South Island Detours

One my favorite things about road trips, and New Zealand road trips in particular, is the opportunity for spontaneity, the ability to go at your own pace and all of the incredible things you encounter when you deviate from 'the plan' and go with the flow. I learned this on my first trip across the West Coast of the South Island with my parents, discovering hidden gems along the way. And it was even more true this second time around with Joe, Jeff and Ashley.

Return to Mordor

One does not simply walk into Mordor – she hikes, hobbles, trips, slips, gets back up and continues forward. In the end, it’s all worth it.

Somehow what was supposed to be a long relaxing holiday weekend in Lake Taupo turned into 7 hours of hiking nearly 18km across an active volcano. But I have no regrets!

The Chronicles of Coromandel

The day my parents arrived in New Zealand was the first time I’d seen sun in weeks. We’d had an unusual series of ongoing storms that had left me feeling a little anxious about what their New Zealand experience would be. Let’s just say I’d been building up with blue water and sunny weather for months.

Flying Fox: Helihike adventures on Fox Glacier

There are few times in my life that I get so excited and smile intensely for so long, that my face starts to hurt. My dad calls it my “dolphin face” (see exhibit A), because he’d never seen me so excited, as the time I swam with dolphins. Riding in a helicopter over Fox Glacier was another one of those times.

Lava Me Now or Lava Me Not

For my little sister's last full day in New Zealand before returning to school back in the states, she wanted to do something AWESOME and adventurous. No problem. We should be able to find something within a 3-hour radius. We should probably go to a volcano, right? Make that Mt. Raupehu, the largest active volcano in New Zealand, which last erupted in 2007. Mount Doom! (For all of you Lord of Rings fans out there.)

Buried Village, Digging Up more Adventure!

Before we left Roturua, we made a final stop at the Buried Village. The Buried Village was established by a European Christian missionary in the 1840s and was a model village where both Maori and European settlers lived. In 1866, Mt. Tarawera erupted burying the village and more than 150 people in its mud and ash. The eruption also took with it, the eighth wonder of the world: The Pink and White Terraces.