Rafting on the Tongariro river

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We just wrapped up a few days of adventure in the vicinity of Taupo and Tongariro National Park. Our first stop was at the impressive Huka Falls. Lake Taupo is New Zealand’s largest lake. At 616 square kilometers, it could swallow the entire nation of Singapore. There are several large volcanoes around the lake, some…

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Kia Ora (the Maori version of Live long, and prosper)

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Special treat this evening, a Maori feast and cultural show. We were transported by waka (the Maori word for canoe, but now used for any means of transport—in this case, a bus). Our waka driver, Dennis, is a Maori elder, jokester, and party animal. He taught us the traditional call-and-response chant for paddling a waka…

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Language issues

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Kiwis are very kind and will go out of their way to offer help if you look lost or confused. They speak English, of course, but that doesn’t mean an American (or Dutch guy) can understand what they say. Get used to it, because the Kiwi way of saying it is the RIGHT way. For…

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In the Crater of the Volcano

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Last night we finished the day in Rotarua, New Zealand’s most active geothermal area. We went out for a splurge, celebration dinner at the Makoia Restaurant. The meal included local delicacies and was served with tips on some of the healthful uses of the ingredients. For example, kawakawa leaves are a natural liver cleanser and…

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Digital Warriors

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We have so many photos and video clips every day, we’re unable to upload all the keepers before running into daily data quotas (you can’t find unlimited data transfers here, even if you pay for access). In addition, connection speed is usually just too slow to handle our video clips. We’re also placing a major…

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