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New Zealand Travel

March 21, 2011

Blog4NZ, Japan Earthquake Relief, and How Travelers Can Help

WALK THIS WAY: Milford Track, New Zealand (Heidi Coppock-Beard/New Zealand Tourism)

In the wake of the devastating March 11 earthquake in Japan, it has been almost tragically easy to overlook the impact of another recent natural disaster, the February 22 earthquake that flattened much of Christchurch, New Zealand. Communities in both countries are now digging out and rebuilding shattered lives. And while it will take a very long time for these stricken regions to recover, it's a moment when the travel community should remember that we can still play a very active, healing role.

Blog4NZ logo Tourism to New Zealand makes up 10 percent of that country's annual GDP, while tourism-related GDP to Japan accounts for over 2 percent of economic activity. Christchurch and large swathes of the Canterbury region will be out of action for quite some time, but the rest of New Zealand—the adventure-centric, naturally-endowed "Land of the Long White Cloud"—is still very much open for business. For example, go and enjoy the spectacle of the forthcoming Rugby World Cup, due to be played in 11 other venues around NZ. Tournament officials reluctantly decided on March 16 that the seven games scheduled to be played in Christchurch would have to be moved, adding another emotional layer to what is sure to be an incredible festival of sporting as well as international fellowship.

Read our New Zealand Travel Guide to plan your trip

The section of northeastern Japan affected by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami was even harder hit (including the ongoing nuclear crisis), but you should still consider many other parts of the country a safe and unforgettable vacation destination. For example, the southern island of Kyushu harbors some great places to visit, including atmospheric Nagasaki, the volcanic hot sands of Kagoshima, and some world-class surf over in Miyazaki. There's no doubt the Japanese people will appreciate all the support and good wishes of the international community to help them get through the immediate aftermath of the disaster, but don't forget that when the crisis passes, they will also relish the chance to say "yokoso" and show you all this great country has to offer.

Read our Japan Travel Guide to plan your trip

This post is in support of Blog4NZ, an independent travel bloggers' initiative to offer continuing support to the victims of the Christchurch earthquake. To support ongoing earthquake-relief efforts in Japan, please consider making a donation to the Japan Society.

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Related Topics: Asia Travel · New Zealand Travel · Outdoor Adventures · Travel News

October 07, 2010

Lost: Black Jacket in Scotland’s Last Great Wilderness


Being a New Englander, I’m not shocked by the occasional “you can’t get there from here” coming from a local. On a trip last weekend to Knoydart Peninsula on the western coast of the Scottish Highlands, I was shocked to find that in some places, it’s actually true.

Our trip, guided by Stevie Christie of Wilderness Scotland, an outfitter named to Outside Magazine’s top adventure trips of 2010, started on a gray morning in Glasgow where we quickly exited the city and drove past Loch Lomond to the base of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the British Isles at 4,049 feet. We hiked through the driving rain on a side trail to Glen Nevis, once described as the most beautiful half-kilometer on Earth by mid-century Scottish writer W.H. Murray. I was happy for my durable, sturdy, impermeable-yet-breathable shell that’s one of my must-pack travel items, double that for a trip to Scotland. But no sooner had we gotten to the glen, the clouds broke and the sun came out revealing leprechaun-quality rainbows beaming across Steal Falls.

Continue reading "Lost: Black Jacket in Scotland’s Last Great Wilderness" »

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Related Topics: European Travel · New Zealand Travel · Outdoor Adventures · Places to Stay

September 27, 2010

Springtime in New Zealand

By Guest Blogger

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White Island,New Zealand(Wikipedia,James Shook)
White Island, New Zealand (James Shook/Wikipedia)

While those in the northern hemisphere are preparing for autumn in October, in New Zealand it's mid-spring, the perfect season for exploration. The country is composed of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island. Keep the two main islands in mind when planning your holiday, as the North Island is a bit more subtropical than the temperate South Island.

North Island
You'll find plenty of ways to spend your New Zealand dollars on the North Island. It is home to New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, and the capital city of Wellington. Although this island is actually smaller than the South, it is more highly populated. But that doesn't mean you can't find places to escape, as both the amazing White Island and Rotorua are located here. The White Island is an active volcano of great scientific importance. You can visit it by boat, but be prepared; it is thought to be like walking on the moon once you arrive. Despite being an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 years old, you will still hear the rumbling and roaring of the volcano. This is because White Island is on an alert level rating of 1, indicating that she is active, steaming, and spewing ash. Rotorua is just as stunning but in an entirely different way, as it is a hotspot of geothermal activity found only minutes from the city center. At Kuirau Park you'll find this geothermal activity in the form of bubbling mud holes, steam vents, and warm foot pools. It's best to stay on the paths, as the ground can be quite unpredictable.

Continue reading "Springtime in New Zealand" »

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Related Topics: New Zealand Travel · Travel Tips

July 08, 2010

Jumping for Joy in New Zealand

Taupo Bungee,NZ Twenty years ago, Queenstown, which is located on the South Island of New Zealand, was the first place to offer commercial bungee jumping. Every year since then, thousands of adrenaline-fueled visitors flock to this country in the South Pacific for extreme sports and adventure tourism.

The North Island, which is probably best known as the filming location of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and upcoming Hobbit movie, also offers bungee jumping and the country's highest water touch. At Taupo Bungee, located halfway between the capital city of Wellington and the largest city, Auckland, you can dunk as little as your hand, or as much as your entire body into the river below (available at no extra charge). The world's first cantilever platform (meaning you jump from an overhang that is only supported on one end) sits more than 150 feet above the Waikato River.

Think you've got the guts? Check out this video featuring New Zealand's only "splash cam" for a taste of what you can expect.

Continue reading "Jumping for Joy in New Zealand" »

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Related Topics: New Zealand Travel

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