(New Zealand) Why I don’t like open my eyes.

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New Zealand Travel_001

I was flying from Singapore to New Zealand. Direct flight was a bit more expensive than transit flight. But it took less time and two 23 kg bag was free. So I chose New Zealand Airline and I did love it so much. NZ Airline was the best airline I’ve ever taken because I always used budget airlines. I could order alcohol and other drinks for free from the screen on the seat and there was free Wi-Fi. Internet speed was so good that I could watch YouTube even. To use internet on the air was for the first time that it was amazing.


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I arrived in Auckland around 12 am. Custom was very strict that they opened my tent and bicycle. Then I had to leave it and wait at the outside about 30 minutes. After buying Sim card, eating dinner, and reinstalling bicycle, it was already 2 am. I got the contact from Facebook page that I had the place to stay in Auckland for a few days.


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He didn’t mind I came at the midnight. So I cycled until 3 am. Cycling at 3 am? What a crazy life.But I did feel so safe as soon as arriving in New Zealand. Also it was so good to cycle at the empty road. Only hard thing was raining.


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Auckland was not a capital but it was the biggest city in NZ with 4.1 million people. The second biggest city was the capital, Wellington with 3.8 million people. The third biggest city was Christchurch.
After 9 pm, the city center was quite empty that I felt so weird cause South East Asia where I flew from was so busy in the night. NZ was like empty ghost city compared to South East Asia.


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When I had cycled with all my gears to move to cycling friend’s house for a night in Auckland, I had realized NZ was not a joke. The hills were crazy hard that I had to stop at the middle of uphill. Then I heard dog barking from somewhere. So after a few minutes, I was about to start cycling again. Then one guy came and shouted at me like why you irritated my dog. Then I shouted like it was four lanes big road that I was resting on the public road. Did you buy this whole land? Then her mother was coming and trying to calm down both of us. I hoped this was the biggest problem in NZ I would face and no more problem like this on the way.


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To get out of Auckland was quite hard as I must avoid a big highway. The small road was too hilly to cycle. I had been proud that these days I didn’t push my bicycle as I became stronger after cycling for a long time. But NZ made me shame that I had to push my bicycle quite often. Welcome to NZ!


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I was not sure where to camp on the road for the first night. I just asked local people and put tent into their yard.


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Before leaving the town, I found a nice bench and table to eat the breakfast in front of the church. I got boiled eggs and apple from the house owner and I had cereal on the pot as breakfast.


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I could see many baby cows. Maybe September was the season for many baby of cow and sheep? The baby cow was so cute just like a dog.


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After leaving Auckland, I was cycling to South. There was Coromandel peninsula on the way. I was thinking about going or not. I thought it would take only extra two days to go around peninsula. So I went to it. Around sunset time, I couldn’t find any camping place. There were a few apps for camping sites. I was so sad to see that many free camping places were only welcoming self-contained car even when there was the public toilet.


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If there was a public toilet, why not allowed tent? I felt this was discrimination against two wheels. Four wheels good, two wheels bad?
I uploaded about this self-contained camping site on my Instagram story and some travelers told me they just camped when they traveled in NZ and they didn’t have any problem. So, as their advice, I just camped.


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Because I couldn’t find anything and it was difficult to get the permission for pitching my tent at someone’s yard around touristic place.


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I cooked under stars.


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At the next day before sun rising, I already broke my tent and about to pack it up. Then I saw car with written “Coromandel Council” coming in front of me. He asked me “Did you camp here?” I lost word that I couldn’t say anything. Then he showed me the paper and said “Look. This is $200 ticket for you who shouldn’t camp here.” I couldn’t say anything. No beg, no cray, no excuse. I was just frozen literally. Then he said “Next time don’t camp at self-contained car site. Okay?” I answered “Yes, sir” And then he left. I never got any penalty before that I was so shame and embarrassed.
I promised myself that I will never ever never ever camp at self-contained camping site in my life whatever other travelers say.
After that embarrassing morning, the day was so bright and beautiful.


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I didn’t know Kiwi bird can be seen in this area that I was so excited.


When I was in Auckland, someone showed me this video and I was like crying cause it’s cutest animal on the earth. They usually go out at late night. But this video was captured during the day time. Kiwi was famous to make the biggest egg related to their body. It’s like human giving birth of a four years old.


To be honest, I learn Kiwi from the sad video long time ago. At that time, I didn’t know it was real creature. I thought it was just cartoon. But unlike a sad story, it was so adorable.


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It was so good day to cycle. I could say it was a miracle day because there was no rain. I had the rain really often in NZ from the first day to the leaving day.


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There were many cars because it was the weekend. The roads were narrow that we tried to be careful each other.


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After one hard uphill, the view was amazing.


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I was so happy to come to Coromandel.


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After the dark, I arrived at the host’s house which I got the contact from Warmshowers, hosting website. I stayed at his house for a night. At the next morning, he gave me the advice for the route. I had already learned that the hill can be really steep. So I asked him which route was less steep. I chose the quiet unpaved road because he said it would be easier for me.


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At the middle of hill, I saw pigs. Then I saw owner of it and we had chat. He said to raise pigs was hobby and he will never eat any of them. He said the problem was people stealing the pig from him.
There was one thing I learned that people liked to walk with barefoot in NZ. Even in the city like a big grocery store, shopping mall, and McDonald, people walk with barefoot. Later I also walked with barefoot but I always wore shoes in the city.


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The pig was smelling my bag which had food. What an interesting thing was no any animal smell my bag like this before. I’ve seen some pig along the road but they’ve never done it. Also no any dogs had done this. Then the farmer warned me. But then suddenly the pig took my food bag and threw on the road. Food were all over the road. Then he picked bread and run away. This was most serious crime I’ve ever had on my trip!
What I learned from it; Pig can smell well. Pig is smart. Pig is strong. Pig likes bread.


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There was another sign about Kiwi live here. It made me so eager to see them. Where are you Kiwi? I love to see you!


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There were a few hiking tracks on the way. At the entrance, a special thing was waiting. I had to brush my shoes and spray to enter. It prevents from Kauri dieback.


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There was small water falls.


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And little bank


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Kauri tree was really tall. Some of them are a few hundred years old and the oldest one was 2,300 years. There were many Kauri tree but many of them were cut for furniture and others. Now it is prohibited logging by the law.


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It looked like I entered into ancient time with the special plants around.


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After the sunset, I couldn’t find the place to sleep. I saw a fire station at the town. It seemed like they looked volunteers. I asked them if possible to tent around. But they said no and it seemed like one of guy made such a sexual joke. I just left and kept looking around at the dark. Then there was strong wind with heavy rain. I was totally stuck. Then I saw some house where I can avoid wind for setting my tent. I ringed the bell and the lady came out with a big smile. In my experience, if someone came out with a big smile, it’s 100% chance to sleep there. I have been always wondering why some people smiled as soon as opening the door to a stranger. I thought this kind of people had different gene.
They showed me a garage to sleep as the wind and rain were strong at the outside. The garage was more like the room that there was toilet next and I got a blanket from them. After the hot shower, they invited me for dinner. At the next day I had the picture for the memory.


New Zealand Travel_031

I waited for the ferry to cross opposite side of island and I cycled on hilly road. I found the beautiful beach on the way and I tried to take the picture with tripod. Then I realized I forgot tripod head at the previous house after taking the picture. It would take two to three weeks to order it online. So I decided to go back. The problem was that I didn’t know address of the place I slept at the last night. I just had to go with my memory. Luckily I found the house and they were at the house. My life was not like up and down, but back and forth.


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I arrived at Cathedral Cove which was a famous place. This place was main purpose to come to Coromandel. I heard there was the place which was used for Windows’s background.


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The rain was on and off that I carried my rain jacket.


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And finally I got the Window Background’s place.


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And after comparing the picture, it was different place. This Window background place was at Wharariki Beach Cave locating at West north in South Island. The road to Wharariki Beach was not connected to other roads and I was not sure it was paved road even. I had to go back and forth over 300 km to see only that. If it is flat road it would take only 3 days. But NZ was different world. I guessed to look around Coromandel would take only two days. But it took almost five days. So maybe if I go to Window’s background place, it would take more than seven to eight days. So I gave up going there.


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Cathedral Cove was already beautiful enough that I was already satisfied.


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After camping at the farm, I was cycling to beach. But the little dog from the farm was following me. I had a no idea why the dog was following as I didn’t give any food. I really didn’t like the dog was following me on the road where cars were passing. So I threatened with throwing stones at the road several times to stop it and I cycled so fast to make the dog give up. Finally, I couldn’t see the dog later.
When I was in Central Asia, the dog staying around the hostel was following me, too. At that time, I didn’t give the food as well. I only pet a few times. That’s all. But this time was weirder since it had the owner. I was not sure dogs made farewell to me but I threatened with the bad way? I loved dogs. But it was really not safe for dogs staying around the road and I didn’t want to be responsible it since I was a homeless traveler.


New Zealand Travel_037

Two weeks ago, I forgot and left my GoPro at the hostel when I went to scuba diving in Malaysia. Thankfully the owner kept it for me and sent to NZ. I paid shipping fee through PayPal which was so useful for my world trip.


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In NZ, there were cows and sheep endlessly and even there was giant sheep next to the road.


Vlog of New Zealand Trip 1.


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I could smell rotten egg when I arrived in Rotorua. The smoke looked so beautiful with absorbing the sunset’s light.


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I got to know the one guy who studied in this town though Instagram. Before going to the host’s house, he showed me the town around. Later when I met my hosts who settled down over three years, they told me they didn’t smell bad any more except the rainy day only sometimes.


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Just near town, there was a beautiful forest which was called Redwoods.


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The water color was so special. It reminded me of Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia since it had a similar water color.


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My tent looked really poor. There was reason. New Zealand’s morning was wet and I had to hang my tent on the top of bags while cycling to dry a bit. When there was sunshine, I stopped cycling and dried all of camping gears. On the top of the hill, I dried my everything. Then suddenly it rained, which was so normal. There was shower often. So I took everything and waited a bit until rain stopped. And then I cycled again. When I was about to set up tent after getting permission from local people, I had realized I forgot tent poles on the top of hill. Thankfully, the guy from the house gave me a ride to the hill, which was 20 km (12 miles) far. But someone already took my poles. After this accident, I never took anything left on the road because it can be really important to that person and they might come back to take it back. On the way back, he was about to grab sandwich and I asked to pay for him to pay back. They were kind that they let me sleep at the inside that night.
I was so worried how I could survive without the tent. At the next day, I tried to camp without poles. I used strings and I tightened on my bicycle and things around. I put my tripod on the center of tent to have the ceiling. I was so happy that it worked out!


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It was foggy morning.


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I arrived in Wai-O-Tapu at early morning. Wai O Tapu is an active geothermal area at the southern end of the Okataina Volcanic Centre. I heard there was water explosion at the certain time that I was so excited to see it. That’s why I arrived early. But soon I was disappointed that it was not nature activity. The staff put something for chemical reaction.
The staff was explaining about the history of it. But I thought it was a bit racism when she explained with funny way about how Pacific peoples like Maori and others reacted about this chemical reaction at that time.


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Although it was not natural activity, I enjoyed watching it.


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The park was really huge. This park was the only place I paid for the entrance. All other parks I visited was free in New Zealand thankfully. However, this park was really worth for money.


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When I cycled in United Stations, I really wanted to visit Yellowstone National Park. But the place was not on my route that I couldn’t visit. But now I was visiting similar place that I was excited.


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There were many different colors and territories. I wish I tour with the friend who is a geography teacher.


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This was the most unique color lake at the park. I didn’t edit color of the picture at all. It was naturally this color.


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It was difficult to predict the weather in New Zealand.


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It was the first shock I got in New Zealand. I thought New Zealand was really beautiful with green hills. But actually that beautiful green hills were the result of deforestation.


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I set up my tent at local people’s garage. I was so proud of setting my tent with only strings but I had to be careful not to fall down when I passed. People in NZ were so generous that they always allowed me to set up tent at their property. It was 99% possibility to get permission for setting tent at their place. This was not usual. Only a few countries had this kind of high rate to get “Yes, you can camp here” in my memory like Paraguay and Finland.
There was one little different thing in NZ. Usually in other countries, when they allow me for camping, we talked a bit and they let me use the toilet. But in NZ, sometimes they said Yes, then went back home, and I never saw them again. In this case, I had problem with the toilet sometimes. So in South Island of New Zealand, I did more wild camping than asking permission. By the way, this garage had the toilet that I stayed comfortably for a night.


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Taupo River had really strong current. There were people having rafting. It was fun to watch them on the top.


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The sound of the river flowing was so loud when I watched them from the bridge.


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There was a free camping site that I tried to use for the first time.


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It had portable toilet cabins but it didn’t have any smell. There was little place to wash hands. Finally, I was using free camping site as well!! Yeah, two wheels are awesome too! It was really large place near touristic place that I could have a privacy.


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At the next day, I could see snow mountain.


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When I asked for pitching my tent, local people gave me the empty house and let my bicycle to put inside as it rained. The family was from South Pacific. New Zealand ethnic is consisted of 67% European, 13% Maori (South Pacific), and 7% other South Pacific people, 11% Asian, and others 1~2%. Those Pacific people’s body were bigger than other ethnic usually.


In NZ, Rugby was the most popular game. It’s very interesting when they have haka, a ceremonial dance.
U.S, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand had similar short history around 200~300 hundred years. But there was one big difference in NZ. In other three countries, European had genocide against aboriginal people and took the land. But there was no aboriginal people in NZ. The first people who arrived NZ was Polynesian in 1,300 years. Then European arrived in 1,600 years. Maori and other Polynesian had bigger body than others and they were strong. Although they lost against European, they have more legal rights than other aboriginals in those three countries.
NZ have 5 million populations that it’s not much. Therefore, Polynesian New Zealander is really less compared to European New Zealander that I didn’t have the chance to see them except the south of Auckland.


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After a few days, I got shocked again on the way.


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When I researched about deforestation, I got another shocked. New Zealand was covered by the forest about 80% in the past. But now only 31% was left.


New Zealand Travel_055 Deforestration by countries. Deforestration Europe

I captured about the top countries and I made the table to compared some European countries to Brazil and Malaysia cause some European blame Brazil and Malaysia for deforestation. But those European countries are worse in reality. When I traveled Netherlands, I was wondering how come people could live at the house unit, not apartment when their population density was so high next to South Korea. The reason was deforestation; Netherlands 8.79%, South Korea 63.20%. What other surprising thing was North Korea was covered by the forest over 73%. I was wondering why they didn’t cut all trees to make money to have more arms.

I got this table from Wikipedia. But suddenly it was edited and now people cannot see this table anymore. In other languages, you can see the same table, but there was no more table on English page.
I found the original English page – https://archive.is/ZKifN
(Archive is the website to capture old page just in case like this.)


New Zealand Travel_055 Deforestration in Europe. Deforestration in US. Deforestration in New Zealand

They did have the forest. But they just deforest to have farms and develop cities without caring the nature.
Some Western people blame Brazil, Malaysia, and other countries for deforestation. Even they do have the business about “If you buy one t-shirt, I will plant one tree on those countries.” with the picture of the black skin color child holding the small plant on the hand. But in reality, deforestation in their own countries are worse than those countries.
Why they don’t plant on their own countries first? It can be two reasons. First, people don’t know how deforestation is serious on their own country. Second, they don’t like to see that developing countries develop by themselves cause then developed countries cannot use developing countries anymore. It is called “Kick the ladder”. After the rich people climb to the high place, they kick the ladder to prevent other coming up. Those people like to make others to depend on them.
If those rich country really care the nature, they should have the plan about how they will recover their own nature first to reach at least 40~50% forest coverage and how they will show other countries to develop without cutting trees.

Deforestation of New Zealand – https://teara.govt.nz/en/interactive/11674/deforestation-of-new-zealand
Forested fraction of gridcell – https://www.wsl.ch/staff/niklaus.zimmermann/papers/QuatSciRev_Kaplan_2009.pdf
Deforestation in the United States – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deforestation_in_the_United_States


New Zealand Travel_055 knowledge

I have a few reasons to travel the world. One of them is to learn and grow on the road. But there are many bad things to see. If I didn’t think and research, New Zealand would remain as a beautiful country. But now it’s remains as one of the example of deforestation. This is reason I don’t like open my eyes sometimes. There is nothing good to open my eyes.
When I was in South Korea, there was the year I read the book lot. And then I saw this picture. It was exactly the same like I felt. When I didn’t know anything, the world was so beautiful. But when I learn little, it was covered by the gloomy darkness. I don’t know when I can reach the bright side on the top. I am not sure it exists even. Maybe my another goal on the trip should be to reach that beautiful top.


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A wheel was touching brakes and there was not enough air at the tire. So I tightened spokes and put the air with the machine from the gas station.


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When I was near a free camping site, I got the flat tire. I wish it happened at the camping site. I just push my bicycle. At the next day, there was ice on the tent although it was September, spring.


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At cold morning, when I tried to repair, I found the crack on rim.


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This was the main reason wheel was bent and I had the flat tire. I cut tube and covered the rim with the hope that it prevents from the flat tire.


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I cycled with the beautiful view of Tongariro


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The mountain with the snow was amazing. I wanted to hike, but I didn’t have even proper shoes that I gave up. Also it looked like I needed accommodation around.
My current shoes were $8 from Vietnam but there was no any waterproof that my shoes were wet every morning since I came to New Zealand. So my feet were always frozen while cycling at morning. If I knew it, I would have bought the news shoes at Decathlon in Singapore.


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I really like the snow mountain. Although I couldn’t hike, I was happy to see them next to the road.


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Snow and sand looked special .


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I knocked the house for camping at the farm, and they invited me to sleep at the inside of the house. They invited me for dinner and it was interesting to listen to farmer’s life. They had telescope to look animals.


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Arrive Alive! This was my favorite sign after “Believe me, you’ll get there. Slow Down” which I saw in Kenya. The most important on the trip is going back home safely. I wish I succeed this trip safely.


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Peaceful scenery with hidden crazy hills.


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I found again free camping site. This site was so far the best one. It had a flush toilet and shower place. Although it had only cold water, it was enough for me. Only 10 minutes torturing myself with cold water gave fresh feeling rest of the day. The site was really huge even. Some local people suggested me to take their place having fire as they were leaving. But I was a bit picky that I found my favorite spot at other places. I felt so rich when I look around camping spot cause it’s like I was the owner of this whole place and I can build my house anywhere I want.


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This was a magpie. It’s quite a big bird and I like its twittering. But it’s really scary bird like trigger fish under water. When they had babies, they attack people coming in their area. But they more like to attack cyclists. So local cyclists use the cable tie on the helmet to scare them. I was attacked two times when I was cycling and I was so scared. There was a big noise from wings when they swoop over the head. I tried to avoid and then I was cycling at the middle of the road. If there were cars, I might be in danger.


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I liked the color of the magpie. New Zealand had many interesting birds that I enjoyed watching them and hearing twittering.
I liked the camping spot that I decided to stay one more day as I had enough foods. I really had nothing to do at the day. I just looked around and I found the bird usually sit on the same branch again and again. I was more like the bird at the public toilet. When I go to a public toilet, I usually use only same one spot. I love exploring every places except the public toilet.


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I loved this relaxing day. There was no electricity that I didn’t need to update blog or check the information of the road ahead.


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I loved making fire since I was child. Even I burned a toilet paper at the bathroom secretly. Luckily I never burnt the house. When I got the chance to have the fire, I cannot stop it. I had the fire until late night the day before, so I tried to go to sleep early with only making little fire at this night.


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I arrived in Palmerston North. It had the population of 75,000 people. It was 11th biggest city and it had several big bike shops. But they didn’t have 26″ wheels. I found the host from hosting website and I stayed at their place over two nights. I helped little bit of papering and had pizza together. They suggested me to stay a few days more to order wheel from the bike shop. But the next city was capital, which I needed to cycle only two days more. So I just decided to leave at the next day.


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The sunshine


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Then cloud..


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I set up my tent at the farm and she showed me little cute cows. I must say New Zealand’s cow were the most special cow in the world.


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They were following me always. Cows were friendlier than dogs in NZ. I had never seen cows following me in any countries on my world trip.


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This was amazing feeling that hundreds cows were following me always next to the road. I guessed maybe the way to raise the cows in NZ were different than other countries. That’s why cows were following me in NZ, which never happens in any country.


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Seagulls were following me, too, but it was not much friendly.


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Obviously they only followed me when I had food and they shouted at each other too much.


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Just 9 km before the hostel in Wellington I booked, my rear wheel was broken. I tried to true, but it was not possible. Thankfully, some car helped me to drop near hostel. But he was working that he couldn’t drop me in front of the hostel. It was only a few blocks away but it took 30 minutes to carry one by one.


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It was shocking that I couldn’t buy 26″ rim even in the capital. I went to a bike kitchen but I couldn’t find the right one. I opened the google map and typed “Bicycle shop” and called everywhere. There was one bicycle shop which was far from the city center had used one. So I took the bus with my bicycle for the first time. It was funny to see my bicycle in front of the window.


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The owner was so kind. He let me use his working place. He was busy, but when I struggled, he came and gave me the advice how to do it. Thank to him, I could build the wheel.


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Sadly, the tire I got as gift from Singaporean friend was broken when the rim was broken. Again it was difficult to buy 26″ tire. 26″ wheel was very old fashion now. After checking several places, I could get Schwalbe Marathon 26″ tire. Now everything was ready to go to South Island.


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My hairs were showing exactly how much I was excited to going to South Island.


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Unlike dancing my hairs, the scenery of South Island was so peaceful. This peaceful mountain made me guess I would only cycle 50 km (31 mi) a day. By the way, where I would sleep tonight? This was my daily worry.
People told me South Island was more beautiful than North Island. Soon, I would check this is true or not.


Vlog of New Zealand Trip 1.

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  1. Wellington is the 2nd biggest City in NZ sorry

    • I was comparing by the population. Auckland-1,467,800 people. Christchurch-377,200 people. Wellington-215,400 people. I didn’t know Wellington is a bigger though. Thanks πŸ™‚

  2. Are cows as friendly in Australia? I look forward to getting to New Zealand, at some point! I was going to go there first, but I’ll now be going there on my way back from the Americas, before going on to Asia.

  3. fact check on total population of NZ. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you!! When I checked on Wikipedia, Auckland-1,467,800. Christchurch-377,200. Wellington-215,400.
      But when I checked on worldometers, Auckland-417,910, Wellington-381,900, Christchurch-363,926. I didn’t know Wikipedia has a big different number.

  4. Hi there,
    Thank you for you Blog, it’s always good to hear your travel adventures.
    New Zealand has seasons- best weather is Feb- May.
    Especially the Eastern side of both Islands.
    The North Island East Coast south of Coromandel, all the way to Wellington is very quiet & beautiful, and during Feb – May hot days and good swimmers in the sea and rivers.
    South Island East Coast is very good too.
    A great way to see NZ without rain!
    Have fun!

  5. Exciting journey, very interesting, thought-provoking text and beautiful pictures. Thank you! <3
    Much love from Germany

  6. Greeting from Ukraine! Awesome photos as usual, thank you.

  7. Thank you for sharing your adventures. New Zealand is on my list and you have contributed to making it even more desirable. I wish you well and good cycling.

  8. Hi Jin!!!
    Why do I always feel like I’m traveling with you? Either by watching your videos or by reading the post!
    Last year I was also in New Zealand. I was not as awesome like you, bicycling your way out in NZ, but I did manage to see how beautiful the South Island is. And I managed to get good (but still chilly) weather!

    I’m looking forward to read your next adventures! Good cycling and I wish you well!

    • Hello George,
      That’s good that you feel like traveling with me when you read cause I write to make feel like that. haha. NZ can have really chilly day but still have the amazing view! Thanks! πŸ™‚

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