“The mountains are calling and I must go” said John Muir. I always feel this pull, a curiosity and desire, to explore the mountains which is a huge reason I find myself in New Zealand right now. There’s something about the the wildness of forests and mountains that makes me feel more free and full of life. So I knew I had to venture to the South Island in winter to witness the majestic Southern Alps coated in snow.
Categories: New Zealand
Tags: Blue Pools, Cardrona, Cardrona Hotel, hike, hiking, lake, Lake Wanaka, Lone Tree, Mount Aspiring, Mount Aspiring National Park, mountains, New Zealand, Queenstown, road trip, ski, snow, snowboard, South Island, That Wanaka Tree, Treble Cone, Treble Cone Ski Resort, Wanaka, Wanaka Tree
For my birthday weekend I needed to stay within a day’s trip of Wellington but I wanted to go somewhere epic! I mean a birthday only comes once a year and how many birthdays will I have in a foreign country?? Probably not many and this is my first! A friend told my flatmates and I about Putangirua Pinnacles, just a couple hours drive from Wellington along the eastern coast. The Pinnacles are also near the striking red striped Cape Palliser lighthouse so seeing some rocks and a lighthouse sounded like a great enough birthday adventure for me!
Rivendell is the fictional Elven outpost in Middle-earth, created by J.R.R. Tolkien and brought to life by Peter Jackson in his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Peter Jackson filmed his Rivendell scenes in the picturesque Kaitoke Regional Park just 45 minute drive north of Wellington, New Zealand. It’s a popular site to visit in Wellington so I of course had to visit as well! I can see why Peter Jackson choice Kaitoke Regional Park for his Rivendell because it is incredibly peaceful and beautiful there. The lush green fields, vibrant rain forest, and rushing streams are the perfect home for Elves and a wonderful place to spend the day for us mere humans as well. 🙂
Categories: New Zealand, Wellington
Tags: hiking, Hobbit, Kaitoke, Kaitoke Regional Park, Lord of the Rings, LOTR, New Zealand, Pakuratahi, park, Rivendell, river, swing bridge, Wellington
My first New Zealand road trip is in the books! Our group drove the four hours north to the resort town of Taupo, an adventurers paradise located on the shore of Lake Taupo. We spent Saturday and Sunday exploring the lake, waterfalls, geothermal fields and hot springs! Lake Taupo is New Zealand’s largest lake and feeds the Waikato River which flows over Huka Falls. We were also treated views of the active volcanoes of Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe (aka Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings films) from the lake and we had beautiful Autumn weather all weekend. The most popular thing to do in the area is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, but I’m still working up to be in shape for that all day hike!
Categories: New Zealand
Tags: Craters of the Moon, falls, geothermal, geothermal field, hike, hiking, hot spring, Huka, Huka Falls, Huka Falls Spa Park Walk, lake, Lake Taupo, Maori, Maori Rock Carvings, New Zealand, North Island, river, road trip, rock carvings, spa park, steam, swimming, Taupo, thermal spring, Waikato River, waterfall
Our first trip out of Wellington was a success, even though our plan to wing it didn’t exactly work haha. We drove northeast 1.5 hours to the charming town of Martinborough, famous for its vineyards. Mostly our problem was we didn’t research when the wineries closed so it wasn’t until we talked with a shop owner about the different wineries that she pointed out that they closed in two hours. Whoops! lol. Actually the closing early thing is something I’m struggling to get used to here, especially coming from Los Angeles where everything is open late. But here in New Zealand most stores closed by 5pm so we should have guessed the small town of Martinborough would be the same. It’s cute that stores close early but it’s not convenient when you are trying to just make plans on the fly. 🙂
The drive from Wellington to Martinborough is a gorgeous but very winding drive through the Rimutaka Mountains. Martinborough sits in a valley of rolling hills in the mountains and the vineyards are along dry riverbeds that provide rich soil. The town was founded in the 1800s by John Martin and many of the streets were named after places he visited which probably explains why we saw a street named Kansas!