Team Taiwan, snow, hikes and more road trip fun in the South of New Zealand

 After Jens left in Queenstown, I discovered that the weather would be good for the next couple of days. Especially Mt Cook had a positive forecast. I refilled the car completely and made my way to Mount cook. Not knowing that the next couple of days would have an Asian touch.

Mt Cook

During the ride towards Mt Cook, I prepared myself mentally for a long solo hike towards the famous Mueller hut. The weather would be nice, but I had to rent grampons, an ice axe and proper boots to get up. The boy scout in me was getting really excited, but I had never done this before.

When I arrived in Mt Cook, the guides recommended me to wait for the next day to go up. I ended up spending the night in a campsite next to the mountain. In the kitchen of the campsite I met TK and Wayne from Taiwan. After getting to known each other, we decided to do the hike together. Team Taiwan was created!

Team Taiwan

Walking up the mountain was lots of fun! Not a walk in the park and I wouldn’t recommend doing it if you’re not a little fit. The weather was perfect and we were gifted with some beautiful views! My Taiwanese friends know how to handle a camera, so I have some nice pictures of myself as well this time.

We shared the hut with two English hikers and a group of adventure guide students. The students weren’t sleeping in the hut, but in their own dug ice caves! After enjoying an amazing sunset the next morning, we made our way down back to the village and drove to Wanaka.

Sadly enough, I had to bring back the rental car so I was downgraded to a normal nomad again. Tk joined me to Queenstown and flew to Auckland for the next part of his trip. Wayne picked me up in Queenstown and together we would travel south to explore the famous Milford Sound.

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Milford Sound

Milford Sound is a fiord in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s known for towering Mitre Peak, plus rainforests and waterfalls like Stirling and Bowen falls, which plummet down its sheer sides. The fiord is home to fur seal colonies, penguins and dolphins.

The long road towards Milford Sound has some beautiful stops on it. We explored the next couple of nice places:

Milford road

  • Te Anau
    Last town before Milford Sound with a stunning lake next to it. Here is the last opportunity for internet or groceries…
  • Key Summit
    Panoramic views over mountains and alpine lakes on this half-day walk off Milford Road. While we were doing this trek, it was really foggy, so we didn’t see anything from the top
  • Milford Sound
    I already described it above 😉
  • Lake Marian
    A beautiful hike through the forest with a beautiful lake at the end
  • Gertrude Valley
    A challenging tramping route from the Milford Road, easy in the beginnen, challenging towards the end.
    Around this area we discovered a hut that’s not on the internet, but was really comfortable to sleep at!

After some cold nights in the tent, no showers during these stops but stunning views we made it back to Te Anau.
Wayne was planning to travel more south but I had to catch my flight back to Auckland and to Fiji. My thumb was getting sleepy so the perfect opportunity to hitchhike again! It took me two hours and two girls joined my hitchhiking spot as I waited for a ride!
One of the girls happend to be the friend of someone we met briefly at Gertrude Valley. Our driver happend to be the guide I saw when we returned from Lake Marian! Small world 😉

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Bye Bye NZ

Wayne, it was a big pleasure travelling together! Despite my lvl of mandarin, or maybe your lvl of English, I definitely have some funny stories to tell thanks to you! Safe travels and take care!

My last days in New Zealand were counting… My verdict: Easy to travel, but if you go camping in a tent in winter, grow a pair and be prepared! It’s not cheap but beautiful and after my hitchhiking experience, I can say that the locals are really friendly!

Back in Queenstown, I had my first overhyped Ferburger with Elena, an outgoing Italian friend I met in Wanaka. Sadly enough, I didn’t do a bungee jump or a skydive. That will be for next time!
For the fun, I hitchhiked to the airport and was picked up by Jason after 5 minutes. He blessed me and my trip, so I have nothing to worry about!


For the next couple of weeks, I’ll have to travel with half of my camping equipment through Fiji, Usa and Mexico. It’s a bit expensive to give away and I wasn’t able to sell it so far. Although I’m not sure if they’ll need thermals in Fiji

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1 Comment

  1. stephanie smans says: Reply

    Wooowww Mats Brings back memories!!!
    Wij deden Milford Sounds met vliegtuigje om wat tijd te sparen en dat ws echt een hoogtepunt! Prachtig land en daar heb je prachtige foto’s gemaakt! Wat een leeeeeeven groetjes van een oude collega van je mama Stephanie

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