Hiking Ben Lomond, Queenstown NZ

New Zealand

Journeys » New Zealand

December 25, 2022  In two weeks, we depart on our next adventure – New Zealand! We are escaping to the southern hemisphere for three months to enjoy summer hiking while it is frigid at home. *All images courtesy of wikimedia commons until we have our own!

Land of the Long White Cloud

The indigenous Māori call New Zealand “Aotearoa”, which means “land of the long white cloud”. These Polynesians discovered and settled the islands in the early 1300’s. The first indication of land for these early navigators were the long strands of clouds, scraped by the island peaks and streaming out over the south pacific. Europeans landed about 300 years later. Eventually, NZ became a British colony, and a fully independent democratic nation in 1947.

New Zealand is located about half-way between the equator and Antarctica, so its seasons are opposite those in North America and Europe. It maintains sub-tropical weather to the north and more temperate in the south. High volcanic peaks make for Alpine climates in the southern, glacier carved central mountains.

Queenstown, NZ
Queenstown, NZ

The Great Outdoors

Hiking and wildlife will be a key focus of this trip. Rare little blue and yellow-eyed penguins call the island home, as do sea lions and many specials of unusual birds. Including, of course, the kiwi! We’ve several rambles planned, from beachside strolls, to a glacier hike.

Baby Blue Penguins molting
Baby Blue Penguins molting
Yellow-Eyed Penguin
Yellow-Eyed Penguin
New Zealand Fur Seals
New Zealand Fur Seals

It’s said “One does not simply walk into Mordor“, but you can here. Scenes for this perilous “Lord of the Rings” journey were filmed on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The more pleasant and green parts of the movies were filmed in NZ also, so the hikes should be stunning.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Hot Water Beach
Hot Water Beach, where the geothermal warm water seems right up through the sand

Journey Map

Below is our journey map, which you can view and add as a layer in your own Google Maps. It outlines planned stays, our route, and a few highlights of the trip. There are several hikes, and you’ll note many wineries – NZ is famous for its whites, and becoming known for its Pinot Noir as well!

Detailed Itinerary

If you are interested in a similar trip, the attached PDF itinerary is a good place to start!

Travel Bytes

For more about this journey, check out our related Travel Bytes, coming soon below!

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