So fast is a month gone like nothing. We´ve seen a lot in NZ and up to now we don´t feel like that we have missed something on our tour. Of course, here and there more time for hiking or for Sightseeing would have been great, but we really made the most out of the time we had. Now we are looking forward to Oz. The 5070km we drove during this month in NZ are nothing compared to the distances that are awaiting us.
In Auckland we did only a minimum of sightseeing. We tried more to get our stuff sorted out – like washing clothes, planning and booking for Oz, getting rid of some of the Camping gear and of course working on the blog.
Here we had two major targets that we wanted to see – the Hot Water Beach and the Cathedral Cove. The two spots are quite near to each other located and we were lucky with the low Tide. Both attractions are mainly interesting at low tide because the hot water wells on the beach are under water at high tide and the cathedral cove – how should I say it – just see the pictures 😉 The weather was so great that we only had a short look at thermal spot of the Hot Water Beach and spent the rest of the time there at the normal beach. For the Cathedral Cove we were really just at the right time – half an hour later and we couldn´t have gone through the whole cove to the other side.
We decided to drive up the whole peninsula to Port Jackson – there is nothing except a camping site of the DOC next to the beach and 2 farms. It was such a nice place and such good weather that we extended our stay for one night. We went swimming and also a bit hiking. A Highlight for myself was also to try out to cook something with this BBQ places that ere so common here around. The result was very tasty 🙂
Before we left this place we spotted a big ship in the distance that seemed to be huge. I made a Picture and later on I seached the Internet for this ship. It is simply called “A” and belongs up to now to the Top 20 super yachts of the world. The cost for this thingy is estimated to be around 300 Million US Dollar…..
After “Mordor” we paid a visit to “The Shire” as a contrast. “The Shire” is the place where the Hobbits of Lord of the Rings are living. The movie set, where the “Hobbit holes” were built, is located near the city of Matamata. At this place only the outside shots were taken – all the scenes inside the Hobbit holes were filmed at studios elsewhere. Only the “Green Dragon Pub” is furnished at the inside, but the interior was not part of the movies.
In Matamata we had a great place to stay. We met some Kiwis (here: People from Newzealand) during our hike on Steward Island. They invited us to stay a few days at their place. We graciously accepted their Invitation. Our hosts were very forthcoming and we had a lot to talk about travelling and the differences between NZ and Austria – and also other countries. I hope we will meet again – perhaps when they visit Austria in the future.
We kept ourselves busy – right after the canoeing we drove for about an hour to find a proper accommodation to do the Tongaririo crossing on the next day. The weather forecast was reasonable, so we prepared ourselves for this 7+ hour tour. The bus dropped us at the start at 8:30 and the weather looked not very promising. But also the pickup at the end of the track was booked and paid, so there was no return. After about 2h it cleared a bit up, but areas like the one of “Mt. Doom” never were completely free of clouds. But the weather was good enough to make this tour one of the best we did during our time in NZ. Specially we were in very good shape to do the detour to the peak of Mt. Tongariro. There on the peak some young people from the Netherlands asked us if we had taken the 6:30 or the 7:30 bus to the start. It made my day when we could honestly answer “We took the 8.30 bus”. As it can be seen on the pictures, the scenery was perfect to do some of the reality shots for Mordor at this place.
Mitten durch den relativ kleinen Whanganui Nationalpark im Süden der Nordinsel fließt der Whanganui-River, der über weite Strecken naturbelassen und mit Booten befahrbar ist. Man kann mit einem Kanu oder Kajak für 1 – 5 Tage den Fluss befahren und zwischendurch auf am Ufer gelegenen Campingplätzen bzw. in Hütten der Naturschutzbehörde (DOC) übernachten. Wir haben uns für die 1-tätige Variante entschieden. Diesmal mit einem Kanu, was sich wieder ganz anders verhält als ein Kajak. Die ersten paar kleinen Stromschnellen (Rapids) haben wir mehr oder weniger gut gemeistert, bei den “50:50 Rapids” (die heißen nicht umsonst so…) sind wir dann aber umgekippt und ins Wasser gefallen. Und es war gut, dass wir davor die ganze Ausrüstung sogfältig am Kanu befestigt haben. Aber ohne zumindest einmal zu kentern wärs nur halb so lustig gewesen… 🙂 Robert und ich waren in einem 2er Kanu unterwegs, mit uns ist ein Australier in einem Kajak mitgefahren. Ein interessanter und ein bisschen verrückter Typ, der schon seit 3 Jahren auf Reisen ist und plant, auch noch die nächsten 10 Jahre unterwegs zu sein. DAS ist richtiges Aussteigen! Keine Sorge Mama, so lange bleiben wir nicht weg 😉
Wellington, the capital of NZ, isn´t a really big city. You can compare it with Graz concerning area occupation and number of inhabitants. Overall it is a nice town, but there are not so many special things to see.
For us there were three things that are worth to mention:
First, the Te Papa Museum, that can be described as a national museum. It is for free and absolutely state of the art. We spent there at least 3 hours and there were still a lot that we haven´t seen. But it was so a nice sunny day that we couldn´t spent the whole day inside a museum.
Second – the Weta Cave. This is the name of the movie production facility in Wellington. There costumes, movie settings and digital effects are made. Working on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy made them famous. With a short tour they give a tiny insight into the great things they are doing. Working there must be amazing. After the visit we were absolutely in the mood to spend time in a cinema to watch some of the movies where Weta Cave has participated.
Third, Zelandia – formerly known as Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. Background: NZ was a land of birds until the humans arrived. First victim of the humans, that conquered this untouched Islands, were the Moas. Later on more and more creatures were brought to NZ by the humans. Like the possum from Australia for the fur industry or rats as blind passengers on the ships. Both kind of animals are a big and constant threat to the diverse bird life in NZ. So the government of NZ and also a lot of NGO´s are putting a lot of effort into the creation of bird sanctuaries. To clear islands of animal pests is comparable easy, but for Zealandia they try to do something big. In 1999 they erected a fence around a former water reservoir valley and then started to eliminated all mammals that aren´t belonging there. Hunters killed alone in this small area 700 possums – the rest, together with the rats, were poisoned. After clearing the Zone of Zealandia endangered birds (like the Takahē – only a bit more than 260 birds of these species exist right now) and plants were brought to this sanctuary. The vision is that by the year 2500 this area will be a jungle full of indigenous life, like it was before humans came – of course without all the animals that were already extinct.