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Entries about lakes

Adventures in Kiwiland


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I feel like a post is now long overdue but I have been quite busy these last weeks or too tired to take the time to upload pictures and write something. So rather than a long post, here is a selection of about 40 pictures taken during my 7 weeks in New Zealand, on both the North and South islands. I have also tried to update the map to show you where these pictures were taken. Finally, I will post a bit more in the next few days to cover some of the big hikes/treks I did and which I think all require separate posts to avoid surcharging the blog with pictures.

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  • North Island

First stop after Auckland was in Hahei and I took the opportunity to explore the sea while kayaking

First stop after Auckland was in Hahei and I took the opportunity to explore the sea while kayaking


Still Hahei, which apparently as an air of Thailand...

Still Hahei, which apparently as an air of Thailand...


Cathedral Cove beach, one of the main spots in Hahei. The rock forms an arch and link the two beaches on each side.

Cathedral Cove beach, one of the main spots in Hahei. The rock forms an arch and link the two beaches on each side.


Next to Hahei was "Hot Water Beach", a beach where streams of really hot water comes from under (almost 80 degrees). So people gather when the tide goes up and try to get a hole in the sand while mixing this hot water with the sea water, to have a nice bath... <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Next to Hahei was "Hot Water Beach", a beach where streams of really hot water comes from under (almost 80 degrees). So people gather when the tide goes up and try to get a hole in the sand while mixing this hot water with the sea water, to have a nice bath... :)


Next stop was Raglan, the most popular surf spot in New Zealand

Next stop was Raglan, the most popular surf spot in New Zealand


And they even named the beach after me! :D

And they even named the beach after me! :D


Learning to do the Haka with some Maoris... I'm definitely missing a few tatoos... <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_wink.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=';)' title='' />

Learning to do the Haka with some Maoris... I'm definitely missing a few tatoos... ;)


Nice water reflections near Rotorua

Nice water reflections near Rotorua


Fishing eels at night in a lake, here is my only catch of the night, but what a catch!

Fishing eels at night in a lake, here is my only catch of the night, but what a catch!


Bridge near Whakahoro

Bridge near Whakahoro


Waterfall, Whakahoro

Waterfall, Whakahoro


Same waterfall, Whakahoro

Same waterfall, Whakahoro


A few days later, here we are in the Tongariro National Park. Here is a view of Ruapehu.

A few days later, here we are in the Tongariro National Park. Here is a view of Ruapehu.


Next to it is mount Ngauruhoe which was used to represent Mount  Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies.

Next to it is mount Ngauruhoe which was used to represent Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies.


And still about the Lord of the Rings trilogy, here is the Tahui falls, used in a scene with Gollum (the second movie of the trilogy)

And still about the Lord of the Rings trilogy, here is the Tahui falls, used in a scene with Gollum (the second movie of the trilogy)


Tahui falls again, different angle.

Tahui falls again, different angle.

  • South Island

Beginning of January, it was time to take the ferry and to cross to the South Island, reputed for its amazing landscapes and home to a lot extreme sports.

First stop was the Abel Tasman National Park, where you can hike or even rent a kayak and explore the surroundings that way.

First stop was the Abel Tasman National Park, where you can hike or even rent a kayak and explore the surroundings that way.


Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman


Seals relaxing on the rocks in Abel Tasman

Seals relaxing on the rocks in Abel Tasman


I call this bird the "day kiwi" for its resemblance with the kiwi which has a longer beak.

I call this bird the "day kiwi" for its resemblance with the kiwi which has a longer beak.


More seals around Punakaiki

More seals around Punakaiki


Here in Punakaiki there is an interesting rock formation called Pancake rocks, because of the shape of the rocks which look like a stack of pancakes one of top of each other

Here in Punakaiki there is an interesting rock formation called Pancake rocks, because of the shape of the rocks which look like a stack of pancakes one of top of each other


Pancake rocks

Pancake rocks


Beach near Punakaiki

Beach near Punakaiki


Punakaiki

Punakaiki


Sunset on Punakaiki

Sunset on Punakaiki


Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier


Waterfalls near Franz Josef Glacier

Waterfalls near Franz Josef Glacier


Thunder Creek Falls

Thunder Creek Falls


And also on our way that day, we made a short stop to Lake Matheson. Splendid...

And also on our way that day, we made a short stop to Lake Matheson. Splendid...


Lake Matheson

Lake Matheson


In Wanaka, I decided to sign up for a course about piloting a stunt plane and doing loops and other stunts... I'm glad my stomach held up until the end!

In Wanaka, I decided to sign up for a course about piloting a stunt plane and doing loops and other stunts... I'm glad my stomach held up until the end!


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Wanaka's team <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Wanaka's team :)


A day later, we arrived in Queenstown, little town set in a amazing location, between mountains and lake.

A day later, we arrived in Queenstown, little town set in a amazing location, between mountains and lake.


Our group in Queenstown

Our group in Queenstown


View from a hike I did near Te Anau, in the Fjordlands

View from a hike I did near Te Anau, in the Fjordlands

Posted by manolo84 21:32 Archived in New Zealand Tagged waterfalls sunsets_and_sunrises lakes beaches birds nature kayaking english Comments (2)

From Salta to Bariloche

via Mendoza


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After San Pedro de Atacama I decided to cross straight away the border to end up in Argentina, in Salta more precisely. Salta is one of the biggest towns in the north of Argentina and located at the foothill of the Andes, also surrounded by the desert. The architecture is nice, with a colonial style, but I don't know why I wasn't feeling a good vibe there. My mind was probably already thinking of Patagonia and therefore after just a day, I took another bus (22 hours...) to reach Mendoza...

And I think Mendoza is probably a more familiar name as this town (and region) is the centre of the Argentinian wine industry, for which it is world renowned. It is also located near the Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas, just a few hours away by car (or bus....). The weather is good, not too hot (at least when I was there) and it seems to be a lively city where it is good to live in. And there are a few things to do when you come to Mendoza, the first one being to visit as many bodegas as you can! :) Be careful though, sun + good wine (+ food) is a lethal combination which can send you to bed by mid-afternoon! It definitely felt like being in the South of France....

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View to the Andes from the vineyards

View to the Andes from the vineyards


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The next day, I packed my small backpack and took the bus in direction of the Aconcagua National Park. We were the 14th of November and the park officially opens the 15th of November for the summer season so I couldn't get very close or even reach the first base camp of this enormous mountain (almost 7000 meters) but it was enough to have a glance at it and to tell myself that I would come back one day and make it to the top! I also had the chance to meet a nice french couple who offered me a ride back to Mendoza (and thus avoid waiting hours for the bus) and on the way we couldn't resist but to stop in a typical Argentinian restaurant to eat the local parrilla (meat grill). I think I easily ate at least 500g of meat that day...

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Condors circling in the national park

Condors circling in the national park


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bridge formed by thermal waters and minerals near the Aconcagua national park

bridge formed by thermal waters and minerals near the Aconcagua national park


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But time was running short once again and once back in Mendoza I decided to take a bus for my next stop in Argentina, Bariloche.
The bus ride was quite long (22 hours) and the landscape changes drastically between the two cities, but for the best I should say. Bariloche is a little jewel of a town which reminds a lot of several ski resorts in France. The main reason why people stop there I think is the amazing landscape as the town is located on the shores of the lake Nahuel Lapi and inside the National Park of the same name. There are a lot of outdoors activities available like hiking, horse riding, biking, kite-surfing, etc.. and I really felt it was a good place to relax and spend a few days...

Lake Nahuel Lapi

Lake Nahuel Lapi


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Stream inside the Nahuel Lapi national park

Stream inside the Nahuel Lapi national park


View from the Refugio Frey

View from the Refugio Frey


A weird shaped tree

A weird shaped tree


More waterfalls...

More waterfalls...

Posted by manolo84 00:58 Archived in Argentina Tagged mountains lakes cities wine english treks Comments (0)

The infamous lake Titicaca

and Copacabana...


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Lake Titicaca is a place everybody has heard of, though maybe not as many people could locate it on a map. Located then just at the border between Peru and Bolivia, this majestic site is considered the world's largest high-altitude lake, covering 8400 square km and at an altitude of 3808m. The lake is also supposedly the legendary Inca creation site, with the Isla del Sol on the Bolivian side, the birthplace of the Sun in the Inca mythology.

I would have wished to cross the border and arrive a few days earlier in Copacabana, in Bolivia, but a strike in Puno (Peru) prevented me to do so for a few days as the only road leading to Bolivia was blocked. Apparently the Peruvian miners were contesting new laws introduced by the government against illegal mining. Fortunately the strike stopped for the weekend and buses were allowed to go through and this is how I ended up spending one night in Puno, then crossing the border and reaching Copacabana the following day.

Because Bolivia doesn't have access to the ocean, Copacabana, located a few hours away from the capital La Paz, is the prime destination for Bolivianos who come here to enjoy the fantastic views of the lake and get some tan (or sunburns as the combination of the lake's sun reflection and the altitude doesn't forgive...).

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And on the lake, two hours away by boat, lies the Islas del Sol and de la Luna, where as I already said the Inca mythology comes from. It was here that the bearded white god Viracocha and the first Incas, Manco Capac and his sister-wife Mama Ocllo, made their mystical appearances. The Isla del Sol is actually quite small as within a few hours you can cross it from north to south but landscape is nice and the villages there have a few hostels, hence my decision to spend a night on the island, which actually allowed me to catch up totally by luck with friends I had met a few weeks ago... The world is small and the tourist trail often the same...

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The inca path linked the south and north parts of the island

The inca path linked the south and north parts of the island


El Jaguar...

El Jaguar...


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Rémi and Edu snapping....

Rémi and Edu snapping....


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Posted by manolo84 20:17 Archived in Bolivia Tagged lakes islands english treks Comments (1)

Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca

Laguna 69 Trek


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While the Himalaya gets all the attention when it comes to high-altitude trekking, Peru's Cordillera Blanca offers the solitude of big mountains with far less people than in Asia. It's also a less-crowded alternative to the hordes headed to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail. The mountains take precedence here—the Cordillera Blanca are one of the most concentrated collections of big peaks in the Western Hemisphere, with 33 summits topping 5500 meters and 16 over 6000 meters, including 6768 meters Huascarán, the highest mountain in Peru, all squeezed into a 21 km-wide, 180 km-long corridor.

Having heard of all these features, I arrived on the 6th of October in Huaraz, at 3050 meters, the biggest city located near the Huascarán National Park (a UNESCO nature world heritage site) where many visitors from around the world arrive to the city to practise outdoors sports like climbing, hiking, snowboarding and also to visit the glaciers and mountains of the Cordillera Blanca.

Needless to say that at this altitude, you need at least a few days to acclimatise so before embarking for any challenging treks, I decided to do a one-day trek to visit the Laguna 69 and spend a few days in Huaraz wandering around the city. This trek wasn't too challenging as only 2,5 hours were needed to go up and 2 to go down, but we were rewarded by fantastic views and a lake of pure blue waters.

Here are a few pictures of the trek:

View of the Cordillera Blanca, from the bus

View of the Cordillera Blanca, from the bus


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The Pisco mountain is one of the famous climbs in the area

The Pisco mountain is one of the famous climbs in the area


Lots of cows around the trail, some are peaceful, some...well... better not to angry them!

Lots of cows around the trail, some are peaceful, some...well... better not to angry them!

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Laguna 69 in sight!

Laguna 69 in sight!


So blue....

So blue....


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At an altitude of 4400m, you're quickly out of breath when going up...

At an altitude of 4400m, you're quickly out of breath when going up...


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Waterfall   Sun = Great pictures

Waterfall + Sun = Great pictures


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Some crazy people jumping into the frozen water... <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_wink.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=';)' title='' />

Some crazy people jumping into the frozen water... ;)


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Better be careful with the cows when their calves are around...

Better be careful with the cows when their calves are around...


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Posted by manolo84 14:35 Archived in Peru Tagged mountains lakes nature english treks Comments (3)

Lago de Atitlán


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The next step of my travels took me to the Lake Atitlán, one of the most beautiful lake in the world, according to Aldous Huxley. I had several purposes for going there, the first of course was to admire the lake and its wonderful scenery (the lake, located at an altitude of 1500m, is surrounded by 4 volcanoes which give a surreal atmosphere to the lake), to relax and spend a week in a quiet place to try to do a bit of yoga, and also to take a week of spanish classes.

Guatemala is one of the cheapest places to learn Spanish (20h = 80$ with an individual teacher) and Santa Cruz de la Laguna, around the Lake Atitlán seemed to be the perfect location. Besides I had the opportunity to stay the entire week with a local Maya family, living and eating with them every day.

The whole experience was indeed really interesting, the family I stayed with was really nice and I now feel that my spanish has improved a lot, which is definitely going to help me for the next months when I will be travelling in the rest of Central and South America.

There is not much else to say as it a very quiet week so I will just let you admire the different photos I have taken that week, including a bonus video, lucky you! :)

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The morning were dedicated to study spanish, with an healthy breakfast and amazing view

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A little puppy which crossed my road one morning as I was hiking around the lake

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Making tortillas with the family I was staying with

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A part of the family which offered me shelter that week

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Posted by manolo84 16:25 Archived in Guatemala Tagged lakes nature volcanoes Comments (3)

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