Day 186: Abel Tasman

I’ve long wanted to visit Abel Tasman, located north on the south island.  I’ve heard many wonderful things as well as seen some amazing photos of this area.  Once we arrived though, it was almost overwhelming to choose what to do, as there are so many different treks you can take in this area.  We finally settled on one that we thought would be challenging but not overwhelming for the younger children. The drive to the starting off point (northeast Abel Tasman) was a bit hair-raising, as we were driving in a campervan… Read More

Day 183: From Bloggers to Friends – New Zealand

When we finally decided to do a Round the World trip, I was hungry to know who else had done it and how they had accomplished it!  I started researching online and stumbled upon a fantastic blog.  The authors were a family from Portland, Oregon (Jason and Kerri) who had made the same decision but were doing it for two years with their daughter, Sydney.  Their blog, http://www.travel-junkies.com was a fantastic resource but I also just enjoyed reading about their family, their decision-making process, and their experiences.  I soon began following their… Read More

Day 179: Lake Tekapo

Ok, so I’m jumping ahead a bit, but I could hardly keep from posting this shot of Lake Tekapo! The photo doesn’t come close to describing what it is really like! The colors…wow!! And all this on a rather cloudy day!  I wonder what it would be like on a bright, sunny day.  I am so overwhelmed by the beauty of New Zealand! Lake Tekapo is famous for it’s gorgeous blue/turquoise colored water and amazing purple, pink, and yellow lupine flowers.  It’s all rather stunning and difficult to take in.  You can just… Read More

Day 178: Tongariro Photoblog

Tongariro National Park is a fabulous destination and definitely one to put on your list!  There are several short walks, even trails that lead to waterfalls.  And then there’s the more famous “Tongariro Alpine Crossing” which goes from one end of the park to the other, and can take between five to eight hours to complete.  The trails offer stunning vistas and you’ll even recognize areas from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, as many scenes were filmed here. We were not able to do the complete crossing, so I’ll reserve my comments… Read More

Day 176: Wai-o-tapu Geothermal Wonderland

Wai-o-tapu Geothermal Wonderland is quite likely one of New Zealand’s most colorful, most diverse geothermal experiences.  This must-see destination is located close to both Rotorua and Taupo and offers three different walks of varying lengths that highlight the geysers, hot springs, and volcanic activity New Zealand is famous for.  The walks are relatively easy, though they could prove to be challenging to those who have problems with mobility. At Wai-o-tapu, you will find intensely colored springs, bubbling mud pits, and steam rising throughout.  The greens, reds, oranges, and yellows are almost unbelievable and… Read More

Day 175: The Coromandel Area, New Zealand

The Coromandel area in New Zealand is lovely.  We could have spent a week there and still not run out of things to explore!  Below are a few of our favorite not to miss areas. First off, the windy, twisty long way up to the Coromandel (route 25 on the west side of the Peninsula).  The views are just stunning, if not a bit scary.  You don’t have to use this route to arrive into the Coromandel area, as there is a much easier, more direct route, but the views are worth… Read More

Day 173: Hobbiton New Zealand

J.R.R. Tolkien.  Author of some of our favorite books, now turned movies.  A favorite of all of ours, how could we not visit New Zealand, where the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were filmed?  The scenery in the movies made the books come to life and we were captivated with the thought of visiting some of the same locations in which these movies were made.  Truth be told, we had never really considered New Zealand as a destination before viewing the movies. And then there was Hobbiton!  Should we or shouldn’t… Read More

Day 170: Campervan Living in NZ

So, after much research and talking to friends and new contacts, we decided to go the Campervan route in New Zealand.  With two adults, four kids, and so much to see and do in New Zealand, we thought it would be crazy to keep moving from hotel to hotel, unpacking, packing, and inevitably leaving something behind at each destination!  So…here’s a little bit of our experience.  Enjoy. With campervans, you can either pay to stay at a campsite (which often provides showers and restrooms, as well as electrical plug ins and dump… Read More

New Zealand Through Danny’s Eyes

Hot water beach On the second day of our journey in NZ we went to…Hot Water Beach!!!  As we walked to the beach from our camper van, we saw a very big black eel in a lake about 30 meters from the beach!  None of us got pictures I think because we hurried to the beach. When we got there, there were jacuzzis already dug up for us! The water under the sand was warm and hot.  The first jacuzzi we got in was a little too cold so me moved on… Read More