New Zealand, the long white cloud island

Yes, we know we are a bit behind with the blog… we are about to leave Chile and we haven’t told you anything about our adventures in New Zealand yet. We have found it more difficult than what we expected to combine the travelling with keeping the blog up to date. So we have decided that we are going to put off the narration of all the things we did in New Zealand, at least for the moment. But at least we wanted to give you a sneak peek of how our 30 days in the long white cloud island were like, and tell you how much we loved it!

Our flight took off from sunny Sydney to land in wintery Queenstown. As we started our descend, and crossed the sea of clouds, we recognized the first snowed peaks and the incredible scenery, very Lords of the Rings like, of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. After only a couple of days in the touristy and extreme sports capital Queenstown, we picked up our fancy campervan. We appropriately named it Arwen, and started our 24 day tour around New Zealand. We headed first to Milford Sound and the drive through Fiorland mountains alone was breathtaking, not to mention the cruise. We continued on route to the Catlins, where we saw the cute yellow eyed penguins coming back home from a hard day fishing. Next, the visit to Moeraki Boulders left us somehow discontent, they were just a very few round rocks. In Wanaka we enjoyed two days of skiing in Treble Cone, with amazing views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. Continuing with the icy activities, we did a really cool one day trek in the Fox Glacier. As we kept heading up north and started to pass by kiwi fruit fields, I forced Isma to stop to buy a bag with no less than 28 kiwis for just two dollars! When we got to Abel Tasman with did a stunning 25km trek which left us exhausted for the next couple of days. Wine tasting in Malborough, a plate of green lip mussels in Haveloc and the spectacular Queen Charlotte Drive closed the chapter of the South Island, just before taking the ferry to Wellington in Picton. In total we spent 14 unforgettable days in the South Island.

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Australia en estado puro

Australia es un país enorme, del tamaño de Europa, habitado sorprendentemente por tan solo 22 millones de personas, principalmente blancos descendientes de los colonos británicos, pero también quedan muchos aborígenes y hoy en día también hay una buena cantidad de inmigrantes europeos y asiáticos. La inmensa gran mayoría vive a menos de 100km de la costa y el resto es desierto, el famoso outback. Nosotros pasamos allí dos meses y solo tuvimos tiempo de recorrer un tramo de la olvidada costa oeste, que nos encantó; una parte de la costa sur, pasando por la Great Ocean Road; la costa este, con sus 300 días de sol al año; y para terminar Sydney, que puso un broche final perfecto a nuestro viaje.

Hemos encontrado Australia un país carísimo, incluso más que Japón. Y encima nosotros hemos ido cuando el cambio de euros a dolares australianos era el peor de la historia. Yupi! Allí nos hemos tenido que acostumbrar a dormir en hostels compartiendo baño y zonas comunes con otros viajeros y residentes. Esto de encontrarnos a gente viviendo en los hostels ha sido todo una sorpresa. El motivo es sencillo, la famosa working holiday visa. Es un tipo de visado que te permite quedarte un año en Australia y trabajar a tiempo parcial. La gente que tiene este tipo de visado se pasa una temporada trabajando en un sitio, otra temporada viajando, otra temporada currando en otro sitio… y lo que más se adapta a sus necesidades de alojamiento por flexibilidad y precio son los hostels. Así hemos conocido a irlandeses, italianos, franceses, belgas, ingleses, etc, etc, menos españoles. Al parecer nuestro querido gobierno hace unos cuantos años tuvo la posibilidad de aceptar este tipo de visado para los españoles, pero declinó la oferta. Con el visado normal solo podemos pasar 3 meses en Australia y sin trabajar. Muchas gracias señores políticos por no darnos la posibilidad de pasar un año aprendiendo inglés y ganando unas perrillas en Australia.

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300 días de sol

Después de soportar el frio y lluvioso invierno australiano durante más de dos semanas por la costa sur, estábamos ya deseando llegar al calorcito de Queensland, que presume de tener más de 300 días de sol al año, y razón no le falta. Nuestro plan era volver a alquilar una campervan en Brisbane y conducir a lo largo de toda la costa hasta llegar a Cairns. Así fue como nos reencontramos con Chubby por 13 días!

Siempre nos habíamos imaginado Brisbane como una ciudad playera, pero como decían Los Refrescos “vaya vaya, aquí no hay playa!”. Pero la fama la tiene por algo, y es que la Golden coast y la Sunshine coast, que como su nombre indica son clones de la costa dorada y la costa del sol en España, están a un paso de Brisbane. Y para los que no pueden esperar al fin de semana para ir a la playa, Brisbane se ha inventado una pequeña playa artificial del tamaño de una piscina a la que llaman lagoon y que irónicamente está patrullada por guardacostas australianos.

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I ❤ campervanping

Little had we planned for our two weeks in Western Australia. We only knew we had 11 days to explore the least populated Aussie state before coming back to Perth to catch our next flight. A visit to the tourist office and a chat with a helpful lady made it very clear that unless we had our own vehicle, an “inexpensive” organized tour (as it was described by the lovely lady) was our only option to travel around WA. Disappointed as we were, we started to play with the idea of renting a car or a campervan (we wanted to rent one in Queensland but didn’t intend to do so in Western Australia). And after a bit of research we got to meet Chubby, the most discrete campervan with the naughtiest name, Dirty Sanchez. Name which we had no idea what it meant until a friend of mine kindly facebooked me, friend whose name I won’t reveal to prevent any kind of harassment. Of course this was after I had shared with all my friends and family a picture of me with the van… how embarrassing.

We rented the van for 11 days and we loved it from the second we got it! Even Isma who had never gone camping before was excited with the idea of living on the road. Chubby, a Mitsubishi Express, was perfectly equipped, it had a portable gas cooker, a sink with a water pump, an esky, a camping table and two chairs… It was also very cleverly built and it was very well organized, it had a comfy living area perfect for two people, storage space was available under the seats and what served as lounge during the day transformed into a large bed in minutes. Chubby quickly became our home! Although in comparison with other vans and caravans our one was on the small side, driving it felt like driving a truck. The only drawback of our temporary home was that it wasn’t really prepared for the cold winter nights. The sleeping bags we were given were paper thing, so after barely sleeping the first night we had no choice but to buy a blanket. Now Chubby was complete for the desert Western Australia!

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