Monday, 19 February 2018

Roadmap - North and South islands

Departure time is getting close and the last details of places to visit are finalized. For 45 days, we are going to split our time between North and South islands. We've planned to go on hikes in forest, mountains, in the lowlands as well as near the cost. New-Zealand is also well known for extreme sports activities like sky-diving, rafting, canyoning... Let's have a look at our roadmap.

First Part - North island 'Te Ika-a-Maui'

We plan to arrive on February 21st in Auckland after 15h flight through Bangkok in Thailand. The first two days will be spent visiting Auckland before getting our hands on the car that will follow us for the rest of our trip.
Mainly, New-Zealand is made of beautiful landscapes. Many national and regional parks are to visit.
Below, the places we are planning on visiting with the main activities. Visiting caves, Canope Zipline, hiking and! for the fans of Lord of The Rings, visiting Hobbiton. 

DatePlaceMain activity
121/02 to 22/02Auckland-> Museum, Otara market, Art gallery, Town hall
-> Hiking Mt Eden (200m)  and One tree hill
223/02Waitakere Ranges Regional park-> Hiking, view point, waterfalls
324/02 to 25/02Coromandel Peninsula-> Hiking, view point, Hot water beach, rocks formation
426/02Hobbiton Area-> Hobbiton
-> Hiking
527/02 to 28/02Rotorua-> Zorbing - Hamster ball
-> Canope Zipline
-> Wai O Tapu Parc - geysers et hot springs
-> Maori experience
-> Hiking
701/03 to 02/03Turangi / Tongario-> Tongario Alpine crossing - 1Day hike
-> Waterfall
803/3 to 04/03Waitomo Area-> Caves
-> Hiking and waterfalls
905/03Waitara / Taranaki-> Hiking, view point, waterfalls
1005/03 - 08/03Egmont National Park / Taranaki-> Hiking and waterfalls
1209/03Down to Wellington region-> Rocks formations
-> Kaitoke (Lord of the rings landscape - Rivendell)
1310/03 - 11/03Wellington-> Museum, parlement, Cuba street art
-> Hiking
-> The Weta Cave (special effect stufio, lord of the rings)
1412/03Wellington region-> Putangirua Pinnacles (2h drive from Wellington - 100km)

North Island with spots to visit - click to enlarge

From Wellington, we will take the ferry to get to the South island in Picton.

Second Part - South island 'Te Wai Pounamu'

From his Maori's name 'Te Wai Pounamu' that means "the green stones rivers", the west cost of the highland is mainly mountains with the highest summit of New-Zealand - Mount Cook with 3,724 m. We are planning on doing a lot of hiking with sky-diving, kayak and rafting as a bonus. 

DatePlaceMain activity
113/03Picton-> Hiking and view point
214/03Nelson-> Artist village, church, art gallery, gardens
315/03Abel Tasman Area-> Kayak
416/03Hokitika and aeas-> Gorges, hiking, rocks formations
517/03Franz Glacier-> Hiking and view point
618/03 to 19/03Fox Glacier-> Hiking and view point
720/03 to 21/03Lake Wanaka-> Sy diving
-> Hiking 
822/03 to 24/03Queenstown-> garden, mall, Queenstown Arts & Crafts Market
-> Hiking
925/03 to 30/03Firodland National Park-> Kepler track 3-4 days
-> Hiking and view point
1031/03Mount Cook Area-> Hiking and view point
1101/04Lake Tekapo-> Church Sheperd
-> Hike to observatory
1202/04RangitataRangitata River Rafting
1303/04Mount Somers-> Mount Somers (LOR)
144/04 to endChristchurch-> Cathedral
-> Art gallery
-> Brockworth street art
-> Bridle path walk OR Gondola
-> Botanic garden + museum canterbury
South island with spots to visit

Our return flight is planned from Christchurch on April 7th via Singapore and Manila before getting back to Taipei. We will be sharing pictures and articles along the way, so make sure to follow our Facebook page Backpackgeeks, and subscribe to the Newsletter to receive the latest article out there. 

Friday, 16 February 2018

New-Zealand, here we go!

The year 2018 is going to be interesting and promise a lot of changes. After few years in Taiwan dedicated to our professional careers, it is time to take a break and get back on the road. New-Zealand is going to be our next destination for an epic road trip and enjoy the beautiful landscapes. 

Why New-Zealand? 

Since our three months spent in the Australian bush, New-Zealand has always been in our thoughts, especially mine. We heard from our friends, that spent a few months there, that New-Zealand is special and full of beauty. The landscapes are similar to the ones of Tasmania and it's worth giving it a try... Many years that the idea is going around my head and why not walking all around!  
However, New-Zealand is quite huge! Split in two main islands, North and South island, New-Zealand surface is about half of France with 270,000 km2. For my taiwanese friends, you can fit 7.5 times Taiwan into New Zealand.

Where is New-Zealand?

Located about 2,000 km from Australian coasts, New-Zealand is located in the South Pacific Ocean on the Southern hemisphere. This means that the seasons are reversed and that water turns in the opposite side in your sink! 


In few days! I couldn't write before to explain a bit more about the preparation of the trip. However most of the tasks are now organized. Just like we did for the preparation of the Australian road trip. Departure is planned for February 20th 2018.

In total, we will spend 45 days there to discover both of the main islands. To make travelling from point A to B easier, we are renting a car. Back then, when we travelled three months in Australia, the traveling time took us 15 days in total between train, bus and car - with the car it should be much faster.

What to visit in North Island

In term of accommodation, we've decided to camp for most of our nights there. That way we can be close to the nature and enjoy New-Zealand's unique landscapes.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Time lapses from Australia

In our previous posts, we explored in depth the technique we used to produce some nice time lapse video without having to use a fully fledged computer.

Today, is video time! Here are the collection of all time lapses recorded during the trip. Enjoy!
(Note: if you are reading this by email, visit the website if the video doesn't display properly in your email client)

Enjoy and Share if you like this! Next step will be to edit all of these together in one video. As soon as I get the time.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Creating time lapses on the road!

Today, we are back with a quick tutorial which I'm sure many of you will like.

What is a Timelapse?

Tim is quite a fan of time lapses, but what is that? Basically it consists of taking a lot of pictures with a few seconds between each, and then paste them together to create a movie.

The final result usually is mind blowing and helps to show what it was really like when we were somewhere special.

Making a timelapse without a computer

Today, you can make timelapses with your smartphone. There are tones of apps out there that allow to set a capture interval on your smartphone camera, and generate a video from it. But most of us have smartphones that remains mediocre for picture taking.

What if you want to use your digital camera but like me you are on the road and can't take your laptop with you?

Basically all you need is:
  1. A DSLR camera
  2. A smartphone or tablet with an app to render the timelapse (preferably with 3g so you can share what you produced)
.... Something is missing? Yes! You also need a way to transfer your pictures from the camera to your smartphone.

The ADATA Dashdrive AE400

We received one of these pocket drives from our partner ADATA before the trip.

I will be using the DashDrive to load the pictures from my SD-Card to my Smartphone.

Timapse without PC - Step by step

Instead of boring you with too much text, here is a picture tutorial on how to use the above listed gear to create Pro-like timelapses.

Step 1: Take the pictures with your camera
(You might want to get one of these cheap intervalometers from eBay - about $30)

Step 2: Wait and enjoy the sunset

Step 3: Transfer the pictures from the SD-Card to your Smartphone

Using the ADATA DashDrive,  insert the SD-Card and launch the ADATA DashDrive Elite app.

(Make sure that you have connected to the drive over WiFi. Default password is 12345678)

In the app, go to Pictures. This should load all the picture files you have on your card.

Click on one picture download icon (right)

and then if you only have the timelapse shots on the card (which I recommend), select all (small icon at the bottom left of the app) and hit the Download button.

Wait a bit, the time it transfers all shots to your phone. It took for me about 5-8 minutes for 280 shots.

Step 4: Load the files into the timelapse render app.

To render my timelapses, I use and recommend LapseIT Pro. Its just the best and easiest to use (believe me).

In the app, go yo Gallery, and click the load folder button (second icon at the top right)

Now, browse to the ADATA Elite folder where your pictures have been downloaded to. (The folder should be at the root of your phone's storage)

For me, I just had to click once on the "..." to find it.

The pictures are in that folder. Select it and import.

The new project with all the shots should appear in the app gallery.

Step 5: Edit, tune and render your timelapse

Now is a bit more personal time. Select your project and hit details. There you can adjust in different tabs the settings of your timelapse video.

For reference, I export always in "very high" quality, mp4 codec at 1080p full sensor. For the frame rate, I use 24, but 30 is fine.
This gives the best output.

When you are ready, go to the Render tab, name it and hit ... render!

Step 6: Wait, get a coffee or something it might take between 5 to 15 minutes depending of your phone for a 10 seconds timelapse.

Step 7: Share your pride!


Share this timelapse which I hope you love and enjoy!

Here is the final result:

More videos

So this is it for this tutorial. big thanks to ADATA our partner for this truly fantastic device!

We made a few more time lapses, but we keep this for another posts later next week. But if you can't wait, check here.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Oz, Epicness along the way

Along our three months of trip in Australia, we've got the chance to walk, sleep and live in strange and sometimes exceptional places. As our spendings for accommodation show, we spend most of our nights out in the tent and this resulted in visiting un-habitual spots. Our walks brought us to see breathtaking landscapes that are otherwise not accessible by car.

In this post, I'll try to summarize some of the most epic moments we've lived.

On hikes

Some of the places we've been to where just extraordinary. We walked about 917km to discover Australia and we've tried both car and hikes. Even though things are easy by car, there is a second truth to it ... you become lazy and you definitely don't see as much.

Among the best hikes we've done, here are the ones that will stay in out heads for a long long time:

  • 7 miles beach - NSW: 30 km in two days
  • Wine Glass Bay - Tasmania: 10 km
  • Lorne - Great Ocean Road - VIC: 25 km
  • Port Augusta - South Australia: 60 km in 4 days
  • Uluru - NT: 19 km
  • Kata Tjuta - NT: 14 km
  • King's Canyon - NT: 14 km
  • West MacDonnell Ranges: 56 km in 3 days (Larapinta Trail)
  • Katherine Gorge - NT: 33 km in 2 days


Then there are landscapes. Australia is all about landscapes and not matter if you travel by bus, train or car there are landscapes for every tastes. We will especially remember:

  • Caves and Scotland alike landscapes of Tasmania
  • The 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road
  • The l'Outback gateway with the Flinders Ranges and it's red sand (Port Augusta)
  • Cook and thé Nullabor Plain (flat, no trees, no water) and the longest straight train tracks in the world - 478 km long.
  • The South of Perth with it's turquoise water beaches and giant tree forests
  • The pinnacles, a scientific mystery
  • Uluru, Kata Tjuta and King's Canyon - the "must do" of Australia
  • West MacDonnel Ranges that were once as bug as the Himalayas - millions of years ago.
  • The giant thermite mouds of the Litchfield National Park
  • The many tropical forests, gorges and mountains all around Cairns that makes the place look like Taiwan
  • The Great Barrier Reef with tropical fishes and shells

Camping with a tent in Oz

With about 60 or so nights spent in the tent, it happen several times that we pitched it in some strange and fun places. This is clearly what made the adventure.
Early in the trip, we used to camp a lot on soccer fields (called ovals here). Ideally located, these field of fresh cut grass where ideal ... even though it happened that we needed to wait for the training to finish before setting up camp.

Then there was the parks. Australia invests huge amounts of money into their parks. Not just national parks but also city parks, botanical gardens etc. For example, the city of Adelaide is completely surround by parks.
Aside of Alice springs, where it is not "recommended" to sleep out in town, most of the city parks are safe to camp. We've pitched the tent for example directly in the Melbourne CBD - and one day we've been waken up by a strange noise ... the launch of balloons. Trust me, it's even more fun when you didn't noticed the launch pad on the evening!

Third there are the beaches. Being an Island, Australia is surrounded by water and there is a lot of beaches where you can camp without bothering anybody. We practiced camping on beaches in Tasmania, south of pert, Darwin and also Cairns. If you do this, make sure to check how high the ties comes in before getting to sleep!

Finally, the Outback. In the middle of nowhere with no living human kilometers around, the outback camping is a great experience. Sleeping in rocky mountains, forests, near lakes or within national parks - we kinda tried all of the possibilities. Be prepared to heard wild animal noises. Hoping kangaroos, howling dingos, possums and much more ...


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Key numbers of the gig

Before starting this trip, we decided to log as much as possible data from our trip with in mind to pull together statistics from it when the end would have come.
As many of you know, I like to play with numbers - Check this out!

For those of you that are not big fans of math, no worries .. me neither. I tried to set things up to make it fun and interesting to read. Let me know if you have questions along the way.

Trip analytics

What did a "standard" day looked like for us? We recorded everyday of the trip how distances were made. Either by walk, or using various means of transportations - it is quite interresting to see how the most time consuming part of the trip was spent.
Also, we kept detailed records of the money spent. The idea is to share with you these numbers and help you budget and plan for your own trip.


Spending wise,  we spent a total of 9,043AUD for this trip (which on todays rate accounts for 6,300Euros). 
As you can see, as we decided to camp, accomodation accounts for a ridicule part of the budget (only 1.7%). The biggest part is dedicated to transportation.

Australia being a large country, make sure to allocate sufficient founds for it!

Detailing our transportation spendings; On 40% total, 35% went into our train tickets, 32% for car rental (should be less if you are over 25yo, 17% goes in our plain tickets and finally 11% for public transportation within the cities.

Km counter

  • Transportation (train, car, bus, plane, boat): 28 272 km
  • Time spend on the road: 366 hours (15 days)
  • Distance made by walk: 917 km

Arid Botanical Garden - Port Augusta - South Australia

Key numbers

  • Longest distance walked: 25,7km in Lorne (Great Ocean Road) on Avril 30th 2013
  • Longest distance made in one leg: 4 352 km from Sydney to Perth from July 10th to 13th.
  • Longest leg: 67 hours on the Indian Pacific train from Sydney to Perth.

Hike in Lorne - VIC

On an average day

Overall, in 90 days, we made 314 km in 4 hours by transport (train, plane, boat, car) each day. We walked, (in towns or hikes) for 10 km and spent 50 $ each (35 Euros).

Monday, 22 July 2013

Our adventure in Oz step by step

Three months - that's the time it took us to accomplish this trip around Oz.
Three months - that's the right amount of time anyone should dedicate to visit Australia. Actually that's the minimum time you should allocate for it.

In this post, a quick overview of where we've been! Hopefully this will give you the taste of traveling in this great country!

The map

To start, find below a summary map of our track across Australia. As you can see, we passed several times through Perth - no wonder we ended up there as a conclusion of our trip.