From Auckland to Dunedin

Now the hardest part confronted us. The thing that had worried me the most: -We had to buy a car in just a few days, get it as cheap as possible and it should be in good condition as well! The car also had to be big enough for us (five persons with backpacks). We soon realised that it was hard to find such a car but after some days we fond it!
The Oliphant (name taken from Lord of the Rings movies)! It was two Danish girls who wanted to sell it. Even though the car looked great we didnít show how much we liked it, because we had to keep the price down. Sadly the car was leaking oil, we knew that it could become a big problem for us but decided to buy the car anyway (with oil leakage as a argument for a low price). We finally got the car for $1840 and that was ok and everybody was happy. Later we found out that the price was almost the same as that the girls have paid a month earlier. We are now, several months later, very happy with the car and weíve had no major problems (even though the car is still leaking oil...)

When the car was ours we got an insurance and after that it was just to fill her up and go. First we went through Coromandel peninsula, a very nice and thin road with beautiful scenery. We also tried to stop as much as possible and thanks to the summer we could take a swim as often as we wanted.

During the nights we usually slept at some backpacker place or at a motor lodge. The photo shows a funny little ďmotor inĒ in Rotorua. It was a camperwagon connected to a small hut and you just parked your car outside. It was very nice and cosy sleeping there, and still it didnít cost us that much.
This photo shows our first greater walk in New Zealand. Itís the one-day Tongariro Crossing, and the mountains and volcanoes were stunningly great. By the way; this was the place where the third part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was recorded (Mordor).

The crossing took us about eight hours and was not that hard. It was really worth doing and afterwards we sat in the grass, tired, happy and satisfied, waiting for the bus :-)

When we arrived in Wellington it had been hard to not noticing a very popular big movie (LotR). The Wellington museum, Te Papa had a big and very interesting exhibition about the movie and, as the picture shows, a big Gollum monster had been created on top of a hotel!

We crossed the Cook Strait to get to the South Island, by taking our car on the Lynx catamaran. The weather was nice and the view in Charlotte sound was beautiful as expected. Further down, in Kaikoura we took a guided tour to watch Sperm whales. Of course they were beautiful, but they were not as big as I had thought. The view from the peninsula is shown below; -Beaut!

Here we are sitting in the botanic garden in Christchurch. The weather was fine and the KFC Ė Chicken-burger tasted actually quite nice! (Now, some months later, I can easily admit that Iíve changed my opinion...) We also dropped of Maria here, but Vanja decided to follow us all the way to Dunedin.
In Wanaka we also were lucky with the weather, even though it was very windy. At the end of the lake (between the lake and the mountains) one of the many Lotr shots was taken. The left side (in the middle) of the photo shows the landscape where Gandalf was rescued by the big falcon, from Sarumanís tower.
The picture to the right shows an amusing road twisting itself near Arrowtown. This is just another example of the some of the roads in New Zealand.

Below is the beautiful Skippers Canyon. It was hard to get there because the road was extremely thin and there was no fence on the side steeping down into the canyon.

We were not surprised that there was a sign saying that the car insurance would not be valid if we continued (but we did anyway). The scenery was beautiful all the way and at the end of the road (16 km) was the main place we was looking for: The place where Arwen crossed the river with Frodo!