North Island

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. READ MORE +

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. READ MORE +

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!) 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 +