Peninsula Walk – Kaikoura

Peninsula Walk - Kaikoura

Most people know Kaikoura, New Zealand for whale watching. Maybe they visit for its nearby colony of seals, or to eat some super fresh seafood (Kaikoura, in the Māori language, translates to “meal of crayfish”). Maybe they’re just lured by the stunning scenery of a peninsula surrounded by sparkling water and snow-capped mountains.

These are all pretty good reasons, and Kaikoura lives up to every one. But for me, it represents something else altogether.

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Road Trip – Tasmania (Part 2)

Dove Lake -- Tasmania

Welcome to the second post on our road trip through Tasmania! When we last left our heroes, they were washing off the dust in Freycinet National Park–and things were just getting started.

Day Four: Freycinet National Park to Bay of Fires (~110 km)
We started this day off with a hike at Freycinet’s famed Wineglass Bay. (For the record, I don’t think the shape is anything like a wine glass; but then, I’ve got a long history of such opinions, so maybe I’m just too picky.)

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Road Trip – Tasmania (Part 1)

Road Trip - Tasmania (Part 1)

Tasmania is Australia’s smallest and only island state. It’s named for the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman–a guy who managed to get like 47 world features named after him despite hightailing it outta New Zealand as soon as the Maori showed their faces. (Fun fact: according to Wikipedia, the spot on NZ’s South Island now called “Golden Bay” was initially deemed “Murderer’s Bay” by Tasman. Well, maybe “fun” isn’t the right word.)

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28 Observations on Dutch Life

Observations on Dutch Life

Sunday, the first of May will be my 28th birthday, the second that I’ve spent here in the Netherlands and the sixth that I’ve spent abroad. In what is perhaps an odd personality twist (given how much I like celebrating certain other holidays), I’m not that “into” my birthday–any more than using it as an excuse for a night out and/or to eat a tower of bitterballen (cause I wouldn’t do those things, normally, you see).

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Crocodile Spotting on the Daintree River

By the time we arrived in Far North Queensland, we already had a pretty decent arsenal of Australian wildlife sightings under our belt.

Crocodile Spotting Daintree River

So far, we’d encountered Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, koalas, dolphins, emus, and echidnas–to name some of the higlights. As far as kitschy animal sightings went, there was just one more big one to check off: the almighty crocodile.

The Daintree River lies about 100 kilometers north of Cairns, in the Daintree Rainforest. It’s well known for its crocodile cruises, which give you the chance to spot this famously dangerous creature–without the risk of incurring its famously dangerous teeth.

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The 2016 I Am Expat Fair — Amsterdam

Though I am rapidly approaching my 28th birthday and can remember to change my sheets on an (almost) weekly basis, there are a few “not a girl, not yet a women”-era traits I find myself clinging to. Holdovers from the university and backpacking years of my late teens and early twenties that I just can’t seem to shake (not that I’m trying all that hard). One of these is a magnetic attraction to anything “free.”

2016 I Am Expat Fair Amsterdam

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My First Snow Day – Queenstown

I was born and raised in Minnesota.

I’ve been trying to explain what that means for the last 5.5 years, but I get the feeling that no one really believes me. “Okay, but does it get to…minus 20?” they ask–as if that’s the end-all be-all of winter temperatures. MINUS 20, YOU GUYS. Honestly, I’m not sure most people can handle that conversation, let alone an actual Minnesota winter.

Snow Day - Queenstown, New Zealand

Anyway, what you really need to know when it comes to my home state is this: we don’t get “snow days.”

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My Favorite Spots on Fraser Island

Best Spots on Fraser Island

When I first read that Fraser Island was the world’s largest sand island, I kind of thought that was a gimmick. Like naming them the Pancake Rocks because they “look like stacks of pancakes” (only if your pancakes are especially sharp-angled) or calling it the Blue Mountains cause of a slight blue-ish haze off in the distance (not exactly the dramatic scene I was picturing).

In other words, I assumed it was a bit of a stretch. Why not? After all, everyone else was doing it.

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Christmas Market — Hamburg

It feels kind of weird to say I’ve only gone to a single Christmas market in my whole life.

Christmas Market - Hamburg

I’ve celebrated Christmas since childhood. My family was never been big on the religious bit, but I’ve always gotten into the tree-trimming, cookie-baking spirit. And really, what is a Christmas market but the tangible form of holiday spirit? It’s what all the non-Jesus-y carols are about: strings of lights, hot drinks in festive mugs, appearances from Santa, and deep-fried things being served up in greasy paper bags. Surely, I do this every year.

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Huka Falls Walkway — Taupo

Hiking to Hot Springs - Taupo

I realize it’s highly unlikely you’re looking for another reason to visit New Zealand. You’ve probably already got a list longer than Rory’s reasons for attending Yale–even (or maybe especially) if, like me, you’ve already been there.

But sometimes I sit down to write about the continent this blog is actually named for, and then 1001 things to say about New Zealand pop into my head, and as I see it, I’ve got two options: fight it, or just share some more NZ content.

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