With more luck than thought through stormy weather. The New Zealand journey continues

Just spent some time at one of the most beautiful locations in the World. It takes more than thirty hours to get there from Europe. I enjoyed New Zealand very much. But as a team of travellers’ we f….d it up. The post is on goods and bads of a New Zealand trip. A subjective one. But if you travel there, do not repeat mistakes we made. Part Four.


Weather is stormy. It is raining. Today (Thursday, 1st February 2018) we head North from Richmond to Collingwood, where we booked our next hotel. The distance is only two hours by road. Due to weather conditions we had to change our original plans that were to fill in our itinerary for most of the day. We had to think of an alternative.


For today we originally planned kayaking in the Abel Tasman national park. It was heavily raining all night and the wind was strong. We called the tour operator to cancel. Kayaking under those conditions made no sense. It was not a problem. Money we paid in advance was quite quickly returned back to our account. A practice, we will see in New Zealand yet again in two days, when cancelling our glacier walk. Later in Queensland we will hear in a coach driving us to our jet boat ride: ‘We are very sorry to all of you, who had to cancel because of the rain’. I do not know, whether it is a thumb rule or not. But the forthcoming approach by all the operators, with whom we dealt with, made me once again confirm the professionalism of the tourism industry in New Zealand. You can book your attractions and pay by transfer long before you come. But, if the weather conditions are too poor to make it, you just call, cancel and in a manner of days you get your money back.


In the night, we were housing in a lodge hotel with a comfortable living room. Unlike our male fellows, who got outside earlier, we made us a cosy long morning start-up. Around 10 am we packed all our stuff onto our van and left the hotel. As due to the weather conditions the day turned into a leisurely one, we went to eat a slow breakfast to a local Richmond restaurant. Yet again we saw many locals and tourists enjoying their morning.


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Yet again a slow and rich breakfast in a local coffee shop. And a delicious coffee. Definitely, one of advantages, while traveling New Zealand


Afterwards to fill in our itinerary, we visited two wineries to taste local wines. We tasted altogether around fifteen sorts of wine. The wines are of a specific taste. A bit sour in comparison to European or Latin America wines we are accustomed to. Unanimously we have selected only one that suited us all.

On our fifth day in New Zealand we discovered yet again that of things we liked most here were New Zealand cheeses. In one of the wineries we ordered a plate of cheese. Yet again the plate confirmed our theory. To be frank, each time we visited a hypermarket we bought some sorts and made us a board of cheese. Either while in a hotel or on the road. Not forgetting a sip of wine. Sounds like luxury. But it was not. Hence, a recommendation for all of you New Zealand travellers: the local cheeses are a true country speciality. Do not skip it. Just enjoy.


The plan for the evening was to check-in in the motel in Collingwood and make photos of the Golden Bay – considered as one of the major tourist attractions in this part of New Zealand. But while heading there we were riding in the Abel Tasman park to sight see. As on days before mostly through our van window. Yet again we rode and stopped at overhaul bays to make photos. Yet again. ‘Boredom, boredom, boredom’ as one of the fellows loudly stated. Yes, after yet another day of this practice I can repeat once again: ‘New Zealand is green and picturesque. If you rent a car or a van and ride from one to another location on a tourists’ itinerary, forget taking additional scenic rides. You will have them almost all the time. The country has much more to offer than sightseeing through the window’.

According to our lead fellow yet again we ‘had much time’ and were ‘ahead of the schedule’. He decided to eat a hamburger in some famous surfers’ restaurant he heard of. The restaurant turned out to be a food trailer. I skipped this time. Yet again however we added some idle kilometers to our journey. And on the steep mountainous road curves we overheated our brakes. So, we had to stop once or twice for longer minutes to let them cool down.


As we finally checked-in in our motel and asked our host about the walk to the Golden Bay, she opened her eyes widely and said: ‘At this hour if you go, I will have to ask the firefighters to bring you down. Soon it will be high tide.‘ ‘Yet again we f…..it up’, I thought. ‘How is it possible that none of us checked it? One of number one rules, when you travel countries with low and high tides’.

We had to decide what to do instead. The weather was windy. We knew already another storm was coming. But still it was not raining. The storm was still away. We decided to take a walk. Just a walk around. No map. No specific plan. I think we all had enough of the constant sitting in the van and senseless riding. Some fresh air and stretching the legs would do good to us all.

Collingwood seemed like a true end of the world. Quite deserted with some old buildings in the small city centre (a couple of blocks only) and many properties for sale. Only few properties seemed to be new or renovated. Street art on walls was a remainder of past times. People in elegant historical clothing. I looked at a street plate. ‘Kings Arms’ stood there …


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Street art. A remainder of past times in Collingwood


The city was very silent. Seemed to be deserted. Maybe because a storm was coming. Maybe, I was not in good mood, tired of constant riding. We turned at a crossing to get closer to the bay. A silent city on my right hand and endless horizon on the left one. In the forefront many colourful wild flowers. I was thinking of people, who close themselves up in a monastery for a weekend to disconnect from the outer world. ‘This place would be perfect for them.’ I thought. ‘The difference would be the views and the fresh air from somewhere over the Pacific.’

Suddenly I heard a child’s voice. ‘Hello’ it said. I raised my eyes and looked around. A small girl was waving at me through a window. Naturally I waived back and returned the greeting. ‘The place is not that deserted as I thought’. I smiled to myself.

At one of the streets we saw a guide post indicating a historic cemetery in a half hour distance. (A practice of indicating time to get to a location widespread in New Zealand. Quite a practical one.) We decided to visit it. The cemetery was an abandoned place, but well-marked and ring-fenced. The old graves seemed to be fallen. But the grave stones were true story tellers. We read of a man, who came to visit but accidentally died in the river. Of a couple, who came from England in the late XIX century, and died one after another twenty years after. And finally of a man, who died fulfilling his duties.


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The Collingwood historical cemetery


This made me think of the New Zealand’s history. In comparison to Europe, a newly one. But still it would have been interesting to hear of the immigrants and their stories. How their life at the end of the world began. About the good times and bad times. Hopes and disappointments. We had no such plans. Pity. Later next week, on the day of our departure, while in Christchurch tired and sick I was sitting on the sofa in our hotel lobby looking at the display of leaflets with tourist attractions. I picked up one with the word ‘heritage’ on it. It was of a historic tour through mansions of two immigrant families. And about story telling. Having visited the Collingwood historic cemetery I realised the first time that we had nothing as such in our itinerary. One of our fellows, a couple of days after, proposed to visit a historic city in the vicinity of our planned route. ‘Was me not the only one, who missed something?’ I thought. We had at least a glimpse of how it was in the old times. But it was too short. One of major mistakes of our trip itinerary. Not mentioning any insight into the Maori culture.


Like the night before the Thursday-Friday night was a stormy one. We grabbed a bite (unfortunate choice however), but quickly returned to the hotel. We spent the evening on processing photos.


In the morning my fellows went to see the sunrise at the Golden Bay. Two were feeling sick. But still they went there on a shortage of sleep. I was tired and already with a feeling that my immune system was failing. Too much sitting in the van with no true outdoor activities for another consecutive day made me indifferent to photographers’ ambitious plans. I skipped this time. After one hour my fellows came back totally wet. I guess going out for a longer walk during hurricane time was a bad idea. I heard only of ‘a field of sheep where the heavy rain caught them, and that the grass was green and soft, when one or two fell in a hurry escaping the rain shower’. I played a scene like that one in my head, not foreseeing that the next week I will be unwillingly falling on green wet grass choking … Nevermind. After we put our luggage into the back of our van, all the wet clothing was put onto luggage staple to dry. As I can recall next day we realised that two other of our fellows got sick. The unfortunate morning raised my second thoughts about our travel style yet again. At least we had an orderely breakfast in a local restaurant. Ultimately we spent there around an hour. In New Zealand you have to count in slower way of doing things. All dishes were freshly made, however based on bit different recipes than we are accustomed to.


Our journey deeper South was this time fully planned as long-lasting. From Collingwood to the Franz Josef glacier area it is more than 500 km by road. The trip took us around ten hours mostly through mountainous areas. We made us only a few short breakes. One was to shop in a supermarket. Afterwards we visited yet another coffee shop. This time, not a good choice at all. While on the road, we had to follow the NZ Transport Authority web page to confirm that roads are open after damage incurred by the storms of yesterday. We were lucky. The road to the place we were heading to was opened that day. What I liked much was that somewhere in the middle of road more than hundred kilometers ahead of our next stop, the road authority employees stopped us at a crossing to warn of the road condition. We were asked in detail about location of the house we rented. Our lead fellow confused the locations. The man said: ‘Look for another accommodation. You will not get there’. Only after we gave the precise address, that turned out to be at the other side of the mountains, than previously indicated, the man gave us green light. ‘Please, drive carefully. Not all debris was moved yet away from the road‘ he said. ‘Please guys, be carefull‘, he repeated.

As we arrived at our rented house it was still before sunset. We had a reservation in the local (well recommended restaurant) famous for … the Asiatic kitchen. Still it was possible to order local New Zealand food there. I decided to eat a hamburger asking the waitress to give me the most typical one for the region, and a New Zealand beer.


The restaurant was full in and outside. Dance music was all around. Behind the bar there was a dancing floor. A well visited restaurant in the middle of a busy touristic place. Midst of mountains. And people enjoying the evening. Friday evening. Even if a bit sick, I would have stayed there for an hour or so. Music and a leisurely fleur made me feel better. Unwillingly I followed my company home. Some of the fellows insisted. Tired and sick after the early morning wet ride. Understandable. I would do the same.


In aftermath, leaving to rapidely was a mistake, I think. Staying only a bit longer, talking to people and most of all looking around the place would save us some worries of the evening and allowed to sleep longer the next day. That, I realised however only the next day morning, when we returned to the place in the full daylight.

Our worry was that for the next day we booked a flight with a helicopter to a glacier to take a walk there. But due to the wind and rain the most helicopter trips had been recalled. On arrival we were told by our Landlords that may be tomorrow helicopters would be flying out. Our flight was however at the other side of the mountain, to which there was still no access by road. The other worry was whether the road at the other side of the mountains we were supposed to take to ride further South would be opened. A soil slide of the length of 100 meters had to be removed. The local forces worked day and night to remove them. Particularly that 800 tourists were stuck there.

Our mistake on that evening was that we neither looked around the restaurant nor asked around. There were at last two operators offering glacier walks at this side of the mountain located … in buildings adjacent to our restaurant with all the contact data and info displayed in the windows. Locals would tell us in the evening the same, what a nice lady from the local road authority told us the next morning. Many people cancelled the flights because of the weather. A simple call in the morning to one of the operators at this side of the mountain or a morning visit by only one of us at the opening hour would be enough to arrange our glacier walk.

So, with more luck than thought we made it. In the early morning we went to make sunrise photos, but it did not work. We did not find any truly remarkable spots. In aftermath, waste of time and the good night sleep. Good that two of our most sick fellows skipped this time. On the way back we stopped at the police check-point to get some inquiry as to whether the passage to the other side will be cleared today. In the morning it was not. But on the advice of a lady from the road authority we managed to switch our glacier walk from one operator to the other at our side of the mountains.


At 9 am on Saturday we were already sitting in a helicopter on the way to the glacier. It was my first time ever on a helicopter and the first time ever on a glacier. The tour operator gave us all necessary equipment including waterproof jackets, trousers and shoes. For almost three hours we had real fun. I did even use up battery on one of my cameras. Photos still to come.


JMA_NZ_013A walk on a glacier. One of the outdoor activities you may enjoy in New Zealand


Our tour was very professionally prepared. It turns out that each day before tourists are brought to the mountain a number of people prepare each passage digging ice stairs on steeper ice slopes. At least twice we had to be escorted on steep narrow passages where we used ropes as auxiliary equipment to crampons that we had on our shoes. Couple of weeks before the departure to New Zealand I put more attention to my leg muscles workout. It made my glacier walk easy. But for a moment I felt stuck between two icy walls. Three guys, who escorted us through the walk were of true assistance. Kind, helpful and providing good mood. ‘Lady, I am not helping you. I just wanted to hold your hand’ said one of them, protecting me of a bumpy ride.


The glacier walk made the moral of our travelling fellowship to raise again. Afterwards we went to grab a bite before we hit the road to Wanaka, our next stop. In the meantime the road authorities cleared the road. The NZ Transport Authority announced it on its web page as we were still on the glacier. The news was good as today morning we were still worried we would need to take a ring road through Christchurch. The latter meant fifteen hours ride at least.

To be continued …

New Zealand. The journey continues

Just spent some time at one of the most beautiful locations in the World. It takes more than thirty hours to get there from Europe. I enjoyed New Zealand very much. But as a team of travellers’ we f….d it up. The post is on goods and bads of a New Zealand trip. A subjective one. But if you travel there, do not repeat mistakes we made. Part two.


Well rested on the Monday morning we took us time to start the day. We repacked our luggage. On longer journeys it is good to divide things so that if your main luggage gets lost you can live a day or two on that you have in your hand luggage. But while on spot it makes practical sense to sort things out differently.

The breakfast was offered by the hotel. On our departure we saw New Zealanders packing. For a moment I observed a couple, who cleared their room through the widow directly into the car.

The jet leg is slowly disappearing. Our first stop on Monday is the Paradise Valley Springs animal park. Less than an hour in the van. The animal park is in fact a small zoo located on a widespread area. We spent there a couple of hours, slowly walking the paths. With the food provided by the park operator it was allowed to feed some of the animals. Quite a nice experience. My last zoo visit, many but many years ago, was not a pleasant one. I disliked the way the animals were held. This place was just the opposite, clean and spacious.


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On that day we did not have much riding planned in. Our next stop was only at less than an hour of ride. On our way we managed to stop for more than one hour yet again to make photos in the city of Rotorua at the volcanic lake side. The day was warm and sunny with a light breeze blowing. The views were overwhelming. I caught a bit colour on my chicks. Just the sunny vacation during European winter, I thought.


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The highlight of the day was still to come. While on the road we called in at a local tavern. This was the first time we tasted New Zealand style hamburgers. I rarely eat hamburgers, but as it is one of the New Zealand specialities I wanted to taste them at least couple of times. The tavern looked like as time would have stopped there. An interesting place. Our host a nice elderly woman with multiple tattoos. A colourful juke-box drew out attention. As we entered it was empty. Not a very good sign. But within half an hour it was full with locals. The hamburger that I took with a local beer was delicious. Besides traditional ingredients, it had slices of beetroot inside. As it turned out, the New Zealand’s hamburger characteristic feature.

The late afternoon we spent in Wai-O-Tapu, a reservation covered with collapsed craters, boiling pools of mud and water. The place was great for making photos. The colours we saw earlier on pictures were the colours we saw in reality. You walk a forest and bushes and from time to time you stop at a lake of not-typical colour from dark mud to candy green or blue. As most of the waters are hot, fumes are all around you. The place is on a definite must see list while in New Zealand.


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Our hotel was somewhere around the city of Huka Falls. Our original plan was to go to our  lodge hotel and rest, while enjoying self-made snacks of cheeses we discovered in New Zealand and some local wine. But on that evening something did not work out. The original plan was broken by some of our fellows. We landed in a local pizzeria … As we finally arrived at our hotel it was already dark. I sat down in the living room and for an hour or so and sticked to the original plan – stretching my legs enjoyed New Zealand cheese and wine, while looking through photos I made on that day. Fell asleep like a baby before midnight.


The Tuesday morning made me clash with one of our fellows. The day plan was that we split. Three of us were supposed to see Tongariro Alpine Crossing aka Mordor taking a 20 km route in the mountains. The remainder, including me, was to see glow-worm caves. The clash was about breakfast. While travelling you should take care of yourself. If your plan involves a long-walk in the mountains, you have to eat breakfast and take some food and water with you. It is a thumb rule. I did not take ‘no breakfast, we have to hurry up’ for an answer. In aftermath we departed only fifteen minutes after the original plan, all after breakfast. That time I still did not think of that what just happened. But a couple of days after, because of wrong planning most of my fellows departed on a glacier climb without eating any food ahead …

On the way to the Tongariro we stopped once or twice to make a photo. On approach to the mountains you feel indeed as you would getting closer to the Mordor of the Lord of the Rings. We left our fellows, and hit the road. We were supposed to pick up them in seven or eight hours. Joking we promised them a barbecue just after their descent.

To get to the Waitomo glow-worm caves we needed more than two hours ride. The distance was 170 km. On the way there and back we were sightseeing picturesque green hills. In aftermath, one of the most interesting scenic roads we saw in New Zealand. It remained me of Scotland. But the green hills in New Zealand are somewhat different.


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As we arrived at the caves it turned out that the sightseeing of the caves including descent lasts only 45 minutes. For that long ride we made, and the prospect of the return way it was too short for me. To be frank, as I decided to go on this tour (although in small company, it was still a packaged tour for the organisation of which we all paid) I did not scrutinise the itinerary offered. My only thought was I would travel New Zealand with some fellows, with whom I was travelling Japan. It should be fun.

We had surplus of time. So, I asked my fellows whether I can visit another cave. ‘Yes’, they said. ‘In the meantime we will grab a bite. We are not feeling well. It can be too cold inside’.


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The glow worms in the first cave were fascinating. But the sightseeing tour was indeed very short. My decision to go to the other cave gave me much more better travelling experience. The visit in Ruakuri caves 60 meters below the surface was worthwhile. It lasted altogether one and half hour that went by before I have noticed it. On this day I understood the first time, while New Zealand is recommended for all, who would like to enjoy versatile outdoor activities. A special path was prepared for visitors, the tour was very well planned and our lady guide was very professional. We had to follow strict safety and environmental protection rules.

After sightseeing caves, we had to pick up our fellows, who were trekking in the mountains. The 19 km route took them more than the planned eight hours. The times indicated by the park operators do not include longer stops to make photos. For the last of our fellows we had to wait additional forty minutes. For  twenty minutes or so I went up the mountain to encounter my colleagues. Each person who I met on approach asked me ‘How much time is still to the parking place’. ‘Exhausted they are’, I thought. But later I was explained by my fellows, that the descent is an unpleasant and lengthy (means: borrowing) one. ‘For an hour or more you go though bushes with no true view around. The views inside the mountains are however spectacular.’

It was late. We had to hit the road. Our hotel was around hundred kilometers away. The views were beautiful.


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On the way back from Tongariro National Park


This was the first time however as we failed as a traveling team. We had only some snacks in the van. Even if we were planning a barbecue for our hungry fellows, the tour provider did not think about the time schedule. In our planning we neither counted in bringing some true food to our tired fellows nor the fact that restaurants close early in New Zealand. This time we spent the night in a regular hotel. Making us a decent supper was not possible. We ended in running quickly around ten pm to a supermarket that was almost closing. As we had to wake up early to bring our trekking fellows to the mountains, it was the first day as we deprived us both of longer good night sleep and of decent meal. In fact, for I spent longer time in caves that my other collegues, in aftermath four of us seven finished on breakfast, snacks and some junk food for supper. Taking into account the day activities we planned in, the distance between hotels booked turned to be too long. On this day we also realised that already the second of us is seek. Thankfully this night was planned as a longer one. A good night sleep of eight hours allowed all of us to truly rest. As our balconies were joined, one of the fellows brought us some small sandwiches to bed in the early morning. The common breakfast in the hotel restaurant was a cheerful one.

To be continued …


A photo gallery and index of posts on New Zealand >>>

Still excited. The New Zealand trip begins

Just spent some time at one of the most beautiful locations in the World. It takes more than thirty hours to get there from Europe. I enjoyed New Zealand very much. But as a team of travellers’ we f….d it up. The post is on goods and bads of a New Zealand trip. A subjective one. But if you travel there, do not repeat mistakes we made. Part one.


New Zealand

Our travel schedule as we planned it. The itinerery was bound by the hotel locations that we already paid for.


The journey begins. In forty minutes its boarding time on a flight to Singapore and further to Auckland. More than twenty-five hours on a plane. In Singapore I will meet with my five fellows. The sixth will await us in Auckland, New Zealand. Greetings from the Munich Airport. It is 11 am on January 26th, Friday. On our way we will lose a half day.


As we land it is short before midnight in New Zealand on Saturday 27th of January. The border control is a bit different from that in other countries. New Zealand authorities pay much attention to that people do not bring any foreign organic stuff into the country. It is not about customs duties. It is about protection of the local environment. If you have trekking shoes, you must not bring it with any foreign soil. No foreign seeds should be brought into the country. The border official tells me bluntly: ‘Lady, I am not interested in your passport. I am interested in that what you have in your luggage.‘ In the entry document I had to list the countries where I was in the past month. So, I listed Poland and Norway. ‘Do you have any outdoor equipment and shoes that you used there?’ ‘No, I do not. It is winter in Europe. I took only sport shoes that I use in the gym’. ‘You may go’ I hear. As the next step my whole luggage is x-rayed.


As usually short of time. Our time perception is confused. In Europe it is Saturday evening. Here, at the end of the world or better to say the beginning of the world, it is already Sunday morning on January the 28ht. The time difference is exactly twelve hours.

Just the morning view on Auckland. To get the view we woke up before six. For most of us it was only four hours of sleep. But it was worth it. We were excited as to what was to come next.


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Auckland at the sunrise


Our first breakfast in New Zealand. A bit longer than we actually planned. One of our fellows is sick. We need to find a doctor. At that day we do not put quite much attention to this fact. Our fellow was given medicine. She will be all right…

As we wait for her, we try one of the numerous restaurants that serve breakfast menu. A kind of coffee shop. A couple of days before we departed we were sent a message by an acquaintance that departed a week before. ‘Those local restaurants it is something we should try and rely on.’ As we realised on that day and later on, good coffee is something you can count on in New Zealand. The breakfast menu is wide. At the counter I see things I am not accustomed to. Just the other way of prepping breakfast. The New Zealand way. In the restaurant we observe a couple of elderly ladies enjoying their Sunday morning. A leisurely and long Sunday morning …


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My first breakfast in New Zealand. The filling was of salomon and spinach, a combination we are well accustomed to in Europe. But the wrapping was different to that I am accustomed to.


On a twelve people van we hired for our journey we hit the road. Finally we arrive at Matamata, heading to Hobbiton aka Shire (of the ‘Lord of Rings’ and the ‘Hobbit’). We are a bit jet lagged. We need to buy some food. We talk making us a barbecue night this evening. In aftermath an error, I think. But nevertheless. We enter yet another hypermarket. The first one was in Auckland where we bought us water and some snacks. But then we were a bit in a hurry. The hypermarket is very well supplied. Much of the stuff is well-known to us. It is of European and American manufactures, some of it however tailored for a New Zealand customer. We are at the end of the world, but may truly understand how globalisation works. The choice is exquisite.


Our hotel is not far away. It is the so-called lodge hotel. The apartments are like small homes: a living room with a kitchen, bathroom and  bedrooms. It is a standard we will be seeing through most of our journey. In the backyard there is a small jacuzzi. Quite comfortable conditions. The hotel is one of the kind. A historic place. We were surrounded by New Zealanders on vacation. The air was a leisurely one. The New Zealand art of living. Only couple of meters away there were hot springs. I was excited about the evening. It  might have been fun. It might have. But we had to hit the road. Hobbiton awaited us.


Hobbiton is located on a private property, which can be achieved only by coaches operated by the owners. The place is very picturesque and worthwhile. The whole village is maintained like it looked like on the Hobbit movie set. We are assigned a guide, who talks particulars and curiosities. Like the one, that Sean Austin aka Samwise Gamgee in one of the last scenes of the ‘Lord of The Rings’ trilogy was surprised by the director, who not having told him appointed his little daughter to play the Samwise’s daughter. Yes I can recall the scene. His face looked like truly surprised.

The walk through the Hobbiton takes us around two hours that end in the Hobbiton local pub (a restaurant). Designed for a ‘bit larger’ Hobbits. All Hobbits’ houses in the village are only exteriors. But in that restaurant you feel like being inside, even in the rest room. We were served ginger beer. But, we have to leave shortly. The next group that entered Hobbiton was the one that stayed longer there to enjoy a long evening in the Hobbits’ restaurant. To be frank, I was a bit envious of them. It sounded like fun.


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The exterior of one of the many Hobbits’ houses in the Hobbiton village.

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The Hobbiton restaurant, made to suit the men. I would have stayed there longer if I could.


In the evening it was barbecue time. Our schedule involved one night of camping in Milford Sound on the Southern Island. Therefore we were fully equipped in camping stuff. Barbecue was forbidden at our lodge hotel and it was too late to get a slot at one of the public gas grills available at our hotel. So we simply stopped at one of numerous rest places at a road side and made us party time. It was our first full day in New Zealand. Excited about our trip, we simply neglected to have a decent meal in the middle of the day. We all were hungry like wolves. We stopped at the first place suitable. Not a very good choice at all. Just between a road and a bit stinky cow field. No matter. With a sip of wine it was fun. Most of our time we spent however in the darkness after sun went down.


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Our first barbecue night in New Zealand. It was fun, but with the alternative we had of spending the evening among New Zealanders a misconception. As it turned out, on our whole trip it was the only occasion


As we returned to our hotel, it was too late to enjoy the place. It turns out, unlike in most of the European locations, the social life ends early in New Zealand. A lesson for the next days. If you want to enjoy an evening in New Zealand being surrounded by locals in a local restaurant and enjoy the local cuisine, be aware that the kitchens close around eight or nine pm. If you do not switch over your thinking to the New Zealand way, you may end as we did in aftermath. Failing to truly taste, what the New Zealand cuisine has to offer.

If I had to choose once again, what to do on our first evening, after the Hobbiton visit I would come back to our hotel as quickly as possible, use the kitchen in our apartment to prepare supper and enjoy a New Zealand evening with locals lodging at our hotel. A beer in the hotel local pub would be a good idea, too. A relaxing bath in the jacuzzi in our back yard would do good, as well. We have been in New Zealand for less than twenty-four hours. Some relaxation after almost thirty hours spent altogether in the air in narrow seats would do good to all of us. Travelling long distances is a kind of discomfort that one just counts in. Counting in remedies as well would be wise. On that day I was however too tired to think of it.

To be continued …


A photo gallery and index of posts on New Zealand >>>