Month: October 2013

The Cardrona Season in moving images

Just came across this video from Kevin – my locker-room neighbor at Cardrona and the only German I met on the mountain (which is quite uncommon as New Zealand in general seems to be full of Germans). Anyway, Kevin did an awesome wrap up of the season in video format. And although he worked in a different department this pretty much reflects what the season in Wanaka felt like (including the early wake-up, fun workouts at the trampolining places, etc.) Just replace the half pipe with the magic carpet & ski beginners and the slopestyle with more terrain skiing and you get what my world looked like (although I missed the dress-up at closing day which looks like it was good fun).

On the road again with the magic equipment carrier camping car

It finally paid off to have bought that car at the beginning of my trip: It fits both my surf board and my snow bag (and the clothes you will need under and in the snowbag) – and when you put the board onto the skis it even has enough space to sleep besides it. Quite happy with that car! I wish I could take it home…. by the way: If you know somebody traveling to New Zealand soon and looking for a car let me know – Fugly needs a new home from mid-November on!  

Back at Shane’s house – moving the giant Kauri log

My travels around New Zealand have come full circle – by arriving back at Shane’s house where the whole trip started about five months ago. Before setting out on my next adventure I stayed with Shane and his dog Ruby for a bit, mostly chatting, getting well looked after, crocheting while the wind was howling outside and relaxing. I was just about to pack up my car and leave when Shane asked me for a hand with getting a giant log from the back of his house onto a trailer. When I saw the size of the log I was just smiling and thinking to myself “Never ever!”. But I had underestimated Shane’s clever and creative ideas of getting the log around a corner, through the drive way and up the trailer. It took us three hours of pulling, rolling and levering but Shane was proud as when the log was finally on the trailer (or at least part of it). Looking back at it we had a good laugh about it and after a …

Sleeping in the back-seat of my car with my snow bag

Good morning! Just woke up on beautiful Waihi Beach and although the back-seat is not quite as comfy as the luxurious mattress  it’s still a special feeling to wake up right at the beach, stick your toes out the sliding door and feel the warm sand under your feet – instead of the cold Wanaka floor. A quick dip in the Pacific and a coffee later I am ready to hit the road again – exploring the Coromandel Peninsula and it’s lovely white beaches. PS: The moon roof is pretty funky though – especially when you wake up in the middle of a night and catch a glimpse of the Southern hemisphere skies. Lots more stars than in Europe!

Finally back at the Ocean in Mount Maunganui

After a long and wet drive from the middle of the North Island I finally arrived in Mt Maunganui – a truly special place where a volcano eruption formed a cute little mountain at the end of a peninsula. Above is a picture from last year – when it was sunny while we visited but this time it was cloudy and wet. Still good enough for dipping my toes into the Pacific Ocean for a bit.

The car break down in Ohakune

As I drove out of Ohakune the other day I thought back to the days that I had last spent in that tiny mountain village, in December 2012, after a car break down. Maggie and me were traveling through New Zealand in a 1985 Toyota Masterace van that we had transformed into our temporary home for our travels. Just a couple of days before leaving the country our good old Goldie van overheated outside of Ohakune and we had to stop immediately and sleep next to the road. Waking up the day after we discovered a giant wrecker’s place right next to us – called Smash Palace, with old wrecked cars as far as we could see. A pretty perfect place for a break down! Colin, the owner promised to help us out, but first it was time for coffee and cookies and a tour around the giant graveyard. Impressive! We stayed just outside Colin’s mechanics workshop and discovered the tiny village of Ohakune while he and his team fixed up Goldie. I didn’t see Colin …

The Forgotten World Highway

Believe it or not – this is considered a highway in New Zealand. The Forgotten World Highway to be precise. Having stayed at Rob’s family’s place for a couple of days in the beautiful Taranaki it was time for me to head on and since I already know the other two routes out of New Plymouth I opted for the scenic route via Highway 43. And oh, how scenic it was! The 155km adventure starts in Stratford, just behind Mt Taranaki (a volcano) and ends in Taumaranui on the Central Plateau, with Mt Ruapehu (another volcano) just in front of you.  The road itself is a windy one, leading through untamed bush, rainforest, over hills covered in sheep and stunning scenery. Half-way through you arrive in Whangamomona, a tiny collection of houses and a famous Pub. Tales are that after a fight over water between two neighboring districts the village of Whangamomona declared itself a Republic in 1989 – with its own elections and celebrations of Republic Day in January which apparently attracts thousands of …