Back to zero… 

G’day all,

Hopefully, you have experienced some better days than me! Since I had to stop my travels, Kelsey headed on to Queenstown on her own while I still had to wait for the mechanics to finally have time to fix my car. With a car not being able to move and no money to spend there was not really many options left on what to do. In the end, I used the time to work on the last bits and pieces of my book, which is now finally finished and hopefully also finally grammatically all correct. I had to reread it five times in order to get it all corrected… But it will hopefully be worth it! 

Jobwise, I had the option to choose between another dairy-farm-job with incredibly good pay or a cafe job, that requires three months commitment. Although I would rather shoot myself than working on another dairy farm, I can’t commit to a job for three months if the payment is bad… So, looks like I’m gonna be covered in cow sh** again soon… and I’m gonna be working over Christmas..

Well… Karma was clearly not finished yet, as it turned out that my car is unrepairable and I will have to get rid of it. It hurts a lot to lose your home, but at least I haven’t lost all the money on the repairs. 

The other bad news is, that I won’t be able to get to most of the jobs I applied for since they require a car… Seems like I’m going back to hostel life and no privacy…

After being stuck for a week, I finally found a wrecker that would take my car. I even got 50 bucks for it still. Turned out thay things are going to be alright. I’m gonna be working in a cafe for the next two and a half months before I can finally continue my long-desired travels..

Dani

Please ckeck out last week’s travel vlog: https://youtu.be/l3OLWwbbCC4

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The end of my travels?!

Hey guys, what’s up?!

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.

Believe it or not, we even drove through Springfield, where we found a big stature of Homer Simpson’s half-eaten donut! 😀

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!

Later we thought, we could actually experience the complete opposite, but unfortunately, our heli-hiking trip got cancelled, due to a cloud forming above the glacier. Instead, we explored “Hokitiki Gorge”: Turquoise waters, a swingbridge and spectacular views!

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!

When we landed on the glacier, I had expected everything other than a paradise full of ice and snow! I felt like I was in Antarctica; and this time for real! We got shown how to put on crampons and made our way up the glacier, geared up with walking poles and ice axe. It felt definitely weird walking with spikes underneath your shoes since you had to lift your shoes a lot higher, but it gave you an incredibly good grip on the ice. It was amazingly blue and crystal clear; even a Kea, an Alpine parrot got to enjoy it!

We walked a bit higher before we learned that we only have ice up here, thanks to Australia’s heat, Antarctica’s cold and New Zealand’s rain. We continued our journey even higher and higher and apparently, we had been the highest, a group has ever been up there before we headed back down again. Knowing that “Franz Josef Glacier” is the steepest commercial climable glacier, makes you definitely proud having made it almost all the way to the top! That’s another thing ticked off my bucket list!

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.

On our way to Wanaka, we got blown away by magnificent views of snow-covered mountains and lakes continuing into Wanaka itself! We hiked up to “Diamond lake”, encountered the most colourful mountain ranges, I have ever seen, got close and personal with New Zealand’s most famous tree, also known as #thatwanakatree and did another hike up “Mt Iron” to get magnificent views over Wanaka!

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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 😛

The famous willow tree in Wanaka is practically famous for being a single tree standing in the water. It looks beautiful and I can understand why it’s the most photographed tree in New Zealand… but I mean… The tree is probably more famous than I will ever get; just by standing in water!

Well, as if I wouldn’t have already expected it, not being famous was not the only concern, I had. We just left Wanaka and were about to drive to new adventures when we noticed a noise from underneath the car… Something was hanging loose and my suspicion, that it was the shock absorber was correct. But of course, Karma hadn’t been finished with me yet. After few more ks, I suddenly noticed that the oil lamp came on and immediately pulled over. I got out of the car and found the car completely covered in oil.

Unfortunately, we were on 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:

My time in Antarctica!

Hey guys, I’m back…

… 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!

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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!

But maybe the sandflies chasing me away was all intentionally, in order to not miss out on a guy walking his massive pet goat in a  middle of the highway! I’m not kidding! Unfortunately, I was too confused to capture the moment, but you can believe me. Kiwis are crazy 😛

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 😛

After many many more roadworks, I finally made it to Christchurch, whereI ended up taking a little detour to the Antarctic!

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!

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 its actual a quite sad history of Christchurch. They even try to spread some more cheer and colourfullness by using little art works 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 experince 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!

The Antarctic storm felt extremely realistic. Not only because the snow was real, but also because it got freezing cold and wind and water was blowing in your face.

Who would have ever thought, that I’d ever get a chance to decide experience this?! It definitely lit the fire in my sould, desiring to explore the real Antarctica!

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 traveled 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 to 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!

 

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 breatgtaking views! You can also drive to the top, but I can recommend to do 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 to hike the full loop, at some points, the path ges 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 “Braidal Veil Falls” are no 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

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 any time, 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…

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.

Other than those windy bits, I thoroughly enjoyed the way down to Wellington, though. It took me past the mountains of the “Tongariro Crossing” (that I still haven’t done yet) and through a gorge. I had more time, than I asked for to explore the gorge because roadworks caused a 4km line-up of cars!! I’m not even joking! It was ridiculous! You could not even guess the end of it, it just kept going and going and going and that from both sides! I think, the gorge was about 6km long, but it took me an hour to get through!!

Other than that, I safely made it to Wellington. Luckily, the weather was quite good down here, but the wind, that Wellington is known for, surely still didn’t let me down. From a beehive-shaped parliament building to cable cars, Wellington offers it all. The Cable Car was actually quite…. disappointing for what you pay. It takes you up a hill and saves you a lot of walking to get to the botanic gardens, but you’re literally sitting in this cable car for not even a minute and pay 4$ one way! At least you get a nice light show on the way up and down though! And the views from the top of the hill are spectacular!

After a long day stroll through Wellington, watching the ferries coming in and out of the harbour was definitely relaxing. I just wish, that I would have been on there as well already. I mean, Wellington is nice, but it’s another city… Too busy and too crowded.

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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Dare Yourself – Prove them wrong!

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