Saturday, April 28, 2012

North Island - New Zealand

New Zealand... or should we say the lushiosh mountain covered the green country! ( With a couple of stoney volcanoes)
It's a big change for us after the orange desert of Australia to be on this very very green island. We dont think we have ever seen grass so soft, so lush, so bright green its so perfect it looks photoshoped but hey its real life!
Green hills every were and lots of Friesian Cows and even more sheep infact there are so many sheep here that if each one was a Euro it would be enough for the ECB to finaly bail out Greece.

We rented a car for the week and drove all around the North island.
It was so weird for us to be in a car again! All though it was a 1999 Dihatshu peanut car after driving a van in Australia for so long  this felt like a Lotus Elise (avery cheap one). Sitting in a normal car it feels like your arse is on the tarmac. We really missed driving the van to be high up and see everything. Its much easier to drive long distances etc. But Digby (as we had total insurance cover) enjoyed driving our dihatsu like he was playing a ralley driving game. (Here it may say high way on the map with a straight line but you get a curvey dirt mountain road)

First we headed North out of Auckland to the Bay of Islands and stayed in Paihia. We visited the hut were the treaty between the British and the Mauri was signed creating New Zealand. Digby saw the first capitol of New Zealand 'Russel' a tiny one pub town that looks unchanged since it was made capitol and then un made capitol.
Its really nice right up North, Digby went diving and has one of the most beautiful dives since starting the trip. He dived on two wrecks but one interstingly of the rainbow warrior (green peace) which was sunk by the french secret service in the 80's.
Pahia the town is a laid back town, you might come here to write a book or totaly disconect from the world.

The next day we drove to Matamata in search of Sophie herritage as this is were you find the Hobbit village were they filmed Lord of the Rings trilogy and the 2 Hobbit films due out December 2012 and the second December 2013.

Following this we stayed in Taupo and drove down the volcanic explorer high way past volacanoes steam and smoke rising every were from the ground, dark mountains looming ominously on the horizon. So driving into Mordor from Lord of the Rings. They missed out in the film there are loads of hotsprings and natural spa's to swim in and chill out.

The day after that Digby wanted to go Surfing so after batteling and driving down the forgotten world high way (it really is in the middle of no were, but loads of blockbuster opening credits scenery all around) we got to the surf high way. Unluckily for Digby every beach we went to the swell was well tiny so tiny it wasent even worth renting a board. Slightly defeated we continued up the coast.We then stopped inWaitomo and went intocaves 1000'sof years old and sawloads and loads of glow worms.Was quite aspiritual moment as our guide explained how Mauri culture they are a gift from the father in the sky to his unborn son in the womb of mother earth. He was right when its pitch black in the cave you look up they do look like stars.

We head back to Auckland were we went to the Zoo to see kiwi bird, weird they look quite defensles can't fly and have bad eye sight, unsuprisinly there arent that many of them left. But they are quite a novilty to see. We also visited the museam and  learnt heaps about the Mauri people.

This is an amazing country there are so many places and out door sports, if you like walking trekking, skiing or just wicked scenery and the great outdoors this is definatly the place. We thought the people in Australia were chilled out and laid back, the kiwi's take this to a new cool they are supper chilled out people.
We cannot wait to come back here and explore loads more!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sydney 2 - Australia

Sydney, the end of the trip, the end of the freedom of living and traveling in a Van, the end of Australia!!!

We planed to stay in Sydney as long as it took to sell the van and after to go to Melbourne.....  It's not the season and NOBODY IS HERE FOR BUY A VAN!!! We have spent 7 or 8 days 3 floors underground in a parking lot under artificial light, its the only legal place backpackers can sell there vans in Sydney.

We are staying at Sydney travellers car market in King Cross, in a parking reserve for van sellers.
When we arrived there was 1 station car and 3 vans.

Now there are at least 8 Vans! So a big competition and not so many backpackers. Thank God Digby has always been a good sales man!!!

During the first week, almost nobody came visit vans, or they don't have any budget ( only $3 000 and our vans are much expensive!) Digby and some other went out every day on foot flyering the town going to every youth hostel to hand out flyers.

The second week it was a little bit more busy but still big competition, and backpackers prefer pay less and have a shit van with shit engine than to pay more and have a perfect van ( like ours!) so we all think they are silly but it's not our problem! Ours has an MOT from this week and a full service history, rebuilt engine and everything. It also runs LGP  gas half the price of petrol! It also has a 1000km range perfect for doing long distances in the outback. Still they buy rotten half working vans for $1500.

Then the same day two couples came and both wanted our vanetos!!!! it was almost the competition!!!
But as we have our flight on saturday ( so in 2 days!) we took the first offer: a french couple really nice who buy our van for $4400.

So we are really happy with this offer and are much more relax now!!!! we can enjoy sydney and our last days in Australia without being stress to sell the van ASAP for a stupid price. (Some people with only hour before there flight have sold really good vans for $500 desperate to get anything instead of just leaving it at the airport with the keys in the ignition.)

Also during 2 weeks in the carmarket wea met such nice guys!
We were with Monique and Emiel from Netherland, Georgina and Jean Eudes from Netherland and France, and Yohan and Laura from France, all of them selling their van also.
We spent all  day trying to sell the van and the night outside , camping with our vans on the coast with the beautiful vue of Sydney by night. We made Sushi in the car park at night 3 floors underground as there was torential rain.

One night doing some urban camping in a public carpark some homeless crack heads came with broken glass shards to steal our van and take our keys. We were quite scared, one of us grabed a cooking knife from the table, Digby saw a chance to run across the road and sprinted to a sports field to get a team of rugby players to come over and help us. They came and also called the police. Digby went to the police station to give a station. A week later he identified the guys in a line up. They are now in custody bail refused soon to go to court. (luckily but it was fucking scary being surrounded by crack heads in the middle of the night trying to steal your whole house with everything you own in the whole world inside!)

We found because of this a much nicer camping spot though over looking all of Sydney, Digby and the guys swam in the harbour most mornings, then used cold outside showers to wash. (its autum here and getting a bit cold especially the morning)

On the week end we were so pissed not to have sold our vans of so we all moved to Blue Montain: 1h away from Syney, we camped here in the forest for 2 days, enjoyed cooking everything on wood fire and enjoy the nature. Its cool to travel in convoy, with lots of friends
We went for a walk in the montain but we came back 5h later starving and exausted!!! the walk was so hard! Sofie's legs was penfull the next day!

So we are really sad now to leave our really good friends, it will be weird to be only both of us with our backpacks after being used to be 3 vans everyday ! ALways cooking and eating together helping each other to sell the vans.

We LOVE Australia so much , and to hear and see pictures of our friends to the Gold coast, central australia etc... we really really want to come back and do that.

With tears in our eyes we say goodby to our van and to this amazing country.

Australia we will see you really soon again!