After spending more than two weeks in New Zealand, I can definitively say that the best way to experience the pure nature of this country is through hiking. There are a network of well developed trails spread over the North and the South islands. From the volcanic terrain of Tongariro National Park, to the mountainous Rob Roy glacier, to the lush forests of Fiordland National Park; New Zealand has almost every type of hiking trail with picturesque and jaw dropping scenery. It was here that I developed a new found love for hiking. So it was bittersweet to know that these would be our last hikes in New Zealand. After 2 weeks of camping and hiking, I have to admit, I was ready to check into a hotel and relax at a spa, but the experience has taught me so many things and my appreciation for nature increased each time I pushed my body to the limit. Here are two of my favorite hikes in Fiordland National Park:
This week, I dug up some photos from our trip to Atlanta a few years ago. Since we rented a car, we decided to drive out to Tallulah Gorge for a short day-hike. This beautiful destination, filled with waterfalls, rock outcrops, and river cascades is one of the most popular trails in Georgia. The easy to follow 2 mile trail takes you across a suspension bridge, down towards the gorge and back out again.
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What I absolutely love about hiking in New Zealand is that it seems like no two trails are alike. Each one is challenging and great in its own unique way. So even though we ended up hiking almost every day, the experience felt different each time. There are tons of great day trails around the Wanaka area, and one of which is the Rob Roy Glacier track – the jewel of Mt Aspiring National Park. It’s hard to believe, but after after almost 2 weeks in New Zealand, I still couldn’t get enough of the picturesque mountains, sheer rock cliffs, hanging glaciers, and alpine valleys. Continue reading
I’ve never been an avid hiker; I have attempted a few short and long hikes over the years, but it wasn’t until I got to New Zealand that I realized how much I enjoy hiking. The South Island is known for its incredible trails with captivating scenery. Wanaka in particular has many must-do hikes, one of which is the popular Roy’s Peak, a rigorous uphill climb with breathtaking views of Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring, and the surrounding mountain peaks. The exertion and pain is rewarded when you’re standing on a trail overlooking the the best views in New Zealand.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is often promoted as New Zealand’s greatest single-day hike – maybe even the world’s. The spectacular 19.4 km track winds its way through the country’s oldest National Park and a dual World Heritage Area. The hike passes through alpine landscape, old lava fields, and even past a steaming volcano that erupted just three years ago. The place was made even more famous by its appearance in the Lord of the Ring movies as the setting for Mount Doom. Continue reading
We were excited to explore the rugged Australian wilderness and its spectacular natural beauty. One of those places is the Blue Mountain National Park, a designated World Heritage site, located about 95 km from Sydney. The mountain got its name from the distinctive blue haze in the surrounding atmosphere as a result of the densely packed forest of eucalyptus trees. Aside from the breathtaking view, the Blue Mountains also have many walking tracks perfect for hiking.
Today we left the Whitsundays behind and headed up north to Cairns. Upon leaving the airport, the first thing we noticed is how unbearably hot it is with the sun beating down on you relentlessly. Driving towards Port Douglas, the landscape was a mix of rainforest and sandy beaches, separated by a road in the middle. With the mountain ranges in the distance, it made me feel like I was in Hawaii again.
We spent the afternoon hiking around the Daintree rainforest. This is my favorite picture of the day because of the soft glow created by the afternoon sun filtering through the forest canopy. The ferns growing on the vine almost looks like hairs standing on end.
On the third day, we drove to the Blue Mountains and hiked on one of Australia’s finest bush walking trails. We descended vertically down the rock face into a valley where we were surrounded by lush greenery. Looking up we saw a stunning view of the cascading waterfalls.
This past weekend when my aunt in New Jersey asked if we wanted to go hiking, we jumped at the opportunity. Even though it’s Fall, in the city the leaves are still green from the warmer weather, so I couldn’t wait to see the changing foliage in the mountains. Since we don’t have a car, this is also a chance for us to explore other hiking trails further away from the city. We are definitely making the most out of our hiking shoes! Continue reading