Archive for the “New Zealand” Category

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Back in June, I released my annual reader survey—with a twist. To elicit more responses, I offered a free round-trip economy ticket. Boy, did I underestimate the number of people who would respond as a result! I figured that since the survey was long and required open-ended answers, not many people would complete it, but over 5,500 of you did! (That’s a lot more than the normal 500 or so who typically answer!) And the survey responses were better than […]

Hiking the Tongariro

The Tongariro Crossing is considered the best one day hike in New Zealand. It is a 19.4km hike that takes you through the area where they filmed Mordor in Lord of the Rings. It’s a mostly easy walk, though there are a few places where the ascent and descent is pretty steep. Moreover, if you have the time to fit them in, you can hike Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom) or Mount Tongariro. I had a beautiful day when I went. […]

Budgeting in New Zealand

When I went to New Zealand, my goal was to live within a budget. After paying $15 for lunch I knew New Zealand was going to be more expensive than I had originally thought. While I work and travel and could afford $15 for lunch, I wanted to live within a budget that would be realistic for travelers who don’t work while they travel. My original budget was $80 NZD per day. How did I do with that goal while […]

New Zealand’s Backpacker Buses

One of the biggest ways travelers get across New Zealand is by backpacker bus. These buses offer a hop on/hop off service allowing travelers the flexibility to go at their own pace with the convenience of having travel and activities organized for them. New Zealand has three major hop on/hop off buses: Kiwi Experience, Magic Bus, and Stray. I tried the Kiwi Experience and Stray. Kiwi Experience The Kiwi Experience is the biggest and most popular backpacker bus in New […]

My Favorite Hostels in New Zealand

Traveling around New Zealand, I’ve made it a goal to stay at a variety of different hostels. I didn’t want to just stay at the chains like Base or Nomads. I wanted to see small operations besides just big chains. I quickly found out, though, that most of New Zealand is dominated by chains such as YHA, Base, or Nomads. And all the buses affiliate with them, making them the most convenient place to stay. Overall, I found the majority […]

Great Reasons to Visit New Zealand

New Zealand’s faraway location ensures that its natural beauty is protected from the hordes of tourists who would overwhelm this place if it was easy to get to. True, New Zealand’s greatness has been exposed to the world by movies like The Lord of the Rings, but surprisingly few people make their way down here. But with places and activities like those listed below, New Zealand is clearly worth any journey: Abel Tasman National Park Stepping into Abel Tasman is […]

Bungy Jumping the Nevis

New Zealand is known for its adventure activities. People come from around the world to white water raft, hike, glacier trek, sky dive, and bungy jump. And one of the best places to do a bungy is in Queenstown, New Zealand. Queenstown is home to a lot of bungy operators, the most famous of which is AJ Hackett Bungy. AJ Hackett is the creator of bungy jumping and his company runs the biggest bungy in the region- the 134 meter […]

How to Backpack the Yasawa Islands

Backpacking the Yasawa Islands in Fiji is a unique experience. It’s not like any backpacking I’ve ever done. I’m not even sure backpacking, with its notions of independent, find your own way travel, is even the right word. Yasawa Island travel is more like an inexpensive organized hop on, hop off tour. Everything is taken care of for you – all you need to do is pick the island you want to visit. There is only one boat through the […]

Learning How to Scuba Dive

Learning to dive is something I’ve always found excuses to not learn how to do. Something always comes up. I don’t have the money, I don’t have anyone to go with, I’m too busy, I’ll learn when I get to Thailand, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. Traveling Fiji with Gary from Everything-Everywhere, I was finally pushed, prodded, and cajoled by him to go scuba diving. “If you don’t do it, I’ll make fun of you on Twitter,” […]

Trapped in Paradise

Whenever I hear the word “Fiji,” I think of those postcards you see in airports—white sand beaches, palm trees, a little boat in the ocean, and the bluest, clearest water in the world. Essentially, my idea of heaven. With Gary from Everything-Everywhere heading to Fiji, I thought there was no better time to cross off one of my travel goals. Even though I was exploring the south island of New Zealand, I decided to change course. Finishing New Zealand could […]