Warm Welcome
Rob picks us up from the airport. For the next few days he welcomes us to stay in his house in a suburb of Christchurch, on the South Island of New Zealand. The engineer proudly let us do a test ride on a prototype of a foldable electro-bike he works on. Furthermore he shows us pictures and movies of his greatest hobby: A solar powered racing car with street allowance. Awesome! We enjoy the stunning views while flying with his model airplane at the Port Hills above Christchurch. With his friend Syncos self built drone plane we do a shallow computer controlled flight above the city.

A Shaking House
About 1.5 years ago a major earthquake destroyed most of the inner city. This so called Red Zone is still closed for the public. Destroyed houses, cranes, container cities and high risers which are going to be pulled down dominate the vista.
Now our house is shaking! A real earthquake! Loud noises like a nearby rolling thunder, carpets let us hear the plates and cups inside and makes us feel spooky. Our host Rob runs to the table, grabs on to it and looks around – while we are just standing and don’t know what’s happening. But after half a minute the magic passed, everything is calm again. It seems as nothing happened. „We have that once a week, but we never know if it’s going to be a real big one like in the past.” he explains. Since the first earthquake lots of minor ones have been occurring – usually about 10 (often not even noticeable small) ones a day.

Stunning Landscape
Our departure from Christchurch gets delayed due to heavy snow fall. It is the “coldest day” ever recorded in the area.
We leave into a winter wonderland: Driving for hours through breath-taking valleys surrounded by white mountains and green hills covered partly with snow, dreamy lakes of all sizes – and no people. On the one hand camping in our Spaceship-van is not really the most comfortable way of travelling in a freezing season. But on the other hand the off season is just peaceful and awesome.
We love to explore the hills around Lake Tekapo, to relax in the hot springs and to admire the glaciers around Mount Cook. Hiking up above the treelevel at Mount Luxmore awards us with a stunning view: Soft clouds in the valleys beyond and snow covered mountain tops all around. It’s just great to sit in the warm sun above the clouds, shroud in complete silence, and enjoying the nature.

Vast Variety of Wild Animals
This gorgeous paradise is home to a variety of rare species: The green iridescent Kea (mountain parrot) sitting on our spaceship at The Chasm, several falcons a day moving in circles above us, Yellow Eyed Penguins and Fur Seals at the beaches in the east, wild dolphins swimming next to us at Milford Sound and the only mainland Royal Albatross colony (white birds with a wing span of up to three meters) on Otago Peninsula – just to mention a few of the stunning occupants. And there are maaany of other animals everywhere, especially uncountable sheep at the pastures.

Friendly Kiwis Everywhere
A Kiwi is not only a fruit: New Zealand’s national bird as well as the inhabitants of this country are called the same way. The population in this country is very small, probably that’s why every contact with others seems to be a gift and friendly treatment is a must.
Washing only with cold water, outside cooking with a gas cooker at all weather conditions and wearing warm winter clothes at all times let us miss the advantages of a civilized life. But thanks to couchsurfing.org and really friendly Kiwis we were invited to cook on proper stoves, to sleep in warm environments and to have hot showers. To get awoken in the early morning by the cute two year old boy Liam is quite funny. He is suspicious to the two foreigners sleeping in his living room. The boy bends over me and asks in his sweetest way – “Can I come into?” and means my sleeping bag. A big thank you to Sue, Heath and their wonderful children for the nice time in Te Anau.
Not to forget the funny evening watching the New Zealand vs. Ireland Rugby game in the only Tavern in Twizel. We entered as foreigners with Lederhosen but left as friends: First everyone was looking at us, but after some time some locals got curious why we wore them. So we did a cultural Lederhosen swap. Quite surprised Sally told everybody how comfortable it is wearing them… of course, what else!
Last but not least the owner of a restaurant in Owaka who let us park in his garden – hot shower inclusive. This country is full of nice people with whom we had nice conversations or got helped in the one or other way.

The Story Continues…
Stay tuned for our next Lederhosening update from the extreme sports capitol of the world, Queenstown!
And for now –have a look at pictures of our trip below…

2012-09-01 OÖN New ZealandCheck out our newspaper article in the ‘Oberösterreichische Nachrichten’:
2012-09-01 Oberösterreichische Nachrichten
“Mit Lederhosen im Sumpf”
page 11 ‘Reise’, full page article


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