The World is Beautiful! (New Zealand Special)

New Zealand

What a statement: ”The world is beautiful!” and it sure is. I’m currently in Australia on my 8th month and must say I am enjoying it grand scale. Especially one part of my stay stands out in my memory, the magic of travelling. “To Travel is to Live” so did H.C. Andersen write, and I must have to agree with him. Therefore I would like to share the best of my latest travel experience.

New Zealand, the country of magical landscapes and sheep outnumbering the Kiwis by far. I went with great friends of mine, and we did what I would like to call a jet-set tour, with speeding across both islands in just two weeks. Not the way you are recommended to experience this fairy-tale land, but for sure a good tour anyway.

Dunedin and Otago Peninsula

Dunedin Otago
Dunedin Otago

Otago Peninsula is a wonderful stretch of land giving access to Albatross Point, where if you are luck you can get to see an albatross up close. However, this is not it. The winding roads taking you from Dunedin to Albatross point is a race drivers dream. Combine this with a stunning nature, and beautiful bays, and you got half a day of fun.

Milford Sound

Milford Sounds Lord of the Ring
Milford Sounds Lord of the Ring

“Like sailing in a painting.” Milford sound is one of these places that you for all the best in the world should not miss. We went kayaking and got up close to seals, waterfalls, and mystery bobbles appearing on the surface of the water. Milford sound is one of these places where you can fully allow yourself to quietly take in the breath-taking natural beauty.

Queenstown

Queenstown Bungy Jump
Queenstown Bungy Jump

The adventure capital of the world, where you can bungy jump, skydive, paraglide, climb mountains or some of the other adventurous activities, for not mentioning skiing during the winter season. Queenstown got everything you desire, even a good night life, if wanted. Queenstown is not just a place for the adventurous, but surrounded by absolute stunning mountains and the impressive Lake Wakatipu.

Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier
Fox Glacier

Have you ever climbed a glacier? I have. The Fox Glacier is just a must do, and even though you wonder what is so special about walking on a massive chunk of ice, it is just such a unique experience. We spend a full day climbing the glacier and we got to experience an ice cave. I recommend everyone passing by Fox Glacier to experiences this unique piece of nature, and I must say I was impressed by professionalism of the guiding team. They did a good job.

Ferry from Picton to Wellington

Wellington Burger
Wellington Burger

What an amazing ferry ride out of Queen Charlotte Sound. The ferry ride alone is worth all the money. Extremely beautiful! Wellington might be New Zealand’s only larger city with a bit of soul. We spend a day in the city enjoying the atmosphere of a creatively designed seafront, the Museum of New Zealand: Te Papa Tongarewa, which was really nice. Wellington was also the city where I had the best Burger I have ever tasted. “Like heaven on a plate.” Did I remember the bar that served it, I would have mentioned it, but sadly I don’t.

Rotorua and Waimangu

Rotorua Volcanic
Rotorua Volcanic

Rotorua is the place of thermal activity, where mud pools is part of the regular walk in the park. When we were there we headed out for Waimangu Volcanic Valley, which is a place of significant geothermal activity. We had a great one hour walk, and saw beautiful lakes such as Frying Pan Lake, Inferno Crater Lake and Lake Rotomahana. This was my first time ever walking on a volcano and the whole experience of gasses and bobbles pumping out of the mountains were just wicked.

Auckland

Auckland New Zealand
Auckland New Zealand

They like to call themselves a miniature of Sydney, but sadly they are just not. Auckland is sadly a big city with a great need of a unique soul. Oh yes, there is beautiful places to go, eat and hang out. However there just isn’t anything unique where you think WOW, I am in Auckland.  One of my favourite places was the harbour, especially because Auckland is a great place for sail sport.

All over I had an amazing experience in New Zealand and one lesson that I took with me and that applies to all my travels.

“It is not the places you see, it is who you see them with!”

Latest new from Australia!

Australia Spring Break Night Shot

Time is flying by and remembering for how long I have been in Australia has become a challenge. However it must have been a while, since roommates and friends are preparing to head home. The last assignments of the semester have been done, and it has become time to study for the exams, which will be on during November.

Even though work at University has taken a lot of time for the past months, there has also been time to explore this large amazing county.

I was so privileged to be able to hit the road for 10 days with three friends of mine. Our goal was the Whitsundays. A group of paradise islands located approximately 1000 km north of the Sunshine Coast, however the trip ended up being so much more than paradise.

 Hervey Bay, Australia
Hervey Bay, Australia

Paradise might be wonderful however sometimes paradise can be just around the corner. On our way up the coast we stopped in Hervey Bay where we fooled around on the beach, got to do night shots and walked a freaking long bridge before we headed further up the coast for Agnes Waters, Town of 1770, where explorer James Cook first time sat foot on Australian soil. On the way to Agnes Water we experienced the production of Bundaberg Rum and enjoyed body-boarding at some nice coast town on the road. Overall a wonderful spontaneous day!

Surfing Australia
Surfing Australia

Agnes Waters were the place I had my first experience on a surfboard and I loved it. We spend 4 hours in the water and I managed to stand a few times. Gladly I have over half a year to learn it. I must take the chance to put in a warm recommendation for our Hostle in Agnes Waters by the name: `Cool Bananas´. My friends and I had an absolutely great stay. Considering it being a Hostle, I have never felt more welcome as I did at Cool Bananas.

Capicorn Cave
Capicorn Cave

From Agnes Waters we headed to Airlie Beach where we would board our cruise of the Whitsundays. However, we managed to fit our lunch break to be by the Capricorn Caves where we experienced an underground church located in the cave system. Quite impressive and a nice experience.  Australia is a great country for road trips and the entire experience of hitting the road and stopping wherever there is something interesting to see is what makes it so great.

White Heaven Beach
White Heaven Beach

From Airlie Beach we sailed the Whitsundays for 3 days and we experience White Heaven Beach, some of the finest sand in the world, we went snorkelling by the corral reef and saw hundreds of fish in all colours, forms and shapes. Not to forget the rich experience of whales and dolphins in the waters. It was an absolutely amazing experience and the entire experience of the Whitsunday islands are just magnificent.

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale

Hitting the road and drive the same way back could have been a long boring drive, however when you spend time with interesting people you are never bored.

On our way back we slept at the beach a nice place called Carmilla Beach, where we did a bonfire, slept under the stares, and watched the sunrise of the bay. It was a new experience to me, but I must say, besides literally smelling like smoked salmon, it was a very good experience. We headed to Emu Park where we got our-self a lovely shower and a good dinner. There is highly nothing to see in Emu Park, however the road there was a sight in itself.

Crocodile Farm
Crocodile Farm

Our last and final adventure of the trip was a visit to a crocodile farm. Crocodiles must be categorised as scary animal and seeing them up close in full size was a thrilling experience. We got to hold small crocodiles and I learned a thing that I for sure never would have figured out on my own. The biggest is not the most dangerous, because there is no one threatening it. The smaller ones though have a lot of attitude and are always in for a good fight.

Overall the road trip was an amazing experience and what started out being all about reaching paradise, ended up being about so much more. One thing is clear, it is not the things you see and do, it is about the people you do it with. I were so lucky to be with a group a people that ended up complementing each other very well, with a little craziness, a little seriousness and in general a great harmony.

A Noticeable Cultural Difference

USC Campus

Being a guest and a student in another country with a different culture, sometimes gives room for some interesting discussions. On many aspects Denmark and Australia are very similar towards the perception of the world; however I have discovered a difference that applies to a large amount of the citizens living in the subtropical Queensland of Australia.

A noticeable difference from Denmark to Queensland is the houses and the way they are constructed. I have had the argument with high educated academics, but they do not seem to see the need. What I am talking about is the need for insulation. Insulation is widely used in climates of low temperatures, because it keeps the heat in, and the cold out. This is economically as well as environmentally a good investment, because the money already spend on heating the house, is well saved because of the insulation. What is not well understood is that insulation should matter in a subtopic climate.

Let me try to explain: In subtropical climates, houses are like big refrigerators. The concept of a refrigerator is to keep a closed space cool. This is best done by an insulated cabin with a cooling system to it. If you leave the refrigerator open it will not stay cool for long, and the energy bill will rise dramatically. Houses in subtropical climates often have air-conditioning, which applies the same function as a refrigerators cooling system. When the house is not insulated, it is the same as leaving the refrigerator open. Simply all the energy consumed by the air-condition system, to cool down the house is wasted, because all the cool air is disappearing out of the walls and windows. Not insulating is not very environmentally as well as economically responsible. Even though it seems quite straight forward, the population and even academics of high education doubt the need for insulation, leaving the environment and the bank account to suffer.

The conclusion must be that whether or not you are in a warm or a cold climate, the same concept towards insulation applies. Either you seek to keep your home cool or you seek to keep it warm. I does not matter which climate you are in, you still need insulation to minimize energy consumption.

Lesson Learned at Mount Warning

Alexander Hold Mount Warning

We live in a world where information is not further away than a search on Google, which have made our civilization to be rather knowledgeable. You can search for anything and everything. You can find videos, images, explanations, maps, games, forums, ect. Literally you can become knowledgeable by the click of a button and a little concentration. However there are certain things that you won’t find in front of a computer. I came to learn that climbing a mountain is much harder that it looks, when watching documentaries or looking at pictures.

This weekend I climbed Mount Warning on a trip arranged by USC International Student Association.  Mount Warning is 1200m high, and approximately an 1100m elevation walk from the starting point. I walked a total distance of 16 km and it took approximately 4 hour.

The case is that I signed up for the Hike of Mount Warning with the idea that it would be a walk in the park. I had looked up beforehand the walking distance and nothing about it scared me. However I had not taken into consideration that I would be climbing more than 1km altitude.  The fact that I did not have respect for the task I was going to complete; is a clear warning signal.

The point I would like to state, is that we in a high knowledgeable society has come to believe more in theory then real life experience. There are certain things in life that books and theories cannot tell us, and that is the physical exhaustion you will experience on you own body, when you for instance climb a mountain like Mount Warning.

When I reached the top my shirt was soaking wet and I personally gained some respect for people climbing mountains that are 2, 3, or even 4 times higher. What they are doing is challenging, even though they are just walking the most of the way. What they do must be admired. So Lesson Learned: Do never judge beforehand. Do always taste before you respond that you do not like it, and remember to remain respectful for people doing things that you do not know anything about.

Byron Bay; are you kidding me!

Alexander Hold Byron Bay Surfer

Australia keeps surprising me! It is currently winter, 25 degree Celsius, and sunny every day long. This weekend I were heading three hours down the coast, to the popular spot for adventure seeking youngsters from all over the world looking for a great beach, beautiful nature and a good night life. The spot is Byron Bay and I went with the USC International Students Association, better known as ISA, an voluntary student association initiated by the USC international for offering great experiences for international students of USC.

Usually I do research before I head to a new place, however Byron Bay was a very impulsive move and I had absolutely no idea of what to expect. However I was happily surprised. After a great social night with a great group of international students it had become morning and time for a sunny day at Byron Bay. The day started with a magnificent breakfast at a wonderful sidewalk restaurant, where eggs, bacon and pancakes were served with style and refinement. Fresh juice and cappuccino were served with grace. It was an absolutely extraordinary experience, which probably were very much caused by the combination of a great company, good location, and good food.

Byron Bay Beach
Byron Bay Beach

After enjoying the exclusive breakfast, three guys and I went to explore the area of Byron Bay. First destination was the beach, where families and youngsters were enjoying the sun and the sound of breaking waves hitting the shore. Because of it being winter, the activity level on the beach and the number of people sunbathing was probably less than during peak season. However people were still surfing and we had a great walk on the beach, where we saw dolphins joining the surfers on the waves.

Australia is a great place for wildlife, and especially if you come from a European Country such as Denmark, where the wildlife is limited to deer’s, rabbits, and different birds, you tend to be surprised when something big makes noises in the bushes. I was truly surprised when an approximately 1.2 meter long Sand Goanna crossed the walking path, with its long slim body and its long tongue tasting the environment.

Alexander Hold Byron Bay Goanna
Sand Goanna

Byron Bay was also offering other great wildlife experiences and I got the chance to spot a wale surfacing with its great blow of air and water. The whale was on a distance and sadly my photo equipment didn’t have the necessary distance to capture the whale up close. However the journey continued from here and all the way up to the highest point where a stunning white lighthouse were signalling important information to the ships at sea.

Alexander Hold Byron Bay View
Byron Bay View

I only spend one day and one night in Byron Bay, but that was all it took for me to love this stunning  location on earth. One thing is for sure, as soon as I have the opportunity to head back, I am going.

If you are passing by Byron Bay on your way up or down the Gold Coast, you must not miss the opportunity to experience this absolutely magnificent location. Byron Bay offers everything you want, whether it is shopping, adventure or pure relaxation.

So Byron Bay; Are you kidding me. This place rocks…