In November 2010, after closing our restaurant on Cape Cod for the season, we started our trip to the South Pacific to visit Australia, Fiji and New Zealand. New Zealand is a country, consisting of two main islands, the North Island and South Island, and then a bunch of smaller ones all around.
On arrival in Christchurch, the severe damage to buildings and structures of the enormous magnitude 7.1 earthquake in September 2010 was still visible. Miraculously, there were no casualties recorded, which was mainly due to New Zealand’s strict building codes, which aim to ensure that buildings do not become deathtraps in a major quake.
We rented a camper van and started our journey traveling around the entire South Island. It was a lot of fun and we felt a sense of freedom just by driving, without having a clear plan and being able to stop whenever we wanted. The South Island offers the purest and most natural landscapes, peaceful sounds and rugged coastlines. Easy to imagine, that New Zealand is home to Middle Earth and Hobbits.
We arrived in Queenstown, which is the center for the ultimate adventure bucket list. You’ll find anything your outdoor loving heart can possibly imagine; bungee jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, hiking, horse trekking, mountain biking and river rafting are just some of the activities offered.
Before leaving the South Island to take the ferry over to the North Island, we decided to do an overnight sea-kayaking trip in the beautiful coastal Abel Tasman National Park. Our decision to take a tandem over two single kayaks, proved to be the right choice, as the head wind picked up tremendously and we had to paddle non-stop for hours. It became frustrating and extremely tiring, because we could absolutely not afford to stop and rest, as the waves would have pushed us back further and further. We had to keep going to reach our camp before nightfall and finding out its name being “Mosquito Bay” didn’t bother us at all for the first few seconds, as we were just happy to not have to paddle anymore.
The North Island is known for its magnificent beaches, geothermal wonders and the deep anchored Maori culture is present every where. We continued our adventure on the North Island, spending New Years Eve in Gisborne; because of its location being so far east, people in Gisborne see the dawn of the New Year before most in the world. We had an unforgettable time, living in a camper van, eating the famous New Zealand green-lipped mussels almost every night, hiking to the top of volcanoes, seeing hidden blazing turquoise colored lakes and experiencing torrential rain. #livethejourney