Okay this is getting embarrassing, more than a year that i haven't updated my blog.
Yes, i'm still going!
On 14. November 2016 a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the south island about 120km North of Christchurch.
Almost 900 aftershocks were recorded in the following 24h.
An even bigger one is long overdue, let's hope those quakes were not just the beginning.
With this happening right now, i thought it would be a good time to show you the beauty of this country.
Back in August 2015 i sent my bike on it's voyage to Valparaiso in Chile (from Brisbane, Australia).
It was getting winter and riding around New Zealand with the bike would have been, well, cold!
I decided to do this country with a camper instead. Tanya was hooked on the idea very quick and flew in from Thailand.
We were about to travel around the south island for one month, got a good deal on the camper as it was low season, here it is:
A Toyota HiAce with a modified top so you could stand. Had a fridge, stove, convertible bed/eating table. All we needed really. I did not like the idea to drive anything bigger than that on those narrow roads.
Hammer Springs, very close the where the current earthquake has struck, i wonder if this bridge survived...
very rough sea, not the place to take a bath
It started sunny and warm
but landscapes changed very quickly into a winter-wonderland
sometimes icy but never as bad that i had to use snow chains
The view from Mount Hutt, went snowboarding there, tiny compared to most ski areas in the alps but great fun.
The Kiwis did a good job keeping the roads free
This night it had around -8 degrees and -18 in a nearby village, when we woke up there was an icicle hanging down from our sink. The insulation of the van was very bad, same temperature inside as outside. We tried to use as many free camps as possible to keep the costs down, but those nights we stayed on a paid campground we also paid for electricity and used our electric heater, which was really really nice.
Also i found out that i had to use the fridge not to cool things, but to keep things 'unfrozen'.
My glorious idea to just keep the beer outside because it would be cool enough was not so glorious after all :)
Big smelly seal
Looking for seals...
The stunning view from some fellow overlanders home, they kindly hosted us in beautiful Wanaka
One thing that is really better being in a Campervan vs. Motorbike is that it's so easy to go on hikes, park, jump out, lock van, go. With the bike i rarely do hikes because i can't lock all my stuff and changing gear takes quite some effort.
Short hike to a waterfall, many baby seals along the way
We splurged a bit on a Whale-watching flight in Kaikoura, a town that is now completely cut off from the rest of the country due to the earthquake.
View from the air, plenty of seals on this picture
A whale, unfortunately i can't remember which one
Almost every night we had fantastic clear skies.
New Zealand is probably one of the most photogenic countries I've been to, Snow-caped mountains and never far away from the sea, really hard to beat that. Kiwis are very friendly and welcoming people, i hope they will be able to get their road network fixed very soon so they don't loose too much money on tourism, high season is starting now.
Apologies for the short post without much details, things are keeping me busy, i will leave South America on 2. December direction Cuba, hope to write a big post about the adventures on this continent before that.