Travel.P #11 – Merry hot Christmas

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

John Muir
Lake Hauroko

Waking up with the sun and a short dip in the water we left and ended up in Wanaka, where we spend a week together with Marie. We pretty much just hung out and enjoyed the weather.

After a lot of pancakes and nice food and really funny times, Lean and me left to Queenstown where we bought Huge Badges Pizza and hung out at the lake. We met some nice people there, and spend our day with them and later hung out at a smaller lake, where we met two friends from the Haka Lodge. And than Lean, my travel-mate for two weeks, had to fly to the north. It was a sad parting, and I hope we will connect at some point again. He is great guy with a heart for humanity while surviving on eggs, Aioly and cookies. I am grateful I had the chance to travel with him for a bit. “Dicen que estamos todos de la cabeza, pero a …”

View at Bluff

From Queenstown I left towards Glenorchy after hiking up Ben Lomond, which I can advice everyone. You will have a beautiful view over the scenery, lakes and mountains. I spend one day in Glenorchy, but forgot to see the paradise road, arrgh! From there I left towards Bluff, after spending my day with Germans, Ruhrpott!, that I met on a Campsite at the other end of Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand longest lake, surrounded by mountains. From there we left together towards Bluff, the southernmost town of New Zealand, not considering Steward Island.

We spend our day together at the lookout and at the shore. They were a funny lot that joint a trucker, with whom I did some canyoning. I remember the scene wen we were freezing cold, and he said to me, Philipp, wait I am too fckn cold. He grabbed a smoke and a lighter and had a break, standing on a small rock, the only tiny bit covered in a ray of the sun. Like a greek god, I thought, just less Greek and less god, haha. We made it to the end, freezing cold and even had to do some sliding on carved rock water slides. All 5 of us parted in Bluff, I stayed and watched the sunset, parting west afterwards, while they were parting east. It was great to meet them and listen to the opinion of people coming to this country on a visitor visa, which is sad to me, but it is hard to find a solution to take a year of from work, especially back in Germany, where material communism suppresses experiencing cultures, experiencing life like our ancestors and widen your horizon, maybe it even suppresses finding out about yourself.

Without a strict plan I drove along the shores of the south, and having nice breaks at the scenery of the bottom of New Zealand. Green grass, fresh wind and wild waters, while watching the birds under a blue sky. Alone. Beautiful.

View onto the lake, the track followed the beach for a while.
Birthday picture for mum.

After driving a couple miles I completly randomly ended up at the deepest, 462m, lake of new Zealand, Lake Hauroko, accessed by the Lillburn Valley Rd. I loved that place and spend 2 days there. It was the most beautiful lake I have ever seen. Majestic simple beauty. The water was clear, nearly no one around, all day, and a beautiful hike through jungle terrain, rewarded with a breathtaking views over the scenery and a great echo, moving around corners and continuing for seconds. I remember calling my mum on her birthday at the top peak of the hike. That was cool.

Breathtaking view of the scenery.

Happy that I brought my jumpsuit, because it protected me from mosquito bites, I could enjoy sitting on the edge of the dock and just watched nature and listened to the small waves falling on the sandy shores of the lake behind me. Lovely. This place was in peace, and its pure nature made me smile. After parting from the lake and the scenery I skipped the 8th world-wonder ‘Milford Sound’, because it looked already to touristic for me and went straight back to Wanaka, where I lived at Maries place for two more weeks.

I spend my Christmas there, on the campsite, and my New Years as well. We had a fun time and I taught myself some jumps from the dock and the bridge next to Albert Town.

Christmas was fun, since we were a couple people on the campsite and had a party together. We had a Ukraine Christmas dinner and a plastic Christmas tree. Everything just 20 meters from a river where you could swim comfortably on one point without being swept away. It was hot and the river was cold.

Nice and refreshing since it is water from lake Lake Hāwea, one of the five glacier lakes of the South Island. Sitting in hammocks in the cold shade or just laying on the grass we shared stories and had a good time, with my personal highlight – jumping from the Albert Town Bridge, which is around 7 meters high, as I would guess. From there I did my first back-flip, the impulse that lets me jump of cliffs and bridges to the present day, even though I was scared before of jumping, yeah even scared of jumping from a 5 meter swimming pool tower. I just told myself I am not scared, I am exited and now I like the feeling, the feeling of flow state, before a jump.

The campsite where we stayed is quite hidden and opposite the official ‘tourist campsite’. – which is nice, because it is not too busy, even at a time like Christmas. We celebrated New Years at home, because we preferred the chill and relax to the the drunken Wanaka party scene. After New Year, I left Marie and am still very very thankful for her good heart and hospitality. Even though she had to work, I could stay for free, 2 weeks! and she had 4 flatmates she even bought a lots of groceries! So caring, thank you. All I could leave her was a letter about how grateful I am and a big pack of sweets, since she loves sweets. Oh and her pancakes were amazing, with vanilla taste. The first time I discovered sugar and lemon on a pancake. Leaving Marie and the beautiful (maybe not very long anymore , since it is getting more busy and it grows really fast) Wanaka behind me, I left towards the blue pools and the ‘not my favorite place in the world’ West Coast.

The next time I will tell you about my time at the West Coast, my hitchhiker rule and how I fell in love in the North of the South Island. I will also tell you why I traveled fast and why it is best to not come in the peak-season (January, February) to New Zealand or to start traveling, except you like crowded places and tourists.

My Idea for today: the next time you get up you do 20 push ups straight away and take 10 minutes for stretching/yoga. Than sit down, and have a phone free breakfast, breathe and relax. Beautiful. Maybe you might repeat it, and maybe you will make a habit out of it. It is amazing, a good start for a productive day.


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