By now you may already know that I’m attracted by mountains, so it should come at no surprise that I looked at Ruapehu a few times and thought: “Why the hell not?” While it has been a few months already, here’s a little insight into the climb of Tongariro National Park’s uncrowned king. As it turned out, it is much easier than Mt Ngauruhoe (known as “Mt Doom” from Lord of the Rings – more on this beast another time) and well worth the effort. Continue reading
There are certainly countless amazing regions throughout NZ, depending on what you’re looking for. Except for Eastern Canterbury, I was keen to see each area of the South Island, and one of the most intriguing destinations I’ve read about prior to travelling there was the West Coast.
West Coast, you ask? No, not the one known for LA and San Francisco, but the one where rain is the dominant form of weather throughout the year. Nevertheless people go there all the time, often as part of a round trip, either going down this route, moving east in Southland and going back up, usually to Christchurch, or the other way round. Back to the rain: This area sees everything from approx. 3200 mm up to figures exceeding 6000 mm of water annually, which is W-E-T (yet I didn’t make one of the various lists online on the wettest places on Earth). Don’t let that put you off, as there are some real gems to be found here (actual and non-physical ones!); I haven’t seen half as much as I want to see but at least have been to an old mining post called Denniston as well as the Oparara Basin, a fascinating limestone basin on the edge of Kahurangi National Park – come have a look! Continue reading
Golden beaches. Sapphire-coloured water. Palm trees and sunshine. We’re talking about a Pacific Island, don’t we? Well…not exactly. This well-known area is the Abel Tasman National Park, likely one of the most visited national parks. The two most common ways to explore this, even for New Zealand standards, extraordinary environment are hiking the Abel Tasman Coast Track or kayaking along its shoreline. I did the latter and it was certainly a good decision for a first time kayaker! If you think about exploring the Abel Tasman via the waters too and want to get an idea about it first, read on. Continue reading
Arriving in National Park Village, which is located in the centre of the North Island, was my personal first highlight – I looked much forward to see the impressive, alien landscape the three (still active!) volcanoes formed in the Tongariro National Park, one of the places most worth visiting when travelling this particular part of NZ. This settlement lives almost purely from the tourists visiting the National Park, of which almost everybody is planning to do the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a well-built hiking walkway over the alpine pass formed by Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro. Of course this was our goal as well, so we arranged transport by the hostel we stayed at and went to bed early the day before. Continue reading