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Reisverslag Land of the long white cloud
1 juni 2014
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Land of the long white cloud
When I was back home I'd look out of my bedroom window and imagine those weird shaped clouds in the distance were mountains. That's how much I love them, and Holland simply has none. Here in Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud (Maori translation for New Zealand), everything that appears to be a cloud, is actually a mountain. A beautiful one with a snowy top, a forest of pinetrees and ferns and maybe if you're lucky a strange turqoise coloured lake by it's feet. It creates some views I can tell you. You'd think it would have stopped amazing me by now, you'd think I'd get used to seeing mountain after mountain. I just don't and I don't think it ever will. Roads, views, towns, lakes, mountains, they just keep outdoing themselves.
First I travelled from Auckland all the way up to the beautiful Bay of Islands. Russel and the Hole in the Rock made it all a little better. Some will know what I'm talking about. BEHOLD the hole in the rock. Haha. Cape Reinga was next, the most Northern Point of New Zealand. Classic pics with the little lighthouse were taken. I'm not proud... Our little gang made it back to Auckland and then the real adventure began. From Auckland to Hot Water beach, where parts of the chronicles of Narnia were filmed. Shivering in our little kitchen we were trying to gain some courage. It's below zero, and you're saying that if we dig a hole on the beach it will miraculously be filled with warm water? Yeah right. It blows your mind when you see it with your own eyes. When you're hopping around on a dark beach like a clown to find a cool spot to stand on. And then before you know it there's 20 of you lying in a selfmade natural hottub beneath the starry skies and you're actually running into the ocean to cool down. All it took was some spades (and a little drink maybe). Geothermal activity, but uncommercialized. Only in New Zealand.
From there onwards it was Waitomo, with it's caves filled with thousand of glowworms. Then Rotorua (meaning rotten air), where it literally smells of rotten eggs because of the sulphur. A walk through the park in Rotorua means holding your nose while you walk through geysers and bubbling mudpools. Very interesting, but try not to gag. Next stop was Taupo, the adventure capital of the north. An arrival I'm not going to forget easily. I remember very clearly rocking up and down in my chair on the bus outside of the skydiving company. Everyone who signed up beforehand (like you were supposed to) was already inside and getting ready. The bus was about to leave when I shouted "WAIT!" and ran in after them with a massive smile on my face, you only live once right? Last off the bus, first on the plane, last to jump out at 15.000 ft. What an experience, I'd do it every day if I could. Four great days I spent in Taupo. Nightlife, more natural hottubs and last but not least the Tongariro crossing, a 19.4 kilometre hike around Mount Doom. Unbelievably cold, high and steep, but stunning. So gorgeous I rather let my hands freeze than put my camera away. And the pictures still don't do it justice. After Taupo it was River Valley, a place that reminded my a little of where I used to work in France. We stayed at a beautiful secluded lodge full of weirdos (suppose no wifi, no town and loads of backpacking girls coming in every day does weird stuff to locals). Don't remember much of that night, something to do with wine and human djenga. Wellington (the windy city) followed and then the ferry I had been looking forward to so much. Mum, Dad you're lucky there was no reception, otherwise I would have called you up screaming "Hi I'm in between the north and south island of New Zealand!" Family joke, don't expect anyone to get it :)
The South island I can't describe. Abel Tasman national park with it's white sandy beaches. Westport where I finally got to surf again. Franz Josef the glacier area where 20 of us just sat in a room and had a massive and kind of embarrassing but epic Game of Thrones marathon. As it was too stormy to go outside. Then Queenstown, you stole my hart. On the edge of a lake and surrounded by mountains. Amazing nightlife and home to the Nevis Bungy. That sure scared the hell out of me, but my God do I want to do it again, and again and again. Then a overnight stop in Lake Tekapo, unreal accommodation in another lodge with a fire on the edge of the lake with views of Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain.
Now I'm in Christchurch, my last stop and I'm mentally preparing myself for another cosy night at the airport. Time to get back to Aus and get out of these winter clothes. Sets baby I'm coming for ya! Also time to work and settle again for a bit. But the adventures are long but over. I'll have to tell you all the truth as well, I'm not coming home until Christmas... I'm going for my second year visa cause I know I'll regret it if I don't. Change of plans once more...
New Zealand land of beauty you have been incredible. I'll never forget the people, the drives, the drinks, the hikes, the towns, the lakes and the mountains. Kia Ora
1 juni 2014 20:26 | Door: Marieke Ursem
Prachtig verslag Maayke..