Axel & Berg Photography – The world is our canvas

Posts Tagged travel

Northern point – where two oceans meet

During last Christmas, we went on an small adventure. We left Auckland and the big city like many other New Zealanders. We drove as far north as we could get. Through the winding roads and pastures. Here a grocery store is not easy to find, or for that matter a neighbour. But the nature is breathtaking. We past by so many beaches we lost count, we even drove our car down one, that was a first one and a great feeling of freedom. Not the best treat for your car with all the salt water though. (Remember to wash it directly afterwards if you are doing it). We climbed sand dunes and ran down them again feeling the sand hitting our legs and the wind blowing in our hair. The sand has blown all the way from Australia to this spot.

Every smaller town we stopped in people were so friendly, like almost all kiwis seem to be, they ask you about your day, how you feel and if there is anything they can help with before wishing you a merry Christmas.

At Cape Reinga, the most northern point in New Zealand you would see two oceans meet, the Tasmanian sea and Pacific ocean.

“The ‘Te Rerenga Wairua’ component of the name in Māori language means the leaping-off place of spirits. The ‘Reinga’ part of the name is the Māori language word meaning the underworld. Both refer to the Māori belief that the cape is the point where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld.”

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Trekking in Piha, New Zealand

There are so many treks to choose from here in New Zealand, it feels you’ll never run out of new paths to walk.

All of them are marked clearly and the signs are kind enough to tell you how long you have left if you’re walking in a normal pace. For people like us, who like a good challenge this is a perfect trigger to try and beat while getting a good workout at the same time.

A few weeks ago we went to Piha to do short part of the Hillary Trail. We walked along the cliff edges to the sea, went past old antiquities where indigenous people a long time ago had cattle and overlooked small secluded beaches that you could only reach by sea. There is however one beach that we could access from the trek, Karekare, the same black sand beach where the movie The Piano was filmed. It is possible to get to the beach by car as well but we really enjoyed walking the coast line to get there. Once we got down it started to drizzle slightly and a mystical feeling spread over the beach. Fortunately there was no major burst but more of a refreshing splash on the way up the hills again and back.

The walk took around 2,5 hours for us to do, a perfect sunday activity just 45 minutes away from Auckland!

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Rotorua Thermal Wonderland

Last weekend we went for a short roadtrip to Rotaroua. You can really tell when you are getting close to the town because of the smell of rotten eggs. The smell is not that pleasant but just a 25 minute drive from the city you will find Wai-O-Tapu that is considered to be New Zealand’s most colorful and diverse geothermal sightseeing attraction. Also listed by Trip Advisor as one of the 20 Most Surreal Places in the World. And yes it feels a bit surreal when you are walking around the park, seeing all the different pools, all in the same area, so much variety in just an one hour walk. Some of the geothermal springs are orange, others yellow or toxic green! There are boiling mud pools and a geyser there as well. So you’ll see gas pouring up from underground all over the area, just like people has been lighting fires in the forest… but it’s all from the springs around the area. If you are around the area you should pay this place a visit. It is well worth it, but make sure to be there just when they open, at 8:30 in the morning to get the place for yourself and avoiding all the tourist buses that will get there just in time when you’re finishing up.

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Midsummer in Ireland

If you can imagine yourself parking the car in the smallest town you’ve been, on a lonely street just after dusk, looking for something that might be open this late hour. Suddenly you see a light further up the road, you hear distant sounds of violins and singing. A smile slowly covers your face as you realize you’re in Ireland now and there is always a bar open.

So this midsummer we escaped Sweden for a weekend in Ireland, heading for the west coast in a rental car with our friend Kate (who is of Irish descent) to explore the green hills and coastal villages of The Burren.

We started off with a beautiful evening at the Cliffs of Mohir where we climbed the wall to lay in the soft grass hills watching the sun set on us. After that we headed into the nearest small town and quickly found ourselves with a pint of Guiness in local pub. Some of the locals were playing violins, guitar and singing, some were just listening while small talking to their neighbors. We had a great first taste of Ireland before heading back to our lovely B&B outside of Lahinch.

The next day we travelled north following the coast for some castle sightseeing on the way to a small fishing town that would be our next stop. On the way we stopped on a local farmers market to buy some strawberries, Fredrik also climbed a field to pose as an irish man in his new outfit, he looks so much like a local! Ireland is truly striking with it’s beautiful scenery, especially if you head for the west coast. Our day ended at the very end of the long and narrow road that led us to Roundstone, where we had some tasty local seafood at O’dowd’s pub watching the sun set on the returning fishing boats.

Our last night in Ireland we hooked up with some friends of Kate from New Zealand who’s living in Dublin, we stayed in their lovely apartment and was treated to an epic night on the crowded streets of Dublin. We even got cake for Sosy’s birthday and got everyone on the street to sing along for her.

It was a hectic few days with a lot of driving but in the end worth every mile. If you go to Dublin, you should really try and making out to the west coast, it’s a totally different country, except of course there is at least one bar, even if the town only has one street.

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Follow destiny

We left Mana Island with our minds focused on the incredible things we’ve seen underwater, we needed more and Pacific harbor delivered! We probably had one of the best dives we will ever experience there. Bull sharks, leopard sharks, moray-eels, stone fish… you name it. We had no plans where to go after that. We checked in at a backpacker hotel that had kitchen facilities in every room. It was so nice to be able to cook our own meals again. (one of the things we miss while living on the road). We shared our kitchen with a guy named Henry and while he helped us opening our tuna can fiji-style, we had a nice chat with him about our company and the fact that we didn’t know where to go next. We had been on and off the whole trip about going to Qamea island, a small island in the northern Taveuni group because of the long journey to get there. Then after a while talking with Henry it turns out he and his dad runs the place we had been thinking about visiting. On this trip we have had the fortunate experience of running into the right people all the time, and meeting Henry was no exception. We just had to go to now!

So the next day, we met up with our canadian diving buddy Yannick and took the bus to Suva to start our long trip to Qamea. We got to the ferry in the afternoon. It was a trip that was suppose to take 18 hours but turned out to take 24 hours, our guess is even a candadian ferry runs on Fiji-time here. Susanne got really sea sick and start regretting that we got on the boat, but as soon as the sea sickness pills kicked in she was gently rocked to sleep by the big ocean. The next day we woke up just outside the beautiful island of Taveuni, but we’ll tell you more about that in our next post.

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taking the train again

We enjoy being on the move. That’s one reason why we love to travel. We are curious souls that love the feeling of not knowing what to expect from our journey, or what we will see when we get to our destination. We love the opposite of standing still.

On Wednesday morning we left Kochi with the morning train south (we’ll show you more from Kochi later). Since we arrived to India we have only traveled by train, buses we got enough of in Sri Lanka. On the train we often meet Indians who also are on the move, often to go home, to work or to visit relatives. They are curious about where we come from, it’s not easy to blend in here. They ask us where we are going and what we think of their country, if we love their food. It is always about the food and when we say that we love it, they share some of the food that they’ve brought with them on the train ride.

From the train we can see villages, slums and untouched landscape that spreads out while we pass by. A 15-hour train ride is not so difficult as you might think. At each stop along the way, salesmen jump aboard selling food, snacks and your standard cup of Chai.

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