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 »»

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 »»

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 »»

Ice in the Rain Forest – Exploring the Fox Glacier

August 6th, 2013

Ice in the Rain Forest – Exploring the Fox GlacierNew Zealand’s West Coast region is unique. It is leader of the list of the rainiest regions on our planet and offers the possibility of getting in very close touch with the remarkable combination of a glacier gliding down amidst an environment of alpine mountains having rain forests on its slopes. To boot New Zealand has even two of those places, the Franz Josef Glacier as well as the Fox Glacier. Latter one originates from the western snow field surrounding Mount Tasman and I had an excursion leading from the glacier’s terminus up to the area where dramatic crevices and sharp edged ice shapes take over control; a place that already demanded the one or another human life »»

Mount Ruapehu – Above the Clouds of North New Zealand

July 11th, 2013

Mount Ruapehu – Above the Clouds of North New ZealandMount Ruapehu marks the southern end of the Taupo volcanic zone. Together with stunning Tongariro national park it stands for a region that shapes and defines the character of New Zealand’s north island. With an elevation of impressive 2797 metres it is also North New Zealand’s lighthouse, its highest spot; a place easily seen from the far away. Its crater is jagged, dramatic but also accommodates a wonderful crater lake. Volcanically seen Ruapehu is everything but dormant and its eruptions mostly occur without an advance warning. To boot it’s known for ist hot volcanic avalanches, so called lahars »»

Abel Tasman National Park – Seal Puppy Playground with Dutch Roots

July 1st, 2013

Abel Tasman National Park – Seal Puppy Playground with Dutch RootsWhen it comes to discovering New Zealand there is no question that James Cook played the most important role, but it was the sailor Abel Tasman from Dutch East India Company who spotted the archipelago being located in South Pacific Ocean as first European ever and even some 100 years earlier than the Brit did. For eternity Tasman’s surname now captions an island, a sea but also New Zealand’s smallest national park. The latter is located on the north coast of the South Island and is a Garden of Eden for all things called flora and fauna. This pearl among Kiwi Land’s refugiums gets completed by its immediate vicinity, the Cape Farewell and the beaches of the Golden Bay. Each of those places belong to the sites a New Zealand visitor should have seen with one’s own eyes »»

Simpson Harbour – Panorama of the Rabaul Caldera

June 22nd, 2013

Simpson Harbour – Panorama of the Rabaul CalderaThe Simpson Harbour is one of the world’s largest and most beautiful natural harbours. It measures impressive 14×9 kilometres and was once, in World War II an important battle field of the Japanese and Allies. While their fight for supremacy in Oceania and the whole war is over already, a different battle still happens. that is a confrontation of volcanic origin as the harbour is actually a huge caldera having a massive magma chamber underneath. The destructive potential of the Rabaul caldera can throw the whole world into complete turmoil. It’s a lovely and beautiful place on Earth with but certain side effects »»

Doubtful Sound – Where bold Cliffs meet bold Albatrosses

April 29th, 2013

Doubtful Sound – Where bold Cliffs meet bold AlbatrossesThe Doubtful Sound at the south island’s west coast is one of the large impressive fjords New Zealand has on offer. Unlike Milford Sound, that is usually more known to visitors, it is more winding, has even a couple of islands and its steep slopes are entirely uninhabited unlike Norway’s fjords. Normally clouds hang low between its escarpments and it rains a lot but also for Doubtful Sound the summer of 2013 was a pretty dry one. The wild albatrosses living at the fjord’s estuary don’t care much about that as they have their own water supply. Meeting them close enough to touch and seeing them flying above the wave crests is the most august wildlife experience of southern New Zealand »»

Tongariro – The Film Star among Volcanoes

April 8th, 2013

Tongariro – The Film Star among VolcanoesThe Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of New Zealand’s most known hikes, a so called Great Walk and like the name already tells visitors can cross the massif of an active volcano. In particular movie fans will know about this place from the epic “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy as it is the place where finally gets rid of evil ring. Today and in the real world countless tourists are meandering along the foot of the picturesque Ngauruhoe cone and do the climb up to Red Crater, Emerald Lakes and Blue Lake »»