Jan & Lio

Summer 2014/15

Jan & Lio
Community Outdoor Nation Jan & Lio In NZ and ready for an adventure!

In NZ and ready for an adventure!

Jan & Lio

November 2014

  • The 2nd of November we took a train from Ghent, our hometown, to Schiphol, Amsterdam’s airport, and soon found ourselves on a 11 hour flight to Seoul, Korea and after a short break again on a 10 hour flight to Auckland, New Zealand. We braved the stern clerk at the passport control and passed customs without a worry. Only the biosecurity check had us a bit concerned as I had just been hiking in Belgium and Lio just returned from Switzerland and our boots weren’t completely clean. Apparently the Kiwi’s are petrified of foreign pests. Which is fair enough as they could destroy their beautiful nature. After that we soon found ourselves on our way to the big city.

    After dropping our bags off at the hotel we walked down Queen Street all the way to the harbour. Still pondering over the question how many Burger King restaurants in one street would be enough, we were approached by a man with the biggest camera we had ever seen. He asked us to model for him, as he needed pictures of lost tourists. We had only been in Auckland for an hour and had already been identified as tourists. Apparently our rain jackets on a sunny day were a dead give away. As a thank-you he hinted the ‘north wharf’ restaurants for lunch. The hip young crowd, beautiful harbour view and tasty sushi made it a lunch we wouldn’t soon forget.

    On our second day the weather forecast warned us for incoming rain so we decided to dress appropriately again. Boots and rain jacket were our attire because the rain was coming down hard. We were only two minutes along the way when the sky changed from grey to clear blue and stayed like that for the rest of the day. We couldn’t believe how fast the weather changed. (We would see a lot more of that later on during our stay in Hamilton.) Cats and dogs one moment and cloudless skies the other. The three days in Auckland were ideal for strolling around and getting over our jetlagged heads. The friendly people, good coffee and tasty food made us feel at home. A beer in the Belgian beer café topped it all off.

    Feeling Hamilton’s call deep down my core, we took a bus down to the place I had spent most of my time in New Zealand. Lio and I enjoyed the scenery very much and were in awe of the mighty river Waikato that accompanied us on our way. Upon entering Hamilton it struck Lio how many one-storey houses there were, because you only see them every so often in Belgium.

    The last couple of days our good friend Kevin and his family have been hosting us and we couldn’t thank them enough for their hospitality and their aid in helping us getting a car to travel around with. Kevin and his friend Spike took us on our first hike up to the Hakarimata viewpoint. The track was only 1 km long but consisted of an eternity of steps. Our sore muscles reminded us of our poor physique the day after.

    As soon as we have arranged our chariot for the next couple of months we can start planning our trip. Nothing is written in stone but we do have some dreams we’d love to see fulfilled. Catching some snappers (fish), completing a great walk and paying my respects to ‘tane mahuta’ (very large tree) are on the top of my list. Lio would love to relax in one (preferably more) of the hot pools, do a hobbit tour and visit the glow-worm caves in Waitomo. Overall we’re keen on doing some sweet as camping all over New Zealand and experiencing everything this country has to offer.

    Writing this we remembered a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The fellowship of the ring’.

    “You step into the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to”

    Let’s not keep our feet then and see where we end up.

    Lio & Jan

    PS: Other stuff we’re keen on doing and you might expect on the blog:

    • Stewart Island (Forest and Bird)
    • Ferry through the Marlborough sounds
    • Visit a ‘marae’ (Maori meeting place) and have a ‘hangi’ (Maori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven)
    • Barbecue on the beach
    • Spot a dolphin (Lio’s childhood dream)
    • Snorkelling
    • New Zealand wine-tasting