Flashback: New Zealand News [en]

This is a flashback post, that is, it refers to a long-passed event, or contains content that was originally published through a different channel.
In this case it’s based on an e-mail I sent to a bunch of friends on 2008-03-08 from my trip to New Zealand.

Hi there!

Once again, I’ve been too lazy to write for a couple of months. This time of course I’ve got another excuse: shortly after writing my last newsletter, my old notebook computer broke down:-( I didn’t feel like spending all my time asking my flat-mates to use their computers or running to an Internet café. Though I didn’t hurry to replace the computer, I finally got a new one half a month ago. So now I’m part of the information age again:-)

P1: Looking Stupid in the Mountains

The fact that I got my first non-IT job in years in December is another reason for not spending too much time on computers recently. As indicated in my last mail, I applied for several bar jobs in Queenstown. I was soon accepted at a place called The World Bar, one of Queenstown’s most busy backpacker bars. Work there was quite stressful and shifts usually where from 9pm to about 4:30am. However it was an easy job with no responsibility and consequences whatsoever, and therefore quite relaxing. It was also good fun as you can imagine. It’s not like you get drunk during work, but more often than not you get around to have a couple of drinks yourself. Also, you get to know lots of people working at other bars in town, so you get great discounts everywhere. After a
couple of weeks, Queenstown really began to feel familiar, cause I met friends anywhere I went.

P2: Top of the Remarkables: Single Cone
P3: Descending the Remarkables towards Alta Lake

The more relaxed work schedule at The World Bar also gave me the opportunity to explore more of Queenstown’s surroundings. I was able to do a couple of nice one-day hikes, with my flat-mates and my colleagues from the bar. For instance we hiked the first section of the famous Routeburn Track, a place called Glacier Burn near Glenorchy [P1], and Single Cone [P2][P3], one of the highest peeks of The Remarkables (and pretty scary.) I also bought a used mountain bike, and did some tracks around Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown Hill. One day a friend took us to the other side of Lake Wakatipu by car [P4] and we cycled about 60 km through a lonely valley and along the lake’s shore until we reached Walter Peak, a place connected to Queenstown by a tourist ship [P5].

P4: Another Cable Bridge Near the Movora Lakes
P5: Free Boat Trip on Windy Lake Wakatipu

As mentioned last time Queenstown offers a wide range of organized tourist and adventure activities. One of the advantages of working in hospitality is that you get lots of activities discounted or even for free. Consequently I got to do a rafting trip, a riversurfing trip
(floating down a white-water river on body boards), and the Luge (similar to a downhill go-kart track using unmotorized vehicles). My flat-mates also bought me a “Fly-By-Wire” ride for birthday, which let’s you fly around in a a small propeller-driven plane hanging down on a long rope. You then swing around on that rope like a giant pendulum. Sounds weird, but it’s good fun. Moreover there actually are some free adventures in Queenstown: There is a really nice cliff that allows diving into Lake Wakatipu [P6] and nearby lake Hayes even has a nice swing leading into the water. Admittedly, I’ve avoided the Queenstown’s classic Bungee attractions so far, partly due to their high price but
mainly cause I’m really scared of that. Probably I’ll take my chances with that later on…

P6: Cliff Diving into Lake Wakatipu

Since I wrote last time, I’ve only been to longer trips twice. The first time, I celebrated my first Christmas on the beach in a region called The Catlins in the very south of New Zealand. We went there with my flat-mates and some other Czech guys (yeah, I’m rather improving my Czech over here than my English) and we visited some local sights [P7][P8] and had two nice days at the beach and a Christmas Eve BBQ. I did miss the snow of course, but it’s good to have some change from time to time. On that Christmas trip I also tried surfing on a body-board for the first time in my life. At least it was the first time I tried it seriously, and it worked out very well!

P7: A Beach We Visited at Christmas
P8: Inside the Cathederal Caves

The only time I did some real surfing so far, was on my second trip, which was to Dunedin. That’s one of the largest towns in the south, and we stayed in a sweet little hostel that was located in an former lunatic asylum out of town. The first day we went to explore Dunedin and the surrounding landscape, seeing lots of beautiful landscapes and exotic wildlife [P9]. The hostel also offered surf trips for a small fee, so we joined in twice. Though we had some surf, the conditions where far from perfect, and two days is simply too little to get into that sport again. So I really hope I can get some more of that in the future…

P9: Penguins at the East Coast by Dunedin

That’s one of the reasons why I left Queenstown [P10][P11] one week ago and why I’m heading for New Zealand’s North Island now. Though I know some other guys traveling north at the moment, we were not able to agree on a common schedule. Most people here are somewhat chaotic unfortunately:-( Therefore I bought my own small camper van (a used Nissan Vanette) and I’m traveling on my own for now. Let’s see if I’ll be able to meet my friends on the North Island:-)

P10: Rainy Queenstown
P11: Me and My New Van

As mentioned, I already left a couple of days ago, and so far things are working out quite fine. Surprisingly, the car has been doing pretty well, and I hope it won’t give up on me during the next couple of weeks. I’ll fill you in on the details of my travels next time. For now, let me just tell you that I’m on the northern tip of the South Island and I gonna ferry over to the north soon. There I hope to find some nice beaches and finally do some more surfing amongst others.

If possible, I’d like to pick up another Job in a nice little town nearby the sea (I already know about some candidates) and stay there for about 2 months. However, I will return to Queenstown eventually, since I decided to catch the beginning of the next snowboard season in June. I already bought a season pass, since they give you good discounts when you buy early. But now worries, I won’t be staying in NZ for ever. The flight ticket I have is only valid till August, so I won’t even be able to stay till the end of the season.

This of course means, that I will finally be back to Munich then. I have to admit, I’m beginning to miss it a lot. Hope to see all of you Munich guys after I return! I know you may have your own traveling plans, but I’m really looking forward to meet you back home eventually! That’s all for now, I must have filled up pages already. I’d love to read your story soon!

See ya,
Michi

PS: I already got rid of that strange beard you can see in some of the photographs. No worries!

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