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Running to the beach to watch the sunrise

I wake up thankful when it starts to get light, knowing that I didn’t get in trouble for camping next to the road. Immediately I realize that it’ll be sunrise soon, so I get dressed and run as fast as I can to the beach. Just in time to watch the sunrise as I arrive there. I didn’t even take the effort to put socks on, so I’m just standing there with my bare feet in my hiking boots enjoying the view. I know again that I am so a morning person. I love it how everything looks different in the morning, a new day full of opportunity.

The last view of the moon before sunrise
Sunrise in New Zealand
Moekari Boulders
Sunrise above the Pacific Ocean
Found my dreamhouse
View at Moekari Boulder Cafe
Almost awake
Beautiful bay on the west coast of New Zealand
Driving back to the mountains

After watching the sunrise for a while, I walk back to my car and drive to another touristic location, the Moeraki boulders. Some round rocks, shaped by nature, laying on a beach. It’s nice to see, though not super impressive, but there is a beautiful coffee place right next to the beach where I stop for a while to read a bit and try do some work, but the internet is not working. A table further there is a girl writing in her journal and I get my courage together and start a conversation with her. She’s been living in New Zealand for almost a year and we share our travel experiences. While we’re talking, also some people from the train trip yesterday walk by and I realize that this country isn’t so big after all.

I drive further and after about an hour find myself in a town where I’ve stopped before, about two and a half weeks ago. It’s the town with the restaurant with a fireplace. It’s nice to see a familiar place. I stop there again and where it was almost completely empty a couple of weeks ago, it’s quite crowded now. I drink a cup of coffee, update my blog and send out some e-mails for work. The fireplace isn’t on this time so I won’t stay for reading a book, but continue my journey to Wanaka.

In the evening I arrive in Wanaka, I decide to go for a bit more luxurious camping place this time. I didn’t have a shower for two days and so am happy to find a camping place with hot tubs and a sauna. That’s a welcome comfort I haven’t seen at a camping place here before. After relaxing for a while I make myself a simple dinner. There is a nice living room with fireplace, but it’s too crowded, many people and families with children, so after dinner I choose to go back to my own little space in the camper. In the evening I get some phone calls and messages from work, it stays challenging to combine working and traveling.

A train ride through the mountains

While it was storming when I fell asleep, the weather is quiet and peaceful when I wake up. The sky is blue, almost cloudless and the sun is rising. It’s probably going to be a bright day. I think this is one of my favorite parts of camping, waking up in nature. Just opening the doors of your car when you wake up and stepping outside while you wake up.

Waking up in Nature
Beautiful houses in Dunedin
Me in Dunedin
Camping next to the beach
Beautiful houses in Dunedin 2
Starbucks Dunedin
Breakfast at the beach
Main square in Dunedin
Me hanging out with some seniors in Dunedin

Before I make myself breakfast I walk to the beach behind the parking place. Now that the wind has almost gone, it’s not so cold at the beach and with the sun up the view is amazing. The waves are high and the beach stretches out really far. There is no one there beside me. I stand there for a while and then get the great idea to have breakfast at the beach. I walk back to the car and get my camping table and chair and the food for breakfast. While I’m packing the stuff for breakfast, I discover that I’ve lost my favorite book. I search, but cannot find it. I must have forgotten it at the coffee place the the other day. That’s quite a bummer, but I don’t let it destroy this great moment. I enjoy my breakfast at the beach, it’s lovely. After breakfast, I go back to the car, go online and reorder the book at amazon so I know I can continue reading it when I’m back home.

Old building in Dunedin
The National Bank of New Zealand in Dunedin
Street art Dunedin 2
Old buildings in Dunedin
Queens Building in Dunedin
Tunnel Beach
Another old building in Dunedin
Street Art Dunedin
Tunnel Beach 2

It’s only a short drive of about fifteen minutes to the city of Dunedin. They call this place also ‘Edinburg of New Zealand’, I think because it was founded by the Scots. There are many old and pretty houses and the streets are pretty uphill. I park just out of the city center and when I grab my backpack, suddenly I find my book back. I’m so happy. It’s interesting how you can be even more happy with something once you’ve lost it and find it back. From where I parked I walk to the city center. There are so many old houses and building here and there is also a lot of beautiful street art, it’s really nice to walk and look around. To my surprise I find a Starbucks. I didn’t know there was one here as well and of course I go inside for a cup of coffee and also to update my blog. This is one of the prettiest Starbucks places I’ve seen. There is a fireplace inside and there are large windows with high ceilings, so it looks really big. I update my blog and get to talk to some senior guys who tell me they come here often to talk and hang around. Some of them have been in the Netherlands in the past and we talk for a while about New Zealand and Europe and all kinds of things. I also look up some places to visit here and then go back outside, because it’s a beautiful bright day.

Me at Tunnel beach
Dunedin Train Station
Enjoyin the view from inside an old train
Tunnel Beach 3
Dunedin Train Station 2
Me in the train at Dunedin
Tunnel Beach 4
Me at a train at Dunedin Train Station
Train Ride from Dunedin to Pukerangi

The seniors recommend me to take a train ride and so I go to the train station. The train leaves in 2,5 hours, so I still have plenty of time to do something else. I go back to my car and drive to Tunnel Beach, just out of the city. There are beautiful cliffs formed by high waves. It’s a nice short hike of about an hour and then I drive back to the city.

Crossing an old train bridge
Me at the balcony of an old train
View from the destination of the train
Happy guy in a train
Old Train Bridge
Happy train ride

I pick up some sandwiches for lunch and arrive just in time back at the train station. I get myself a ticket for the 2.30pm train to Pukerangi, a four hour return train ride, so I should be back at Dunedin around 6.30pm. It’s a pretty old train with wood on the inside and outside balconies at the ends of the cars where you can stand on. Taking a train ride like this is something I’d really liked to do and I’m glad I got on one now. During the ride the train conductor gives lots of information about the places we drive by and on a beautiful day like this the ride is very enjoyable. I enjoy my lunch and the scenery that passes by. The train ride is beautiful and passes many mountains and rivers. After about two hours we stop at a mountain which is the destination of the trip. We walk around for about ten minutes and then the train returns to Dunedin. On the way back I spend some time reading, but not too much because I also want to enjoy the ride. Just before 7pm we arrive back in Dunedin. I walk to my car, go to a supermarket for some groceries and then drive to a camping place not too far from the city, because it’s getting dark soon. The camping place is closed, but some local people tell me it’s okay to park there anyway. A bit worried about wild camping, but too tired to continue driving I decide to stay here for the night.

The most South point of New Zealand

Normally I jump out of bed when the alarm goes, but this morning I decide to keep laying for a while. With the sea right behind me and green hills in front of me, it’s quite a peaceful place. I open the door of the camper to let the fresh air come in and stay in bed a bit longer. For a moment I’m wondering if I’ll stay here for a day, but I know myself well enough that I’m quite sure I’ll be traveling further again. I get dressed and make myself some coffee. It’s so windy here next to the ocean that I decide to have breakfast in the car.

Waking up next to the beach
Where should I go next
Hike To The Most South Point of New Zealand 3
Monkey Island - Nice campsite to stay for the night
Living on the Edge
Hike To The Most South Point of New Zealand 2
Most South Point of New Zealand
Hike To The Most South Point of New Zealand
Me At The Most South Point of New Zealand

I drive further South to a town called Bluff. There are only a couple of houses and businesses there, but what makes this place interesting to visit is that it’s the most South point of New Zealand (Stewart Island not included). I park at the edge of the town and do a stormy hike of about 45 minutes to the most south point. There is absolutely nothing there, just a hiking path next to the rocks and a few lookout points. The wind blows so hard that it’s challenging to stand straight and take some pictures. It’s a cool idea that Antarctica is on the other side of the ocean where I’m standing now. From here on the journey continues up North.

As Close to Antartica as I've ever been
Camping Next To The Beach
Ending The Day With A Movie
Windy Roads
Stormy Beach

It starts to rain when I continue driving and so I decide to keep driving further. I make a quick stop at Mc Donalds for fast food and internet and then continue my road trip to the east coast. In the evening I arrive at another camping spot. This one isn’t as pretty as last night, but at least it’s free again, so that’s a good thing. It’s also close to the city Dunedin which I plan to visit tomorrow morning. Outside it’s storming now, the car is even moving a bit by the wind gusts, so I’m glad to be inside and that I can relax now. Some drives might be a bit too long for a day, but the good thing is that I’m a lot further now. I have three weeks left to travel and it’s still a long way back up North.

Milford Sound and going South

I start the day with sending out some last e-mails and updating my blog, because I don’t know when I’ll be online again here at the end of the world. Ok, there are probably places much more remote, but if you need a satellite to go online I think you can call it almost the end of the world. Since I paid a lot to go online, I better make good use of it and I finish my work while having breakfast. It’s funny that just a simple thing as successfully sending out e-mails can feel like a victory when you have such slow internet.

When I’ve finished my work and blog I drive to the waterside. I’m happy I’ve taken care of all the stuff that needed to be done, so I don’t have to think about anymore today and can just enjoy the beautiful nature here.

Working with a satellite internet connection
Planes at Milford Sound
The Chasm Waterfalls
Milford Sound 1
River by The Chasm
The Chasm Waterfalls 2
Milford Sound 2
Me next to The Chasm Waterfalls
The Chasm hike

I walk by the water side of Milford Sound for a while and the view is very pretty, though not as impressive as I had hoped for. Maybe my expectations were too high, but for example I enjoyed the Mavora lakes yesterday much more. I think about what to do next. I don’t feel like going on a crowded overpriced boat on the water, so I inform about the flights over the fjords. Unfortunately you need at least two people for that, so that’s not an option either. I just order a coffee and think I’ll slowly drive back to where I came from. I talk to some pilots sitting a table further and ask if they have flights planned today. The only option they have is a single flight to Queenstown, but then I’m stuck with my car here and they say it’ll be cloudy today anyway, so probably not the best day for flying. I’m glad I asked, because now I can travel further with a good feeling. It was nice to see Milford Sound, but I don’t need to stay here the whole day.

Taking a hitchhiker with me
Lunch with a view
Enjoying the view
Kae bird
Snowy mountains
On the road again
Mountain lake
Selfie in front of some mountains
Lots of sheep

I drive back slower than I usually do and realize that the drive to Milford Sound is half of the beauty of the place. Just after a short drive I stop at a place called The Chasm. It’s a short hike through a forest with many waterfalls. I walk around and take several pictures before I continue the roadtrip. Driving so slow reminds me of a ride in an attraction park when I was a young child, where you could drive a car over a track with rails and see nice things as you went. I think road trips are like that for grown ups. You can drive slowly and enjoy the scenery and if you want more excitement, you just drive faster.

At a wide field surrounded by mountains I stop for a lunch break. I enjoy some delicious bread with cheese and jam. It’s nice how spending just a few dollars more can make such a difference and how you can enjoy a simple thing like really good bread. I drive back to the town Te Anau, where I have a another break for a cup of coffee and to read a book. I search at the map for a free camping place and find one on the South coast, about one and half hours driving and decide to go there.

Sandly Café
Road from the mountains to the south
Pancakes for dinner
Sandly Café 2
South coast of New Zealand
Sunset at the South of New Zealand
Coffee and Carrot Cake
Beach at the South of New Zealand
Sunset at the South of New Zealand 2

What I like most about New Zealand is how many different landscape the countries has. Just half a day of driving shows so many different sceneries. The more South I go, the longer the roads get and the wider the views. I leave the snowy mountains behind me and drive to the more flat coast area. Just like the most north part of New Zealand is it here also quite departed. There are only a few small towns with a couple of houses on the road to the camping place. I arrive there about an hour before sunset. The camping place is right next to the beach, one of my favorite places to camp. I walk at the beach for a while and then bake myself some pancakes for dinner while watching the sunset. I end the day by watching a movie in the camper. It was a beautiful drive today and I’m glad I reached the south side. I’ll follow the coast tomorrow and will then go back North again.

Driving to the end of the world

I wake up early and get my stuff ready for traveling. Because I want to say goodbye to my friends here I have to wait for a while for them to get out of bed, so I decide to walk one last time to the Starbucks downtown. Where it was bright skies for almost a week, it’s now cloudy again, but not too bad.

Last coffee in Queenstown
Road to Te Anau
Vangorn Forest area
Lake and Mountains next to Queenstown
Do I dare to go into Vangorn Forest?
Mountains in South New Zealand
Lake and Mountains next to Queenstown 2
View from Vanforn Forest
Always Coffee Time

With a coffee in hand I walk back to the hostel and say goodbye to my new friends. I am thankful to have met these people and that we had a great time together. I get in my car and turn on the road trip playlist. It feels good to be driving again. I’m driving to the Mavora lakes which is about two hours from Queenstown. The road is absolutely beautiful, especially the last hour on gravel roads. There is almost no one out here, it’s so remote. When I get closer to the lake the mountains come closer as well and on the green fields next to the road are thousands of sheep with little lambs. I think this is one of the most beautiful drives so far. I stop several times to take pictures and also make a quick stop at another Lord of the Rings location, Vangorn Forest. The area really looks like the movie. Then I drive a bit further and arrive at the lakes. The view is absolutely amazing and I walk by the waterside until I get a clear view of the mountains in the distance. This is such a peaceful place, especially if you realise that there is practically no one here within at least 40 kilometers. I’m thinking about camping here today, but since it’s still quite early in the day I decide to drive further.

On the road to Mavora Lakes
Mountains by the Mavora Lakes
Swing bridge at Mavora Lakes
Real New Zealand Landscape
New Zealand Sheep
Mavora Lakes 2
Mirror Lakes

I drive further in the direction of Milford Sound. When I’m driving through the mountains, cell phone reception disappears and I still need to send some work e-mails today, so I keep driving in the hope to get reception again, but I get nothing. Since I can’t go online and it’s still light outside, I decide to drive all the way to Milford Sound. It’s a long and beautiful drive, but I don’t stop for pictures now, because I want to reach it before it gets dark outside. Just around sunset I arrive at the camping place. They have internet here, but it’s quite expensive because it goes via satellite. Something is better than nothing and in the evening I practice my patience while I send out the e-mails and make myself some dinner. It’s not handy that the internet is slow, but I also find it kind of cool to be online via a satellite, that’s a new thing I’ve never done before. Tomorrow I’ll take the time to discover Milford Sound.

Last night at the Hippo Lodge

Today is the first kind of boring day I have since I’m in New Zealand. I need to finish some work, because I don’t know when I’ll have a good internet connection again. I start my workday at a local coffee place where the coffee is delicious, but they only provide internet for half an hour and so I’m soon back at the hostel. I work for most of the day, but also hang out in the backyard with some people from the hostel. I know I’m blessed with a lot of freedom with my work, though it can also be challenging to combine it with vacation sometimes. I don’t complain though, I’m thankful that I can travel so much.

Morning view Queenstown
Spring is Coming
Queenstown in the evening
Cooking Italian Food
Italian Spaghetti
Micky, Hippo Lodge Manager

In the evening I decide to go downtown once more and get some dinner somewhere. Though, the place I want to go to is super crowded, so I change my mind and do groceries instead. I think it’s nicer to eat at the hostel with some good company anyway. Just like the first night I was here I make myself some nice Italian dinner.

At the hostel I run into the hostel manager, Miki is his name by the way, and I invite him for dinner. I think that a nice way to thank a good host is to cook a delicious dinner for them. We have a Italian Spaghetti and a nice glass of wine together and have some more good conversations. I thank him again for the hospitality and for the time here. He really takes the effort of making people feel at home here in the hostel in Queenstown. I enjoyed my time at the hostel and am now ready to travel further to more adventures. It was a nice long week in Queenstown.

Saturday morning run

The sky is clear of clouds when it’s starting to get light this morning. The view of the sun slowly coming up behind the mountains is so beautiful. Already yesterday I had the idea to go for a run this morning, so that’s what I’m doing when I wake up. I first run to the park where we were playing frisbee golf yesterday and follow the water side to the harbor. Then I go uphill in a forest on the foot of Mount Ben Lemond. It soon get’s steep and the run changes into a hike and later into rock climbing. It’s pretty intense, but really beautiful as the scenery gets better the higher I climb. From the hill I run back to the city and back to the hostel. When I arrive, I’ve been on the way for over an hour and I feel great. I love it so much to run.

Sunrise at Queenstown
Running in the park
Rock climbing
Running next to the lake

The rest of the morning and afternoon are quite relaxed. I do the laundry, clean up my car and make up the bed in the car so that I’m ready to travel further again next week. Then I sit down at the balcony with a good book and enjoy the sunshine while I read. I update my blog and do some groceries.

Around five in the afternoon a couple of people go to to the lake because they want to dive from a cliff. I drive with them to the lake, but don’t feel like diving in the cold water today. It’s fun to see the others jump in the water and I’m tempted for a moment, but I know already from a few days ago how cold it will be. Especially now that it’s much colder outside the last two days. I have a better idea, I collect dry wood to make a small campfire tonight. When the others are too cold to stay outside we drive back to the hostel with the trunk full of wood. We make a quick stop at the supermarket for some marshmallows and other food to put on the fire and then go home.

Roadtrip to the lake
Guy from Finland doing backflip from the cliff
Guy from Finland doing backflip from the cliff 2
Collecting wood for campfire
Marshmellow on the campfire

When it’s getting dark we start the fire and put some music on. With some cold drinks and hamburgers and sausages we have a nice dinner with a few guys and then more people join us. Sitting around the fire is always nice and we have a good time together. It’s probably one of my last nights here, since I have decided to hit the road again on Monday. I’ll miss this place, but I’m also looking forward to new adventures.

Playing Frisbee Golf

I wake up with the interesting thought that I could actually see myself living here for a while. No worries mama, I won’t. But it’s a good sign that I’m enjoying my time here. It’s the combination of living in a big house with international people and doing things together while being in a beautiful environment. In the mornings here I do some work and later in the day we hang out together and do fun things, quite a good balance.

It seems to finally becoming Spring, the days are getting brighter and longer. It’s still quite fresh outside today, but I love the fresh air here. During lunchtime I walk home to get food and to continue working at the big table in the living room.

Playing Frisbee Golf
Frisbee and Beer
Me Rock Climbing
Me Playing Frisbee Golf
Boys will be boys
View of last sunshine at the mountains
Frisbee Golf goal behind the trees
Rock climbing
Cheese Fondue for dinner

When I’ve finished work I go downtown to buy a frisbee, because I saw a frisbee golf parkour the other day in the park. Just when I’m in a store to buy one, a guy walks up to me and tells me he has several used ones at home I can buy for just a bit more than the price of a single new one and so I go happily back to the hostel with seven frisbees. Then I collect some people there and not much later we go together to the park to play frisbee golf. For who doesn’t know what that is, it’s mainly the same as normal golf, but then you have to throw a frisbee in a basket. It’s even more fun than I thought and pretty challenging, because there are many big trees in the park. We play for a while and also do some rock and tree climbing and have a great time outside. When the sun is down and it gets colder outside we head back to the hostel for dinner. I think I want to play frisbee golf again one of these days, it’s a lot of fun.

Swimming in the lake

This morning I start with working. I don’t feel so much like working, but that’s the responsibly of having your own business of course. It gives you a lot of freedom, but you also have to work during vacation sometimes. Actually it’s pretty good, since another guy at the hostel is also working on his laptop, so we’re both working at the table in the living room. It even gets better when someone else drops off a pizza of last night which still tastes delicious. I think I can get used to the hostel life. During working I also do the laundry so I have a clean bed and clothes when I hit the road again on Monday.

Coffee in the morning
Free pizza from yesterday
Working in the hoste
Doing the Laundry

In the afternoon I go to the lake with two friends. We sit at a jetty for a while, but then I decide to dive in the water. It’s super cold, but totally awesome. After one time I go in there another couple of times and then warm up in the sun again. It’s so nice to be out here. The only sounds you hear is us talking, some birds in the trees and the water and wind. It’s a perfect day for being at the lake, it’s bright and sunny outside. At the end of the afternoon we go back to the hostel and relax there for a while. I’m glad I’ve met all these great people here.

Diving in the water 1
Diving in the water 3
Sitting at the jetty 2
Diving in the water 2
Diving in the water 4
Sitting at the jetty 1
Having a good time at the lake

In the evening we go to a local bar for a pub quiz. I’m not that good in those quizzes, since I never watch the news, but actually we’re doing really good and end up third place. We have a lot of fun and then go back to the hostel where we watch a movie and hang out until late. Another great day in Queenstown.

View at Queenstown by night

Relaxed day in Queenstown

I plan to make it a relaxed day today and I desire coffee, so I start the morning at Starbucks. I stay there and do some webdevelopment work until the end of the afternoon. Then I go to a famous local food place, the Fergburger. It’s good that I’m there just between lunchtime and dinnertime, because normally there are long lines of people waiting for a burger, but I can order almost straight away. The burger and fries are very nice and so is the milkshake. I guess they think I look like an English prince, since they put the name Edward at the first order and Henry on the second.

Morning view Queenstown
Fergburger 2
Fergburger 3
Fergburger 4
Queenstown Beach

I enjoy a nice lunch and walk through downtown Queenstown. Then I go to the park right next to the water. It’s bright and sunny weather and there are many people outside. On the water are speedboats and in the sky are some paragliders. Queenstown really is a place of activities. I walk downtown again and fine a bar with a big bookcase in the corner, a nice place to read a book. I love to read, but normally I don’t always find the time and rest for it. Now that I’m on vacation it’s easier and I want to make it a habit I can take home with me.

Queenstown Park
Queenstown Park 2
Queenstown Park 3
Reading in a cafe
Kiwi fruit

On my way back to the hostel I get some groceries for dinner. Since I have a kitchen here, I feel like I should make use of it before I have to cook on a gas cooker again next week. I added some more days to my stay here in Queenstown and will probably start driving again on Monday. Back at the hostel I hang out with the other people for a while, play some games at the x-box, have dinner and don’t go to bed too late. Although the evenings are also fun here, I like to stick to an early schedule, because I love the mornings so much. Today was a relaxed day, tomorrow I probably have to do some work again.

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