Expect the Unexpected: A Real World Friending in the Coromandel

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We had only planned to stay an hour or so, visiting with a Facebook friend in Tairua, a small town on the southeast coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. But it was seven hours and six new friends later before we …

Posted in Beaches, Hiking/Trekking, New Zealand 2012 - 2014 | Leave a comment

A Mouth Full of Memories

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Marcel Proust wrote a seven volume novel engendered, in a way, by the taste of a madeleine cookie: No sooner had the warm liquid [of tea] mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and …

Posted in Food, New Zealand 2012 - 2014 | Leave a comment

A Wild Suburb: Escaping the City in West Auckland

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In 1948, two scientists came to the coastal bluffs along the Tasman Sea just west of Auckland, and for the first time listened to the sounds of stars outside the Milky Way. It’s likely that few visitors now head here …

Posted in Beaches, Hiking/Trekking, New Zealand 2012 - 2014 | 2 Comments

Wrestling with Rushes: The Path Untraveled By

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The spiky stalks of rushes – large grassy rods – rose over our heads, densely packed throughout the long stretch in front of us. Even in the cool afternoon, we sweated with the effort of moving forward, as if we were …

Posted in Hiking/Trekking, New Zealand 2012 - 2014 | Leave a comment

Land’s End: Pathways for the Quick and the Dead

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On a beautiful day Cape Reinga, the end of New Zealand, can feel so benign, if not at all peaceful. Busloads of tourists scurry about for a brief while, snapping pictures, huffing and puffing along the steep paths between the …

Posted in New Zealand 2012 - 2014 | Leave a comment

A Time for Every Purpose: Cruising the Bay of Islands

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We’ve long understood the value of slow travel, with the benefits of learning a culture, enjoying the less touristed pleasures of a place, meeting local residents and changing a travel plan based on what we find. On a guided expedition …

Posted in Cruises & Tours, New Zealand 2012 - 2014, Video | 1 Comment

Fluting its Virtues: the Curious Case of the Wairere Boulders

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“Welcome to the rocks that Wellington said don’t exist,” she greeted us. A wiry woman, impressively dressed in a broad-brimmed leather hat and a buckskin vest as if she were still ready for sixties counter-culture happenings, she spoke in a …

Posted in New Zealand 2012 - 2014, Video | 3 Comments

Lava, then Leave It: Round about Rangitoto

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To the northeast of Auckland there are nearly 50 islands scattered about Hauraki Gulf. Some are large, like the Great Barrier Island, and some are tiny. Some are like suburbs of Auckland, like Waiheke, and some are preserves, like Tiritiri-Matiangi, …

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Horsing around at the Auckland Lantern Festival

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New Zealand prides itself on celebrating the diverse array of ethnicities and homeland origins of its people. On its national holiday in February, it celebrates its founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, which made peace – of sorts – between …

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The Move from Wellington to Melbourne: Uprooting and Replanting, Part 1

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Tree specialists know that uprooting and replanting a tree can put great stress on it, endangering its viability. We like to think of ourselves as more resilient than that, but the stresses are there when we face moving from one …

Posted in Australia 2013, New Zealand 2012 - 2014, TripTips | Leave a comment