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Hey Dudes,

5 Days ago I've got a Visa remembrance e-mail in my inbox. Main reason: I have to leave the country in 45 days. That’s sad. In the beginning I thought it will take ages until I need to go back home. Now when I look back it went so fast. Its all a bit different then it looked like in the beginning. Anyway, that’s how it is. So I will try to enjoy the left time as much as I can and make the best out of it. When you read this article, see the pictures below and also may have read the other articles you might understand why leaving will hurt quite a bit.

Enjoy reading this with pictures packed entry.

Greets from the bloody German

 

21.5 -22.5 Mueller Hut and Lake Tekapo

IMG_1183IMG_1182I woke up next to this colorful lake with all possible nice blue tones in it. The weather was amazing. Not even one cloud and in the sun pretty warm. And the best no wind at all. Happy about this I drove the last 20km up to Aoraki Mt. Cook Village located southeasterly of Mt Cook It is a small township from the DOC and in the hands of the government just there for the purpose of offering trampers a place to start from or to rest afterwards. It contains a couple of accommodations and the DOC Office where I had to go first to declare my intentions, to book the hut and get some more information about the weather conditions …. My target is the Mueller Hut. A DOC accommodation on 1800 m reachable via a track from Aoraki which is on around 800m. So a pretty steep track when you imagine its just 5.2 km long which takes around 4h to master.

You can get some more information here:

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/canterbury/aoraki-mount-cook/mueller-hut-route/

The DOC Lady said It snowed up there not long ago and hikers yesterday said its about 1m depth snow up there. She advised me to get some crampons and walking poles. Nobody in town rents this stuff in off season so I went without. What should I have done in this situation and it cant be too bad. I paid 35$ for the Hut filled out the intentions form and drove to the starting point.

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IMG_1190I packed way too much food, cloth and other stuff in my bag you need for staying just overnight there. Even a pot for cooking. And some useful stuff like warm sweaters and some socks Smileyand started walking. The first ten minutes where fine. Until I reached the climbing part. From there on it went straight up. The first half of the track where mainly steep steps. 1800 of them. How annoying is that. And it went up and up all the way with almost none flat parts. The view went to none to awesome each meter up I went. It opened the view over to beautiful Mt. Cook or Maori Aoraki. In front of this enormous mountain were two huge lakes served by the glaciers and melting snow from the last days. I took shitloads of pictures while climbing up. And it went even worse when I reached the half way checkpoint where I had nice rest in the sun. And I needed it. After an apple and a muesli bar it had to go on.

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IMG_1214Now the exciting part began. No more steps, wicked. But that doesn’t mean its going to be easier now. It was still as steep. Parts even steeper and the track only marked by poles every 100m or so leading the way up. How you get there is your choice. But in essence it was straight up climbing over all those rocks always looking for the easiest way to get through. And then slightly everything changed. The view was still great, getting better and better. But every meter more and more snow patches appeared. At first only in the shade. Then just scattered and in the end everything was fully covered in the snow hiding all the grass and rocks underneath. In almost one meter depth snow and ice.

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IMG_1251So the way of hiking there changed pretty much. Instead of looking for the least laborious way you needed to spot the safest way. And sometimes the way at all. At some parts it was easy to walk on the iced snow, on others you sink in every step. So in the end you try to use the footsteps of others. Cause everybody is doing that it gets more and more slippery on the iced parts and quite hard to get up there at all. That’s where the poles would have been very helpful. Crampons would have been the beez neez. Nothing of this where present so I had to live with slipping every now and then or having my legs sticking 0.5m deep in the snow. It was good fun. I love snow and ice. It adds so much to the scenery. It became so silent as further up I went. No birds, no animals no nothing. I stopped every minute to take more pictures of the clear blue sky the whitest snow and ice you can imagine brightened by the sun and of the avalanches happening all around me very often. I even shot a short movie of it. Coolio, aye?

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IMG_1283Then after a lot of hard work I reached the saddle. Not a real saddle but the peak of the track where the slope started to get less hard and safer and easier to walk. I took a last view over the area back, the village and the track I went all up. The views where all the time just stunning. From there on the track leaded around some massive rocks and a bit further up more snowfield like. People took different routes from there on you could tell because of all the marks in the snow. No Idea when they have been marked there cause since the halfway stop I didn’t pass anyone anymore. I went of the track a bit to catch a great view on Mt Cook and some avalanches as well. After heading back to the track and further along in the far I spotted the hut.

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IMG_1347I was relieved and happy that it’s close now. As closer I got the more I’ve got the impression it is abandoned. No, not again, pls. There was the Hut build on pales high up to be safe from the rising snow layer or avalanches. Its actually already Mueller Hut 5. The first four where at different spots and all destroyed by avalanches. The first one was built in 1914. Unbelievable that back then they where manually carrying all the construction materials up there. This one was built with the assistance of helicopters and way better equipment. It looked so nice there. The whole building was covered in snow the doors barely accessible. It felt so nice and cozy in there. The location is just overwhelming. It offers a great panoramic 360° view onto all those cool mountains around.

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IMG_1381But before enjoying it I had to run through all the rooms to find out if there is really again nobody there. The Hut is quite spacious containing the main lounge with stoves, two bunk bedrooms and the warden room. Not even the warden who supposed to be there was there. So I was on my own again, like on Stewart Island. Bugger. Good to have some cards with me to be able to play sad lonely solitaire. This Hut even had electricity served by solar batteries and gas stoves with complementary gas supply. Compared to all the other huts I’ve been to, luxury. But talking about luxury I shouldn’t forget to mention the toilets. Not that I’m not already used to long drop toilets, but this was too much. Like always they where located outside around 50m off the hut. Good for keeping the smell away. As I have first seen this toilet I had a good laugh. The explanatory picture was hilarious. But have a look yourself.

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IMG_1365So all this is about is that somebody invented this system to separate the liquid non toxic stuff from the solid. So number can get pumped into the soil, number two stored in containers waiting for getting picked up by a helicopter. All this facilitated by this weird toilet with separate exits for both parts. Good I didn’t had to use it Smiley. It also explains why they have a poo pots to offer at the DOC to avoid these toilets.

After this shock discovery I was hungry, haha. So I went back into the hut. I also needed to make sure I’ll be there when the village calls. They have in this hut a radio system where everybody who climbs up there has to notify the doc and then gets called in at 4:30 pm to make sure you reached the hut and avoid getting searched for. So started to have my dinner. Nice cooked tea with sugar somebody left there, and a weird but tasty mix of a pack of Indonesian instant noodles with the rest of mashed potato powder I had left from the Milford track. It wasn’t too bad. And at least hot.

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IMG_1360I’ve got the call, talked a bit to the DOC guy and he gave me the latest information about the weather forecast up there. And its supposed to stay like that. Perfect. I try to waste some times by playing solitaire and taking pictures and videos all around the hut. I went at least 10 times back out to take more pics of something I thought I might missed before or had to take one again in a different light mood. The sky color changed very quickly when the sun disappeared behind the Mountains.

 

 

 

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IMG_1403From light bright blue in all shades you can imagine to dark blue, purple, shades of yellow red and orange. And still the minimum of light scattering and bouncing around lightened the snowfields enough to be bright and visible. Then it went dark and the first stars appeared. The whole time I was so impressed by the silence up there. Absolutely nothing except the noise when ice is cracking and a deep grumbling caused by avalanches. It was a majestic feeling up there. Maybe it was even better without company. All this just for me. I went in to waste some more time and a tea. I already knew I’m going very early to bed, but I didn’t wanted to sleep at 7pm. I wanted to wait until it is fully dark and all the stars popped out.

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IMG_1421On a day like this it must have been the best possible starry sky you can ever have. The air clean and clear as and no annoying moon destroying it by reflecting bright light. And of cause no light pollution. It was perfect. As you can see on the pics. Within a couple of minutes there where even shooting stars to see, again.

Even though the hut didn’t have any heating for whatever reasons it wasn’t too cold inside and quite comfortable sleeping there.

 

 

 

Next morning

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IMG_1450The sunrise woke me up very early and looked stunning. Because I chilled too long and not getting up directly I don’t have a picture of it. But I can tell you, also very nice colors. Another tea, another muesli bar and breakfast was over. I cleaned up and headed back. The first part was nice and easy but as I headed over this pass thingy again from where it started to get very steeply down it became way harder. Imagine one week old snow melting a bit at daytime and freezing in the night and all those footsteps squishing the snow to slippery ice slides.

 

 

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IMG_1436If the footsteps are separated it is fine and you have grip, or when there is a small rock to give your foot some traction. But a lot of parts where just impossible to walk down so often you end up slipping sliding down on the bum some bits on others you do it on porpoise. Making it even harder for others to get up. And my knees where hurting, walking poles would have been a really good idea. But this part was over soon and I left the snowfields pretty fast. Unfortunately. I liked this part most. So the white snow covered ground turned slowly into rocky and in the end grass covered. And steep rocks I had to climb down tuned into steps again. The way down was way faster. And I even passed quite a lot of people going up. Unbelievable I picked a day nobody went up.

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IMG_1434The last steps where passed, the last flats walked and I have been at my car again. I drove back to the DOC office and informed them I am back and left directly. I could have and should have spent more time there. There are some other less exhausting tracks which supposed to be cool as well. But I wasn’t keen to walk a lot again.

To sum it up, this was one if not even the best short track I’ve done here. The scenery was amazing and the ice, the night sky, stunning views, the avalanches, the cool hut …. I would recommend everybody to not miss out on this one. Its worth all the annoying steps. And a lovely place to stay overnight.

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Lake Tekapo

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IMG_1473I went from Aoraki Village directly to Lake Tekapo. I picked up two backpacking hitchhikers and stopped next to Lake Tekapo at the famous Mt John Observatory. Its there because this area is famous for the clear air and less to none light pollution. On this mountain is a nice café located offering to coffee and muffins also great views over the area all around. It was nice but somehow I’ve been a bit disappointed from Lake Tekapo. It may have been because of the late season I went there. I guess in Summer with green grass instead of yellowish brown grass it may is more impressing. Anyway I went down to town, dropped of the guys and went to a recommend café for some food.
That day I was really lucky and got for 7,50$ a delicious fish and chips meal. The cook was new and prepared the high class dish, not the one I’ve ordered. I then checked in at a crappy camping ground. I should have just freedom camped somewhere. 

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There is no point paying for sleeping in the car 15$ when you have to pay additional 2$ each 10 minutes for the shower. And I hate it when you have to bring all your cooking equipment with you when they have a kitchen there. But to late to check out again. I cooked dinner, helped a old couple who crashed with their caravan into some garbage containers slicing the whole side of it open. Poor guys. And went when it was dark down to the lake and enjoyed the starry sky again. Not as impressive and cool as it have been at Mueller Hut, but still better then probably everything we can see at home. Especially when I think about Berlin where you can barely see hundreds stars. Here you see thousands and the whole Milkyway.

Shaky Christchurch – not for me – 23.5.2012 – 25.5.2012

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IMG_1480I left Lake Tekapo behind where it is and headed to Christchurch and left Christchurch directly on the same day. Its just so depressing there. I went though the new temporary town center, cause I needed to get my new Eftpos card working as an replacement of the one I’ve lost in Dunedin. Things like this are so easy here. I went to a Kiwibank said mine is gone and in five minutes, for free, you get a new one. And here you even can pick your pin. Its so easy. Anyway, I went a bit through the town. But there are not many places to go to. The whole original city center is still in construction and not accessible. When you sit down a while you realize how many people there are hobbling around. And the look very sad, exhausted and unhappy. Its not a nice place to stay long.

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Akaroa

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IMG_1488So I didn’t, changed my plans of staying one night and left to nearby Akaroa. It’s a small town founded by the French on an volcanic peninsula. The best Hostel was already closed like most of the good hostels at this time of the year. But there was one nice one still open I went to in the end. The Chez La Mer Backpacker. It was cozy, it was warm and the people where nice. And I should mention free Wi-Fi. A perfect place to stay for two nights and chill out a bit. Every night the mice took over the place and it was amusing to see them running around in the kitchen. Actually not nice, but they where cute.

 

 

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IMG_1503I didn’t do a lot in Akaroa. On the next day I slept long, ahhh no I didn’t. Because Luisa woke me up Smiley.

She wasn’t staying in the hostel. But passing by noticing my car. So she stopped by and woke me up. It was funny and very unexpected. We arranged to meet on the day after in Hanmer Springs to visit Hanmer and Kaikoura together. Anyway I was awake, took a shower and after breakfast left for a not too long walk through the French named streets. Rue de la …. funny and nice. I didn’t went way further then to the lighthouse. Which may have been 45 mins. In very slow pace. But I chose that day not to do a lot. I needed to save some money. IMG_1499The rest of the day I wrote my blog, baked a bread and booked my flights after NZ. Not all of them to get back home. But at least one from Auckland to Sydney on the 2nd of August and 3 weeks later from the Gold Coast to Singapore. And I tell you, both where cheap as. 500 NZD$ so round about 270€. Wicked. Leaving then from there somewhere, probably Bangkok or Phuket. Only the timeframe is restricted by the amount of money I will have in the end. But I planned to book the last flight later. Cause it also will be in October and it’s a bit of time until I need to make this decision. I also booked already the trip by Inter Islander back to the North Island on 4th of June together with Sebastian. So we can travel together the last bit we wanted to see on the North Island. Raglan and Waitomo for example.

In the evening I had a nice German potato salad Bavarian style, nice tasty meet balls and a beer offered by a nice German/Asian couple. Additional to my spaghetti Bolognese with real parmesan. To much but delicious.

 

Hotspot Hanmer Springs – 25.5.2012

IMG_7325There is not much to see between Akaroa/Christchurch and Hanmer Springs. So I didn’t had to stop a lot in between. I would have if I would have gone instead of Hanmer to Arthurs Pass what I should have done. I missed something there for sure. But anyway I arrived pretty early in the small town of Hanmer Springs, the Rotorau of the South Island, which is like a retreat center for people from Christchurch. It is world wide famous and well known for its hot springs and the bath with all the hot pools. I went to the library for Internet to wait for Luisa. Out of the sudden I there experienced my first earthquake. It only was a tiny one. At least here. In Christchurch it was 5.3 or so. I only felt one shake. Later when I went again to Chch I was told it was a lot more there. A women sat across the table and we only where curious looking at each other if only we felt it or it really was something. After that I realized the Information sign behind me with instructions how to act in a case of a earthquake.

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IMG_7326Luisa didn’t felt anything. She was driving and it seems in the car its less noticeable. Probably it feels like a normal bump in the road. Anyway she showed up and we met at the I-site next to the hot pool area. After sorting this out like what to do and where to sleep we were ready to jump into the pools. We paid 18$ for a full day ticket. Even though it was already 5pm when we went in enough time to say its worth it spending 18$. They have numerous pools there. All a bit smelly, some are really terrible but nice and warm. And its supposed to be healthy for the skin so what close the nostrils and enjoy. We stayed until 9pm when my skin looked like I’m 90. After that we went to the spot Luisa picked to sleep at and she started cooking her meal. I fortunately had still some Spaghetti left from the day before I inhaled hungry as I was. The improvised camping ground was in the middle of a forest a hub to start tracks from. Nobody caught us there sleeping “illegal”.

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