Update from the far end of the world
This is my second update while backpacking in kiwi-land. The first one you can read here. I’m not really into writing a diary or travel log, so I figured I’d just share some pictures that I’ve taken on my trip with some comments.
On the 31st of January, I started to hike my first Great Walk, named after the Dutch explorer who discovered New Zealand back in the days. Its funny how this mister Abel Tasman is quite famous in New Zealand, while back home hardly anybody seems to know who he is.
The Heaphy Track was the second great walk I hiked, and also the longest, walking 82k in 3 days. Especially the second day was incredible, starting out in the mountains and ending at the Tasman sea. While the trail descended, the surrounding forest ever changed. Where in the morning I had only seen small alpine plants, at the end of the day I was surrounded by large fern trees and palm trees. It really made me feel like walking in Wonderland, and this picture shows exactly why.
After completing both great walks, I took the TranzAlpine express. This is a train ride from Greymouth (west coast) to Christchurch (east coast), both of which don’t come recommended as they’re rather dull cities. The train ride itself, on the other hand, absolutely does live up to expectations. This picture, taken from an open train wagon, shows an area better known as Rohan from Lord of the Rings.
February 12th Willem arrived in Christchurch. After picking up our campervan, we drove to Otago Pensinula where we saw some Royal Albatrosses and these Fur Seals enjoying the sun. Happy times!
A pretty nice shot of our campervan during sunset in the Catlins. It was a very remote campsite, beautifully located next to the beach. When we went for a walk, we immediately ran into a huge sea lion that was chilling in the dunes! (for pictures ask Willem)
Milford Sound is probably the most well known tourist attraction in New Zealand, and for good reasons. We went kayaking very early, while the morning fog was still over the fjord, which led to these beautiful views.
Willem and I went on to hike what many say is the best of all the nine great walks: The Routeburn Track. We covered about 50k in two days, weaving through beech-forested valleys and alongside clear green rivers, glistening alpine lakes and breathtaking views from a mountain pass .
Before heading on to Queenstown, we took a short stop at Lake Wanaka, where this tree sits lonely in the lake, making for a mysterious appearance.
Our trip ended in Queenstown, the self-proclaimed world capital of extreme sports. We both jumped out of this monster at 15000 feet, leading to a free fall of roughly 60 seconds, which was an awesome experience.
Alright, that sums up most of my month. After three great weeks, Willem took the plane back to Amsterdam today, so I’m out on my own again. Not for long though, as I’ll be joining Wouter and Dwight in Oz via Auckland by the end of next week.
Until then, I’m staying on Steward Island, which lies at the southernmost point of New Zealand. This means that it’s probably the furthest place to go from home, hence the slightly dramatic title of this post. There’s really nothing but ocean between here and Antartica, and you can tell when the wind comes from the south. Over the next few days, I hope to catch a glimp of the Aurora Australis and spot New Zealand’s national icon, the Kiwi, in the wild.
Hope you’re all well! Talk soon!
 Yes, I stole that line :)