I traveled north in New Zealand to see the giant Kauri trees that grace the Waipoua Forest there. They are the oldest and largest trees in the country, some aging over 2,000 years. Being the tree lover that I am, the Kauri Walk was one of my favorite walks during my time here.
A popular destination on the North Island of New Zealand, Cathedral Cove was quiet this morning as the sun rose over the water in a golden light. I left the popular cave area and walked to this rock formation that was sculpted anew when the sun’s glow graced its side. I treasure moments like this when the world first wakes up and shows how brilliant it can be. To find out more about Cathedral Cove visit this website.
When I first drove to Golden Bay, my rental car heaved up the mountainous and winding road seeming to head off into the sky. Then another turn would take me higher, at times making me dizzy. Blue skies were the destination up above and soon white feathery clouds were passing me by. It seemed to take ages, but finally a descent took me down into the area of Golden Bay. Green hills and teal waters spread out before me. Small stretches of colorful beach houses with flowers out front and weathered mailboxes lined the coast. It felt like endless summer and barefoot walks on the sand awaited.
You’d think this photo was taken in India, but in fact, it’s New Zealand. The Indian Char Bagh Garden in Hamilton is like stepping onto a different continent. Paradise is contained between ivory walls and a carpet of colorful flowers spreads out to the four corners.
Today I visited Hobbiton, a colorful camp of Hobbit houses and gardens used in the filming of The Lord of the Rings film series. I had seen all the movies and thought, when in New Zealand! So I made my way through the countryside to the Shire.
A few weeks ago, I explored Rawhiti Cave in New Zealand. The hike was an easy level which equates to a difficult 40 minute uphill trek that had me dripping with sweat and out of breath. I’ve come to the conclusion that no treks are easy in New Zealand. Gone are the flat fields and smooth rolling paths of Michigan, everything is uphill here. I had just reached the point where I wondered if I would ever make it, grumbling under my breath and then there it was. I saw it peaking through the trees, stalactites hanging and framed between green foliage.
In the early days of September, I wandered a city with walls that stretched on forever. I went out each morning with the intention of getting lost. My sandals wandered alleys where cream stone shone in sunlight around each twist and turn. Orange tiled rooftops created a quilt over buildings below.
As I walked down the streets of Luang Prabang in the evening light, I instantly knew I would love it. I had only just arrived and was reuniting with a friend I made in Thailand. I walked in quiet past a few shops and restaurants with colorful lanterns illuminating the trees outside. Laos has a beautiful mixture of nature and city.
Last night at Hopewell, five of us braved the cool sea and swam out into dark waters. Each person jumping off the jetty and giving a gasp or yelp as the crisp coldness enveloped our bodies. Soon the temperature was far from our minds as we marveled in the miracle of bioluminescent phytoplankton surrounding us. Their light activated in the movement made by our splashing and each person soon joined in a chorus of oohs and ahhs.
I made my way down the grassy path towards Wharariki Beach, over farmland and steep hilly pastures in the dark. The night sky shone with a brilliance rarely seen elsewhere, as the stars still glimmered overhead, free from any light pollution. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen and constellations reigned up above. You’ve never seen the night sky until you’ve come to New Zealand. I don’t know how many times I’ve stopped and stared at the show the stars put on when the sun has set.