Monthly Archives: February 2015

Thanks for your feedback!

We would like to thank you very much here for the great comments that we have received on our blog posts from you! We are really excited about it, because all your comments are a small confirmation for us that our blog will actually be read :-)! So, keep enjoying reading and thank you!! Dani and Michael

Fiji – Bula!

by Dani and Michael Fiji, finally!! When we arrived in Fiji, I was very relieved. First, it was finally nice and warm! Second, the flight had been horrible: the first hour only turbulences, then an hour rest, then the last hour again only turbulences! I still do not like flying definitely! In Fiji we were on the first night in a nice hotel Tokatoka next to the airport, because there was no ferry to the Mamanuca Islands, where our real hotel was. At the Toktoka we were greeted by the doorman by threw open the door of our van, roaring with an insane volume "Bula" and immediately afterwards cordially beaming two frightened tourists. I'd better not recently read that the previous generations in Fiji had been cannibals ... the welcome was certainly a little scary! The next day we were taken by a small motorboat of the Ratukini Resort to Malolo Island. The departure terminal was behind a deserted unfinished house construction. It looked very strange and we had our hands on the door handle, because we feared not to be really taken to a boat. But it was all good! When we arrived at our Resort Tropica Island, we loved it. It was fantastic, we had landed in a small quiet resort with an infinity pool overlooking the sea, palm trees, white beach, crystal clear water and very nice staff, who welcomed us also warmly and loudly singing, with music and "Bula" (which means "hello" or "welcome") and greeted us personally with our names in the following days! After we checked into our hotel room, we lazily laid down on the sunchairs next to the pool and enjoyed the burning sun. Pool and sea were not really to refreshing as they were both very warm (even for my taste), but it was still great to swim in it! The next days we spent actually at the pool and in the sea, and read so many books that we almost got square eyes. In between times we approved a cocktail and then turned our attention once again to relaxation. It was just lovely!! In the evening we enjoyed the happy hour and a cozy dinner in an open pavilion on the beach with a spectacular view of the sunset. Could not be better!! On 26/01/ - the Australia Day and National Day in Australia and Fiji - we could take part in a kava ceremony. Kava or Yakona is called an infusion of water and a powdered root of the Kava plant that tastes of mud and numbs the tongue. In addition to some hotel staff and some hotel guests the hotel manager took also part in the ceremony. The ceremony is traditionally performed only for celebrations and special occasions. The head of the ceremony prepares the infusion in a large wooden bowl by wringing the Kava powder in a towel in water and passing the drink in a coconut shell to the participants. Everyone can decide if they want to drink a half or a whole bowl. Before the bowl is taken on, the recipient must clap once with cupped hands as a sign of respect and must say "Bula". Then you have to drink the bowl at once, return it to the head of the ceremony and clap now have three times in the hands and say "Bula Bula". Women clap with flat hands. Kava is known for its relaxing, anxiolytic and sedative effects, why it is very popular among the Fijian people. Michael drank a total of two shells, I only a half one. However, it tasted half as bad as we feared, only slightly muddy. My mouth was actually numbed, however, nothing else happened to me. Later only Michael seemed to be very relaxed ;-)! After two rounds the ceremony was over. After that the staff sang and danced in a very cozy atmosphere. In the whole time on the island, we did only two tours. On the first tour we were taken to a small island called Honeymoon Island (just right for us ;-)), where we participated in a guided snorkel tour around the island. It was nice, but we had already seen much nicer places for snorkeling on our trip. The second tour took us to Mondriki Island, the island on which the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks was shot. This tour was beautiful! The island was a dream with white beach and crystal clear water. We also did a guided snorkel tour here, but was far better than the tour to Honeymoon Island, there was a lot more fish and much more colorful corals. Later we were shown on the island also to various locations of the film. At lunch time we were spoiled with one bottle of champagne per couple and cold sandwiches, salads and cakes. We enjoyed our lunch very much and clinked our glasses at our 1-month wedding anniversary that had fallen exactly to this day (27/01/2015)! It was wonderful and we were very happy! Unfortunately, the five days on Malolo Island passed too fast, but we definitely had a wonderful time there and enjoyed every moment! Now we were in good condition for the next challenge: let's go to Sydney!!

New Zealand – Round trip South Island

by Dani 05/01/15: As we previously reported, on our arrival, we had to get familiar with the new situation of our backpacker travel. 06/01/15: On Tuesday morning, the next little culture shock was waiting for us. We went into the large communal kitchen, where there should be breakfast. What we found was a large plastic box, which stood on the ground and which the guys of our group sought their breakfast of. It was a huge chaos, since about 20 people prepared their breakfast at the same time. We were completely surprised and desperately looked for something to eat. We took toast and cereals from the lunch box and ate it quickly because we had to leave quite soon. Oh my God, that would be our daily breakfast in the next two weeks. We headed at 6.30 am in our minibus to the ferry. The ride with the ferry took about 3 hours until we arrived in Picton on the South Island. On the ferry we already booked the first activities we wanted to do on the trip - as our tour guide Rebecca said that the trips would be pretty booked and so we should decide as early as possible. We made reservations for both of us for the skydive the next day. Oh my God! I should jump on the next day out of a plane, on my birthday ... although I was scared of flying until recently (and still do not like flying)?! But well, it was me who had the idea originally to do this ... so take a deep breath and go for it! In Picton we quickly ate some sandwiches as lunch before we left on our minibus to the Abel Tasman National Park. Rebecca, incidentally, was not only our tour guide, but also our driver. When we arrived at Marahau after a few hours, we grabbed our already packed small daypacks, in which we had packed the necessary things for one night, and boarded our water taxi (a medium sized boat) - on land. The boat was in fact not in the water, but on a trailer pulled by a tractor to the beach and into the sea. I had never experienced this before! We were moved to a small beautiful bay in the National Park, where we checked in to our first accomodation - a houseboat! I'm a sailor and like very much to stay on a boat and am really not sensitive, but this was a bit grubby. Michael and I stayed together with five other girls from our group in a tiny, dark, stuffy berth, where you had to climb down a very small ladder. We had a double bed directly under the ceiling of the berth, but in which we could only roll in sideways, since otherwise we would bump our head. Ok, once again, this was a backpacker tour ... so, just take a deep breath! We stored our bags in the berth and then Michael and the others jumped from the top deck of the houseboat happily into the icy sea. I still had to cope with the whole accomodation situation and remained on deck. Somehow I was not in a good mood today. In the evening we had a barbecue on deck, which was great fun and delicious. However, the night was hell for me, I could not sleep at all in the tiny berth and was far too nervous because of the skydive the next day. 07/01/15: The next morning, my birthday, I was completely knocked out, and not in high spirits. Oh great, for my birthday I had wished for a different way to start the day. Michael brightened my mood a little, as he handed me a candle that looked like a small cake and sang the first line of Happy Birthday and congratulated me quickly before we had to hurry to breakfast. Well, even that I had imagined otherwise. After breakfast we were taken to the beach, where we hiked for four hours through the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park back to Marahau. In the park we had a quick lunch on a wonderful beach where we jumped into the sea. My leg hurt a bit while walking, but we had to arrive at the Old McDonald's farm, our next accomodation, at 2 pm since there, we were to be picked up together with seven other guys of our group for the skydive. On the ride to the airport, no one said a word, each lost in his own thoughts, trying to get the own excitement under control. Michael and I, we were both nervous as hell and a little scared. I had the greatest fear of the free fall, because I really hate the feeling of falling, this strange feeling that is felt in the stomach. I do not even jump off the 3-meter tower at the public swimming pool. As our driver then said that the jump would not feel like a free fall, but more like flying with very fast speed, I was not scared any more, but only excited. Jippiii, I would not have this stupid feeling of falling, but would fly very fast! That sounded great! When we arrived at the skydive school, we actually expected a detailed explanation of how we should conduct ourselves properly, what security was and how we should land safely. But we were totally wrong! Nothing of that happened. We were warmly but shortly greeted, had to decide very quickly on the height (9000, 13000, or 16500 feet) and the type of photo and video package and a few minutes later we stuck in the jump suit and were provided with a harness. Nadine, Michael and I were the first group to jump. We were quickly introduced to our tandem partner (Scruffy - as it turned out later) whose name I first did not understand in this rush. Introducing was followed by a very brief interview with my camera man (each tandem pair had its own camera man) and then we three were already pushed towards the plane. Oh my God, it all went really fast! I had no time to deal with the thought that I would really jump out of an airplane. The plane was very small and we all sat quite squeezed, with our back to the starting direction, respectively on the lap of our tandem partner. After we started, I became very calm at once and was only excited to do the skydive, though I still could not really believe it. Then things moved quickly. When we were on our jump height, the door was opened and Nadine jumped with her partner first. Within seconds, she was gone. Then it was my turn. I crawled with my partner to the exit, where I could feel the strong wind. Oh my God, I would jump!! I could not look down, because I had to take back my head. Then it was time: hands on the harness, legs back, a quick smile and a "jippiii" into the camera ... and then my partner pushed us off the plane and we fell into the depths ... oh my God, there was that terrible feeling of falling and it went through my whole body, but it was also very exciting and cool! For a few seconds we fell head over and flipped over (which is apparently normal) until my partner opened a mini chute to stabilize .... and then we actually floated several thousand meters above the ground and were flying - actually with crazy speed (200 km/h as we were told before)!! IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!! I felt so released and was completely overwhelmed by the sight of the sky and the fascinating landscape below me. My camera man flew in front of my face and took photos and a video of me while I was flying in the air and screamed with excitement and could not stop cheering. Instead of looking into the camera, I was completely fascinated by the beautiful landscape that lay beneath me and the incredible speed. I enjoyed the wind that rushed past my face, the sun, the blue sky which I was pretty close to, the sea, the beach and the mountains in the distance! We had such a breathtaking view of everything that I could hardly believe it! I WAS COMPLETELY FREE (ok, not really, I was strapped to a tandem partner)!!! IT WAS PHENOMENAL, AWESOME, UNBELIEVABLE!!! Unfortunately, this free fall was over after 45 seconds and my partner pulled a leash which opened the big parachute that catapulted us approx. 20 meters in the air only in a few seconds. The feeling was similarly exciting as the free fall at the beginning, but we went up and not down. With the parachute we now hovered slightly downward and my partner started to fly very narrow and steep curves which made us suddenly fall down a few meters and what made me feeling a little bit like seasick. But it was so much fun that I pushed him to go on. A few minutes later, this beautiful hover was ending and I lifted my legs for landing. Unfortunately, I forgot to take the legs down again, why we ended up on my knees and my partner on top of me. My camera man was already there and held the camera into my face, which I happily and completely thrilled beamed into it. Then Michael landed and I hopped into his arms. We were both absolutely thrilled! This has been the best and most exciting thing we have experienced in our lives! Michael experienced the jump similarly: For me, it was almost too fast. We had changed our clothes and packed the bags, we were greeted by a man with a camera and were passed on to the next. I should comment on the camera, but mentally I was already in the clouds and wondered how the jump would probably feel. I was a little nervous but had still kept within limits. The joy and excitement had prevailed. A moment later we were sitting close together on the plane. Had not thought that nine people would find place in such a small plane :-). It took some time until we reached the jump altitude of 4,000 meters. I turned around a few times to Dani, to see how she's doing. Amazingly, she was sitting with a big smile behind me. The view and the weather were great. I could not wait to jump. During the flight I was told by my skydiver to whom I was chained a few details to the environment. Then it finally happened. Nadine jumped first, then it was Dani's turn. I was hoping that her partner would bring her safely to the bottom. As soon as they jumped off, they were already out of sight. Crazy, at what speed you fall down here. Then it was my turn. Unfortunately I had forgotten to pose into the camera and then we jumped off. First we have turned and it seemed to me as if we flipped over. The falling was not as bad as I had imagined. I thought it was pure fun. As then opened the auxiliary parachute (which you do not notice), we were stably floating. From then on, it felt like flying very fast. The camera man came over and grabbed me by the hand, turned us and then let go. As a spinner we went through the air. The view was great. Then the camera man grimaced with his hand to his nose. When I wanted to repeat this, the parachute opened and took us several meters up in the air. For me that was the sickest feeling during the whole jump! The blood rushed into my head and I was dizzy. When the delay was over, we glided only peacefully through the air and I could enjoy the scenery. Gorgeous! Below, I saw Dani flying in circles and preparing for landing. I was happy. My landing was smooth. As soon as I was back on the floor Dani came running towards me and fell on my neck. What a welcome! Nice that this scene has also made it on my video :-). Then we told us about our experiences. Right after us, the other did their skydives - and all were equally enthusiastic when they came back. After our skydives, we watched together our videos before we returned to our farm. In the evening we went with the entire group to an open air burger restaurant. After the meal, I got a surprise, namely a chocolate brownie cake with a candle and all sang Happy Birthday. I was very pleased about it. But the best part of my birthday was the skydive anyway, that was unbeatable! 08/01/15: The next morning we went to the Pancake Rocks to Punakaiki. On the way to our destination, we spent a little time wachting a sea colony at Cape Foulwind. It was nice, but we could only watch the seals from a big distance. We had been much closer to a lot more seals in Ushuaia, so we were not very impressed, to be honest. The pancake rocks were much better. This impressive rock formations have their name from their look, because they look like huge mountains of stacked pancakes. We stayed at a very nice bush camp called Te Nikau Retreat in a bungalow with a few others from the group, but in which we had a private room. In the evening we cooked together with the whole group in one of the other bungalows to which we had to walk through jungle paths which was quite funny. We played games like Yenga, watched the beautiful sunset on the beach together and emptied a few bottles of wine. It was a nice evening. At night I got unfortunately again terrible sore throat and could hardly sleep. 09/01/15: The next morning I was ill again and felt terrible had not had sore throat since a week! Bloody hell! Unfortunately, I therefore had to skip the planned kayak tour. So, Michael did the tour only with Saku and Krista and told later that it had been beautiful. I spent the morning with tea and writing for the travel blog in a coffee shop and walked again to the Pancake Rocks. In the afternoon we went to the Franz Josef Glacier and stayed in the same called town in the Glow Worm motel where we got a private room with bath at a surcharge. The motel had a small hot tub and laundry facilities, so we were finally able to do the laundry once again. After a quick dinner, I took Advil tablets that we fortunately still had left from Nasser from the Patagonia tour, and went to bed early. However, my cold kept me away from sleeping, again. 10/1/15: The next morning we were able to sleep a little longer, which was great, before we had breakfast at a cafe and then went to the check-in for the tour "Ice Explorer" on which we would explore the glacier. We got changed, were briefly instructed in the use of crampons and were taken by helicopter to the glacier. The pilot was very funny and surprised us with a funny ride as he abruptly steered the helicopter after a mountain into the depth, which felt like being on a roller coaster and we all screamed. Since I was taking a video in this second, I have now my scared face on tape ;-)! On the glacier we hiked with a very relaxed local guide, who welcomed us in shorts whereas we were armed with hat, gloves, long pants, thick jackets and scarves. Our hike took about 3 hours on the glacier. Our guide took us through narrow ice cracks and holes in the ice which was great fun. However, for Michael and me as newly adrenaline seekers, it could have been a little more adventure. After the tour we warmed up in the hot water pools, three large open-air pools with 36, 38 and 40 degree water, before we went later to the Rain Forest Hostel with the group for dinner. 11/01/15: The next morning we started quite early to Queenstown. Since the minibus had a few technical problems for the last couple of days, our start was delayed a bit. However, we arrived quite promptly in Queenstown in the afternoon. We stayed here at Nomads Backpacker Hostel, this time in a 4-bed-room with Saku and Krista, what was really funny. Unfortunately, it was raining in Queenstown, but we were confident that it would become better. In the evening we had dinner with the whole group in a Thai restaurant, then fell exhausted in bed. 12/01/15: The next day we got up a little later and were surprised by glorious sunshine. Here we are :-)! We wandered around Queenstown, which we liked very much. There were several pedestrian roads, beautiful shops and very cozy bars and cafes. Because Queenstown is located directly on Lake Wakatipu, there is also a great promenade, again with nice restaurants and cafes, a lawn and a pebble beach, from where you can look at the surrounding mountains. In the afternoon, we bumped into Nadine, Marc and Laura, who came straight back from her canyon swing and were completely crazy about it. Why not adding a little bit more adventure to our trip, we thought and rushed to the next counter where we booked the Nevis Canyon Swing, in which we would fall (of course, strapped in a harness) 70 m into the depths and then swing 300 m in approx. 40 m height over a canyon. Next thrill would come, yeah!! But then directly after booking we realised what we had done and would do the next day. Oh my God, we now needed food. So, we had to beat this shock with one of the famous Fergburger in Queenstown, which were really delicious. In the evening we went with Krista and Saku in a bar, where serving cocktails in teapots, which indeed looked funny, but not tasted very well. Nevertheless, we had a very nice evening and were beaten mercilessly by the two playing pool billiards. 13/01/15: The night was for me again short one, as I had barely slept again because of huge excitement. I was a hundred times more excited because of this stupid Canyon Swing than I was before the skydive. It was probably the free fall again, which I did not want to do. To the swing I was really looking forward, but the fall I would like to cancel. Although Michael was nervous and scared, he was decided to jump. I was not sure and told him constantly that I still had not decided yet to jump and I would hold my decision until the end. A little later, we checked for the swing and took the bus to the Canyon. The ride was beautiful and the last piece on the steep mountain road was surely more dangerous than the swing. When we arrived at the top, our weight was painted on the hand and then we were sent to the jump platform on the bridge. When we reached the bridge, which looked like hanging in the air in 160 m height above the canyon, we were scared. Oh my God! Suddenly we heard a scream and saw a pair falling on a rope into the abyss. Oh sh ...! Nevertheless, we walked to the jump platform to have a look, although it was not easy for Michael to convince me to join him. When we got over there, the couple just came back up and was totally excited and euphoric. Well, apparently it was nice! Then a man jumped alone and with his head down. That was the most scary way to jump. But I still could not decide to jump. Hey, what was the matter with me? Even this swing had been originally my idea and it had cost me a lot of talking to persuade Michael to do it, and now he wanted to jump and I DON'T?! We let two other couples and two men going first until we were the last ones who had not jumped yet. Ok, now or never! We chose the Honeymoon position in which we both sat in our harness, I sat on Michael's legs, we were facing each other and I wrapped my legs around his back. I asked again if I could still decide what to do until the very last second. Yeah, assured me the guy at the switch. I looked questioningly at Michael again, but he only smiled at me and said that we would jump now. All right! We nodded to the guy at the switch who pulled us over the abyss. We waved our hands in three different cameras, held firmly to the belt of the other and decided to go for the count down instead of for the surprise. We could see the tension in the other's face! We heard only "one" and suddenly fell screaming into the abyss. Oh God, that was awful ... and awesome!! We both were screaming like hell! I automatically closed my eyes and could not stop screaming until Michael finally said I could stop now because we would swing already. I opened my eyes and hurray, we swung in about 40 m above the canyon. It was gorgeous and pure relaxation!! Yeah, it felt like sitting on a giant swing!! I could have swung and enjoy the landscape for hours! But after a few times swinging back and forth, we were pulled up again. Too bad, already over! At the top I was so thrilled that I would have jumped again. Falling had indeed been terrible, but also the most exciting part of the swing. But Michael had had enough. So we went, equipped with a video and photos back to Queenstown. In the afternoon we relaxed on the beach in the sun after this exciting adventure. After dinner with the group we packed our daypacks for the next day and the night in Doubtful Sound. At night, I was awakened by a small earthquake. The whole building and the beds were shaking, but no one besides me had been woken up. It was scary, but after a few minutes it was already over. Adventure, adventure! 14/01/15: The next day I felt sick again! We went to Doubtful Sound, a fjord landscape in a National Park, where we stayed on an island. On the way we saw the famous Lake Matheson and then later were taken by ferry to the island. We stayed there in a hostel in a double room with bunk beds. Shortly after our arrival, the other took a hike to the Helena waterfalls that I had skipped because I had sore throat again which was very painful this time. 15/01/15: We got up at 6.15 am and moved on to the kayak tour, which I unfortunately had to cancel, too. Michael later told of dolphins that they had seen, but also from the many sand flies that were almost more unpleasant than mosquitoes. In the afternoon we returned to the starting point and the bus headed to Wedderburn, a tiny town in the middle of nowhere in Central Otago. Meanwhile, Michael and I were tired of bus rides, sandflies, group activities and got a little cabin fever. We looked forward to the end of the tour, and to be alone again soon. When we arrived in Wedderburn, the whole scenery cheered us up again. We landed in a small village with about 20 inhabitants, where there were except a few houses, many sheep, a golf course (a sheep pasture, which was provided with banners), a pub and our hostel, which consisted of small cottages. The area was beautiful, endless fields and grassland with a beautiful view at the mountains, and once again fantastic weather. We stayed in the cottage where we had a private room. The cottage was a sweet little and cozy cottage that was lovely furnished. Here we felt for the first time really good. You could hear nothing except a few sheep baaing. Heavenly silence, wonderful! Exactly what we needed! 16/01/15: The next morning we were dropped 35 km away on a bike route, where we received bicycles and did a bike ride on the Otago Rail Trail back to our accommodation. We all got decent mountain bikes and started in sweltering heat and quite strong crosswinds. We had five hours until we had to be back at our cottage. Therefore, we drove slowly on this wonderful route, which ran on a dirt road along cliffs, fields, grasslands and mountains. After two thirds of the way we took a break before we climbed the last third. Fortunately, the last kilometer led downhill, which was a relief! Despite my cold it had been great to move again after days of long bus rides. Michael was happy, too. We had missed some sports. We spent the afternoon sitting in the sun, reading and saving pictures to our portable hard drive. We enjoyed the quiet and beautiful surroundings and just relaxed a bit, which was very nice. In the evening we all ate together in the pub and afterwards we played with Krista, Saku, Chris, Marc and Ranj a round on the with sheep dung covered golf course, which was more a pasture with a couple of flags. Did not matter, as this also corresponded to our Golf arts! But at least each of us hit the balls and we had a lot of fun, so we played until almost 22 pm until finally the sun set. 17/01/15: The next day we started at 7.30 am, as we would have a long bus ride to Christchurch. On the way we stopped a few times to drink coffee or to buy something at the supermarket for our lunch, that we had in the afternoon in a small park, where we unfortunately forgot my glasses along with case and contact lens container, but what we only noticed later. Against 3 pm we finally arrived in Christchurch. When we arrived at our hostel, I was shocked. We were housed in a former prison, where the cells had been transformed into hostel rooms. The atmosphere was awful and it smelled horrible. When I saw our cell, I got anxiety. But when I came back from the bathroom, it was clear to me that I would not stay here tonight. Everything was just disgusting! I was not alone with my opinion because some others were also shocked. But others again in the group liked the place quite well. The flavours are very different. My mood was however first at the lowest level! For this problem I had to find a solution! After we were dropped in the city, we decided after a short discussion to find another hotel. No sooner said than done. Within ten minutes we have found with the help of the tourist office a nice hotel that we booked immediately. Excellent! We took immediately a taxi back to the jail, packed our bags, left a message for Rebecca - and were gone! The new Hotel Chateau on the Park was exactly the opposite. It had a great garden, a swimming pool, a restaurant and a bar and was right next to the city park. When we said at the reception that we were on our honeymoon, we even got an upgrade to a suite with a balcony overlooking the garden. What luck! Very relaxed and happy we made our way to the city. Beforehand, we had heard of Rebecca that many houses had been destroyed by the earthquake and many people had left the city. But when we were on site, we were very shocked. Almost every second house was damaged and abandoned, as it was not safe in case of further earthquakes, which documented the inspection notices pinned on the doors of the abandoned houses. After the earthquake, all the buildings in the city were checked and every house and office locked, that had not passed this review. In the meantime, probably many houses were demolished and rebuilt, but there were still many construction sites and countless dilapidated and nearly collapsing buildings. In some of them we could see files and papers still laying on the floor, as if everything had happend only a few days ago. The city was deserted and seemed to be a ghost town. It was also found hardly a café or restaurant and many shops were barricaded and closed. We only found a small street with shops and cafés reopened in colorful containers. There we found something to eat. This depressing impression we had to cope with and could now understand very well that many residents had left this city. On the other hand, we admired the people who stayed and devoted themselves to the construction of the city. In any case, we will definitely remember Christchurch. 18/01/15: The next morning we drove towards Kaikoura, our last stop on the South Island. On the way there, we stopped a the famous Moeraki Boulders at the Koekohe beach. The boulders are large black stones laying on the beach which look very fascinating and had been built 60 million years ago. The further drive to Kaikoura took along a beautiful coastal road, from which we could even see dolphins near the beach. Kaikoura is known for its underwater wildlife, as you can see not only dolphins, but also sperm whales, killer whales and other marine life here. In addition, Kaikoura is a sweet little place with a mile-long black pebble beach. We stayed in a lovely hostel in a double room, again at a surcharge. Right after our arrival we went into town and explored Kaikoura. We ate together with Krista and Saku fresh tasty fish for lunch, including elephant fish, and walked through the small town. In the afternoon we went whale watching. We were really excited and looking forward to watching the whales that we were promised to see. And indeed we saw later the back and the tail of a sperm whale and a few dolphins, but that was all. When we then headed back to shore, I was very glad because I had become seasick on that stupid boat in high waves and for the first time in my life. Now I can understand that this really is NO fun and I will never make fun of someone who is seasick! 19/01/15: The next morning we headed to Picton to catch the ferry. Our trip on the South Island was over and we started the journey home to Wellington, where the tour would officially end the next morning. On the bus Krista and Saku told us about the wonderful dolphin swim and that they had not only seen hundreds of dolphins, but also three orcas and swam beside them. Wow, that was really impressive! On the way to Picton then we saw a few orcas near the beach. What a nice farewell! Kaikoura is definitely worth a second visit! When we arrived in Wellington, we moved into our new hotel as we had accidentally booked a night earlier in the Ibis Hotel. But secretly we were glad that we did not have to stay in the backpacker hostel again. In the evening we met the group for the last dinner and spent a funny evening at an Indian restaurant. However, we were happy to start from now on our own journey again. That would be a bit more relaxed! But it had definitely been a great tour with incredibly exciting and beautiful experiences and where we met very nice people and got to know a small piece of a wonderful New Zealand. 20/01/15: The next day our own tour started again. We spent a wonderful day in Wellington, visited the Botanical Garden, explored the downtown and walked around the harbour towards the beach. Wellington is really worth seeing and a cozy town in which you can certainly have a great life. Now, however, we were looking forward to our next destination: Fiji!!! soon...sorry!