Trip Report: New Zealand

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It’s not an exaggeration to say that New Zealand is without a doubt the most beautiful country I have ever been to! This incredibly diverse country has it all – mountains, forests, lakes, volcanos, fiords, beaches,  and the list goes on and on.  All of this nature can be easily accessed by well maintained hiking trails found throughout the country. Continue reading

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New Zealand: Wellington to Hokitika

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When we first started planning the trip, we decided to not book anything in advance in order to allow ourselves some flexibility.  It worked out for the most part, and we were able to change our itinerary as we went along.  Our determination to go with the flow was really tested on this leg of the trip where everything was turned topsy turvy and we had to scramble to make lots of last-minute changes.  Luckily or unluckily (depending on how you look at it) we are no strangers to dealing with problems that arise while traveling

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New Zealand: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

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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

New Zealand: Rotorua

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After a short visit to the home of the hobbits, we continued on to Rotorua, a city best known for its dynamic thermal activity and Maori culture.  Its location in the middle of an active Taupo Volcanic Zone, makes Rotorua a geothermal hot spot. The intense subterranean heat feeds into the numerous natural vents, hot pools, and mud pits found in and around the area.  The concentration of hydrogen sulphide emission gives it it’s nickname as the “Sulphur City”. Even with the unpleasant “rotten eggs” smell that lingers in the air, Rotorua is still one of the most popular and most frequented cities in the North Island.   Continue reading

New Zealand: Hobbiton

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For the second leg of our trip, we packed up all of our belongings and headed for Hobbiton.  Before I start the article, let me caveat:  I am a big fan of the Lord of the Rings; I’ve watched all the movies and read all the books.  In fact, before coming to New Zealand Fausto and I re-watched all the movies in anticipation of our visit to the Hobbiton movie set.  This place is the number one tourist attraction in New Zealand, and for good reason.  Even for people who have not immersed themselves in the world of Middle Earth, this absolutely beautiful imagining of The Shire made it a must visit. For the LOTR fans, a visit to the home of the hobbits is a fantasy come true. Continue reading

New Zealand: Coromandel

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Kia Ora – hello and welcome back.  So glad you can join us for the first leg of our epic New Zealand road trip in a campervan.  Sticking to our plan of staying away from the bigger cities, we decided to pick up our van from the airport in Auckland and drive straight over to Coromandel Peninsula.  After a very long 20 hour flight from New York, that might not have been the best idea in hindsight but we managed anyway. We drove for 3 hours in the pouring rain and made it to Cook’s beach with just enough time to celebrate Fausto’s birthday before we both passed out. Continue reading