Hike #1 : The Blue Spring river

Hike #1 : The Blue Spring river

You are in the Waikato area? If you are starting out on a hike, here is one accessible and at least beautiful.

About the hike

Te Waihou Walkway’s Blue Spring is world-renowned with water so pure that it supplies about 60% of New Zealand’s bottled water. The source is fed by the Mamaku plateau where water takes up to 100 years to filter; the resulting water is so pure and clean that it produces a beautiful blue color while being almost clear. The hike follows this source through large trees that litter the green hills where some cows are living. The trail seems somewhat isolated but many people were practicing it as we walked.

Characteristics

Level: Easy

Duration: Approximately 3 hours round trip

Necessary equipment: Sneakers

In conclusion, a short and pleasant hike to do with family or quietly with friends. Perfect for a first, it reveals the green heights of the region without requiring a lot of equipment or thorough preparation.

The localisation

This hike follows the Blue Spring River, the starting point is 64km (45 minutes by car) southeast of Hamilton. You end up on a parking lot of the Whites Road (GPS coordinates: -38.023829,175.809347). You will easily see indications on the road to take and the various hikes around.

 

The arrival in Auckland

The arrival in Auckland

Our first article on New Zealand, from the landing to the discovery of Auckland!

Our first hours in New Zealand.

4pm. We arrive in Auckland. From the plane, we already see landscapes worthy of the greatest movies. Almost 48 hours since our flight from Paris. We are exhausted but happy to finally detect the few hills in the distance.

Landing done. Some applause to remind us of the absurdity of flying and then we leave the long haul.

Day 1: Let’s go to Auckland!

Already in the airport something is striking us: people. All endorsements. First the customs officer begins with us a purely friendly discussion of our reasons for coming to an island lost at the other end of the world. Then the saleswoman of the kiosk who seems almost too smiling. We finally leave the airport and decide to call an Uber to join our Airbnb, long live the 21st century. Our driver arrives and we start a frank conversation in his car. He is full of praise for New Zealand and this once again confirms our choice of destination. Once there, it even contacts our host to ensure that we are at the right destination. A warm welcome, a succinct visit, a frugal meal and in bed, tired of fatigue.

After a good night’s sleep, we are looking forward to Auckland’s center. About 30 minutes of bus travel, we catch one and start once again to discuss very naturally with the driver. He tells us about his passion: hunting. And it is a remarkable constant: each person will speak with great ease not only of the rain and good weather but also and especially of his passion, his desires, what drives him.

We thank the driver on leaving (note that in New Zealand, everyone says hello on a bus and thank you coming out), and finally discover the economic capital in its center.

Personally, I was very surprised by the American influence: tall buildings, the Sky Tower (the highest tower in the southern hemisphere), which seems to split the sky but also the wide roads, the panels, etc.

Asia also has an influence on the city, especially with regard to food: everywhere Japanese restaurants, Chinese or Vietnamese.

Mooring at the port.

We are deliberately lost and go to the port. Here, no big towers or wide roads but rather a holiday look. Children bathe their feet in the ocean, yachts litter the weak waves. The atmosphere is to the music at every corner. The center and its towers overlook the landscape, a cross between a small city New York and a summer Florida that makes us want to discover more.

Come back soon for more news on Backpackers to the future!

The 3 tips to know when you arrive in New Zealand (and that will save you a few dollars)

The 3 tips to know when you arrive in New Zealand (and that will save you a few dollars)

Here are 3 tips to save money when you arrive in New Zealand.

Number 1: The transport card

When you arrive in New Zealand, you will surely land in Auckland, the economic capital of the country. The opportunity to discover this city of 1.6 million inhabitants (out of the 4.7 million inhabitants of the country!) Looking like a modern American city. The best way to discover the different neighborhoods of this city which extends over 3 100 km2 (30 times larger than Paris) is the use of public transport made up of buses and trains. For this, we advise you to apply for the AT Hop card directly at the ticket counter and, for only $ 10, you will be able to travel in Auckland at a lower cost (at least 25% discount). For a round trip between Lynfield and the center of the city, you would get $ 6.60 instead of $ 11 at the regular rate. The card has other benefits like free wifi in some trains, buses and ferries for example. So do not hesitate 😉

Number 2: The culture of wwoofing

What is wwoofing? WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is a network of organic farms established in England in the 1970s and now spreading around the world, including New Zealand. Its goal is to connect farmers with volunteers (often students, travelers, or people interested in organic farming) so that they can, in exchange most of the time of the lodging and the cover but also of the discovery of other cultures and new encounters, participate in the life of the farm and help farmers without financial compensation. A good way to travel cheaply and make beautiful meetings.

For more information, over there.

Number 3: Apply for IRD and open a New Zealand account

If you want to work in New Zealand, you will need an IRD number and a New Zealand account.

In the country of the kiwis, the tax is at the source, that is to say directly taken from the income. The IRD number allows the Ministry of Finance (the Inland Revenue) to directly identify you and apply the correct tax rate. If not, your employer must apply the maximum tax rate of 45% of income. It is therefore essential to your arrival to make the request (free). It can be done directly online and you will receive your IRD number by email within 2-3 days depending on the number of requests in progress.

The New Zealand bank account is also an obligation to receive your salary. It will also be very convenient to buy or withdraw money without having additional taxes applied by some banks. We chose the Kiwi Bank that allows you to open an account quickly and manage it online. This bank is managed by kiwi mail, so you will have the opportunity to go to the counter in most cities.

In conclusion, it is possible to save a few dollars as soon as he arrives in hobbits country. We also strongly urge you to check backpackers’ facebook groups, which are often rich in good tips and advice.

Feel free to give us your tips for saving money on the trip 🙂

Hike # 2: Mount Pauanui

Hike # 2: Mount Pauanui

You are in the Coromandel area? A hike to Mount Pauanui (387 m) awaits you!

About the hike

Pauanui is a beautiful city that offers very diverse landscapes. To access the city, you will cross a huge forest in the mountains. The city imposes a holiday atmosphere. You will go to Pauanui beach, the most famous beach.

It is on this beach that the 3.8 km trek begins.

It is a climb rather difficult but which is worth it. The summit of Mount Pauanui offers breathtaking views to the north on the beach and the rest of the city. A 360 ° vision is offered to you with a small bench that is at the top to reward you for your efforts!

Characteristics

Level: Easy – Medium (steep slope)

Time: Around 2h30 round trip

Required equipment
Hiking shoes because the track can be slippery

 

In conclusion, a hike requiring a relatively low level. A steep slope certainly but a relatively short distance. This climb is worth it since it offers a magnificent panorama on all the surroundings. Do not be afraid of the climb, take your time: you will not regret it!

The localisation

In the coastal town of Pauanui, this hike begins at the Pauanui Beach (GPS coordinates: -37.02728,175.874145), a beautiful beach that reveals a small path on the right.

 

Travel Apps to have in New Zealand

Travel Apps to have in New Zealand

Here are our favorite free travel apps for traveling to New Zealand.

CamperMate and WikiCamps New-Zealand

These two travel applications are quite similar and can locate the various campsites and free camps in New Zealand as well as public toilets, showers, gas stations, laundromats, free wifi etc. A must-have if you travel in van for example. Traveler communities are very active and data is regularly updated. We have a preference for WikiCamps that allows you to download the cards and use them without any connection.

Available on Iphone and Android.

Maps.Me

Maps.Me is a totally free GPS navigator allowing you to use offline maps by downloading them in advance. Convenient in New Zealand where areas without telephone networks are numerous. Maps.Me also allows access to “Points of Interest” such as hiking trails that would not be available on other GPS. Its database is updated daily. The application also has all the features of a classic GPS application with navigation system depending on the type of trip (by car, bike or on foot) and search filters (restaurants, gas stations etc.)

Available on Iphone and Android.

Gaspy

Gaspy is a kiwi application to find petrol stations offering the cheapest fuels around you. Its operation is collaborative and relies on its large number of contributors (more than 100,000 times installed) which constantly provide information on the price of fuel in the stations. A free travel app and very convenient to make significant savings.

Available on Iphone and Android.

MetService NZ Weather

“In New Zealand, you can have four seasons in one day”. This kiwi expression sums up well the changing weather conditions in New Zealand. You can wake up with a beautiful sun and 2 hours later be in a storm and 2 hours later be in a fine rain for finally, with a little luck, find the sun at the end of the day. MetService is the application of kiwi weather services and allows to see in real time, the evolution of the weather conditions. It is certainly the most reliable application and is also very well designed. Very practical to prepare his hikes or surf days.

Available on Iphone and Android.