17.o4.2o19 • Auckland

kia ora & welcome to `Aotearoa´ which is the maori name for the country of `New Zealand´. its literal translation would actually be `the land of the long white cloud´ as the first people who discovered `New Zealand´ first thought it wasn’t a new country but just a big cloud !! but still today the maori language culture & history plays a main role in `New Zealand´. lots of public signs or writings are written in english & maori language & even on the cover of the official `Lonely Planet´ travel guide for `New Zealand´ you can find its maori translation !! when i first arrived in `Auckland´ i didn’t know anything about the history of `New Zealand´ & now after just one week here i already got to know so many impressive stories about the native inhabitants & their way of living celebrating speaking & just being part of `Aotearoa´ .. it’s fascinating !! so if you are interested in the history of `New Zealand´ i can definitely recommend joining the `Free Walking Tour´ in `Auckland´ starting everyday at 10 am or 2 pm .. it’s absolutely worth walking through the city for 3 hours :)) another place you should visit here is the fantastic `Auckland Art Gallery´ right next to `Albert Park´ in the city center !! interesting fact: even though `Auckland´ is the biggest city of `New Zealand´ it’s not its capital. `Wellington´ which is located in the very south of the northern island was chosen as the capital of `New Zealand´ as it was closer to the southern island where they discovered gold occur even if `Wellington´ was & still is much smaller than `Auckland´. it’s not about the size !! but still `Auckland´ is one of the most popular & multicultural cities on both of the islands. however `Auckland´ is surrounded by beautiful nature & cute suburbs as well just like the little village called `Devonport´. i spent most of my time there as the host i stayed with owns a little airbnb in the center of `Devonport´ called `Karin’s Garden Villa´. it was a lovely calm place to stay but still only a 10 min ferry drive away from the city !! perfectly located with some gardening work for me to do it was just the ideal first workaway on the north island of `New Zealand´ :)) i spent my afternoons in `Corelli’s Café´ (famous for its coconut hot chocolate & the longest evening sun) planned my travel route checked out some of the fancy art galleries book & op shops & enjoyed to finally having arrived in `the land of the long white cloud´. my favorite place in `Devonport´ was the top of `Mount Victoria´ from where you had a great view all over the imposing skyline of `Auckland´. nothing better than sitting in the grass on top of a mountain watching the sun going down behind the skyscrapers & dipping the whole world into a golden shimmer !! one week in `New Zealand´ already & i haven’t seen much of its beautiful nature so far .. but this is going to change soon :)) tomorrow i am going on a one week sailing turn in & around the `Hauraki Gulf´ to explore some of the thousands of islands out there !! can’t wait to see more of the beauty of `New Zealand´ & am so excited for everything that’s yet to come :))

27.o4.2o19 • Hauraki Gulf

off to the next adventure !! after one week in the big city i was more than ready for exploring the wild side of new zealand. and i don’t think there is any better way of getting to know the islands around `Auckland´ with its extraordinary nature & wildlife than going by boat !! pretty spontaneous i decided to have a look on `findacrew.net´ a website for sailing enthusiats & a great opportunity to go sailing without spending a fortune. and i was lucky !! together with another german girl & our skipper named `Bruce´ i started a 5 days sailing trip through the `Hauraki Gulf´. we met at `Bucklands Beach Yacht Club´ at 9 am got everything sorted checked the boat called `Costa Minta´ & then finally said goodbye to the mainland & sailed off !! i was more then happy to finally feel a windy breeze in my face again to hear the sound of the waves & simply to be on a sailing boat again .. man i missed it :)) so now i would love to tell you all about our route through the `Hauraki Gulf´ in more detail !! day 1: `Bucklands Beach Yacht Club´ to `Rangitoto Island´ .. our first stop after leaving the harbour was little `Browns Island´ .. a small island with nothing but trees & birds on it. no people no houses no wifi .. just amazing !! we anchored in a bay with crystal clear water & went over to a long black sand beach by dinghy (this is a little paddle or motor boat all bigger sailing yachts carry with them to go ashore when staying outside of the harbour) we then hiked through the unnaturally green hills of `Browns Island´ .. the colors in new zealand are very intense in general .. everything seems lighter & more saturated !! we watched a lot of birds on our way & our skipper gave us some private lessons in new zealand bird studies haha :)) and even though we didn’t spot a kiwi yet we saw tuis, kakas, fantales & even a little kingfisher !! next to the silver fern the kiwi bird is one of the symbols of new zealand .. but kiwi has quite a few meanings: it’s not only a delicious fruit which was named after the native black feathery animal called kiwi but it is also used as a synonym for the inhabitants of new zealand. so far so good .. 2 germans & a kiwi on their way through the wilderness :)) from `Browns Island´ we took off for our place to stay for the night near `Rangitoto Island´. we had a good breeze & sailed around 4 knots with a constant wind until we reached `Islington Bay´ in the late afternoon !! as `Rangitoto Island´ is a natural reserved island with lots of protected animals & plants as well as the result of a vulcanic eruption with some spectacular lava caves inside the mountains Luise (the other german girl) & i decided to go for another evening hike on this amazing little island. we had to walk one hour to get to the lookout on top of the mountain but wow it was so worth it !! we arrived right in time for the sunset with a stunning view all over the `Hauraki Gulf´ & the skyline of `Auckland´ surrounded by nothing but wilderness silence & pure beauty. this was the moment when i finally realized i really made it to new zealand .. one of the most beautiful countres in the whole world !! we made our way back down to our boat in the light of the fullmoon accompanied by a little owl which would follow us all the way to the little bay where we anchored .. we called her `Marama´ the maori name for moon :)) as the sunset was at 5:3o pm it was pitch dark when we came back on board but luckily our lovely skipper had already prepared our dinner & even though it is not that easy to cook properly in the little cabin on the lower deck it was the most perfect dinner ever !! pasta with canned tomato sauce & salad together with some white wine & a lovely company somewhere out on the sea .. what a beautiful way to end the first day of our sailing adventure :)) day 2: `Rangitoto Island´ to `Motuihe Island´ .. the next day would be super sunny but not windy at all so we decided to motor to the next island near by to go for another hike. and that’s what we did !! but guess what we saw on our way .. a little blue penguin swimming in the water right next to the boat .. my first every penguin & i couldn’t have been more excited :)) after this little surprise which kind of made my day already we anchored at `Motuihe Island´ at around noon & after a quick lunch we got ready to explore another island !! we did a big loop along the coastline checked out several beautiful beaches spotted a little lizard in the woods & climbed quite a few hills. i just felt so happy about finally seeing what people were talking about when mentionning the beautiful & scenic landscape of new zealand with my own eyes .. they didn’t exaggerate !! in the evening we watched the sun going down behind the horizont while drinking wine on the upper deck & listening to the waves .. it literally felt like dreaming (especially as wind & waves are both making me so tired .. no the best condition for being a sailor i know .. haha) day 3: `Motuihe Island´ to `Waiheke Island´ .. on our third day out on the sea we sailed all the way to one of the biggest islands in the `Hauraki Gulf´ called `Waiheke Island´. it is also possible to go there by ferry from `Auckland´ by the way .. so if you are into nice hiking trails & wineries you should definitely visit `Waiheke Island´ !! after we found a good place for anchoring in a lovely little bay called `Putaki Bay´ we set off for another hike to the other side of the island where we went swimming on `Palm Beach´ .. cold but refreshing :)) afterwards we ate the best fish’n’chips in a little café near the beach & made an easter grocery shopping list .. especially healthy of course !! we climbed up to another lookout & enjoyed an amazing view all over `Waiheke Island´ & then made our way into town to get some food. right in time for sunset we got back on board & watched the sun setting behind a deep red sky .. yes good weather tomorrow :)) day 4: `Waiheke Island´ back to `Rangitoto Island´ .. easter sunday !! after a quick breakfast we motored into the next bay called `Rocky Bay´ which is located right next to the `Whakanewha National Park´ where we intended to go for a `short hike´ that day .. well plans change :)) we did the hike BUT we ended up on the highest hill of `Waiheke Island´ in one of the best wineries of the island called `Batch Winery´ where we had the best lunch with homemade cheese grapes dips & crackers & a freaking delicious wine tasting !! we sat in the sun ate & drank enjoyed the stunning view over almost the whole island & simply felt happy to be right where we were .. couldn’t have imagined any better way to spend an easter sunday :)) the hardest part was actually walking all the way back to the boat as we all were a bit tipsy & sunburned haha .. but we made it & the sailing adventure began !! it was super windy that day with a fresh breeze from the north west which was perfect to sail all the way back to `Islington Bay´ next to `Rangitoto Island´ where we wanted to spend the last night on the sea. we had to lash down & store everything checked all the sails twice & put on our sailing gloves .. i felt so damn professional haha .. especially when Bruce told me i would be skipper for today :)) so off we went into the rough sea & it was just the best sailing day ever !! we speeded up to 6.2 knots which was just the high speed limit of the `Costa Minta´ & managed to sail a distance that took us two days in just 3 hours :)) it was cold it was stormy it was exhausting & it was one of the best days in my entire life .. nothing but freedom & happiness !! day 5: `Rangitoto Island´ back to `Bucklands Beach Yacht Club´ .. the last day of our journey through the `Hauraki Gulf´. we had to leave the bay at 7 am already to get back into the harbour by high tide where we arrived at 9 am right before it started to rain !! lucky us we had such good weather on our sailing trip :)) this was my first experience with `findacrew.net´ & i would definitely recommend it to everyone who is up for an adventure on the sea .. even if you don’t know how to sail yet i swear you’ll enjoy it !! just give it a try & hey: fair winds & following seas :))

when on our evening hike all the way up to the summit of `Rangitoto Island´ !!

o1.o5.2o19 • Wellington

finally made it to the capital of new zealand: windy `Wellington´ also known for its vibrant creative & energetic personality & probably one of the coolest capital cities i have ever been to !! but it’s not only the city itself that makes the lower part of the northern island of new zealand so special .. the whole `Kapiti Coast´ stands out with its natural beauty & diversity. keen on going for a bike ride ?! there are loads of walking & biking trails along the beautiful coastline leading through sand dunes past sheep & cattle pastures towards little villages full of art music & good coffee places. furthermore you can find a lot of parks & nature reserves all along the beaches of the `Kapiti Coast´ as well as the famous `Kapiti Island´ where you can see some of the most exotic wildlife in new zealand !! interested in local art & music ?! `Paraparaumu´ & `Paekakariki´ are just two of all the places where you can get your daily dose of culture & as the names already reveal you’ll find quite a lot of maori influence around there. i am quite impressed by the kiwis for being so close to & also pretty proud of their history & ancestry .. a beautiful way of keeping the community of a country together .. shouldn’t it be like this in germany as well ?! however `Wellington´ reminded me quite a bit of europe & took me on a little journey through `Amsterdam´ past `Hamburg´ & all the way to the capital city of germany `Berlino´ .. well this is what i call a cosmopolitan city :)) the refreshing location right on the waterfront as well as the fancy shops & hip street art in `Cuba Street´ made it so easy to get lost between chill vibes & good mood somewhere on my street strolls !! especially for art enthusiasts `Wellington´ is the way to go: next to the `Portrait Gallery´ & the `City Gallery´ the famous `Te Papa Tongarewa´ museum surprises with an extraordinary exhibition on the occasion of `Anzac Day´ in order to remember of the `scale of our war´ .. a captivating mix of art & history & definitely worth a visit or two :)) on my last full day in `Wellington´ i took a ride on the famous red `Cable Car´ all the way up to the `Botanic Gardens´ & got the most amazing view all over the city & beautiful `Wellington Harbour´ !! i really enjoyed my time in & around `Wellington´ not only because of the good city vibes but also because i found such a lovely place to stay. my workaway host not only introduced me to the kiwi music & movie culture (check out `The Black Seeds´ for some original kiwi reggae sounds) but also gave me quite a few insider tipps & recommendations for the best vintage stores & fancy cafés which i would love to share with you as well. so i decided to write an extra blog post about the top spots in `Wellington´ .. for food lovers book worms shopping queens & coffee addicted people like me .. check it out on my personal blog :))

2o.o5.2o19 • Christchurch

two weeks ago we took off for a little adventure & started our roadtrip accross the southern island of new zealand. honestly we didn’t know what we are doing .. none of us ever rented a car or drove on the left side of the road for longer than 3o min .. but in the end we did exactly the right thing !! we hired a selfcontained camper from `Escape Camper Rentals´ which was probably the fanciest van i’ve ever seen & set off towards the west coast on the 6th of may to experience the van life in new zealand .. a little dream was finally coming true !! so what do you need for two weeks living in a camper van ?! we had no idea. but we did pretty well actually: first of all we went shopping. pasta pasta & pasta plus a few cans of veggies & a canister of water. survival package complete. you going to camp in new zealand in winter ?! yes. a lot of people looked at us like we were crazy & well maybe we were but sometimes you just need to be a little crazy :)) we grabbed as much blankets from the hostel as we could & put on our warmest sweaters & felt so damn prepared for this roadtrip !! oh wait .. forgot to tank up :))

day 1: `Arthur’s Pass´
our first day on the road lead us from `Christchurch´ through the stunning `Arthur’s Pass´ towards the west coast .. we drove past an almost unreal landscape full of mountains, lakes & hundreds of sheep in between. we just couldn’t believe our eyes & freaked out after every turn we made .. new zealand is so damn beautiful !! in total we drove 3 hours that day & arrived at our campsite located in `Cashmere Bay´ right in time for sunset .. what a perfect first day !!
campground: `Iveagh Bay Campground´ in `Moana´

day 2: `Pancake Rocks´
we woke up with the most beautiful view over `Lake Brunner´ & made breakfast in our little van like real professionals :)) i still remember this feeling of pure freedom drinking burned coffee & warming up our hands on the little camping cooker & guess what: we felt so grateful .. not only for bringing enough gas bottles haha :)) real talk: it’s just so cool to wake up somewhere out nowhere not knowing where you gonna end up that day !! we went to visit the fancy `Pancake Rocks´ a bit north of `Greymouth´ & drove down south the coast afterwards. somewhere on the road between mountains & waves we listened to roadtrip music & our biggest worry was where to find a hot shower :))
campground: `Okarito Campground´ (hot shower available for 4$)

day 3: `Franz Josef & Fox Glacier´
oh rainy day !! but at least we got a hot shower :)) we made our way further down the west coast past two of the most imposing mountains of new zealand: `Franz Josef Glacier´ & `Fox Glacier´ .. mist rain & snowy peaks .. this is what i call impressive views !! but the biggest adventure of the day still were the winding roads & one way bridges through the deep jungle of the `Westland Tai Poutini National Park´ & all the way over the famous `Haast Pass´ towards the inland again.
campground: `Cameron Flat Campground´ near `Blue Pools´

day 4: `Wanaka´
as we spent the night right next to the pretty popular `Blue Pools´ we went to see them in the morning before the big crowd was coming but what a flop: they were all green haha ?! but still it was a very nice walk & well we saw something most of the people didn’t see .. it was just special :)) but this day would still bring much more .. we finally made it to `Wanaka´ a little town right beside the `Lake Wanaka´ & went on the famous hiking trail to `Roys Peak´ .. exhausting but so worth it !!
campground: `Lowburn Harbour Overnight Campervan Parking´

day 5 to 8: `Queenstown´
on our way from `Wanaka´ to `Queenstown´ we made a short stop in the historic town of `Arrowtown´ where we topped up our equipment of warm stuff & bought another blanket, gloves & the typical touristic `i love new zealand´ beanie .. but hey it kept us warm :)) 3o min later we finally made it back to civilisation .. after days of cruising through outback it felt so good to be in a proper city again !! even though we planned on spending just one arvo here we ended up staying for 4 days .. we just loved this vibrant city & the delicious `Fergburger´ :)) plus we both felt like doing something crazy again: so while my friend got herself another tattoo i went skydiving from 12ooo ft all above `The Remarkables´ .. the highest mountains around `Queenstown´ .. best decision ever i swear !!
campground: `12 Mile Delta Campground´ & `Moke Lake Campsite´

day 9 & 10: `Milford Sound´
after 4 days of drinking barista coffee & eating the best vegan raw treats in the fancy `Vudu Café´ in `Queenstown´ we felt ready for the next adventure trip again !! if there is one thing you shouldn’t miss when visiting new zealand it’s `Milford Sound´ .. this magical place completely blew our minds. as we didn’t want to do the touristic boat trip we decided to go for a walk along the sound & wow it was beautiful & so not crowded :)) `Milford Sound´ was one of the highlights of our roadtrip for sure !!
campground: `Henry Creek Campsite´ & `Kingston Campground´

day 11: `Lake Pukaki´
after a short coffee break in our beloved city `Queenstown´ we finally said goodbye & started heading towards the north again. first stop: `Twizel´ a small town near `Mount Cook Village´ & a good spot to top up food or better to buy more pasta & wine :)) we continued our drive towards the `Lake Pukaki´ which just made us speechless .. that colour ?! i’ve never seen a lake in such an intense light blue before .. wow !! lucky us we found the most amazing spot to park our van right next to the lake with a stunning view all over the impressive mountains .. our destination for the next day.
campground: `Lake Pukaki Reserve´ (so so beautiful)

day 12: `Mount Cook Village´
we woke up to freezing temperatures & the most beautiful sunrise .. lucky us we got the perfect weather for our trip to `Aoraki´ or better `Mount Cook´ alias the tallest mountain of new zealand !! this was the most scenic drive of our whole roadtrip for sure .. like literally it was hard to take our eyes off the stunning landscape & everything around us .. it felt like a farytale :)) actually we wanted to do the `Hooker Valley Track´ but as it was closed we went to see the `Tasman Lake´ & the famous `Blue Lakes´ which were green once again .. lol our luck !! we just spent hours sitting there on top of that hill overlooking the lakes & the wide veld shimmering in the evening sunlight .. happiness :))
campground: `White Horse Hill Campsite´ (hot shower available for 4$)

day 13: `Lake Tekapo´
after surviving the probably coolest night of all in `Mount Cook Village´ we drove all the way back to `Twizel´ to warm up in a little café .. ok maybe we also had to try the choc chip muffins but we definitely deserved them haha :)) our route then lead us past `Lake Pukaki´ again & accross `Lindi’s Pass´ to our final destination: `Church of the Good Shepherd´ next to the beautiful `Lake Tekapo´ with the same stunning colour as `Lake Pukaki´ .. a MUST SEE when in new zealand !! furthermore we found a gorgeous little place to camp near there .. we even made a little campfire & watch out cliché .. wrote a little message in a bottle & sent it on its way through new zealand .. felt so old school :))
campground: `Pattersons Ponds Camping Ground´ (best ever !!)

day 14: `Akaroa´
it was pretty hard to leave this little paradise alias the best campground of our trip but it was time to get back & that was still quite a way !! from `Lake Tekapo´ we took the road to the east coast until `Timaru´ & from there the highway leading to the north again. we spent the last night in our little van called `Rikkie´ named after the artist who designed this beauty in `Akaroa´ the peninsula in the south east of `Christchurch´. we parked right at the harbour in the heart of a little village & watched the sun going down behind the sea !! one last time: pasta & canned veggies rap music & rosé deep talks & the certainty that we made the absolute right decisions just because we had the time of our lifes in a little camper van somewhere in new zealand :))
campground: `Akaroa Freedom Camping Area´