Hidden Bay

Seeing this photo makes me stop and think, “Wow!” If you were to look up a photo of “paradise,” wouldn’t this type of image come to mind? A hidden bay, surrounded by lush greenery, with blue ocean spreading out to the horizon, capped off with subtle mountains…a paradise. Jake and I were on Day 4…

Red Sea Anemones

I found these gorgeous cherry-looking Sea Anemones clinging to the rocks on the secluded West End Beach of Ulva Island in New Zealand.  The beach is named West End, because it is the western most beach on the island. (Those European names are so clever and original.) When I came across these sea anemones I wasn’t…

Earland Falls

Earland Falls is a great example of why when we travel we try to get away from the road and into the backcountry. It is beyond gorgeous and at 571′ it is the highest waterfall on New Zealand’s Routeburn Track. We arrived at Earland Falls in the early afternoon, but well ahead of the caravan of hikers that…

Milford Moss

New Zealand is known to be one of greenest places on the planet. I don’t mean it is environmentally friendly, although that is probably true too, but a literal natural green. Most of its notoriety for it greenishness is due to its lush rolling green hills (you know, Hobbiton—Lord of the Rings). That is the…

New Zealand Fantail

This is a New Zealand Fantail. These little birds are figuratively part fighter jet. They are known to swoop in on the foothills of hikers and pick bugs out of the air that the hikers kick up as they tramp along the trails. Their large fanned tails allow them to cut on a dime in mid-air….

Taranaki

This is Mount Taranaki (aka Mount Egmont), one of the most symmetrical volcanoes in the world. Taranaki was so named by the indigenous Maori people and roughly translated means “shining peak” (www.gns.cri.nz). At 8,261′ the mountain towers above the rest of the western edge of New Zealand’s North Island, which mostly sits at or near sea level….

Mountainous Beech

My wife and I had been tramping along on the Routeburn Track in New Zealand for nearly the entire day. The majority of this trail is covered in Beech tree forest. It was a crystal clear day, perfect for a backpacking trip in the Southern Alps. Late in the afternoon a few clouds started rolling in…

Tekapo

There are some places that I’ve been to that just stand out in my memory as clear as if I were standing there today. Lake Tekapo is one of those places. I remember looking at it on the map while planning our trip to New Zealand, and thinking, “oh yeah, we should probably plan on…