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Five things I wanted to do before I die

by - 27 Jun 2010

One of the wonderful aspects about a long journey is that one gets a lot of opportunities to try something new which sometimes involves to take a bit of courage, too. Sarah for example always admired everyone who is paragliding high up in the sky thinking that it must be beautiful to fly so smoothly through the air. But being afraid of heights she never considered to get clicked in a parachute herself. Well, New Zealand offers an amazing landscape which seems to be just made for all kinds of outdoor activities. „Now or never“, Sarah thought and she gave it a fly.

1. Paragliding
One sunny morning we found ourselves standing on the hills of Nelson ready to jump off the edge. Sarah loved the flight with all its climbing up the thermos and spiralling down. Friedrich on the other hand experienced that eating a cheese sandwich shortly before take off is not a very good idea. Unfortunately he felt quite seasick in the air.
Getting started Sarah in the air

Friedrich in the air View from in the air

2. Rafting
Another adrenalin activity we wanted to do for so long is rafting down a river. Despite the suboptimal weather conditions (rain and only 15 C) the rafting turned out to be great fun, the highlight of the tour was falling down a 7 meter high waterfall. In the end we even jumped into the icy river by choice for a short swim. 🙂
Coming down the 7meter waterfall

Rafting

3. Swimming with Dolphins
As we were by now used to swim in ice-cold water we put on the wetsuits one more time. This happened in the Bay of Plenty (Tauranga) which is blessed with several big pots of dolphins. We chose the boat of Captain Butler because he offered to swim freely (no holding on to a rope) with the animals in the open sea. But it turned out that we were still supposed to hold on to the boat which pulled us through the water according to the speed of the dolphins. Butler explained that the crew experienced that the dolphins stay this way a lot longer with the swimmers because they don’t get scared by any wild and excited movements of the people in the water.
Delfinschwimmer

Boot zieht uns fuer Delfinschwimmen durchs Wasser

A group of about 150 dolphins accompanied us in deed for a long time. Sometimes there were as many as 30 dolphins swimming right next to or diving below the people in the water. For us swimmers it was breathtaking to see when they all of a sudden emerged from the dark depth of the ocean and how they speeded up to us. The more curious dolphins came closer and turned on their side to have a better look at us. In those moments we all forgot how freezingly cold the water actually was.
Delfine umkreisen unser Boot, Tauranga

Now we appreciate Butlers approach because he lets the animals control the encounter and makes sure they feel comfortable all the time which also gives the swimmers the chance to come much closer to the animals.

4. Changing a Tyre
During our trip in NZ we were confronted with another challenge which we did not really plan on. But at least this gave Friedrich the opportunity to perform as a true man in front of his girlfriend.
Curious to see two beautiful waterfalls we took a 35km long bumpy gravel road; it took us an hour to reach the waterfalls.
Bridal Veil Fall, Te Mata
When we came back from the viewing platform our happy-mood-mode was soon to be switched off: Obviously enough the gravel road had punctured one of our tyres which was all flat by now. In the beginning the changing -tyre-mission seemed to be completed very successfully soon – until we noticed that our jack (Wagenheber) was to low and we could not attach the new tyre. Being quite lost in the middle of nowhere desperation began to crawl upon us. Luckily there was a Maori man sleeping in a car close by. We honked a couple of times to wake him up. He turned out to be a more than helpful man and we were relieved to hear that he had all the equipment we needed. After we had changed the tyre all together he even invited us to have a tea with him afterwards at his office.

5. Seeing the Glowworm-Milkyway
Seeing glowworms is probably not on everyone’s top five list – and be sure it was not on ours either until we went to the Glowworm Cave in Waitomo. There you find an amazing range of caves with underground rivers, stalactites and the famous glowworms.
The Glowworms are attached to the rocks above the underground rivers producing a white-blueish light. They are immitating the stars in the sky to attract other insects which they catch with their long sticky threads. Unfortunately nobody is allowed to take a photo of the glowworms as this dims or even destroys their light. We can only show you a mediocre picture from the internet to give you a little bit of an idea.
Glowworm Cave, Waitomo
But these glowworms can only be truely appreciated if you see them yourself. The sight is beyond comparison!! The superlatives in our guidebook were mere understatement. When we got on the boat to float through the glowworm tunnel our jaws dropped: There are thousands if not millions of glowworms which create a whole galaxy full of stars inside the cave! This magical experience made it all worthwhile to travel to the other end of the world!

„For me your hands are not dirty“
said the Maori man who helped to change the tyre when Friedrich wanted to wipe off his dirty hands before shaking hands to say goodbye.

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From → Neuseeland

8 Kommentare
  1. Friedrich sieht beim raften aber angespannter aus als beim paragliden. 😉

  2. judipuh permalink

    was für ein netter mann! obwohl ihr ihn aus dem schlaf gehupt habt! da wären andere ganz schön sauer geworden! so schöne sachen die ihr da macht überall!

  3. @ flo, du hast auch gelacht (am anfang) im karoussel auf dem Oktoberfest 😀

    coole geschichte von der mann und das reifenwechseln. Total nett von ihm!
    Darf mann vom Glowworms auch kein Foto ohne blitz machen? anscheinend nicht ne? :s

  4. Max permalink

    Das sieht alles nach ner ganzen menge spass aus! könnt mir glauben dass ich ganz schön neidisch bin ;-). Jetzt in Lateinamerika? Ich erwarte Ihren Bericht…

  5. DDlP permalink

    Nicht nur Ihr habt unvergessliche Erlebnisse. Auch ich werde jetzt nicht mehr vergessen, dass „tyre“ die britisch-englische Version von „tire“ ist. Ist aber auch viel weniger wichtig als die Erfahrung der voraussetzungslosen Hilfsbereitschaft des freundlichen Schläfers.

  6. Das Raften war auch koerperlich anstrengender, man ist dabei deutlich aktiver und das schnelle Wasser um einen herum bin ich nicht gewoehnt, daher vielleicht mein Gesichtsausdruck. Fuer das Paraglidingfoto musste ich alle Kraft zusammen nehmen um so zu laecheln!
    Wir hatten auch anfangs etwas Angst vor dem Maori-Mann, weil es ein riesen Brocken von Mann war und wenn der sauer geworden waere, haetten wir wahrscheinlich keinen Spass mehr gehabt. Aber er war einfach unglaublich hilfsbereit und hat gar nicht verstanden, warum wir ihn nicht frueher geweckt haben.

  7. mareike permalink

    Und was passiert jetzt noch mal genau, wenn man vor dem Paragliden ein Sandwich isst????

  8. Jen permalink

    What an amazing adventure you are having! Way to live life to the fullest. Much love and wishes of continued safe travels. xo

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