It's been a good choice, buying a car. I've had
such a beautiful time until now. the Bluebird hasn't let me down jet,
and is not going to I recon, because she's doing good.
Starting off in New Zealand, I walked out of
the airport and the first thing that comes my way is a guy wanting to sell his car. For me that moment
was a little bit to fast and I wasn't even sure about what I was
going to do and how, but this probably started the idea of it
Anyhow a good friend of mine, Iris, Lives in
New Zealand now and has one of the most amazing jobs for DOC
(Department of Conservation). Iris
and I did the same studies and have worked together in Panama 3
years ago. The day I arrived, she was
out with her colleges in the forest, working, so she
sugested to pick me up in Auckland the day after.
backpackers @ Auckland I met the same guy from the airport again,
telling me more about buying a car and travelling around like that.
All bus-tours and other possibilities were quit expensive, and that
is exclusive lodging and food. A car could kind of provide me my
lodging if it is a station wagon or even a van?! He gave me the idea
to go and have a look in the Backpackers Car Market, where indeed
everybody was trying to sell their car, with a lot of useful
equipment included (campstove, boxes, chair, table,
It made me a little nervous all of it. I
wasn't sure and wanted to do the right thing. I felt a little lost?
there was this one car though that I saw, Nothing special
Not wanting to decide, I just looked at them
all, got some more information about travellers and just let it all
sink a little bit.
I took a train out of the city to meet up
with Iris, and she took me to this super cute little cabin, where
she is living at Thames, 125km out of Auckland. Her little home was
very cozy and situated inside Coromandel National Park. It's DOC's
property, but she can live there as long as she works for them.
The next day we went on a car hunt, because
she adviced me to go for it. She confirmed that it was the best way
and the most flexible trip to see New Zealand. After Hitching the
less expensive option as well as long as you can sleep in the
We ended up going back to Auckland, because I
saw that car, and around that area we couldn't find anything. We
went, me all nervous, and I came back with the Bluebird.
I gave it a proper clean up before installing
myself and two days after I hit the road. Down to the South Island!
There is a big Ferry that goes up and down
the Two Islands 4 times a day, so the 29th I could book a ticket and
that was planned.
On this Ferry I meet Jim, a Helicopter flyer,
logging trees with
heading down to his familie in the South Island, where they own a
little farm. After some talking he invites me to come and have a
look and ride one of the many horses they own.
This beautiful family is living in an old
Woolshed, where the shaving gear for the sheep was still
hanging on the walls. With a group of
dogs, sheep, cattle, peacocks, ducks, chooks, etc... a Kaketoo,
Nigel and many other animals, super nice. They took me to a typical
cattle sale the next day and that was fun. Later that day I left for
the trip, with Marylin's brother Matt. He was staying over at his
sisters for a while and needed a lift home, which was further down
the West Coast @ Whataroa.
I was going there anyway, so suggested if it
was alright for him to spend a little longer than just driving down
straight on the way, because I wanted to visit some
spots on the way, then he could
come with me, no problem. The family ends up having relatives
all over the South Island, so if I ever need some adresses for on
the way, I'm that lucky to being able to stay with
This is without a doubt the most beautiful
country until now. Just so beautiful! even that word is not doing it
any justice! Driving to West-Port, Cape Foulwind, Punakaiki,
Greymouth (he said it was woth going to see Arthur's pass and seemed
to like it showing me around on his way home) Arthur's Pass (This
amazing bridge built through a couple of mountains to get through),
Hokitika and than Whataroa the place where his parents and he
And so I get to meet this amazing people,
Heather and Dennis, Matt's and Marylin's parents, living in this
really old and brown but so interesting little house, with a farm
further in the back, dogs and a great hospitality. The Next day Matt
showed me around the Glaciers, Frans & Fox. These are huge
Glaciers moving about a meter a day. It is like a huge river of Ice,
gliding through the mountains, with the highest point of Mount Coock
in the background. It's all about beautifull mountain ranges, lakes
in between and many valleys, undescribably green everywhere even
when the temperature is so cold, all trees remain green and plenty
of leaves. Just Paradise 2 my eyes.
Matt needed to fly out to Austarlia the next day, so I went along with
him and his mom, to say goodbeye and accompany Heather on the way
back, thought it might be easier for an old lady to have somebody to
change the wheel with after 200km driving. I ended up driving all
the way, but she ended up taking me to her sisters place in
Kaikoura. Another amazing spot on the East Coast of the South
Island, with seals on the beach. Lyn's house was amazing, one side
of the house you had the view on the ocean and the other side the
mountains with the tops filled with snow.
The Next day we went back home through Lewis
Pass, another amazing journey through Paradise. They gave me a
couple of amazing meals, a lot of potatoes, meat and cooked
vegetables with desert. I stayed another day with Heather
and Dennis, wanted to help out on their farm, but she showed me
around and we replaced a group of sheep but did nothing much but
chatting and she showing me the places and telling me her stories. I
just felt so lucky, blessed even and enjoyed that so
Wednesday I felt like moving on and it was
again bright and shiny, a nice day to travel.
On my way I picked up two Hitchers, the first
didn't need a long lift, but the second was Suzi, a US girl from
Florida, wanting to reach Wanaka to meet up with some of her
Finding them, I ended up having some party
times with them, 4 girls on the road. Rosi and Jo had a Campervan
and were travelling for a year through NZ. They met Suzi in Oz some
time before... we all ended up partying in Queenstown. A beautifull
town in the middle of Paradise.
The following day we were hanging out in the
Queens gardens when some guys turned up with whom we played some
frisby and scrable until the time we made up a plan, going to buy
some food, find a nice spot somewhere out of town and built a nice
campfire for the cool night. Jo could play the guitar and I could
built a nice campfire, the others helped out while Rosi cooked
hamburgers. Fun and just cool next to the Remarkables (range of Mounaitns), next to a lake and under a
breathtaking heaven of stars.
The Milky way is clearly visible over
I left the group of friends the next morning,
heading on towards the Fiords. The amazing South of the South
Island. Mavora lakes and Milford Sounds. What can I say, just so
beautiful! It was nice to do some trekkings and enjoy a unique
sunset through the Fiords, very very cold at night in my car, but
worth it all!
Now I'm sheltered by another son of Heather
that lives right down here in Te Anau, Mark. He knows the area very
well, so can provide me with some good informations about what to do
and see. Cathy and Mark are also
so friendly, and this time I'm able to help them out as well, there
Cathy just got out of an operation, I can be a good help in the
Yesterday I went 4 a 8hour trek onto the
Kepler track. Here in New Zealnd it is all about trekking, some of
the tracks are constructed to walk through for 3 or 4 days, hut's on
the way to spent the night. The Kepler track is one of the well
known one's and I did the first hardest bit and went back down,
climbing 1085m to see the both lakes on each side of the mountain...
Just look at the pictures to know what I mean, because describing
this place is to hard for any words.
What I find interesting is that there's not
that much Wildlife in NZ. They don't have any Native mammals except
for the Bat. Why is that? Such a rich place Nature wise, a lot of
farming is done throughout the Country, probably mostly farmers.
Deerfarms, Sheepfarms, Dairyfarms, Cattle....
Doc is the Department for Canservation and is
a powerful organisation in this country, that's why you can find
those 3 day during tracks, hut's on the way, all Naional Parks well
protected and maintained like nowhere else.
Yesterday I was very proud of myself doing
that track in that little time, proves me that I'm still fit enough
to go fot the Job in 13 days @ Tongariro National Park. & weeks
of being a Hutwarden trekking all days, staying in the small huts in
the Park...wooow... COOL JAZZ!
Friday 22nd of April 2005
becoming a farm-lady…
Murray, a friend of the
Sweeny’s family (the people that have taken care of me and sheltered
me and guided me through the South Island)
was a great thing.
owns a big Farm just outside of Te Anau. I have discovered so much
during the time I hung around the farm… including meeting Nathan,
Mack, Birdbirdand seeing Heather and Dennis again. This meeting
forwarded me in another amazing experience down in Harihari, where
I’ve stayed for to nights in a spiritual suite in the most amazing
owns about 2 or 3000 sheep and 70 cows, steers and bulls… he has 5
dogs and some chooks… I learned how to separate calves from
mum-cows, all about the different races and treatments… grazing
patterns and so on.
I shared a
sheep in Waituna lagoon, saw the most beautiful beach ever ever… had
some oysters and was driven around the south coast.
bought my car of me and offered me the chance to go along the
Sweeny’s and help them out with the sharing and the cattle sale.
I am, because otherwise I would have had to spend at least 3 days in
Christchurch to try and
sell the car in low season. But no, I could go and learn more about
It is sad
when you take the calves from there mum, but fun to chase all these
cows through the swamps, cluster them together and try to drive them
towards a certain paddock. The same for the sheep, they need a
haircut, and the wool here in New
Zealand is a precious item… so
there we went for a 100 sheep to collect from out of the bush and
swamp and than share them short!
and I loved the farm-life.
sale went better than ever and good prices fell, which is good news
for the Sweeny’s. They really need the money.
Hari, I met up with Kath and Dan, two friends of Nathan.. they
opened up a self constructed backpackers over there, built and
designed by own hands… amazing, no words do it any
a big shed with all woodcarving materials and brew there own wines
there own honey, grow there own grass, made a bath tub outside and
above a fire place, so you can go and lie under the stars in a hot
It were a couple of days that made me very silent, a
place where you could reach your inner self and feel peaceful
inside… very spiritual.
sleep in the suite with views on the meadows, completely made out of
wood… smelling oils like sauna’s, just what I fancy
for Christchurch after that, wish I didn’t have to leave that
place…it was just the place where you can stay for while and stand
still…. But a ticket was waiting for me flying to
29th April 2005, Turangi
So much to
tell you all, don’t know where to start.
I am in the most beautiful position within a magical place… a Hut
warden in Tongariro
National Park. We (Stefi,
Virginie, Jeremy and I) Just finished our introduction week and
passed the tests to fulfil the 6 coming weeks the outstanding
opportunity to be hut wardens. This morning we came out of the
National Park and are preparing ourselves for an End of Season party
at nr.6, the common house where everybody can stay whilst not
working in the Park. The other 4 hut wardens have finished there
season, the last 6 weeks are starting now.
Jimmy is our
instructor and leader and is a man with talent! He’s guided us for
the last 5 days through all things you are supposed to know and
understand to complete the job.
Mangatepopo, Ketetahi, Waihohonu, Oturere… each week a different
hut, a different location in the National Park, different things to
look after… They’re all far away from civilisation; just one of them
has electricity provided by solar panels, we have to be there to
keep the place clean and safe. To check the hut passes and provide
trampers or day walkers with some information. Every day we have to
call the base twice with walki talkie’s, write down the weather
forecast do some inventarisation, and we can meet up with each other
during the day if we like…
This is a
magical place… really something everyone has to come and explore… it
is an adventure packing a backpack, sleeping stuff and food for a
hike of 3 or 4 days and walk through this still active volcanic
area. You can find dried out lava-streams, volcanic bombs, valleys
and high mountain ridges… beautiful rock formations and delightful
coloured plains of bush and stones, mosses and alpine flowers.
some snow last week, but all melted already….with some luck I will
have the chance to go for some skiing in June.
the real start, so am looking very forward to this… it’s quiet
amazing staying out there in the alpine conditions by yourself with
some responsibilities and nevertheless these most
‘’wwaaooooaaaaaaw’’ views. Sunsets and rises, freezing cold mornings
and nights, probably a lot of the days as well…. but the tramping
makes you sweat!