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A round the world trip in more than 80 days.

Why this blog ?

Our aim : travel and discover the world during 353 days and through some fifhteen countries. We are hoping that this blog will allow us to share the experience with our family and friends thanks to the posts and photos that we will be publishing and also thanks to their comments.

Currently ...

now. For the moment, we are gently readapting from nomadic to sedentary life.


Bye Bye Kiwiland

Our last stop within the South Island was in the small village of Takaka, where not only we did enjoy a few walks on the nearby Abel Tasman park but a nice Saturday night concert in one of the local pubs. There was also a great atmosphere among the people staying at the youth hostel : a British couple managing it during the holidays of the owner, a hippie New Zealander traveling with his gramophone and his collection of old records, a Spanish girl who had just finished a week of woofing at a yoga school lost somewhere in the surrounding hills. Then, as everywhere in NZ, some Germans, a couple of whom came back from a trip to the beach with two big bags of mussels that ended up in the dishes of everybody.

For those who have never heard about 'woofing', my case before coming to NZ, it is a system where you exchange few hours of work per day for accommodation and food. There are a few specialized web pages to put in contact people proposing activities with people looking for them. It seems to work very well in NZ where travelers, specially those on a long trip, use this system to minimize their expenses.

Since we had to be in Auckland a few days later for our flight to Australia, we took the ferry to cross to the North Island, where we continued our exploration of the country. The North Island is flatter, more populated and less wild that her Southern sister, but it has provided us with some very nice experiences I will probably still remember on my 100th birthday.

Napier was worth a visit since it has a unique art-deco architecture and atmosphere. In the town of Rotorua, there is so much geothermic activity underground, that even the city park is filled with sulfur smelling bubbling hot springs. Some neighborhoods have a distinct stench of rotten eggs, but for the chance of bathing in a creek where the water flows so hot that you become as red as a boiling lobster after 10 minutes, or yet, get to swim into a warm water lake, I did not mind at all to get my nose a little bit upset. Rotorua is also NZ's Maori capital, with lots of native diner-and-show packaged offers that we chose to avoid fearing the tourist trap. But the ceremonial village of Ohinemutu, with its traditional meeting house and its Anglican church with Maori carvings are definitely beautiful and worth to see.

We headed back to the coast for our last three days in Kiwiland, this time to the Coromandel peninsula, not too far away from Auckland. It is the only place where we have experienced a crowded beach (everywhere else we met 3 people in average per beach). Why the crowd? The name, Hot Water Beach, gives the key of the mystery. One hour before and up to one hour after low tide, if you dig a hole in the sand, hot water gushes out. Thus, it is possible to build your own thermal pool with sea-sights very easily. After all those deserted beaches, it was fun to see so many people in the same spot, spades at work. And ice on the cake, we even found a nice little waterfall in a cove I could bath under and fulfill one of my fantasies.

New Zealand will remain in my mind as a country of rivers and creeks, lakes, waterfalls and thermal springs, with a rather mild and unstable weather in summer, with very nice and unassuming people, with funny strange birds, with lush vegetation, where it would have felt so right to meet a 'hobbit' or even 'Gollum'. I would have preferred temperatures a bit higher, but I risk to have more that requested in our next country, Australia, where we have heard the sun beats down so strong during summertime that it is hard to stand. Not so bad though when I think that in Europe it is freezing now (even Spain has reached -15°C these last days).