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Adventure Travel

Day trips in New Zealand’s North Island – Upper regions

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With Christmas upon us and having spent a couple of days boating and spearfishing in the Bahamas, I’m feeling a little home sick! Don’t get me wrong, these experiences and sights are amazing, but there is no place like home, which just happens to be – New Zealand!

So, I have some advice for you and our German friends who are heading to the land down under and are keen for some day trips in New Zealand’s north island during their first ever summer Christmas.

First of all – New Zealand’s pohutakawa tree is sometimes referred to as our Christmas tree because it blossoms in December! We are very proud to be called Kiwi’s (New Zealanders), plus we are also proud of how clean and green New Zealand is. So please, while you are there, help us out by not littering!

Upper_North_Island

Image from Google Maps of NZ’s Upper North Island

Favourite adventure activities in New Zealand’s North Island

I am a born and bred Auckland girl, where as Moss and Cole’s parents live in Whangamata. Therefore, most of our weekend day trips and quick weekend getaways involve destinations around Auckland and the Coromandel. Using photos from our past adventures together, I have created a quick summary of our favourite places in the upper regions of New Zealand’s North Island. These destinations are all reachable via car, kayak or ferry! You can find car rental locations here.

Auckland Day trips

Sunset at Bethells beach (We climbed a tree for this view!)

Sunset at Bethells beach (We climbed a tree for this view!)

Large cave at left end of Bethells beach

Large cave at the left end of Bethells beach

Bethells beach is located on the West Coast and is one of our favourite beaches to explore without a boat. While standing on the beach and looking at the water, there is a large cave to the left of the bay and a large number of tunnel caves at the other end (make sure you take a torch!). Also, as you first approach the flat road in Bethells, keep an eye out for cars parked after the bridge – as there are massive sand dunes hidden down a short walking track to the left!

Goat Island Marine Reserve in Leigh

Goat Island Marine Reserve in Leigh

Goat Island Marine Reserve is located in Leigh and offers a great opportunity to swim with large Snapper and other fish that you are unlikely to see outside of the reserve. Even though Moss and I have done a lot of boating around New Zealand, we had never swam this close to a snapper this size before!

Lower Nihotupu Reservoir in the Waitakere Ranges

Lower Nihotupu Reservoir in the Waitakere Ranges

Wading up Pararaha Stream in the Waitakere Ranges

Wading up Pararaha Stream in the Waitakere Ranges

Waitakere Ranges offer a large number of walks, rivers, sand dunes and waterfalls. We recommend visiting the Karamatura Falls and on the drive to the walking track, keep an eye out for the Reservoir as there is a neat bridge which allows you to walk above the overflow hole (as shown in the picture above). If you are up for more of a challenge, my favourite walk in the Waitakere Ranges is up the Pararaha Valley Track. It was more of a wade than a walk, and required a bit of climbing and swimming! Unfortunately it is difficult to Google, so we recommend searching ’92 Lone Kauri Road’ on Google Maps.

Sunset from Rangitoto Island

Sunset from Rangitoto Island in Auckland’s Gulf Harbour

The Bay of Islands region

Hole in the Rock, Cape Brett in the Bay of Islands

Hole in the Rock at Cape Brett in the Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is an awesome summer destination with tonnes of islands, dolphins and sea life. The hole in the rock at Cape Brett is the most accessible to see due to the number of tourist boats that go out to it, and of course if it is calm enough – the boats go through the hole! Unfortunately when we went in our jetski is was far too rough!

Haruru Falls in Paihia

Haruru Falls in Paihia

Paihia is a popular destination for people wishing to visit Waitangi (where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed) and also for people wishing to explore the Bay of Islands. The Haruru Falls are located near town and are more of a quick photo opportunity than an adventure. There is no bush walk required for this one!

Destinations south of Auckland

Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel

Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel

Cycling the Karangahake Gorge in the Coromandel

Cycling the Karangahake Gorge in the Coromandel

Karangahake Gorge in the Coromandel offers old railways and narrow paths along the river which are great for cycling or walking. Keep an eye out for Owharoa Waterfalls as they are worth a photo!

Whangamata

Whangamata in the Coromandel

Mount Maunganui

Mount Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty

Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan

Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan

Raglan is located on the West Coast of New Zealand and is popular for it’s surfing, plus it has pancake rocks which can be accessed with kayak’s. We also recommend visiting Bridal veil Falls which are located 30 minutes in land from Raglan.

Since May 2014, Rebecca has been wearing out her jandals. She loves anything that involves the ocean whether it be scuba diving, wakeboarding, jet skiing or more recently - sailing! Consider following her via RSS Feed, Twitter and Facebook.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Selma

    February 8, 2015 at 3:47 PM

    New Zealand is such a dreamy place … I think I will be headed that way by next year … can’t wait!

  2. Aaron

    March 29, 2015 at 11:41 AM

    Stunning photos, NZ has such beautiful landscapes.

  3. Matthew

    January 18, 2016 at 10:41 AM

    Some really nice tips for travelling around in New Zealand. Thanks for this.
    Have been to the giant sand dune near Bethels beach, my absolute favorite. Totally agree with you on Paihia, it’s a great place to be.
    Also heard that Russel, just a couple of k away from Paihia, should be nice to see…?

    Was wondering if you could do the trip outlined in your screenshot, could be done by car in a week?

    Thank you
    Matthew

    • Rebecca Barlow

      January 31, 2016 at 4:01 AM

      Hi Matthew,

      Yes Russell is great! It can be accessed by car ferry from the outskirts of Paihia. Yes, you could probably do all these attractions in one week, but as you probably assume, it will be an action packed week with a fair bit of driving!

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Adventure Travel

Hammock vs Tent Camping

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Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.

In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!

Weatherproof

Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.

Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.

Setup

For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.

Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.

If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.

Comfort

One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.

If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.

Price

Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.

A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.

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Adventure Travel

Yacht Charter Destination Of The Month: The Middle East

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Mysterious and exotic, the Middle East is full of surprises, blending fascinating cultural heritage with stunning contemporary architecture. What’s more, with guaranteed sunshine and warmth, the winter months of November and April are the perfect time to visit. That’s why we’ve made the Middle East our yacht charter destination of the month.

What makes the Middle East such an exciting yacht charter destination?

Dubai: Glamour and shopping

An ideal starting point for your luxury yacht charter, Dubai is famous for its tax-free designer shopping, five-star resorts and world-class gastronomy. Thrill seekers can head into its vast desert for four-wheel-drive adventures across the dunes, while families will love the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Legoland, or the magnificent water park at Atlantis on The Palm.

Abu Dhabi: Art and architecture

Neighbouring Abu Dhabi offers a more relaxed yacht charter destination – here, lovers of art and architecture will appreciate the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi, which boasts some 9,200 m2 of galleries within its striking contemporary design.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the world’s largest, and its open-door policy encourages visitors from around the world. The elegant Qasr Al Hosn museum, former home of the ruling family, is Abu Dhabi’s oldest standing structure, and displays artefacts dating back to 6000BC.

Oman: An understated gem

The understated, hidden gem of the Middle East, yacht charter destination Oman has an abundance of natural beauty, from spectacular mountains and wind-blown deserts to a pristine coastline.

At its northernmost tip, visit the red-hued fjords of the Musandam Peninsula. Action-seekers can admire the rugged Al Hajar mountain range by microlight, while land-based activities include desert sand-boarding, jeep rides and quad biking.

Capital city Muscat is steeped in history, with centuries-old souks where you can pick up fine pashminas, spices and frankincense, or even dazzling jewellery in the Gold Souk.

The Kingdom of Bahrain: Home of diving

It is said that diving was invented in Bahrain, and pearl diving is considered the quintessential Bahraini experience. Expect to find up to 30 types of coral and over 200 species of fish, too, making this yacht charter destination ideal for underwater enthusiasts.

Bahrain’s rich trading history is palpable in the Qalat al-Bahrain fort and museum, a registered UNESCO world heritage site. The Bahrain National Museum, found next to the Art and Cultural Centres, blends cultural heritage with contemporary ambience. Or, to indulge in some retail therapy, enjoy a traditional shopping experience at the Manama Souk, selling natural-oil perfumes and incense, fabrics and handicrafts.

The Red Sea: Reefs, diving and beaches

The Red Sea is another popular Middle Eastern yacht charter destination due to its year-round sunshine, warm water, coral reefs and incredible dive sites, including one of the world’s best wreck dives, the WWII British cargo ship SS Thistlegorm. In the south, the relatively undiscovered Marsa’ Alam promises incredible shore or beach diving around its natural fringing reef.

Mysterious, timeless and alluring, the Middle East is a yacht charter destination full of contrasts and surprises. Better still, it’s best visited in winter. What are you waiting for?

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Adventure Travel

Hiking Adventures in Bryce Canyon National Park

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If you are on the lookout for the perfect environment for an adventurous and challenging hike, look no further. Located in the Southern Utah region is the best park that is most suitable for your hiking adventure, the Bryce Canyon National Park. This is a great option to relaxed after you are through playing in $5 minimum deposit casinos.

This park hosts hike lovers from time to time and people even come from other countries in the world to experience the wonder of this park. The landscape and beautiful trails make this a choice venue. There is a rental service at this location if you love to stay behind.

You can enjoy the priceless glimpse of the sunrise and sunset from the different landscape. The part also permits visitors to create traditional camps at different locations for a more adventurous experience.

There are a couple of trails that you can choose from for your hiking adventure, and no matter your level of experience in hiking, you will find a track that matches your taste. Even if you are totally new to hiking, there is something for you at the Bryce Canyon National Park . Below is a list of some of the trails to try when you take a trip to this park.

The Rim Trail

This is the most accessible trail at Bryce Canyon National Park. It is suitable for those who just want to have a good time walking around and savoring the magnificent scenery of the park. From any part of the park, you can connect to this trail as it goes all the way around the park.

When lodging at the Bryce Canyon Lodge, it is a good idea to start your hike from the place known as the sunrise point. Just as the name implies, if you wake up early to start your walk, you’ll be able to watch the sunrise. If you have a camera with you, you’ll take some fantastic pictures.

Also, you’ll get a clear view of the Bryce amphitheater from this point. Just like in an adventure movie, you have to find a way to link up to boat Mesa, and on your way, you walk through some sites like the Mormon temple and Queen garden. This hiking trail is easy, and all you have to deal with is a total of approximately 200 feet elevation. You will surely have a nice time on this trail.

Navajo Loop Trail

On the order of difficulty, this trail comes next after the rim trail. The starting point of this trail begins from the sunset point around the southern area of the Bryce Canyon Lodge. Just like for the rim trail, the trail presents a nice view of the sunset, and with a good camera, you’ll be able to take exciting photo shoots.

Walking this route involves a visit to the Silent City, which is an aesthetic combination of limestone and urban expansion. During the hike, you will also walk through Wall Street, which happens to be a distinctive attraction at the Bryce Canyon park. You won’t ever want to miss the narrow walls. From this point, you may decide to go back to the sunset point or take other shorter hikes like the Peekaboo loop trail and Queen garden trail. Both routes are challenging and adventurous, but you will enjoy every bit of the challenge. After you have done this, you can then go ahead to have some fun in a $5 minimum deposit casino.

Mossy Cave Trail

This Trail presents an entirely different sight than the one that we have previously mentioned. From this trail, you will be able to catch the view of the towers in the park nearby without descending to the amphitheater. This hiking course begins at approximately 4 miles from the entrance to the Bryce Canyon park. However, if you visit this park and would like to enjoy something completely different from the other common tracks, then this is an exciting hiking trail for you to try.

Hiking is more than a walk, it is a fun and adventurous experience. All trails at the Bryce Canyon National Park are worth trying on your next visit. Whether you seek to have some fun or you just want to catch some beautiful scenery and feel close to nature, you will find the right place that suits you. Get ready to have an amazing hiking experience.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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