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New Zealand

How to Order Coffee in Australia and New Zealand: Tips from a Barista

Decoding Australian and New Zealand coffee lingo | Photo by Tyler Nix via UnsplashPhoto by Tyler Nix

When it comes to coffee in Australia and New Zealand, I’ve got a fair amount of experience on both sides of the counter.

I was a barista for nearly 10 years of my life — four of which I spent working in the afore-mentioned countries. I’ve been yelled at, lectured to, and relentlessly interrogated about everything from extractions and grinds to, if you can believe it, “cups” vs “mugs.” I’ve probably spent more hours of my life covered in milk splatters and coffee stains than I have sleeping. CONTINUE READING

Why I Skipped the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand

Photo by Daniel Chen

The Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand is widely considered to be one of the best day hikes in the country, and maybe even anywhere in the world.

Well, I can neither confirm nor deny the veracity of that claim. Though I spent nearly three years living, working, and traveling in New Zealand, I never actually did the Tongariro Crossing — and it wasn’t because I never got the chance. CONTINUE READING

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 (we’re talking Girl Scouts, not Hunger Games). That said, I still spent more of my summer vacations in front of the television than my mother would have liked. CONTINUE READING

New Zealand Road Trips: Three Stunning Options for Day Trips from Queenstown

Birds-eye view of Queenstown, New Zealand | Photo by Michael Amadeus
Photo by Michael Amadeus

Some people really hate Queenstown, New Zealand.

I mean, there’s no place everyone loves, is there? The lines are too long at Disneyworld; people pickpocket you in Barcelona; everything is trying to kill you in Australia. But Queenstown is, in my experience, a particularly polarizing little location. CONTINUE READING

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. CONTINUE READING

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. CONTINUE READING

Huka Falls and Hot Springs in Taupo, New Zealand

Huka Falls and Hot Springs in Taupo, New Zealand

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!) CONTINUE READING