We follow another Israeli traveler story – This time we’ll check up on Yehuda, a former IDF tank commander, and officer that came to New Zealand to hike the highest mountains. Here’s his story of New Zealand.
I’ve had served for four years in the IDF before I took the flight to New Zealand. I started traveling one month ago. I landed in a place that’s called sweet as home; that’s the time I met Dror who also helped me buy a car for the trip. I spent a night there and spent the Shabbat in Chabad house. The following Sunday I set sail and started driving south. I wanted to hike each and every mountain the is to hike in New Zealand. I left with a friend that already traveled around here to the first destination – Coromandel.
Eiran (the friend) and I went to the Coromandel to hike the Pinnacles. We went all the way up, saw the view of all of the Coromandel Penninsula (It was beautiful) and started going south. We went to the Hot and Cold site right next to Rotorua and enjoyed streams of hot sulfur water with cold ones. That was a lot of fun and very relaxing. Next stop – Tongariro.
Eliran took me to the Tongariro at 7 AM (he already went there) and I started to hike my way up. But I didn’t just hike my way up – I ran it. I’m still in pretty good shape from my army service so I had no problem. A 7-8 hour course took 3 and a half; I ran up, ran down no problem – but one. I got my right knee injury on my way down. I only noticed it on my way down.
I didn’t let that interrupt me. After a few days rest, I tried to hike in other tracks like the Muller track. I carried a small pain in my knee, but I met an Indian traveler that moved to New Zealand. We spoke about the reasons each one of us left its country; temporary for me, and permanently for him. We marched together to the top of one of the coldest peaks I ever been in my life. We passed through two Israeli girls on the way that had a little rough time. They took their time; I think they learned the lesson I was currently learning.
The knee still bugged me so I took easier tracks. I went to Able’s Tasman, Roy’s peak, Joseph’s Glacier (where you don’t go on the glacier, just view it from close by), Lake Matheson, Metukituki and skydove in Queenstown. In every place that I’ve been lucky. Blue sky, with wonderful weather and saw the most I could in the month and a half here. I decided that my next destinations are India and Nepal. I’m currently staying in Christchurch’s Chabad house, sold my car to a local and checking out good flights to India.
The best advice I’ll give to Israeli travelers is to take your time, buy some walking sticks and don’t count on your knees. They might have done a great job while you were in the army but they might not do it again. Don’t take your chances – take your time, enjoy the view and plan your trip in the Kiwi way – no worries. When you get into that mindset, you could climb any mountain (but it might take a while).
I thank God for this wonderful trip to New Zealand and can’t wait to go to India. I wonder what kind of experience would be. I talk to my family constantly and I plan to come back to Israel in May or June. Thank you New Zealand, and I’ll keep you updated about my trips!
Israeli Travelers Story – Some things you should know
Every now and then we’ll post some Israeli travelers stories. This is the story of Yehuda – an Israeli tank officer that started traveling the world. If you want to learn more about travelers you could check out our Israeli travelers’ blogs and read about other blog posts like the Bara’am family. If you want to appear in our blog, you are most welcomed to do so by contacting us.