Autumn 2004 started with a weekend trip to the north island - I flew into Auckland, drove down to Tongariro and all the way back just to do the Tongariro Crossing, a six-hour hike in Tongariro National Park! Pretty crazy and expensive aye - I don't know what I was thinking ;-) But the landscape was certainly impressive, and here come the pictures. A couple weeks later I went down south to Dunedin, a nice student town situated on the east coast, not too far from Moeraki with the famous Moeraki Boulders. The first of May brought another highlight, namely the P party held by my flat. On the third of May, I flew up to Palmerston North for a get together with the other people funded by the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution. From the 15th of May, a german friend (Karsten) and me spent three days tramping and sea kayaking the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, one of the tracks designated a "great walk" by New Zealand's department of conversation (DOC).
Some of the photos on this page are panoramic and thus extra-wide, so don't forget to scroll or view them in a resolution that fits your screen (if your browser supports that). You might want to press <F11> to use your full screen for viewing.
Cape Maria van Diemen (near Cape Reinga, on NZ's northern shore), where I did not go in February due to the bad weather. Therefore, this photo is courtesy of Karsten Sperling.
Me in front of Mt Ngauruhoe (AKA Mt Doom); the path leading up might be where Frodo climbed, but where is the entrance that leads to the fiery chasm with all the lava? Update: No, I am not growing breasts. It's just the picture and that tight polypro shirt.
Panorama including the most famous part of the Tongariro Crossing: Blue Lake and the three Emerald Lakes with their distinct colour due to high mineral content; and hiker processions of course.
Huka Falls - apparently the most popular among the plethora of waterfalls on New Zealand's north island
The "Craters of the Moon", near Lake Taupo. They are part of Wairakei, New Zealand's largest geothermal field. Its visible activity increased a lot when the Geothermal Power Station opened in 1958, draining water from geothermally heated underground supplies and thus increasing the heat of the remaining water.
Hot mud pool (the bubbling mud was only visible during the sparse windy moments, and otherwise obfuscated by vapour)
Auckland's skyline, on my boat trip to Rangitoto Island (a volcanic island a couple hundred meters from Auckland's shore that came into existance just a mere 600 years ago).
Moeraki Boulders on my way to Dunedin; this particular specimen isn't in the best spheroid shape any more though.
Some of the most perfectly spheroid and beautiful of the Moeraki Boulders (these are the ones that you get to see on the postcards!).
Posing on the Moeraki Boulders; from left to right: Tobias, Nicolas, Nafi, Naila. The McDonalds cup subtly compromises the picture's inherent coolness, though.
At our P party on 1 May, from left to right: Erin the plantagenet, Nicolas the Pizza (back), Daniel the pervert (front), Elizabeth as Pocahontas, Kirsten the psychic, Charlene the pacific painter.
Kirsten the psychic, Tobias the pumpkin and Erin the plantagenet. Mysteriously, everybody felt constantly tempted to punch and/or rub my tender orange belly.
Some of my fellow researchers at the Allan Wilson Centre get together, at Massey University in Palmerston North, on 03/05/2004.
Approach to windy Wellington - it was quite exciting to see (through the open cockpit door) the plane alternately heading 30° either side of the runway orientation, due to the wind.
Barn's is an apparently stylish american pub in Picton. Unfortunately, its opening hours clashed with our travel plans.
Sea Kayaking the Abel Tasman national park - both the scenery and the weather were superb; sorry for the artifacts that were a result of the stitching process and imperfectly aligned individual photos
Beautiful sunset prelude near Separation Point, on our way to Whariwharangi Bay (we reached the hut precisely at sunset)
The Anchorage in Torrent Bay, with a swimming restaurant (photo taken on our way back by water taxi)