New Zealand

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One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of Taupo’s destination adventures. A one-way trek shuttle and pickup is the mainstay business venture for a number of companies that operate out of Taupo; hundreds of enthusiastic outdoor tourists pay to have themselves taken out and picked up in order to complete the 19.4 km walk across the […]

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Kakariki – The Green House Effect

We managed to avoid detection in our nearly-private bush on the edge of Lake Taupo, but it felt like we should wake up early and pack up in order to avoid any unwelcome confrontation that might arise form our stealth camping setup. Looking back, Japan was really an easy place for stealth camping: a roadside […]

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Thermal By Bike, Part 2

We had thought we might go to Waiotapu thermal park but it was pretty expensive and we felt like we had seen plenty of thermal activity in Rotorua so decided to just get to Taupo (which was still about 54km away). We had a late start, stopped at a little cafe on the side of […]

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Thermal By Bike, Part 1

The next day, it was time to hit the road to Taupo, our next stop and first Wwoofing farm location of New Zealand, and we were lucky that part way was an actual cycle path: Te Ara Ahi, or Thermal By Bike. We had 37 km to our destination that night and the path was […]

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The Safest of Extreme Sports in Rotorua

So we were safely in Rotorua, exhausted from a crazy day and had plans to get up early in the morning, meet up with Al and Natalia and go zorbing! But we were both starving and hadn’t seen downtown Rotorua yet, so set off in the dark (it was dark by the time we settled […]

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A Series of Unfortunate Turns and a Rotorua Rescue

After our camper van adventure in the Northlands and our very restful and recalibrating stay with our friends in the Mount, it was time to finally hit the road and get back in the saddle again. We were both feeling pretty confident about the bike tune-up that we had gotten from a local bike shop: […]

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Tauranga Fortnight

After returning to New Zealand proper from our trip to Middle Earth, we headed north to Tauranga and into Mount Maunganui to visit with our wonderful friends (and eventual NZ hosts) Al and Natalia. I’ve known Al since 2007 when our paths crossed on a sweltering bus ride between Bangkok in Thailand and Siem Reap […]

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Speak, Friend, and Enter

While the story of Middle Earth can be more or less neatly superimposed over the geography of the United Kingdom, New Zealand boasts the actual geography¬†used in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the Lord of the Rings¬†books and his rather needlessly overextended version of The Hobbit. And what would a trip through New Zealand be without […]

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The Sun Also Rises Over Cathedral Cove

We had promised ourselves we would get up for the sun rise at Cathedral Cove. The alarm was set for 5:55, the instant coffee granules laid out in their cups and the water was ready in the kettle to be boiled on the gas. In New Zealand, the birds start singing hours before sunrise so […]

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Of Turquoise Beaches: The Coromandel

So the only thing that I knew about the Coromandel Peninsula before we arrived was that it was a coveted vacation spot for people entering radio contests. Three different radio stations had offered a weekend away in the Coromandel, and we weren’t even listening to the radio very often. I guess it does have an […]

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