26 Things to Love About New Zealand, Especially No. 16

26 Things to Love About New Zealand, Especially No. 16

After nine weeks in New Zealand, we found much to love. Here are just 26 of them. 1.  The many, well-marked picnic tables 2.  Hikes and walks of varying length and difficulty are everywhere and easy to find. 3.  Watching a bird of prey pick up a dead possum in the middle of the road while you’re driving 100 kph toward it becomes a routine occurrence after two weeks. 4. 

Our 6 Most Memorable Accommodations in New Zealand

Our 6 Most Memorable Accommodations in New Zealand

We stayed in a variety of places in New Zealand: hostels, holiday parks, campsites, private homes, and one hotel. Most of our nights were spent in the van, sometimes parked in scenic DOC sites and others in basic campsites with nothing more than a drop toilet and level ground. A few were truly memorable and we thought you might like some idea of the more unique accommodation options available to

Diving the Poor Knights Islands

Diving the Poor Knights Islands

Long strands of kelp hold fast to a wall while a strong current pushes the fronds back and forth. We’re hanging on, watching a school of kingfish and I’m letting the current bat me around, feeling like the underwater equivalent of a leaf blowing gently in the wind. Jen and Rachel, our local divemaster, are keeping their positions on one side of the wall but I’m loving the ride and

Glow Worms and Wetsuits

Glow Worms and Wetsuits

After finishing my undergraduate degree, I got a job at a travel agency. I never intended to make a career of it but I was barely 21 and this seemed as good a place as any to enter the full-time work force. The pay was abysmal and eventually, after 9/11, the work wasn’t much fun. But the friends I made, the experiences I had, and the knowledge I gained during

Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, long before its Lord of the Rings fame, has been referred to as New Zealand’s best one-day trek. We did a number of day walks throughout the country and I understand why this one is crowded with Kiwis and visitors alike. The terrain includes desolate stretches of barren rock and earth, a climb referred to as the Devil’s Staircase, traces of old lava flows, vibrant green

North Island Wine Tasting

North Island Wine Tasting

Our experience with wine tasting on the North Island was a bit different than that of the South. We didn’t hire bicycles because the cost was absurd; despite warmer weather on the North we chose reds over whites; and unlike the South Island, we were actually charged many of the tasting fees. But there were similarities: most of the wineries we visited were empty of visitors save the two of

South Island Wine Tasting

South Island Wine Tasting

Jen and I are no strangers to wine: we’ve been to more wineries than I can count, had two wine refrigerators at home fully stocked in addition to a rotating selection of reds, whites, and sparklings. So we were excited by the many opportunities here in New Zealand to taste – and drink – local wine. The first time we saw a sign reading Winery, I turned immediately into the

The Abel Tasman Coast Track

The Abel Tasman Coast Track

Some people come to New Zealand to hike the Great Walks. Tramping, as it’s called here, is easy to do with countless trails of varying length and difficulty. We’ve done our share of day hikes and easy walks but when we packed for this trip, we chose not to bring sleeping bags or camping gear. So when we decided to tackle a Great Walk, we figured the easiest one was

Finding a Silver Lining at Fox Glacier

Finding a Silver Lining at Fox Glacier

  The weather at Fox Glacier is fickle: clouds and rain give way to bright blue skies within minutes but then roll back less than an hour later. The tourism industry in this area depends on clear skies with helicopters and small planes only able to safely provide good views and the experiences customers seek when the sun shines. When we arrived in town, rain had blanketed the ground for