Packing Tips for New Zealand

My trip to Kiwiland was a challenge in many ways. It was my first solo trip, first time staying in hostels, and first time making my own itinerary (which was extremely exciting, for I love to plan things). Also a challenge because I forced myself to pack lightly! Now, after living out of a 36L…

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…

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…

Queenstown: Day 4

Today ended up being a wicked adventure. My plan was to go for a short walk/do some easy sightseeing and then spend the rest of the afternoon lounging down by the waterfront. (Tryin’ to get my tan on!) Well, that didn’t happen. I took a wrong turn on the trail and ended up on the…

Queenstown: Day 1

My first full day in Queenstown! What to do?! In the morning I joined up with another girl from my hostel, and together we hiked up Queenstown Hill. The lady at the front desk had told us this was the more gradient, easier hike to do. Um, yikes! It was pretty steep by my own…