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Hey Ya,

this article features everything in between my way up north from Wellington back to Auckland. I passed on the way with Sebastian Palmerston North, Taupo, Rotorua/Lake Tarawea, Waitomo and Raglan. It was a way too short but good trip. It never happened before, sorry for not having enough pictures to decorate the text everywhere. Must have somehow forgotten to take some more pictures.

regards Jakob

 

unplanned stop in Johnsonville - 5.6.2012

Sleeping when strong floodlight units brighten the car as if it is daytime is hard. Even hard for me. Usually it doesn’t bother me but when it shines directly bright in your face all night long it’s hard to ignore it. On the pro side there I had to wake up early at 6:30 anyway so 4h “sleep” that night, cause we arrived the same night at 2:30am back on the North Island. I woke up, put on the same cloth from yesterday and went around the corner to the mechanics informing them about my problem with the loose right back shock. I took a seat cause they said it won’t take too long so I spent my time there writing my blog. I waited and waited. Finished one article. After 2 hours I asked what’s going on? It took them more than 30 minutes until somebody finally spoke to me and informed me that it still haven’t been worked on. Idiots, I went to Burger King for an early brunch and went back to continue writing. After 3 1/2h I asked again what the hell is going on. So they told me that finally somebody had a look at it and they need to replace the whole shock, because the freakn bolt which fix the wheel to the chassis is gone. And now I remember what may have caused it.

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IMG_0777It was one fucking rock on one of the metal roads in the Marlborough Sounds. It was pretty huge but I was aiming for passing over it the rock in the center. Initially I thought this loud clonk sound came from the motor protection  But I missed my target seemingly and hit the rock with this bolt of my shock. It must have snapped of the bolt without being noticed until the shock came off completely in Picton. Why am I so unlucky with my car and the repair costs as well? On the other had I was lucky that nothing bad happened while driving all the twisting and car demanding way out of the Marlborough Sounds back to Picton. A blessing in disguise deducting 139$ for the whole shit of my travel money. For a ripped of bolt. Hilarious. Why always me. Also they initially told me that before they do anything they inform me about the fault and what I want to do. They didn’t. They just ordered a spare and replaced the whole part. I didn’t had any other choice than to live with it. I was happy it’s finally done after waiting 4 1/2 h and being misinformed/not informed at all finally ready to leave. I complained a bit, that’s why it didn’t cost 200$. They sold me the shock for the wholesale price.

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I cranked up the music and left Wellington Johnsonville finally. Its funny how different the way of driving is. Between the South and North Island is a huge difference and also between the North Island and Auckland. It seems to be as higher the density of the population in a specific area is as higher is the aggression potential. It is funny how nice locals here are compared to the way they behave in their cars. Its not that they are worse than some people in Germany, but compared to their normal day by day behavior just different. I think in Germany the Driving behavior pretty much fits the bad behavior in normal day life. Its all about competition and stress. I am sick of that. I guess when I get back I need a thicker skin to keep the gained laid back mentality.  

I drove directly up to Palmerson North and went first to the Armstrong Shop, just to say hello to Jimi. Afterwards I met with Sebastian in the library. We tried to book one of the “great walks”, the Whanganui River Journey, with a canoe at the I-Site . It is the only great walk on water and if the weather forecast would have been good and the river not already flooded it would have been awesome to travel down the Whanganui River on a three day trip, back in the nature again …. But it’s not supposed to be. Instead of driving then in the direction of Whanganui to the west or to Napier to the east we took the road straight up to the north leading though the Tongariro National Park. We left PN pretty late cause we went shopping (after Sebi took a detour cause he didn’t believe me and I was right, haha) and to Burger King for Dinner).

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After one hour of driving it already went dark. In addition the weather was mean, badass pouring rain and soooo much wind trying to push the car of the road. That’s how I know this Tongariro area. The view distance was also less than 20 meters and my lights are so damn weak. We didn’t drove way further and stopped at the next best spot on a plateau. Not a too good idea. We were very exposed there. Not only police wise (which didn’t matter cause we had numerous excuses not to drive further) but also exposed to the wind and rain which smacked the doors open against each others cars and let them shake all night long. Sebi and I watched The Inbetweeners. It was very funny but every now and than, and it continued the whole night) huge trucks stopped at this site too for 20 minutes with running engine to then release pressure very noisy and then they left. No idea why they had to do it but anyway, it was one of the worst freedom camping spots ever. Not to forget that because of the heavy rain everything was soaked with rain and we had to pay attention of not standing ankle deep in water. Because I didn’t believe Sebi in front of me is a waterlog I actually did walk into ankle deep water.  Anyway, even I was really tired I didn’t got much sleep because of all the noises from the wind, rain and trucks.

Crepes in Taupo - 6.6.2012 – 7.6.2012

The next morning didn’t look too much better. But at least not worse. We left this annoying freedom camp spot to head to Taupo. We passed Turangi, the town I stayed in for doing the Tongariro Crossing. Suddenly the weather got better and sometimes even the sun peaked through. In Turangi at the I-site they couldn’t recommend us a place worth stopping at in between here and Taupo. Which meant we didn’t stop in between and rushed directly through up to Taupo to check in at the Blackcurrant Hostel. I checked in just for two nights. Since Luisa I learnt to save a lot of money staying not in Hostels. I should have learned that earlier. But from time to time its nice to stay in a nice hostel. Just to have a kitchen and a BBQ grill to cook, a nice shower and a good rest in a good bed.

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To celebrate that we wanted to use the BBQ. We still had a good load of beer from last night left so the only thing we needed was some food. Good that around the corner a new Pack’n’Safe opened recently. We decided to have Burgers that turned out delicious. With self made meat patties, cole slaw, fried onions, salad, tomatoes, chees and different sauces. Yummy and the beer a good fit.

Taupo Day two

It was still a bit windy but only minor clouds and sunny. Cause Sebi is addicted to his beloved crepes we went to the I-Site to ask for a good café nearby. We ended up at the river leading into lake Taupo. He had two, I had none. I’m not a big fan of them, especially not for 12$ each Smiley. I already had breakfast in the Hostel that morning while Sebibi still lazed around. Afterwards we strolled through the town looking for NZ gifts cause he had to leave soonish. We spent a while in the library for internet purposes and I called John about showing up sooner than I initially though at lake Tarawera at his property. In the evening Sebi and I went out. But actually there was no point of going out. It was Thursday and the town seemed to be abandoned. Anyway we drank some beer and had still a good time playing pool. Sebi admired the wall of underwear in the back of the pub until we left Smiley. And then he blamed me for leaving too early cause a group with two girls went in when we left. Typical Sebi.Like Volkan always says a gentleman is simply a patient wulf, Haha.

Lake Tarawera reunion - 7.6.2012 – 9.6.2012

IMG_1980This late morning, cause Sebi wanted to chill again we went pretty late at least to the Waikato stream. We both have been there already but better than nothing. And the masses of water coming down there are more than just impressive. Especially after the heavy rainfalls the last couple of days. And we went afterwards to something called “Crater of the Moons”. At least something new to see and not too bad either. We had to pay 5$ entry fee to get into a park with around 1h circle track in it. This area, actually like everywhere around the Rotorua and Taupo area, is covered with hot streams, mud pools, steam blasts and hot pools. The highest density of course within these parks. After a nice round there we had a great idea we never realized.

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IMG_1975How did we forget about it, Sebi. We wanted to take multiple picture where we have enough space to write frame by frame with us together letter by letter. Write something like New Zealand within a nice background. I could have merged the pictures together to have a nice souvenir. Bugger. We should have done that the last evening here at Johns place or at Lake Tarawera, we are such idiots.

Anyway Sebi wanted to stay one more night I the Hostel, guess what, relaxing. I, guess what, wanted to save money and left with the Idea of camping in between Taupo and Rotorau but then decided to rush through and directly drive to Tarawera. Its one of my favorite places on the North Island. I had awesome times here. And John allowed me to stay at their property. IMG_1992I stopped in Rotorua  for shopping reasons and went to the lake. The weather was mediocre and it went dark already so I prepared to watch a movie there when John and Dianne called that they arrive soon too. Actually they wanted to come a night later with Julia and her boyfriend Phil. But they had work to do in Hamilton. So it was kind of on the way to come directly. And it was really nice to see them after more than two month again. We chatted a lot about what we all did since that and John told me I have to fly down to Christchurch to finally install the server down there. Wicked. They also brought their English Mastiff Dog Teddy with them who is growing so fast. Last time I’ve seen him he was just a couple of centimeters and had maybe one kg weight. The last picture I’ve seen he was not much taller then one stair step. But he is still very cute. Like a big massive baby drooling and chewing a lot.

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Day Two

This early morning I didn’t got out of bed or my car too late cause John and Dianne wanted to go fishing. We packed all necessary stuff like two fishing rods, hooks, wire and three glasses. For the Prosecco Smiley. John got the boat very easy without much assistance out of the “garage”. When I remember how Jordan, his friends, George and Julia and I in the end manually towed it out there around this chicane tree destroying the grass. It took us at least 1 1/2h. It took John 3 minutes. We drove to a nearby place to let the boat in and drove from there over the whole lake to the other side to a spot where trout usually can be caught. I said usually.

 

IMG_2017We didn’t try too hard but except just a few bites we didn’t had any luck. Its close to the season where the trout's swim upstream to lay their eggs. They all must have gone there. We expected to catch nothing and pimped this trip with the Prosecco. Instead of having a nice caught trout we drove to the only restaurant at the lake where Svenja worked long time ago when I wwoofed here to have lunch. We drove back parked the boat I a more reachable position ready for the next trip and I left to meet Sebastian in Town.

 

We planned already we wanna go out to the Lava Bar the only Club in town you actually can go to and is not closing at 11pm. We have been here already a couple of times so we did it like always. To enable us to drink heaps we checked in at the X-Base hostel to sleep on the camping are right next to it. Its not nice, the facilities in the X-Base are awful but it is practical. And sleeping there is just 9$ and you get a half price arm wrist for drinking in the Lava Bar. Sweet. But because it is still cheaper to drink something ahead we bought some Bourbon Cokes and started early. And we went to the cinema to see the “Alien Prequel” Prometheus. Not too bad and reminded me of the good old times with the Alien(s). movies  Afterwards we went back to the cars drank some more and headed just slightly tipsy to the Lava Bar. The Music was good, it was actually a bit crowded with mainly backpackers so we met a lot of different people. Also some local quite pretty girls. But in the end I wasn’t sure what purpose they had there. Just for fun or ladies doing there business. Sebi drank that night a bit too much and ended up completely wasted in his car. We went to bed the same time but some guys woke him up, minutes after he went to bed, to have another drink or so which must have given him the rest.

Day Three

The next morning I didn’t feel too bad, just a minor headache. Water is your friend after drinking a lot. I woke up and Sebi already left his car. I thought he is fine but he was just showering and try to get well. He had a massive headache and felt pretty sick. He left his mark next to his car last night. So he wasn’t good at all. He asked for staying a bit longer and have a rest for a bit longer. So I left back to Lake Tarawera. Now everybody was there Julia, Phil, Dianne and John watching TinTin. I joined them. And then we went out on a fishing trip again. Julia was afraid of actually catching fish and that somebody then will kill it. But we all told her she has nothing to worry about we wont catch anything anyway like yesterday. But this time drinking champaign like snobbies haha :-). We tried some different spots additional to the ones from the day before but, surprise surprise, nothing again.

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We drove with nice music over to the Landing Restaurant and had Lunch. I had a coffee. Cause I had breakfast not too long ago. Afterwards we went to a nearby stream where the trout's barrier is. It looks like jail bars in the river. I still don’t get how this should stop the trout from swimming upstream cause the gaps in between the bars are way bigger than the biggest trout on planet. And we didn’t see any trout’s there. From there we went back to the boat and back to the property. John called Craig, a friend who lives at lake Tarawa also. I met him while I was woofing with Sebi at his Lake Tatawera Friday evening get together. He has a huge property there too with this stream and waterfall on it. Sebi and I have been here a couple of times before with Laurie (because of self brewed beer)  and for weeding and flax cleaning purposes. In this instance we just came by to see the trout’s swimming up his river laying eggs. And there they have been heaps of them. It explained why the lake was almost empty.

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IMG_2022We went back home watched the movie In time when Sebastian finally showed up. Man it took him a while but he was sick. Then more and more people showed up. Craig came by for a drink, Geoff the Chef Smiley and Boss the lake security guy. We all had some drinks and a funny talk for a while. The guys left then. Geoff took off to meet Craig later to have some oxtail his wife prepared. Phil and Julia went to Pig and Whistle in town for a delicious veggie meal. Dianne, John, Sebi and I went to the Landing for a nice dinner and desert. Mud cake, yummy. Heaps of food and drinks. Lovely like always. John asked if I could be soon in Auckland to fly down to Christchurch to do their server. Sweet. I need to earn some money for Oz, Malaysia and Thailand.

Waitomo Caves Tour - 10.6.2012

So I needed to be preferably on Monday back in Auckland. So I had to rush a bit. Sebi needed to be back in Auckland too cause he soon has to leave NZ. We both had to hurry up a bit. We headed early that morning towards Waitomo Caves. But not before dropping by at Geoffs to say goodbye. I said often goodbye and this time may still isn’t the last time but just in case. And that way we’ve seen his new mean spa too. Must be great to have it in summer. But it wasn’t finished yet. He still needs to connect it somehow to the upper deck with the pizza oven or at least install a new door. Anyway its gonna be awesome.

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IMG_2033Then we drove to the Waitomo Caves. Not picking up three girls hitchhiking. Yes it was my fault not stopping. But it would have been to weird and look too desperate if we would have turned to pick them up. The drive there wasn’t to exciting. Could have been related to the mediocre weather conditions. At Waitomo we took our decision time what we are gonna do there. Which tour so far and so on. They have so many caves (more than 300 big ones) operated all by different operators. Some offer combination packages like 5in1 abseiling, black water rafting, caving, climbing and hiking. I really wanted to do that. But on that very day I wasn’t somehow to keen to do it. And I wanted to save some money. Retrospectively I should have done it nevertheless. Another thing I have to come back for. Maybe I left some stuff open on purpose for my next visit.

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We decided to do a two caves tour for 65$. The Glowworm and the Aranui Cave. First we directly went to the Aranui Cave. The size of the cave was impressive and the limestone color inside. It wasn’t too bad. But when you once went into a cave alone or with just a couple of friends crawling through small tiny gaps only with a torch you see things different. It is very touristy. You can feel it must be the hell here in high season in summer with all the other tourists. Fortunately we have been a group of 20. But still too much to have a good cave feeling. Nevertheless the cave was nice. but it didn’t take longer than 45 minutes until the tour ended. After we went out we didn’t go directly to the next cave. We went for a small hike. Just 1 1/2h return and beautiful. Nice vegetation, nice streams and some other small caves and sights to see. Actually I enjoyed this part there for free more than the guided cave tour.

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We drove from the Aranui Caves back in the direction of the I-Site and stopped at the Glowworm Caves. And this place was shocking touristy like. A massive parking lot with fast bus access and a huge entry building promising a lot. We weren't allowed to take pictures in this cave. I have no idea why but maybe because of religious reasons. All the caves are owned by a Maori Union. Actually there wasn’t too much to take pictures from as well. There was one spot where you lean around a corner and can spot a few glowworms on the ceiling. And then the supposed to be the highlight of this tour. A short boat trip on water to see the glowworms. Im spoiled I know but when you do this tour in the beginning you are probably stunned by some glowworms on the ceiling. But when you did see them at some way better spots its not to impressive anymore. So we took our seat in a metal boar with approximately 30 other tourists and the captain dragged us standing via a system of wires on the ceiling through the cave. Additionally a baby which didn’t stop crying and added his portion to the atmosphere. I’m complaining nonstop.

Maybe it is related to the rain all day long I now have here writing this stuff. Depressing.

Anyway we didn’t stay in Waitomo to drive the day after to Raglan. We drove the same day/evening there. It just didn’t make any sense staying in Waitomo. We drove all the way up there and then went around for a while looking for a good spot to sleep at until we thought we found one. Sebi wanted to sleep in a hostel, but I didn’t want to listen. It took us a while until we finally parked the car somewhere. We had a pretty funny drive until we finally stopped. We drove huge circles for a while just for fun. We camped in the end on a huge parking lot where we had at least some toilets and no indication of no camping signs at all. We weren’t the only campers. In company of more than 10 other campervans we watched another movie and went to bed.IMG_2063

 

 

no surf atmosphere in Raglan - 11.6.2012

Very early next morning at 6:45 am Sebi jumpily woke me up. He told me that a DOC ranger spotted us all, woke everybody up and told us pretty grumpy to get lost. He gave out verbal warnings and impended with big fees. Every time Sebi wanted to reply something the guy responded with shut up. I guess he is pissed that every morning it is the same situation, the same kind of people and all excuses you can imagine. Understandable he wasn’t in the best mood. Its funny I never have this experience to meet angry DOC guys or the police myself. I always sleep or they must knock always at Sebis car first. I have no idea.

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IMG_2071So we have been awake early. Instead of directly leaving I had a better idea. I mean it’s a public parking spot so why not stay a bit longer and at least see the famous Raglan beach while the sun rises. The weather was good, bit cloudy but good. And the sunrise was nice. After a short walk there we headed back to the cars and drove back to town.

Sebibi wanted to get his daily pancake. But it was too early for that. We had to wait and walk around in the town quite a bit until the café he wanted to go to opened. I already had a baguette from the bakery and just waited to get a nice coffee. The café opened right in time to avoid the suddenly appearing rain. We enjoyed this from within the café. Sebibi complained about the crepes. Actually about the sauce. I thought it was delicious and finished the leftovers like a dog would. And the coffee was good though. Yeah and then we went for a short walk through town, after the rain stopped, and left it. Raglan is not too interesting city wise.

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IMG_2081We drove almost the direct way back to Auckland. In between is nothing else to see except you’re keen to leave the direct way for a couple of hundred kilometers. Even the spot where we thought it is worth stopping wasn’t nice to stay longer than minutes. So we drove to one of the suburbs and looked for a Burger King. Usually they are around every corner but not here. First Sebi leaded the way then I had to take over when he gave up. And one corner later there was one. I was so happy finding one that it even more depressed me when I was close enough to realize they are just constructing it and probably a week from opening it. Bugger. At least I knew at Silvia Park is one because I was working around this area for two month for Xsys IT. We drove there had our back in Auckland celebration and did our obligatory stroll through the mall checking out the girls.

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IMG_2075And then I left to go back home to Albany to be ready to leave tomorrow to Christchurch. Sebi went back to the Verandahs Hostel to have fun Smiley. So we did split up again.

It felt nice to have a place to go home to. Even when its not home home it feels pretty much like that now. And it is nice to have this luxury of having my own apartment, just a cozy place to come back to and the awesome people here. But also of course literally the luxury. I really hope and look forward to come back sooner or later. I will miss it definitely.

I met that night everybody again, exchanged some story's and enjoyed the fire in the grate. But to Christchurch I didn’t had to go next week. Everything changed and now it will be the week after. IMG_2097