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The end of my travels?!

Hey guys, what’s up?!

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So, together with Kelsey, I started my next road trip. As we had absolutely no plans or whatsoever, we just decided to take the next best road and didn’t get disappointed!

From Christchurch, we drove all the way to New Zealand’s west coast via “Arthur’s Pass National Park”. Majestic mountains, covered in snow, wildflowers and water streams made me feel like Heidi in her Alps.

At some stage, we went to explore the water and slid down a natural rockslide to reach it. Surprisingly, the water was freezing cold, though and not much of a refreshment, although it was bloody hot!

But we didn’t just want to give up on the glaciers! Unfortunately, the glaciers seemed to be playing a little game with us, though. The nearby “Fox Glacier” was basically completely covered in clouds when we were exploring the views from the beautiful “Lake Matheson”… Pretty disappointing!

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However,  we finally had more luck the next day: The heli-hike didn’t get cancelled this time! Staying in a group of five, we all had to put on wet-weather gear and walk to the helipad. It was bloody hot outside and besides that, only about 3 degrees colder on the glacier. Thus, climbing the glacier was quite exhausting in the too warm clothes, but it was still a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

First of all, I was quite glad that I survived the helicopter flight to the top of the glacier. Obviously, my motion sickness kicked in again, but luckily, the flight was only four minutes long!

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From clear-blue ice to clear-blue pools! A couple of hundred kilometres further, we encountered Mt Aspiring’s “Blue Pools”. Deep-blue water was more than welcoming for a nice swim if it wasn’t freezing cold water.

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The hikes were like sent from hell: constantly uphill and purely exposed to the sun! I was dying and it really bothers me that I’m not as fit as I wished to be, but that’s life. You can’t have everything in life. Although I could work for it, obviously 😛

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Unfortunately, we were in the middle of the highway and out of service. Thus, we had no other option than hitchhiking back to the nearest town and call the next tow truck. That was easier said than done. Obviously, my insurance didn’t cover the tow truck, which is why they made me sign up for a 12-month membership for the AA breakdown-service at a cost of 205$! I’m not even here for another 12 months!

At least, we got a good service. The mechanic, that towed us back, actually dropped us off in the middle of a caravan park in Wanaka and made sure, we will be served priority! I was lucky enough, the car is actually fixable.

However, it will cost a lot of money… In fact, I will be losing all the money I have, leaving me stranded in Wanaka with no money, car or job.

Love my life…

Dani

Check out last week’s Vlog:

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My time in Antarctica!

Hey guys, I’m back…

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… and currently exploring New Zealand’s beautiful South Island. People had warned me that roads down here are different, but I certainly didn’t expect that: on a stretch of 90kms, I had 30 different patches of roadwork!! What the hell?! But there was a good thing about it: Going 30 all the way gave me the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery!

So from Picton and the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, I finally made it into the “Nelson Lakes National Park”. The first lake, I visited was “Lake Rotoiti”, a bigger lake surrounded by majestic fiords! One of the mountains even had a few patches of snow on its peak still, although it was burning hot! The views were absolutely stunning! A perfect place to relax and rewind…

However, the other lake, “Lake Rotoroa”, was only worth a brief visit. Not because of disappointing views. Quite the contrary, I would have loved to stay longer to enjoy the views, if there weren’t all those sandflies! It was insane!! You couldn’t walk a metre without getting attacked by thousands and thousands of the tiny monsters!

While the scenery on my way to Christchurch was absolutely stunning, the next stops along the way were rather average. I stopped at “Maruia Falls” and … that was basically it. 😀 I missed the turnoffs to the other destinations… And I’m still trying to figure out, whether I did that on purpose or not 😛

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But before that, I got to meet up with two stalkers of mine! 😀 Just kidding! I got to meet Vera and her travelmate again after I had said goodbye to her twice already, assuming that we wouldn’t see each other again! It’s a small world!

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Together, we explored the interesting city of Christchurch. Due to its most recent earthquake activity, many parts are under construction. The well most interesting part was the old cathedral, that had been completely destroyed and the new cathedral, that had been built using cardboard, in order to make it safer!

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Other than that, Christchurch has many more interesting safety features. One of which being parts of the citie’s shops being opened in actual containers!

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It might all look nice and colourful, but it’s actually a quite sad history of Christchurch. They even try to spread some more cheer and colourfulness by using little artworks here and there, in order to cover up earthquake results.

My absolute highlight of Christchurch was definitely the “International Antarctic Centre”, though! I did not only get the chance to experience a ride on a real Hägglund but also watched a penguin feeding and got to experience an Antarctic storm simulation in real ice and snow!

It was definitely way more than I expected it to be! The Hägglund ride was actually a ride through an obstacle course, showing you all the impressive abilities of the vehicle. Thus, we drove over a 2m gap, over a bunch of tyres, up and down 45-degree angles and through a deep pit, full of water and branches. 4wds surely can’t keep up with that!

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My further travels will now continue with an old friend of mine. Well, actually, she is not that much of an old friend! I met her here in New Zealand, we travelled parts of the North Island together and now it is time to reunite!! Ladies and gentlemen… Kelsey is back!!
Check out my latest Vlog, as well:

 

By the way, the story of my book is finally finished!! I’m only reading through it once more to correct all mistakes and then it should be finished, which will probably be in a week!

Dani

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5 hidden gems on New Zealand’s North Island!

Since I recently finished my travels on the North Island, I thought it would be handy for the one or another to know about my top 5 places, that are rather not part of the typical tourist route.

1. White Island 

White Island is a must to anyone, who wants to experience, what it feels like to stand on an active volcano. And by that, I mean a volcano, that could erupt any second. You’re surrounded by sulfur, steaming vents and smoking hot pools! For safety reasons, it’s only accessible on a guided tour. But it’s worth it, for sure! It’s not the cheapest activity, but you can find good and discounted deals on bookme, using this link:

http://www.bookme.co.nz/bookings/tauranga/home#bb2b2


2. Te Mata Peak

In beautiful Hawkes Bay, Te Mata Peak is the perfect destination for anyone, that loves hiking, nature and breathtaking views! You can also drive to the top, but I can recommend doing the 5km return hike, taking you along cliffs, through a forest and of course to the top of the mountain, where 360-degree views of the wine-region are awaiting you! To anyone, who loves adrenaline, I’d suggest hiking the full loop, at some points, the path gets extremely narrow. One wrong step and you might slide down a cliff!

3. Castlepoint

The perfect spot to break a long drive between Taupo and Wellington down. It’s only a 65km detour, along a windy road, to get to this little paradise. Perfect beaches, crystal-clear water and a lighthouse, that offers an amazing view over Castlepoint, when you reach the top! Definitely a must-do!

4. Raglan

Whether you wanna catch the next wave just relax or explore, Raglan has a lot to offer. But what makes it truly special, is its black-sand-beach, which gives you a feeling of walking on millions of diamonds, since it sparkles in the sun! If you’re not the beach-type, Raglan still has you covered. Its close-by “Bridal Veil Falls” are not to be missed. Three different viewing points from three different angles, cover all levels of fitness and mobility!

5. Feed wild stingrays in Gisborne

This is one out of only a few places in the world, where you can encounter wild stingrays. Together with a guide, you walk a few metres into the sea, where you get the chance to pet and feed the stingrays and eventually even wild crayfish. It all is dependent on whether or not they want to show up, obviously, but you are usually lucky. It’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Stingrays are nothing to be feared.

I hope these recommendations are helpful to any of you! Feedback is always welcome!

Check out my first ever Vlog! Please Like & Subscribe. I would appreciate it a lot 🙂

 

Safe travels!

Dani

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Moving on!

G’day everybody,

I’m finally back on the road! The last days on the farm have been rough… Not because of the work, but because of the huge amount of money, I ended up investing in my van. 743$ to be exact! The WOF was due, so I brought it into the workshop, but a backpacker’s car wouldn’t be a backpacker’s car without sudden issues, that only appear when they need to pass certain mechanical tests. This time, my van decided to wreck it’s battery first of all. But that was not it. Also, the passenger’s door played up, making it impossible to change the oil, which is located underneath the passenger seat. And if that wasn’t already enough, I ended up failing the WOF either way, due to a tiny hole of rust in the frame of my boot… It’s tiny… and in my boot… How does this affect my driving?! And why does it cost 480$ (!!) to patch up a hole?!?!

Many many hours at the mechanic and 743$ later, I eventually had everything ready to go… Well, except for the money because that was gone. So practically, I can start looking for a new job straight away. Any offers??

Just in case of emergency, Joel offered me to come back anytime, if I need work. Seems like he was quite happy with me. Apparently, I had been the best worker, he ever had! 🙂 But to be honest, I have enough of work for a while and I need a break after working straight for two and a half months without a single day off…

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So, wherever the wind would carry me, I started my journey into the unknown. Just kidding, my destination was Wellington, but I wanted to make sure, that I don’t miss out on anything on the way, which is why I took an extremely windy detour and ended up in “Castlepoint”, feeling like I need to throw up. Once again…

Because Karma wouldn’t be Karma without messing with me, the weather was pretty bad, when I actually felt better to explore what Castlepoint is famous for: its lighthouse. After fighting against strong winds and massive raindrops (just kidding :P), I finally got up to the top and got instantly rewarded with impressive views, despite bad weather.

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I got an amazing impression of how crowded it actually is from the top of “Mount Victoria”. It probably gives you the best views over Wellington’s harbour, stadium and airport. With it being one out of 176 windy days in Wellington, it got quite chilly up there though, which is why I also decided to take the same bus, that I took up, about 15 minutes later back again. The driver must have felt a bit sorry for me, though, as he decided to let me go for free. I don’t know, how that always happens to me, but I surely won’t say no 😛

Tuesday was then finally the day of new adventures. Around noon, I hopped on the ferry, heading towards the South Island and new adventures! Well, it didn’t go as smooth, as I hoped for… I had to wait in my car under the burning sun for about 5 hours before I could actually drive onto the ferry! “Sunburn” is a pretty nice way to describe my current skin condition! 😛 But the views, that I had been offered during the ferry ride, definitely made up for it!

Bye for now, North Island!

Always remember: Dare Yourself and Prove them wrong!

Dani

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Things I wish I would have known before I started travelling!

We know it all. We all have certain expectations and imaginations, before we head off. But mostly, they end up being completely wrong or not quite, how we expected them to be. This often results in us being unprepared and regretful. We’ve all had these moments and I don’t wanna exclude myself. Here are 6 things, that I wish, I would have known, before I started my travels in Australia and New Zealand:

1. It does get cold in Australia! Not every stereotype is true! It’s surely not warm and sunny all year round. Many days, I wish I had packed more jumpers and warm clothes. In fact, I only packed ONE jumper and leggings in the beginning, as I thought thick clothes take up too much space. They do take up a lot of space, but I wouldn’t cut short on that. Leave your hairdryer at home instead!

2. Umbrellas are weird. If someone would have told me before, that the Aussies and Kiwis are not as whiny as the Germans, I would have left my umbrella at home. I have used it once and decided to do it never again, due to all the attention it caused. A lady even told me once, that she could recognize immediately, that I am foreign, carrying an umbrella. Unless, you spend a lot of time in big cities, you need to learn to toughen up!

3. Australia is huge! Never underestimate the size of this massive country. Some days, I have been driving for HOURS just to get to the next petrol station! It’s about 3000ks alone to get from Darwin to Adelaide in a straight line! Germany is ridiculously small compared to that. It could fit into Australia about 21 times!

4. You need to adapt your diet! Depending on the way your travelling, you often have to give up on certain foods. If you’re living in the car/ van like me, I wouldn’t dare to buy a lot of dairy, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables etc., unless you’ve got a proper fridge/ esky! Especially in Australia’s heat, fresh stuff and dairy just goes off within a day/days. It would be a waste of money to invest in those. What can you eat instead? Well, I wouldn’t recommend it, but the instant – noodle diet is quite cheap 😛

5. Way too many Germans! Welcome to Australia and welcome back to Germany! I would have never expected to meet so mamy Germans over her in Australia and New Zealand! You think, you come over here not speaking a single German word?! Hahaha! Good one! They are everywhere! There is probably a massive gap of 18 – 21 year olds that no one officially knows of yet. It’s absolutely ridiculous! If you wanna avoid the Germans, do it like me and avoid hostels and cities!

6. Travelling is not as terrifying as expected. Last but not least, I figured out soon, that travelling is not as scary as expected. All these concerns, thay you might have in the beginning are completely overrated. It’s safer and easier as you think it is! Don’t waste your time worrying and enjoy the beauty of the countries instead 🙂

Happy travels!

Dani

 

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