It’s strange. Would you, if you already live on a remote island, sit in your living room and think the following: “There’s this even more remote island which is not even connected to the national power grid, let’s go!!!” Well, I did.
If you ask Kiwis about Great Barrier Island, you might get a comment like “Is this by the Great Barrier Reef? Nah, haven’t been!” (In fact I did get something similar). This even seems to be true for Aucklanders, despite possessing the easiest access to NZ’s sixth biggest island. I was curious about the place, and, of course, had eyed with the Aotea Track – a tramping track that crosses the island’s highest mountain Hirakimata (also called Mt Hobson) – before when browsing the DOC website. It appears pretty overlooked: Most visitors I encountered were from Auckland, and only more intrepid backpackers make their way here while travelling Aotearoa.
As someone who calls hiking (NZ English: “tramping”, “New” English: “trekking”) a passion, I absolutely wanted to go to the majestic Fiordland in New Zealand’s South West and walk the Milford Track, supposedly one of the world’s finest tracks. The problem: You have to book it about one year in advance, no good if you haven’t got a clue where you will be in one month’s time. After all however, I got very lucky and booked the huts as well as transport about five days before the planned start. Read on if you love mountains with waterfalls coming down, rainforests in between and anything related to a stunning, rugged and pure natural landscape! Continue reading →
Sometimes one doesn’t have to venture far off the beaten path to find a real gem – this is especially true in New Zealand, no matter if North Island or South Island. “The beaten path” I will start this post with today are the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, which are about one hour drive from Hamilton, that rather soulless city in the Northwest of the Waikato.
Being on most NZ tourist itineraries, virtually everybody has done “blackwater rafting” or a related activity with one of the many tour operators that own licenses to go into the caves. Yes, I’ve done it too, and don’t get me wrong: It’s a cool activity and often a highlight for many of Aotearoa’s visitors. Very few of these tourists though wonder where the road that continues past the big visitor centre leads to: Te Anga Road can bring you all the way to the coast, and it’s a really nice drive scenery-wise, albeit very windy and narrow, like so many of NZ’s backcountry roads. It also allows you to reach the destination I present to you today: The beautiful Tawarau Forest. Continue reading →
It’s time to have a look at one of THE destinations in New Zealand: Magical, annoying, stunning, crowded and love-hated Queenstown (which I will abbreviate as QT).
In the past, this wasn’t more than a sleepy settlement in the middle of nowhere and with the exception of a few years of gold mining, QT never got much attention by people until the middle of the 20th century. 50 years later it’s a madhouse and labels itself “adventure capital of the world”, which might very well be true given the myriad of activities it offers…let’s get into it. Continue reading →