New Zealand Travel Stories

The Milford Sound in the South Island of New Zealand
Kia Ora! Welcome to the New Zealand Travel Stories. Within these pages, you can read selected stories and musings about the honeymoon that turned our waterfall hunt into a worldwide affair. Hopefully, you'll find these stories entertaining and educational. Perhaps you might get a good laugh at our expense, or you might find some nuggets that you can apply to your own travels.

Thumb through the travel stories below. They are arranged chronologically with the most recent escapade at the top. Enjoy :)



Back at Cathedral Cove (4-January 2010 to 10-January 2010)
Ch- Ch- Ch- Changes
: I guess our sentiment that this place was rather "Dead As" was challenged when we happened to witness some hideous shouting of two Maori gangs hurling insults and even bottles at each other. It looked like some Maori females from a block away started heading in the direction of the commotion to join the fray. Even one guy chased a car that was leaving the hullabaloo. Shortly thereafter, some cops showed up and handcuffed two Maori girls... [read more]



Sperm whale off Kaikoura (30-December 2009 to 3-January 2010)
Whale Of A Way To Start The New Decade
: While the dolphins were still putting on a show, the tour time was running out. So that prompted our Maori MC to call out over the loud speaker for everyone to return to their seats. Of course, no one was exactly rushing to do it, so that prompted our MC to say, "I know it's difficult to leave the dolphins and return to your seats, but one thing I do know is that all of you can hear me..." [read more]



Return to the Franz Josef Glacier (24-December 2009 to 29-December 2009)
Putting Our Book To The Test
: Sometimes Mother Nature dictates what and when you can do any activities, and today was certainly not one of those days where you could do anything. We'll just have to cross our fingers and hope tomorrow turns out better... [read more]



Mt Cook protruding over the Southern Alps (20-December 2009 to 23-December 2009)
Picking Up Where We Left Off
: Unfortunately, it appeared that either our GPS died or our software on the computer wasn't behaving correctly. Both of us were royally bummed that we wouldn't be able to trip log and navigate with our GPS/netbook combo. It's strange how it always seems that something goes wrong in every one of our trips. And I guess this was the bit of adversity we were faced with this time... [read more]



The peaceful Piha Beach in the Waitakeres (2-December 2004 to 3-December 2004)
Going Full Circle
: It was too bad that I knew we couldn't spend too much time here, but at least we tried to make do with what we could see in such limited time by trying to have a quick lunch here in the Octagon in the centre of town. We actually made a futile attempt at consulting the LP for good spots to eat, then go looking around for them. Complicating things were that parking in the Octagon was very temporary at best and we kept a close eye on our car in case the parking enforcer would come by and issue tickets, which we witnessed being done to other people... [read more]



Inclement weather atop Mackinnon Pass (27-November 2004 to 1-December 2004)
The Soggy Sojourn
: My hands were numb from the icy rain and frigid cold. The opportunistic keas were all around us looking to steal food and didn't seem to mind the weather. With the rain coming down harder and the cold seeming to cut right through our layers of wet clothing like a knife, we had beat a hasty retreat into the Pass Hut Shelter. I knew this region was one of the rainiest in the world and they sure weren't kidding... [read more]



Late season snow atop Wilmot Pass (26-November 2004)
The Sound of Silence
: Snow was coming down as we made our way into the Doubtful Sound. It was the last week of November, which is like the last week of May back in the States, but it was really weird to see snowflakes piling on top of dense rainforests. I was concerned that the unseasonable and unstable weather would kill our viewing experience, but as the bus driver turned into pullout, we were blown away by what we saw... [read more]



The Franz Josef Glacier (23-November 2004 to 25-November 2004)
On Thick Ice
: It had been pouring rain since yesterday. We worried that this would cancel our pre-booked heli-hike on the thick ice of the Franz Josef Glacier. Given the low-lying clouds and poor visibility, the outlook was rather iffy. So we anxiously waited along with tens of other people hoping we'd get to do our very first glacier walk... [read more]



Putai Blowhole and the Pancake Rocks (20-November 2004 to 22-November 2004)
Mad Dash To The West Coast:
We had a lot of ground to cover today. Starting off from Hamilton, we had to drive a couple of hours north to Auckland. There, we had to return the hired car, catch a shuttle to the airport, fly to Christchurch, pick up another car hire, then make our way to Greymouth via the Lewis Pass. I wasn't sure we were going to make it to the Pancake Rocks in time for sunset - especially given our Maui rental car snafu experience and the probability it will rain on the South Island's West Coast...

[read more]



The Emerald Lakes (16-November 2004 to 19-November 2004)
The Journey Through Mordor
: The weather report had predicted bad weather until Friday. Unfortunately, it was Tuesday and I was worried our hoped-for Tongariro Crossing hike was in jeopardy. So I had to rearrange our plans. Obviously, it didn't look like the one-way shuttle hike was going to happen tomorrow so I thought we could explore the southern slopes of Mt Ruapehu in search of...[read more]



The Champagne Pool at Wai-o-tapu (13-November 2004 to 15-November 2004)
The Shortcut
: When I planned out this trip, the one part that concerned me the most was the 120km stretch of unsealed road between Rotorua and Wairoa. Any number of things could go wrong when you're driving that deep into nature. Besides, I had read somewhere that this road tended to break up marriages as couples would argue after finding out it wasn't the shortcut one of them hoped it would be. Since Julie and I just married a week ago, I prayed this would not be our fate... [read more]



Wedding Cake and Candlelight (10-November 2004 to 12-November 2004)
A Destination Wedding to Remember
: When I look back at the photos taken by Susanna and her nephew, I still get misty-eyed. It was one of those rare times when all of my expectations were exceeded. I'll never forget the Tuscan hospitality and language lessons from Giorgio and Margherita. I'll never forget the genuine heartfelt music of Sasha and Natarani. The smiles on everyone's faces in Susanna's photos said it all. The risk that Julie and I took thinking outside the box to do this really paid off...[read more]



The Hole-in-the-Rock (7-November 2004 to 9-November 2004)
Pulled Over in Northland:
After spending a few minutes at Rainbow Falls, we made our way over to the Kauri Coast. We headed west along SH12 when we had to follow a slow-moving truck. Such was the norm it seemed since New Zealand's roads were mostly two lanes and twisty. And so we merrily waited for an opportunity to pass the truck safely when a police car was suddenly in our rear-view mirror... [read more]




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