Te Puia o Whakāri
When you land amidst the ruins of the old sulphur factory, you wonder what it must have been like living in this desolate place for months at a time. The volcano itself descends some five thousand feet below sea level to reach the seafloor, but its crater and surrounding rim extend a mere 300m above the sea. This makes it one of the most accessible volcanoes in the world, with no need to traipse up a mountainside for hours to reach signs of volcanic activity. The tour itself is little more than a pleasant stroll, albeit through steam that hangs ominously in the air. Indeed, in Maori its name means “the dramatic volcano”, and as you approach the island by boat, you get a bubbling sense of anticipation. The steam that emits from the island’s centre seems to merge seamlessly with the blue sky, forming a backdrop of white clouds. It is this ever present cloud that caused Captain Cook to name it “White Island”. We booked a tour on Peejay, and spent the day exploring!
Ian was really keen to have a go at sailing in an America’s Cup Boat, but the prices on the quayside were a little pricey. Luckily bookme.co.nz had an offer on, so we booked our tickets and then excitedly headed down to the ticket booth at the time stated on our letter. We were handed our boarding passes, and waited with a growing group of tourists before being ushered through the gates and onto a boat. Which was not an American Cup boat. Continue reading
Typically used in high water – or by those who don’t want to get their feet wet!
The Pinnacles are located in the Coromandel region on New Zealand’s North Island and climbing to the top is often included in “must do” lists for resident kiwis. Like the Mueller Hut Hike, a serviced Hut near the top of the walk makes it perfect for families and first time adventurers. Continue reading
As a child I remember reading the Wind on Fire ‘trilogy’ and being fascinated by the concept of large vessels sailing across the land. Now it is a reality (albeit a much smaller craft). One man buggies, complete with a single sail race around a set course harnessing the wind power to pick up (what felt like) an incredible pace.
Ian steers his craft around the track
No chance to back out
Originally, we had just “popped in” to talk about jumping options and book a slot in the coming days. We found ourselves quickly suited up, in the last few spaces on a plane before we could change our minds!
We chose to go from 15,000 feet to get more free fall time, and chose a freefall camera package so we could really get the perspective of our jump over any wrist mounted footage. This option was pricey but gave us some pretty wicked photos and a nice video too. Continue reading
Back Country Huts
New Zealand’s back country is filled with huts used by trampers (hikers), mountaineers and climbers throughout the year. Ran by the Department of Conservation (DOC), each hut varies in its provision, with some little more than some bunks and a platform to cook on, with others offering larger kitchens with gas and water. Mueller Hut is one of the most accessible huts in New Zealand’s back country, being just 3-4 hours walk from the car park at the bottom of the mountain. In summer months it is also staffed by a volunteer warden. This makes it an ideal “first time” Hut for many adventurers!
We were going to do this as a long day hike, but we managed to grab some last minute cancelled spots, so after a mad dash over from Tekapo we started up at around four in the afternoon. If you can get a spot overnight then do – the sunset and stars are worth it. If you can’t and the weather is good go for a day hike anyway, the views are stunning. When the weather is really poor, it probably isn’t worth it as you won’t see anything!
White Horse Hill Campsite
The Mueller walk starts by following the Key Point and Sealy Tarns route up the mountain. The tracks set off from the White Horse Hill Campsite, or if you wish, you can start at the visitor centre in town, but this adds a significant chunk of time onto your journey! Continue reading