Middle Earth, alpine valleys and geothermal landscapes are always hogging the attention when it comes to New Zealand 'must-do's', but how often do we get to see New Zealand's tropical side? Just a 2 1/2 hour drive north of Auckland lies Tutukaka, Middle Earth's exotic older sister with a few postcard-perfect views up her sleeve.
Māori culture is so engrained in Kiwi life. It’s in the names of the cities, in the every day phrases, the sporting events, churches, and schools. Almost every natural landmark has a Māori legend behind it.
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 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.
I’m sitting on the Interislander Ferry headed to Wellington on the North Island, from Picton on the South Island. I’ve got my new birthday hiking boots propped up on the ledge, as I admire the passing mountains over the deep turquoise water.
Have you heard the news? We've got some pretty important people staying in New Zealand over the next few weeks... the Royal Family, and of course, my mom and dad. ;) So much to get excited about!