Magical Waiheke Island
Daniel ‘Balu’ Kaiser is enjoying the easy going lifestyle on Waiheke Island PHOTO: Erin Boyle
by Erin Boyle
Daniel Balu Kaiser, known as Balu to his friends at Kina Backpackers, went out to Waiheke Island for just a few days. A month or so later he is still there, he even has a job at Kina cleaning the bathrooms!
And Balu isn’t in any hurry to leave a place that he calls magical.
“It will depend on each individual person but Waiheke has something special. I just came over here and didn’t know how long I was going to stay here, and now I am still not thinking about leaving.
“I think you can find nearly everything you would want here. Onetangi Beach and Kina Backpackers is so laidback and awesome. Public transport makes everything easy to reach and on Waiheke it really is just easy living.”
A nurse back home in Germany, Balu started his travels a bit later in life. At 25, he set off around Europe and then thought ‘the world is big, why not go for it’. So he decided to trek to one of the furthest points in the world, first to Australia and then he heard from a friend that New Zealand was a lovely place with friendly people.
Balu has managed to see a lot of the North Island, from Wellington to Hastings, Taupo, the East Cape and the Coromandel. Out of all the places he has been to so far, a couple of places have stood-out.
“I really enjoyed the Tongariro Crossing and Te Urewera National Park. But I haven’t been to the South Island yet so I still have lots to see.”
Time is ticking for Balu as he has to be back in Germany by the 1st of July. And while he has no set date to leave Waiheke, he is hoping to see a lot more of New Zealand. Although a small country, Balu says every place and part of New Zealand is so different that you are able to really enjoy everywhere you go.
“I want to go to Northland and see Cape Reinga. I also want to visit Raglan and then be back down in Wellington for the waterfront festival. In the South Island I want to go to the Abel Tasman National Park and Franz Josef Glacier.”
For Balu, his time in New Zealand has been wonderful but Waiheke Island has offered him something more.
“Here at Kina Backpackers you get up and it is the best view ever. And then it is easy to get down there for a swim. At it feels like a family here, a place you could call home. I love having Tiny the dog around too, I think he is keeping me here.
“All of New Zealand is friendly, but there is something special here. I can’t tell what it is, but I love it.”
His advice to backpackers new to the country?
“Go to Waiheke Island! It has got everything with nature surrounding you. I did not travel to see cities with millions of citizens, nature is why I came to New Zealand.”
Listen to Listen to his story on our latest podcast