Friday, December 30, 2016

New Zealand: Ship Cove to Resolution Bay on Queen Charlotte's Track

 Standing on ground trod no doubt by Maori long before Captain Cook landed in 1770. 

In January 1770 Captain James Cook landed his ship The Endeavor at what is now known as Ship Cove in Queen Charlotte Sound, South Island, New Zealand. While he and his crew spent over s year there we would use it as our starting point of a 9-mile-long hike on the Queen Charlotte Track. Forest, birds and bays dominate this enjoyable hike. The boat ride to and from Picton is enjoyable too. Ending the hike with a nice drink, though pricy, at Furneaux Lodge is a bonus. 

 Resolution Bay. Somewhat over a mile into the hike. It starts moderately steep gaining easily 700 in a mile. But it gets easier and the occasional climbs away from the Bay are all much shorter after the first one. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Zealand: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

 Red Crater at the highest point of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. 

 You gaze down on Emerald Lake as you slide walk down loose stone and dirt. It's a bit like descending a sand dune or scree field. 

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered by many the best day hike in New Zealand. It is certainly a tough one. Great views in an interesting area compete for your attention with the hordes of people tramping the trail with you. It is a hike of extremes. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

New Zealand: Waimangu Volcanic Valley

The Waimangu Volcanic Valley features numerous geothermal features. Mount Terawera erupted June 1886 destroying everything in the area and totally reshapedpp q the land. Lake Rotomahana grew 20 times in size and became North Island's deepest lake. The famed pink and white terraces vanished beneath the water or were destroyed. The world's largest hot pool, Fryingpan Lake, was born. Today a fantastic mixture of re-emergent flora and fauna combine with the landscape to create a stunning special place.

More re photos and video coming  


Check out this episode

Video of the Waimangu Valley with much the same audio but so much more visually compelling you should watch even if you listened to the audio show. 


Today we tackled the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It's a 12-mile trek with over 2,700 feet of climbing and nearly 4,000 feet long f descending. It is a tough hike. But it does have some exceptional views. I'm not sure it's the world's best alone day hike as some say because the last handful of miles are a real slog with joys hard to find (but no seeming end to the steps) but it is certainly going to be memorable. 

Emerald Lake is a bit more than halfway. We are descending loose ground, akin to scree or a sand dune with huge sand grains, to get there. The vast bulk of ascent is done and the vastly greater descent has started. A tough trek indeed. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

New Zealand : Devonport and Rangitoto


Our last couple of days in Auckland we explored on our own and joined the HF Holiday group for the rest of our New Zealand trip. We visited Devonport and Rangitoto. 

Teaser: we spend a couple days in Rotorua. The prominent feature of this city is the lake with sulfurous vents. The smell of sulfur wafts through sections of the town. I can smell it here at my hotel. Nearby is the youngest, and maybe largest, thermal hot pool in the world. We visit Waimongu Volcanic valley. We also visit a redwood forest and Maori village. 

waimongu thermal pool 

waimongu thermal pool 2Maori village  

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Zealand: The Coast to Coast Trail

The Coast to Coast Trail runs between Waitemata Harbor and Manukau Harbor in the city of Auckland, New Zealand. It is 10 miles long and does have some modest climbing , mostly up and then down Mt. Eden, the local high point. This is an urban walk but don't let that fool you. We saw a lot and were very pleased with this hike through neighborhoods and parks. Enjoy the audio diary.

You can learn more about the trail in many places. Here is just one that includes a map.

coast to Coast Trail info





Check out this episode

Sunday, December 18, 2016

New Zealand: the first two days

We have now been in Auckland for two days.
Our first day we spent wandering around town: visiting the harbor, walking through some parks including part of what might be the largest park in Auckland - Auckland Domains -and getting a sense of the city. Once you get off of the main streets things get quieter and there certainly are neighborhoods to be found. One thing that struck us is that the vast majority of the people we are seeing seem to be fairly young. I'm not sure how many of them are locals and how many of them are tourists, students from abroad, or workers from abroad but the general trend seems to be towards younger people. We have also noticed a large number of people especially from Pacific Rim countries which I suppose make sense if those people are coming here to work, travel, or study. Our second day we explored a little bit more of the city and also took the harbor tour; featured in the bonus material you'll find at the end of the podcast. Both days the weather has been A bit cloudy and warm. When the sun does break through the clouds it feels quite a bit warmer. So far, we have thoroughly enjoyed our time here. We have even managed to find some rather nice places to eat which sometimes is a challenge for us.



Check out this episode