The label clearly said “two-man tent” but I was dubious about that definition. They were two bloody small men by my calculations. Maybe the manufacturers were basing it on men who had trekked for a hundred days and nights through brutal extremes, living off foraged food and who had lost half their body weight – oh and were really short. Either way, getting two people in that tent was going to be a mission. I scratched my head. And where the hell were the bags supposed to go? Continue reading
We arrived in St Arnaud, in New Zealand’s Nelson Lakes, to persistent drizzle and a grey cloud that hung in the air and made driving difficult. It wasn’t a great start to a three-day walk into New Zealand’s wilderness, and a real mood-dampener considering the bad luck we had already had with the inclement Kiwi weather.
The blood-sucking sandflies – infamous in the South Island’s Nelson Lakes region – were also out in force, driving my friend Julia into her tent in the wake of their bloodlust. The shower of insect repellent she sprayed in the cramped confines of her tent resulted in a dramatic coughing fit and the near expulsion of a lung.
The adventure was going swimmingly! Continue reading
It’s been almost two months since our trip to New Zealand. Despite the balmy weather in London, I couldn’t help having a reminisce about the great time we had.
Here’s a selection of the highlights in pictures.
It was inevitable but I’ve hit another bump in the road in this #40by40 quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40, and failing to climb Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Taranaki during my recent trip to New Zealand has really been playing on my mind. Continue reading
Yip, I admit it, I’m a control freak. I love planning and I love making to-do lists. And the recent month-long trip to New Zealand was no exception – I had a detailed calendar of our movements, a spreadsheet, and an A4-page to-do list to make sure all logistics and bookings were sorted.
It worked like a dream. I was so organised. I knew where we had to be and when, my parents knew our whereabouts and what days we were in for dinner, and it largely worked at keeping the boyfriend in line and on time (no mean feat that last one I can tell you!).
However, there was one thing I hadn’t factored in during my planning extravaganza… Continue reading
Finally, a day of sunshine!
I almost couldn’t believe it – I had to pinch myself to make sure – but there it was, crisp blue sky and a white-gold orb coating my immediate world in warm rays of sunshine. No rain to be seen; not even a cloud.
It was rejoice-worthy.
The majestic-ness of the day was in stark contrast to a mere few days ago when a weather bomb had hit New Zealand and put paid to my attempts at climbing the volcanoes Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Taranaki – what should have been volcanoes seven and eight in my quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40 (#40by40).
But finally, the weather gods were in good moods – today I was going to climb Rangitoto. Continue reading
The rain on the tent sounded like an army chucking thousands of buckets of water over it. It had sounded like that all night; a constant drumming as the torrential rain pelted the tree above us, which jettisoned the water directly onto our tent. To say it was wet was an understatement.
We’d completed the three-day Tongariro Northern Circuit trek the evening before and had set up camp in Whakapapa Village (it had already started to rain by that point). I was still gutted that I hadn’t been able to climb Mt Ngauruhoe – what should have been volcano number seven in my quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40 (#40by40) – because of the crappy weather. But this would be rectified – the plan today was to make the drive west towards Mt Taranaki, the 2,518m peak that pokes out the side of the west of New Zealand’s North Island. Tomorrow we would climb. Continue reading
“Are there any questions? Does anyone have other plans for tomorrow?” the hut warden Sally asked the motley group of trampers as we huddled in the Mangatepopo hut on the skirts of the Tongariro National Park in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island. Outside the wind was buffeting against the hut’s wooden walls, whipping the tussock grass (and tent flies) into a frenzy. But inside, it was cosy; the wood-burner was alight, slowly drying wet clothes whose pungent steamy fumes mingled with the homely scent of Pizza Hut pizzas some entrepreneurial Germans had carried up from civilisation.
I raised my hand, catching the eye of Sally. “We’re planning on climbing Mt Ngauruhoe tomorrow,” I ventured tentatively, worried I knew the response. Sally had already mentioned the weather conditions for the next day and while rain wasn’t going to be a massive problem (at least not until the evening) the wind was going to be frenetic, with gusts around 45km. Continue reading
Well I’m back in London after a hectic and fun-packed month traipsing around my home country New Zealand. As I sit at my computer, wading through a month’s worth of unread emails, and staring out the window at the spring blossoms and daffodils, I can’t help but feel a pang of holiday blues. I’ve lived in London now for almost 11 years but I still love New Zealand. This is why. Continue reading
So, the next lot of volcanoes in my #40by40 quest have now been lined up as I head off back home to New Zealand for a month in a little over two weeks’ time. Woohoo can’t wait!
The original plan had been to fit in five volcanoes but trying to also fit in a friend’s wedding and a trip to the South Island to see my brother and his family (my niece and nephew are soooo cute!), as well as catching up with other family and friends and playing hostess to the English boyfriend, well five volcanoes very quickly became three. Continue reading