Oil and Bone Dust

Sailing into Whangamumu Harbour

The last stop before rounding Cape Brett and coming into the safe waters of the Bay of Islands is Whangamumu Harbour. Deep and circular, it has a narrow entrance and a barrier of steep hills to protect it from the open ocean and gusty winds.

The Drop Scene

Whanganui National Park

Halfway along the Whanganui River is a spot where the hills come straight down to the water. In the 19th century this was dubbed the Drop Scene, and was famed for its beauty and similarity to a theatrical backdrop. The river itself was described as the Rhine of the Pacific.

Preached as No Preacher Can Preach

The Tararua Ranges

In 1912 the Southern Crossing of the Tararua Ranges was completed. The builders of the trail wanted tourists to flock to the region and promoted it as an ‘escape from the city’. It never quite became the Tara-vegas they had hoped, yet the crossing remains a highlight of the forest park, revered by local hunters and trampers.

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.