Going through an uncertain period without work and at the same time keeping morale high for job interviews was very challenging. I did a lot of things just to keep busy. The most interesting of these was working at the pancake stand at Albert Cuyp Markt. Thankfully, Ali gave a generous hourly wage and free pancakes. The payment was love. Despite my colorful personality and energy, my hopes were at their lowest in August when I got a job offer and they wanted me to start in October.
According to the termination agreement, although I did not go to work, I was appearing to be working until October on paper and receiving my salary. Long story short, I had a month of paid leave and an end to uncertainty. After the bad period, I decided to use this opportunity in New Zealand, one of the countries I was most curious about, as far as I could go. One month was enough for New Zealand, less for Australia. By the way, having a Dutch passport didn’t bother me with visa bureaucracy and it was very effective in this quick decision.
There wasn’t much time to plan this time. For some reason, I always had the impression that New Zealand was to be toured by car. I googled “public transport in New Zealand” and came across a trip option just for me. There are bus companies with routes that cover all of New Zealand. They work with the logic of hop on – hop off. They provide a one-night accommodation guarantee on the first night at the destination, discounts on paid events, and ease of logistics. The first company I came across was Kiwi Experience. (From people I met in New Zealand, I learned that Stray also exists.
Stray is a bit more expensive and the age group is generally higher. I don’t quite agree with this, because the people in the group may be random people and people you might (may not) like in either company. It’s all a matter of luck! Dear Reader, if you are going, I wrote these two companies in your mind.) My search came to an end after I liked the routes, prices and maps of Kiwi Experience.
I bought The Whole Kit Caboodle pass from Kiwi Experience as it is on sale and is the most comprehensive route. I visited the places pictured on the right outside of Milford Sound (due to weather opposition), the Deep South (as the departure schedule intersects with arrival in Queenstown) and Kaikoura. Since September is not a busy season in terms of tourism, the buses were half full and there were many places to stay. Therefore, I have benefited greatly from the flexibility of the pass. After getting the pass, I downloaded Kiwi Experience’s app.
The application is very useful. Departure/arrival details of each point on the route, paid and free activity list, fee and details of the agreed place are available in the application. I made my own program from the interactive map and sent an e-mail to the company. They also reserved my place on the dates and places I specified for me. Only transportation included in the pass. Every day, the driver guide talks about the program of the day and shows the forms for accommodation and paid activities. I liked that it was like this, because I attended events according to my energy that day, or if I didn’t like the option to stay, I arranged for another place.
In this article, I will not describe each place on the map one by one, I will only talk about the must-see places. You can imagine the North Island as one big Hobbitland. There is a landscape with tiny green hills and sheep on them. In the far north, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the British made a deceptive deal with the Maoris of New Zealand, is a must-visit place to understand New Zealand and its history. In this museum, I learned that Lady Diana was the first woman to board one of the long war boats made by the Maoris from kauri wood.
According to the Maori people, warfare was man’s work. One of the beauties of New Zealand is that it is adorned with the beliefs and legends of the Maori people. They believed that the souls of the dead departed from Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of the island. New Zealand’s famous Dutch explorer Abel Tasman named another cape very close to this spot after his wife: Cape Maria van Diemen. Think about it, Dear Reader, how many days did it take for the man to discover the island in the 1600s, and how long it took to give his wife’s name and come to the Netherlands to report this gift.
It must be patience. Another point of interest in the North Island was the caves in Waitomo, which were filled with glowworms. It was the first time I saw these firefly smoldering maggots that covered the cave ceiling like stars, and I was very impressed. The fact that these maggots on the dark cave ceiling and the stars we see at night give the same effect seemed like another example of the theory of relativity. North Island’s bonus was Hot Water Beach to its east. In the evening, after the water had receded, we went to the beach, made a small pool to sit in, and waited for it to be filled with hot water coming out of the ground. It was like a dream to watch the moonlight with our swimsuits in the hot water on the beach in that cold weather.