Discovering the wonders of wander

34 Truly Unforgettable Moments In New Zealand

Dear self,

Never forget the opportunities travelling can give you. Just look at all the opportunities that have led you to an epic adventure. You’ve…

1. Swam with humpback whales

Dream come true: Swimming with humpback whales in Tonga!

Dream come true: Swimming with humpback whales in Tonga!

2. Got inked

Artwork by the talented Tom Fox. Went the Dunedin Craft Beer Festival after getting my ink, and apparently drank so much that I named my whale Jägermeister.

Artwork by the talented Tom Fox. Went the Dunedin Craft Beer Festival after getting my ink, and apparently drank so much that I named my whale Jägermeister.

3. Made food; created art

Never cooked a single meal at home, and suddenly I'm throwing nasi lemak parties in Auckland.

Never cooked a single meal at home, and suddenly I’m throwing nasi lemak parties in Auckland.

Finally doing little things like this that I've always wanted to try, but never find time for back home.

Finally doing little things like this that I’ve always wanted to try, but never find time for back home.

4. Watched the All Blacks win the Bledisloe Cup

Confession: I still don't know the rules.

Confession: I still don’t understand the rules.

5. Sand-boarded

6. White water rafted down the Tongariro River

My kind of family portrait.

My kind of family portrait.

Super proud of Mama Chu for slaying the paddle!

7. Black water rafted through Waitomo Caves

The most awkward place for an afternoon tea. Just chilling out in Waitomo Caves.

The most awkward place for an afternoon tea.

Doubly proud of Papa Chu for fighting through the cold water and finishing this with me!

8. Got over my fear of riding a two-wheeled motorised vehicle

I learnt to bike in my pyjamas.

I learnt to bike in my pyjamas.

9. Almost died riding a two-wheeled motorised vehicle

Yep.

10. Met new friends

Mitch and Craig, the comic relief to my life in Dunedin. The day we spent an afternoon exploring the Clay Hills at Omarama.

Craig and Mitch, the comic relief to my life in Dunedin. The day we spent an afternoon exploring the Clay Hills at Omarama.

11. Reconnected with old friends

It took a 10 hour flight for us to get together.

It took a 10 hour flight for us to get together.

12. Crossed skiing off my bucket list

My very first ski lesson, on the very last day of the season. Location: Ohau.

My very first ski lesson, on the very last day of the season. Location: Ohau.

13. Milked a cow

One word to describe this whole experience: slimy.

One word to describe this whole experience: slimy.

14. Learned about life from strangers

Learning about life, one conversation at a time.

Learning about life, one conversation at a time.

15. Got robbed :(

16. Scrubbed toilets

With the fun-loving housekeeping crew at Milford Sound Lodge.

With the fun-loving housekeeping crew at Milford Sound Lodge.

17. Raised a projected NZ$170,000 for The Fred Hollows Foundation

Hard at work as a street fundraiser in Auckland.

Hard at work as a street fundraiser in Auckland.

18. Kayaked

Morning workout: Kayaking to Sandfly Point at the Milford Track, thanks to Rosco's Milford Kayaks!

Morning workout: Kayaking to Sandfly Point at the Milford Track, thanks to Rosco’s Milford Kayaks! Photo by Barton Mathews.

19. Rock climbed

SONY DSC

Harnessing my inner spidey in Wanaka. Photo by Barton Mathews.

20. Scaled sketchy mountain tops

At the top of Avalanche Peak, Arthur's Pass National Park. Can you guess how stoked I was? Side note: My knees was messed up for almost two months after this very steep and rocky hike.

Super stoked the top of Avalanche Peak, Arthur’s Pass National Park. My knees were messed up for almost two months after this very steep and rocky hike.

21. Camped in the wild… and listened to the calls of kiwi birds

This was not just a crappy little blue tent, it was my lovely little home.

This was not just a crappy little blue tent, it was my lovely little home (that gave no protection against rain nor snow).

22. Gazed, danced, and puked under the stars

Every night, if the clouds are sleeping at home, I'd take a peek out the window and wave a little hi to Orion and Southern Cross.

Every night, if the clouds are sleeping at home, I’d take a peek out the window and wave a little hi to Orion and Southern Cross.

23. Rediscovered old loves

Reminding myself how fun it is to be a monkey. Location: Lake Marian Track.

Reminding myself how fun it is to be a monkey. Location: Lake Marian Track.

24. Hitchhiked

25. Slept in strangers’ houses

I came as a stranger and left as family. The kindest little family in Tonga who took pity on me, gave me their bed, and fed me for a week. In return, I gave them a little part of my heart :)

I came as a stranger and left as family. The kindest little family in Tonga who took pity on me, gave me their bed, and fed me for a week. In return, I gave them a little part of my heart :)

26. Jumped off cliffs and bridges

27. Went to an actual rodeo

There were some serious bull-riding, steer-roping going on here.

There were some serious bull-riding, steer-roping going on here.

28. Learnt to trust the right people… and not to trust the wrong people

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Caption goes here.

29. Crashed university lectures

The best part about living in Dunedin: free university lectures.

The best part about living in Dunedin: free university lectures.

30. Walked up the steepest street in the world, Baldwin Street

31. Shot a rifle

32. Went fishing for sharks

We lowered the 100% success rate of catching a sevengill shark to 95%... We didn't catch it, but it did took a BIG bite from our bait!

We lowered the 100% success rate of catching a sevengill shark on a sunny day to 95%. We didn’t catch it, but it did took a BIG bite from our bait!

33. Learnt about the world

Gertrude Saddle was the very last mission I did in 2015. She did not disappoint. Location: Milford Sound.

Gertrude Saddle was the very last mission I did in 2015. She did not disappoint. Location: Milford Sound.

34. Fell in love with people and places

You can try, but New Zealand WILL make you fall in love with her.

You can try, but New Zealand WILL make you fall in love with her. Photo by Barton Mathews

Dear self,

Do you see how magical opportunities are? How endless? See how they sometimes come in the disguise of people or disasters? Follow them, embrace them, use them to make yourself a better person, and most important of all, pass them on to the next curious soul travelling your way.

Just look at that view, I felt like I was living in a windows desktop. Location: Peel Lake Track, Cobb Valley.

Just look at that view, I felt like I was living in a windows desktop! Location: Peel Lake Track, Cobb Valley.

Thank you New Zealand for a wonderful time! Sending good vibes to all the wonderful people I met and travelled with. You guys were the special secret sauce to the recipe for an unforgettable adventure.

Comments

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