My trip in New-Zealand is coming to its end after 4 months on these 2 beautiful islands. I spent 2 months in total on the North island. It wasn't as much about landscapes and sports as on the South, but more about "people". I will remember the North island by the kiwis living here and that I had the chance to meet.
On the road trip side, I've been mostly on all the road I guess, pretty much... I did 14'000km with my van in just 4 months, and I didn't have a single "boring" km! What a country!
I haven't done as much activities as on the South island but I did some mountainbiking in Wellington on the Makara peak, and some kitesurfing at different places.
From Wellington I went to Lake Ferry and Cape palliser which is a very nice place. It made me remember the south island as it is pretty wild without many people living there. A place to visit! Then I kept on driving on the east coast (kind of) and went to Castlepoint. It looks as a dead-end point on a map but it's worth the trip. The bay is incredible and the climb on Castle rock gives you the best overview of the East coast. And the surfing bay looks pretty good.
I drove through Napier, the art-deco city of New-Zealand, very nice to visit, and Gisborne before arriving to the East Cape. It’s one part of the North island where you have the highest ratio of Maori people living.
After the East Cape I went to Mount Maunganui/Tauranga to visit some friends I met in Nepal. I met again a Czech guy I paddled with in Murchison to do some surfing for an afternoon.
The day after I went with Barb & Dereck to Rotorua to do the International Walk day: people from all over the world coming to take a walk at their peace around Rotorua for 10, 20 or 30k.
As a normal following after Rotorua, I went to Taupo to meet up with Aly. She did the south island by bike and I was very curious to hear how it went for her. We did the freezing Tongariro crossing together after some misunderstanding about the starting point of the walk. The temperature in the morning was really cold, it felt like winter! If I recall correctly it was something around 5 degrees. Moreover it was a very windy day and at the highest point the hike, it was blowing crazy hard and cold. I was a bit concerned wearing my crocs since there was no way for me to change shoes if I started to freeze my feet. I mean at the top there was a stick cover with ice, at least one centimeter, and it was mid-day! It was definitively my winter day of my stay in New-Zealand. We were super happy to find again the heat on the other side of the mountain.
The last place on my todo list in New-Zealand was the Coromandel. I got a tip from some german kitesurfers I met in Nelson who told me that Port Jackson was a super spot, and it was! I did check the wind before driving up on the dirt road to have an idea if I could kite or not, and it wasn’t supposed to be windy. But on the day I arrived at Port Jackson, back from my walk to a viewpoint, the sea breeze made an apparition, long enough though to kite :-) Flat water in a bay with a large beach with shallow and deep water, perfect! The day after I decided to stay in case it would come again but I spent my day swimming, relaxing and reading. Which wasn’t bad actually! I took all the roads in the Coromandel to see this fabulous region and to find a good kite spot since the wind was supposed to come in a few days. It turned into a nightmare of gusty wind with no proper place to kite... But I ended my kite sessions in New-Zealand with a strong 30 knots wind on ninety miles beach.
I spent time in Auckland to figure out the next traveling destinations of my trip and to try to sell my van. Selling the van wasn’t an easy job. Bad time of the year, more vans than buyers... I can say I struggled up to the end, and it was only sold after I left by the friends in Auckland.
I spent almost a week up at the farm of the Jack, a lovely week! I helped to build the maimai for the future duck hunting, and also to move the cattle around in new parcels. I even became a kiwi fencer by learning how to make a proper fence with Dan. I loved the time I spent at the farm, with most of the day spent outside. Tea break around 10am and in the afternoon... And the most amazing thing for me was how the farm’s dogs were doing their job. Most of the time they already knew what they had to do and Dan didn’t need to say anything, just to stop them when it was done. And you can really see what the dogs are enjoying what they are doing! I also had to go through one of the hard time in a farm with the death of their old dog... Not an easy moment but very special to be there with Dan & Flick. I also played golf for the first time on a 9 holes without ever making a double score (more than 9), very happy! I came last though, pretty straight forward ;-)
A big thank you to all the Jacks for: Flick, Dan, Mike, Caro, Madison, Belinda, Duncan and Deb for making my stay in New-Zealand such a tremendous experience with their generosity, time and love.