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16 April 2015

N Is For New Zealand Sailing & Cruising


Whangaroa Harbour, New Zealand. Gorgeous, stunning, mind-blowing, beautiful etc. Any of the usual over-used adjectives apply to views like these!



During April, we're participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays), we’ll be doing an alphabet themed post starting with “A is for Adventurous” and ending with “Z is for Zinc”. We've got a theme for every letter sorted except for Y. If you have any ideas for the letter Y, please leave a comment or email.


Our first taste of the cruising lifestyle was when we lived aboard our Raven 26 sailboat in New Zealand during the 2013/14 season. It was a great way to test out what worked for us and what didn't work so well, as well as think about our wish list for our next sailboat. It was basically a shakedown cruise - not for our boat, but for ourselves. (We have a whole series of shakedown posts which you can check out here.) In addition to shaking down ourselves, it was also an incredible way to experience this beautiful country. Traveling by sailboat meant that we got to see and experience things that most people visiting New Zealand miss out on.

We have a list of all of our posts related to our New Zealand adventures on this page, but I thought I would pick out a little sampler platter of some of our favorite posts to share with you. Some are funny, some are weird and some are a little embarrassing. If you're interested in New Zealand, sailing, what it is like to live on a boat full-time or just want to have a good laugh at our expense (we are newbies to this whole sailing and cruising thing after all), then have a look. We also love hearing from people, so if you have any questions or want to know more about our adventures in New Zealand, send us an email or leave a comment!

So here we go, six of our favorites...

1.  Sailing in the Dark and Eating Lots of Cookies
 
Nautical chart showing Whangaroa Harbour in Northland where we started off from and Cape Brett which we rounded as we made our way down to Kawau Island in the Hauraki Gulf.
The first overnight passage that I ever did was from Whangaroa Harbour in Northland to Kawau Island in the Hauraki Gulf. All in all, it was 119 nautical miles and took 30 hours 45 minutes. To be honest, it was a little nerve-wracking at times. Being out on your own in the cockpit of a 26' sailboat, hand steering in the dark is enough to drive anyone to have to eat a lot of chocolate chip cookies to calm their nerves. Add in some lights from freighters, which seem to be on a direct collision course, and before you know it, someone has eaten every last cookie in the bag. Do you like sailing in the dark and/or cookies? If so, check out this post.

2.  The Moa Preservation Society


If you join the Moa Preservation Society, you can get your very own membership certificate.
Moas are a large, flightless bird only found in New Zealand. Kind of like Big Bird, but less colorful. Some people say they became extinct around 600 years ago, but we don't believe them. Scott and I are the founding members of the Moa Preservation Society, an organization dedicated to making the world a better place for moas (and preventing them from being turned into beer). If you want to learn more about moas and join the Moa Preservation Society, you'll definitely want to check out this post.

3.  The Tongariro Alpine Crossing

You get great views of Mount Ngahuruhoe along the crossing. Or as it is better known to Lord of the Rings fans - Mount Doom.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is known as the best one day hike you can do in New Zealand. The track is 19.4 km (around 12 mi) so you need to make sure you are reasonably fit , have food and drink with you and be prepared for any kind of weather. While it might sound a little daunting (after all you do climb from 1120 meters to 1886 meters up to the top of a crater and then descend to 760 meters), it is absolutely worth it! The walk takes in amazing active volcanic landscapes, incredible emerald and blue colored lakes and finishes up with a trek through native forest. If you're planning on visiting New Zealand, this should definitely be on the top of your to do list. Check out our post for more details, including a picture of what looks like tribbles hanging out in the South Crater.

4.  Can Wallabies Be Litter Box Trained?


Wallabies don't really like to sit and pose for the camera, so I was surprised we got this shot at all. So cute - you just want to give him a cuddle and feed him ginger snaps or bananas or whatever it is that wallabies eat.

Have you ever seen a wallaby before? I hadn't until I went to Kawau Island in the Hauraki Gulf and saw them hopping around there. They are adorable! This post describes our wallaby encounter. I tried to convince Scott that having a wallaby on board as a pet would be a fantastic idea. Why go with the run of the mill cat or dog when you can have a wallaby? They seem clever so I'm sure they can be litter box trained. And they can jump up to the top of the mast to fix things. For some reason, Scott isn't convinced. What's your thought - are you pro-wallaby or not? 

5.  The Motokawao Islands


Elephant Cove in the Motokawao Islands. Just one of the amazing places in the Hauraki Gulf you can only see if you have a boat.
Our post on the Motokawao Islands is part of a series of cruising notes on some of the islands in the Hauraki Gulf. They're often silly posts, but occasionally we throw in some information about the flora, fauna, archaeology and history of islands. If you read them, you might learn something - like the fact that there are menacing rats with eyes that glow in the dark living along the shores of Elephant Cove on Happy Jack Island. They kind of freaked me out when we were there. 

6. I Almost Killed Scott the Other Day


Westhaven Marina in Auckland. The scene of the crime.

This post is the one that makes me look bad. I did something pretty stupid and I almost killed Scott. {Spoiler alert - he doesn't die, he just got pretty wet.} If you're new to sailing and you want reassurance that there are people stupider than you out there, have a read. You'll instantly feel better about yourself.

That's just a sample of our New Zealand posts. There are lots more to check out - like this one about how much money we spent cruising there and this one about learning Te Reo Maori and, of course, this one about what it feel like to be a social pariah. They're all listed on our New Zealand page. We've also started a USA page to keep track of all of our posts while back in the States which you can check out here.

Have you ever visited or lived in New Zealand? What amazing things did you experience?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!

16 comments:

  1. Love love LOVE doing this challenge with you! (even if I'm still one day behind) Did we just both get the idea to do a "best of" post, and publish within 15 minutes of each other? That's freakin' AWESOME! Great minds working alike, and all that...

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    1. I just did a shout out to you on Facebook saying how much fun it is to do this challenge with you! We're halfway through - before you know it, we'll be at Z :-)

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  2. N is for New Zealand, but what will you do for Z. I haven't been to several of your favorites, so I will add them to my list. Great photos.

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    1. I actually have Z already written. Way back when I first started thinking about doing this, I thought what in the world will I write about for Z and I came up with a brilliant idea. Okay, brilliant may be an exaggeration. I was just thrilled that I came up with something. You'll have to wait until the end of the month to see what it is :-)

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  3. Yay NZ!
    How about Y for yacht?
    We call all sailing boats yachts here but I think in the USA yacht is seen as a but of a pretentious word?

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    1. That's so true about the word yacht in the States. Scott always tells people that we're looking for our next yacht and people look at us, how we're dressed etc. and seem perplexed as to how we can afford a yacht. Because in their mind they think of super yachts of the rich and famous.

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  4. I would love to visit New Zealand some day. Though maybe not sail there, prefer travelling by land :) Here from the A-Z, and enjoyed your post, especially the photos.

    Best wishes for the rest of the challenge.
    Nilanjana

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! New Zealand is a wonderful country to visit whether by water or on land. Such diverse and fascinating landscapes ranging from the Southern Alps to a sub-tropical climate. Hope you make it there one day!

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  5. Looks so lovely. One of these days I must take a tour of the pacific, and I mean more than the California coast where I grew up. :)

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    1. The California coast has its own beauty too. Of course, way too many people in some spots though :-)

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  6. Oh wow. That's a dream of mine, to live on a sailboat and cruise around the world. But I'm sure it's not as easy as it looks.

    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

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    1. It's definitely not easy. They always say you experience some of the highest highs and lowest lows. When things are going well and you're enjoying a tropical drink in the cockpit of your boat anchored off of an island, it is pretty amazing. But when you're stuck on your boat in strong winds and hope you don't drag anchor, not so much fun :-(

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  7. I'm so glad you are in my queue of A-Z hopping! Me Darlin' and I are planning a trip to New Zealand and would love doing The Tongariro Alpine Crossing! I'm bookmarking your New Zealand blog posts for our future reference. We got interested in hiking in NZ initially when we heard about the Milford Track. Have you done that one? Gail at http://seezooeyrun.wordpress.com

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    1. Definitely put the crossing on your list of must-dos. I think it is ranked as the number 1 day hike in NZ. Amazing scenery - one I would do again. We haven't done the Milford Track, but it is immensely popular, as are the other multi-day great walks. If you want to do the Milford Track, just make sure you plan in advance and get booked into the huts etc. Looking forward to checking out your blog!

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  8. I'm swooning over this post. I need to get to New Zealand asap!!!!

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    1. There's a reason why it features on so many people's bucket lists - it is "sweet as".

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We'd LOVE to hear from you! If we're out on the water cruising, our internet access will be limited and it may take a while before we're able to respond to your comments and pay a return visit to your blog, but please know that we will once we can get connected.