New Zealand | On the Road

Fur seal at Kaikoura.When we were thinking about a trip to New Zealand a few months ago, I was pretty sure we were going to go the tour company route. Several of our Kabul colleagues had traveled to New Zealand on all-inclusive tours, where the company takes care of everything (excluding flights), including hotels, most meals, entrance fees/tickets and, mostContinue reading “New Zealand | On the Road”

New Zealand | Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

After our day at Hobbiton and exploring the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, Kail and I were looking forward to spending our first night freedom camping. We’d picked out a site near the famous Huka Falls of Lake Taupo, but unfortunately part of the road — from what we could tell, the only road — leadingContinue reading “New Zealand | Orakei Korako Geothermal Park”

New Zealand | Rotorua

Rotorua mud pools.New Zealand’s North Island has great hiking and Hobbiton, but one of the main tourist attractions are the geothermal parks in Rotorua. There are many different parks and random geothermal hot spots throughout the area (giving the town that lovely sulfuric rotten egg smell). Kail and I visited Te Puia, home of the famous Pohutu Geyser.

New Zealand | Hobbiton

I enjoyed our hikes at Karangahake Gorge and Wairere Falls, but for me the highlight of the North Island was our tour of Hobbiton. It’s not that I’m a huge “Lord of the Rings” fan (and I only saw the first “Hobbit” movie and could barely stay awake). The setting for Hobbiton — better known asContinue reading “New Zealand | Hobbiton”

New Zealand | North Island Hiking

Karangahake Gorge.Kail and I heard a lot of reactions when we would tell people about our upcoming New Zealand campervan adventure. The most common was: 11 days is NOT enough time to see both the North and South Islands. We also got a lot of: Just go to the South Island because there’s nothing to see on the NorthContinue reading “New Zealand | North Island Hiking”

New Zealand | Campervan Adventure

Freedom camping in Glenorchy (South Island).After an awesome five days in Sydney, we embarked on the true highlight of our R&R in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore: 10 days in a campervan, exploring New Zealand’s North and South Islands. We rented the Breeze 2 through Wilderness Motorhomes and would highly recommend them to anyone planning a similar trip to New ZealandContinue reading “New Zealand | Campervan Adventure”

Australia, New Zealand & Singapore | By the Numbers

Kail and I recently returned from an amazing three-week R&R to Australia, New Zealand and Singapore — our fifth and final R&R/RRB from Afghanistan. It was three distinct vacations in one and an amazing experience for which words and photos can’t do it justice, particularly the beauty of New Zealand.