The Tongariro Crossing

On a Wednesday morning in March I began my eight-hour trek across lava and ash in the land of Mordor New Zealand’s oldest national park—Tongariro. This area is part of the Taupo Volcanic Field, and in the park there are three main volcanoes: Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe (pronounced nar-uh-ho-ee), and Mt Tongariro. The geology of…

LotR EE Tour with Flat Earth

Fellow nerds, read on. If you aren’t a huge Lord of the Rings geek though, this post may bore you to pieces. The Extended Edition tour with Flat Earth was the best guided Lord of the Rings scene location tour that I’ve done in my whole time here. My guide was clearly just as excited as I…

Wellington Wanderings

Leaving the South Island behind, I jumped on the Interislander Ferry and sailed off to “Windy Wellington.” There I stayed in the cozy flat of my friends Keri and Alex—not a hostel! Yay! Feeling a bit burnt out on taking tours, I wandered the city on my own and based loosely on recommendations from the…

Kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park

I spent my only full day in the Nelson area at Abel Tasman National Park, kayaking on the pristine turquoise waters and admiring the golden sandy beaches. I would not have traded this day for anything, it was perfect! Since I was staying in Nelson, about an hour away from the park, I was able…

Two Days in Franz Josef

The Maori name of the Franz Josef Glacier is Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere, which means “Tears of Hinehukatere.” Hinehukatere was an adventurous girl who loved to climb the mountains, and her sweetheart Wawe followed her even though he wasn’t a great climber. Wawe fell to his death and Hinehukatere was devastated and her tears were frozen…