All 10-Speeds

Cycling State Highway One

Always a day dreamer, rarely a doer. I was not an untypical teenager in preferring the gloomy sanctuary of my bedroom and the blue glow of the TV to the world beyond. I knew that adventure and experience were out there, but those were things other people did. They meant taking risks or looking foolish.

Not the Next Kelly Tarlton

Lawrence Patchett rediscovers snorkelling

Before Norfolk Island this winter, I’d never enjoyed snorkelling. As a kid I wasn’t a natural swimmer. My technique tended to be splash, panic, and freeze. And previously when I’d tried snorkelling, the mask had leaked, and I couldn’t work the snorkel. Blocking my nose with plastic underwater made me panic. Plus it was freezing, up in the rivers behind Nelson.

In the Crow’s Nest

Sailing a square rigger

High above the deck, the ship looked small, like a table tennis ball bobbing in a bathtub. I felt tenuously linked to it. There was the mast made from a solid timber trunk, but that narrowed to a pinpoint by the time my eye followed it down to the hull. I was perched on a yardarm that hung out over the side of the ship, over the water.

The Hard Way

Circling and summiting Mount Taranaki

When you’re close to Mount Taranaki, walking around it for four days, you see that all those logos lie. It’s not the same smooth and symmetrical cone on the signs for the bank and the local shops, but something much more jagged and lumpy. There’s no forgetting it’s a volcano you’re looking at.

Twitching On

By icebreaker to New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands

Adam Walleyn leans against the gunwale of the Russian icebreaker and scans the horizon. Lesser twitchers surround him, most about twice his age, binoculars glued to eye-sockets. They point out specks on the horizon. Is that a Wanderer? they say. No, that’s a Southern Royal, Adam replies, briefly raising his binoculars to confirm what he already knows. He is the Justin Beiber of twitching.