All posts tagged: North Island

Blake’s on a Plane: A Skydiving Q+A

Blake jumped out of a plane over Lake Taupo. I drank orange Fanta and ate Tim Tams firmly on the ground. We’re different people, it makes for a healthy marriage. While I had no desire to go skydiving, I did have all the questions. Here are some things I wanted to know about her experience and what she had to say. -MacKenzie Q: Were you scared? A: I could tell from the skydivers around me that this wasn’t the case for everyone, but the most scared that I felt was standing at the desk, deciding whether to commit to jumping. Once I said yes and was going through the pre-jump steps (reviewing the safety video—yes, Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” was utilized—getting suited up, talking to my instructor, watching people on the previous plane fall from the sky like army man toys), I kept expecting to feel the fear, but it never quite came full-on. Q: You are a brave human. What’s going through your mind when the plane is ascending to jump height? A: When …

A Perfect Hike: Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

In the middle of the North Island of New Zealand is Tongariro National Park, a place mostly famous for being the stand-in for Mordor in the Lord of the Rings movies and for its hikes (especially the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a day-long trek). We opted for the two-hour Taranaki loop, named for the spectacular waterfall around the half-way point. We’re outdoorsy in the sense that we like to sip our rosé al fresco on nice summer days, but we both truly dug this hike and found ourselves constantly dazzled by the diverse landscapes.    

This Cave in New Zealand is Full of Glowworms

This is another post about a no-photos-allowed location, so put on your imagination hats. There’s a series of elaborate caves centered around Waitomo, roughly in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island, that are home to huge colonies of glowworms. In the darkness of the caves, the glowworm larvae attached to the ceiling light up like thousands of stars. It’s like a planetarium show, but a planetarium show where you have to remind yourself that those aren’t stars, they’re glowworm larvae. It’s a bit of a WTF moment, to be sure. They’re beautiful, these glowworms, magical and gentle and—oh, wait, nope, they’re super squicky and carnivorous. The female glowworm fly, which looks sort of like a mosquito, lays hundreds of eggs in one go. Why so many? The first larvae to hatch feast on their unborn brothers and sisters. NATURE. Each worm then attaches itself to the roofs of caves or the branches of trees in dimly lit forests where it proceeds to hawk a long, stringy loogie. When you see the glowworms in the …