kiwi experience

#50 – Have a bonfire on the beach

‘Insert Quote Here’ – Teo Wolter

This memory will live on in me for as a long as I will live because it was a truly special evening for me, even if it did take me 23years to get there.

The site of my first beach bonfire experience was Hot Water Beach on New Zealand’s North Island. One of the guys that I had met right at the start of my Kiwi Experience trip – Teo – and I had made our minds up quite early on that we would be spending our one evening at Hot Water Beach sat under the stars with a little bonfire, so en route to the location we picked up marshmallows to toast over the open flames.

We made our way down to the beach after sunset, following a path illuminated by (more…)

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#22 – Climb Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom), New Zealand

‘And as the captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor,
it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud,
there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable,
lightning-crowned, filling all the sky’
– J.R.R. Tolkein

An optional ascent on the Tongariro Crossing, Mt Ngauruhoe really is the pinnacle of this little excursion. Snow at the peak all year round, an incline that leaves you scrambling on all fours, ground that breaks away at every step, an active volcano, and the chance of death – quite literally. What’s not to love?

It’s not even that big. An additional 600m climb, allegedly. But it takes between 2-3hrs and is not recommended for those who struggled with the Devil’s Staircase or are physically unfit. Several of us from the Kiwi Experience group set off up the mountain together and we all made it to the top at varying times, although we did get slightly *very* separated on the way down.

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#20 – Visit Hobbiton, New Zealand

‘I picked up The Hobbit. And I began to read.
I was swept off to a green, green Shire in a far, far land, and my soul has never returned.
I suppose it never will’
– Steve Bivans

Back when I was a  young boy, my Dad took it upon himself to introduce me to Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. A special limited edition release of The Hobbit was gifted to me, and very quickly became one of my most favoured possessions. Being at an age where reading such a comprehensive piece of work was a difficult task, I have memories of my Dad reading it to me, bit by bit, every night I would stay over at his. This went on for months, and was the beginning of a long-standing love-affair with the world Tolkien depicted.

Naturally, once Hobbiton was created in real-life for the filming of both LotR and The Hobbit, my desire to visit grew ever stronger.

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#13 – Visit Milford Sound, New Zealand

‘It’s actually a fjord’ – pretty much anyone who has been there

Milford Sound. A must-see. If you didn’t go to Milford Sound when you were in New Zealand, did you really go to New Zealand at all?

I went in late 2016 whilst touring with Kiwi Experience, a pretty sweet company who help hapless backpackers (like myself) see all the great bits of New Zealand without the hassle of doing much research before you begin (literally). They provide a great starting point for anyone who wants to stay in New Zealand, but has no idea where to begin – other than in Queenstown because it is party and adrenaline central.

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Callum’s 2016 Adventures: South Island, New Zealand pt.2

I was in New Zealand and met this girl. Her sister dared me to bungee jump, so I did!
It was a spur-of-the-moment decision.
I wanted to impress the girl, and it worked!
– Theo James

Queenstown: 07.12.16 – 08.12.16

Queenstown, adventure capital of the world. Home of endless activities, mountains of food and hours of drink. Queenstown should come with a warning really, something like ‘beware, once you arrive you may never want to leave’.

My time in Queenstown was split by a day trip to Milford Sound, so I’ll split up my writing about it in a similar fashion.

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Callum’s 2016 Adventures: South Island, New Zealand pt.1

‘There are parts of New Zealand that I absolutely fell in love with
that I will miss going back to,
but I kind of think that is the part that can continue and will continue on.
I don’t imagine I’ll stop going back to New Zealand,
because I feel part of the fabric there, really’
– Andy Serkis

Kaiteriteri: 29.11.16

Kaiteriteri is a common destination due to its close proximity to the Abel Tasman National Park.  In fact, it’s probably the main/only reason people would go there.

After leaving Wellington and North Island behind via a ferry, we were driven directly to Kaiteriteri, with a brief stop in Nelson. To then get to the Abel Tasman National Park, you usually have to take a water taxi – this is the case whether you are just going to walk around the park or if you are going to kayak.

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Callum’s 2016 Adventures: North Island, New Zealand pt.2

‘There’s a real purity in New Zealand that doesn’t exist in the states.
It’s actually not an easy thing to find in our world anymore.
It’s a unique place because it is so far away from the rest of the world.
There is a sense of isolation and also being protected’
– Elijah Wood

Hobbiton: 20.11.16

Without doubt, the Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tour is a must see for any LotR and Hobbit fans. Not only do you learn some amazing behind-the-scenes information, you also discover the insane attention and care that was put into ensuring every detail of this set was absolutely perfect. If that isn’t enough, then there is also a pint of ale or cider at The Green Dragon thrown in for good measure!

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Callum’s 2016 Adventures: North Island, New Zealand pt.1

‘New Zealand is a country of thirty thousand million sheep,
three million of whom think they are human’ 
– Barry Humphries

The back end of 2016 saw me begin the biggest adventure of my life thus far; moving abroad. The destination? Australia. My flights were booked, my visa paid for and granted. I was all set to go. But first there was somewhere else I needed to be. New Zealand.

Beginning in Auckland, I had given myself just shy of 6 weeks to travel through both the North and South Island’s, finishing down in Christchurch. It was a lot to fit in in such a small space of time and help was definitely required.

After my success with Oz Experience whilst travelling up Australia’s East Coast the previous year, I made the decision to book myself onto a Kiwi Experience bus pass. Fortunately – due to some fantastic discounts on offer at the time – I was able to purchase the ‘Whole Kit & Caboodle’ pass, which included the additional passes for the Bay of Islands, Milford Sound, and the Deep South.

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