Hiatus, the sequel!

With friends out from Canada once again, I’ll be taking a break once again from posting updates. So for the next two weeks or so, there will be minimal to no updates. But once I get back on here I’ll have stories about:

– The Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track (completed before friends came out, but still working on the photos)

– The Routeburn Great Walk

– Milford Sound, the return!

– Paragliding over Queenstown

– Glacier Kayaking at Mt. Cook

– Glacier Ice-Climbing at Fox Glacier

And probably quite a lot in between.

So until March, toodles!

To be updated later…

I’m off on another multi-day hike through the wilderness, so updates here are on hold for a bit. Once I get back, I’ve got quite a bit of updating to do. Sea Lions, Penguins, and Parakeets (and quite a bit more), oh my!

The Halfway Mark

It really doesn’t seems like I have been 6 months here in New Zealand already. I feel both like it was yesterday that I was arriving in Auckland and limping around town on an injured hip, and yet at the same time as if that happened AGES ago. It really is hard to believe now.

I’ve covered a lot of ground – 12,000km of adventuring around this country so far. Actually compared to what I’d do in Sarnia, that mileage is about the same on a per year basis. The difference here was next to none of that mileage was done for work, all for exploring/travel. 🙂

Some highlights of my time here, just going to do the North Island since I’ll consider the South as the 2nd half of my time here.

The Tongariro Crossing

The Tongariro Circuit

My WWOOF/HelpX hosts in Kerikeri, Helensville and Opotiki

Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach

Canyoning

White Island

Skydiving

Budget wise, I’ve chewed through just over $9,000NZD (roughly $7,200 CAD) so far. Still ahead of my goal (I’d be at $6,000NZD if I was), but I’m not overly concerned at this point. I’ve done the majority of the expensive activities that I’d like to do at this point. There are still some more to come – Ice climbing on a glacier, glacier lake kayaking surrounded by ice bergs, probably a few other activities I don’t even know exist yet… but most things I’ve wanted to do, besides hikes (which are mostly free) are finished. The south island is all about the Great Walks for me. I believe I’ll try and pick up paid work come May or so to try and regain a little bit of money before heading to Australia, but I’ll see how things go closer to that point. By then, I should be finished with the South Island and have an idea where I’d like to settle down for my final months here. Right now Taupo is still my #1 choice for a place to spend a few months, but Rotorua, Tauranga or even Queenstown might be viable options. Queenstown in the winter might really be something to see. I just don’t want to drive much in that kind of weather…:)

I hope everyone still reading has enjoyed the journey so far – I certainly have!

Whirlwind Recap

After 3 days in Christchurch, it was time for Hung and Markus to head back to their countries and the real world. Dropping them at the airport I was definitely sad to see them go, but at the same time it’s good to be back to the slower pace of travel that I’ve become accustomed to. The 2 weeks of travel was downright exhausting to me, yet it was something that just 6 months ago I did without issue. I’ve grown soft in my relaxed ways of travel! We covered over 2500km in the 14 days on the south island – I’d done roughly 9000km on my own over 175 days prior to that. 🙂

Here’s the map of where we went:

The highlights for me were the Ben Lomond hike, Milford Sound and Te Anau in general. I’m looking forward to being back to each of those spots with later travelers, and I’ll also be in Milford and Te Anau on my own at other times. For now though, I was finished with Christchurch. It was time to head north to the cozy beach-side town of Kaikoura.

Back on track

With the daunting number of photos taken while travelling with Hung and Markus, it’s taken me some time to get around to going through them all. I’m finally finished with the photos, which means updates will resume shortly at their regular pace. Once I get the posts typed up that is. But that takes far less time than the photo portion of things. 🙂

The majority of time was spent on the batch of photos in the next post anyways. Something about Milford Sound being kind of scenic?

Complete?

I’ve now covered pretty much all of the North Island that I wanted to. About the only major area that I missed is the west coast, where Mt. Taranaki makes it’s home (another big volcano/mountain). Other than that, I’ve been pretty thorough. It might look like there is a big gap between Wanganui/Wellington/Napier at the South-West end, but there isn’t too much to see there. A highway does run all the way from Napier to Wellington, but it’s primarily farming and vineyards along the way. When I get back to the North Island I’ll probably journey to the West Coast to complete the circuit of the North Island. But that won’t be for several months now. January 2nd I’ll be sitting on the ferry heading to the South Island, and all new adventures will start there. This site might be on hiatus for the first two weeks of January – I’ll be travelling with friends until January 14th, so I expect my time to put things up here will be much less. I’ll resume and recap everything when I can.

Abject Failure

That’s about how I’d describe New Years here in Wellington. The aforementioned cancellation of the fireworks at around 5pm local time also meant all outdoor waterfront concert and activities were cancelled as well. They had no backup plan here in Wellington. Other cities moved events indoors, here in Wellington they simply said ‘too bad’. This was compounded by the fact that the rain stopped by around 7pm. The roads and ground was dry by 10pm, with only light winds. Most other places in New Zealand went on despite rain through midnight. The city council gave this comment:

“We’d rather have people safe inside somewhere than catching colds from a cold wet southerly.”

The coldest it got in Wellington last night was 11C. Brrr…I guess I’m used to Canadians celebrating New Years, outdoors, in the dead of winter. The other oddity was that none of the New Zealand TV channels captured the Auckland celebrations/countdown. It was only on an Australian new channel that switched over to show Auckland for the last 10 seconds that people even got to SEE a countdown.

Yes, I’m pretty disappointed by all this. This was to be my first New Years in a major city center for fireworks and festivities. Cancelled because the city council can’t imagine people putting a jacket on and they never had a backup plan in the event of rain or high wind.

Oh, and Wellington is well documented as the windiest major city in the world.

New Years is cancelled

Wellington, and much of New Zealand in fact, have decided that the rain and winds are too much tonight and not only the midnight fireworks but all outdoor festivities have been cancelled and shut down for the evening. Talk about a major disappointment. I was looking forward to being in a fairly major city for New Years fireworks, and being the first in the world to ring in 2012. Boo. I’ll have to do next year in Sydney or something. Well, assuming the world doesn’t end sometime next year.