Oamaru, New Zealand

Penguins and “moving rocks” (NZ Eastcoast and Catlins)

Right, we are in the southern hemisphere and after spotting just only one penguin on the Galapagos islands, we went to Oamaru on the east coast of New Zealands south island to search for the smallest of all penguins (Blue Penguin) and an endangered species, the Yellow Eyed Penguins.

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The land of sheep, New Zealand

New Zealand – the land of sheep (Christchurch to Mount Cook)

We started our Kiwi adventure in Christchurch, a city which is much nicer than we expected it to be!

We got our car (not from Hertz this time!) for the next month (wow!) – the journey begins…

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Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne!

After getting into the metropolitan area of Melbourne (wow, there are more streets and much more traffic than anywhere else we have been the last 3 weeks…*smiley winking*, we had some more fun with our friends from Hertz. Hertz Lady from Adelaide assured us: “You can drop off your car at any time in the evening or morning the next day before 9am”. So we went there at 8 pm, but Hertz was closed, the car park was closed with a huge metal door and there was no letter box to drop off the key. Never experienced this before!! Of course, there was no street parking for longer than 30 minutes. ALL other companies in the same street (Budget, Europcar, etc) had an after hour drop off point… We were not amused at all – just wanted to get rid of the car, as a) parking until after 7am in the morning is not available or only at high costs. All Hertz service phones had no office hours any more, so we got even less amused and phoned their 24-hour street emergency phone. They put us through to the Hertz airport office (still open) and Thorsten got to speak with the manager there who desperately needs some training in Customer Relations. End of story, we parked the car somewhere, got up early the next day to give the car back and definitely will not book Hertz again!!

After those initial problems we spend a cool evening with Harry and Cindy at a good pizza place and enjoyed our first big city evening for quite some time

Next morning, we went to the old Queen Victoria Market, where they sell lot’s of yummy stuff, even Weißwürste!

We saw some cool city life…

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Tower Hill, Australia

Great Ocean Road: Adelaide to Melbourne

After only few hours of something you might call sleep in our JetStar plane, we arrived about some thousand kilometre further down south in Adelaide.

As many other towns in Australia, Adelaide looks nothing special to us…no really historic places/houses and everything nicely laid out in an ordered grid system of streets. So what to do here ? Easy: Shopping, Relaxing and BBQ

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Kakadu National Park, Australia

All around Darwin: Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks

It has been a while since the last posting…but – other that expected – getting free internet in Australia and New Zealand is much more difficult than in South America…

After nearly one week throughout Queensland including Daintree National Park and another visit to the Great Barrier Reef it was time to switch locations again…and how do you do this best in a country where there’s thousands of kilometres between major cities? Right, simply take a plane from A to B – and be prepared, that people you will meet more in our local buses rather than in a plane will do the same: “Cheers mate!”

Apropos “mates”: We’re still travelling together with my dad Peter and my sister Kirsten

After some initial trouble getting an acceptable rental car – thanks to our “friends” from Hertz, which still haven’t been able to sort things out in their system – we easily found a nice hotel to stay.

Next morning it was time for our Northern Territory adventure: Well equipped with tips from Iris’ dad, we opted for an early start to the Kakadu National Park *yawn*

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Low Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Port Douglas: An old rainforest and sea turtles!

On the first day together with Kirsten and Peter we took it easy. First todo was relaxing at the 4 mile beach and trying to get a coconut down from the tree. Well, we haven’t been successful…

After that, we went to the Mossman Gorge, where we got a first impression what the Daintree National Park is like and Thorsten lost his sunglases in the river…

On the way back we found several mango trees with ready to eat mangos just lying next to them. Of course, the car stopped (I was driving) and all (except Thorsten who does not like them) were collecting like crazy. Yummy!! Thorsten got something else instead…

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Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Carins: Bamboo, Diving and a Reef Shark

There are many things to do in Cairns, so we didn’t get bored at all! First we got an extremely blue rental car *blush* – the first time to rent a car on our trip. Throwing the backpacks in the trunk was somehow strange (I felt as being a “Spießer”*smiley winking*. Nevertheless, it was very comfortable after the first tensional 5 minutes (didn’t drive for 3,5 months and especially not on the wrong side of the road…*smiley winking*.

The first day in Cairns was a bit wet (the shower did not provide as much water as the rain outside) – really no chance for bush fires at all…

We did a nice trip to the botanical garden of Cairns, very interesting for people with a “green thumb” as Germans would say. Even for me (no “green thumb”*smiley winking* it was interesting, there are so many different kind of palm tress (even after one month on different islands I didn’t know that there is such a variety) and at least 10 different types of bamboo, e.g. black giant bamboo, Buddha bamboo (not as slim as the other ones)…

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