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I almost forgot the Introduction this time. What would we do without it? I’m currently in Picton sitting in a Café to have free WIFI to finish this off now. I’m still far behind, but at least you guys get an update and some pretty pictures from the Milford (Sounds) Track and Stewart Island. Today I’m traveling back with the Interislander to the North Island. It’s a bit sad cause the South Island is great, impressive and just amazing diverse. I had a lot of fun here and hope I will be back sooner or later. There is still plenty of left to write about the whole east coast trip back up from the south. So look forward to it.

Choice bro’s and cuzzys

J

 

Wasting Time in Milford Sounds - 1.5.2012 - 3.5.2012

After Marco left on Sunday I needed to wait somewhere close to the Milford Track. What could have been a better choice than Bob and Maxines Hostel in Te Anau. One of the places where time flies by even when you don’t do anything. So I waited there to catch up on Friday with Cindy and her Friends. Actually we “planned” everything a bit in a different way but that’s the usual way. So to save some money and do something I left after two days the comfy hostel to do and see something. I left for two nights which is enough time to stop almost at every spot to do a short walk on the whole 120 km road between Te Anau and Milford Village. In between heaps of spots to stop and stare and walk for 5 to 4 hours.

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IMG_0182The Landscape down there is just stunning. Huge flat Valleys surrounded by rough snow covered mountains. Lakes reflecting the beautiful environment like a mirror (when ducks don’t create ripples –> Mirror Lakes). Huge blue crystal clear lakes (Lake Te Anau). The greenest mystical rain forests covered in moss you can imagine which look like directly taken out of Peter Jacksons King Kong, LOTR, Hobbit or from Avatar.

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IMG_0233A one km long dark tunnel without emergency exits and barely wide enough that two cars can pass each other (Homer Tunnel). Huge waterfalls racing down the Mountains caused by the melting snow from the last days. Annoying bold Kea’s which impress you for the first time you see them but freak you out when they attack you for getting food as if they would starve. Washed out rock with holes like in swiss cheese caused by smaller loose pebbled rocks and the water flow washing out the holes. Milford Sound Village with its rough high rising Mountains reaching down to the shore side. A lot of nice creeks and rivers with see through water on slow parts and sparkling white on the fast flowing parts. And the most beautiful amazing stunning crystal clear (jeah all the amazing words I know all together and add the words you know) Mountain Lake, Lake Marian.

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IMG_0282The climb up there was exhausting but nice too. The reward just more than rewarding. Lets say orgasmic Smiley. Serious, one of the most beautiful small almost unknown spots here near the Hollyford Track (where I found the other end of the Dead Mans Track departing from the Routeburn Track). Sooner or later I should write a Best of list or something. I drank water floating directly from a melting snow patch up the mountains, I slept in the woods hidden behind huge ferns and at lake Te Anau right at the lakefront in between huge flax and grass with an amazing blue purple and afterwards starry sky. Its even more awesome than it sounds. And then, …, then I went back to Bob and Maxines Hostel to sleep one more night there, preparing for the Milford Track, taking a shower and cutting my Hair myself. Jeah right my own on my own.

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Flo(w)be in action

IMG_0327There was nice company that Night in the Hostel so we played games and chatted for a pretty long while until everybody went to bed. And I went into the bathroom to start using the hair cutter I borrowed from Bob. I thought I should save 20$ for the barber. And even it looks ugly it will grow again. And how hard could it be Smiley. So I just followed the instructions and tried to cut not too much. In the end at 2am, I thought jeah. doesn’t look too bad. A bit weird, but ok. I wasn’t able to see by back. While cutting and afterwards. But via feeling it with my hands it felt okay. Originally Cindy should have arrived already to help me, but later more about that, and I could have asked some of the girls who stayed that night to help. But its weird when you just met somebody. But I better should have asked. Maybe I did or did not post a picture from the hairstyle I had to deal with for the whole 3 Day track. Anyway I preferred to wear my gangster hoodie as often as possible.   

Milford (Sound) Track not the OST - 4.5.2012 – 5.5.2012

I woke up very late that Friday. Exhausted from the hair cutting session last night and a couple of Krombacher and playing Scrabble. I woke up too late and rushed to our meeting location after gulping my breakfast and handle the last preparations for the 3 Day hike.

I packed the Bouletten I specially prepared for the trip, my Spaghetti Carbonara from the evening before and the rest of my self baked bread into my huge heavy backpack. Again heavy coz I just can’t only pack the least necessary stuff I need. Rita, a friend of Cindy booked everything in advance for all of us so I just had to take care of myself. All righty.

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The Milford Track can be done in three to four days. It is 53 km long and features a 1000 m climb and the highest waterfall in New Zealand with a 528 m elevation. So Milford sounds great, aye?! Read more here if you are keen to. http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/fiordland/northern-fiordland/milford-track/

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So I arrived last minute at the car park in Te Anau, minutes before the bus left. There I met Cindy and the other guys. They drove with 5 people in a small old Opel Astra from Dunedin leaving 2 am to Te Anau where they arrived an hour before the bus was leaving. They are crazy. Anyway, we had Team Germany: Cindy, Magda and I who did the easy, normal way of this Track. That starts with a bus trip to Te Anau Downs and a 1 1/2 h Boat ride. Cindy’s Friends from Team Czech: Rita, Tomasz and Filip did it the hard way. Instead of taking the bus up to Te Anau Downs and driving by Boat to the start of the track they drove their car to the start of an unofficial track which later joins the Milford track. So it was just us 3 who drove on a small Boat over the very calm Lake Te Anau with smoking water around us heated up by the sun. What a nice start. The DOC Hut warden welcomed us at our arrival to check the tickets. All good so after the last checks and discussions we started our tour.

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IMG_0328Day one 20 km almost flat

Except a few nice places (because we are just spoiled) there where no real highlights. I mean the boat ride was nice but the walk just in the flats in between nice green mountains. There where clear lakes, small waterfalls, cool forest and … that’s it. It was good but nothing new. We spent our first night at the first hut, Mintaro Hut. 40 other hikers had the same idea and we shared the hut. And the one and only non flushing toilet (called long drop by the DOC, haha). We had our meal, played cards and Team Germany went to bed in sleeping bags with self constructed pillows out of unused or even used cloth resting on latex mattresses. Because of missing dry firewood we were freezing that night.

Day two just 14km but over a pass

IMG_0371IMG_0378We started early that morning. Still as the last of all of us but I think it was 8:30 am. We had a pass to pass on roundabout 1150 m. But you start at sea level and keep in mind huge heavy backpacks. That day also compensated for the mediocre first day. Directly after leaving the hut the climb began and opened up elevation meter by meter the spectacular scenery we passed last day. A bit like in a flashback in movies. The track went steadily upwards without flat passages until after 3h of climbing up the first flats where reached. The vegetation already changed roundabout 900m from splendor grown over to barely nothing covering the rough rocks than maybe grass. We took a last view back and headed forward to the rock cross on on of the highest points on this track.

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IMG_0388Its already rated as alpine, even though it is just 1154m high. Its different than in Austria. As we arrived we faced some massive clouds and fog and all the other people we cached up on the way up. but after a couple of minutes it all went away until we enjoyed the silence up there alone. The sun came out, the clouds went away and offered huge views in all directions. We took some Team Germany pictures and some others from a pretty high cliff looking down 800 m. Approx., maybe less. Still high enough for me to get wet hands and shaky legs. We chilled a bit, decimated some of our munchies and continued. Even further up for a while until we reached the highest point of the track. This time for real. More pictures, more nice views and topped up with that we headed climbing on the other side of the pass down already.

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DSC07898First walking again through rugged rough terrain without vegetation it again changed to some green stuff until we were back in a tropical forest next to a big creek with a lot of smaller waterfalls always heading down. We still didn’t had enough that day so we decided to not miss out on visiting the highest waterfall New Zealands with 580m or so and 3 levels. It took us roundabout 45 minutes more but was worth it. The waterfall is massive. Big enough to not realize how big it is. Its bigger than the Petrona Twin Towers or the Fernsehturm or the Empire State building or the World Trade Center …. Impressive where all those water is always coming from in an endless stream. On the bottom is a huge rock lying in the water causing huge the water to spray around in all directions. After heading back to the main track our day target the Dumpling Hut wasn’t far away. We reached it picked the least smelling room took a bed and went to the community room. This time it was even possible to heat it. the wood was dry and helped warming up and preparing for the cold night. IMG_0450

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DSC07969Every evening we were talking about our Czech fellows. Where they probably are, that they may have turned or show up last minute. They should have met us that evening. So Magda cooked her 1 1/2h boiling soup on our gas stove and left a bowl for our friends just in case.

We ate we played cards, watched the starts and went to bed. actually like last evening. Ah jeah, and once more those disgusting 40 share long drop toilets. It wouldn’t be like that in high season but now off season its cheaper but even more basic. No gas, no heating no toilet paper (BYO) …. Anyway. I didn’t sleep a lot that night. I had a top bunk bed and it was drizzling the whole night down on my right next to my face splashing every now and then “water” in my face waking me up again. It was condensed water from all of us. Don’t really wanna think about that.

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Day three 18 (boring or lets say unspectacular but nice) km

The bowl of soup didn’t left its place. Nobody touched it. Not even the other hikers. For sure not. It looked weird like already eaten. Even though our friends would have shown up they wouldn’t had touched this. So they are not here but we still believed they could show up sooner or later, somehow catching us up on our last part of the track or already wait at the finish for us. We left even earlier than the last days. Again as the last once but happy to finish today. Because it again like on the first day was almost flat we walked pretty fast. Also our backpacks were lighter compared to the first days. Food is a huge part of the weight to carry.

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IMG_0482We passed a cool swing bridge in the morning fog, followed a bigger river until we reached another waterfall. There we already passed almost all of the others on the track. They were dawdling that day cause they knew we all had enough time. More lakes more waterfalls and more nice scenery. One of the highlights that day was reaching Sandfly Point. We reached it first and it was silent. The water calm as and so .. fucking sandflies everywhere. The name really fits. We lubricated us in Insect Repellent to enjoy this beautiful spot after 3 days and 53 km of hiking. It was nice the reflections on the water, the pictures we took and the winner snickers we had before all the others arrived. Unfortunately not Czech. So the probably just turned after not reaching their first pass.

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IMG_0504But out of the sudden they arrived. And not looking even too bad. Rita in her Sandals and the guys pretty normal and fit in short pants. But then they told us what they were facing and how they managed. They drove by car to their start of the track. They had to do a river crossing first which wasn’t too bad they said. Afterwards they had to climb up to their first pass. Known as pretty hard and a bit dangerous. Especially that time of the year with heaps of snow and ice up there. Remember, Rita in Sandals. After thinking about turning and instead of turning they continued up to some shelter on the top of the pass. They slept there somehow more outside than inside a building with barely no walls. Next morning they left back down, pretty hard again to our first hut, but already one day later. Rita lost her Socks somewhere on the way down, so she had in the end just sandals. Now even better. Next morning, lets say night, to be precise at 3am they started to finish there Track that day/night, whatsoever. 49 km. After the days before. 32 km. Our whole 2nd and third day together. And they had to do it up to 2pm to reach our boat. And they did. They passed the pass in the dark and didn’t see anything up there. The sun raised on their way down. They didn’t made it to the waterfall. Understandable. And they caught us still one our before the boat left. Amazing guys. And remember they drove after Uni on Thursday on Friday 2am until Friday morning from Dunedin to Te Anau to start the track altogether. Just crazy. And they looked pretty healthy and good after all this.

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DSC08025Happy to see them we were talking about our slightly different experiences Smiley until a small boat picked us up and rescued us before the sandflies ate us alive in groups of 8 people. We left as the 2nd group to Milford Sound Village. They had a weird strategy of getting back to the car. A mixture of hitchhiking, Car driving and picking the others up or hitchhiking altogether … and one bus ticket. They forced me to take it and we split up. Me taking the luxury bus, two hitchhiked back to the car, to then drive back 60 km to pick up the others in Milford Village and finally drive home roundabout 6h. Crazy Students.

I went with my Travel group in the bus to most of the spots I’ve been already. But this time I was able to pay attention to the surroundings while driving instead of driving. I was of course happy to have the easy way but I would have preferred to stay with the others. E.g. let one of the Czech drive back the easy way. But they where right it was the most reasonable way even though I had a guilty conscious.

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Anyway guess, after that I went back to Bob and Maxine’s for my last night there.

In conclusion this track was nice and a good one. But for me it is overrated. Compared to the others I did it is I guess only very cool when it rains a lot causing more waterfalls, snowing also causing waterfalls and nice scenery or if it is the only track you did in NZ. In any other case it is just another good track. The Routeburn e.g. is nicer in my opinion. But anyway we had our fun. It was another good experienced and nice to see Cindy again and meet some of her friends.PanoMilfordTrack

fix it, now - 7.5.2012

I woke up that morning and my first thought about going to the barber. So I directly went to the only one in Te Anau after breakfast. The barber already listened slightly amused to my story and how I did it. She then started right on with finishing it. She convinced me to never do it again and instead always let somebody do it who knows how to do it. But jippieh she only asked for 10 Bucks instead of 20. So 50% off. Not too bad. Now I was ready to leave. I topped up gas and left towards Invercargill. Actually Stewart Island cause Invercargill is, lets say okay. Anyway instead of driving directly I took the scenic drive. Its always a bigger detour but I am a tourist and usually it is worth it. I planned on the way to spent 1 Day in between at Lake Hauroko. But I didn’t. I forgot my Chili Con Carne from last night in the Fridge at Bob and Maxines. Fuck, and on the whole way there was nothing to buy. So I skipped it and continued driving to my second place I wanted to stop.

Cliffden Caves

The name already points on the place where there are. Near Cliffden for sure. I parked next to it packed a bit of stuff in my daypack, snatched my headlamp and my Hoodie. Not for styling reasons anymore. Just because its gonna be cold in that cave. It takes roundabout an hour to “walk” through it so I thought I should take that stuff. Well prepared I took last pictures outside and went into it. Small reflective Arrows pointed into the direction to go. In the beginning everything was fine. Just a bit narrow but okay. Until it became even more narrow and tight. The Arrows didn’t pointed the path anymore, more the next tiny gap between the rocks to crawl or squish trough somehow. I didn’t even fit through it with my daypack.

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IMG_0566I had to take it off and throw it through it in advance. I had a lot of fun. Weird to be in there all alone but funny. Sometimes it was even possible to stand up, walk normal only with taking the head a bit down and wide enough for two people. I took some cool pics in there with long shutter times and while shooting I slowly illuminated the scenery with my torchlight. Cool that it worked. I crawled further in passed some more tight passages and then some ladders. It was good. At two spots you even had to somehow get through passages where it is hardly impossible to avoid getting wet. But somehow I didn’t slipped on all those wet rocks and fell into a dark water pool down there.

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IMG_0581Unfortunately there was only two glowworms. They where missing in this cool cave. After the hour I was happy to see natural light again and was pretty surprised that I ended up only a short distance walk around from the starting point but on a different layer. I looked pretty dirty after that. Crawling and squishing through gaps left its traces on me. Cool cave, if you like caves, aye.

I passed some other spots but nothing really impressive. There was the oldest cable bridge. But that usually means just a bit older then 150 Years. Every time you read a sign pointing to a historic site its usually that old. Only the Maori Sites can be way older. I stopped at Jacksons Rest back at the ocean for a cool view back to lovely Milford Sounds and a last look over these Mountains there. Ahead having the huge Ocean where, if you are lucky, Orcas, Hector Dolphins and Wales show up. I wasn’t lucky that day and it was also windy a bit chilly there. So I continued up to Invercargill.

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Invercargill, buuuh

I went to the I-Site and the DOC to book the ferry to Stewart Island and the only Hostel on this Island which is still open. I booked the only Hut on the Raikura Great Walk, cause the other one is being reconstructed. That means I had to do the 3 Day hike in 2 Days, but hey why not. One day less shot off from the world. I went shopping at pack and save to prepare for the Track and Stewart Island and left already to Bluff.

Bluff, buuh again

I drove a bit around there to scout this place and where to stay.I passed some nice natural places but Bluff is a bit like Invercargill, but older. I found a Homestay close to the Harbor from where I had to leave early morning to catch the ferry. Instead of paying 15 $ they offered me to chop some wood with the axe.

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IMG_0597For sure I did it. It was exhausting and I needed muscles for that I didn’t had but after 2 hours I finished a whole bunch of trunk slices, cut them in smaller pieces and stacked them neat in the shed. The I went into the house and started cooking my meal for the next two days. Spaghetti of course. The family living there was a bit weird. Father, Mother and two little childs 3-6 Years old. They had two French Wwoofers to run the household. But somehow it still looked dirty. Even though the Mother didn’t went to work and her husband worked from home. They where friendly and everything but somehow weird. Hard to explain. After I finished cooking, eating I was happy to leave to my car. At least there I still had WIFI reception. And it was a good and safe place to park my car there until I come back from Stewart Island. And I was happy not paying 15$ for all that.

Here I come Stewart Island - 9.5.2012 – 11.5.2012

I made some sandwiches, packed my Spaghettis from last night and left Schrotty behind at the homestay early that morning. My backpack fully packed cause I needed to carry around also the stuff I needed after the walk. The Ferry this time was a big catamaran with just one deck. No sightseeing deck except the open rear side. That day almost nobody wanted to be out anyway. It was very stormy and waves with an elevation from lowest to highest of up to 2 meters. It was very rough and the waves where splashing all over the boat front. It seems to be normal that it’s a bit choppy there. Was good fun anyway. Maybe similar to there Jetboat rides they always offer here on lakes. After 1 hour this part of the trip where over and we arrived in Oban.

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IMG_0829The one and only small settlement out on Stewart Island. With a population on the whole island of roundabout 350 people they at least had a fish and chips shop (closed), a crepe´s place where I've got a coffee. Actually I wanted to get one for free on the boat, cause the check in lady told me there it would be for free it is obligatory. But there was no free coffee on the boat. Anyway they have a tiny 4 Square grocery shop, some Hostels but the only one which is still open in shoulder/off season is crap and a Hotel which includes the only Pub on Stewart Island. Later more about the Pub.

two days Raiura Track

So I grabbed my coffee (fucking expensive 7$), went to the DOC Lady booked the Hut and started directly walking. The beginning and the finish of the track is reachable by foot directly via Oban but a bit out of town. I passed some nice secluded Bays with nice old British holiday sheds until I finally reached the official start of the Rakiura Track (Maori Name of Stewart Island).

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IMG_0682On the first day the track follows the easterly shoreline of the Island and passes some really cool abandoned lonesome bays. There are also a few ascents allowing a good overview over the Island and onto the ocean. Also on this track there are a couple of leftovers from the woodchopper era 1870 around. There are still some abandoned sawmills, and wood haulers scattered. Nobody knows why they have been left there. But this industry of course ended up being not as profitable than others less remote. After 4h of strolling around I already reached my day target.

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IMG_0689The Hut seemed very abandoned too in the first place. On a second glimpse it was too. Nobody there and it looked like nobody would arrive that day either. So all alone. At least I had some music on my phone, some cards to play solitaire (how sad is that, aye) and a chimney. The best part actually is the chimney. I snatched from the wood shed nearby as much wood I was able to carry and started right on with making a fire. It was already getting dark and with it comes the cold. To be honest, it was already cold at daytime, all the stormy wind and gray weather didn’t leave a lot of space for the sun to warm the environment. Fortunately my jacket pocket contained a lighter and the hut contained a lot of burning papers for the start. So it went pretty well and in a jiff the fire was enlightened and heating up the surroundings. But only the close surroundings, so I thought when I’m alone here anyway I could just sleep in front of the heat source. Three benches put together and a mattress out of the bunkrooms upon make up a pretty neat and comfortable bed in front of the fire. Wicked.

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IMG_0642After this accomplishment the sun disappeared completely, so time to go out and search kiwis. I dressed properly with my hunter beanie a headlamp an additional torchlight, just in case, and my gun. Of course not a real gun, but my camera hunting for kiwi pictures. Usually they are very active and spot-able within one hour after dusk. So imagine me running through the nearby woods equipped with torchlights and camera sneaking around, trying not to step on twigs or getting to far off the track. Every now and then stopping and listening for Kiwi Bird noises. Spooky and after 40 minutes of walking through the dark surrounded by cracking and squeaking trees and muddy ground I went disappointed “home”. At least somebody heated up the Hut. Last action that day was to eat some of my spaghettis, load up the chimney with dry firewood, listening to some music and get lost in thoughts until I finally felt asleep. Not for long because I was so hot in my sleeping bag in front of the chimney that I had to open the sleeping bag completely. Then I fell asleep again, until I was waking up again because I was freezing. The fire must have burnt all the wood and the inside temperature must have already reached the outside temperature. But except that I had a good sleep that night Smiley.

Day Two and Three of the Rakiura Track

The last hut (North Arm) is going to be renovated which disallows staying there and causing all hikers to jump over it and do two stages in one go. Which isn't two bad because each part of it is just roundabout 7 km long. I head some of the sandwiches and left early. No idea when exactly because my phone ran out of battery after listening to all that music last night. I demolished my bed and brought everything in place before I left. The track layout here is a bit foolishly done because to continue the track you have to walk back and redo approx. 1h until you get to the intersection with the way land inwards towards the other side of the island. There is also a huge 9-12 Day Track continuing from my hut for the full east west circuit. But way to long for me and it must be very muddy and demanding and this with food for 9-12 Days.

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So nothing for me. Believe it or not food is the heaviest part of the whole backpack. It usually needs half of the space of the backpack and weights the most. Anyway, I walked back took the shortcut, the track inlands through the bush passing more historic steam wood haulers and circular saw blades. It must have been so hard to live out here in the wilderness so remote and work hard in this beautiful but rough environment. Unbelievable somebody chose to live out there. Even though it is a beautiful spot. The whole time while walking I concentrated on my surrounding still spotting for Kiwi Birds, my camera always ready to shoot. Stewart Island and Great Barrier Reef are one of the few Spots in NZ where from time to time Kiwi Birds are even active at daytime. Its because they have almost no enemy and can run around all day long pick with their long beak in the ground. But again I didn’t even see early signs or a Kiwi Bird itself. I they are somewhere to see in the wild then here. Even without Kiwi Birds I had to continue the track.

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The inland part was a bit boring. There are no viewpoints or highlights the whole time. Only those historic sites from the old days. But then on the other side at the coastline again those beautiful lonesome bays. I didn’t know what time it is so I hurried up a bit. Except nice bays the last parts didn’t surprised with anything new anymore. I was happy to hear the signs of the civilization not far ways. A mower and a chainsaw from the DOC guys working at the finish of the track. Nice to see somebody after two days without anyone.

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IMG_0743After a few km away from the finish of the track I reached Oban and this ugly hostel with 70s charm. But the one even in the 70 nobody liked. The rooms where okay but the kitchen smelled and looked weird and showers. Lets just say they had some. By coincidence a Canadian guy, Dan, showed up who just finished the full east to west circle in 9 Days and we ended up in the same room. Both keen for fish and chips we left the Hostel towards town center. After each of us took a long shower and swapped back to normal cloth. Dan already knew this recommend fish and chips shop is closed (of course it must be, like all the good hostels as well) so we went to our only other option the pub with options to get fish and chips and the other positive aspect of having some chilled beers.

Strictly spoken, there was no other choice of starting with drinking because the kitchen opened at 6pm. So we needed a bit abstraction until then. There we met Zak, a guy original from Coromandel living and working down here as a pro diver for a fish/mussel harvesting company. He had a lot of story’s to tell and convinced us to play some pool. We had later our fish and chips. Yummy, some more beers, yummy as well and some drinks sponsored by Zak. Including one for 35$ with a lot of different alcoholics. Delicious one. The pub got crowded for Obans circumstances and Zak invited us and a Irish girl home for more drinking listening to music and eating some dried slices of good meat and sausages Dan and Zak where so keen to have. So Zak drove, yes drove us, 100m, yes 100m from the pub to his house. We says hello to his already sleepy asian girlfriend upstairs. She must have had these situations often that Zak brings strangers home. Anyway he also brought a bottle of rum from the pub to mix it with coke. So we had this dried salami (not too bad, better than most of the stuff here) with crackers. He also had some Spacetrips Smiley. He showed off with his dried beef meat out of the fridge slamming it onto the table, haha, and turned on his speakers full on at night with this ridiculous trance music. Poor Asian girlfriend trying to sleep next door at 2am. We drank some more and in the end disappeared silently but laughing all together, but without him. We struggled finding the right way but in the end ended up in the right hostel. What a funny hospitable typical NZ evening with locals you just met.

 

Last Day, last chance on Ulva Island
If you think New Zealand is already remote what do you think of an island located in an inlet of Stewart Island which is already southerly of the already remote South Island. A 20 min 20 $ boat trip brings you over there. After that night before it was hard to get there on time at 9am but I somehow made it. Not one minute to early. I was the only passenger. What a surprise. It doesn’t really bother me. It was even more magical walking around there. I arrived in this tiny old harbor.

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IMG_0771Original it was the post office with the only islander the post men. No idea why they had here an office. Anyway, Its not a post office anymore. But this property still belongs to somebody who seems to like to be isolated here on this wonderful island. There are heaps of short tracks on it all possible to do and finish in 2h. I had three so I took my time every now and then stop and starring looking for Kiwi Birds. I was told the chances of seeing them there are pretty high. This Island is so unbelievable small and abandoned that the population of 50 Kiwi Birds is pretty high. And they feel safe enough to run around at daytime. Sometimes they even run directly behind the small harbor around when passengers arrive. Of course not for me. I didn’t even see some here. If not others would have assured me they exist I would say it’s a trick from the NZ government to somehow attract tourists. Like with the moa’s Zwinkerndes Smiley.

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IMG_0781At least I was lucky with the weather. It didn’t rain and it was sometimes even a bit sunny and warm. When I wasn’t harassed by a big sea lion, I felt almost over, I hiked through beautiful forests crowded with birds. When you stopped for a couple of minutes they came really close inspecting everything new in their surroundings. They just don’t have any predators so they are kind of fearless and sometimes even follow you for a while. I spotted some other rare birds. One of them even as rare as a Kiwi Bird but less famous. He also can’t fly and is way more shy than most of the other birds down there. After a while I even met other people who must have arrived a bit after me. I went up to the lookout and to the Sydney Beach right next to the harbor and spent a little while there nibbling the Kit Kat’s I bought in Invercargill until my boat arrived. Halfway over to Stewart Island I noticed I missed something. My beloved camera. I must have left her on the bench I had my snack. So we hurried back, of course nobody stole it but I rescued it out of the beginning dribbling rain. Back in Oban I got a ride back to town (5min walk) with guy whose sister is the owner of the closed fish and chips shop.

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IMG_0752Then I spent a while in “Town” and in the 4 Square drinking coffee while I waited for my ferry back to Bluff on the South Island. There all the people I met so far the days before and especially in the pub are running around here as well. 3 Days on this island and you already get the feeling you almost know everybody. Then finally the ferry showed up and took me back to Bluff. This time on a picturesque calm journey over the open ocean. No waves, no ripples just the nice beginning sunset. After picking up Schrotty from the homestay, and not saying goodbye I right on left to Invercargill. I was hoping for getting there early enough for going to the I-Site and getting my refund for two many nights paid for this crappy hostel. Of course I missed it 5 minutes and had to spent the night here. Damned.IMG_0844

IMG_0614I went to MC Donalds. I haven't been at a fast-food chain since Greymouth. And it was very strange. After sitting down with my meal and eating it for 5 minutes a employed lady came by to ask how my meal is. At Mc Donalds. How ridiculous is that. Its naming itself a restaurant but I think even they know their food is shit and on the same level of a food stand. So how good can it possibly be. I said “good” of course and withhold that I’m only here because of the free WIFI which didn’t work, damned. It was already dark and late enough to go and look for a freedom camping spot. Always a bit risky in town but there was a really good one next to a cellphone antenna. I had good reception. Later some guys came. First you are always a bit curios if it is the police or whoever. You’ll never know. But they arrived in their lowered Ford Falcon with massive bass boosted speakers. But they probably where just drinking or smoking before going out that night. It was Saturday, so. After a while they finally left my place and I fall finally asleep. 

© some pictures taken from Milford Sounds, proudly presented and made available by Cindy aka Haarig Zwinkerndes Smiley thanks

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