New Zealand in winter, a self-experiment
After an abstinence of relatively exactly one and a half years we finally go to New Zealand again. After my last trip was mainly due to the organization and participation in a film project, it's now time to fill the blog with new experiences and content.
New Zealand in a different way
In order to discover a new side of New Zealand, I start in Christchurch this time, even in winter. A self-experiment of the other kind, because actually I'm rather a big fan of the summer and the summery temperatures, no matter where in the world I am at the moment. But who would I be, if I would not try something new? After all, we want to show all facets of New Zealand, especially here in the blog, and winter is one of them. And the most exciting question I ask myself before the trip is, how is New Zealand in the van at sub-zero temperatures and frosty temperatures or permanent precipitation? Let's see what exciting experiences the next weeks and months will bring. But I don't want to put you through any more torture, let's get started with the journey.
The journey to Christchurch
In the evening, Emirates will take flight EK058 from Düsseldorf to Dubai. The flight itself is unspectacular, but the comfort in the Airbus A380 is as good as usual. Fortunately, the flight is not fully booked, so I have a complete middle row for myself and can even sleep a little. Normally I have trouble sleeping on the plane, but this time everything fits. Also, the food at Emirates is delicious and my little hunger attack in between is effectively fought with a piece of pizza. At least I never had pizza in the plane, that was really a nice surprise on board. My vegetarian menu is delicious and rich enough to keep me full for the flight.
The arrival in Dubai is on time and the Dubai Terminal is huge. Besides all kinds of expensive looking shops, I rediscover the delicious coffee bar Nero, which I already found good on the beach in Cyprus. If you leave aside the overpriced airport prices, the stay is quite nice. There are even deckchairs and corresponding comfortable deck chairs to bridge my 4 hours waiting time. After a cappuccino for the equivalent of 5€ and a wrap as well as a croissant for 13€ I finally continue. The biggest shortcoming of the modern terminal in Dubai, you can see almost nothing from outside and for filming it is anyway everything much too far away. You can't reach the outside windows at any place and I have searched a lot to be able to fix my Gopro. Well, so you have to make do with my flowery words and let your head cinema rule.
Dubai to Christchurch
From Dubai we also continue our journey to Christchurch in an A380 (of course a different one than before). What is nicely hidden in the booking, there is a stopover in Sydney. From Dubai to Sydney the plane is clearly full but still not fully booked which is why I am still very happy. We share a row of three in twos and thus we still have a very comfortable seat. Flight EK412 takes us from Dubai to Sydney and then on to Christchurch on the same flight, flight number and seat. The flight is pleasant and Emirates knows very well how to keep people calm and light according to the time zone.
As I have decided to try all the vegetarian menus that Emirates offers, I have ordered Indian vegetarian for this flight. The food is delicious, but spicy (as was also stated before to be fair). I have included a few photos of the food so that you can see for yourself. Overall, I was surprised how many different vegetarian and vegan menus Emirates offers. All menu options together make an attractive choice of five different options. I have never before seen so many options in an airline.
After a short stopover of one hour and 45 minutes, we continue our journey from Sydney to Christchurch in an almost empty A380. Due to the few passengers and the low load of the last and also shortest flight, there are nice conversations with the flight attendants and an extra breakfast on the short flight from Australia to New Zealand. Unfortunately, the Southern Alps are completely covered with clouds, so that I cannot enjoy the view as much as I would have liked to. After the three flights I have just arrived and am looking forward to a new New Zealand adventure. The first New Zealand adventure with the blog full time and me as an independent. Such a good feeling, thank you already at this point for that. Without you as a reader of my blog this would not be possible.
The arrival to New Zealand
After the arrival card (Arrival Card) has been properly filled in, a trouble-free stopover at the electronic passport control, you will proceed to the baggage carousel. After my rucksack arrived undamaged, I join the endless queue for checking. Because I have hiking boots and my photo equipment with me, I first go to customs after a short interview and then I am allowed to go on to Biosecurity. Since I have nothing critical with me except my hiking boots, I stop for a one-minute stopover with a nice and very relaxed officer. In general, it helps at the Biosecurity if you have all your outdoor stuff already packed together in your backpack somewhere ready to hand and you have already roughly cleaned your equipment. The more you were already prepared for this, the sooner you will get ahead. It is only time consuming if you have to collect all your things in your luggage or the officers want to clean your equipment. But even then, the time needed is manageable with 10-15 minutes.
After the last check you finally leave the arrival area. My friend Terry picks me up at the airport, I bridge the waiting time by buying a Spark Sim card. So, during my trip I finally want to do the test of the mobile network providers, Vodafone New Zealand vs. Spark New Zealand. I will tell you more about this later.
Pick up at the airport
After I had already called Terry from the baggage carousel, I am picked up at the pick-up area by Terry and his wife. After so many years, it is still nice to have friends in New Zealand. The Working Holiday 2016 to 2017 has definitely contributed enormously to good contacts in New Zealand.
The first days after my arrival I am allowed to stay in their guest room and Terry lends me his car, too, for the first days to look around for my own new vehicle. I have never consciously entered the Hoon Hay district before, so I end up in a suburb and feel like in an American settlement. All the same houses next to each other and (almost) everybody knows (almost) everybody. Very pleasant for the re-entry in New Zealand.
The first evening in Christchurch
Since I want to fight effectively against my jet lag, I force myself to stay up and not give in to the urge to sleep.
To make things easier for me, Terry and his partner Isabella go shopping with me. So, I come to my first visit to New World in 2019 right on the day of my arrival. Besides the few groceries I need for myself, I also buy some sweets to thank Terry and Isabelle for their hospitality.
In the evening they have already reserved a table at an American diner in Christchurch (Diner 66), so I can easily get a delicious vegetarian burger and a coffee flat rate that will keep me awake for the remaining hours I need. At the same time Terry takes the chance and lets me make my first driving experience with his small SUV. The left-hand traffic is surprisingly easy for me and Terry is so satisfied that he can leave his car to me with a clear conscience.
Dog-tired I go to bed relatively early after the long flight and the arrival in New Zealand and sleep through the night in one go. Despite the winter, thanks to several blankets, I am not freezing. Unfortunately, most New Zealand houses are neither well insulated nor permanently heated. In my small guest room, I only have an electronic heating system which I can switch on if necessary.
The first morning in New Zealand
After a long night and almost 12 hours of sleep I wake up in windows with thick fogging. Double-glazing is not yet standard in New Zealand, so I am very happy about my three blankets which gave me a pleasant and warm night.
Since Terry and Isabella enjoy their free Sunday with sleeping in, I have breakfast alone and sit down afterwards relaxed in the living room. Through the big window front of the living room there is a pleasant sunlight and warms me up so that I don't have to freeze despite an outside temperature of 4 degrees. Generally, I am surprised that despite of the winter, it is quite pleasant as soon as the sun shines.
Meetup in Christchurch
To make sure that Sunday is not completely without action for me, we from Project New Zealand have invited to a Meetup in Christchurch via Facebook. We met in the botanical garden in Christchurch.
With Lukas, a German backpacker, I took a look at his car and exchanged some travel experiences over a delicious coffee. A Toyota Estima would be an inexpensive option for my trip, but actually this time I am looking for a bigger and more comfortable vehicle with an interior kitchen. Not sure how much bad weather I would have to endure and at least food would be important to me even in bad weather.
After the meet up and the car inspection I drive back to Terry and Isabella to spend a relaxed evening with them. With a pleasant fireplace fire and the cosy warmth of the fire, it is good to exchange stories from the last 2 years. After all, it has been such a long time since Kathi and I met the two in Nelson back then.
The power of jetlag
Apparently, I am a little jetlagged, because I am already dog-tired in the afternoon and am looking forward to my bed. Like many other New Zealanders Terry and Isabella let their Sunday evening fade away in front of the TV. For me as a confessing non-TV-guy rather uninteresting, so I spend my time with contact and group maintenance on Facebook.
Looking at cars and a new week
Next week I will start to look at more cars and make my departure from Christchurch possible.
Travel period and interesting facts
Our fourth New Zealand trip took place from 15.08.2019 – 13.11.2019. Without much planning but with a lot of knowledge we explored New Zealand in our own van and got many updates to already existing knowledge. So, we can continue to be a relevant and important source of knowledge for you as a New Zealand interested person. If you want to get information about New Zealand, this blog is available for free.
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