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Is New Zealand’s West Coast Worth the Drive?

South Island’s West Coast is an area many travelers skip. This is understandable because of its remoteness and lack of regular services. However the West Coast offers several stops that make the venture into this part of New Zealand worthwhile. With some planning and a little luck with the weather it can be one of the most memorable parts of your trip.

NZ West Coast

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The Kepler Track

New Zealand has 9 Great Walks that consist of spectacular scenery and well maintained campgrounds/huts. Perhaps this is why the 9 Great Walk are so popular. There is a ton of information on these walks, so it’s a great option for people of all levels who are looking to get outside. As much as I wanted to do every one of them there was simply not enough time. 3 of the 9 Great Walks are in Fiordland and I opted for the 60km Kepler Track because it is a loop. Milford and Routeburn are supposed to be wonderful, but finding transportation from one end to the other made my head spin. There is no need to worry though because Kepler Track is full of excitement, weather, and views.

Kepler Track

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Weather, Hikes, and Glaciers in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

After being in New Zealand for two months I’ve seen some truly incredible places. It’s difficult to decide which parts have been my favorite but Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is definitely in my top three. The drastic scenery, crazy weather, and challenging hikes all add to the beauty of this National Park. This part of my trip was certainly a roller coaster ride but I look back on it with fond memories. The mountains, glaciers, lakes, and meadows all bring together this fantastic part of New Zealand that I am not likely to forget.

Mount Cook

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A Taste of Hiking in New Zealand

Lords of the Rings, Hobbit, and Chronicles of Narnia are just a few of the movies filmed in New Zealand. With stunning landscapes around every corner it’s easy to see why directors like it here. Although New Zealand isn’t a large country per se, there is a wealth of scenery to drool at. During my first two weeks I drove from Christchurch to Queenstown and hiked every chance I could. Eventually I got worried that I had already seen the best there was to see in New Zealand. I quickly found out the beauty here is unlimited, and I want to introduce you to some of my favorites during those first few weeks.

New Zealand Hikes

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3 Days in Australia’s Beautiful Blue Mountains

Prior to my trip to the Blue Mountains my friend KN emailed me to say she had bought a last-minute ticket to Sydney. She would be visiting for seven fun-filled days. She likes hiking as much as I do so we had to explore the Blue Mountains together. They’re only 100 km away from Syndey and easy to get to. I was happy to see a friendly face and excited that I had someone to check out this beautiful part of Australia with.

Blue Mountains

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11 of the Best Things to do in Tasmania

When I first planned my trip to Australia I gave myself a full month in Tasmania because it seemed like there was a lot to do. However, while I was traveling around Australia people kept telling me a month was too long to spend in Tasmania. Everybody said 2 weeks as plenty of time to see everything. I typically take advice I am given and settled with a happy medium of 3 weeks. I wish I hadn’t listened because I could have easily spent a month in beautiful Tasmania. I missed out on Port Arthur and Bay of Fires, which are not on this list but are two fantastic sights. Still, I am very glad for what I did see because Tasmania has a lot to offer.

tasmania

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12 Things After 5 Months in Australia

After my first two months in Australia I made a post about the differences I had noticed between Australia and California. My Australia trip has come to an end, and upon request of some silly Australian friends, this is a final list of differences I have found between the two countries. Making these posts is fun because they’re all silly little things that don’t make a big difference. That being said, it can be the little differences that make things exciting, and even though Australia and California are very similar, there are many things I will miss.

So without further ado I would like to introduce 12 more differences I have found after 5 months of travel in Australia. If you want read about more differences between the two countries check out my 1st month and 2nd month.

12 Things

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Hiking Tasmania’s Infamous Frenchman’s Cap

When I was hiking the Great Ocean Road I spoke to a fellow hiker about Tasmania. I told him my plans to hike the Overland Track and he said “What about Frenchman’s Cap? It’s in my Top 3.” He had hiked all over the world I was intrigued. I’d found the Overland Track incredibly easy and was itching to do something more demanding. From what I’d heard Frenchman’s Cap was a difficult hike and I was up for the challenge.

Seven days after completing the Overland Track I found myself in Strahan, a tiny seaside town an hour and a half from Frenchman’s Cap Trailhead. The weather had been suspiciously perfect the last five days and the forecast showed three more days of sun with slight showers on the second day. A little rain never hurt anyone and I decided to tackle Frenchman’s Cap the next morning.

Frenchman's Cap

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Hiking the Overland Track in Tasmania

My time on the Overland Track was everything I could have hoped for. There was a good variety of weather, lots of friendly people, and views galore. I even popped two hiking cherries: I lost a toe nail and got super excited about trail mix.

When I hopped on the shuttle to the trail head I wasn’t nervous at all. In fact, I was excited to see if 6 days on the trail would wear me down or invigorate me. People on the shuttle asked me “are you hiking all by yourself?” Why yes I am, and I can’t wait to get started!

If you’re looking for tips and tricks on how to hike the Overland Track yourself I made a post specifically for planning here.

Overland Track

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How to Plan for Tasmania’s Overland Track

After spending the first month of my trip hiking through rainforest, the second month hiking through desert, and the third month through beaches, it was time for me to hit the mountains. What better way to do this than hike Tasmania’s beautiful Overland Track? It takes a lot of planning but walking this beautiful trail will give you bragging rights for years to come.

If you would like to read my full experience hiking the Overland Track check out my post here!

overland track

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