Travels part I - Hong Kong & New Zealand (North Island)

Quite some friends and family asked me to share some updates while backpacking in kiwi-land. 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. Since there might be some international friends reading this, I wrote everything in English to keep it simple.

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I had an eleven hour stopover in Hong Kong on my flight to NZ. One of the cool things to do is visit Victoria Peak, which overlooks Hong Kong island. From here you can see the impressive Hong Kong skyline, even when the weather isn’t that great.

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Kowloon Markets, which is on the main land just next to Hong Kong island.

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A bit of a gruesome picture, I know, but it does sum up Hong Kong’s street life quite well. This guy was actually lying in front of Hong Kong’s most luxurious shopping mall, totally passed out. Income inequality in Hong Kong is among the highest in the world, and it’s not hard to spot it.

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I took this picture on my first day in Auckland. My nine months of summer have begun :)

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I hopped on a Stray backpacker tour from Auckland, and Reglan was our first stop. A bit of a surfer town, with great views over the Tasman Sea, as this photo shows quite nicely.

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Picture taken in the underground caves at Waitomo. The lights you see are glow worms that are nesting in these caves for 6-9 months, making the ceiling of the cave look like a starry sky.

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My next stop was Hobbiton, better known as “The Shire” from the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. Touristy as hell, but very cool to visit as you really feel like you’re walking through a Lord of the Rings scene. The tour ended with us drinking Amber Ales at The Green Dragon to top off a great day.

Bonus fact: The tree you see above Bag End is actually fake and completely made out of metal and plastic :p

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To stick with the Lord of the Rings theme: This is a picture of Mount Doom, taken when I was hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the best one-day hikes in New Zealand and my best experience here so far.

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Once you’ve passed Mount Doom, there are several emerald lakes at an altitude of 1700 meters above sea level.

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This picture was taken during the Tongariro Summit at an altitude of 1960 above sea level. On the left again Mount Doom (which is actually not a mountain but an active volcano), on the right is Mount Ruapehu, another active volcano that carries snow year-round. I found this quite remarkable when you consider that the North Island is actually subtropical.

I’ve had a blast so far, making a lot of friends on the bus, mostly from Europe and the US of A. I’ve now hopped off in Wellington and will be staying there for a while, doing some work before I cross the strait to the South Island somewhere next week. There I’ll be hiking my first two “Great Walks”, which are the Abel Tasman Track and probably the Heapy Track.

I’ll be posting further updates probably somewhere mid February. In the meantime, I’ll be sharing more pictures on Instagram for those interested!

 
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