Category: Carousel

bay of islands dolphin tour
Carousel, New Zealand, Oceania

Cruising with Dolphins in New Zealand

After a long first week as an au pair, I needed to get out of the house! I am off duty on the weekends, so on a whim I decided to book a tour – a dolphin cruise – for the upcoming Saturday. Swimming with dolphins has been on my bucket list since I was a kid, after all. Now, this company has a policy that they will guarantee they find you SOMETHING exciting to see, be it dolphins or whales, or they give you a voucher to return on a different day. We drove around the major islands in the bay looking for dolphins for probably an hour andContinue reading

cape reinga ninety mile beach
Carousel, New Zealand, Oceania

Cape Reigna & Ninety Mile Beach Tour

To experience more of the New Zealand North Island, I booked a full day tour through the top peninsula of the North Island. I had to get up even earlier for this one, and catch the very first ferry of the day to Paihia. I was up so early, I heard a rooster crow as I walked to town. I made it to the wharf in time to watch the sun rise over Russell, which was beautiful. From Paihia, I hopped on a bus and began the tour. Our first stop was a Kauri forest – basically just a bunch of big trees. The kauri forest is a kiwi’s naturalContinue reading

tongariro alpine crossing
Carousel, New Zealand, Oceania

New Zealand Must Do: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

“One does not simply walk into Mordor…” On a cold morning in Cincinnati, I sat researching all the wonders New Zealand has to offer. I came across the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a 19.4 kilometer hike through Tongariro National Park labeled the best one-day hike in the country. I joked with Dad that we should start training since we already did a volcano hike in Bali (though that one was quite a bit shorter at about 3 kilometers return). I never imgined that 3 months later I would actually be attempting it. A bit of a last minute decision, my trip was booked on a whim before I really processed whatContinue reading

Carousel, New Zealand, Oceania

New Zealand Must Do: Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Right across the bay from the quaint little town I lived in in New Zealand was the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. I had lived so close the whole time I was there, but I kept putting it off, telling myself I would go later. Eventually it was my last weekend in Russell, and I knew I couldn’t leave without visiting such an important place in New Zealand history. This is where the Treaty of Waitangi – what is seen as the founding document of New Zealand – was signed on February 6, 1840 in the spot where this flagstaff now stands… It was an “agreement” between the Maori chiefs and the British,Continue reading

Carousel, General Travel/Tips

The Ultimate Travel Playlist

There’s no better feeling than walking through an airport, ready to embark on a new journey with your favorite tunes playing through your headphones. I always feel like I’m in a movie, and my travel playlist is the soundtrack. I’ve compiled a long list of songs over the years that I feel fit perfectly with that wanderlust-y feeling of each trip, but here are my top faves (please forgive my very eclectic taste): Step Out – José González “Time to step outside, time to step outside you. House on fire, leave it all behind you. Dark as night, let the lightning guide you.” My favorite movie of all time isContinue reading

Asia, Carousel

Sunrise Hike in Bali, Indonesia

It was still dark when the alarm went off. In fact, the sun had only just set a few hours ago. It was one thirty in the morning and we were getting picked up at two. I hoped we were at least – we’d paid some guy on the street for this tour without really knowing how legitimate he was (something my dad would normally yell at me for doing, yet this was his decision…). But we walked out at two and there was our chauffeur, right on time. Phew. We drove for what seemed like hours. Others slept; I tried to keep my eyes open for fear of missingContinue reading

Carousel, New Zealand, Oceania

Taking the Scenic Route

On a road trip from Christchurch to Dunedin, I took the scenic route. Instead of driving straight along the coast, I decided to go inland. My plan was to hang out around Lake Tekapo until dark, as it’s in a Dark Sky Reserve and I want to try my hand at night time photography, and then spend the night at the campground in Mount Cook National Park, where I would hike the Hooker Valley Track. As usual in travel, my plan was unsuccessful. The sky was changing colors quickly and dark clouds loomed when I arrived at Tekapo. Not seeing any stars tonight. I continued on to Mount Cook as the sunContinue reading

Carousel, General Travel/Tips

Lessons from Traveling Solo

I’ve been blessed with a number of amazing travel buddies in my life. But after I graduated from college, I decided it was time to do something all on my own. So I took off for New Zealand the next month. I was so excited until the night before, when the nerves kicked in. “What am I doing? I don’t know anyone in New Zealand. What if the people hiring me are actually murderers?” etc. etc… Rational questions. But as it turns out, it was one of the best experiences of my life. These are the three most important things I learned while I was gone: 1. Confidence & open-mindedness. Moving to a foreignContinue reading