Slow It Down

Moeraki Boulders

Moeraki Boulders

Hiking the Milford Track on the spur of the moment had required a tight schedule to coordinate driving, trekking, gear shopping, and finding last minute places to stay.  But once we set foot on the trail, our minds were freed from planning and organizing.  Instead of focusing on the future, we were back to living in the moment.  Here.  Now.  New Zealand.  And after we finished the hike, that meant we had three days to chill, starting in Queenstown. Continue reading

The Milford Track

hiking in the clouds: the last stretch up to the pass

Mandy hikes through the clouds on the way up to Mackinnon Pass

The Milford Track is one of the world’s legendary hikes.  The four-day backcountry trek is limited to forty hikers per day and the slots generally fill one year in advance.  A year ago we hoped that we’d make it to New Zealand, but that’s about as concrete as our plans get.  Now that we were here, though, the Milford Track was clearly something we couldn’t miss.  Unfortunately, with all available places already reserved, there was only one way that we’d be able to experience it for ourselves–get lucky.  We checked the NZ Parks website religiously.  About ten days after we arrived in NZ, two spots opened up and we booked them immediately.  A few days later, we finished off our South Island Motorhome Tour.  It was time. Continue reading

Birthday Celebration!

Birthday Girl!

Birthday Girl!

It was Mandy’s birthday, so the day needed to be special.  We woke up early and drove thirty minutes to Abel Tasman National Park, where we rented a sea kayak and paddled out into a beautiful morning at Tasman Bay.  As the sun rose over the ocean, it warmed the lush forest, sandy white beaches, and pure blue waters surrounding us. Continue reading

Meet Max

Road Trip New Zealand!

Road Trip New Zealand!

As amazing as they were, our last few stops (Singapore, Bali, Sydney) were actually made with an ulterior motive: they represented the most interesting, efficient and economical way to get to the isolated corner of the globe containing New Zealand.  It was a short flight from Sydney to Auckland, where we picked up our camper van and began a twenty-four day exploration of the country.

Our first van (more on that in another post), was small and simple compared to some of the monstrous RVs that you can find cruising down the road with a set of retirees behind the wheel.  In fact, rather than an RV, we were really just living out of a van.  A van named Max.  As in Max Power.  Thin and lean, but with a robust turbo diesel engine, Max left every other camper van in our dust on NZ’s winding, mountainous roads.  We covered a lot of ground in our new home; Max was crucial to our New Zealand odyssey. Continue reading