Jessica de Heij
I'm a dutch blogger who has the travelbug but i'm currently doing a internship in New Zealand. Read all about my adventures in kiwi land.
# Visited15 countries
Next TripPatagonia hopefully?? ;-)
Travel QuoteIt's a dangerous business going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.
I was sitting in my t-shirt in Federation square, just enjoying the beautiful blue sky and the warm sun. I saw people who just finished their christmas shopping or were leaving the many different art galleries around Federation Square. Me, I was just relaxing and enjoying my time in Melbourne and looked at the cathedral, where they displayed a christmas tree and stars on the cathedral. I loved this moment.
That was exactly one year ago. This year I'm back in Holland again. Happy to be back seeying my friends and family again. Although I love my friends and family very much, christmas is always a bit different here. It's mostly cold, there's not a lot of sun and of course there's the occasional family drama. A lot of people think it's weird to celebrate christmas in the sun. Why? It's perfect. Ok, you don't have any snow but what is more perfect than having a barbecue on the beach, seeing the sunset and celebrating christmas. I loved it!
What do you prefer? A christmas in the sun? Or a christmas in the snow?
Queenstown oh yeah baby! Every tourist that goes to New Zealand, also goes to Queenstown. You would think it's really big, but it isn't. It's just an little town where the most tourist come to party and the locals to enjoy the amazing ski area called "The Remarkables". The town was actually named after a queen Victoria because of it's beauty. A town fit for a Queen. I don't know if Queen Victoria was beautiful, but Queenstown was definitely amazing. Ok, it was overcrowded with tourists but that was exactly nice for a change. For the last couple of weeks I felt sometimes like the only tourist in New Zealand. Crazy right? The first day I went for a walk to the skyline. You could also take the Gondola, but I decided to walk. Much cheaper and more time to make beautiful pictures. It took me 2 hours to get the top. I was totally exhausted when I finally reached the top, but it was totally worth it. It was one of the most amazing views I've ever seen. The sky was blue so you could see as far as the eye could see. I took like a million pictures while I tried to catch my breath. Look at that amazing view..... On the top you have some tacky tourist shops and overpriced coffee, so I didn't stay too long. I took another route down. It took me along a old waterpipe. One of the first of this area. It was a beautiful way down and in the afternoon I walked along Lake Wakatipu with the amazing mountains in the background. I now knew why everyone stayed here, it's such a magical place. One of a kind.....
After windy Surat Bay, I drove along the coast to Te Anau. Where famous sounds where. You know...the Milford Sound and Doubtful sound. Te Anau was a really beautiful place with a beautiful lake and the sounds in the background. It was a little town, that mostly popular was in summer because now it was almost desserted. But no worries, without the tourists it was even more beautiful :-)
The next day I headed to Milford Sound. 120 km to the Sound and 120 km back. The highway to Milford sound dates back to the 1930's but I was happy it gave me the opportunity to go there. I also wanted to go to Doubtful Sound but that was almost impossible (unless you have lots of money ;).
On the way to Milford Sound[/caption] The Lonely Planet warned me about the big buses headed to Milford Sound. They told me to avoid the mornings and late afternoons. But ofcourse I didn't listen. In Te Anau it was pretty much desserted, so Milford Sound would be the same, right? I was totally wrong!! Lots of big buses, especially chinese. Yeah, chinese are pretty much everywhere. But in the end, I did a pretty good job of avoiding them. Cheers for me. :-) And it was a pretty amazing view. I didn't do a boattrip to see the sounds upclose but the drive was well worh it. Alrighty and now back to Te Anau. Another 120 km's and after that heading to the party and ski town called: QUEENSTOWN!.....
Before I left Mt. Cook, I took one last look at the amazing view. Staying longer was no option, because there was so much more to see in the South. Early in the morning, when my carwindows were still frozen, I decided to drive more south, towards Oamaru. I drove along a few beautiful lakes that New Zealand has to offer: Lake Aviemore, Lake Benmore and Lake Waitiki.
Around noon I arrived in Oamaru. Best described as a sweet, little town. I rang the doorbell at the hostel, that was situated just off the main street. A woman in nightgown opened the door:"Love, come on in! It's a bit of a mess (you might say that!) but I decided last minute to go to London, to see the olympics and my son, who lives in London". She decided to close the hostel for 2 weeks. "Oh, and you have to take this". She gave me a list of all the backpackers that made reservation in this hostel but were going to the Empire Hotel backpackers.
Before she send me off for my mission, she gave me some tips about what I should definitely should see here in Oamaru:" You have to go to the penguins tonight, just after sundown, just follow the smell, oh and don't forget to go the farmersmarket, oh and you have to see this en that....." A lovely women but a minor case of ADHD.
I drove with my list to the Empire Hotel Backpackers where I also was staying. It took me quit a while to find the hostel. You wouldn't think it would be so hard because it was on the main street. When I arrived, I was one of the few in the hostel, but that didn't matter. It was a beautiful old hostel (from 1867) with a lot of history and I enjoyed the little town and the nice weather. At night, I went to look for some penguins. I smelled the smell, but no penguins....
This morning I looked out off the window. It was mostly grey, but on the bright side....it didn't rain. Yeah, just another day in the fall. Falls here in the Netherlands are mostly like that. You are lucky when it doesn't rain and really, really lucky when you see some sunshine. But the weather doesn't get me down, or at least i'm trying, but this make me also realise that I was really lucky in New Zealand.
Even in the winter I got lots of sun. On the westcoast it was raining, buy hey...when doesn't it not rain on the westcoast, right? But it's not only the sun that made me have a fantastic time. It's also the amazing people i've met during my 9 month stay in New Zealand, but what are now the most awesome things about New Zealand:
Relaxed lifestyle: That's not only the best thing in New Zealand, but the best thing when you travel. The only thing is what you think about is what are you going to do today and where are you going to sleep tonight. That's most awesome feeling in the world and that's why I love travelling so much. No worries about money or things that you have to do. Just living your life and enjoy :-)
The charm of the traffic: Ok New Zealand isn't most biggest country and certaintly doesn't have the biggest roads, but that doesn't matter. It makes people more nice, they are taking an effort. It's normal for trucks to stop along the road to pass you by. Everyone actually stops when you want to cross a road. Yeah, I know! Unbelievable, right?
The stunning scenery: I travelled quit a bit in Asia (8 months) and in Australia (4 months) and off course Europe, where I'm from, but there's nothing like the scenery in New Zealand. It's the most amazing scenery I've ever seen. Lakes, Mountains, Forrest and you gotta love all the desserted beaches. Can also be quit anoying, though. You have to stop like every 10 minutes, because of the change of landscape and the amazing view, but it's all worth it.
Pub and cafe culture: New Zealand has just like Australia a big pub and cafe culture. A good barista isn't hard to find. So do you have a business meeting or just meeting a friend. The barrista is bet place to go and on friday everyone heads to the pub. Have one of the most amazing wines of New Zealand or one of the different beers New Zealand has to offer. Always a good way socialize with your colleagues or your best mates! :-D
Toilets everywhere: Oke, so if the last 4 reasons didn't convince you. This one definetly will. You probably know the feeling, you're in the middle of nowhere and have to pee. No worries, even at the most desserted places there's a toilet and always super clean and free of charge. One time I was doing one of the great walks, the Abel Tasman track. I found myself on a totally desserted beach. Just me and the birds. I almost felt like Robinson Crusoe totally on a desserted island. So there was like nothing there, accept a toilet hidden in the bush. What more do you want, right? ;-)