Views from Mt. Aspiring Road

Between skiing and mulled wine, this is what we look at

I've travelled the Mt. Aspiring road since I was ten years old - when my parents decided that they were bored of skiing at Cardrona, and wanted to take me and my sister to Treble Cone. That first (and second, and third) experience was terrifying, and so became the drive. As the years went on and I grew my ski legs, the Mt. Aspiring road went from The Road To Where Scary Things Happen to a familiar stretch of land - a space that takes me between the fun of the snow and the pleasure of mulled wine and fries afterwards. But when I've taken the time lately to really see that land, I've come to the solid conclusion that however familiar or nerve-wracking this drive is to someone, there should always be time to appreciate the view - especially on a beautiful, still day such as this. 

Ruapehu Roadtrip: A Photoblog

A scenic trip through the most beautiful spots on your way to the snow

Driving from Auckland to Ruapehu takes around four and a half hours - but the incredible scenery along the way makes it feel much shorter. The views also make the drive feel much more dangerous, because at times it's a struggle to keep your eyes just on the road ahead. These photographs are from the eastern route around Lake Taupo (route 1), and this is the most beautiful way to travel - although either way, you're surrounded by mountains and vast greenery, so you can't really go wrong. 

Giapo, Ice Cream as You've Never Seen It Before

The Giapo mission: to make New Zealand famous for ice cream 

One handbag, a notepad and my right shoe were happily sacrificed at Giapo last week. They all smell like sticky, rich chocolate gelato now; that's what happens when you get so caught up in the beauty of an object that you forget that it melts, and is actually produced to be eaten. A metaphor for life, perhaps? Certainly a recipe for the most gorgeous and extravagant ice creams in the country. 

Kauai and Hanakapiai Falls

Suddenly our mud-drenched shoes, mosquito bites and sunburn were worth it

Throughout my five week trip in Hawaii, Kauai was the only island that made me feel a little homesick for New Zealand. Not dissimilar at all to the landscape and culture of our little rock, Kauai was everything I love about our country all within one little tropical island.

Kitekite Falls in the Waitakere Ranges

Just follow the sound of running water...

Surrounded by the Waitakere Ranges' lush native bush, the air has a damp, fresh feel to it. Here in the forest, I feel like I've left the busyness of the city completely behind; the only noise is the rustle of leaves, native bird song and my footfalls crunching the ground. 

Hawaii, the Big Island

Flowing lava, snowy mountains and surfing all on one little 'Big Island'

To diffuse any confusion right at the start, here's the thing: within Hawaii the US State (which encompasses most of the Hawaiian archipelago - 137 islands and islets in the Central Pacific) there is an island called Hawaii. It is the largest of the Hawaiian islands, and so is called the Big Island. Got it? Phew - now on to the fun part. 

Amber Sharkbait Jones in Hawaii

No need to be afraid: swimming with sharks can be like therapy

I was a victim of Jaws. That is, a victim of the grossly over-dramatised Hollywood message that sharks are terrifying monsters, and that the ocean is a dangerous place. My recent experience of swimming with sharks through One Ocean Diving in Hawaii has changed all of that. Here's the story of my first experience - swimming with sharks.

Wharariki Beach, Golden Bay

Take a picnic at sunset to Wharariki Beach

If you're visiting Golden Bay in the Abel Tasman National Park, one of the most beautiful and unknown beaches in the country is just down the road. We're made a little photography collection to convince you of our wild claims of beauty - take a look!

Haleiwa Bay, Hawaii

Travel blogger Amber on the salty, shoe-less life below the ocean surface

Hawaii is somewhere to go if you have an affiliation with the ocean. Everything and everyone is geared towards living the dreamy, salty ocean life without worries or shoes. For six weeks I had the pleasure of being part of it all, on the North Shore in Haleiwa Bay. It's a mecca for surfing, diving, swimming, fishing (yes, anything water inspired) and home of the world's best acai bowls. Here's a visual taste of my time there, living with the sea turtles and dolphins under the surface of the ocean. 

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