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New Zealand

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3 Must Do Experiences In Far Northland

TRAVEL DESTINATION: Far Northland, North Island, New Zealand TRAVEL DURATION: 1 Day Trip / Weekend Getaway During these winter months, we’re probably all thinking and dreaming about warmer north places. At least here in New Zealand. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to take a long break and travel to those countries and places that are currently under the hot summer weather. Far north part of Northland, New Zealand, is sometimes as crazy as we can go to come close to those exotic islands, Asia or even Europe. I love returning to Far Northland. For me, it’s sort of an escape. It certainly has something to do with being on the edge and also being a bit closer to my family and some of my dear people. Coming to far Northland is mostly a trip to nature and to myself. I discover something new and unexpected every time I visit this area of…

Exploring Auckland’s West Coast Beaches (Part 2)

TRAVEL DESTINATION: Auckland’s West Coast Beaches, North Island, New Zealand TRAVEL DURATION: 1 Day Activity Continuing with exploring Auckland’s West Coast Beaches further north from Piha, I put together all the interesting facts and activity ideas for the remaining beaches. Anawhata Beach Anawhata Beach sits just north of Piha Beach. On Piha Road take a right turn to Anawhata Road and continue for another 10 kilometers on a gravel road through the lush forest, until you reach the car park. A quick workout downhill from the car park (partially gravel road and partially the bush) is needed to reach the seashore. It will take no more than 15-30 minutes. You’ll most often have the beach for yourself, so do head down from the car park if you’re seeking some quiet time and solitude. So worth it! Because of the slight remoteness, this beach doesn’t have a surf patrol, so be extra careful…

Exploring Auckland’s West Coast Beaches (Part 1)

TRAVEL DESTINATION: Auckland’s West Coast Beaches, North Island, New Zealand TRAVEL DURATION: 1 Day Activity Think black sand. Think rugged landscape, vast ocean, rough winds, endlessness. Imagine the most beautiful sunsets, long walks, sense of freedom and belonging all at once. Beaches can evoke many feelings in people. They can bring back memories or give birth to daydreaming thoughts. Auckland’s West Coast beaches are the synonym for rugged and unspoiled part of the biggest New Zealand city. The first thing I notice when coming to any West Coast Beach is the almost black sand that easily warms up and becomes quite hot during summer months. It’s hard to walk on it barefoot without getting burnt. The other thing is the constant, steady wind and a background noise buzzing in your ears. The ocean is loud here. West Coast Beaches are very much exposed, naked and raw. This is where the Tasman Sea…

Coromandel Coastal Walkway

TRAVEL DESTINATION: Coromandel Coastal Walkway, Coromandel Peninsula, North Island, New Zealand TRAVEL DURATION: Weekend Getaway The Coromandel Peninsula offers some amazing activities. There’s a reason it’s packed during summer days when many Aucklanders take a long break and switch to vacation mode. The Coromandel Peninsula is located just far and remote enough to make you feel special when you want to change the scenery. The landscape is versatile and time slows down for a notch there. This area sort of holds a special place in my life as well. Hot Water Beach was the first beach I visited outside the Auckland area when I first came to New Zealand. One of my earliest explorations of beautiful New Zealand landscape happened right here. Returning to Coromandel was never in question. Since that first time, I’ve always been in for a new surprise as I’ve kept discovering numerous special spots like The Pinnacles summit, a warm…

White Island Eruption

TRAVEL DESTINATION: White Island (Whakaari), Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand TRAVEL DURATION: One day trip 2:30 AM. The alarm on my phone goes off. Getting to bed by 8 didn’t happen, as it almost never does in spite of my good intentions. With practically no sleep and a mug of decaf, I find myself on an empty highway driving towards my new adventure for the day. An isolated nasty car crash I pass bye reminds me that I need to concentrate and keep my eyes wide open. I start questioning whether it was a smart decision to just go and do it. Other than making a reservation, there was absolutely no planning at all. And no trace of a White Island eruption in my thoughts whatsoever! Whakatane Four hour drive to Whakatane went smoothly. With music on high I was able to keep myself engaged on the road right to…

Scenic Te Henga Walkway

TRAVEL DESTINATION: Te Henga (Bethells Beach) Walkway, Auckland, North Island, New Zealand TRAVEL DURATION: 1 day activity Auckland’s West Coast is known for some of the most amazing scenery in this part of New Zealand. Firstly, Waitakere Ranges transports you to a luscious rainforest reality, where you can get lost on numerous walking trails. In addition to that, West Coast beaches won’t leave you ambivalent either. Surfers love them and many swimmers find them thrilling and exciting on those hot summer days. The landscape here is rougher compared to the one on the Auckland’s East Coast. Two different Oceans provide distinct experiences and big contrasts in natural features within short 40 km distance. I’ve been frequently visiting the Waitakere rainforest and West Coast beaches, but have never really taken any longer walks or hikes that spread along this coastal area. I recently read about the 80 km long Hillary Trail that really got…

Exploring Rotorua and Hobbiton

TRAVEL DESTINATION: Rotorua and Hobbiton, Bay of Plenty/Waikato, North Island, New Zealand TRAVEL DURATION: Overnight stay Rotorua has gone through a serious transformation and changes. At least I remember it differently from some years back. Recently I rediscovered this place that many call ‘Rotovegas of New Zealand’. This past weekend was again just the right time to return but without any specific plans. Going with the flow was the theme, with the only goal to change a scenery. I imagined it would be easy to fill the time of this overnight stay. Here in New Zealand, I’ve learned to be more flexible and ready to adjust to the circumstances. Mostly because of the ever-changing and unpredictable weather. I’ve also learned to make backup plans. Just in case. It helped me live my life less stressful. ‘It’s all good’ sort of mentality. The late summer climbing season has already been overstretched,…

Mt Te Aroha Climb

TRAVEL DESTINATION: Mt Te Aroha, Waikato region, North Island, New Zealand TRAVEL DURATION: 1 day trip Time for a new challenge Daily challenges that I create for myself are sometimes the only thing that gets me outdoors and moving. It becomes even easier when there is another mountain or peak in question. One day trips to such places have pluses and minuses. A definite plus is a sense of accomplishment when you realize how full your day was and that in addition you were able to sleep in your own bed at the end of a day. On the other hand, you might miss the absolutely amazing sunrises and sunsets that you can witness from the top of a mountain early or late in the day. Living on South Island would be an ideal solution if the hills and mountains are your preferred choice of a playground. For us in Auckland…

Climbing Mt Taranaki

TRAVEL DESTINATION: Mt Taranaki (Mt Egmont), Egmont National Park, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand TRAVEL DURATION: 1 day activity The perfect cone of Mt Taranaki has always reminded me of Japan’s Mt Fuji. They are both volcanoes, graciously overtaking the surrounding landscapes. Visually they almost match. To the people of Japan, Fujisan represents a national symbol and is one of their holy mountains. Mt Taranaki is just as majestic, linked to many stories and significant historical events. The mountain has deep spiritual meaning to local Maori. Choosing the mountain When I choose or decide on another climbing adventure it usually comes down to the first potentially sunny and clear weekend. The weather is a crucial factor when climbing those high summits. It has to be just right. Mt Taranaki’s 2518m is no joke. Temperatures can quickly drop below 0 degrees even during the summer months. Being prepared with extra clothes for layering,…