Around the world

First stop...Canada / Now on to New Zealand


Pancakes and Arthurs Pass

Moving on from our glacier adventures Ellen and I drove up the coast towards Hokitika and the famous Gorge with beautiful turquoise waters and at least a million sandflies awaiting us. Along the way the sag along to awesome roadtrip songs from 500 miles to Ed Sheeran and Oasis. Our singing of course was great - definitely loud and mainly out of tune ;)

When we got to the Gorge we went for the short 30 minute walk down the water and climbed up and around the rocks. in summer a lot of people go for a quick dip in river, however the water was pretty chill at this time of the year so after a quick photoshop we moved on and headed downtown to go for a stroll along the beach of Hokitika. From there we drove the last 1,5 hours up North all along the coast until we arrive in Punakaki.

The small coastal time is great for surfing and popular for tourists mainly because  of the 'Pancake rocks' just outside town. The rocks show layers and layers neatly stacked upon each other ultimately making the rocks look like pancakes. We decided to hang around for an amazing sunset watching the sun slowly dip down into the ocean.

The next morning we said Goodbye to the beaches and beautiful coastline of the west coast and drove the short distance over to Arthur's Pass. Arthur's Pass is the second of the three crossings from the west over mountains to the east of the South Island. 

In Arthur's Pass we went for a walk to the Punchbowl Falls first and after the 45minute loop climbing many many stairs we added another walk to our day and headed along Arthurs Pass Track and somehow just added a little extra to it until we found ourselves at the very top and three hours later decided to turn back around and actually have a look around the village. 

Originally Ellen and I planned to part ways after adventuring around Arthur's pass since she planned to head North and I sort of thought about going to Mt Cook village. That was until I checked the weather forecast and didn't feel like going back to wintery temperatures. So after enjoying our leaving meal of ciders, garlic bread and hot chips, I decided to go up to Golden Bay instead. This way Ellen's and my adventure continued for another day.




Glacier country

After two adventures days crossing the Haast Pass I arrived in Haast early the next morning and met Ellen in town who was looking for a ride to the glaciers. Since I was heading that way and happy to have some company for a day we moved on together. In the end I traveled with Ellen for the next four days, passing beaches and seeing dolphins on our way to the glaciers.

Starting with a walk down to Fox Glacier we drove to Lake Metheson next, also often referred to as mirror lake in NZ. On a good day the lake gives a perfect reflection of the Souther Alpes, reflecting the tops of Mt Cook, Mt Tasman and may other peaks of the range. Unfortunately when we got there it was cloudy and windy - so no reflection and no mountain tops anywhere to be seen :( 

Slightly disappointed we got back from the loop walk after 1,5 hours and drove the 30 minutes over to Franz Joseph Glacier where we both stayed for the night. Before dropping Ellen at the Hostel we made plans to leave early the next day to check out that Glacier before hitting the road all the way up the coast to make it to Punakaki.

By 7.30 the next day, the weather was perfect, the sky was blue and not a single cloud could be seen anywhere. So instead of just heading to the glacier we decided to drive back to the Lake and do a second loop around. And it was soo worth it!! With it being still early in the morning the lake was calm and there was only few other people around yet (to be fair, at least three tourists buses where just leaving when we got there - so lucky lol).

The reflection was almost perfect and we found ourselves doing the whole 1,5 hour loop an second time stopping plenty of times for photos and to just enjoy the scenery. After the successful start for the day we went back over to Franz Joseph to have a look at this glacier.

While Franz Joseph is still bigger than Fox glacier, both glaciers have significantly reduced their size over the past decades and will likely not be around (at least not to be seen form the grounds) anymore in another 50 years or so. The DOC has already expanded the walkways multiple times with the glacier reducing further and further and only looking over the edge a little bit by now.

After seeing and standing on massive glaciers in Canada and Alaska I wasn't super excited to see the glaciers and didn't bother paying hundreds of dollars to go on a hell flight or do some sort of glacier landing, which many tourists choose to experience the glaciers.



Roadtrip 3 - Haast Pass Adventure time!

Stocking up on supplies for the next few days, I left Wanaka in the early afternoon hours to make my way over to Haast crossing through Haast Pass, the most southern of the three passes connecting the West Coast with the rest of the South Island. 


I planned to spend a couple of night around the Pass and do some shorter hikes starting close to the road as well as one longer hike up to the 'Brewster Hut' close to the summit of Mt Armstrong with stunning views across the surrounding mountain ranges and hillsides. The Track first crossed a stream right at the start and than follow a track steep uphill across the forest climbing steadily for about 1,5 hours until one gets above the treelike and finally starts being rewarded with some amazing views for the rest of the track up. Sounds easy, well the hardest part was actually finding the track once it crossed the stream and I actually took me over an hour and 7 (!) river crossings in various locations as well as some off the path uphill adventuring to finally spot the giant orange triangle further upstream from where I was searching.

Once I was actually on the track it was a nice but pretty steep climb with not much to see for the first hour. Once above the tree line, I stopped for a lunch break close to the top and just enjoyed the spectacular scenery before climbing downhill for another 1,5 hours and finally reaching my car again. 

After shorter walks to some waterfalls and down an easy track to the green pools I also went on a 30 minutes uphill track to the Haast Pass Viewpoint. 


The Track was easy and I actually climbed up before hiking the long Track. Once I reached the top I was the only one up there and the views were fantastic seeing mountains and glacier tops all around.

The Greenpools were a stunning sde as well and again only a short and easy walk from the car park. Since I arrived before 9 am there was only few people around and for a short time I happened to be completely alone down at the water. 




Roadtrip Step 2 - Lakes and a Tree

I returned to CHCH for a couple of hours on Tuesday before leaving town in the early afternoon and driving one of my favourite roads in NZ down to the lakes of the South Island. I stopped for another look around in Lake Tekapo with the afternoon sun hitting the lake and the mountains in the distance still covered in snow.


This was the second time I visited Lake Tekapo and honestly I could sit at the lake and look across to the mountains all day and everyday! For me this is one of the most beautiful views in all of New Zealand and walking the lake shore a little distance from the Church and the hundreds of tourists its a beautiful and peaceful place with stunning scenery all around. From Lake Tekapo I drove further South past Lake Pukaki and with Mt Cook looming in the distance I settled on the FREE campground just outside Omarama for the night, arriving just in time for a beautiful sunset. 


Earl the next morning I left the campground and made my way over to Wanaka. In Wanaka I spend a good few hours around the lake and taking photos of 'that Wanaka Tree'. The tree is likely the most photographed tree in all of New Zealand. It is so special because it is growing right out of the water in the lake and usually is a good couple of meters away from the shore.

The tree is next to the Roy's Peak Hike the main reason for many to come and actually visit Wanaka, but luckily with the season only slowly picking up the was only a couple of other people on the shore taking photos. After all it was a pretty cloudy day which for me made the scenery even more spectacular though.


Roadtrip Step 1 - Kaikoura Getaway


So after finishing work down in Christchurch on the 20th of October it was finally time for a bigger road trip around the south island. Since I had to be back in CHCH for an appointment a couple of days later I decided to just go on a small trip up the coast to Kaikoura. This was my second time visiting this small fishing town about 2 hours up the coast from Christchurch after coming over for a short weekend trip back in May.

This time however it was a very different trip. The weather was glorious, the sky was blue and my first day I spend walking the entire peninsula walkway (which takes approximately 3 hours for the whole loop) before settling on a cheap DOC campsite 20 minutes out of town for the night. To get to the campsite I was driving up a loopy gravel road while the sun was slowly setting. Once I reached the campsite I found a nice spot to park my cute little rental car with no mobile reception but a thousand stars shining high above. 


After a good nights sleep in the back of my car I went back to town and went for a walk around Mt Fayffe a short distance up the hills from the town centre. Unfortunately the weather up on the hill wasn't as great and since I couldn't even see the top from the ground I decided to not hike up and all views being covered in mist (after all i learnt sth after hiking up Taranaki back in January). After a shorter walk around the grounds and forests I drove back to town and had a stroll down High Street, stopping for a cheeky coffee and than left Kaikoura after another couple of hours spend up around the coast line.


Even though my visit to Kaikoura was only short, I had a great time and really like the small town and beach atmosphere all around. With the main Highway into town still closed off even one year post the big earthquake it is still relatively quite with not many tourists bothering to drive the many hours detour to get to town.

 The coastline is one of the nicest I have seen in all of New Zealand and the people are genuine and lovely (really just like everywhere in New Zealand). Hopefully the Highway will reopen by New Years and the tourists will start coming back to town as many locals rely on tourism to make a living. 

I'm really glad I decided to spend my first few days up North and got to visit Kaikoura again.




14 months around the world


13 months of traveling

After two months spend on the North Island, I just made my way back South. 

I'll be staying in Christchurch for one more month before starting a series of roadtrips to see all the rest of this beautiful country.


Bike rides and waterfalls

It's been way too long since I last updated this Blog and all I can say is, I've been really busy sorting some major things out and making some big decisions for the future. By now, my final term of Uni has also started up and although I will be busy I will try to update more regularly.

So anyways,

a couple of weeks ago I was back in Tauranga and had a day off from work. Knowing me, I'm always up for some adventure time and on a slightly cloudy day I decided to go on a bit of a bike excursion around the countryside. 

My first stop was Papamoa Hills and after a 30 minute hike up to the top I was rewarded with stunning views all across the fields and right back over to the Mount. Sitting up there on the hilltop I really felt at home in New Zealand.

After the stroll back down to retrieve my bike (which after a year away from home was an amazing roadbike - thanks to Danielles mum for letting me use it :) ) - and boy did I miss having a proper bike to speed down the highway and around town with. So much fun. Sadly, I doubt Chch construction sights all around town would be suitable for the lovely thin wheels. Looks like I'll keep my MTB around for a bit longer.

Back on the road I had looked up a road across the hills to get to the Waterfalls some 15 km away. Now, 15 ks is not really a distance to worry about - this changes however when you end up on curvy gravel roads going up and up and up the bloody hillsides. Remember those thin wheels? - After all not the best choice for those roads..

After a sweaty and slightly exhausting ride across I finally got down the hill on the other side again and ended up right at the waterfall car park, Kaiate Falls isn't a massive big waterfall but stunning nontheless. By now, the sun had come out and I spend a lovely hour strolling along the paths and only met a handful of people around the falls.

Having a lunchbreak and listening to the water while sitting in the sun - definitely worth the bike ride!

For the way back to town I decided to loop around along the main road - not passing across the hills again. Unfortunately half of the road was closed and the signed detour ended right on the motorway (after cycling for 5 km)! So after all I turned back around and really did not fancy going all the way back across the hills, so ignoring the closure signs I went down the main road anyways. The ride was fun with no cars speeding past and a little breeze in the air. In the end the road was perfectly fine and only the connection to the main highway right in the end was blocked off, however one could easily fit though with a bike and join the road back to town from there.

After a massive 50k ride and a lovely walk around the Waterfalls I ended my tour back at the beach in Papamoa after one of the best days I had on the North Island.






Spring at the Mount <3

The first of my three weeks up at the Mount is already over and it has been a great one. Next to work I also managed to pretty much finish my Uni work and am now enjoying five weeks of holidays before starting my final Modules to finish my BA. 

I still cant believe i just missed out mount maunganui the last time I was up and around the north island. For many backpackers 'the mount' ends up to be there favourite place and the most permanent place to live. Many of my friends have spend months around Tauranga and the Mount working in Kiwi Pack house, volunteering in hostels or just surfing the beaches and enjoying the sun and holiday chill atmosphere of the town. While we are working in the mall down in Papamoa we are living in a relatives holiday house about half way between Papamoa and Mount Maunganui (which are about 12 km apart). Probably the most exciting thing for me - we are only about two Blocks away from the beach AND I got to use a super neat and shiny and awesome road bike while we are in town. Thanks again to Danielles mum :)

On my first day off from work I left our house in the morning and cycled up the Beach roads all the way to the beach beneath the mount. Living at 'the Mount' it is impossible to not climb up to the top at least once. The views from the 300m high hill across the town, beach, pacific and harbour on the other side are truly amazing. The 30 minute hike up to the top is well worth the views and strolling around the summit one can easily find a rock to enjoy the views a bit away from the crowds. 

After exploring the summit, I slowly made my way back down to the beach and after getting some well deserved coffee I went on another little tour along the small peninsula which offers spectacular views back across the beach and towards the mount. While in summer the beaches are usually crowded and full of tourists, backpackers and kiwi holiday home owners these first few days of spring it has been rather quite and peaceful. 

I'm looking forward to the next two weeks I get to spend in town and have quite a few day trips still lined up before we will return back to Christchurch for 5 weeks before finally going on one of multiple longer road trips around the South island planned. 

Spring in New Zealand and many more adventures are just about to start!! 


Waiheke Coffee Tour

I know it has been far too long since I last updated this blog. I was very busy working down here and simply didn't get around to doing much else let alone writing about it. 

For the last month I have been working and living in Auckland in the North of the North Island. After leaving this city so many months ago with Jenn on our big roadtrip around the Island, it was the first time back in this city and also likely the last longer stop here. Next to working 60 hour weeks back to back and staying on top of Uni work to hand in in September I didn't do all that much while I was staying in NZ's big city. 


On my last weekend in town however, I finally came around to going on a little day trip over to Waiheke Island. Friend of mine from home happens to also live in Auckland at the moment and had the day off, so she came along for the day. In true backpacker style we got up at 5.30 am to get the early bird discount ferry over to the island and simply spend the day walking up and down the hillsides in between rain showers and sun shine, stopping at a few of the many many beaches and small bays all around the Island. Traditionally Kiwis visiting Waiheke do so for one main reason - Wine tours.


The Island is home to many of the local wineries and with a ferry ride from just under one hour it's an optimal escape from the huzzle of Auckland CBD and of course TRAFFIC. If I learnt one think about Aucklander's in the past month, it is completely normal to plan your entire life around the rush hour and driving anywhere around 5 pm is believed to be almost impossible. Just to clarify - the traffic isn't that bad, after all Auckland only has about 1,5 million ppl living in the city. For Kiwis however, this is more than the entire population of the South Island. 

Anyways, Natalia and I had a great time simply walking around the Island and pretty much went on our personal coffee tour stopping regularly to fill up - pretty much when ever a coffee shop just so happened to be on our way, or on the ferry, or close to the supermarket. 


The weather was pretty much an Auckland classic - ranging from clear blue skies to heavy rain and harsh winds. Over the cause of the day, I lost count of the times I took of all my layers only to bundle up again some 15 minutes later. 

Some 20 km and 9 hours later we made it back to the ferry terminal ready to leave this pretty and peaceful (at least during winter months I guess) island behind and had back to the big city. 

And with this my five weeks in Auckland came to an end and Adam, Danielle and I spend our Sunday saying Goodbye and packing all our belongings into the Van to make the 2,5 hour drive down to Tauranga - one of the few places of the North Island I haven't been to before. 

Adventure time!!


My home in NZ

It is official now. I have been gone for over a year.  Crazy to think that a year has past since I stepped out of the plane in BKK and took a bus boat to my hotel not having a clue how to get there. In the end I made it, and looking back at it, it was a brilliant time moving around Norther Thailand and making friends from all over the world.

Lately I haven't been much of a real backpacker down here in NZ. Working and studying hasn't left me that much time to be a wandering explorer. I'm missing the carefree times I spend on the road, while at the same time I love being part of a 'normal' life. Having friends and celebrating hen-dos on my weekends off. Instead of hunting the next big adventure, I love exploring the Kiwi culture everyday I get to spend in this country. Starting of as my substitute for Canada, NZ has recently become so much more for me and in a way it feels more like home than Canada ever did. Staying in one place for six months (compare this to my five weeks max. sty while in Canada) really made me feel like a part of a group and although this is not the big road trip story most people back home would probably expect to hear, in the end this might be what makes me want to return to NZ. For now, I got 4 more months to enjoy down here and I have at least some awesome things planned for my time down here. Next week, we will leave Auckland but instead of returning straight to Christchurch, we will actually be working in Tauranga for 3 weeks. Tauranga is one of the few places on the North Island I haven't been to just yet and therefore I'm super excited - also there's a beach!!

In late September it will finally be time to return to Christchurch and I'm honestly looking forward to returning to my NZ home for some weeks before going on a camper road trip in late October. In early November I will return to the North Island one last time to party with Danielle and Adam at the wedding - and if the hen-do was any indication, it is going to be great! 

After the weeding I have some great hikes planned, starting with the Routeburn Track in mid November and the Kepler Track following in December. 

There is still plenty of things waiting to be explored in NZ before saying Goodbye on Christmas and leaving this amazing country from my Kiwi Hometown to start a new adventure - coming home at least for a while. 



1 year ago I left home...


Hen-do in Auckland

Sometime a photo is truly all you need and Danielles Hen-Do clearly was one of those occasions. 

Perfectly timed on our  weekend off we spend a night downtown partying followed by a lovely breakfast right at the waterfront. After weeks of working +60 hours this short trip downtown felt like a holiday and I'm super excited for the weeding to follow in early November. 



11 months and goodbye to CHCH for now

It's hard to believe that a month has passed again and I dont really have that many exciting stories to tell. The last few weeks I spend me days cycling around chch and working or studying and finishing up some uni projects because in only two days I will be leaving Christchurch!!

After working in this city for the past four months I will be based in Auckland for work for the next five weeks before coming back down south in September.


Hopefully I will have a bit more time up there for a few daytrips to the Islands I missed out on last time I was up north. 




10 months..can u believe it!!



IT's been ten months, can u believe it?

Over 300 days have past while I traveled across six countries and made incredible friends from all over the world. Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and finally New Zealand. 

6 months ago I arrived in Auckland, and to be honest I didn't really know what to expect. I was (and still am) so in love with Canada, that I didn't believe New Zealand (or anywhere) could ever compare, today six months later I LOVE New Zealand. Canada will always hold a special place in my heart just like Wales and I know I will be back someday, but for now and for the next six months to come I'm happy to be down here at this end of the world. 3-months of working in Christchurch and I truly like living in this city and biking around town, stopping in coffee shops along the way and going for walks in Healey Park on my days off. However, I'm excited for the next 6 months down here in New Zealand, for all the roadtrips yet to come and for everything that happens after, that is still in early planning stages.

After all the world is a big place full of places just waiting to be discovered!

For now though, I will stick around Christchurch for a wee bit longer.

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