We woke up with sunshine pouring through the windows of our cabin at Railay beach. The rain had cleared and the sea reflected the blue sky. Our boat left after breakfast and the views onto Railay’s rocky coastline were stunning and we watched them get smaller and smaller until we lost sight of them. When we arrived to Ko Phi Phi we stepped onto the pier and into the busy, chaotic world of one of Thailand’s most famous and touristy islands. Before we could even set foot on the island we had to pay 20 Baht each. Some kind of tourist tax. Welcome to Ko Phi Phi!
The traffic was painstakingly slow when we rode the bus to the centre of town. It was early in the morning and everybody was on his or her way to somewhere. Georgetown, the bustling capital city of the state of Penang, had woken up and was in full swing.
Read more “The colours of Georgetown, Penang. Exploring Malaysia”
After doing some research in McDonalds, a backpackers best friend with its free wifi, we started walking along the road. We were at Christchurch airport and had to get to Fairlie, a town 2,5 hours drive south west. Our transport method of the day: hitchhiking.
Starting our day of hitchhiking
During our previous trip in New Zealand we had always travelled by bus or hired a car but this time around we were on a budget and besides, we figured it was time to use one of the most beloved transport methods among backpackers in this country. So there we were, with our backpacks, hitchhiking along the highway. We stopped walking to try our luck when we found a place where cars could pull over. When the third car that passed us stopped, we could hardly believe it. Unfortunately the girl who had pulled over had to go in a different direction. When no one else stopped we decided to start walking again, after all, this was probably not the best place to hitch from. Not long after, we got lucky. A friendly elderly man pulled over, told us we were certainly not in a good place to get a ride and offered to drop us off at the edge of the city, in the suburb Hornby and along a road where he was sure someone would pick us up.
And he was right, literally 30 seconds after we had stuck out our thumbs, an Australian guy pulled over and offered us a ride to Ashburton. Perfect, that was the right direction so we gladly accepted the offer and hopped in. We had a nice chat with Aussie John and arrived safe and sound in Ashburton. By now we were quite confident and happy with the hitchhiking adventure. Because Ashburton is a town that sprawls along for many kilometres, we started walking again and when we found a spot we thought was good, we stopped and tried our luck. This time, no one stopped so we started walking again. After a while, a big workman’s car pulled over and the guy told us he would bring is to the edge of town, to a good spot to hitch from. Happy with the help we started squashing our backpacks onto the backseat. Because his car was full of junk I had to squeeze in underneath our packs. Though this ride wasn’t a long one, it certainly proved to be an interesting one when we started talking to the, very rough looking, driver of the car. He was quite happy to tell us about his grandfather’s involvement with Hitler during the second world war. We were both quite relieved when we were dropped of and out in the fresh air again. And his stories were not all that had worried Toby. For apparently I had, totally oblivious of this fact, been sitting on top of a huge Nazi flag all that time!
Learn and laugh
After having a good laugh about this event, we were ready to continue our journey. About 20 minutes later a car stopped. This time the driver was a Maori man. Middle aged, friendly and calm, he was a nice change from our previous ride. This man was a dairy farmer so we chatted about New Zealand’s milk and cows until we got to Geraldine. After being dropped of we started walking to the edge of town. So far we had learned to always be well out of the centre of town before you start hitchhiking, no one will stop when you are still too close to the centre. And of course at a spot where there is ample space for cars to pull over. Maybe people want to see that you are not too lazy to start walking in the right direction, who knows? One way or another we managed to find a lift quite fast. This time it was a young Israeli couple who picked us up. They had just arrived to New Zealand and were on their first day of a road trip around the South Island. We managed to squeeze into their small rental car and off we were. Our last ride to reach Fairlie.
Five rides, five hours and a whole lot of interesting chats later, we had made it! And we had learned a thing or two about hitchhiking in New Zealand along the way.
During the past few months we have been busy creating this website. Our own place on the world wide web where we can share our stories, photos and videos with you all.
And many new stories and videos are on our agenda! Because we took the plunge and we are back in the land down under! Last month we moved out of our apartment in the beautiful city of Barcelona. It’s back on the road again after a year of living the Barcelona life. Via The Netherlands we have made the long journey to Australia and we have just about gotten over our jet lag.
We are excited for the new adventures that await us. New “Ramble” videos about funky, fun Melbourne will be out in April and of course lots of stories and photos along the way. So we hope that you will enjoy the journey with us through our website, from wherever in this beautiful world you are!
After eight weeks in our “shoebox” we have had enough. Enough of Sydney, enough of living in such a small place, enough of the rental price. The last week in Sydney was a fun week. Filled with drinks, dinners, walks, museums and even a bbq on the only warm and sunny day in the past few weeks. For us, Sydney is a great place to visit. But we don’t see ourselves living there and making a home. It’s time to ramble! So for now, we will couch surf around the area. First stop, the Blue Mountains.
Beauty in the little things
The photo’s are taken around the area we lived in for the past two months. It’s important to see beauty in your every day situation and surroundings. And be grateful for the experiences.
After picking up our rental car and stocking up on groceries for the week we drove up to Te Anau in the afternoon. It was quite cold and grey so we only made a short stop for lunch. In Te Anau we picked one of the campsites and set up our tent. First night in the tent since Hastings on the North Island! The kitchen was loud, busy and messy and people were trying to cook leaning over each other to use the few working hotplates. We realised quickly how lucky we had been with the kitchen in our Holiday park in Fairlie! After a cold night of around 4 degrees, wearing lots of layers, we had breakfast and started the journey to Milford Sound.
Along Milford Road
Milford Sound is connected to Te Anau by the 119 km long Milford Road. Most people seem to drive straight through but that’s a shame. This was one of the most beautiful drives I have ever experienced! There are so many places along the road to stop, take little walks, have a picnic, take some photos and camp on one of the many DOC (department of conservation) campsites. So we took our time and really enjoyed it. Until we met the infamous sandflies for the first time! On a beautiful spot called “Cascade Creek”, where we had lunch, we saw lots of little flies that looked like fruit flies. We thought they looked so innocent, no way that they could be those horrible sand flies we had heard about so much. It was only when we drove of with the car full of these little buggers that we realised we had actually encountered “The Sand Fly”.
The next New Zealand animal we made the acquaintance of was the Kea. A big green bird that likes to eat cars! The Kea birds are not scared of human beings at all and love eating the rubber of every part of your car they can get their beaks on!
In the late afternoon we arrived at Milford Lodge. We had planned to camp again but because I had quite a bad cold we decided to stay in a dorm room instead. It was worth it because it was freezing at Milford Lodge. During the autumn and winter months they don’t get any sun so everything stays cold and damp.
Exploring Milford Sound
The next day we went to explore from the water and did a kayak tour with Rosco’s Milford Kayaks. Our guide was a Kiwi guy and our group was nice and small. We had checked the weather forecast religiously for the last week and that paid of. It was bright and sunny, no clouds in the sky. So we kayaked for a few hours on the sound, enjoyed the scenery and even saw some seals sunbathing. It was very beautiful and spectacular. These mountains are the highest ones in the world that come straight out of the water like that!
On our second day in Milford Sound we started the day with some shooting for our “Ramble” documentary. Then we started the drive back in the direction on Te Anau. Unfortunately clouds rolled in and by the time we arrived to the parking lot from where we would do a small hike called “Key Summit”, it was completely grey. So when we got to the summit we were in the middle of the clouds. After our hike we drove a little further to the DOC campsite at “Cascade Creek” where we found a beautiful spot and luckily there weren’t as many sandflies around this time. We cooked some 2 minute noodles (I know, I know… shame on us) and ate in the car because it was quite cold.
Waking up in the morning with rain was not very pleasant. As soon as we had packed our tent we decided to drive to a parking lot where we had seen a shelter we could use to cook breakfast under. After eggs and coffee we felt much better and drove back to Te Anau, stopping on the way for a nice walk in the rain trough some forest. Back in Te Anau we got about 30 minutes of sunshine which we used to dry our tent. Unfortunately by the time we had set up camp at a holiday park the rain settled back in so we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in the lounge area and kitchen with some wine and pasta. We had originally planned to drive back up to Queenstown the next day and explore the area of Glenorchy. But we didn’t feel like going back that way yet so after some reading in the Lonely Planet we decided to extend the car rental and drive south instead!