A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about sunsets and sunrises

soaking up the sun

View New Zealand - 2014 on Ils1976's travel map.

A good night’s sleep is actually the only thing a person really needs and I was happy to have just that. Due to the fact that our room wasn’t available anymore last night, we got a complimentary breakfast. Okay, I have to admit, we had to ask for it, but on the other hand, they could have declined it, luckily they didn’t, so this meant that this morning we were going to have a luxurious breakfast.


There were just so many choices of hot and cold dishes, that it was difficult to decide what to eat first but since we had a long day ahead of us, we made sure we had enough food into our system. It was already after 10 AM when we left our hotel and went to the waterfront to have a look at the famous bridge and of course that other major sight in Sydney, the infamous Opera house. It is not the first time of course that we have seen these buildings, but seeing them is believing and when we gazed upon them, we knew we were back in our beloved Sydney.

Since the weather was so nice, we just walked for a while into the botanical gardens and than it was time to really soak up the sun and what better way to do that than at the beach, Bondi here we come!

Getting there was a totally different story. There were some major track works so instead of taking the subway train all the way to Bondi Junction, we had to get off at an earlier station, where we had to catch a bus. Luckily the walk towards the bus wasn’t that far and we even had a bit of time to spare before we could jump on the express bus towards Bondi Junction. Not that we were complaining, this only meant that we could soak up some more sun. It really is amazing that after almost 3 weeks of mostly bad weather, a bit of sunshine made all the difference.

As we arrived in Bondi Junction, we had to transfer on to another bus and although we didn’t had to wait long, by the time it arrived, it was already fully packed. It seemed that we weren’t the only once wanting to go to the beach and who can blame us all, the weather was just simply put … amazing!


The ride from Junction to the beach wasn’t that far and as soon as we got off, we were a bit distracted by the many shops just like a couple of years ago when we visited this place, but as soon as we were finished shopping and had a bite to eat, we could go and find ourselves a nice spot on the beach, which knowing us, didn’t take that long. It was an absolute bliss lying there in the sand and since it was so hot, it was nice that there was a cool wind blowing as well. I quickly closed my eyes and enjoyed this little moment of pure bliss. I’ve said it already a couple of times, but life really can be beautiful sometimes, especially when you are on holiday and don’t need to worry about anything but yourself. Is this selfish I wonder, but on the other hand I don’t care that much coz in the back of my mind I am saying to myself that I deserve this after so many months of hard working.

It was almost 6 PM when we called it a „day” coz the wind was blowing more stronger now and since most of the people were leaving, it was as good as time ever to do the same. In a way it was the right moment as well because just next to us there was a group of young English guys who got hassled by 2 girls from I don’t know where.

Although they seemed to have a strong accent, I guess they were locals, but they were just so waisted and did just about anything to score a drink from these guys. And I literally mean evertything!!! At a certain point one of them was completely naked and some people around us started to get really offended and who can blame them, that’s just not normal behavior on a family beach. Sitting so close to them, I could even hear one of the girls telling that they would do anything and they wouldn’t have to pay, so I was starting to think that I got a clue what their actual job was. When one of the two actually showed the moves, I was sure of it, well, if you come to think about it, it is never boring when you are at Bondi beach!!


On our way back to the bus stop, we decided to go for a quick dinner as well. It was going to take a while to get back to the centre of Sydney with all the track works, so by the time that we were going to arrive, it was going to be pretty late.

Like most of all our dinners, we wanted something really quick and not to greasy so once again this meant one thing and one thing alone … noodles! It seemed that this dish besides the Indian cuisine is really our favorite on this trip coz we were eating it on a daily basis. Maybe we should think about going to Asia or India on our next adventure!

As we were almost back into the centre, we got off in the neighborhood of Martins place and although it was already late, we still wanted to check out Darling Harbour. On our previous trip, we never went there during the evening, so we didn’t really see it with all the lights, but when we arrived at the spot, we were surprised to see lots and lots of people. What the heck was going on here???

Walking further and further towards the Imax theatre, I just had to ask, it was just too crazy seeing all these people sitting on the ground and waiting for something to happen and only 5 minutes later we got our answer. There was going to be a christmas fireworks at 9 PM. How sweet was that! Once again we were in luck, we only had to wait less than half an hour and of course we waited to see what that was all about.


In Belgium they don’t have such fireworks for Christmas, so this was a totally new experience for us, but seeing all the typical colors of christmas in the sky together with some christmas music, it really came to my mind to have a little chat with our mayor. Maybe they could do something like this as well. The fireworks were really nice and the atmosphere was amazing. With a big smile on our faces and singing the song of Rudolph the red nose reindeer, we slowly walked back to our hotel, where we still needed to get the key of our new room.

By the time we were back in our room and finally went for sleep it was already after midnight and it was as good as time ever coz tomorrow another adventurous activity awaited us.

Posted by Ils1976 02:53 Archived in Australia Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches bridges buildings skylines water walk city friends sightseeing oceania viewpoint Comments (2)

sailing around some islands

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I have to be honest, I have never slept so good on this trip till now. This is kind of strange coming out of my mouth since I am not exactly that good with boats, but somehow the rocking did the trick coz I was amongst one of the last to get up. Everyone was already dressed and very awake when I arrived with my sleepy head and tried to find something to eat. I was just so glad to see that they had oatmeal coz I love to eat this in the morning and together with some raisins it made up for a fine meal.

After brekkie, I met up with Roan and he told me that during the night a storm came up and he had to change the position of the boat. Apparently he was also afraid that some people were going to „freak out” because of the bad weather and from 3 AM till about 5 AM he didn’t sleep worrying about that. The worse thing about it is that no one on the boat had heard it, so this meant that the boat really rocked everyone to sleep in a real good way. I am just so sorry to hear that our captain lost sleep about this whole ordeal, while he just could have been sound asleep. Oh well, these are things that can happen on the job I suppose.


Now with everyone quite awake, there is a chance to go snorkeling for sea urchins, but for me the water is just simply put too cold and I gave this activity a miss, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoyed watching the few that went along from a sunny place on the boat. It seemed they were really cold as well, coz only about 20 minutes later everyone was back in the boat with a catch of fresh sea urchins and a small starfish as well and of course I can't forget the sea snail, the latter I must say, was really a yukkie looking animal.

As soon as our snorkelers changed there clothes, the boat moved again and we sailed alongside a few islands till we reached Moturua Island for a small walk to some lookout point. Unfortunately it really was a short walk, but the views were amazing, the only downside is that the weather changes so quickly here in NZ and although it is almost all the time very cloudy, I really prefer the fluffy white ones over the dark ugly ones.

Luckily for the moment we only had light fluffy ones and once back on the beach, we had some free time on our hands to look for some neat shells.


Some of them have the shape of a ring and although finding them was not all that easy, I was lucky to have found at least 2. Tania on the other hand found some beautiful shells, the shapes are so amazing overhere coz back home we only have the dull round shaped ones, that is the fun of traveling I suppose.

It took a while for our dingy to come back and pick us up, we had to wait more than half an hour on the beach after our walk, but not that we minded much, our captain on the other hand wasn’t all that pleased coz it seemed that there was something wrong with the fuel filter of the boat and he needed to change that. It seemed that even "the Rock" has an illness once in a while. This on the other hand meant that we were going to arrive a little bit later in Paiha than expected, the place where we were going to stay for another night and meet up with the rest of the group again. I guess once again the captain worried more about that fact than us, we were on a holiday, so we didn’t mind at all.

Back on the boat again, lunch was being served and afterwards, we slowly made our way back to the mainland. In the beginning the weather was still fine, but that changed all for the worse about half an hour later coz rain just kept on pooring down on us. I am so lucky that we could sit inside where it was still a bit warmer than outside on the deck where the water made waves of about a meter high. This wasn’t looking good at all.

As we came closer and closer to mainland the weather changed again and this time I was more than happy to see the fluffy clouds again. It is really true what they say about NZ, whatever you plan to do, just do it anyway coz you can’t rely on the weather!!!

We arrived at Paiha with nice sunny weather, sadly enough it only lasted till we reached our hotel on foot.


With our baggage dropped of in our room, we first went back into the centre to buy some groceries and than it was as good as time ever to do another „start to run” lesson, number 3 already. It is strange how fast it is going and although we started out with okay weather, as soon as I went out of the main street and jogged towards the bridge it just came pooring down on us, coz just like me, Tania went for another lesson as well. 

The rain kept on falling on our heads, it was just unbelievable and by the time I ended my lesson, it was gone again, the weather is just so strange and I don’t think that I am ever going to get used to it. I know that we have bad weather in our country as well, but there it is somewhat predictable, here you’ll never know what is going to happen in the next half our or so, it is a strange way of living!

A nice hot shower washed away all my sorrows or should I say negative thoughts and of course the cold as well and as soon as we got into some dry clothes it was already time to have dinner with the group, which was in buffet style. The food itself wasn’t all that good, but since I was just so starving after my lesson, I just as easily have eaten anything that was planted in front of me.

With the weather still being a bit nice and more importantly dry, me and tania went back into town again to search for a dessert, but an hour later we didn’t had one coz all the eateries which served some yummy things were either closed or had nothing special for our sweet tooth and after a while, we just decided to go back to our room. After packing our stuff back into the big bag, it was already pretty late and once again I felled really tired. So there was nothing else to do than go to sleep.

Posted by Ils1976 23:05 Archived in New Zealand Tagged waterfalls sunsets_and_sunrises beaches people trees boats walk tour oceania Comments (2)

meeting our fellow Topdeckers

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Another day, another early rise, but this time we stayed up early to do another "start to run”. After all, I wanted to become fit and this trip is as good as any other to begin with that. Today I had lesson number 2, so this meant that I had my first 3 minutes run or in my case to jog and to my surprise, I felt really energetic when the lesson was over. Bring it on! I am so ready for a new day here in NZ!

The two of us had a quick breakfast and after a nice hot shower, it was already time to pack our stuff. Checking out went very swiftly and before we knew it, we were on our marry way again for our next big adventure, a 17 day tour on both the islands with a company called Topdeck.


We were a bit worried who our fellow travelers would be and hoped that it wouldn’t be a young party group like we had a few years back, but as soon as we saw a few people coming towards the bus, we know it would be fine, what a relief! They were young compared to me and Tania, but we soon found out that they weren't really heavy drinkers, so no worries there at all!!

Since the bus wasn’t going to leave in yet another hour, we were told to grab something for lunch, which we did at a food court nearby and exactly an hour later we were back at the bus and met up with all our other fellow travelers.

As soon as everyone said hi to each other, we found a place to sit and we were on our way towards the Bay of Islands, which was a good 3 hours drive.

Luckily we didn’t do the drive in one time, we first had a quick toilet stop at a very small place I just can’t remember the name of and than it was onwards again till we had another stop at one of the oldest trees on the island, a Kauri tree.


Sadly enough it was but a quick photo stop, so as soon as we all got a picture of the gigantic tree, it was back on the road again and although the sceneries were very beautiful, I dozed off again more than once. Luckily I wasn’t the only one coz the girl next to me, Kelly, seemed to have the same problem.

Our last and final stop before we were going to arrive at the Bay of Islands was at a waterfall, which is called the Whangarei Falls and although it was but a very short walk towards the falls and back to the bus, I am glad I did it so that I could finally stretch my legs for a bit.

It must have been about an hour later when we finally arrived at our destination, the Bay of Islands and some of us, including me and Tania were going to stay overnight on a boat. We booked a „Rock the Boat” experience and although I almost forgot we prebooked it, I was now more than ever curious what we could expect.

With just 10 of us, we were brought to the boat called „Rock", hence the name of course, which was basically an old ferry totally rebuild with rooms and kitchen and so on. I must say, it was very basic, but nevertheless very cozy as well.

We were welcomed by the crew and as soon as we put our bags in our designated rooms, it was time for the safety instructions and than there was nothing else for us to do than to enjoy the outing. Me and boats, it never is a good combination, but somehow I felt at ease here. no sea sickness at all, fingers crossed!!! 

Our crew wasn't there alone to handle the boat, they also made up a few activities for us such as shooting at a duck in the water with a paintball gun, fishing and even kayaking in the dark in search for fluorescent algae. All in all it turned out to be a great evening and even the BBQ we had was really good, but the best thing of the evening was the smoked fish fresh from the water, that was just so damn good, even better than the marshmallows we had to stick in the fire, although if I have to admit, it makes up for a great dessert and when you are with so little people together, it is also a great way to bond as well. Friends were made over a bit of wood, how cool is that! :)

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Getting close to midnight, it was time for me to hit the sack. I was really tired and all the rocking of the boat made sure I fell asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow.

Posted by Ils1976 22:56 Archived in New Zealand Tagged landscapes waterfalls sunsets_and_sunrises people trees walk tour oceania Comments (2)

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