Category

New Zealand

Category

Our main plan for the North Island was to complete the famously incredible, famously difficult, and famously weather-dependent Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the most incredible day hikes in New Zealand, and also familiar as Mordor from the Lord of the Rings. With clouds, wind, rain and even snow all possibilities, we were checking the weather forecasts hourly in a desperate attempt to both predict the future and convince ourselves to fully believe online weather forecasts. Arriving on Monday, our research seemed to conclude that while Tuesday was going to be pretty good, Wednesday was going to be our best bet for clear views and gentle winds that wouldn’t threaten to buffet us from any high, slippery passes. And so begins…The Day They Just Walked Right into Mordor (some photos courtesy of clever Tahnni Dupre). 6:15 – Awoken to the dulcet tones of the iPhone alarm, the same one everyone…

We start our New Zealand photo essay with Dunedin, the largest city we’d seen to that point, which is famous as a university town full of “scarfies”, a term referring to the scarves they wear to alternately support their school teams and snap each other’s asses in the shower. It is even the title of an incredibly famous movie starring Taika Waititi, co-writer/star of “What We Do in the Shadows”. Anyway, it has an impressive old railway station, a disappointingly industrial waterfront (great place to pick up wholesale office supplies, though), a town centre with a cool name (“The Octagon”) that, unfortunately, it doesn’t really live up to. Although it did feature people doing “spoken word”, so apparently they have weirdos, too. Got a large pizza for $7 from Domino’s, though, to date our cheapest meal in New Zealand. Four years on from the devastating earthquake of 2011, and downtown…

So, after one night of decompression in Te Anau following our Milford hike, and before our bike journey along the Otago Central Rail Trail, we head back inland, this time passing by Queenstown to spend a couple nights in Wanaka. Yet another picturesque little city set on a lake and surrounded by hills and hikes and viewpoints, we absolutely loved this place. A big part of that may have been because of our accommodation, an amazing 2-bdr apartment (Criffel Peak View) on a hill walking distance to the town centre. Great views over the town and surrounding hills, friendly and helpful owners, two terraces, a BBQ, modern kitchen, TV, free laundry, free wifi, couches, a beanbag chair, and even a garage to park our rental car in, this place was amazing, probably the best place we’ve stayed in NZ so far. Laynni took advantage of the facilities to treat us…

Welcome to New Zealand! Finally. Seriously, we’ve been talking about coming here for at least 15 years, and considering hiking the Milford Track for nearly as long. Our very first big trip, back in 2000, originally started as a round-the-world trip during which the stunning landscapes and tremendous hiking of New Zealand were set to feature prominently. However, due to time, money and logistical considerations that trip was eventually whittled down to the much cheaper, much warmer, much easier to pack for, islands and beaches of Southeast Asia. Over the many years since, NZ has often reached our trip planning shortlist only to come up dejected bridesmaid to other international destinations we had ultimately determined to be more urgent – some were more exotic, most were more affordable, many have more manageable weather, and unlike New Zealand (or Canada, for that matter) far too many seem hell-bent on overusing, damaging…

Pin It