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18.05.2014 - Frankfurt

Home sweet home!

Going Home

17.05.2014 - Wellington-Sydney-Dubai-Frankfurt

Time to go home!
Before leaving NZ and going back home to Germany I spent my last hours with Jörg, Line, Josh und Rasmus.
We went for a little stroll and spent some time on the playground watching Josh on the slide and swing while
having the sun shining at around 18-20 degrees. Really nice.
We then went to Chocolate Fish for a last Kiwi lunch before starting the long journey home.
Nice way to end my time here. Thanks!

Cook Islands Journey - Day #7

15.04.2014/16.05.2014 - Rarotonga-Auckland-Wellington

Back at the little airport of Rarotonga ‘ready’ to leave paradise. With the first stint back to Auckland I
crossed the dateline again and by my arrival in Wellington I skipped a full day and completed my
time jump.

Cook Islands Journey - Day #6

14.05.2014 - Rarotonga

My last full day here in paradise. Since it was a bit cloudy this morning I started kinda lazy in the day.
At around noon I did a last bus tour for some grocery shopping before getting a kayak and heading
out in the lagoon again. Got me some snorkelling gear as well and spent another 3 hours on and in
the water. Had a last close look at these fantastic waves breaking on the reef, gonna miss them.
Then I treated myself with another fine filet steak while watching another beautiful sun sent and moon
rise. Definitely was worth the trip here. Beautiful little paradise island in the middle of nowhere.
If you can spent some time here and relax.

Cook Islands Journey - Day #5

13.05.2014 - Rarotonga

I treated myself this morning with another massage, one can't have enough of those. After a after massage
nap I went down to the beach and took a kayak to head out in the lagoon again. Watched the swell again
for a while and went swimming for a bit. The water is just fantastic, not too cold not too warm, crystal clear.
Just perfect!

Cook Islands Journey - Day #4

12.05.2014 - Rarotonga

Another bus trip to the 'city' today, jumped on the other bus today to go clockwise around the island. It pretty
much looks the same all around the island, one road and a view houses towards the coast and a view
towards the mountain. People on scooters, dogs and chicken on the street, palm trees everywhere.

Bought some water, apples and crackers in the supermarket and then hopped on the other bus back to the
This morning the swell at the reef is almost triple the size than the last days. Looks like there's a storm on the
Pacific or something. The waves were between 1-3m high. Fantastic to watch them break on the reef!
I paddled with the kayak as close as I could to the reef and watch the waves for an hour or so. To me waves
are like starring into a fire. It's just relaxing almost like a meditation.
For dinner I had a very nice filet steak while viewing the rise of the almost full moon over the lagoon. The moon
came up behind on of the small islands in the lagoon with palm trees as a silhouette and the high waves
breaking onto the reef in the background. Not too bad!

Cook Islands Journey - Day #3

11.05.2014 - Rarotonga

Today I did another kayak tour in the lagoon, it's a nice way of getting around and you can go to one of the
deserted islands in the lagoon and relax on one of the beaches there. Early afternoon I had an appointment
for a Balinesian style massage in the nearby spa. Really nice and relaxing massage. After a little after
massage nap it was time for dinner already. Tough life!
Having dinner while watching the sun set on a beautiful pastel coloured sky is just marvellous.
Could get used to that.

Cook Islands Journey - Day #2

10.05.2014 - Rarotonga

On Saturdays there is a famous market on Rarotonga in Avarua, so I got on one of the two busses going
around the Island. Was a funny ride, I think the bus was from the 70's or so. After a 20min bumpy ride I
arrived at the market. It was a mixture of a market for the locals and for the tourists. Food, fruit, clothes, art
and kitsch in every imaginable way. Walked around there for a bit and bought something for my mum and
grandma since it was mothers day today. I strolled a bit through the 'city' and then jumped back on the bus
back to the Pacific Resort.
I sat a while at the beach before getting dinner. The restaurant is split in three parts and one is located on
the beach, so you could have your dinner while having your feet stuck in the sand. Nice!

Cook Islands Journey - Day #1

09.05.2014 - Rarotonga

Friday the 9th - take two.
Well second Friday morning in a row. Strange thing.
What a fantastic view! From my bed / balkony I have an awesome view over the Muri lagoon, the reef in the
back and then the Pacific ocean. The lagoon water turquoise, the Pacific deep blue, whitewater as a divider.
I got myself a Kayak and paddled the lagoon for two hours enjoying the warm clear water.
After I sat a while on my balcony enjoying the view I went to the resort restaurant where there was Island Night.
A 3 course dinner with some musicians and dancer performing maori songs and dances. Well I really don't like
the Ukulele, it just sounds wrong and annoying to my ears but the drums are awesome. At the end of the show
the dancer got some people from the audience to participate. So I tried my best to mimic the war dance and it
seemed like I didn't do too bad but I think I won’t be a professional dancer in the near future. ;)

Australia Journey - Day #13

09.05.2014 - Sydney - Auckland - Rarotonga

Friday the 9th - take one.
Today I made my first time jump. Started my journey to the Cook Islands at 11:30am in Sydney going to
Auckland first and then to Rarotonga. On the flight to Rarotonga I crossed the dateline so I arrived on
Thursday night in Rarotonga. Weird!
When I got of the plane at 11:30pm in Rarotonga it was still 22 degrees, that's how I like it!

Australia Journey - Day #12

08.05.2014 - Sydney

Last day in Sydney, first I was thinking about doing the Harbour Bridge climb/walk but when I saw that it was
around 300 $ and one wasn't allowed to take pictures with your own camera I decided against it. Instead I just
went up the Pylon Lookout which was nice as well. I got a pretty nice view over the harbour and of the CBD
from up there and some info about the bridge and for just 13$. The weather was pretty good at first but Met
service said it would rain later on that day so I thought I hop on a sightseeing bus and do a tour through
Sydney and get some info.
Well for once the Met service was right and it did start to rain at the end of the tour. When the bus arrived back
at the harbour I visited the Museum for Contemporary Art. The Sydney Biennale exhibition was pretty nice and
for free and when I came back out the sun was shining again.
I made another CBD stroll and got me some sushi before heading back to the hotel.

Australia Journey - Day #11

07.05.2014 - Sydney

Since the Met service was saying there would be rain later that day I hopped on a bus to Bondi Beach at
around 9am in hope to avoid having rain on my walk from Bondi to Coogee. That plan did work.
Bondi beach, well it's really something. A beach like this in the 'middle' of a city like that, wow. Luckily it
was windy and there were some nice waves and some surfers out there. Really beautiful. I stayed there for
a while just watching the waves and enjoying myself. The coastal walk is really nice and it's hard to believe
that this beautiful coastline is located in a city. The wind was almost blowing with NZ force but mixed with
a warmer sun. Nice!
After my walk I went back into the CBD with the bus and had another stroll through the city before heading
back to the hotel to avoid the rain. If you ever go to Sydney, do the coastal walk!

Australia Journey - Day #10

06.05.2014 - Sydney

Today I had to get up early for my day trip to the Blue Mountains. At 6:55am I got picked up by the bus and
we started collecting the rest of the 14 people strong group. Not too many people, just the right size I think.
Alex our driver started telling us basically everything about every tree we drove by. Very informative and
interesting, only thing I noticed in Australia is that whole Aboriginal thing is a kind of a no go area. It's been
mentioned but in a way so that you can't really think about it.
There were two other Germans with me on the trip, father and daughter, with whom I got in to contact and
had a nice chat.
After 45min or so we reached the Blue Mountains, we made a small break for breakfast with coffee, tea and
THE down under thing Scones. Kinda like a german Streuselkuchen in taste, slightly different and without
the Streusel but cream and jam. Not my thing really ...
We then made another stop on top of a cliff from where we had a stunning view of the Blue Mountains. Really
beautiful! It's kinda like a smaller, greener and way older version of the Grand Canyon.
When we reached our destination in the Blue Mountains we hopped onto the gondola and crossed a canyon
from where we then had a good view of the three sisters. The three sisters is the iconic rock formation of the
Blue Mountains. Well to be honest, not that impressive but the wast valley itself was. We then made a short
ride on the steepest train in the world and yes this time the 'in the world' phrase was true. It was almost like
an elevator ride. The little walking track the train brought us to was ridiculous at best and plastered with art
from local artists. Why? I don't know! Made no sense to me what so ever. I don’t have a problem with art but
this was totally out of place.
After everyone was back on the bus we went to viewing point to catch another view of the valley and then
headed for our lunch break in a small hotel/restaurant. Funny enough there was another Weta guy on the
tour, an Animator from Seattle. Small world.
Our next destination was Featherdale, a small wildlife sanctuary with Koalas, Kangaroos and the like.
Another chance to have Kangaroos eating out of my hand and have a picture taken of me cuddling a Koala.
Fluffy little fellas!
The last stop was at the river where we said goodbye to Alex and got onto a city cat and got a ride back into
Sydney going underneath the harbour bridge into Sydney Harbour. Really nice day all in all.

Australia Journey - Day #9

05.05.2014 - Port Macquarie - Sydney

Got up early so that I would be earlier in Sydney with some more time to check it out. The plan did work and
I arrived half an hour before check-in time, even though I took more than once a wrong turn since TomTom
kinda was confused in Sydney. Smart me booked a hotel right next to the rental car station, so no huzzle
getting to the hotel after returning the car.
The apartment was nice, at the penthouse floor, sounded fancier than it was. I just got rid of my luggage and
headed straight into the city. I walked through chinatown, the CBD and made it in time to the opera house to
see the sun setting behind the harbour bridge. Nice!
Headed back to the hotel afterwards and ordered an Ozzy Burger with fries to get something to eat for the first
time that day. Almost fell asleep with the last bite.

Australia Journey - Day #8

04.05.2014 - Byron Bay - Port Macquarie

Today was all about driving. The distance was not too long but with a speed limit of 80-100, sometimes 110
it takes a bit longer than in Germany to get to your destination. Unfortunately the coast highway is, unlike in
New Zealand, not directly on the coast so you couldn't see much. Just some nice rivers and bridges crossing
them but no ocean views or anything like that.
Port Macquarie made not a huge impression on me. Tried to get into the city or the harbour area but there was
a Triathlon and everything was blocked. Well guess I didn't miss much.

Australia Journey - Day #7

03.05.2014 - Lamington - Byron Bay

I checked out a bit earlier today and made my way back to civilisation. The road conditions were pretty good,
expected more debris and dirt on the road after the heavy rainfall from last night.
Luckily I could check in earlier in Byron Bay so I had some more time to check out the town. I drove to the
starting point of a walk around the peninsula to the lighthouse and back. Really nice walk, with some beautiful
views. It was a bit windy so there were nice waves crashing into the rocks. Enjoyed that little walk and drove
back to my motel and then walked into the city. Byron Bay is a really nice and relaxed town, lot's of surfers and
backpackers and some hippies. I went to the beach and saw another beautiful sunset.
After being visually satisfied I needed some food so I got me some delicious seafood from The Fishmongers.
Barely made it to the hotel before falling asleep, fresh air and a full stomach are a dangerous combination.

Australia Journey - Day #6

02.05.2014 - Lamington National Park

Well today the rainforest really showed off. Rain, rain, rain and rain. Luckily it did rain not to heavy between
7 and 11AM so I could do a nice walk to the Moran Falls.
Since the forest was pretty dense it didn't really matter that it rained and so I go a nice view over the waterfall
and the valley. Was really relaxing and exhausting at the same time to walk through that rainforest on a small
path. Sometimes there was low hanging mist between the trees which gave the forest some mystical touch.
On my way back it started to rain really hard so that it finally did reach me and completely soaked me even
though I was wearing rain trousers and a poncho and what the rain couldn't reach I made up with sweat. Got
pretty hot underneath all those waterproof layers.
So being back at my lodge I took a shower to warm up again and tried to dry my cloth which is close to
impossible since the room is not that warm and pretty moist.

Well at least this gave me some time to catch up with writing my travel journal.

Australia Journey - Day #5

01.05.2014 - Noosa - Lamington National Park

Time to leave Noosa. Beautiful little town with a beautiful beach, definitely a place where one can just enjoy
the beach life for a view days and relax. After saying goodbye to Wayne, the nice landlord, I did some grocery
shopping and then drove towards Brisbane again.
After passing Brisbane I drove inland towards the Lamington National Park . Suddenly it got greener and the
landscape and streets reminded me of New Zealand, rougher somehow than what I have seen so far in
Australia. After climbing up a curvy narrow road with a lot of one lane passages I arrived at the rainforest
Well and shortly after my arrival it started to rain, luckily not to heavy so I could still do some short walks and
climb up 30m into the tree tops and have a look from up there.
When I returned the sun slowly started to set and I got some really nice views into the valley and beautiful light
clouds in the distance.

Australia Journey - Day #4

30.04.2014 - Noosa

After easing into the day slowly I got me some tickets for - you guessed it - a boat cruise. Before the tour
started I went up to the lookout to get an overview of the city, nice little beach town!
The tour took about 2 hours or so and it seemed like I entered the wild adventure tour of some 60+ ladies.
The captain even came upper deck and greeted me personally, guess he felt sorry for me sitting up there
all alone and me being the only person my age not he boat. I really enjoyed it having the boat to 'myself'
and just hearing the captain talking.
After I finished the tour I headed back to my apartment took my car and drove to the starting point for a little
ocean walk. Got some really nice views with the sun peaking through some clouds already beginning to set.
Watched some surfers and enjoyed being there.