The Gannets of Cape Kidnappers and the Trans Tasman Flight

June 13th, 2014

The Gannets of Cape Kidnappers and the Trans Tasman FlightSeabirds are little miracles of evolution and New Zealand is home to a lot of them. At Muriwai Beach and the Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay I spent days with the second rarest gannet species in the world, the Australasian gannet, who is a master aviator and swift as an arrow hunter when it comes to fish. Their chicks are even tougher as when coming of age having no life and hunting experience they start a life-threatening adventure, the Trans-Tasman flight »»

Auckland’s architectural Side

May 20th, 2014

Auckland’s architectural SideActually Wellington is the capital, but when it comes to business and logistics then Greater Auckland pulls all strings and due to its international airport for tourists this metropolis is to boot the gateway number one to cross into New Zealand, hence for many people in the world this city makes the initial contact. Auckland’s down town is pretty much compact and an area of high housing density. When watched from far away distance by the help of a super tele lens, Auckland’s skyline and its facades offer a variety of interesting details, not to mention the spectacle when they reflect in rain puddles. Most dominating among those skyscrapers is the Sky Tower, from where you can see Auckland’s volcanic history »»

Fiji – Melting Pot of the South Seas

April 29th, 2014

Fiji – Melting Pot of the South SeasThe Fiji archipelago is the perfect melting pot of the South Seas. In a very charming way its 332 small as well as big islands unite the culture of Melanesia and Polynesia plus the influences of British colonial times and the Indians being brought into the country back then by the Britons. There are three places that exemplify this melange best: Levuka’s old town, which is Fiji’s old capital on Ovalau Island, as well as the country’s new capital bustling Suva and its market plus the Naag Mandir temple on Vanua Levu, a place being more Indian than India itself »»

New Caledonia – Kagu’s threatened Home

February 26th, 2014

New Caledonia – Kagu’s threatened HomeWhen something is really expensive then it costs “an arm and a leg”. Against that proverbial background the French overseas department New Caledonia is so expensive, that it costs even the double. The island can be a grave for your hard-earned money, in particular the south, where the capital Noumea slaps your face financially and with the typical arrogant French attitude you can meet in St. Tropez, Nice or Paris. Having after all a pretty much un-Pacific vibe, the island itself is a scenic gem though and worth to be explored as the coast meets high mountains, palms meet pine trees, dead forests meet dammed lakes but also the Kagu, a bird, unfortunately met the European dog, which cut down the bird population to ~700 animals. New Caledonia is a prime examples what maximally invasive western-arrogant course of actions means for fragile eco systems like the South Pacific and its people »»

Coconuts and Corals – The Pacific Islands

February 14th, 2014

Coconuts and Corals – The Pacific IslandsTo many people the Pacific paradise of the South Seas islands was and still is one of the most exciting dream destinations. There is no question that experiencing typical advertisement-like stereotypes such as snow-white beaches, coconut palm trees and crystal clear blue-turquoise water in person is a lifetime experience par excellence. Though the South Seas true gem is a varicoloured dialogue taking place between the locals, their fascinating tribal culture and a diverse unique nature that is captivating above as well as below the sealine. That beautiful togetherness gets only disturbed when the Earth’s most powerful forces get unleashed, when at the Pacific side of our planet all things called tectonics and volcanism are literally setting the place on fire as Oceania is part of the highly active circum-pacific Ring of Fire »»

Living at the Landing Strip – The Tuvalu Atoll

February 13th, 2014

Living at the Landing Strip – The Tuvalu AtollHaving a look at its actual landmass, Tuvalu is the second smallest nation in the world. Some of its islands are so tiny and narrow that you can literally spit from one side to another. The heart of Tuvalu is the Funafuti atoll being embraced in the east by the main island Fongafale. Airplanes can land there, on the highest spot of the nation, which is 5 metres above sea level. Along that airstrip the life of Funafuti atoll takes place and even if islands are generally pretty limited, Tuvalu gave me the most important moment of authentic Polynesian culture along with a dinner with the Prime Minister »»

Tonga – Where Time begins

February 7th, 2014

Tonga – Where Time beginsWhat does the Island Kingdom of Tonga have in common with a high voltage cable? Correct, both things are pretty much isolated. The 136 islands of Tonga are the only Polynesian nation that never got colonialized by the west. The archipelago being called “The Friendly Islands” lies at the 10.8km deep Tonga trench, a fault where the Pacific plates submerges the Australian, which is at the same time also the International Date Line; a place where you can meet the new year as being one of the very few first people on the planet. Since the white man hadn’t his finger in the Tongan pie many unique Polynesian cultural assets like f.e. the Ha’amonga Trilithon could survive. With pleasure locals take the “palangi” by the hand and show him the island’s highlights, such as the Blow Holes, Flying Foxes or the magic Anahulu Cave, a limestone cave having a pristine fresh water pool inviting to have a swim »»

Oberbaum – Where all Cardinal Directions meet

October 24th, 2013

Oberbaum – Where all Cardinal Directions meetBerlin-based bridge Oberbaumbrücke is a symbol for many things: Where nowadays cars, metros and tourists cross Spree River from north to south, was once the border between the East and the West. The former border strip was guided by the course of the river; a route, that today is famous for pleasure boat trips. The towers of Oberbaumbrücke are not only identity-establishing for the directly neighbouring club Watergate, but stand first and foremost for the vicinity of Berlin and Brandenburg. Also in my life Oberbaumbrücke played an important role, as it was my first contact with the West after the Berlin Wall fell down »»

Avacha, Kamchatka’s Red Riding Hood

September 3rd, 2013

Avacha, Kamchatka’s Red Riding HoodAvachinskaya Sopka – colloquially also known as Avachinsky or Avacha – is the backyard volcano of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the regional capital of Far East Russia’s volcano peninsula. It is a ~4000 years old Somma-type volcano, meaning it is growing and prospering inside the caldera of a historic fire mountain. The magma rising up inside the Avacha contains more iron ore than usual. That again reacts with the omnipresent magmatic gas carried along and iron oxides, in particular iron(III) oxide, emerge. Latter one dresses the volcano with a literally fiery red coat »»

Rock Giants and Caribbean Blue – The Mountains and Lakes of the Southern Alps

August 30th, 2013

Rock Giants and Caribbean Blue – The Mountains and Lakes of the Southern AlpsOne of New Zealand’s most impressive and stunning landscapes are the Southern Alps, a range of giant mountains and large lakes. Coming from Christchurch in the east, Lake Tekapo and its backyard mountain Mount John plus its astronomical observatory already give a first impression how wonderfully scenic the southern Kiwi land can look like. Further in the west Lake Pūkaki follows, having the mighty Mount Cook, NZ’s highest elevation, sitting enthroned on its northern lakeside. Literally around the corner is Lake Ohau with its picturesque sunsets. On its southern end you can indulge yourself meandering through the crags of the Clay Cliffs, a Bryce Canyon en miniature. The final stop is Lake Wakatipu and the worldwide known Queenstown, the southern hemisphere’s fun sport capital as well as the gate to the Routeburn track »»