Page 6 of LivingTheDream Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » New Zealand January 9th 2010

(Day 645 on the road)Great Walk after Great Walk - now the third in a row! This time it was time to hit the waters though, not a trail. Of the nine Great Walks in New Zealand, one is actually a river journey, namely the Whanganui River Journey Great Walk. A mere one hour drive north-west of Tongariro, the main gateway to start the four to five day journey down the river is a small town called Taumarunui. At the very helpful visitor centre I ran into Herbert just after 0900h in the morning, a funky German guy with a long blond beard. We got chatting and about five minutes later decided to kayak down the river together for the next few days. Said and done. Ten minutes after that we were at a local operator ... read more
 I didn't actually kayak down this rapid
Waterfalls everywhere
Time for lunch along the river

(Day 641 on the road)After the Lake Waikaremoana hike, my plan was to spend a few days in the city of Taupo and the lake of the same name, before hiking the four day Tongariro Northern Circuit, another one of New Zealand's Great Walks. Driving over to Taupo, I hit the button "Tourist Attractions nearby" on my invaluable GPS. The very first entry was "Napier Ocean Spa". Perfect! Less than an hour later I was in the pretty coastal town of Napier and in the hot waters. And when I found out that they also had a sauna of top of the various thermal pools in a setting right by the sea, well, what can I say. I spent the next few days hanging around in Taupo waiting for better weather to start the hike, but ... read more
Skidding down the loose gravel in steep Mt. Ngauruhoe
Spectacular sunset over Mt. Ruapehu
Ketetahi Hut at sunset

(Day 632 on the road)Picture a "State Highway". Sounds pretty grand, doesn't it? A well maintained road. Four wide lanes, two in each direction. A divider in the middle to separate the traffic. Well, not so in New Zealand. A State Highway here can be nothing more than a gravel road in a bad condition, as was the case with State Highway 38 that I took from Rotorua to Lake Waikaremoana. Initially I thought I had typed in the wrong destination when my GPS (great investment by the way!) told me that my chosen route included unsurfaced roads. So instead of a smooth two hour drive I found myself practising my drift-driving skills for the next four hours. But the ride was very very scenic for most of the way. Plus it wasn't like I was ... read more
Christmas feeling at Panekiri hut
Sunset over Lake Waikaremoana
Down by the lake shore

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua December 24th 2009

(Day 629 on the road)Rotorua stinks. Literally. The town is situated smack-bang in the middle of New Zealand's most active geothermal area, and everywhere you go the earth is smoking, hissing and steaming, basking the city in an omnipresent strong sulphur odour. It is actually quite a strange sensation to walk around downtown and see steam coming out of the ground in various places. Not surprisingly, the thermal activity with its range of geysers and steaming lakes plus a stronghold of Maori culture (the first settlers of New Zealand) draws tourists in their thousands to the area. On top, the thermal activity also means that the area boasts a number of hot mineral pools - very much to my liking! In fact, less than ten minutes of arriving in the city I had lowered myself into ... read more
Scary Maori warrior
New Zealand imports its Kiwis from Italy - unbelievable
Pretty Rotorua Museum in the Government Gardens

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Coromandel Peninsula December 20th 2009

(Day 625 on the road) "Increasing your carbon footprint." That's how my friend Steven had commented on the news that I purchased a van to drive around New Zealand with. And there is nothing really I can say to counter that argument. With the Copenhagen Climate Conference recently ending in a disaster (thank you China and USA), I had nothing better to do than to buy a car. In any case, I guess travelling the world for an extended period of time is not the most environmental-friendly way to live one's life. By the information given on my route-map, I have so far travelled about 70.000 km in the last 21 months. And the real figure is much higher than that, as the 70.000km only takes into account the most direct connection between any two points ... read more
The road around the Coromandel Pensinsular
Kauaeranga Kauri Trail
Overcrowded and overrated Hot Water Beach

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland December 13th 2009

(Day 618 on the road)I am on the move again. After taking it easy for the last few weeks in Australia with good friends of mine, I have finally arrived in New Zealand. I haven't been so excited about any country in a long time and am thus very happy to finally be here! After a considerable hold-up at check-in for my flight from Sydney to Auckland (I was not allowed to board the plane as I only had a one-way ticket to NZ; they made me purchase a completely unwanted ticket out of NZ) I soon touched down in Kiwi-land. And being upgraded to fly business class on the new Airbus A380 was an unexpected and much welcomed luxury compared to my usual mode of travel: Freshly squeezed celery-apple-carrot-ginger-detox juice, delicious canap├ęs on free-flow, quality ... read more
Hello there, Auckland
Kiwis anyone?

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney December 8th 2009

(Day 613 on the road)Sydney has always been one of the great cities for me. Ever since spending Christmas 1999 and the start of 2000 here with my old high school friend Ann and her parents, I have been wanting to come back. The image of the famous opera house and the harbour bridge were still vivid in my mind when I finally saw them again this time, but it was no less jaw-dropping this time around. I had reached Sydney by relocating a campervan from Melbourne to Sydney together with Chris, my previous travel buddy here in Australia. Those relocations are really amazing if you can get hold of them with their often very inflexible conditions: Basically the rental company needs to move one of their vehicles from A to B, so they are giving ... read more
Opera House and Harbour Bridge at sunset
A relaxing day on Bondi Beach
Hiking in the beautiful Royal National Park  (with Momoko, Miranda, Henry and Carmen)

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne November 20th 2009

(Day 595 on the road)Melbourne is easily the most agreeable and cosmopolitan city I have been to since I left home. Miles apart from the chaos and pollution of some Asian metropolises like Manila, Jakarta or Bangkok still vivid in my memory, Melbourne just has a great feel to it. The mix of different people living here from all over the world is incredible, and the city's location right by the ocean doesn't hurt either. I thoroughly enjoyed the week I spent here. Even better than the city itself was the fact that quite a number of my friends, colleagues from university and people I met during my trip so far are living in Melbourne. After always starting afresh with the countless people I meet all the time on my journey ("what's your name, where are ... read more
St. Kilda beach
Melbourne at night
With Nelly and Steven on Philipp Island

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Great Ocean Road November 13th 2009

(Day 588 on the road)To get from Alice Springs in the centre of Australia to Adelaide down in South Australia, there are three main options if you don't have your own car: Catch the bus ($180, 20 hours), catch the train ($150, 24 hours), or catch the plane ($60, 2 hours). Well, that wasn't a difficult decision since I have long given up my self-imposed no-flying dogma, and so a mere two hours later Adelaide greeted me with temperatures of around 13 degrees. Nice in a way after 40 degrees around Ayers Rock, but freezing nevertheless, especially as I haven't had any cold weather for as long as I can remember. I had been in Adelaide pretty much ten years ago when I spent a university-semester in Perth , but could not remember a single thing ... read more
Old-fashioned school uniforms in Adelaide
Stunning Boroka Lookout in the Grampians National Park
White parrot near Wye river

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Uluru November 3rd 2009

(Day 578 on the road)"The heart. The soul. The centre." I am not quite convinced about the heart and the soul bit of Alice Springs' slogan that greeted me as I stepped off the train, but the part about the centre is certainly true: The city is located a very long way from anywhere else and sits approximately in the geographical centre of Australia. And with only 27.000 people living here, it must be one of the smallest cities that can claim that most people worldwide have probably heard of it. But of course it owes its fame entirely to nearby superstar Ayers Rock (still a six hour drive away though), the main if not the only reason most tourists come here. I had arrived in Alice Springs on a 24-hour train journey from Darwin on ... read more
The sheer and steep climb up Ayers Rock
On top of Ayers Rock
Approaching the Olgas

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