When we first booked the flights to Newzealand a year ago we were excited but also a little nervouse about the upcoming journey. We were confident about the feasibility, as Finja had already seen quiet a few european countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy and Macedonia) in her short life. She had handled it really well so far, but none of these trips lasted longer then four successive week.
|Finja on one of her first road trips to Italy (less then 2 months after her birth)|
The end of January and the whole February were really exhausting. I finished by Bachelorthesis in time and then we had to empty our apartment in Stuttgart. All our furniture and possessions stowed into several family households in Stuttgart's surroundings and finally it was time to catch the plane in Frankfurt.
The flight was incredible long (33 hours?!), I was sick with a cold and Finja kept us busy carrying her around in the airplane. The better part of the flight was actually good, only on the final bit she had enough of air conditioning, narrow space, airplane light and got a bit grumpy. Anyways, happily we arrived in Christchurch where we had the big luck to get picked up by our friend Greg.
It did not take us long to find a convenient campervan for our planned time of 6,5 weeks traveling through the beauty of New Zealand and so we left our friends place soon. We spent most of the time on the South Island, driving down to the incredibly wet Milford Sound (6.715mm rain/year) where we climbed at a beautiful Little Babylon. We visited Wanaka, Queenstown and Paynes Ford for some climbing and spent four weeks in the world-famous bouldering destination Castle Hill.
|Finja in one of her first boulder problems - Castle Hill, New Zealand|
|Castle Hill, New Zealand|
In the end of march, one month after the trip had started we headed back to the airport to pick up my Brother Jochen, his wife Miriam and their daughter Paula. They had taken the opportunity for a longdistance flight as well, using the parental leave. We climbed with them for a couple of days, before we had to leave for the northern parts of New Zealand as our flight to Australia was booked for a date two weeks earlier than theirs.
On New Zealands North Island we stopped at a friends place in Wellington for a couple of nights and sampled some of the local climbing before we ended up in Auckland. We had a really stressfull week trying to sell our van for a reasonable price, flying out to Sydney and buying another van in Australia. But thanks to another friend in Sydney we had a place to sleep and to get ready for the second part of our trip.
|Katinka at Turakirae Head, Wellington|
We had three great weeks in the Blue Mountains, as many other climbers and friends were around for Easter Holidays. Most of the time there was someone else at the same crag and we could climb while Finja was playing or sleeping at the crags base. By that time she was already crawling a lot, but luckily not walking or running yet.
|An unnamed V6 at the Black Cave, Sydney|
In the end of April my brother arrived in the Blue Mountains and while we climbed together for another week we proofed his ability to climb hard and sent "Alpha Leather", 32 (8b+).
Together we checked out some of the Sydney Bouldering Areas and climbed many problems such as the ultra classic "L'homme Obu", V11 at the Balkham Hills. Katinka and Miriam both grabbed a quick ascent of "Paratroopin" V8 the same day.
|Sending "L'homme Obu", V11 - The Balkam Hills, Sydney|
I think we did the best out of this situation by brushing new boulders, doing a decent amount of first ascents and publishing a pdf guidebook. After beeing annoyed by humidity and precipitation for a couple of weeks we psyched for a couple days off. We had booked a flight to Bali, Indonesia where our friends Manu and Marie joined us for exploring another culture. It was different and stressfull, but an interesting and great experience at the same time. Unfortunately Finja catched a cold on her last days as she did not like the constantly change in between the local climate and the air-conditioned rooms. But her cold only lasted for a couple of days.
|A few days off ... 8 days of vacation from our trip in Bali, Indonesia|
|First Ascent of "Simplicity", V12 - Buandik, Southern Grampians|
Our plan for future trips is to avoid too long periods at the same place. A maximum of 4 weeks in one spot should be enough to tick the most stunning climbs in an area, but afterwards you loose motivation our you have to focus to much on a limited number of climbs .. such as "Simplicity" which I almost gave up with. We had also hoped to meet more people along our australia trip, which was a bit disappointing.
|Katinka in "Hillary Step", V9 - Buandik, Southern Grampians|
Finally it was kind of a relief to say goodbye to the Grampians after 2,5 months. Finjas Grandparents arrived at the airport of Melbourne and wanted to join us on our a roadtrip back to the Blue Mountains and Sydney. They enjoyed 3,5 weeks with us and their granddaughter, while we explored the landscape of Victoria and New South Whales. They joined us at several rocks to watch us climb or took over Finja and occupied her perfectly.
|Our campervan accompanied by my parents bigger campervan|
|Ulrich, Finja, Katinka, Rita and Ulrike (left-to-right)|
|Katinka in the flash ascent of "Crack Attack", V6 - The Villas, Sydney|
Finja in an unknown V0-
Thanks to all our friends Down Under who helped making this trip to what it was. A great time off!
And thanks to our sponsors who assisted us with their products:
Thanks Chillaz for equiping us with comfortable, great looking and fair produced clothes.
Thanks Evolv for supplying us with quality climbing shoes, especially our favorites: the high performance Shaman and the brand new Nexxo.
And last but not least:
Thanks to the Light my Fire Team for sending us samples of their whole product range, and many many sporks which were given away to friends here and there every now and then. And thanks for convincing us to start blogging in english.