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Australia April

Dear Blog Reader

Much has happened since my last entry, too much actually to be covered in only one entry.

I left New Zealand on Good friday (2.4.2010) and spent about one week on cultured Melbourne. There were several interesting museums, which I visited having in mind that the rest of Australia will be mostly about seeing nature. After four days on my own I former classmate from Auckland called Arnout arrived from Tasmania. We would spend the next fortnight together. We saw a our first Australian rules football match together and I must say I like this combination of rugby and soccer.

We joined a tour along the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide. There were twenty young people on board and Daniel, a middle aged Canadian who didn't really fit in very well. The two major attractions were the eroded cliff with free standing rocks and the green hills in the Grampians National Park. We saw some wild kangaroos and koalas on the way.

Arnout and I spent two days in Adelaide where we met some of the other tour members again and went to the beach and the Botanical Garden. The most memorable attraction was the parlament house, where a citizen shared his unbridled outrage about politicians with the public.

From Adelaide we took a 26h non-stop train to Alice Spring, where we picked up a car and drove five hours to a hostel near Urulu (Ayers Rock). The most impressive thing about Urulu is that is one gigantic rock. We saw it from the distance at sunrise and walked around it afterwards. This already impressive experience was topped in the afternoon on the same day. by Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). This rocks looked like petrified bubbles. We did a truly awsome hike in the searing midday sun. The next day we walked another track in the Kings Canzon (Watarrka National Park). We had a refreshing unexpected bath in a paradisiac place called Garden Eden.

Arnout left me on the 22nd of April and went back to New Zealand. After visiting Alice Springs for a day I boarded the Ghan, this time to Darwin. Here I finally found time to write this entry. I am going to see the Kakadoo National Park on Monday and after that I am going to do something I have been excited about for three weeks now...

Sky Tower

The Sky Tower is comparable to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The similarities start with being the landmark of the respective city, and go further to the height of the towers, which is about 325 m for both (Eiffel Tower 324 m, Sky Tower 328 m). The Sky Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere. The Tower is the dominant feature of Aucklands' Skyline. Wherever you may be in the city, it is likely that you can see part of it through buildings or trees. We have successfully employed it to find our way back to the city centre after dropping off fellow travellers at their home stays. It is possible to go to the visitor platforms if you are willing to pay the horrendous price of about $20 for the lift. The Tower is lit up in various colours that change from night to night.

Wheelie Bins

If you walk down my street on a Tuesday, your eye will most certainly rest upon one of the yellow and blue containers. When my hostmum aked me for moving the 'wheelie bin' out to the street for the first time, I must have looked at her with astonishment. Yes, the English language has a word solely for this type of waste container. What is even more amazing, is the way the robotic arm of the vehicle that collects the bins looks (for a picture see here). Wheelie Bins are used to collect metal, glass and PET.

Bay of Islands (29.1.10 - 1.2.10)

We took the opportunity to spend a long weekend to head the North. Monday was off because of a public holiday called 'Auckland Anniversary Day'. Our group consisted of five people: Beni (CH), Marcel (CH), Stephanie (BE), Anne (Nl) and I left Auckland at Friday noon. We stopped to see the Hundertwasser toilet in Kawakawa under way. Finally we reached Paihia and spent the two following nights there. It had been difficult to find this accommodation because many people spend this weekend in the North. We were lucky and got a very nice room just for us.

The next morning we set off to Cape Reinga, which is at the very north of New Zealand. There were many things to see on the way: waterfalls, New Zealands oldest stone house, nice beaches and last but not least, sand dunes. We rented boogie boards to slide down the dunes. Riding down was fun but walking up was a pain. The shades were already growing when we reached Cape Reinga. There was not much more than the sea and a lighthouse.

On the way back, it was a long way of 212 km to go, we stopped at an impressive long beach called 'Ninety Mile Beach' which is actually only 55 miles (= 88 km) long. After a late dinner at 11 pm we all fell into a sound sleep.

After a late start in the day we hired a kayaks for two hours and paddled around the Islands near the coast. We set foot on three Islands and went swimming. After that we headed to Dargaville but not without paying the largest kauri tree a visit.

It was raining on Monday morning. We were about to stay longer in the hostel but the keeper made us leave. Fortunately it stopped raining in the afternoon, so that we could visit a Gannet colony and a surfing beach near Auckland at least.

Christchurch, Day 1-3

Our group of four people flew from Auckland (North Island) to Christchurch (South Island) early in the morning. In contrast to Auckland, Christchurch is totally flat and very dry. We spent the first day having a short glance at the town. We stayed in an excellent accommodation called Jailhouse, which used to be a prison.

Christchurch is also called 'Gateway to the Antarctic' because many explorations to the driest continent started from here. The International Antarctic Centre, which is located near the Airport, attracted us and we spent our second day there, feeling a simulation of an antarctic storm, reading about the life on scientific bases and enjoying a ride in a HŠgglund.

We finished our day visiting Rutherford's Den. Rutherford was a famous nuclear physicist.

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This page was last modified 9. February 2010.