Mabul, MalaysiaMabul, Malaysia

Diving off Mabul and Sipadan

Well, just briefly a summary of the city-life before we went to the Semporna archipelago in Borneo… Singapore was about working (Iris), meeting Michelle *smiley smiling* , having some nice food, buying the usual Singapore souvenir (a dress for Iris) and special this time: Getting some proper cough stopping medicine (also for Iris)… KL was again about working (actually for both of us), recovering from the cold and opening an account at a jewelery supply wholesaler (both later tasks only for Iris) *smiley winking*

Then, finally, we took the plane to Tawau where two cool guys with extra stylish sunglasses took us through endless palm oil plantations towards Semporna, the gateway to divers paradise.

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Hong KongHong Kong

Last, but not least…Hong Kong, once again ;-)

After the extensive wedding celebration week in Melbourne it was finally time to leave Australia behind and head on to Hong Kong to meet old friends and indulge in some nice last-minute x-mas shopping rush

Our way from Melbourne to Sydney was a bit different than planned – all I say here: NEVER fly Tiger Airways, unless you wanna end up on a plane that gets cancelled without notice – but this way we both got the new experience of buying a ticket for a plane that leaves in only an hour directly at the airport :lol:

Sadly enough, there was another last-minute change…and Pete (an old friend of Iris) had to leave early back to Germany so we missed him *smiley crying* Nevertheless our special thanks to Pete for the most luxurious accommodation throughout our 6 months journey *smiley surprised*

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Sydney, AustraliaSydney, Australia

Sydney – all about water…

On the way back to Australia we discovered a new feature in Qantas’ board entertainment system…the seat-to-seat chat. For sure we extensively used it and Iris convinced me, not to send any flirt messages randomly around the cabin as the system tells you the seat number of the sender

After getting started for our “adventure” with the Sydney bus system (if you ever have some spare time, I am happy to listen to whoever feels confident to explain it to me) we spent some time exploring The Rock (no movie, just the city area close to the Harbour Bridge) an it’s surroundings…

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Bay of Islands, New ZealandBay of Islands, New Zealand

North Island – in a rush…

What happens if you don’t really plan in advance? Sure, we all know…but it happens anyway We had not enough time to really fully explore the north island of New Zealand after spending most of the one month in the beautiful and spectacular south!

Boarding the ferry on the south island in Picton gives you some very nice views of the northern fjords…

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Milford Trek, New ZealandMilford Trek, New Zealand

Dry feet on Milford Track – “the finest walk in the world"

Kiwis (for those who don’t know yet, that’s how you call the locals here in New Zealand) tend to have the highest, finest, biggest, deepest, fastest, wettest, longest, steepest, … whatsoever. So we were not surprised to read about the Milford Track being described as “the finest walk in the world”. After walking it, we have to admit, this might be true

Let’s start with the beginning of the story in July this year. The Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks” where you have to book your mattress in the huts well in advance for the high season, as only 40 people (i.e. spaces in the huts, camping is not allowed) can walk the track each day and not only Kiwis want to walk it, but also lots of people from nearly everywhere. Especially for the Milford Track you need to make the booking more or less immediately when the booking for the season is opened, this year it was mid of July. Right, we have been at Galapagos Islands that time without internet access of course… So I asked HTM (= “high tech Mum” *smiley smiling*) to do the booking for us. And she really wanted to make sure that we get our hut passes, so she calculated the time difference and went with a glass of red wine (it was already late that day in Germany) to the computer. Unfortunately she was not the only one to do so, the server of the booking system was down / extremely slow due to the high demand and it took her much more than one hour (and more than one glass of wine) to complete the booking. Don’t ask who was sweating more – Mum when doing the booking or we when crossing the Mackinnon Pass

We left most of our things and our car in Te Anau (just had our sleping bags, some light weight, high nutrition food, a cooking set and a second set of cloths) and started the adventure…

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Oamaru, New ZealandOamaru, 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 ZealandThe 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, AustraliaMelbourne, Australia


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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