Hiking on a Volcano

This past Sunday we were craving a really good hike. We woke up with a ton on energy, opened the blinds, and it was pouring rain! Boo!

We kept ourselves busy while it was raining by going to the maritime museum. Once we were done with the exhibits at the museum, the weather had completely cleared up. Therefore, we grabbed an early lunch and the next ferry to Rangitoto Island!

600px-Rangitotopanorama

Rangitoto is a 5.5km wide Island visible off the coast of Auckland. It is the most recent volcano on the Hauraki Gulf, as well as the largest. The island was formed by a serious of eruptions, with the most recent eruptions being approximately 550 years ago. The hike up to the summit was 1 hour and 45 minutes. AGH! We are fairly new to hiking, so it was a little bit of a challenge.

DSC05702

What I learned about New Zealand: the steeper the hill, the more it’s going to be worth it! The views are incredible.

(Another fact I learned about New Zealand: all the hills around the island are actually extinct volcanos.)

DSC05669DSC05653

DSC05659

 

After about an hour and a half, we made it up to the summit!

DSC05668

DSC05679

We had a couple of protein bars at the top and took the opportunity to rehydrate. As we hiked back down the volcano, we digressed off the path and took the longer trail to explore the lava caves. I don’t know what more to say about that besides that the name is self explanatory. These are caves that were formed by the cooling lava.

I climbed down into one of the caves. It was a little claustrophobic the further in you went. Eventually the tight tunnel opened up into an area where you could stand up. A flashlight was defiantly required!

We then head back to port to catch the last ferry back to Auckland. After 4 hours & 9.5 miles of hiking, we were spent!

*Sorry it has taken us so long to post about this past weeks adventure. We came home from our hike on Sunday and our internet wasn’t working. It took a couple of days to get it back up.

Here is a few extra bonus photos from our hike:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Auckland Zoo

Sunny Sundays are best spent at the zoo!

This past Sunday had the most perfect weather since we’ve been here. So we decided to spend it in the happiest place on earth, the ZOO!! Only a ten minuet bus ride from the city center, the zoo was a close and convenient place to explore. We packed on the sun screen and head in to see the animals!

DSC05485

I have never been to a zoo where the animals are all so happy and playful. Most zoo’s I’ve been to the animals just sleep most of the time and hide. This zoo, the animals were jumping, wrestling, and playing.

Chad got to see the Cheetahs he’s always dreamed about, and I fell in love with blue penguins!

DSC05488

DSC05514

DSC05504

We got to see giraffes, elephants, rhinoceros, monkeys, otters, birds, lizards, spiders, kangaroos, emu’s, ostrich, seals, and more. We got a chance to see kiwi’s up close and personal for the first time. Kiwi’s are night dwellers so their exhibit was in a dark cool cave. Therefore I was unable to snap any pictures or videos of them.

DSC05560

It’s difficult to describe how cute all of the animals are with just words.

The best way to summarize our trip is in the video below:

 

Enjoy!

Red Bull Trolley Grand Prix

This past Sunday we were tipped off to an awesome event happening in our area. The 2015 Red Bull Trolley Grand Prix. Fifty teams were put up to the challenge of creating the most innovative non-motorized trolley to race for a grand prize of $10,000. The stakes were high and all the teams brought their A game.

DSC05118.JPG

Before the race’s started, I was able to snap a couple of pictures of the trolley’s:

DSC05098.JPG

Hakuna Matata

DSC05100.JPG

Tank You Santa

DSC05104.JPG

Turbo Toolbox

DSC05111.JPG

The Rolling Thrones

DSC05102.JPG

Sharknado

DSC05114.JPG

The Hoonag “Bat-Mobile”

DSC05110

Sinking Sensation and  Team Anchorman

DSC05113.JPG

The Intergalactic Ilabb Wagon

DSC05115.JPG

Project X

DSC05107

Last but not least, the WINNERS: Red Stag Hunters

No event is complete without a live freshly shaved sheep:

DSC05101

How we spend Saturday mornings: Matakana Farmers Market

GOPR1792

We finally got our car situation figured out! Now we’re able to start exploring the Northland.

Our first pitstop: Matakana

Matakana is an adorable small town that we stumbled upon on our way to Tawharanui. This town had the most perfect little restaurants, surf shops, and the friendliest people! The surrounding areas include multiple vineyards, beaches, and hiking trails.

The major event that draws visitors to Matakana: The Saturday morning farmers market.  It’s open from 8AM-1PM every Saturday.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 10.47.57 AM

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 11.16.17 AM

How cute is this little “dog parking” area?

IMG_4513

A newfound hobby of ours has been tracking down all of the local farmers markets. We love buying local goods directly from the locals and trying all of the authentic food. This farmers market was one of the best ones we’ve ever attended. There were stands set in little shacks selling: fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, cage free eggs, locally made honey, hand crafted chili sauces, smoked salmon, locally grown olive oil, macadamia nuts, all sorts of nut butters, jams, fresh baked breads, cheeses, and the list goes on! One of our favorite parts of farmers markets is all the stands that show off their cooking skills. This is a great place to grab a cheep delicious lunch!

DCIM100GOPRO

This is the best candid picture the Go Pro snapped. We tried a steamed pork bun (soooooo good), and Vietnamese spring rolls. I was super excited for the spring rolls! Except, when I took a huge bite out of it, all I got was a mouthful of cilantro (yuck!). I was so disappointed because then they were ruined for me. I know it sounds bizarre, but to a certain percentage of the population (up to 14% of the population) cilantro has a very bitter overwhelming taste. Some say it takes like soap to them, I think it tastes like crushed up stink bugs, ugh. Moving on, Chad seemed to enjoy them so they must have been delicious!

We ended up buying a container of olive oil and honey roasted macadamia nuts. Not much because we already had a cooler full of food in the car!

Tawharanui Sanctuary

Camping is a huge thing in New Zealand. Which means, we needed to get a tent.

We did some research and picked Tawharanui as our first camping location. This place was unreal!
Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 11.53.07 AM

Tawharanui is a regional national park that is about an hour north of Auckland. The park has some of the most incredible white sandy beaches and blue luminous water.

 We stayed in the camping only portion of the state park. The camping grounds were protected right behind the dunes. There were no showers here, but there were compostable toilets and fresh running water. The first thing we did was pitch our tent and head to the beach!

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 11.44.23 AM

picture is worth a thousand words:

DSC04877

DSC04881

DSC04913

Seriously, this is why people come to New Zealand.

DSC04882

We did some rock climbing and exploring.DSC04900

DSC04894

After we took a nice long walk on the beach, we went back for some meatball subs.

DSC04920

Next, we head back to the beach to drink some wine and do some relaxing.

Tawharanui is an animal sanctuary that integrates conservation, recreation, and farming. The peninsula has a ton of great hiking. We went on the two hour ecology trail, which was 3.8km. Boy was I excited that we went on this hike.

DSC04937DSC04940

First the trail went through what looked like a mini rainforest. All you could hear were five or six different bird chirps that all came together to make a song. Next, the trail required a bit of a hike up hill. Totally worth it. It lead out to a cliff that overlooked the top of the peninsula. To our surprise, there were also a herd of cow right on our trail.

DSC04950

DSC04958

DSC04951

DCIM100GOPRO

The views from up there were unreal. I wish I had more adjectives to describe how beautiful it was.

DCIM100GOPRO

After our hike, we watched the sunset up on another hill, surrounded by sheep. The sunset was followed by dinner and a coma. I was so tiered that I couldn’t keep my eyes open!

The next morning, after brushing our teeth and a change of clothes, we headed back to Matakana for brunch!

DSC04966

Sausage rolls and Eggs Benedict.

An update on our life in the city

The past couple days have been extremely busy for us.

Our task this weekend was to buy a car. We drove around to some dealerships and looked into buying something small and old to explore the country. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the perfect car within our budget. Instead, we found city hop. City hop is a service similar to zip car. It takes all of the headache out of car ownership without worrying about buying a car, buying insurance, or reselling the car after our five months. Now that we have a mean of transportation, we will be back to exploring shortly. Next weekend will be our first time going camping, yikes.

Besides car shopping, we’ve just been spending a lot of time FaceTimeing with our family and friends. I’ve had virtual wine dates with my best friend Natalie back home, and virtual dates with Chad’s little goddaughter Charleigh.

IMG_1257

We’ve also been doing some exploring in the city. Chad took me on a lovely date to a Spanish restaurant on the water. We had all you can eat Tapa’s for the first time and sangria. I never though that little plates could manage to fulfill Chads appetite, but apparently enough of them can.

DCIM100GOPRO

Aside from car shopping and date nights in the city, we have been spending quality time together. We’ve been going on runs, exploring local bars, and planning our upcoming trips. There is so many incredible places to see here that we’re having a hard time planning a trip that will let us see them all!

  Besides that, we have been enjoying being a normal couple and having a normal life.

Here’s a non-climatic video to supplement our non-climatic blog:

New apartment!

Sorry we have been so behind on posting new content to the blog.

Our lease officially started on November 2nd so it was time to move in! We moved this past Monday so we have been pretty busy with relocating and settling in. Since we arrived in Auckland on October 21st, we needed a place to stay for twelve days until out lease started. This will be the official place we are staying in for the next five months!

Our apartment is located in the heart of the city, in the CBD (central business district), which is only a five minute walk to Chad’s office. The apartment/hotel complex we are staying in is called the “Heritage Towers Auckland”. The apartment is a small one bedroom apartment, with just enough space for the two of us. It also has a ton of amenities! The complex has a rooftop pool, an indoor lap pool, sauna, two gyms, tennis courts, and a restaurant.

(These are all pictures I pulled off the internet and the Heritage Towers website)

heritagepool

View of the roof top pool!

rooftop

tenniscourts.jpge

We can’t wait to play some tennis together!

Here is a little tour of our apartment for anyone who is interested!