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06.03.2020 Happy reunions. The journey back to New Zealand felt like going home, and we were looking forward to seeing not only our bikes, but also some familiar faces again. Our scout friend Duncan collected us from Christchurch Airport and gave us the box full of gear that he had stored for us after the Jamboree. We stayed with our December hosts Angela and Derek again and picked up our bicycles at Lyn's. Before we fully turned from tourists back into cyclists, we met up with Nici, who we had spent Christmas Eve with, and Paul. He is a local scout we also got to know at the Jamboree, and he took the three of us to the National Scout Museum in Kaiapoi. The museum is a little gem, with lots of pictures, documents, badges, scarfs and other objects related to scouting in New Zealand and overseas on display, and even more potential exhibits hidden in storage rooms. The crux of the matter is that the building has just been sold and the museum is to be relocated in the near future. So at the moment it is closed to the public and in need of a complete overhaul. It is only thanks to Paul that we could visit it, and see little treasures like original notes and sketches by Lord Baden-Powell, the man who founded the scout movement in 1907. Then, after the first three days of cycling, we reached the place of Josh and Meriam in Temuka. They were our hosts in Palmerston North and are now building a tiny house here on the South Island. Although we could not help them a lot with the project, it was interesting to get to look at it, and really good to see these guys again! #scoutbound #newzealand #nz #christchurch #temuka #kaiapoi #scouts #dpsg #mountsomers #texaco #burkespass #tinyliving #tinyhome

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28.02.2020 Thank you for choosing Australia. When people asked us what we were doing in Australia, our answer was often that we were taking a holiday from our actual (cycling) holiday im New Zealand. We said this, for example, when we introduced ourselves to the Cub Scouts of Port Melbourne. We had contacted the scout group and been invited to a regular Tuesday meeting of their 7- to 10-year-olds. That evening, they had a beach clean up on their agenda, so we happily gave them a hand, and of course we told them a little about ourselves and our travels. When hearing about the nature of our side trip to Australia, one of the Cubs piped up and said, 'Thank you for choosing Australia.' Our stay in Melbourne marked the end of our time in Oz, and the day out in the port area was only one of many highlights. We also loved the Botanical Gardens, Melbourne Museum, AC/DC Lane and other street art hotspots, the Federation Bells – which come with an app so anyone can sound them and play tunes in real time – as well as a trip to Abbotsford Convent with Meike and Andrea of our Carola sailing crew. And what will forever have a special place in our memories is seeing the 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' play at Princess Theatre on two consecutive evenings – a truly magical experience!  Thank you, Australia, for being so much fun and not as hot, dry and barren as we had imagined. However, we are really looking forward to flying 'back home' to New Zealand tonight. Although we happened to have extremely nice roommates in Melbourne, we are happy to no longer depend on hostels, intercity buses and 'the beaten track' (as we did most of the time in Australia), but to pick up our tent, camping gear and bikes and travel with more freedom again. #scoutbound #austalia #melbourne #portmelbourne #scouts #dpsg #princesstheatre #hpcc #flinderstreetstation #flinderstreet #federationsquare #federationbells #streetart #acdc #acdclane #skyline #reflection

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23.02.2020 Stones and water. We decided that in between all the city hopping it would be cool to see some more of Australia's great outdoors, and at our own pace. So we rented a car and set out for a trip along the Great Ocean Road, a scenic coastal drive of about 250 kilometres to the south-west of Melbourne. To our delight, we were joined by Meike, the third German crew member on sailing yacht Carola, and her British friend Heather. They brought tents, mats for everyone, and a stove, so we could make it a real camping road trip despite most of our own gear being in New Zealand. We had the car for about four days and did not make it all the way to the final point in Warrnambool, but turned around at London Bridge. Along the way, we stopped to see the major attractions of the Great Ocean Road: beautiful and unique rock formations like the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and, as we started to say towards the end of the trip, 'some more rocks and some more water'. It was great to be back in the camping business again. We had a rather rainy and cold first night and never stayed right on the coast, but in return we paid low or no fees, made tea and tasty dinners on our stove, explored a waterfall that was just a little morning walk away, and saw colourful parrots and kangaroos from up close. Telling by the kangaroo droppings, Australia's most iconic marsupials seemed to be regulars at one campsite, and indeed three of them hopped past our car and tents at nightfall – tall, powerfully built and thus slightly intimidating, but as far as we can say totally peaceful. #scoutbound #austalia #greatoceanroad #twelveapostles #lochardgorge #roadtrip #waterfall #parrot #beach #stones #pacificocean

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18.02.2020 First Nations and the state. Until the 1970s(!) children of Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders were forcibly taken away from their families by the state to assimilate them into the white community. They are known as the Stolen Generation. Native Australians were first included in the census in 1967 – before that they were not counted as members of the nation's population, but allegedly regarded as part of the flora and fauna. European s.ettlers arrived, declared the territory 'terra nullius', uninhabited land, and started to divide it between themselves. In some instances, the new arrivals did try to trade and make deals with the natives, who they thought must be in a position to sell or give them some land. What the colonists did not understand, however, is that in the indigenous way of thinking land cannot be possessed, and thus not sold or handed over among human beings. Australia is another place where the indigenous people were misunderstood, disregarded and treated inhumanely in the past. Today, the First Nations flag and indigenous art are visible everywhere. Guides start their tours by paying respect to the traditional owners of the land they are standing on. Things have improved, and some wrongs have been righted. Nevertheless, Aborigines are still fighting for recognition, equality and wellbeing today. During our short stay in Australia's capital Canberra we visited the national parliament and walked through the wide greens and parks around it. Several objects in Parliament House and monuments in the park remind visitors of the almost extinct cultures and Australia's dark history. #scoutbound #australia #canberra #parliament #firstnations #aborigines #stolengeneration #reconciliationplace #capital #flag #flags

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16.02.2020 Water wonderland. Three days ago, we left Sydney for Katoomba, a little township in Blue Mountains National Park which is usually only a comfortable two-hour direct train ride away from the city. However, the heavy rainfalls that we had witnessed in other places had caused floodings and landslides and also damaged the railway line out there, which is why passengers now have to change to buses at some point. Sitting spectacularly close to the edge of a huge, forest-filled canyon, Katoomba is a vibrant little place with quaint bars and cafes, numerous outdoor shops, and an impressive arts scene. And just outside the town there is a dense network of scenic walking trails that make outdoor enthusiasts' hearts pound. They combine boardwalks, sandy and rocky tracks, over- and undercliff walks with bridges, stepping stones and stairs. Hiking there means walking between fragrant eucalyptus trees, taking in stunning views of impressive rock formations and endless green forests from one of the countless lookouts, spotting birds and lizards in the bush, and, above all things, seeing some amazing waterfalls.  We did not get to freely choose a route, as some trails were closed due to flood damage, but we eventually followed the Prince Henry Cliff Walk to Katoomba Falls and Leura Cascades on our first full day and hike around Wentworth Falls the second. Locals informed us we were actually lucky to see the waterfalls at that precise moment in time, because they were bigger and prettier than ever with all that extra rainwater. And apart from these enormous, literally jaw-dropping wonders of nature, there were puddles, streamlets and inviting pools all along the way.  Today we visited the highly interesting portrait galleries and the World Heritage Exhibition at the Blue Mountain Cultural Centre before saying goodbye to our charming hosts from Nepal, and Katoomba. Next stop: the capital. #scoutbound #austalia #katoomba #bluemountains #waterfall #auntyeds #streetart #bushwalk #scouts #dpsg

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13.02.2020 Sydney sightseeing. It was around midnight and after a six-hour journey that our intercity coach entered an urban area and eventually crossed a steel bridge. When, down below, we suddenly caught sight of the world-famous sails of the illuminated Opera House, we knew we had reached Sydney, and were just travelling across equally iconic Harbour Bridge. Of course we were quite eager to go and explore the city the next day – however, all those plans were upset by the weather. It had been raining again and again since Friday, but on Sunday, it was coming down in sheets all day, supposedly unlike anything Sydney had seen in 30 years. We stayed in our hostel for most of the day and only ventured out in the evening for some groceries, still in the pouring rain, wading through ankle-high puddles and past overflowing drains. Thankfully, the sky had cleared up the next day and so we could set out for three days of sightseeing. It was great to see the Opera House and other monuments from close up and stroll through the parks and different quarters, some historic, some very modern. Our personal highlights were the large model of the city displayed at Customs House, the refreshing water park in Darling Quarter, a guided tour through the indigenous art section in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, a shipwreck walk, as well as a visit to the area that hosted and still commemorates the Olympic Summer Games in 2000. It was fun to look for famous names at the medallist memorial; and we also had our little moment of triumph as part of the winning team at our hostel's quiz night – cheers to our three teammates from England! Going places in Sydney is very easy as there is a dense network of tram, train, bus and ferry lines, and instead of buying tickets, passengers can simply tap on and off with their credit cards. Also, transport will never cost more than about ten euros a day, and on Sundays the cap is as low as two euros. One more reason why this afternoon, we are going to embark on a little side trip and travel to the Blue Mountains by train. #scoutbound #austalia #sydney #harbourbridge #opera #sydneyoperahouse #sydneyolympicpark #artgallerynsw #shipwreck #brickpit

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08.02.2020 Thank God, it's raining. Rainy days in Australia! What a change after two weeks of sunshine, straw hats, sweat and swimwear. And what bad luck for Port Macquarie, a town we got to know in mostly wet and dreary weather, as if it were not already difficult enough for a little place like this to stand out against other destinations on our way, such as Brisbane and Sydney. But for several reasons, we had a fabulous time there. One reason was the sociable and chatty atmosphere at the little hostel where we stayed – and apart from the friendly staff, it was maybe also the rain outside that created a sense of community within. However, the weather still allowed for an exploration of the town's most important attractions: We followed the scenic coastal walk along Port Mac's nine beaches and up to the little lighthouse, and visited the local koala hospital. Although it is no longer legal to hunt them for their fur, koalas are on the verge of becoming an endangered species due to deforestation, fires, motor vehicle accidents, dog bites and contagious disease. These days the number of patients at this specialised clinic is at an all-time high because of this summer's extreme bushfires, which are still not fully contained but will hopefully be easier to battle now that it is raining. And finally, we had the chance to meet the Venturers of the local Sea Scout group, who invited us to join them for a scavenger hunt and see their scout hall and boat shed. And the next day, their leader Daniel and his wife went out of their way and showed us the green surroundings of the town by car. Admittedly, the view from North Brother Mountain would have been a lot better in dry weather, but it was most fascinating to see Daniel's workplace: a tiny rural primary school with 26 students, two classrooms, a vegetable garden, animals like pigs and chicken, as well as a 3D printer! #scoutbound #austalia #australien #scouts #seascouts #dpsg #portmacquarie #coastalwalk #lighthouse #koala #koalahospital #school #oldschool #toocoolforschool

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04.02.2020 Seaside fun and surfing. Beautiful long beaches, surfing hotspots, unique wildlife and nature, sunshine all day long: These are some of the things that come to our mind when thinking about Australia. So after visiting Brisbane we happily moved on from the bustling big city life to the airier seaside, with nice beaches and the opportunity to give surfing a go. On our way south we hopped off the bus in a place called Surfers Paradise and stayed in Mermaid Beach with Vivian and Roberto, a Brasilian couple who moved there for work just one year ago. We relaxed some days at the beach, strolled through the night market, went for sunset runs and had a Brasilian barbecue, called churasco, with our temporary flatmates. We did not try surfing, however, until we arrived in Byron Bay, where we have now been for the past four days. Byron Bay has numerous beaches, some with bigger waves and others with moderate and rather predictable waves that are perfect for the first surf lessons. So we enjoyed learning, and we really liked the vibe of Byron Bay in general. It is a typical surfers' town with a lot of buskers, art shops, yoga schools, 'green' shops, outdoor markets, cafes, bars, places to chill out, and of course beaches. At one of them we had an awesome silent disco evening, dancing in the sand and the ocean under a sky of stars. Today is the first day of rain since we arrived in Austalia, but the poor weather makes leaving Byron Bay a little bit easier. Tomorrow we are going to take the bus to Port Macquarie, probably our last stop before Sydney, always keeping our eyes open for more of the things we associate with Australia. #scoutbound #australia #australien #surfersparadise #goldcoast #mermaidbeach #miamimarketta #byronbay #surfing #lighthouse #busker #poolboy

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26.01.2020 Australia Day.  On our last day of sailing, Panta's captain Micha dropped us off in a remote bay on Tawharanui Peninsula. We made our way across rocks and private property to a small road and then embarked on a short hitchhiking adventure, destination Auckland. Luckily, friendly and helpful Kiwis are never hard to find, so about two hours and three rides later we reached the city and stayed there for one last night in New Zealand.  Catching a flight out of the country at this point felt very odd and way too early. However, our three-month visitor visas were about to expire, so we had to leave, and having travelled all the way to the other side of the planet, we thought we might as well visit Australia for about a month, and then go back. Our arrival in Brisbane coincided with Australia Day, so we were greeted by jolly Aussies in fancy hats and shirts, by street parties, live music and fireworks. The highlight of the Story Bridge street party was a series of cockroach races, where people gathered to bet on which (real, living) cockroaches would be the fastest ones to crawl from centre to edge in some sort of circular boxing ring. However, while attendees were busy coming up with hilarious names for the tiny athletes and at best enjoying a brief moment of glory on the winners' podium, other Australians did not feel like celebrating at all: Indigenous Australians took to the streets in several cities to voice their concerns about Australia Day. The birth of today's nation, marked by the arrival of British colonists in 1788, can only be called a glorious thing from a non-native point of view, and so 26th January is alternatively referred to as Invasion Day. Colonisation marked a decisive turning point in both New Zealand and Australian history, and we are eager to learn more about how things evolved and are dealt with in Oz today. #scoutbound #austalia #australien #brisbane #australiaday #invasionday #storybridgehotel #bagpipes #storybridge #cockroach #cockroachraces #cockroachrace #fireworks #southbank #scouts #scoutplace #dpsg

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22.01.2020 Bye-bye boat life. Our two weeks aboard Carola have come to an end, and we will definitely miss our fellow crew members and the awesome times we had with the gang. Thanks to Jo, our marvellous captain, who is an excellent teacher that soon trusted her crew enough to let us do most of the steering, trimming and tacking during the day. And on top of this, she treated us to freshly baked bread rolls now and then, and played the violin for us! When sailing, there was always time to read and chat, play games and take naps, and in the mornings and evenings we could relax in the hammock, go for walks, runs and swims, or give the paddleboard a go. Grocery shopping was always something out of the ordinary, as we did not do it often and stocked up for many days at a time, taking heaps of provisions back to the boat in our inflatable dinghy. In Marsden Cove marina, we gave our floating home a thorough cleaning, installed a bigger front sail and wind cups, completed a couple of other maintenance jobs and also did some laundry, with our clothes drying on long lines on deck. We used the marina's shower facilities and even decided to give some crew members a new haircut, making both Carola and everyone aboard sparkling clean from keel to mast. Yesterday we vacated our berth bed on Carola for new crew, Maude and Silvain from Switzerland. We are now staying with Micha on Pantagruel, enjoying two extra days on sea, and more wildlife encounters: This morning, on our way to Kawau Island, we came across a large school of dolphins! It was simply breathtaking to see these beautiful animals jump around and swim with our boat for at least an hour. And during a walk on Kawau we spotted wallabies, hopping through the bush as if to foreshadow our next adventure: a short side trip to Australia! #scoutbound #nz #newzealand #neuseeland #sailing #yacht #pantagruel #carola #dolphins #kawau #crew #dpsg

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