Te Pake Sand Dunes!

June 26, 2017

A very memorable day back on Feb ’16.  At this point I had a week to myself which was a first. I was with Brit and Emma most of the trip but this time I was by myself waiting for Andy to come visit for my birthday the following week. I was having a fun day but missed having company so when I stumbled upon my friend Jazzy running around too by herself we teamed up and had a great time at the sand dunes. She is a wedding photographer so had me running around the dunes as she snapped away. It was a really, really fun day! We still keep in contact even though we only spent an afternoon together. I think one day I’ll see her again.. and until then, there’s always good old Facebook! 

 

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Bay of Islands & Goat Island

June 21, 2017

This part of my trip (over a year ago haha) was the first time I was by myself on this 4 month road trip. I had about 10 days to myself to explore the Northland. I went to Goat Island and Bay of Islands shown below. Goat Island had snorkling while the Bay of Islands is an extremely peaceful and dreamy beach town. 

Auckland in Photos

June 2, 2017

Making my way through my North Island photos from summer 2016. Auckland is always one of my favorite spots bc I have such good friends who live there.  Pride there was a blast. Summer is great bc there are so many city beaches. The traffic is some of the worst I have ever experienced and it didn’t help that Google Maps used to not work properly when driving! haha It was all part of the experience. I have some of my fondest memories in NZ here in Auckland.. manly thanks to my #mates who live there. 

Piha was a quick drive away and had one of the most memorable sunsets I saw during my time in NZ. Hope you all enjoy!

Taupo and Matamata!

May 2, 2017

Alrighty! Continuing onwards during that ~4 month road trip around New Zealand’s North Island.. This portion was around January 2016 I believe.. I didn’t take too many photos at these two stops so I combined the towns together. My bad.

The first place was Taupo.. Taupo is in the North Island and located quite central. I am pretty sure I went through Taupo about 6 times throughout my near 2 years in New Zealand. It seems to be a place you are always passing through  On my 30th birthday, Andy flew in from the South Island to celebrate it with me and we went bungy jumping. It is the adrenaline capital of the north (while Queenstown is considered the one of the south). So yea, too bad I didn’t take many photos! haha I did make sure to take photos of Taupo’s famous “Reid’s Farm” which is a place where you can freedom camp (aka camp for free) for up to 7 days. Reid’s Farm is slightly out of town but nicely situated on the river. At peak season, I saw upwards of 100+ cars, vans, busses and tents at once. The place had a really cool atmosphere and vibe. Not to mention the constant sound of the river along the camping area. I stayed at Reid’s Farm almost every time I came to Taupo. It was a centrally located safe haven if you will. If I needed to wait out a week, wait for friends to catch up on the road, save money or any other random reason to pass time.. I would come to Taupo and stay at Reid’s Farm. It was the perfect place to do nothing and chill. In the mornings, we would roll out of bed and go swimming. The water was so clean and clear, it was the best way to start your morning! haha I miss it. Oh and yes, it was a chilly as most water in NZ. 

After Taupo we headed to Matamata. You know, “a place so nice they had to name it twice.” haha It is a quaint little town. It is where they filmed Lord of the Rings, a tourist attraction now called “Hobbiton.” It’s basically “The Shire.” Matamata had the greenest of green rolling hills. I love this area of New Zealand so much. It was one of my favorites. The tour was nearly $100 and at this point in the trip, we couldn’t justify the expense with what we already had planned. Therefore, we left Matamata after one night. When I left, I told myself I’d return before I left. Then over a year later, I returned and visited Hobbiton during my last trip out of New Zealand.

 

Coromandel Peninsula Recap

April 30, 2017

The Coromandel Penninsula is a unique place in New Zealand’s North Island. There is a map below but it is a peninsula situated just East of Auckland. Over a year ago, Brit, Emma and I did the drive to the Coromandel in hopes of finding some farm work. We were getting low on funds and needed to refill the bank account. We did the drive and upon arrival realized that there isn’t really much farming work up here.. in reality, there isn’t much of anything up here! This is one of the attractions and beauties of New Zealand – untouched and barely scathed landscapes. When we arrived in the Coromandel we were greeted by a huge rainstorm that lasted a couple days. It was a hard part in the trip to be honest. We were in dire need of work, there ended up not being any work around annnnd it wouldn’t stop raining and we were staying in non-waterproof tents (long story). SO – we held strong and sat and did nothing for a couple days – then on the third/fourth day we were greeted with beautiful blue skies. This is the day that these photos were taken as we did a long drive around the peninsula before realizing that the rain would be back the following day to greet us. At this point, we counted our losses and left the Coromandel. This is the only time I made it up there during my trip – I could complain about only one day of sun but I will never forget this day. Every turn was was a stark contrast of the blue water and skies with the greenest of green hills. After our one day of sun out, we turned back around and headed back to Napier. Napier is where we worked before on the apple and kiwi farm so we knew there was work awaiting! This time when we arrived in Napier, I worked on a wine vineyard! Some of the most demanding and hands on jobs I have ever experienced (also ones which I’ll never forget!)

Rotorua Recap

April 24, 2017

AHH I loved Rotorua! It has a bad rep because the town smells like Sulfur.. I mean big time. New Zealand is so unique for a variety of reasons, this one in particular is the “thermal activity” seen throughout this area in the North Island. Throughout the town centre one can see steam rising along the horizons where there are these little mud pools (fenced off) with 100C+ temperatures produce a sulfur gas which is released making the town smell like someone has constantly just lit off a ginormous firecracker!

We spend about 10 days here. We camped in our tents most of the time. When Emma and I first arrived, it was forecasted to thunderstorm for about 48-72 hours so we splurged and got ourselves a hostel. This was nice bc we returned here the remaining days whenever we needed to take a shower! Haha we just snuck in and used the facilities. When you are camping for 3+ months, you learn to do what you gotta do.. and I have been quoted saying showering is “one of my favorite things in the world” so I can’t go too long without one! haha.

Also in Rotorua we visited some lakes as you can see below. We did an overnight hike to this one place called “Hot Water Beach” bc there was a stream of boiling water from below the ground that empties into this massive lake. Therefore, there are warm pockets where people wade in near where the hot river meets the lake. We fond it rather uncomfortable bc it was either kinda hot or WAY TOO HOT to even stand. I got burnt more than I relaxed.. As mentioned, it was an overnight hike which was my first time doing so! I loved it.. also, the next day when we hiked back to the car after camping, a HUGE wind and rain storm came through. One at first would think that hiking through this would suck.. but after you get soaking wet it stops really mattering. What was cool was being alone on this trail in the middle of the forest and seeing this storm unfold! Branches were falling and leaves were getting blown sideways across the trail. It was so cool to see nature unfold in an area so remote and in such an intimate setting.

Lastly, in our near two weeks in Rotorua, we visited a “Thermal Wonderland” which is shown beneath too. It is a tourist place to show all the thermal activity in the region. VERY cool stuff and worth every penny in my opinion! There are photos of this incredible place below as well!

Ahh, OK so the longer I am in the States the more and more I am missing New Zealand. It is such an incredible place with such an easy life. If only it wasn’t so damn secluded from everything else in the world! The reason I fell in love with NZ was the reason I ended up wanting to leave. Funny how what is attractive changes over time.

All in all.. New Zealand is the bomb. 

Thanks for reading – This makes me want to get back into writing more again. I miss it.