the big day for Edvar arrived, really true he saw three Ferraris !!! Excited as a little child ;) :D . On Highway 1 between Kaikoura and Blenheim, a red 430 Spider (to far away), a red 308 GTB (plates 4RRRRE) and a yellow 550 Maranello (plates I550I). Thanks to a detour trying to find the Big Lagoon, which somehow we were not able to reach, we pulled up the road exactly between the Ferraris.

In St. Arnaud we stayed in a hostel “The Yellow House” where we had a whole apartment all by our selves really great! This is the place where we did our three day tramping tour. Sleeping bags were hired at Rotiti Lodge, cookery and pans at the hostel, huttickets and the weather forecast were retrieved at the local Doc station. The track started at the Mt. Robert Carpark, via the Ridge to Angelus Hut for an overnight stay, next day coming down to Lakehead hut for another overnight stay and after that we returned via the lake back to Mt. Robert Carpark.

The first day was pretty heavy, beautiful views, but also lots of stones. The track sometimes somehow seemed to vanish and you could figure out your own track. I really would not have been to thrilled to be up there with bad weather conditions, like low hanging clouds or heavy winds. Luckily neither of us is afraid of hights otherwise we surely would have tumbled down. At the end of my day I could feel all my joints, because of all the wobbeling rocks and I was a very happy woman when the hut came in sight.

The hut itself was fine, quite a lot of people and we were just able to cook our meal before it turned dark. Cold water is not great for doing the dishes, but it does feel like some kind of magic being there in the middle of nowhere. The next day we started happy after a good nights rest. Climbing down the waterfall was really cool and it made me think about Tarka (our dog), she would have really loved this. My hikingboots, who carried me for many kilometres are starting to give up on me, at least the right one. But with a lot of ducktape they seem to hang on for now.

Nelson Lakes NP     Robin

The second day was supposed to last as the first day about six hours. After seven hours I started to get a little grumpy, because it did not seem we would be getting closer to the end soon. Specially since the kilometres of the previous day had taken their toll on my leg muscles. At the end the track worsened, got very muddy and with all kind of obstacles. In the end we did make it safely to the hut. Luckily somehow we never seem to have a bad moment at the same time, so we can really boost the other with some additional energy if necessary.

The third day was much better, we crossed the river and had soken socks and shoes, but we really did not intend to go all the way back to the stupid bridge. Accompanied by black swans, bellbirds, tuis, fantails and robins it was a very nice day. We did have some starting problems because of muscle aches.

After returning our sleeping bags and signing out at the Doc station, we noticed that the weather gods were at our side, because a hail storm past over us when we were at the Doc station. After a good night sleep at the Yellow house we left this morning to head to Motueka where we booked a Kayaking tour for tomorrow alongside the Abel Tasman Track. Enjoy the pictures and see you at the next update!

9 Responses to “Animal spotting and tramping in the bush….”

  1. Anja wrote:

    Hoi hoi!

    Ik denk dat is lekker genieten zo’n wereldreis, maar zo te horen is het soms ook flink afzien!!
    Anyway, erg leuk om via de website op de hoogte te blijven van jullie belevenissen. Ze zullen vast tijdens het vriendenweekend (onder het genot van een borreltje) besproken worden!

    Geniet r nog lekker van!

    Dikke zoen,

  2. Hein wrote:

    Mocht je ook een stukje rijden in die Ferrari’s dan Edvar? Ik neem aan dat jouw reputatie als liefhebber ook down under wel bekend is…
    Ik ga zaterdag naar Zuid-Afrika voor 3 weken. Komen jullie daar toevallig nog in de buurt?
    gr, hein

  3. Barry, Timon en Joyce wrote:

    Hoi Daan en Edvar,

    Heb weer met veel plezier jullie avonturen gelezen en super genoten van de foto’s.
    Hier gaat het ook weer goed. Timon heeft buisjes in zijn oren en hij is er erg van
    opgeknapt. Weer super vrolijk en lekker in zijn vel.
    Wens jullie nog heel veel plezier en geniet ze.

    Groetjes Joyce ( en haar mannen natuurlijk)

  4. Moniek wrote:

    Hé Daan en Edvar,

    Wat een heerlijke verhalen. Het lijkt inderdaad soms net hard werken, maar zo te lezen krijgen jullie er veel voor terug. Daan, pas je wel een beetje goed op jezelf? We kennen je niet als zo’n brokkenpiloot.
    Hier gaat het allemaal prima. We zijn de laatste week van maart heerlijk op wintersport geweest en hadden ontzettend veel geluk met het zonnige weer en de verse sneeuw die de week ervoor was gevallen. Erg genoten dus!! Het vriendenweekend was ook bijzonder gezellig, hoewel het zonder jullie natuurlijk niet hetzelfde was. Het weer was prima, hoewel beter voorspeld, en we zijn weer lekker actief geweest. Het paasweekend beviel erg goed, want nu hadden we fijn een avond extra en kon iedereen relaxt op maandag naar huis en konden we de was weer even wegwerken. Ook belangrijk! De fijne periode is weer aangebroken. Het is lente en voor het weekend voorspellen ze zelfs boven de 20 graden en een strak blauwe lucht. Ik word er zo blij van!
    Nou, verder weinig bijzonders hier! Veel plezier met reizen en tot de volgende keer.

    Groetjes van Moniek en co.

  5. Gitte wrote:

    Hé Stoere reizigers!
    De reis gaat lekker zo te lezen, goed bezig!!! Echt super hoor, en héél mooie foto’s! Ja ja, je maakt wat mee zo. De Nieuw Zeeland verhalen klinken bekend, ik zie mezelf daar ook nog staan in Kaikoura, hebben jullie ook nog met de Dusky Dolphins gezwommen? En zo’n whale whatching tour had me ook geweldig geleken. Wel impressive zo met al die schiterende natuur en verschillende dieren hè!!!
    Hier in NL missen jullie niks hoor, het leven gaat gewoon z’n gangetje, inderdaad ‘gewoon’ vergeleken met jullie dagelijkse adventures! Hé, heeeeel veel plezier daaro,
    kus Gitte

  6. Sandra wrote:

    Hallo reizigers!

    Weer erg leuk om jullie verhalen te lezen! Abel Tasman in het vooruitzicht is niet verkeerd!
    Dat links rijden vond ik in het begin ook ontzettend wennen. Daan, ik hoor je niet over dat je je ruitenwissers aan doet als je af wilt slaan. Of heb jij daar geen problemen mee? Het duurde wel even voordat ik kon afslaan zonder mijn ruitenwissers aan te doen.
    Hier in Nederland gaat alles gewoon door zoals altijd. Het vriendenweekend was zeer geslaagd, maar natuurlijk wel erg jammer dat jullie er niet bij waren. (We hebben de foto’s nog).
    Wel een nieuwtje hier in Nederland is dat Maxima en Willem hun 3e dochtertje hebben gekregen. Bevallling enz. voorspoedig voorlopen. Dochter, moeder (en vader) maken het goed. Naam is Ariane Wilhelmina Maxima Ines.. Roepnaam Ariaan. Tot zover even Story nieuws van mijn kant.
    Het ga jullie goed daar! Take care,

    groetjes Sandra en Michiel

  7. Ariena Walma wrote:

    Hoi Daan en Edvar,

    Daan Van harte gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag. Geniet van deze bijzondere dag!

    leuk jullie even te zien op een foto. Jullie zien er goed uit.
    Ben nu aan het werk. Het is hier secretaressedag en ik viel in de verbazing dat Inger een bloemetje had gedaan. Daan jij weet vast wat ik bedoel.
    Met de voorbereiding voor de bruiloft gaat alles goed. Volgende week 25 april jurk passen. heel spannend.
    Geweldig foto’s en verhalen hebben jullie. Dikke kus Jan en Ariena

  8. Barry, Timon en Joyce wrote:

    Hoi bekkels,

    Daan allereerst van harte gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag (en Edvar natuurlijk ook).
    Ben je al verwent en heb je de taart al achter de kiezen?
    Wij zullen er hier een borrel op drinken.
    Nog heel veel reisplezier daar en wij genieten hier van jullie verhalen.
    Groetjes en een dikke verjaardagszoen van Barry, Timon en Joyce.

  9. Barry, Timon en Joyce wrote:

    Oeps, foutje. BIKKELS bedoelde ik………….

Blub, blub, kayaking and black water rafting

Saturday April 14th, 2007 by Daniëlle

My oh my, time flies when your having fun! Only a few days and we will be leaving for Canada. But first another update about our adventures in New Zealand and our plans before we leave.

Like already mentioned in our previous article, we went kayaking alongside the Abel Tasman Track. With four Americans (Sara, Julius, Mike and Linda) and our Maorian guide K.P., we were dropped of in the area of Onetahuti Beach after a cold ride in a watertaxi. First we visited the Fur Seals at Tonga Island. Very funny, since they tend to come quite close to the kayak. Although taking pictures of these lovely ocean acrobats is quite difficult in a wobbeling kayak.

Kayaking    Fur Seal

Kayakking was not Mike’s favorite occupation, so Julius really had to use his muscles to keep up with us, which was a pitty since it quite lowered down our speed. Ahh well, we just made the best of it by kayakking the distance twice by going back and forth. This way we did get enough excercise, but were able to stay nicely close to the group. Sara and Julius were also on a trip around the world (check their website) and Mom and Dad were paying a visit.

At lunch we received a lovely sandwich on a snowy white beach served with a delicious muffin and a cup of coffee or tea. At the end we rafted up with our four kayaks and sailed the last part of the tour, which was something we had never done before and which was a nice experience. A little tired but very satisfied we returned to Motueka by watertaxi and bus.

The next morning we tried to see some of the Queen Charlotte Track by taking the road between Queen Charlotte Sound and Kenepuru Sound. Many trees blocked the view and the turns in the road were quite sharp, so halfway we decided, also because of the time, to turn back and head for Picton. On a parkingspot we were happily surprised by a curious Weka and this time we were able to get a picture of it! :)


In Picton we played a deck of cards with two New Zealanders. Ally, originally Japanese, tried to teach us how to play “Euka”. Only she did not really know the rules herself, so the rules kept changing during the game. Another guy tought us the the real rules of Euka. To tease Ally we named the game, we played all evening, “Allies game”. But I sincerely believe that if we want to make sure we know how to play Euka, we should google it on the internet haha ;) .

The next morning we got up early to catch the ferry to Wellington. In Wellington we quickly did our laundry and walked around town to the botanical gardens and came back with the cable car.

Ferry    Cable Car

After Wellington we went in one day all the way to Taupo. Searching all day for new hiking boots, which I would need, if we wanted to do the Tongariro Crossing. We were not able to find hiking boots for me, but did find a real pair of Teva Slippers for Edvar, yes indeed he is turning into a real Backpacker ;) . The next morning in Taupo we finally succeeded to get my hiking boots.

Since we would not be able to do the Tongariro Crossing that day, we decided to drive to Rotorua to visit the thermal area and took the Waimangu Round Trip. Starting with a hike and after that a boat tour over the lake of Rotomahana. Edvar’s parents took the same tour. Frying Pan Lake and the Mysterious Inferno Crater were very impressive.

Frying Pan Lake    Inferno Crater

Warbrick    Steam

In the evening we returned to Turangi hoping we might be able to hike the Tongariro Crossing afterall, but the weather was not on our side and we had to skip it. In the area we were able, despite of the rain, to see some nice little waterfalls and a Maori Ruin. In the same area we found some dead deer, that were dropped like carbage. We mentioned this to our hostel owner who would report it to DOC (Department of Conservation). And at the hostel I totally fell in love with the housedog Mogwai ;)

In Taupo we managed to buy some nice things, real Dutch “stroopwafels” (waffles with syrup) and “ontbijtkoek” (honey cake) made by Bolletje in Almelo (Edvar’s hometown)! It’s a small world ;) .

Marokopa Falls    Piripiri Caves

After two nights in Turangi we headed to the Waitomo Caves. The first day we saw a wonderful waterfall (Marokopa Waterfall), a cave, a natural bridge and giant fossils of oysters. Waitoma is also the area where you can do some Black Water Rafting. This means no more than floating in the filled innertube of a car tire through the dark in a cave.

But the abseil into the cave, the rockclimbing through and out of the cave, squeezing through claustrofobic small holes and the glowworms really makes this trip worthwhile. Also our enthousiastic guide Simon and our group of only six, us and four very nice Canadians really made it great.

Black water rafting    Kiekeboe

This morning we drove from Waitomo to Auckland where we booked our last two nights in a hostel close to the centre of town and the harbour. We said goodbye to our loyal travel companion, our Toyota Corolla. Tomorrow we will visit the island of Tiritiri Matangi, where we hopefully will spot a lot of native birds. Monday we will wander around in Auckland and will catch our plane in the evening to Vancouver!

10 Responses to “Blub, blub, kayaking and black water rafting”

  1. Ivo & Gienia wrote:

    Hey Edvar & Daan,

    Wederom genoten van jullie reisverslag!!

    Je weet wat ze zeggen; Time flies when having fun! Dus blijf er volop van genieten!!

    Hier in Nederland wordt het dit weekend ook tropisch (tot 28 graden); dus ook wij mogen niet klagen :-)

    Bedankt voor de mooie foto’s en heel veel plezier in Canada!

    Groeten Ivo & Gienia

    P.s. Oh ja Edvar, de buurman heeft een Testarossa gekocht; zal hem straks even voor je vastleggen.

  2. Carla en Gerard wrote:

    Hallo Danielle en Edvar

    Van harte gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag. Ik ben benieuwd hoe je je verjaardag viert in Canada. We lezen je stukjes met veel plezier en als je als je terug bent niet direct een baan hebt, weet ik zeker dat je zo ergens aan de bak komt voor het schrijven van reisverslagen. Het is leuk om te lezen hoe de flora en fauna over de wereld eruit ziet. Een fijne verjaardag ook van Oma. Tot gauw.

  3. Frank en Audrey wrote:

    Hoi Daan en Edvar,

    Heerlijke verhalen. Wat zijn jullie aan het geni~eten. Wij zijn wel een tikje jaloers hoor!
    Maar voordat we het vergeten wilden we even van de gelegenheid gebruik maken om jou, Danielle te feliciteren. Van Harte en nog vele avontuurlijke jaren toegewenst! Dit is toch wel een ideale manier van je verjaardag vieren. Laat je lekker verwennen, drink er een goede borrel op!!!

    Veel plezier nog,

    Frank en Aus

  4. Judith en Gerben wrote:

    lang zal ze leven, lang zal ze leven in de gloria in de gloria hieper de piep hoera! Daan van harte gefeliciteerd!

    jullie hebben me gisteren wel een traantje laten rollen, onwijs bedankt voor de bloemen. We gaan er vandaag een toffe dag van maken, de zon schijnt dus ik kan in de bakfiets gegooid worden….

    zal die big smile nog verdwijnen vandaag? hopen dat mijn enkels een beetje enkels blijven gisteren waren ze ver te zoeken….

    twee violen en een trommel en een fluit en daan die is jarig en de vlaggen hangen gelaas niet uit, ei ei ei en we zijn zo blij want daan die is jarig en dat vieren wij ei ei

    Veel liefs juger en wonder

  5. Anja wrote:

    Happy birthday 2u. Happy Birthday 2u. Happy Birthday dear Danielle. Happy Birthday 2 u!
    Geniet van deze feestelijke dag in waarschijnlijk een zonnig oord….
    X Anja

  6. Béate wrote:

    Lieve Daan en Edvar, Daan gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag! Hebben ze daarginds al voor je gezongen? Da’s nog eens wat anders, je verjaardag in Canada vieren. Wij drinken vanavond een borrel om met jullie mee te vieren.

    Jullie verhalen klinken trouwens super en wij volgen al jullie belevenissen op de voet. Geniet van alle mooie dingen en vooral van deze dag!



  7. Marieken wrote:

    Hallo Lieve Daan en Edvar,

    Allereerst natuurlijk van harte gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag! Ook namens Steef en Janne. Zijn jullie nu al in Canada? Gek hoor, zo aan de andere kant van de wereld. Ik drink er wel eentje hier thuis op je! Proost!!!
    Hier gaat alles goed. Ben weer druk aan het skaten en het gaat steeds beter. Laaltst de 20 km gedaan, maar dat was nèt iets te veel van het goede. Eerst maar verder met conditie opbouwen…

    Wederom prachtige foto’s… Nieuw Zeeland trekt mij wel, wellicht iets om eens voor te gaan sparen ha ha! We wensen jullie nog een hele fijne voortzetting van de reis toe, en zien de verhalen graag tegemoet.

    Ik mis jullie wel….

    Dikke knuffel, Mariek

  8. Daniëlle en Edvar wrote:

    Hallo lieve schatten van mij,

    Net even snel alle berichtjes gelezen en nu mis ik jullie echt hoor! Heel raar om je verjaardag in het buitenland te vieren. Gaan zo Orca’s kijken dus dat is gaaf op je verjaardag. Heb al thee gekregen van de hosteleigenaar vanochtend en Edvar heeft me extra geknuffeld en voor me gezongen. Paps en Mams van D en H allebei telefonisch gesproken is toch ook leuk om weer bekende stemmen te horen. Bedankt voor alle lieve berichtjes! Moeten nu opschieten anders missen we de boot!

    Dikke kus en knuffel van mij!!!

    en natuurlijk ook de groeten van Edvar

  9. Moniek en Rob wrote:

    Hé hallo reizigers,

    Er is er één jarig hoera, hoera, dat kun je wel zien dat is Daan….. Jullie hebben geluk, we zingen hardop mee, maar jullie hoeven niet te horen hoe vals dat is… Daan, hartelijk gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag. We zullen het getal hier niet opschrijven, want dat is misschien wat al te confronterend, maar hopelijk trek je je het niet teveel aan. Je bent immers in de bloei van je leven… Deze reactie is een beetje laat op de dag en gezien het tijdsverschil (geen idee welke kant op) vraag ik mij af of dit bericht je nog op de juiste dag bereikt. We hopen in ieder geval dat jullie er een mooie dag van hebben gemaakt met heerlijke taart en (lichtgewicht) cadeautjes en dat er uiteraard nog hééél veel mooie jaren mogen volgen. Ik zit nu aan de thee (hoe kan het ook anders), maar morgen drink ik er één op je.

    En nu zitten jullie alweer in Canada. Wat gaat het toch snel. We vonden de foto’s van Nieuw Zeeland trouwens super mooi. Lijkt ons ook een geweldige reisbestemming en wie weet komt het er ooit nog van. Nou, ga zo door met heerlijk genieten en ons een beetje mee laten genieten. We volgen jullie op de voet.

    Nou, los ballos maar weer.
    Veel liefs,
    Rob, Moniek en Lisanne

  10. Sherri and Brent wrote:

    Hi Edvar and Danielle
    Wonderful pictures!!!
    Glad to see that you enjoyed your remaining days in New Zealand and are enjoying your trip to Canada so far. Don’t think too badly of all of Canada, Vancouver is one of the most populated and least cared for city in Canada, once you see how beautiful the country is outside of the city, well it will take your breath away.
    We arrived home on Friday April 20th, missing the kids terribly. Tired and jet-lagged some but not too much. We spent two days in California which we think helped a little.
    Happy Birthday to you Danielle, I too celebrated mine yesterday, April 21.
    Have a great time and email us when you have a chance.
    Take care.
    Sherri and Brent

Last two days of New Zealand and flight to Canada

Friday April 20th, 2007 by Daniëlle

Our visit to Tiritiri Matangi was really worthwhile. You can spot birds on this island really upclose. The birds are not afraid at all and do not fly away immediately, so you have the opportunity to study them. On the ferry we already discovered a new species, the Australasian Gannet, this bird comes down into the water with a speed of 100 km/hour to catch fish.

First of all we were welcomed on the Island by two Takahes. These birds are very big and come up to your knee. They look a little like the smaller species the Pukeko. These birds pair up and have their own territoriy. Funny sassy birds and there are many on the island wandering around especially close to the lighthouse.

Takahe    Stitchbird

Walking around the island we encountered more species, that do not or hardly live on the mainland anymore, because they are threatened by the introduced animals, due to the fact that they are eaten by them or that they are competitive for the same kind of food. Examples of spotted birds are: Takahe, Kakariki, Saddleback, Stitchbird, White Head and the native Quail.

The guide was very professional and knew a lot of nice stories about the island and the animals living there. The only thing that was a pitty, was that the group was too large and therefore you would not be able to spot all the birds and were not able to hear everything she told us. All the guides are volunteers and the money you pay for a guided tour is well spent for the conservation of the island.

At lunchtime we went spotting ourselves and were able to see all the birds we spotted before and a two new ones, the Kokako and the blue penguin. We thought the penguin might be ill, because it was spending the daytime in it’s burrow (to be seen by lifting the wooden lit). Only we were told that with stormy weather the penguins like to take a day off fishing and take a days rest and they can come in during the day.

The last day we spent wandering around in Auckland and got a little rain. Which was quite nice, because it made us think about the Netherlands where we tend to get a lot of rain. Spotted a Ferrari again.

Sky Tower, Auckland

Finally we took the bus to the airport. Payed the airport tax, threw away the bottles of water, since you are not allowed to take fluids anymore. Even our lighter and matches safely tucked away in our big bagpack had the be thrown away in the bin, since it was not allowed. Why, because our flight would have a transfer in San Francisco, US …… Do you believe me, if I told you that eyes have glanced at my lens fluid with a frown on their faces on every airport since the little bottle is 120 ml, a little above the allowed 100 ml, except in the US. It seems like all countries apply in some kind of state of panic the new rules of America even more stringent than America itself.

Of course, the date line we passed on this flight made our flight extra special. In other words we had a very long 16th of April (around 45 hours). In addition we went from fall in New Zealand to spring in Canada. Maybe we are getting a little old, because we arrived in Canada a little broken?

About New Zealand

Wednesday May 23rd, 2007 by edvar

Although we are already in Brazil, we thought that it might be useful to write a bit more about New Zealand, mainly focussed on those of you who are planning to visit this country in the near future. Who knows, maybe our experiences can be of use to you…

New Zealand is a beautiful country with nice people and a gorgeous nature (see below). It is easy to travel around, but you will need a rental car or camper. Our choice was a rental car from Ace Rentals. They have used cars (several years old) with lots of kilometers on the odo, some minor flaws (our windscreen sprinkler didn’t work and our radio was crap), but it’s cheap and we liked it. Most rental companies offer standard insurance, less complex as in the US or Canada, and you can lower your excess if you want.

In New Zealand they drive on the left side of the road, which takes some time to get used to. Try renting a car with an automatic gearbox, so you don’t have to worry about shifting gear. Traffic rules are simple. Once in a while you will encouter one-lane bridges and certain rules regarding turning traffic is different than in Europe, so check that out.

The choice between a car (in combination with hostels, hotels or camp sites) or a camper (much more expensive than a car and don’t forget that it´s advised to stay on campsites, for which you also have to pay) is quite personal. It depends on the number of persons you are with (with more persons the costs of a camper might be less expensive), where and how you want to sleep and if you feel comfortable driving the size of a camper.

We chose for a rental car, in combination with hostels. Hostels are very nice and also quite cheap (especially for single travellers). We liked the BBH-hostels, good price and good quality. With two persons, it’s cheaper than hotels/motels or B&B, while you can save even more money by cooking your own meals (always possible in hostels), instead of eating in restaurants all the time.

New Zealand is certainly not cheap. Count on something like 4000 euro per month, for two persons, excluding the flight, but including the rental car, gasoline, hostels, food, personal gifts and excursions like the Doubtful Sound cruise and Black-Water Rafting in Waitomo.

Changing to one of our favourite subjects: nature. The flora is very beautiful, with lots of flowers, also above the tree line. We visited New Zealand in the fall, although we thought that spring or summer might be better, because of more flowers and more water in the rivers and waterfalls. Although fall brings all kinds of fungus, present in many shapes and colors. The forests are beautiful too, with many different kind of trees (like berch), often with mosses, tinted in dozens of shades of green. The ground has ferns and ferntrees, also present in many shapes.

Mammals are hard to find in New Zealand. We often looked for deer, bears, cougars or other big mammals, but for those we had to visit Canada! In New Zealand, there are only two species of native mammals, both bats, which we haven’t been able to see during our trip.

Because of the arrival of the Europeans, there currently are several species of mammals, all introduced. New Zealand now makes an effort to get rid off those animals, as they are a big threat for the native birds. It all started when the Europeans wanted to start a fur trade, so rabbits and possums (fluffy animals from Australia) were introduced. Numbers exploded while they competed for food with the native birds. Humans decided to introduce ferrets, weasels and marters to kill the rabbits, but those hunters just preferred the easy-to-catch native birds. So, the problem became bigger and bigger. They also introduced deer and chamois for hunting, but those numbers increased rapidly aswell. And now the people in New Zealand try to correct the mistakes by simply killing as many of the introduced animals as possible …

What about birds? Yes, there are plenty of birds, we saw at least 75 species. Surprisingly (not!), this included plenty of introduced species, including birds which are very common in Europe, like blackbirds and sparrows.

Some native species are already extinct, others are seriously endangered, like the Kiwi, the Takahe and the Kakapo.

Also some good news? Yes, of course. Like the Fantail, a playful bird with a beautiful tail which follows you around(sometimes within a meter!) to catch flies. Or the New Zealand Robin, so curious that it sometimes lands on your shoes. Birds like the Bellbird and the Tui make fantastic sounds. And we can go on about the greedy New Zealand Pigeon, the curious Weka and the criminal Kea, or rare species like the colourful Saddleback, the walking Kakapo and the mega-fat Takahe, which only live in specific reserves. For birders: try the island Tiritiri Matangi near Auckland. Check our story about this island. Would you still like to know a bit more about the birds of New Zealand? Check NZBirds or just use Google …

Places to visit? We think that we visited most of the for us interesting highlights: Christchurch, the Catlins, Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Queenstown, Fox Glacier, Kaikoura, Wellington, Tongariro, Rotorua, Waitomo caves, Tiritiri Matangi Island and Auckland. For more info on those places, just read our old messages and check the Photo Gallery for pictures.

If you have any questions or if you have information on New Zealand that you want to share with us (always welcome!), don’t hesitate to add a comment to this article!

One Response to “About New Zealand”

  1. Julius wrote:

    Hi guys,
    I am enjoyed reading your stories, pls keep writing and I like the part when you talked about my father inlaw. Indeed the following morning my whole body was sored.
    So long from Seattle and Be Safe

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