Yes, I know, I know... It's been almost four months since my last post. But rather than
bore you out of your mind regale you with all the reasons I've been MIA during this time, I'm simply going to proceed as if I never left. :)
I have my online writing colleague, Melanie McMinn, to thank for getting me back in the game. She's just started her own blog, Fat and Sassy New Zealand Travel, and that reminded me of some of my own adventures in that wonderful country.
I went to New Zealand for the first time in February 1994 as part of a longer trip in that region. Unfortunately, I was only able to spend five whirlwind days on the North Island, so that simply whetted my appetite for a longer visit. I was finally able to return seven years later and, that time, a friend of mine from Canada joined me. We spent two and a half glorious weeks driving—on the left side of the road!—around both islands. (I know that sounds like a lot of time for what looks like quite a small country on a map but, believe me, with so many amazing things to see and do, we were on the go practically every second of every day!)
While Queenstown is often referred to as “the adventure capital of the world” (it's the birthplace of bungee jumping after all), we actually didn't spend much time there. However, we didn't lack for adventure in the slightest, as you'll see in the pics below.
This first couple were taken when we went kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park, a gorgeous coastal region in the northwest area of the south island.
This next one is from Fox Glacier, further south on the same coast. The hiking pole was a HUGE help walking on the ice.
These next two are from the North Island. The first one is from Rotorua, home to natural hot springs and the heart of Maori culture. The picture shows me participating in a popular Maori game where you throw sticks back and forth in certain patterns. I was quite proud of the fact that I caught on to it quite quickly.
This last shot is from one of my all-time favourite adventures (despite the fashion requirements...). I actually did it on my first trip to NZ and loved it so much, I insisted my friend come with me again on the second trip (and she loved it as much as I did). We went blackwater rafting in the Waitomo caves, where you float along an underground stream on a rubber tube, gazing in awe at the millions of glow worms lighting your way from the roof of the cave. Breathtaking! (There's even a spot where you leap off a cliff, through a waterfall, into the pool below... sounds scary, but feels fantastic!)
As you can tell from the above, New Zealand offers a huge variety of activities for every kind of adventure. But this is just a small taste of what's available. If you're thinking of going there yourself and want more ideas on how to enjoy your visit, do make sure you check out Melanie's new blog. Completely coincidentally, in her post today she mentions her own experience blackwater rafting!