All the huts along the Kepler Track were stunning, but if I had to choose one for an extended stay – it would be Iris Burn. New Zealand is forever famous as the filming location for the Lord of the Rings movies, and I’m positive that if Middle Earth was real, the elves would be living in the very same valley as the Iris Burn hut. Flanked on all sides by temperate rainforest-ed mountains, we fell asleep in our bunks on the valley floor to the sound of water falling – from where we did not know exactly. It wasn’t until the next morning that we would discover the beauty of that place and it’s tall, slender waterfalls. Continue reading “Hiking New Zealand’s Kepler Track, Part 3: Iris Burn to Queenstown”
If you haven’t already, make sure to read Part 1 here!
It was only 7pm, but I was so exhausted from the day’s treck I definitely would have been in bed if it wasn’t for the Ranger program. There were around 50 of us in the hut that night, and we gathered in the common area to listen to the Ranger give us a run-down of tomorrow’s walk. We could hear the wind howling outside, but inside the wood stove was doing its job and keeping us all cozy. At 7 on the dot a sprightly, middle-aged man introduced himself as the ranger. We all quieted to listen. Continue reading “Hiking New Zealand’s Kepler Track, Part 2: Luxmore to Iris Burn”
I had been staring at the triangular wooden ceiling of our A-Frame cabin for nearly 20 minutes, listening to the wind howl and willing the pressure in my bladder to ease off so I could steal just a little more rest. This would be my last night sharing a room with only my husband for a little while. We were set to head off on the Kepler Track – one of New Zealand’s incredible great walks – in just a few hours’ time. And while we carried our tents on our last great walk on the Abel Tasman, this time we would be spending our nights in the huts, sleeping in dormitories of dozens. We were in the Fiordlands now, and the scene could not have been more different than the white sand beaches of the Abel Tasman. The weather was much harsher in this southern corner of the southern island, and the topography a lot more extreme. Our walk was to take us along steep mountain ridges unsuitable for camping – hence the huts. And so here I was, treasuring what very well might be my last snorer-less sleep for a few nights. Besides, it was a long, dark walk to the toilets. And if the howl of the wind was any indication, it did not sound warm outside. Continue reading “Hiking New Zealand’s Kepler Track, Part 1: The Way to Luxmore Hut”
After 2 jam-packed days on Oahu, we decided to take day 3 of our honeymoon as our official, much needed R&R day. We spent the morning on the beach, the afternoon in the spa, and the evening in the all-you-can eat buffet. It was all heavenly but ultimately… uninteresting to write about. I’ll leave it at this: the facilities at Aulani are truly first class. We were so happy to base our stay there and would HIGHLY recommend any adult doing the same to check out the spa – which features access to a private garden and many different soaking pools that are worth a visit all on their own.
By day 4 however, we were ready to move again. Continue reading “Hawaii Honeymoon Part 3: Swimming with Spinners”
After our back-to-back crater climbs on that first day of our Honeymoon, Tom and I retreated to the beach to rest our shaky legs. Taking in the gorgeous scene from the comfort of my lounger, I overheard a couple nearby discussing the North Shore with some friends. They were saying the biggest waves of the year were predicted for the next day. We hadn’t thought much about how to spend our Sunday, but that eavesdropped conversation stuck with me. By dinner time we had decided the next day’s plan – we wanted to see the famous waves ourselves. Continue reading “Hawaii Honeymoon Part 2: Wave Watching on Oahu’s North Shore”
Kneeling on the ocean floor, my instructor gave me the signal. My stomach felt knotted and heavy. I lifted my hands to my mask, but couldn’t make them take any further action. I reached for the board and pen my instructor kept tied to his belt.
Nervous, I wrote. Continue reading “Learning to Scuba Dive: My Solo Bachelorette in Bali”
A lot of teachers travel. The best teachers love to learn. Travel draws those kinds of curious personalities.
It doesn’t hurt that a perk of the job is a few extra weeks off a year than most. I’m tempted to go on an aside here about how teachers earn more than those weeks off in overtime worked during the school year… but I’ll resist. Continue reading “On Teaching and Travel”
We weren’t really sure what we wanted to get up to on our second day in Sydney, but upon meeting up the night before our friend Doug convinced us we should leave the city center to visit him in the eastern suburbs. He offered to take us on a tour of some of Sydney’s best beaches, and we were happy to take him up on that offer. Continue reading “The Perfect Sydney Weekend Part 2: Bondi Beach & Manly Mornings”
I am obsessed with Melbourne. I’ve been living in this amazing city for 15 months now and I have nothing but stellar things to say about it. It will forever be one of my favorite cities in the world, and it is definitely my favorite city in Australia.
That being said, when most people summon Australia in their heads, it’s Sydney that comes to mind. So when Tom unveiled his Christmas present to me was a weekend trip to New South Wales, I was pretty stoked. Tom lived in Sydney for a summer in college, and we had two good friends living there at the time. This meant that I would not be short of excellent tour guides for my first time in this famous city. With their input, we crafted the perfect 3-day weekend itinerary: Continue reading “The Perfect Sydney Weekend Part 1: Kings Cross, Surry Hills, and Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge”