Papeete is the capital of Tahiti that is the main island of the "Gesellschaftsinseln". Famous is that archipel for Bora Bora, but we recognized that other islands, especially Maupiti (only 8 km around the island) and Huahine are less touristic with at least the same attractive waters! But most fascinating is this Archipel under water - Sharks, Sting- and Manta Rays are at arm length when snorkeling - unbelievable!
From Vanuatu AirCalin flies to New Caledonia. Half of the population is French, the other half are the Kanaks, mostly living on the North-West Coast.
A must see is Ile des Pines - an Island approx 100 km offshore. Driving up north on the main Island, the nature is really astonishing, very large farns, hilly but very lush and green. The cost especially on the north-west side is amazing!
Vanuatu consists of 82 islands, most of them uninhabited. Our trip started in Port Vila (International Airport) - where we did an Island trip. The next destination was Espiritu Santo - known for white sandy beaches - Champagne Beach and Port Olry are just spectacular. Then we flew to Pentecost Island, known for "Land-Diving", the base of modern Bungee jumping. Finally, we visited Tana Island with its active vulcano - unbelievable how close we could get to bubbling lava!
Visiting friends in the Hinterland of the East Coast - what a fantastic landscape! Hilly, lush and green, perfect for a few days of hiking. Moving up north, we spend 2 days sailing on the Whitsundays. It was quite stormy and rough! Driving further north, we passed Townsville and spent a day on Magnetic Island - really worth it! Up north we reached the Daintree National park, streching from Cairns up to Port Douglas. Cape Tribulation is finally the end of cealed roads and civilization!
Vipassana Meditation in Pomona - from 24th May - 5th June. Vipassana is a complex meditation method with the objective to live a happier live in the Now. The framework for the 10 days of meditation is quite strict: no communication with other students, no mobile phones or books - pure concentration on meditation. Wake-up at 4 am, then start meditation at 430 am - until late in the evening, just interrupted by breakfast and lunch - no dinner. A unique experience to spend time just with yourself!
The East Coast is so totally different than the West Coast - back in civilization - modern buildings and even cities, traffic jam on the streets - but also amazing beaches, lush and green nature! Celine and Laura - my daughters came over for two weeks - great time, but a bit rainy... We did surfing lessons in Byron Bay, enjoyed beaches in Noosa and took the Fraser camping adventure! We also visited the Australian Zoo and the Koala Sanctury.
After 7+ hours flight from Aukland we made it to Perth! - The first impression is positive - nicly located with a limited Business District and rather low buildings. We moved directly to Fremantle - approx 20 km south of Perth. A small but very "living" village with a huge harbour and boats jetty to Rottnest Island. Rottnest is easy to discover by bycicle - and offers incredible beaches - turquoise water and really white beaches. Further north the landscape gets dry and flat.
To get from the Southern Island to the Northern Island, the ferry leaves at Picton and arrives after roughly 3 h in Wellington (Capital of NZ). Travelling from Wellington up north, we reached a very active geothermal region around Rotorua. The "Tongariro Crossing" is a 6 h hiking challenge but worth every step! Coromandel Peninsula offers stunning beaches and the cathedral cove. Aukland was then our final destination in NZ. A nice little Big City.
One of the most stunning hiking trails is the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk. The beaches and views over the Tasman and Golden Bay are incredible. Golden Bay is a center for jewlery with lots of small boutiques. Havelog is the entrance to the Marlborough sound and worldwide leader in fresh Green Lid Mussels - incredibly good! The Queen Charlotte track is well reachable via Anakiwa and a good MTB as well as hiking trail. That region is also the South Island wine region known for nice Sauvignon Blanc!
Fun City Queenstown was our spot for Skydive (12000 feet), Swing (60 m free fall), Jet Boat and Bungee. Further north follows Wanaka with its great lake. In Hokitika we rented bikes and did the "West Coast Wilderness Trail" - just amazing!