Joel R

JoelR

Joel R




Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland » Central December 9th 2015

Had a great surprise today! My friends Jeff and Amy who got married this summer are in Auckland and they picked me up from the airport. Was great to see familiar faces again. Christchurch is the most depressing place I've ever been in my life. There are buildings still half destroyed, a crazy amount of construction going on, nobody in the whole city was smiling. I walked around for about 3 hours and had to go inside because I couldn't handle it anymore. Can't even imagine what it was like right after the earthquake. Not much positive to report. It's my last night abroad. I can't believe how fast this trip has gone by. It's mind blowing to think about all the things I've done, places I've seen and people I've met on my trip. I've ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Lake Tekapo December 7th 2015

Had a couple wild days in Queenstown. The day after bungy jumping I did the louging. It was really fun. Very similar to go karting, but there's no gas, you just use gravity to go. It's crazy how fast you can go though. The first Saturday of the month in New Zealand is "crate day," which is when everyone sits in the park and drinks a crate of beer (12 bottles). I didn't partake, but observing was pretty fun. It turned out to be a beautiful day and was a great scene. People just hanging out, throwing a rugby ball around, lying in the sun. There were tons of crates in the river keeping the beer cold. Decided to stream the last 5 minutes of the flames game and saw one of the craziest endings to ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Queenstown December 4th 2015

Made it to Queenstown! Known as the adventure and party capital of NZ. Such a beautiful place. Nestled in the mountains and surrounded by lakes it reminds me of Banff, but I'd say about twice the size of Banff. On Wednesday I was in Wanaka and met up with my cousin Heather. It was such a great time. Wanaka is really beautiful - a very small town, relaxed atmosphere, friendly people, beautiful scenery. Would have loved to spend more time there! Arrived in Queenstown yesterday at around mid day. Queenstown is where bungy jumping was invented, so I decided to do the Nevis Bungy jump. It's a 134m drop and you free fall for 8 seconds. Pretty wicked. Decided to do it with 2 friends, Harry and Lee. We all agreed we would jump when they ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Lake Mahinapuha December 1st 2015

Drove to Lake Manihipua last night (not really sure how to spell it to be honest). Pretty scenic drives now down the west coast of the south island. The ocean on one side and the southern Alps on the other. Not very many people around at all. There are more people in Auckland than the whole south island. Had a big party last night. The theme was to dress up as something that starts with the first letter of your first name. I couldn't think of any good costumes. Had a couple ideas like jedi, jock, Jesus, Julius Caesar, but ended up buying a stuffed horse, carrying it around with me and saying I was a jockey. The party was pretty wild - not really my scene. I was cleaning up at the pool table they ... read more


Had a couple much needed recovery days. Wellington is SO windy. Windier than I imagined. It was raining too and the rain was falling sideways. Perfect day to stay inside. Watched the hangover and I am legend. Yesterday was a travel day. Took the ferry across to the south island and arrived in Kaiteriteri last night. Pretty nice place with a nice beach. The water is freezing. Just having a nice Sunday morning breakfast now, then going to look into renting a kayak or going for a hike in the national park. Yup, nothing exciting to update you on. Just a couple recovery days. ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » River Valley November 26th 2015

Alright, legs are really hurting today. On the bus now to Wellington, my last stop on the north island. Capital of New Zealand, the locals call it windy Wellington because it's one of (if not the) windiest cities in the world. Spending 2 nights there before taking the ferry to the south island. The day after the mount doom hike, the whole group went back to where the volcanos are and did a 2 hour walk around the area. We could see the volcano I hiked and couldn't believe I hiked it. Such a high volcano and so steep, just kept saying wow I was up there! Felt really proud and accomplished, even if the legs are hurting 3 days later. We stopped at a place known as gollum's hole. It's in the scene from the ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Taupo » Wairakei November 24th 2015

Didn't win the $10,000 hole in one challenge. Was really windy, a swirling wind too, so I didn't even come close to be honest. Went on a sunset booze cruise on Lake Taupo. Really beautiful. There are a ton of really nice homes on the ridge overlooking the lake. Really clear lake too. Could see the bottom at places it was 20 feet deep. Today I did the hike. Was the hardest hike I've ever done in my life, but such an amazing view. The basic walk is a 19km hike which is supposed to take 6-8 hours. You have the option of also climbing the volcano, which is an additional 3 hours. So yeah, I climbed the volcano. It was incredibly steep and the rocks were really loose, so every step you took, you slid ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Waitomo Caves November 21st 2015

This was one of the coolest things I've ever done and probably the second biggest adrenaline rush I've had in my life after skydiving. It's pretty hard to explain and telling you about it or seeing photos of it won't do it justice, but I'll try. It was a 5 hour trip and started with abseiling down a 35m vertical drop through a tiny hole in the cave. You are literally hanging there, repelling slowly and the only thing saving you from free falling is the friction in the rope that you're holding. The hole we had to repel through was so small I barely squeezed through. So scary. We got into the cave, stumbled through the rocks, then got to a zip lining spot. They made us turn our headlights off and we did the ... read more

Oceania November 20th 2015

Wow, hot water beach might have been the most unique thing I've seen so far. Basically it's a natural hot springs underneath a beach. You wait until the tide is low, then dig a hole in the sand and incredibly hot water comes pouring out through the hole. The water from the Pacific Ocean then comes in when a wave comes up and you literally get a natural hot tub. The water from the hot springs is really hot (58-63°C). When we first got there, it was painful walking along the beach because it was burning our feet. The water from the ocean is really cold, so you have to get a good mix of both. If your pool is too cold, you dig a little deeper into the sand to warm it up. Was a ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Bay of Islands » Paihia November 18th 2015

Drove about 3 hours north to the bay of islands. Took a 4 hour boat cruise yesterday. Saw some dolphins, whales, beautiful islands (144 in total), had a beer at the oldest licensed establishment in NZ in the town of Russell, very beautiful hike, perfect weather. Great steak dinner put on by the hostel. Poker tournament last night. Lost on my queen kicker to an ace kicker. Going back to Auckland today, then heading south tomorrow.... read more
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