New Zealand Bucket List

New Zealand is at the top of my list of places to go.  I don't know about you but I just love visiting islands.  If you are like me, you have been dreaming about what to do when you visit New Zealand.  So I compiled a list of what would be my top 10 activities.

(Courtesy of Conde Nast)

  1. Hike a glacier.  You can hike Franz Josef and Fox Glacier on the west coast of the South Island.  You won't be disappointed exploring ice caves and crevasses.  There is also Tasman Glacier, in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, that is available for hiking; this is New Zealand's longest glacier.  Whichever you choose to hike, you won't be disappointed.
  2. Visit any of the geothermal parks between Rotorua and Taupo.  These geothermal parks, located on the North Island, have multi-colored pools, bubbling mud, and geysers.  They are truly a sight to behold.
  3. Learn about the Maori culture by attending a traditional Hangi dinner.  These are most prevalent in Rotorua.
  4. Go bungee jumping.  This is only fitting, after all bungee jumping was invented in New Zealand.
  5. Go on a hike.  This is the best way to experience New Zealand's breathtaking scenery.
  6. Explore Milford Sound.  Many people describe this as the most beautiful place in New Zealand.  Ways to see Milford Sound include kayaking, taking a cruise, hiking, scuba diving, or taking a scenic flight.
  7. See a Kiwi.  The best chance to see these is in one of the many conservation Kiwi houses around New Zealand; but if you happen to see one of these elusive nocturnal creatures in the wild, count yourself lucky.
  8. Visit The Hobbit site in Matamata.
  9. Gaze at the stars in a dark sky reserve.  Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve on the South Island is well known for its star-gazing opportunities because the southern hemisphere stars are most vivid.  (And did you know that the South Island is where you can see Aurora Australis--commonly referred to as the Southern Lights.  Aurora Australis is best seen at midnight on a clear night between March and September.)
  10. Enjoy coastal activities.  These include surfing, paddleboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, and sunbathing on the beach.  Just remember, summer in the northern hemisphere is their winter.

If you see the Aurora Australis, or anything else exciting, while visiting New Zealand--drop a comment and let me know.

Tips for an Amazing African Safari

(Courtesy of Conde Nast)

  • Make sure you talk to someone, preferably on the phone, who has been on the safari you are looking at before booking.  If using a booking agent, make sure they have been to places they are recommending.  Choose your guide carefully as they will make or break the experience
  • Find out about altitudes before you go.  Some can take you up in higher altitudes and you don't want to get altitude sickness.
  • Decide what wildlife you would like to see.  Different safaris see different animals, often varying by region.
  • Try to tip the same as the other tourists.
  • Make sure you are staying hydrated.  Dehydration is serious and you don't want it ruining your safari.  Also important is making sure you consume enough electrolytes to balance what you lose.  Sports drinks are recommended.
  • Always shake your shoes out in the morning before you put them on.
  • Carry wet wipes for dust; and hemorrhoid cream for bug bites.
  • Make sure binoculars are the first thing you pack, preferably with image stabilization.  The more magnification, the heavier and more costly the binoculars will be.
  • Take advantage of communal dining.  This will give you a chance to talk with guides and learn more.
  • Gaze at the stars at night.  I guarantee you will get a view like you have never seen.