I’m a bit late to update this thing. Sorry all.
For my last week abroad, I actually decided to return to New Zealand to check out the North Island. The south was quite fun, as you may have read, and I was eager to see the rest of the country. I was there for 8 days. I did lots of things.
The first place that I went was Auckland.
Auckland was fairly basic, but had a very warm and playful vibe to it. There’s not much to do as a tourist; I only spent about 36 hours there. A few pictures:
Next, we headed to Cathedral Cove, which is a very famous kayaking spot. I went kayaking. Cool pictures:
That night, we went to what was called Hot Water Beach, which was very cool. Basically, you rock up there with beer and a shovel, dig a hole in the sand, and boiling hot water rises. In this way, you dig your own hot tub, sit in it, and drink beers under the stars. Seriously awesome.
The following morning we headed to Raglan, which is one of the more famous surf beaches in the world. I’m told that it is home of the longest “left-hand break” in the world, which basically means that you can ride waves for like 10 minutes. This would be nice if I could surf well. I can’t. Two pretty pictures:
Nice. Next, we hit Waitomo, which is known for its very extensive network of caves. I had actually been caving (spelunking) in Costa Rica about a year prior, which was certifiably the most harrowing experience of my life. Naturally, I did it again, but this time with rock climbing and abseiling as well. I was a lot calmer than before, for some reason.
Me being awesome:
That night, we stayed in a Maori village, which was super cool. For those who don’t know, Maoris are indigenous Kiwi’s who still have a very substantial presence today. We ate their food, learned the Haka (the shit-your-pants scary dance that the Kiwi rugby teams perform during the pre-game), and chatted with them for a while. It was a really cool, worthwhile experience.
One picture of us and some children:
The following morning, we drove to Rotorua, which is one of the more volcanic areas in the North Island. There are huge pools of boiling thermal mud everywhere, which is really quite exotic. Furthermore, the whole place reeks of rotten eggs. Some people I was with complained. Sack up guys.
Mud and hot springs:
That evening we hit Taupo, where I decided to jump out of yet another plane. I seriously love skydiving. Might get my license. Stay tuned.
For the grand finale, I was finally able to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This was what I was most excited for. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is widely known in New Zealand as one of the best day hikes in the world, and I literally could not wait to do it.
Ideally, you’d like a pristine winter day for this hike. It was in fact a winter day, but it certainly was not pristine. The views were largely undistinguishable, but the hiking was fun. Climbing a mountain in a blizzard with crampons, ski jackets and an ice axe is, well, awesome.
Again, this was great, but I’m going to do it in the summer one day.
This is where I’m supposed to write a conclusion. I think I spilled my soul into my post about South Island New Zealand, so I’m probably not going to do that again. In fact, I’m probably not going to say much at all, as I simply just don’t feel like writing. Hey, at least I’m honest.
P.S. New Zealand, you are serene, empowering, delightfully challenging, and blissful beyond measure. I’ll be back.