New Zealand

Good Hikes in New Zealand for Not-Quite-Hikers

Good Hikes in New Zealand for Not-Quite-Hikers

When it comes to the outdoors, on a spectrum from “about to climb Mount Everest” to “Shelley Long in Troop Beverly Hills,” I reckon I fall somewhere in the middle.

My family actually used to do a fair amount of camping and hiking all over the United States when I was a kid, and though I didn’t always enjoy it, I’ve probably retained at least a few skills (I can pitch a tent, and maybe start a fire on a good day, if someone else chops the wood and it’s not raining too much and YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE FOR A SECOND). That said, I still spent more of my summer vacations in front of the television than my mother would have liked. READ MORE +

Peninsula Walk – Kaikoura

Peninsula Walk - Kaikoura

Most people know Kaikoura, New Zealand for whale watching. Maybe they visit for its nearby colony of seals, or to eat some super fresh seafood (Kaikoura, in the Māori language, translates to “meal of crayfish”). Maybe they’re just lured by the stunning scenery of a peninsula surrounded by sparkling water and snow-capped mountains. READ MORE +

My First Snow Day – Queenstown

I was born and raised in Minnesota, USA.

I’ve been trying to explain what that means for the last 5.5 years, but I get the feeling that no one really believes me. “Okay, but does it get to…minus 20?” they ask — as if that’s the end-all be-all of winter temperatures. Honestly, I’m not sure most people can handle that conversation, let alone an actual Minnesota winter. READ MORE +

Huka Falls and Hot Springs in Taupo, New Zealand

Huka Falls and Hot Springs -- Taupo

I realize it’s highly unlikely you’re looking for another reason to visit New Zealand. You’ve probably already got a “pro” list longer than your arm — and if you ask me, it’s not too hard to see why. The last thing you need is another blogger to come along and rub your face in the fact that you’re not there right now. (Unless you are there right now, in which case: lucky you!) READ MORE +

How I Wound Up in the Netherlands

How I Wound Up in the Netherlands

As a foreigner in the Netherlands, I’m asked quite frequently what I think of this country — often by people who don’t seem to like it all that much themselves.

In fact, the question I probably get more than any other is, “Why would you want to live here?” (Usually accompanied by a raised eyebrow and that generally unimpressed tone the Dutch have when they speak in English.) READ MORE +

Exploring the Northland: Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach

Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach

I’m not gonna lie: some parts of my visit to the Northland region of New Zealand are…well, a bit fuzzy.

I mean, this was my very first weekend in NZ — in other words, my very first weekend as a solo traveler in a foreign country. I probably still had jet-lag, not to mention I left a blizzard in Minnesota and arrived to the bright sun of incoming summer. Everything was kind of a mess. READ MORE +

Kawarau Bridge Bungy – Queenstown

If I’m going to give anyone a tip about bungy jumping at Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, let it be this: do not do it if you’re hungover.

Bungy Jump - Queenstown

Of course, we all handle our hangovers in different ways. I prefer to drink copious amounts of Coca-Cola and stay as still as possible. Other people might like to hang upside down over rushing water, slowly spinning in circles, waiting for people to release you from a giant rubber band and take you back to solid ground. Whatever. As the kids seem to say these days: do you. READ MORE +