Four Weeks in Paradise

We began our journey to the South Island by taking an enormous ferry across Cook Strait. We got on the so boat early that Caitlin and I found a really nice table with a window, but soon every seat was filled. Lounge chairs dotted the auburn carpets and the sounds of soft chatter mingled with…

The Secret Life of Lambs

Part of our daily routine at our host family in Wairarapa was feeding two baby lambs, Millie and Elvis, four times a day. Millie and Elvis both were abandoned by their mothers not long before we arrived, so Jon and Georgie took them home to be pets. Taking care of these lambs became a big…

Cavelands

We caught the 5:30pm commuter train out of Wellington into the pastures of the Wairarapa region. We were supposed to meet Jon, our host, for the first time on that train, but soon it was 5:29pm and there still was no sign of him. Then, as the train began to silently pull away from the…

Taupo Time

Caitlin and I made our way to Taupo with the intention of doing the Tongariro Crossing — a famous full-day hike along volcanoes, green lakes and the sight of Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings. However, the Crossing was closed due to weather for the entire time we stayed there. After checking with the…

Meet Robbie Parkinson

During the course of my time in New Zealand, I am interviewing the interesting people I meet. I met Robbie Parkinson, 22, of Chorleywood, England, at our hostel in Auckland. Robbie Parkinson originally came to New Zealand to attend a forensics conference in Auckland, but then decided to extend his trip for three months. In…

Huka, Hakas and Hangis

My dad likes to say that there is the trip you plan and the trip you take. Well, the trip Caitlin and I planned involved a four-day introduction to New Zealand via Auckland before immediately working for a WorkAway host in exchange for free lodging. We had two great hosts lined up for the end…

Auckland in Spring

When I flew into the Auckland airport, I think I expected to see the towering volcanoes and rolling hills that I first witnessed in the Lord of the Rings movies (somehow, I doubt I am the only one). Instead, we landed in a sprawling city in the middle of a torrential downpour. Caitlin and I…

Hawaiian Layover

In order to break up our long flights, Caitlin and I decided to plan an extended layover in Honolulu, Hawaii on our way to New Zealand. We ended up staying at the Polynesian Beach Club Hostel, one block away from the famous Waikiki Beach. This was both a blessing and a curse. We had easy…

One-Way Ticket to New Zealand

Armed with a one-way ticket to Auckland and a 12-month work/holiday visa, I left the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport last Tuesday at 7am. The plan began over six months ago as I drove with my friend, Caitlin, to her hometown of Hayward, WI, to watch the annual ski race called the Birkebeiner. I had spent the…

A Summer with Conservation Corps

Well, it has been a while since I have posted on this blog. Since the last time I wrote, I finished my final semester of school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a minor in Integrated Liberal Studies. Around 8,000 graduates shivered in the outdoor stadium for…