A Travellerspoint blog

April 2006


Adrenaline junky Capital of New Zealand

sunny 8 °C

Hangin out in queenstown. Bought a last minute flight. Queenstown is very beautiful but it's cold. 10-12 degrees here for a high today, near freezing at night and it's getting cooler in the next couple of days.
ok. this keyboard has a few buttons not working so well... so try to look past it.
Went out the other night and partied it up good and hard with a British fellow named Kieran (british backpackers everyhwere!) and a cute german girl, Karen. that was loads of fun... been a while since I've done that...
Still have not indulged in any Adrenaline sports... here is THE place to do it thought 4 or 5 bungee jumps here, sky dive, fly by wire, canyon swing, speed boats, white water rafting you name it, it's here and it's 3 times more expensive than you thought it would be.
My budget is dead broke right now. I have money enough to live modestly and travel by way of the thumb... anythng else is going to hve to go on my credit card.... That is alright as I am not in the jump-off-something-really-high kind of spirit right now... I would much rather be alone in pristine nature. soooo... I think I am going to head out to do the milford Track... one of the best in the world and I think I can get out there and back (couple of boats and t least 5 hours on the bus from Te Anau) for $150 or so. and the season is past by a few days so I wont have to book it a year in advance. just have to pick up some gear.... we'll see how it works out.
so... if you don't hear from me for more than one week - that is where I am... no wories, as I will surely have to register before I do the track, so the D.O.C. will know where I am.
a little more than 2 weeks and I'll be in thailand. warm. cheap.
ok. time is up. will write soon.
love you all.
NEW ZEALAND PHOTOS!https://www.travellerspoint.com/gallery/users/fenderson/

Posted by fenderson 20:41 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Meditation on the north island

headed for the south here right quick...

rain 19 °C

Hey all.
Long time no write...
I've emailed most of you yesterday.... especially the ones that thought I was dead... I've been meditating and working for no wages. at Dhamma Medini near Kaukappakappa, N.Z. on the north island, north of Auckland.
What an adventure it has been... hitching out after visiting Anna at the mount could not have gone better...we hopped on a couple of busses to get us out of the Tauranga area and walked up a hill... layed in the grass for a while to collect ourselves and Nick stuck out his thumb while I juggled a few Fijaroes (a strange new zealand fruit I found on the side of the highway - I tasted it, was good...ate a few of them and then later found out the were safe to eat, don't condone doing this, but I figured it was alright...it's sort of cross between a pear or guava and a passionfruit or something...bizzare) and we hooked a ride straight to where we were headed.. about 4 hours from there...the fellow at first was pretty serious and stodgey... but after a while I started to get his bone-dry sense of humour... he's a was a sound engineer... likes his drink and was very well spoken... he took us around Auckland when we arrived there... to a bunch of the major radio staions... the rock, some talk station... to the major rebroadcasting hubs.... all of his workplaces...met some of the radio personalities and his cooworkers, saw the studios the were setting up and got to take photos of the Auckland skyline with the tower from a studio on the upper floor of a tall building with a view... interesting times... and he drove us right to Kaukappakappa, near to the vipassana center there. We ended up walking (after dark) from this tiny little town, 2km out in the country, down a little road and then through a pasture and up a huuuuge hill...set up our tents up there.. had a great sleep and woke up to the fog clearing out of a a beautiful panoramic valley. phenomenal. hiked down and got a ride before even setting up to hitch... to the turnoff and walked about 4 or 5 km to the center...
Origianlly planned on sitting for 5 days and then serving for 5 days... but at the last minute was asked to serve for the whole 10 days... I agreed and spent my sesion working 6-8 hours a day for the 10 days... had about 5-6 hours a day to meditate... great times...had 10 different nationalities working in the kitchen (columbia, canada, germany, uk, japan, china, france, kiwi, aussie, and burma)
Yeah.. this session was not like the others... I was serving this time... cooking meals and doing dishes... getting one hour meditation periods, like islands, between. Really had to go really deep when you're working like that. There is alot of benifit to working these sessions... very humbling experiance and you are genuinely helping other peoiple for the right reasons.. and allowing them the chance to plunge deep into the deths of their unconcious minds, purififying them of destructive mental conditioning... best charity I can think of... because I have lived the results of it and know how good it is... And at the end of the session there was a guy from portugal who had this really beautiful sweater he was trying to sell, hand made in chile, purchased there (so that he could donate the money to the vipassana foundation) I wanted it.. but couldn't afford to give much. decided I wanted it and by the time I got back, an italian guy had bought it. I was kind of let down, but accepted it... later that day, the Italian guy knocked on the kitchen door I came to the door and he gave me the sweater, insisting that I have it, he was giving it from the bottom of his heart - I accepted it... bloody well made my day. I have never had anything quite like that happen. I was very touched. and thanked him thourally. Very rarely do you get to see such pure volition. at these sessions it runs rampant... every body giving and loving for the right reasons! if the outside world ran that way.........
anyway... I now have a beautiful new sweater and a bunch of new friends all over the planet! This session was actually really good for me. I took charge and had really stong confidence in the kitchen... cooked alot of the main courses (in batches big enough to feed 80 people, mind you) and was incharge of managing cleanup duties and such. really empowering to know that I am capable of organizing a group of a dozen people or so and actually getting the task accomplished efficiently with that many minds...
The whole time I stayed, I slept in a big canvas tent, which on the last day partially collapsed and flooded in a crazy storm which left the whole area flooded, all of the rivers at high water level and some roads submerged, wetting all of my gear.. soaking my wallet, etc. lovely... if I hadn't been meditating for the previous ten days that really would have pissed me off... but I was fine. I spent my evenings with hundereds of glow works in the forest... wonderful experiance. Cudos to John and Viviane especially for their wonderful company and inspiration!
And now I am back in Auckland. Spent last night in A YHA hostel just up the street. There were 4 of us from Vipassana staying there... spent the evening talking of our travels and what have you... and I introduced a bunch of people to "trailer park boys" because it came on TV last night and I insited that they watch it. hahah! they were as disgusted with it as I thought they would be... as disgusted with it before I watched a few episodes and learned to love it for what it is. hahah
anyhow... I am thinking of flying to qeenstown tomarrow... it's 1700km, wayy down on the other end of newzealnd... the end close to the south pole. it's going to be cold down there (shit, I just looked at the weather forcast for down there... and it's 6 degrees celcius right now and it's almost noon! ahhh! high of 13 degrees at the warmest part o the week! ahhh!) it's gonna cost me $180Nz ($135 canadian) to fly down there.. but I think it's a good bet... because it's just going to get colder and I really want to just get down there, go exploring and make my way back up as far north as I can... just kind of stupid how I planned things... I'm in Auckland right now, I fly out of auckland in 3 weeks but want to go somewhere that is 1700km away and get back to heare in that time... I'm going to be travelling alot in the next few weeks here.... oh well. it's gonna be fun... and then it's off to Thailand! yeyyyyah am I ever excited about that! My mate brandon in Sydney has bought his ticket too... he's meeting me in Bangkok and we're trippin around for a few weeks. gonna be a great!
ok. I'm going to try to get some pics up now. I'll write again soon... probably from queenstown. gonna check on those tickets right now.. all. talk soon.
Ok... it's the next day and I'm in queenstown! it's 10deg C and it's midday! no more flip-flops for me! just a little note to let you know that I uploaded over 60 new pictures, all of New Zealand!

Posted by fenderson 03:47 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)


sunny 19 °C

Hey guys!
givin out a little shout from a place they call "The Mount" where Anna is working at the backpackers we've been staying at.
Actually quite a lovely place... lots of really pretty dutch and Danish girls... some Canadians (3 of us at least from Edmonton here!)
Things went really well qafter the last post I wrote from Taupo. we got picked up by a nice Maouri woman (the local native's here are called Mauoris) who took us around to see the geothermal powerplants here... I got a photo of part of it... but missed the huge valley of steaming pipes and turbines... amazing stuff.... and she told us of a series of earthquakes in the area about two weeks ago - Dad, perhaps you could look up "Rotorua" on USGS? it's on the north island. there are guisers in the middle of towns and things and hot pools everywhere... and then got picked up by the most wonderful lady right before dark... a really beautiful Irish woman with many stories to tell... wonderul energies there and she wants to visit Canada. I told her that I wuld put her and Leah into contact. I just know they would love eachothers company! anyhow... she drove us to Rotorua, where we camped out on the side of the highway where we could hear the mudpools bubbling and "blopping" all around us... had to get up nice and early because it was on privately owned land and there were construction crews moving in... so we got an early start. the whole place there smelled really stronglty of sulfer, it's nickname was "Rotopooa".. .wonder why? I actually like the smell there....
Next day all of our rides were Mauori people... first guy had a full mask of Mauori art tatooed on his face. cool guy. Next guy had a gun in the vehical... which he made us aware of from the start. He was a hunter and was very knowlegable of the area. I even got to ask him about the wallabies that we saw the night before... they are introduced... thought I was in tasmania when I saw them...
next ride was a huuuuge french-german-mauori guy... think he had a drug problem, which we later figured out... but he picked us up twice... took us around town to sell crystals and read our auras.... apparently I've got alot of green... alot of live! hahah
ok. weird time to leave off, but my time is up.
got to go. hitching to north of aukland! Vipassana time!

love you guys!

Posted by fenderson 16:11 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Back on the road with my thumb out

random sporatisism is my norm...

rain 17 °C

OK. my travel plans have taken an interesting twist.
I originally planed on spending most of my time on the south island of New Zealnd then doing a bit of the north. Nick and I decided one night at 2am to head to the norht island for a bit. We're headed to the vipassana center in just under a week. see some of the sights along the way. so we jumped a bus 4 hours later to Picton (5 hours), the ferry port on the S. island. took the boat ($45nz/3 hours) to Wellington. Spent a night in the backpackers there after our attemps to camp on private property were spoiled. good times with the germans in the hostel. set off in the morning. spent $9nz on an hour long train ride and a short bus out of the city to a nice hitching point, on the Kapi coast, near Kapi island. (This was Nick's first hithiking experiance, BTW) - Waited no longer than 10 minutes and got picked up. In the car was our german friend from the hostel, who had been waiting just down the road from us. The driver (dutch/cuban) had plenty of room and felt very good about filling his car full of travellers and gear. We drove for about 5 hours, to Turangi.. stoppping at a few sights along the way and pitching a few bucks on petrol (a mere fraction of the would-have-been $75nz bus ticket each)
While in the car I was communicating with Henning and Maki via text (I get free text messaging on my mobile phone on weekends here in Nz) and made arrangements to meet up with them in Turangi. met up, got some beer and headed out to the nearest country spot, set up near a river on a narrow path. Henning, his brother, Cort, and Maki and then Nick and I... we built a fire, drank our beers.. told stories and jokes, and then it started pouring rain and we had to move into the one big tent. continued to tell stories and more jokes, and then jokes that made us all sick... and eventually, at some point slept... not before wandering in the rain in the forest watching the many, many glowworms dotting the forest like stars in the sky.
good times... Went to the local thermal pools, just down the road after breakfast... stayed in until we were all woozy and then wandered about the hot sprigs and mudpools in the nature conserve. Henning, Maki and Cort had to continute on so we parted ways and
Nick and I checked into the backpackers in Turangi... as our gear was throurally soaked and the weather was not improving. Was a really nice backpackers... had a nice big climbing wall which we climbed on until we couldn't climb any more yesterday after the hot springs. we even got into free climbing... which was reall fun. Nick took a fall... about 5 metres before his rope pulled taught. just about shit himself... was weak as a kitten afterward from the surge of adrenaline. was bloody great. I can't wait until my rock climbing muscle groups are strong enough to do what I want to make them do! I'm definetly a lifer.
Hostel was really nice. Courtyard in the middle and rooms all open into the courtyard. Cheap, ($21 for 4bed dorm), immaculately clean and all the anemnities. Spent the evenning last night, being properly exahusted, playing chess and cards and talking with an ameriacan fellow, Matthew. really great day, all in all.. and I got a chance to dry my tent!
Hit the road again today... after a lazy late checkout. Walked about 1.5km out of town. got picked up by a civil engineer... he drove us to Taupo, where we presently sit at an internet cafe. Thinking of heading up north to Rotorua or bay of Plenty... lots of volcanoes, thermal pools and things.. and Anna, (my old roomate from Canada) is up in the bay of plenty. We don't really plan very far ahead.. so we'll just see where we end up!
ok... I'm spending too much time on here. got to go. will write again soon! life is great right now!
hey - was it easter this weekend just past? just occered to me... maybe it's next weekend?

Posted by fenderson 20:05 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (4)

It's autumn here!

Falling leaves, climing me

sunny 13 °C

Christchurch is probably the most beautiful city I have visited yet on this trip. The beauty is unparelled. I spent the day in the Botanical gardens with Nick today... clibing trees, and taking photos. Helped Nick buy a camera the other day - he's loving it. When you see some of the photos we've taken in the last couple of days, you'll shit. I swear. I've never seen anyhting like what I've seen today. The gardens had a really nice miniture bonsai section, fern and tropical greenhouse garderns, orchid terrarium with venus fly traps, pitcher plants and a whole variety of orchids (oh my god that was beautiful) Really beautiful duck ponds, giant gum and redwood trees... just all around wonderful place. I'd live here just to have gardens like that close to my home. Nick and I went to the rose gardens... spent over an hour meditating and literally "smelling the roses". I've never experianced anything quite like that... each type of rose smelled distinctly different.. we tried to find names for what each one reminded us of... we were running about, splitting up, shouting across the garden "come check out this one man -it smells like lemon-thai!" or hairgel, or old lady's perfume or sandalwood... or whatever it was... and we were giving out reccomendation of our favorites to the other garden patrons... we got alot of smiles today.. from random people. was really fun. Afterward we got some $5 thai food and helped Nick buy a tent...
Now yesterday was a bloody cool day.
I hooked up my celphone yesterday (BTW, my new phone number is +64 02102375175) got some sushi and hit up the local art gallery. I think my favorite artist would have to be Kees Bruin. If I could paint... I'd paint like that. He's a local and that link only brings you to a couple of his works. I have never seen that kind of realism in oils before... they looked like photos.. and we're a very intriging mix of fantasy and reality. stunning....
after the gallery wnr out and scope out some shops for a few things, grabbed a bite and hit the climing wall at the YMCA where Iam staying. 13 meter wall, $19NZ to rent a harness and shoes and climb all evening. I climbed until my hands could no longer hold onto anything. (they are starting to respond a little better today, I couldn't even open a beercan or dial a phone yesterday) I bloody loved every bit of it. Cimbed some crazy routes and pushed myself way past what I thought I was capable of. Where was I all of this time? I'm a lifer for now on. ordered a pizza with the guys at the center and climbed until it arrived. was a very welcome pizza by the time it got there.
Went back to Nicks hostel - watched "Almost Famous" I actually really like that movie and haven't seen it in a long time... and it sparked a really meaningful conversation about life beteen Nick and I afterward... not as spiritul as the one the evening before, but it very quickly turned that way when we met a lady named Joy. 66 years old, came out for some fresh air... overheard our talks and joined in with a very strong presence. She was a healer. very, very kind woman whom we talked to for the next 2 hours at least. Her an I resonated very strongly. We exchanged energies, she gifted me with healing energies.. Nick was following very cloesly on, loving every minute of it... I've got Joy's contacts in Cairns, Australia and we had a great hug before we parted ways. lovely lady... Nick has been so inspired by all that has happened to us in the last couple of days he has signed up for a vipassana retreat here in about a week... and we're goin hitchhiking for a bit, so it looks like. Very interesting to both of us how receptive he is to all of this. gets him very excited... people have been coming up to us and giving us hugs and all of the lot. things are getting interesting.. must be doing somehting right.
well besides all of that, planning my escape from the city for tomarrow or at the latest, the next day. not even sure where I am going yet... maybe Dunedin area? that direction, I think...
It gets pretty cool here at night. It's 13c outside right now and it's only 8:30pm... I'd say 18-20 degrees during the day, 10-12 degrees during the night is about accurate for where I am right now.
Money is going to be a bit of an issue here pretty quick unless I really restrain myself... either that or spend my super-special-savings I was keeping for a eurotrip... or just max out my credi card.... we'll see how it works out.
I'll write again soon and try to find a way to get some photos online... it's a matter of finding a comouter that has photo software and decent enough prices so that it doesn't cost me an arm and a leg... but belive me, I've got some gorgeous shots.. swamp cypress, gold leaved in a duck pond at sunset and the like. never seen this variety of beauty before... and again, you have to witness it for itself...photos are just shadows. albeit, pretty shadows.
ok. love you guys and I'll keep you all posted.
this trip is back on the go.

Posted by fenderson 00:49 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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