Backpacking Ancient Polynesia

by Christoph Gassner

You may call it “down-under” (also), or “ancient Polynesia” (referring to the indigenous Polynesian inhabitants of this area), or just New Zealand, Cook Islands and French Polynesia (Tahiti). Anyway, it´s just on the “other side” of the world from my standing point of view. Beside Sydney (to have some decent christmas-beers with colleagues Bernhard and Herbert / Garvan institute / Sydney), the area itself has never been travelled by me before and therefore, curiosity and expectation of this remote “paradise” was huge.

The colour “green”, vulcanic activity, hiking (Tongariro Crossing – including 2.287 m, “Lord of the Rings – Mt. Doom” – Mt Ngauruhoe), Mauri culture and food are definitely the highlights of New Zealand.

However, meeting German Nadine and Anja and Dutch dive-guide Rob(ert) on Aitutaki of the Cook Islands truly made this stay “paradise-like”. I am already missing the party-mood and look forward to see my mates again!

Moving from Commenwealth to French Polynesia changed habits dramatically. It was funny to encounter the old English-French rivalry in the middle of the South Seas. With respect to myself I enjoyed Tahitian “baguette” and “café au lait” and the pronounced “laissez-faire”-mood very much. I also found, that the quality of Tahitian or Moorean beaches can hardly be topped.