From the World Heritage inscription:
The city of Le Havre, on the English Channel in Normandy, was severely bombed during the Second World War. The destroyed area was rebuilt according to the plan of a team headed by Auguste Perret, from 1945 to 1964. The site forms the administrative, commercial and cultural centre of Le Havre. Le Havre is exceptional among many reconstructed cities for its unity and integrity. It combines a reflection of the earlier pattern of the town and its extant historic structures with the new ideas of town planning and construction technology. It is an outstanding post-war example of urban planning and architecture based on the unity of methodology and the use of prefabrication, the systematic utilization of a modular grid, and the innovative exploitation of the potential of concrete.
If you are a big fan of city planning, I suppose Le Havre is on your bucket list.
If you are not not a big fan of city planning, then you can probably skip it.
Every so often I visit a site where I scratch my head wondering “why is this a world heritage site”. This is one of them.
I struggled to find something to photograph. I did a Google search and found that pretty much every write up of this site had a photo of the same building….the one shown above.
From the World Heritage inscription:
Bourges Cathedral is of considerable importance in the development of Gothic architecture and as a symbol of the strength of Christianity in medieval France. However, its principal claim lies in its striking beauty, combining masterly management of space with harmonious proportions and decoration of the highest quality. As the figurehead of the Capetian domain facing the south of France, the Cathedral of Saint-Étienne had to be unique in design. The architectural style chosen by the unknown master-builder is based on a plan with no transept and plastic effects of great modernity for their time. The cathedral is still surrounded by the half-timbered houses of the medieval town.
A royal city since the year 1100, Bourges has grown in size and prosperity; the new Gothic cathedral was a hymn to the authority of the Archbishops of Bourges, primates of Aquitaine.
There had been a Christian cult centre on this site since the 3rd century, when Roman Avaricum became the first Christian community in Gaul. A Romanesque basilica dedicated to St Stephen was erected there in the 11th century and other religious buildings quickly clustered around it. A small crypt from the Romanesque structure has survived beneath the present cathedral. In the 12th-century transepts and a monumental west front were added, but fires in the early 1190s necessitated complete rebuilding (contemporaneously with the main construction of Notre-Dame de Paris).
In 1195, Archbishop Henri de Sully decided to rebuild the cathedral, starting with the chevet, in the new Gothic style: work began and continued throughout the 13th century. The new cathedral was built to a simple but harmonious plan. It is basilical in form, with chapels surrounding the nave. The cathedral has a very simple plan, with double side aisles, a double ambulatory, and no transept. The perspective of the side walls and the unity of the interior space are outstanding features of the building. The architectural features of the whole edifice are already visible in the chevet: the pyramidal composition of the elevation and the audacious double flying buttresses, which are intended to create effects of perspective and harmony of volumes inside the edifice.
In 1199, Archbishop Guillaume de Dangeon, a former Cistercian abbot, succeeded Henri de Sully and played an important part in the development of the site and in the definition of the iconographical programme: the cathedral as a whole, its carved decorations and the stained-glass windows, which are the assertion of religious doctrine against heresy. The second stage of construction, including the nave and the west front, was finished around 1230; five carved portals completed the facade. The architects who succeeded the first master-builder maintained the coherence and the apparent simplicity of the programme, the absence of a transept contributing to the effect of unity of space.
In the early 13th century, stained-glass windows were added to the three levels of the choir: they represent the Christ of the Last Judgement and the Apocalypse, the Blessed Virgin and Saint Étienne are flanked by the trade guilds, parallel scenes from the New and Old Testaments, the life of the Saints and Martyrs, the Archbishops of Bourges, the Prophets and Apostles.
The tympanum of the central portal of the west facade is bears a grandiose sculptural representation of the Last Judgement that is both realistic and timeless, in which Hell swarms with demons and creatures in the torments of despair. The sculptures on the north and south doors and the Last Judgement on the west facade are notable examples of the art of the period.
Other historic buildings in the precincts are a 13th-century tithe barn, those elements of the 17th-century Bishop’s Palace which survive as the Hôtel de Ville and the cathedral gardens in classical French style. The structure is essentially as it was when it was completed in the late 13th century, both in form and materials, although many elements have been replaced over the centuries, as is the case with all Gothic cathedrals.
The Bourges Cathedral is an amazing, if overlooked European Cathedral. It is mainly overlooked because Bourges isn’t a large city or a major tourist destination. In fact, I was rather shocked at how large the cathedral was given the size of the town. I’m guessing as early as 100 years ago you could have easily put the entire population of the town inside with room to spare.
I visited in May 2015, and the building had clearly been restored quite recently. The inside and the facade were very clean, almost abnormally so. There are many home surrounding the cathedral, so the best outside view I found was actually in the back, which is also the easiest place to park.
Bourges is about a 2.5 hour drive from Paris, which is about the limit of what you might consider for a day trip.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites I’ve visited.
WWOOFing is a popular way to travel the world for free accommodation and food. If you haven’t heard about this before, I highly recommend checking out the website – WWOOFing = Willing Working On Organic Farms and sounds like a great idea, but we wanted to know about this thing from someone who had actually experienced it.Travel Interview WWOOFing in New Zealand
Eleanor, a twenty-one year old WWOOFer in New Zealand and a close friend of mine from Sweden, shares her experience of WWOOFing around New Zealand for a few months and how it really works. – So how does WWOOFing work? Eleanor: It’s an organization that is dependent on cooperation. WWOOF stands for “Willing Workers On Organic Farms” and that is the attitude you should have if you’re planning to do some WWOOFing while you are traveling. What you do is that you sign up on their web page and pay the fee for a year’s membership (about 50 NZ Dollars). After you’ve done that you get your own account where you add your personal details and can start to look for hosts all around the country (Sofia’s Note: every country has it’s own website and organization, so when you sign up you can only work in that country – and you do the same for every country you wish to work in.)
Is every place the same?
E: Not at all, you get to experience so many different traditions and see how it’s like on a farm or in an ordinary city home. You can spend one week walking around picking some weed in a garden eating exclusively vegan food and the next week you’re off to a cattle farm where they celebrate your arrival with a big meat dinner.
Are the working hours the same everywhere?
E: Usually they are, you’re supposed to do about four hours a day for food and accommodation and then have time off to explore the area. But you should be prepared to work eight hour days sometimes, there are some who do not follow the (4hr a day) WWOOFing code.
So all hosts don’t follow the rules?
E: No, unfortunately there are those who abuse the system, but it’s not very often you meet them and when you do you are free to leave whenever you want.
Have you been exposed to any danger when WWOOFing or had to do something that would normally require a professional specialist to do?
E: Not really, there has been some ladder-climbing on windy days that’s always a bit scary but apart from that they generally give you secure jobs. Sometimes you can find that it’s handy to have some sort of professional skill at some places, it’s always appreciated when a builder comes to your home.
What should you expect to experience with WWOOFing?
E: Hard work, a lot of outdoor activities, some cooking and household work. A lot of weeding. Some people call WWOOFing – Willing Weeders on Organic Farms. haha.
Is WWOOFing safe?
E: Yes, it’s all a voluntary work and the hosts pay money to the organization to get WWOOFers so they are usually very serious about the work and everything.
Has it been easy finding hosts/farms?
E: It depends a lot on the time of year and where you are going, some places are more popular than others so they can be harder to get a place to stay. But as long as you keep trying there will always be someone who can take care of you.
Has it been worth it?
E: I’d say so! You meet some really nice people and make a lot of friends.
Is WWOOFing something you would recommend to others?
E: Oh yes, I’m already doing it! It’s something everyone should try!
What will you remember from this experience?
E: All the people I’ve met and the relaxed lifestyle the New Zealanders have.
During our New Zealand Trip, the weather had been unsteady during the week, but when I woke up that morning the weather was incredible, blue skies and sunny – ‘Let’s go NOW!’ I said as I eagerly shook Nathan to wake up – we were off to Akaroa. 20 minutes later the bus tickets were booked and we were on our way (Nathan took a bet that I wouldn’t be able to get ready in that short amount of time, but what he didn’t know about me is that I can be quick when I really want to be :P). Akaroa is a French village, close to Christchurch in New Zealand and they had really kept their french culture. All the street names, shops and people had French names and the French flag was proudly flying above every house.
France tried to make New Zealand a French colony, but came slightly too late – they then tried to make the South Island a french colony, but when they finally arrived they were too late for that as well. They were only 10 days behind the British, but since they came too late – they were only given the small town of Akaroa to settle in (still under the British rule) and since that day it has kept its French ‘origins’ – Nathan is from New Zealand, and I can’t even imagine if he had come from a French background instead! :p
We took a ferry around Akaroa Harbor, and we saw over 20 Hector dolphins, they are the smallest, rarest dolphin in the world, and usually you can only catch a glimpse of 4-10 of them – if you’re lucky. I guess we were very lucky to see so many , we also saw one tiny baby dolphin swimming with its mother, it was only a week old! We managed to catch a glimpse of the world’s smallest penguins, they were so small and looked kind of lost in the big sea, you just want to swim out and hug them. Make sure you watch the video below, and see if you can spot the baby Dolphin!
We got stuck in the ‘poor-man-mindset’ for a while, and were discussing while in New Zealand & Australia last year, whether we would buy ourselves a full body board set (rash top, fins, board, board bag) or not – we really wanted to, but it was a lot of money and what would we do with everything once we left a few months later? Luckily, we got over ourselves, bought the boards and fins (plus a mega huge board bag..!) and had the time of our lives. Honestly, I was completely freaked out by the whole surfing thing at the start, and once Nathan showed me some ‘real’ waves my first thought was “Is this guy crazy?”
I couldn’t understand how he could really think that I would willingly, let alone happily, throw myself out in THAT? Only a person without any fear or brains would do that! With my legs shaking and my heart jumping I paddled out. And got wiped out. Paddled again. Wiped out. “It gets easier once you get past the waves!” Nathan yelled out. After having swallowed half the ocean, I finally learned how to get passed the waves, and pretty soon I was even starting to enjoy it.
Nathan was like a fish in the water on his board, and from him I learned that surfing was more than just a sport – it’s a state of mind. The peace you experience in the early morning hours out there in the water is a feeling you can’t describe other than that you feel like a free spirit. You feel the connection with nature, you realize what life is really all about – you feel that freedom of life.
But before getting *out the back* – as they say… you have to get passed all the crashing waves. It’s just as much of a mental challenge as a physical one, and if you don’t stay focused you’ll give up – giving myself another month and I had fallen deeply in love with this *sport* – thanks to Nathan and the beautiful waves we experienced together.
Have you fallen in love with a sport on your travels? Tell us about it! Here is a video of Nathan – well see if you can SPOT Nathan somewhere in all the big waves – a bit too scary for me!Hot Water Beach, New Zealand
I’m sure you have heard of sand on the beach getting so hot from the sun that it’s hard to walk on – but have you heard of sand becoming SO hot that is makes the salt water boil? The thought of digging your own pool on the beach, with hot water appearing from the ground as you dig would be something of a fantasy – only this is real… this is in New Zealand. We sat there in the early hours of the morning in our own hand-made spa here at Hot Water Beach which is located in the north island of New Zealand – such a crazy but completely amazing experience.
quick tip: you can only build these pools during low tide, so you can only do this twice a day – the evenings are normally packed with people, so try and do what we did and get up early – we had the whole beach to ourselves! At some places the sand and water was so hot your feet burned when standing there – you can see where to dig as the steam rises from the ground. how does this all work? read more here about Hot Water Beach via WikiDanger Sign On Hot Water Beach, New Zealand
This photo was taken while we were exploring Hot Water Beach in New Zealand – there was such amazing light on that morning as the sun came up – the reddish color from the sun, brought out by the volcanic rock – added so much more effect to that danger sign.Hanmer Springs, New Zealand
First time we tried out our newly purchased tent (check out: How We Survived Camping In A Broken Tent For 3 Months In New Zealand ) was a 6 days trip to Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura in the South Island of New Zealand. We returned to Nathan’s parents’ home after 6 days, so happy to have survived for SUCH a long time – if only we knew we were about to spend another 3 months in that tent… but that is another story…There wasn’t much to see in this little village, as Hanmer Springs is located on basically only one street, but it has something pretty cool – natural hot springs. When I heard about this I was amazed, but we were soon to discover (over the next 3 months) that hot springs are pretty much everywhere in New Zealand. “Not another f**kin one!” we would scream! But this blog is about the happy days before we knew that, and at this magical place in Hamner Springs, these hot springs were the best thing in the world!
Don’t ask me how it works but they have designed a series of natural-looking rock pools and rivers which are fueled by this natural hot water coming out of the ground. Lying in these pools was one of the most relaxing and amazing feelings in the world. Perhaps you usually don’t enjoy swimming in the rain or snow, but when you have a dozen of small 40 degree outside pools to soak your tent-beaten body in – then it’s perfect – even if it did have a rather odd smell of rotten eggs.Attractions And Things To Do In Queenstown, New Zealand
Location: South West of New Zealand’s South Island
Currency: NZD, New Zealand Dollars
Short History: Before the Europeans settled in Queenstown, the Maori used to visit seasonally to hunt Moa (an extinct bird) and gather green stone. When gold was discovered in the Arrow River in 1860, people came from across the world just to dig for gold. Today it’s known as the adventure capital of the world and draw thousands of tourists every year.
There is no better place where you can get the combination of adventure, nature and beauty than in Queenstown. What used to be a small village has now turned into the bustling hub for nature-loving adventures. Beautiful nature surrounds the town and you will find many adventure attractions:
Skydiving, skiing, mountain climbing, bungy jumping, mountain biking – you name they have it – but don’t worry Queenstown isn’t just about the fun, crazy adventures, there are also many beautiful things to see and fun things to do without added adrenaline.Attractions – What To See & Do:
Most activities here include some type of outdoor adventure, and for the fearless this is pure paradise. Queenstown itself is a very small town, and many of the things to see and do are within the wider Queenstown area, so be aware that you’ll have to get yourself outside the actual city center to enjoy many of the activities and history. Here are some great things to do and places to visit on your stay in Queenstown:
Queenstown Hill: Queenstown hill is a great place to spend a day. Take the gondola or hike up the Queenstown hill (it takes about 2 hours to walk the whole way up – yup we tested this!), enjoy the amazing scenery and take a few rides on the Luge. If you dare you can also try bungy jumping over the trees, or paragliding from the hill.
Sheep Farm: Take the 98 year old steam ship (coal-fired) TSS Ernslaw over Lake Wakatipu to visit Walter Peak High Country Farm. At the farm you get an insight in what farmer life is like in New Zealand. You get a tour around the farm, have ‘afternoon tea’ and watch a sheep shearing show.
Arrowtown: Only 20 minutes away from Queenstown is Arrowtown, an old gold mining town. Try your luck with gold panning, take a tour around historic buildings and the Chinese Miners Settlement where some houses are still intact. This is a great place to buy gold jewelery and learn more about New Zealand gold mining history.
Adventure Sports: Queenstown is the perfect location for adventure with its lake, rivers and mountains. Here is a small list of thrills (with a link to each company) you can find in Queenstown:
- Jet boating
- Bungy jumping
- Mountain biking
- River surfing
- 4wd Rally Driving
You can get to Queenstown by car, bus and they also have an international airport.
By Bus – Most major NZ bus companies operate routes to and from Queenstown. Intercity, Naked Bus, Magic Bus are a few examples.
By Air – The airport is only 10 minutes away from town, and you can fly here with Qantas and Air New Zealand. Domestically, there are several connections each day from main New Zealand centres. Air New Zealand flies direct from Sydney and Melbourne year round with Qantas offering a winter services out of Sydney and Brisbane. An airport to town center bus operates daily between 6:30am and 11pm. Service to and from all major Hotels & Motels, Airport, Sunshine Bay, Fernhill, Frankton, Remarkables Park Shopping Centre & downtown Queenstown. Bus shuttles cost 10 dollars (discounts when you’re more than one person) and a bus 6 dollars.
Getting Around Town – The city center is small enough to walk around, but if you want to really make the most out of the whole Queenstown district the best way is by having a car. However, if you’ve booked a tour package for adventure activities the transport is usually included in the price. Queenstown also has a small local bus operating system called connectabus, which runs in 3 routes. The price depends on how many zones you travel through.
Where To Eat – The cheapest option would be to buy food from the supermarket and cook it at the hostel, but if you want to eat out I really recommend Sombrero’s Mexican Restaurant. Cozy environment and great food that fills you up! You can find the restaurant on the main street among many other pubs, restaurants and eateries.
Where To Stay – A popular hostel with a young atmosphere is Nomads Queenstown Backpackers. It’s nice and clean, has a lounge area with a fire place, free breakfast and even a sauna! It also has a really good location in town, which is always a big plus. Room rates start from 25 NZ dollars.
The post Our New Zealand Trip and Dolphin Watching In Akaroa appeared first on As We Travel.
We spent just over 60 hours in total on buses for 3 months in New Zealand. Spending so many hours on buses probably sounds horrific to you, but thanks to the bus drivers it was honestly enjoyable – the bus rides with these New Zealand bus drivers felt more like long guide tours with travel guides who loved hearing the sound of their own voice than simply drive from pointA to pointB. Every bus driver we traveled with had so many stories lined up for the whole ride, that they just simply wouldn’t shut up. Not that we wanted them to, they would tell both funny and interesting history of the land scape that was passing by the windows as we toured around the South Island. It just amazed me how someone can talk uninterruptedly for five+ hours straight without caring whether anyone listened or caring whether people wanted to hear him. These men just talked and talked and talked, and without having to say a word they shared their own biography along with the history of New Zealand. Our brains overwhelmed with so much information it was hard to remember it all, but one thing we got straight:Everything Is World Famous in New Zealand
Things To Do In Australia vs New Zealand
How We Survived Camping In A Broken Tent For 3 Months In New Zealand
Our New Zealand Trip and Dolphin Watching In Akaroa
Let’s Start The New Zealand Road Trip!
New Zealand must have the most ‘world famous things’ in the world..! Every single village, including those so small you had passed it before the bus driver had even finished mentioning it, was world famous for something: World famous for the biggest loaf of bread, world famous for the biggest cookie, world biggest L&P bottle (as if L&P was sold anywhere else?), you name it…It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if someone one day said that New Zealand was world famous for having the most world famous things…However, I’m not sure where they came up with saying everything is world famous, maybe the well known L&P slogan *World Famous in New Zealand Since Ages Ago…* says it all!Movie Locations in New Zealand
New Zealand has been a popular destination for making films since the 1970s. Using New Zealand as a location for filming has spiked in popularity in the last fifteen or so years. Best of all, it’s easy to visit many of these spectacular movie locations in New Zealand – to begin your journey through cinematic history, start by looking at what car rental New Zealand has to offer, pick your vehicle and get ready to roll.The Last Samurai
Watching Tom Cruise’s the Last Samurai; it would be difficult to tell that the filming took place in New Zealand and not in Japan. This movie was released in 2003 and centres around the traumatised American Captain Nathan Algren who, in 1876, agrees to train conscripts for the new Japanese Meiji government. Algren is captured in battle and begins to embrace the culture of the Samurai he was initially hired to destroy.
During the filming, Mount Taranaki made a nice stand-in for Mount Fiji in Japan. According to Maori legend, the mount once lived with other volcanoes on North Island, but fell in love with a hill called Pihanga.
The hill was the wife of another volcano, Tongariro and, after a fiery battle, Taranaki was exiled from the central region. His tears were responsible for creating the Whenganui River as he fled to his current location. This is also a great place to learn and interact with native Maori tribes. There are eight tribes that still live in the region, and many experiences combine adventure with traditional Maori practises, such as going for a waka ride and following it up with a quad bike ride through native bush.The Chronicles of Narnia
While much of the adaptation of this famous and beloved book, the first in a series, was filmed on a stage, several locations around New Zealand were used for outdoor scenes. The movie tells the story of two children who are magically transported into the fantasy land of Aotearoa and become embroiled in a battle between the brave lion Aslan and the frosty White Witch. Locations such as Woodhill Forest, which was used for the White Witch’s camp, were used in the movie. Other locations include:
- Flock Hill – Just 90 minutes from Christchurch, this area was used for the Great Battle
- Purakaunui Bay – South of Dunedin, the castle of Cair Paravel was superimposed on the cliff tops of this beautiful coast.
- Elephant Rocks – This ancient outcropping of rocks became Aslan’s Camp in 2004. The town of Oamaru nearby makes a great base for exploring the area.
Perhaps the most well-known movie filmed in the area is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The tales of the hobbit and the Fellowship of the Ring against the vile forces of Sauron and the machinations of the One Ring are well-known to movie and fantasy buffs everywhere. There were many locations used to film the movie. Some highlights include:
- Matamata, Waikato – Used as the hobbit village, Hobbiton, you can still peek into the hobbit holes that remain.
- Kawaru River – This was the location of the iconic Pillars of the Kings on the Anduin River, though the pillars were computer generated.
- Kepler Mire – Remember the creepy swamp with the floating dead? That was in fact the Kepler Mire wetlands of Te Anau.
- Southern Alps – The treacherous Misty Mountains of Middle Earth the Fellowship tried to pass through in the Fellowship of the Rings were actually the Southern Alps.
- The Shotover River at Skippers Canyon – This is where the elf Arwen defeated the ringwraiths.
- Tongariro National Park – You might know this World Heritage site better as Mordor. Fortunately, one can simply walk into Tongariro.
- Mount Ngauruhoe – This active volcano is gorgeous. It was also the body double for Mount Doom.
With so many great films having made such extensive use of New Zealand’s beautiful natural resources, movie fans will love being able to visit the shooting locations of their favourite flicks. Such a visit is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.
On our way down to Queenstown we stopped over for a night in Tekapo. It’s a small village with only 300 inhabitants, set 750 meters above sea level. It’s the closest village to Mt Cook, the highest mountain in South Pacific, and the night sky in this place is out of this world! At a place this high up and no city lights to lighten the sky, you could see so many stars that there is almost no space between them. I woke up to go out for a pee in the middle of the night, and as I looked up I thought I was still dreaming. First I just stood there for a few minutes looking up, thinking it was my sleepy eyes that was duplicating everything. Then after I rubbed them and it wouldn’t go away I realized that what I saw was real.Exploring The New Zealand Night Sky
For some reason I thought it would disappear from me any minute, so I threw myself back into the tent shaking Nathan ferociously, almost in panic, to wake him up and come out to see it – I have never experienced something so amazing since, and any pictures you see really can’t do it justice! What made Tekapo such a beautiful place was the lake. It had the most amazing color of turquoise. Milky, thick and bright. It looked very tempting, but turned out (after I had a dip) that it was only 8 degrees COLD!!! … (more about this next week – have a wonderful weekend & see you here again on Monday!)24 Hours in Christchurch, New Zealand
Christchurch, also known as the garden city, is one of the oldest cities in New Zealand. It’s a small city with a lot to offer and a great balance between outdoor life, culture and shopping.
9 am – Power-Start Breakfast
Start the day with a power-start breakfast at the Lotus-Heart Cafe, a cafe which has a focus on healthy eating and strives to create a global cuisine naturally. You will find it in Cathedral Square, on Colombo Street, where you can also get a close up view of the wonderful Christchurch Cathedral.
10 am – Smell The Roses
The best way to understand why Christchurch has its nickname as the garden city is to simply go to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens – which is FREE. It’s a beautiful park to walk around, smell the gigantic flowers and admire the massive trees. The best part for me was the rose garden, which included a wide variety of flowers. You will find many chances to practice your nature photography.
11 am – The Canterbury Museum
After a nice walk in the gardens, make sure you stop by the front gate and have a look inside the Canterbury Museum – where once inside you will have a chance to learn the history of the local area and it’s Maori culture.
12 pm – The Arts Center – Shoppers Delight
Visit the arts center, where you will find a maze of over 40 specialty shops, workshops and galleries. Also every Friday there is a farmers market and on Saturdays it’s the weekend market where the square is packed with over 80 stalls selling all from hand made bags to food from all corners of the world.
1 pm – Window Shopping & Natural *Legal* Drugs
Walking around central Christchurch, will give you a chance to do some window shopping. Take a look into the Cosmic Corner shop where they sell legal drugs (which are natural, legal and claim to give you a similar feeling to real drugs… interesting :S)
2 pm – Chicken or Vegetarian Sushi?
A great lunch option is sushi. It’s around almost every street corner, and there are so many varieties to choose between, all from chicken to vegetarian sushi. The quality of the sushi in New Zealand is in general really good as well.
5 pm – Beach Walking At Brighton Beach
Spend the afternoon at the beach, relaxing in the afternoon sun (which is the best time to be out at the beach in NZ, without getting too burnt), walk along the beach and enjoy the waves.
7 pm – Get Fat @ ‘Two Fat Indians’
Have some curry at the Two Fat Indians Restaurant, which serves up great food for an amazing price. This is some real Indian food, so don’t ask for spicy, Nathan made this mistake and it was HOT! – but great They have great lunch offers as well, so if you like to eat early you can get a great deal before 3 pm.
8 pm – Tequila or Coffee To End The Day?
Check out the SOL square (the hub of South of Lichfield), an alley full of bars and cafes, decorated with some cool street art. In this part of town you will find a little something for everyone.
If you have a spare day:
If you have a spare day in Christchurch I recommend checking out the Port Hills. It’s a beautiful place with the best view over the city, the ocean and all the way over to the Southern Alps. It’s a perfect place for a picnic, go for a walk or enjoy some mountain biking. This is where you can find many locals hanging out in the weekends. Hope you have a great time exploring Christchurch New Zealand!Weird Light in Limestone Cave, Punakaiki, New Zealand
This photo was taken while we were exploring limestone caves in Punakaiki on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. I think its amazing what nature itself can create and share with us in the most random of moments.
This episode is a live show recorded at TBEX Europe in Lloret de Mar, Catalonia.
Here are the guests we had on the show:
- Stephanie Yoder of Twenty Something Travel
- Jackie Laulainen of The Budget Minded Traveler
- Craig and Linda Martin from The Indie Travel Podcast
- Heather Cowper from Heather on Her Travels
- Rick Calvert from TBEX and NMX
- Stephen Oddo of Walks of Italy, New York, Turkey
- Laurence Norah of Finding the Universe
- Jessica Turchik of Independent Travel Cats
- Dylan Lowe from The Traveling Editor
- Evo Terra and Sheila Dee from the Opportunistic Travelers
Nathan, who is from New Zealand, can’t count how many times people have asked him if New Zealand and Australia are the same country, if there is a bridge between the two (yes, people have asked if you can drive between the two countries), and even if they’re joined together. The list goes on, but one thing is clear – many people don’t realize just how different Australia and New Zealand are from each other. The only thing they have in common is that they’re far away from the rest of the world, and that the people are very easy-going, laid back and friendly. So when you’ve gone all the way down for holidays in Australia, you should definitely consider visiting New Zealand as well.Things To Do In Australia vs New Zealand Australia
Australia is world famous for its beaches, surfing, outback and cosmopolitan cities like Sydney – there are so many things to see and do here that you will find it incredibly hard to get bored.
Here are some things that Australia offers…Great Barrier Reef & Beach Life
A large part of Australia has a tropical climate and some of the most beautiful beaches and clear waters in the world. The lifestyle on by the coast is all about beach-life, and the warm clear waters are perfect for surfing & diving. You also have the Great Barrier Reef, a huge coral reef unlike any other in the world, where you can dive and snorkel among exotic fish, corals, sharks and more. You won’t find anything like this in the cold waters of New Zealand.The Outback
Making a generalization, Australia is a desert country, while New Zealand is a garden – completely different, but equally fascinating. Australia’s outback is an adventure like no other, with termite mounds tall as houses, cooling gorges, canyons, national parks, and of course the impressive Ayers Rock and Alice Springs. The sunsets you’ll experience in the red deserts of Australia are breathtaking, and looking out over a huge wide open space of “nothing ness” with a horizon stretching way out in the distance, is a big contrast from the usual “ocean sunsets”.Play With Dangerous Animals
When it comes to wild life, Australia and New Zealand are as different as they can be – Australia has more dangerous animals than you could count, while New Zealand doesn’t have any dangerous animals at all. In Australia you can dive with sharks, go on crocodile safaris and visit numerous places showcasing the creepy spiders and snakes you can find in the bush. On the flip side, it also has cute koala bears and other cuddly animals.New Zealand
Despite its small size, on holidays to New Zealand you will find stunning diverse nature with everything from active volcanoes to steep fiords. It is completely opposite from Australia when it comes to wildlife as well, where many birds naturally evolved into wingless birds because of the absence of predators.things that New Zealand offers….Hot Springs, Volcanoes & Geysers
Bathe in the healing waters of natural hot springs, watch geysers exploding several meters in the air in Rotorua, or dig your own hot water jacuzzi in the sand at Hot Water Beach in Coromandel. There are many ways to enjoy the hot springs in New Zealand, but whatever you choose you’re up for a fun, unique experience. While Australia has some hot springs, they’re not famous for them, perhaps because it’s too hot there to enjoy them anyway! The country also has many dormant and active volcanoes and a volcanic island (White Island), with a beautiful green crater lake. Ngaruhoe is the volcano featured as Mt. Doom in the Lord Of The Ring Movies.Glaciers And The Southern Alps
While Australia does have some skiing, it simply can’t compare to the Southern Alps in New Zealand. Many people are surprised that skiing is even possible in these countries, but the truth is that New Zealand has some amazing glaciers and over a dozen ski fields for you to enjoy. With much colder water temperatures, New Zealand is not always the best place for water activities, but there are two that truly stand out in all their glory; the incredible fiords in the South Island, and the opportunity to go whale watching.
There are many other differences between these two countries, but these are the first that come to mind – what differences do you think of when comparing Australia and New Zealand?
We were more than eager to leave Sweden for our road trip, so as soon as we thought we had enough money to survive for a while we packed our bags and left. We didn’t really know what to expect, but figured that time would tell. And pretty soon, it did. If I would have known before we left what lay before us I’m not sure I would have left so soon. The trip was amazing, but the thought of traveling for 3 months in a broken tent doesn’t sound very appealing. Well, I’m glad I didn’t know, because it was a crazy experience that I learned a lot from and I wouldn’t have changed one bit of it – although I may not have felt that way back then…How We Survived Camping In A Broken Tent For 3 Months In New Zealand
We realized how 6,000 US dollars each to last us around the world for 8 months wasn’t quite as much as we initially thought, and NZ also turned out to be a bit more expensive than we were expecting. We refused to have come all this way escaping a slavery job in Sweden, only to continue to the next in New Zealand. We swore we would make this work no matter what. So we were dedicated to find the cheapest way to travel around New Zealand, which for us turned out to be by bus and a 2-man tent. I had never gone camping in my life, and neither of us knew anything about tents or the camp life. Since our minds were just installed on finding the best deal, we found a tent called ‘Frank’. The name and the price tag made it an easy decision, Frank would be our home for the next few months. When we went to buy the tent, the salesman first looked very puzzled, and then he broke out in a laugh. He said that this tent was so bad they usually gave it away for free when buying another tent and was used for the kids as a playhouse. He also said that the staff crew had made a deal; if anyone managed to SELL the tent, he would have to buy everyone in the staff a beer – that’s how lousy the tent was. And that’s – obviously, how good our judgement was…
The best thing traveling around a country with a tent is that it’s cheap, you won’t have to bother about hostel manners, and you’re always assured to get a ‘private’. What was not so fun was to pack up and down our house every single day – not to mention carrying 7 kilos of metal bars and fabric around everywhere, to wake up shaking in the cold, and to evacuate from it whenever it over flooded in the rain. Backpacking around with a tent showed us a whole new side of New Zealand. We were able to stay in places we wouldn’t have been able to do before, and we were forced to spend most of our days outside. But what was the most important lesson was learning how to live so close to your partner 24/7. We had to create some alone-time from each other while sharing a space of 2 x 2 x 1,5 m. The most important things we did to be able to survive without killing each other and tearing down the already broken tent, was to look at it all from a perspective. Laughing at yourself is the best cure to everything. Laughing at your situation, and finding every little positive thing about what you’re doing. Look at the possibilities and ignore the bad sides, even if it might be difficult sometimes.My List Of Best New Zealand Road Trip Music!
There we were, in my old pimped out car from -84, driving in the afternoon sun with the windows turned down. Everything was just about as perfect as a roadtrip could be (except we didn’t have surfboards on the rooftop, but that didn’t matter much). There was however something missing, something VERY important – Where was Phantom Planet and Janis Joplin?! Our roadtrip had suddenly turned into a dull trip-with-the-car. You can’t go on a roadtrip with Jay Z and Katie Melua as your only music, roadtrip music MAKES the trip for god’s sake, singing along to good old songs about cars and travels, with your feet sticking out the window. A roadtrip without proper roadtrip-music is like a fish’n chips without the chips! With this list IN hand I hope I can save you from making the same mistake.
Here Is My Fav. Roadtrip Music List:
- Highway to Hell – ACDC
- Animal – Nickleback
- Born To be Wild – Steppenwolf
- Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf
- I’m Like A Bird – Nelly Furtado
- Radar Love – Golden Earring
- Mercedes Benz – Janis Joplin
- California – Phantom Planet
- Baby you can drive my car – Beatles
- It’s still rock and roll to me – Billy Joel
- Low Rider – War
- Start me up – Rolling Stones
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Let’s Start The New Zealand Road Trip!: Originally, I was offered a Toyota Previa 2.4L auto ‘people mover’ for the road trip. These are great vehicles, but with a 2.4L engine and automatic transmission (and all the weight from the extra seats etc), this vehicle was going to be just a little too thirsty! Then, I could buy a ‘94 Nissan Sentra 1.6L auto from my Dad’s work for $1000, and if it still worked when I was finished with it, they would buy it back off me for $1000. Great deal! Except the night before the vehicle was going to be delivered, it was crashed and written off by the owner’s daughter…Plan C: I’m now able to borrow Penny’s (my Dad’s partner and soon to be wife! ‘92 Nissan stationwagon 1.6L manual (yay! ) Today I spent some time preparing the vehicle. I changed the air filter and spark plugs, re-filled the wiper fluid, filled the spare tyre, and adjusted the pressure in the other 4 tyres. I’ll load it up with a tent, mattress, gas cooker, water bottle, spare fuel cannister, my belongings and myself, and begin the road trip tomorrow morning.
I can’t quite remember how, but somehow we ended up at the most random camping ground in the middle of nowhere in the north island of New Zealand. We had heard the beaches were nice for surfing, but it turned out that the only way to reach the beach was by car. Luckily we got to borrow an old truck from a farmer living nearby. This is one of those times where you really love how open, and friendly the New Zealand people are. The fact that someone lets a couple of strangers take his truck and use it as much as they like whenever they like (using his petrol) wanting nothing in return – is amazing!
When people trust each other and believes the best of others it gives me hope. Besides, how could you possibly have the heart to let down someone who shows that trust in you? That is why I took great care of that ol’ truck, and treated it like fragile glass. Yes, that’s the reason I drove 15 km/hour along the road, not because I was shit scared to be driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road… :p (After 5 minutes on the road we had a whole following of 6 cars driving behind us trying to get past)New Zealand Road Trip – Day 4: Eltham – Mt. Damper Falls – Whakapapa – Taupo: 388km
Right now I’m sitting in the car at the top of Whakapapa ski field, where the winds are gusting well over 100km/h. The car is shaking pretty violently but hasn’t been blown away just yet! Having said that, a huge gust just rocked the car so I’m heading down the mountain to keep writing this entry…A bit further down the mountain now on the sheltered side, The weather has been rough today, with high winds and grey skies, making for some rather dreary tourist pics. Earlier this week, over 15,000 lightning strikes were recorded over a 24 hour period in the North Island, which gives you an idea of the less-than-ideal Summer weather in this part of the country right now! I don’t mind the stormy conditions here though – in fact, I like this sort of wild and raw mountain weather (clouds have now enveloped the car and giant rain drops are pounding away at one side of the car in a good ol’ horizontal deluge).
Mountain weather can change in an instant, especially with these winds, so I’m going to hole up here in the car for a while until the worst of the storm blows over. (At least the car is getting a decent wash after the dirt roads through ‘The forgotten highway’ today! : ). I’ve travelled down off the mountain now and am holed up on the shore of lake Taupo. There are torrential downpours and the visibility is more or less zero. A bridge further east of here was washed out, cutting of a small community, and well, it looks like this weather will be settling in for a while. I managed to get a few pics and short panoramic videos recorded earlier on today though, before the weather took a turn for the worse.NZ Road Trip / Day 3: Auckland – Raglan – Eltham: 576km
Leaving Auckland early this morning, I got stuck in the infamous Auckland rush hour and thought to myself “I am sooo grateful I don’t have to do this every morning!” There are plenty of sights in Auckland, and again, I’ll attempt to take in a few on the way back north at the end of the trip. From Auckland I stopped off at Bombay for a break and to make some phone calls, and then headed south to Ngaruawahia where I saw a sign for Raglan – a local surf beach, and took the road out to the west coast. Raglan is a place I’d never been before, which is not surprising as it is a little off the beaten track. However the trip out to the west coast was worth it, and the weather here today was very hot, sunny, and humid. I planned to take a road around the coast from Raglan, but that had been closed. So I doubled back and took a smaller road through some farmland – the road ended up turning into gravel, and then more or less a 4wd track, so I doubled back in favour of a more major inland road, eventually hitting the coast again before arriving in Eltham, where I met up with Jack Lauderdale, my trumpet teacher and mentor. I’ll be staying here in Eltham and catching up with Jack until the end of the week. I’ll resume the blog entries (starting at Day 4) once I’m back on the road again.NZ Road Trip – Day 5: Taupo – Huka Falls – Taupo – Vinegar Hill: 225kms
I left Taupo early this morning and headed south. After about 10kms I realised I probably wouldn’t be travelling north through this road on the way back up the country, and did a U-turn (after a breakfast and exercise stop) to head for the Huka falls, just a few kms north of Taupo. After taking a few pics I headed south back through Taupo, and up onto the Desert road. On a clear day, you’d be able to see the tops of the volcanoes, but as the weather has been rough, all that could be seen was a lot of cloud. Mid afternoon I planned to head east to Dannevirke (settled by the Danes), but stopped off at a rest area near Vinegar Hill. The sun has finally come out, and so has the humidty…The water level on the river here is high and the colour of the water is muddy brown – sediment washed into the river by the torrential downpour last night no doubt. Some of the major inland roads are also closed today due to slips and flooding – better avoid those ones for now. So, I’ll be sleeping here tonight, before heading on to Dannevirke and then south again to Wellington, where I may stay a couple of days.NZ Road Trip – Day 6: Vinegar Hill – Dannevirke – around Wellington: 359kms
This morning I packed up at the Vinegar Hill campsite and headed for Dannevirke – a town founded by the Danes. On the way to Dannevirke there was a spot of good weather, and I managed to get some pics at place overlooking some farmland. Finally, the top of Mt. Ruapehu was in sight (2797m), and still with a little snow left as well. On the radio I heard a short broadcast about the Christchurch tourist board. They’d had some interesting questions in recently, such as “Can you drive to the top of Mt. Cook?” (A peak nearly 4000m high in the middle of the Southern Alps) and “What currency do they use in the North Island?” I drove through 3 gorges today, the last of which was the Rimutaka ranges. The road at the top was enshrouded in a thick layer of grey cloud, so no pics there sorry! On the way down I stopped off at a park for a break. The weather on this side of the ranges was great, so I went for a short walk down to the river (used in Fellowship of The Ring). Then I saw a sign for Rivendell…without realising it, I’d stumbled across a section of forest used as the set for Rivendell in The Lord of The Rings films hehe. After Rivendell, it was a short drive into the capital, Wellington. More about Wellington tomorrow…
Farmland with Mt. Ruapehu in the distance
Yet another panorama
Gorge on the way to Dannevirke
Vikingarna i Nya Zeeland
Det ser inte ut som Danmark, nej, men Dannevirke var grundad av danskar sent i 1800-talet (tror jag)
Rivendell from Lord of The Rings – Bush walk at RivendellNZ Road Trip – Day 7: Wellington – Kapiti Coast – Eltham: 320kms
The song goes, ”You can’t beat Wellington on a good day”, and today is definitely a good day! The weather is perfect for a day in the capital – sunny and warm with excellent visibility. After staying the night in Johnsonville, I drove into town and headed straight for Kelburn to see some of my old flats. Driving around the Wellington suburbs is amazing. The first time I was here in 2001 I had a map – but paper maps are only in 2 dimensions, and this is definitely a 3 dimensional city! So, due to the hills, there are roads and walkways in all directions, including up and down, and 2-D maps can only give you a rough idea of where things are. The many tunnels and overbridges combined with narrow streets here make driving a challenge, but also a lot of fun. Somehow, a mental map of Wellington came back into my mind here as soon as I arrived and I could navigate the labyrinth without any problems – a little different to my first few weeks here in 2001!
After seeing the flats, it was off up the Brooklyn hill, where Nathan and I had biked up one morning, before collapsing at the top haha From there, a steep climb (2nd gear almost all the way) up into Brooklyn itself, then up again to the wind turbine, where Nathan and I used to practise long notes early in the morning (there was no hail storm today though! ) Then back down the hill again and around the Wellington coastline. This is an amazing drive with few places to stop, but again, I wasn’t going to try to film it whilst driving hehe Lunch today was good ol’ Lyall Bay takeaways – fish ‘n’ chips – first time for nearly 7 years! My plan to travel around the South Island is going to have to wait until next time. It’s been a pretty hectic road trip so far, and it would be better being able to spend a bit more time in each place. From what I’ve already seen of the South Island, and from what I hear, it is a lot more scenic than the north, which means I’d probably want to spend a minimum of 2 weeks there to take it all in. As I need to be in Kerikeri again in the last week of February with rehearsals in Auckland before that, as well as lectures to prepare for early March, a full South Island road trip isn’t possible this time around.
Parking in Kelburn (great for practising parallel parking )
Kapiti Island New Zealand – from Pukerua BayNZ Road Trip – Day 8: Eltham – Paeroa: 380kms
Today was a 6 hour drive in hot and humid conditions through mostly farmland on the way from Eltham to Paeroa. I’ve avoided the geothermal tourist trap that is Rotorua on this trip, but there are plenty of other areas with volcanic activity around the place. Te Aroha is one I stumbled across today.
Te Aroha Geyser Paeroa – World Famous In New ZealandNZ Road Trip – LAST DAY! Day 10 Auckland – Kerikeri: 244kms
Today marked the official final leg of the North Island road trip: 3819 trouble-free kms travelled in total. It’s been an amazing trip, although far too brief! The time here in NZ has gone all too quickly, with only 2 weeks left…Next time I’ll definitely allow for a couple of months extra! As mentioned in the previous entry, work has been flowing in recently, and I’m now back in Kerikei and busy with final preparations. I’ll be heading back to Auckland on the weekend, with a workshop/lecture at Auckland University on the 1st of March, then conducting stints on the 2nd and 4th, and a final workshop/lecture and brass masterclass at Waikato University on the 5th of March, before heading back up to Kerikeri to drop the car off and board the first of my 4 flights back to Sweden on the 8th. More pics of this final leg of the road trip to come…