Showing posts with label New Zealand Guides. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Zealand Guides. Show all posts

One Month New Zealand Itinerary

I spent a very happy year living, working and travelling in New Zealand, and in that time I got to see quite a fair bit of what this magnificent country has to offer.

But what if you don’t have a year? What if you’ve got a more normal holiday period set aside for your trip, and you want to see as much of this phenomenally beautiful country as possible? Say… a month?

Well, fear not. New Zealand, unlike its vast neighbour, is a country which is eminently explorable in a month. Let’s get started with some pre-trip planning, and then look at a detailed itinerary for a month.

Pre-trip planning

Transport

For this trip, I’m going to recommend that you have your own transport. Whilst New Zealand has a number of tour buses, and a limited rail service, the best way to experience the country at your own pace is with your own vehicle.

For a month, the easiest option is to rent, and my advice would be to rent a car and pay for hotels / hostels rather than rent a campervan. Those babies can be expensive, and for the most part you have to pay for campsites anyway, whilst you can likely hire a cheap car for around €100 / $125 a week, saving you bundles of cash in campervan rental. We usually recommend and use Priceline's car rental price comparison tool, which works worldwide to find the best price on a rental car – it checks all the major car hire companies and we find it usually comes up with the best deal.

The Perfect One Month New Zealand Itinerary

One Month New Zealand Itinerary

I spent a very happy year living, working and travelling in New Zealand, and in that time I got to see quite a fair bit of what this magnificent country has to offer.

But what if you don’t have a year? What if you’ve got a more normal holiday period set aside for your trip, and you want to see as much of this phenomenally beautiful country as possible? Say… a month?

Well, fear not. New Zealand, unlike its vast neighbour, is a country which is eminently explorable in a month. Let’s get started with some pre-trip planning, and then look at a detailed itinerary for a month.

Pre-trip planning

Transport

For this trip, I’m going to recommend that you have your own transport. Whilst New Zealand has a number of tour buses, and a limited rail service, the best way to experience the country at your own pace is with your own vehicle.

For a month, the easiest option is to rent, and my advice would be to rent a car and pay for hotels / hostels rather than rent a campervan. Those babies can be expensive, and for the most part you have to pay for campsites anyway, whilst you can likely hire a cheap car for around €100 / $125 a week, saving you bundles of cash in campervan rental. We usually recommend and use Priceline's car rental price comparison tool, which works worldwide to find the best price on a rental car – it checks all the major car hire companies and we find it usually comes up with the best deal.

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Bernie and Mount Ruapehu

If you’re heading to New Zealand for any length of time longer than a month, buying a vehicle is likely to be one of the most cost effective ways to see the country.

For example, renting a decent camper van for around a month is likely to cost you something in the region of $3000 - $4000 NZD. You can pick up a second hand camper van, depending on the time of year, for $2000 and up.

Tips for buying and selling a travellers vehicle in New Zealand

Bernie and Mount Ruapehu

If you’re heading to New Zealand for any length of time longer than a month, buying a vehicle is likely to be one of the most cost effective ways to see the country.

For example, renting a decent camper van for around a month is likely to cost you something in the region of $3000 - $4000 NZD. You can pick up a second hand camper van, depending on the time of year, for $2000 and up.

Read More

Road to Mount Cook

New Zealand is a fabulous country to travel in. With the working holiday visa scheme, it’s also a place where, as a traveller, you can find work to supplement your travel budget.

I talk more about the benefits of travelling with the working holiday visa scheme in this post.

In today’s post, I want to share with you my tips for finding a job when travelling in New Zealand, based on my experiences during my year long trip travelling and working there.

Tips for finding a job when travelling in New Zealand

Road to Mount Cook

New Zealand is a fabulous country to travel in. With the working holiday visa scheme, it’s also a place where, as a traveller, you can find work to supplement your travel budget.

I talk more about the benefits of travelling with the working holiday visa scheme in this post.

In today’s post, I want to share with you my tips for finding a job when travelling in New Zealand, based on my experiences during my year long trip travelling and working there.

Read More

Best Day Hikes in New Zealand

After a year in Australia, I summarised my three favourite day hikes in that wondrous country.

It seems only fair therefore to give New Zealand a similar treatment, particularly since hiking (or tramping, as it is known locally), is a major highlight of any visit to New Zealand.

All the hikes in this section are possible in a day for a reasonably fit person. If you’re not a regular hiker, I’d highly recommend giving my guide to preparing for a day hike post a read through, it’ll help you prepare properly for any trip you undertake.

Hiking is an amazingly fun sport with tremendous reward, but as with any outdoor activity, there is an element of risk – preparation is the key to success!

Worrying uncle role aside, let me now talk about five of my favourite day hikes in New Zealand (because three just isn’t going to be enough to cover it!)

The Best Day Hikes in New Zealand

Best Day Hikes in New Zealand

After a year in Australia, I summarised my three favourite day hikes in that wondrous country.

It seems only fair therefore to give New Zealand a similar treatment, particularly since hiking (or tramping, as it is known locally), is a major highlight of any visit to New Zealand.

All the hikes in this section are possible in a day for a reasonably fit person. If you’re not a regular hiker, I’d highly recommend giving my guide to preparing for a day hike post a read through, it’ll help you prepare properly for any trip you undertake.

Hiking is an amazingly fun sport with tremendous reward, but as with any outdoor activity, there is an element of risk – preparation is the key to success!

Worrying uncle role aside, let me now talk about five of my favourite day hikes in New Zealand (because three just isn’t going to be enough to cover it!)

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Most scenic drives in New Zealand

The best way to see New Zealand is on a road trip. You can take your time, enjoy the scenery, and stop off wherever you like to breathe it all in, all whilst listening to your favourite tunes.

If you’ve got a campervan, all the better – there are loads of incredible places to spend the night immersed in the beauty of nature. If you can't afford a camper van, you might be surprised by how cheaply you can rent a car in New Zealand, giving you the flexibility of staying in hostels or hotels, whilst packing a tent for those under the star moments.

Check out this list of New Zealand camping tips from a fellow blogger to be sure you are full prepared for your trip.

I’ve already shared with you my favourite sights on the north and south islands of this fabulous country – now I’m going to tell you my favourite ways to get between these sights.

The drives I’ve selected are best enjoyed over at least a couple of days, although you could in theory do some of them in a shorter time. But then, you’d probably miss out on a number of awesome attractions on the way. Without further ado, and spanning the north and south islands, here are:

The Most Scenic Drives in New Zealand

The Most Scenic Drives in New Zealand

Most scenic drives in New Zealand

The best way to see New Zealand is on a road trip. You can take your time, enjoy the scenery, and stop off wherever you like to breathe it all in, all whilst listening to your favourite tunes.

If you’ve got a campervan, all the better – there are loads of incredible places to spend the night immersed in the beauty of nature. If you can't afford a camper van, you might be surprised by how cheaply you can rent a car in New Zealand, giving you the flexibility of staying in hostels or hotels, whilst packing a tent for those under the star moments.

Check out this list of New Zealand camping tips from a fellow blogger to be sure you are full prepared for your trip.

I’ve already shared with you my favourite sights on the north and south islands of this fabulous country – now I’m going to tell you my favourite ways to get between these sights.

The drives I’ve selected are best enjoyed over at least a couple of days, although you could in theory do some of them in a shorter time. But then, you’d probably miss out on a number of awesome attractions on the way. Without further ado, and spanning the north and south islands, here are:

The Most Scenic Drives in New Zealand

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Highlights of New Zealand's South Island

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Having run down my five must do’s on the North island of New Zealand, it only seems fair to address the south island as well.

We spent two months touring the south island in the late Autumn, going from the very top to the very bottom and pretty much as many places in between as possible, and left just as the island was encased in the grip of a seriously frosty Antarctic blast. Lucky us!

The south island differs greatly from the north island. It is less densely populated for starters, and is home to the quite phenomenal southern alps, a mountain range which runs down the entire island and boasts a number of seriously spectacular peaks – dwarfing anything that the north island has to offer.

It is also home to stunning beaches, rainforests, glaciers, and New Zealand’s largest national park. Lots therefore to see and do on any trip! Here are five of my most favourite destinations from that two month trip that no visit to the south island should be without!

Highlights of New Zealand's South Island

Highlights of New Zealand’s South Island

Highlights of New Zealand's South Island

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Having run down my five must do’s on the North island of New Zealand, it only seems fair to address the south island as well.

We spent two months touring the south island in the late Autumn, going from the very top to the very bottom and pretty much as many places in between as possible, and left just as the island was encased in the grip of a seriously frosty Antarctic blast. Lucky us!

The south island differs greatly from the north island. It is less densely populated for starters, and is home to the quite phenomenal southern alps, a mountain range which runs down the entire island and boasts a number of seriously spectacular peaks – dwarfing anything that the north island has to offer.

It is also home to stunning beaches, rainforests, glaciers, and New Zealand’s largest national park. Lots therefore to see and do on any trip! Here are five of my most favourite destinations from that two month trip that no visit to the south island should be without!

Highlights of New Zealand's South Island

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HDR view of Mount Ngauruhoe from Ruapehu

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The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, as imagined by Peter Jackson in the film adaption of the books, serves as a highly effective tourism advert for New Zealand.

Having seen all the films, and being a bit of a Tolkien fan, it was inevitable that New Zealand would make it onto my list of places I must visit.

And so it happened that I spent a year travelling around New Zealand in 2010/2011

I wanted to visit as many of the real life locations from the films as I could, both because they looked stunning in the films, so should look stunning in real life, and because, well, I’m a bit of a geek.

Top three Lord of the Rings filming locations in New Zealand

HDR view of Mount Ngauruhoe from Ruapehu

Lest diesen Artikel auf Deutsch

The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, as imagined by Peter Jackson in the film adaption of the books, serves as a highly effective tourism advert for New Zealand.

Having seen all the films, and being a bit of a Tolkien fan, it was inevitable that New Zealand would make it onto my list of places I must visit.

And so it happened that I spent a year travelling around New Zealand in 2010/2011

I wanted to visit as many of the real life locations from the films as I could, both because they looked stunning in the films, so should look stunning in real life, and because, well, I’m a bit of a geek.

Read More

Must See Sights of New Zealand’s North Island

A year in New Zealand gave me plenty of time to visit quite a lot of this spectacular country.

Due to New Zealand’s handily compact nature though, you don’t need as much as a year to get to see most of the splendour on offer.

If I was visiting New Zealand’s North island, and didn’t have all the time in the world, then these would be the places and things that I would absolutely want to visit.

Here are my highlights of the North Island, from my year in New Zealand. I hope you enjoy it - a south island version is also available!

Must See Sights on New Zealand's North Island

Must See Sights on New Zealand’s North Island

Must See Sights of New Zealand’s North Island

A year in New Zealand gave me plenty of time to visit quite a lot of this spectacular country.

Due to New Zealand’s handily compact nature though, you don’t need as much as a year to get to see most of the splendour on offer.

If I was visiting New Zealand’s North island, and didn’t have all the time in the world, then these would be the places and things that I would absolutely want to visit.

Here are my highlights of the North Island, from my year in New Zealand. I hope you enjoy it - a south island version is also available!

Must See Sights on New Zealand's North Island

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Otago Peninsula Sunset

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New Zealand has a lot to offer. Widely available free internet is not one of those things. The reasons for this are naturally cost related, with the cost of providing internet access being a prohibitive factor for most businesses.

This situation is improving, with fibre rollouts planned, but for now, it’s not easy getting your internet fix on.

However, there are a few ways to get free and nearly free internet access if you happen to have a device with wireless connectivity. Having just travelled around New Zealand for a year, here is my quick and easy guide to getting online for as little money as possible.

Free, as in the air you breathe

Genuinely free internet, rather than “free when you buy X”, is hard to find, and not well advertised. Here’s where to look:

How to find free internet in New Zealand

Otago Peninsula Sunset

Lest diesen Artikel auf Deutsch

New Zealand has a lot to offer. Widely available free internet is not one of those things. The reasons for this are naturally cost related, with the cost of providing internet access being a prohibitive factor for most businesses.

This situation is improving, with fibre rollouts planned, but for now, it’s not easy getting your internet fix on.

However, there are a few ways to get free and nearly free internet access if you happen to have a device with wireless connectivity. Having just travelled around New Zealand for a year, here is my quick and easy guide to getting online for as little money as possible.

Free, as in the air you breathe

Genuinely free internet, rather than “free when you buy X”, is hard to find, and not well advertised. Here’s where to look:

Read More

IMG_3753

Now that I’m coming to the end of my year long stay in New Zealand, I reckon it’s time to look back at my time here and share with you some of my highlights. I’ve got a number of posts in the pipeline, but first, I just wanted to share with you some of my favourite shots from my trip.

I love taking shots of landscapes, and New Zealand happens to have gorgeous landscapes by the bucket load. I’ve done my best to provide a nice balanced set of shots, (and limit the number of sunset photos I subject you to!).

I’m not going to lie, choosing ten shots from a year of travelling was pretty tough, and I have many more that I love, but here I’ve tried to put across a selection that shows at least some of the awesomeness that New Zealand has on offer.

My top ten photos of New Zealand

IMG_3753

Now that I’m coming to the end of my year long stay in New Zealand, I reckon it’s time to look back at my time here and share with you some of my highlights. I’ve got a number of posts in the pipeline, but first, I just wanted to share with you some of my favourite shots from my trip.

I love taking shots of landscapes, and New Zealand happens to have gorgeous landscapes by the bucket load. I’ve done my best to provide a nice balanced set of shots, (and limit the number of sunset photos I subject you to!).

I’m not going to lie, choosing ten shots from a year of travelling was pretty tough, and I have many more that I love, but here I’ve tried to put across a selection that shows at least some of the awesomeness that New Zealand has on offer.

Read More

Castle Rock Reserve toilet square crop

The eyes of the world are about to turn on New Zealand for a little upcoming tournament involving an oddly shaped ball and burly men wearing short shorts. As a result, I imagine that the New Zealand tourism board is working feverishly to ensure that every last piece of information that the potential tourist could ever dream of needing is written and ready to go.

Information on walks, on mountains, on sights, on whales. Information on where to go, and what to see, and what to do. Information on pretty much everything really, I would imagine.

And to be honest, the job isn’t that tough. New Zealand has attractive scenery by the bucket loads, from stunningly long beaches to snow dusted mountain tops. This isn’t selling fridges to eskimoes.

But there is one thing that the tourism board hasn’t, yet, thought of. An item of immense practical value that everyone has a use for, which also has the potential to provide tremendous aesthetic pleasure. I am, of course, talking about the humble toilet.

And the good news is that New Zealand doesn’t just have toilets. Oh no. Stunning scenery is so ubiquitous here that even the toilets are blessed with spectacular vistas.

Top five scenic toilets of New Zealand

Castle Rock Reserve toilet square crop

The eyes of the world are about to turn on New Zealand for a little upcoming tournament involving an oddly shaped ball and burly men wearing short shorts. As a result, I imagine that the New Zealand tourism board is working feverishly to ensure that every last piece of information that the potential tourist could ever dream of needing is written and ready to go.

Information on walks, on mountains, on sights, on whales. Information on where to go, and what to see, and what to do. Information on pretty much everything really, I would imagine.

And to be honest, the job isn’t that tough. New Zealand has attractive scenery by the bucket loads, from stunningly long beaches to snow dusted mountain tops. This isn’t selling fridges to eskimoes.

But there is one thing that the tourism board hasn’t, yet, thought of. An item of immense practical value that everyone has a use for, which also has the potential to provide tremendous aesthetic pleasure. I am, of course, talking about the humble toilet.

And the good news is that New Zealand doesn’t just have toilets. Oh no. Stunning scenery is so ubiquitous here that even the toilets are blessed with spectacular vistas.

Read More

Boat sheds wellington Having babbled on at some length as to the virtues of Dunedin, it is now time to turn my attention to my other favourite Kiwi city - which also happens to be the countries capital – the city of Wellington.

Wellington is tucked away on the southern tip of the North island, and most travellers will visit, even if only on their way to the ferry.

It would be a shame to skip this town though, because it has oodles of character, and loads of ways to entertain yourself. If you had a day to get stuck in to Wellington, here are some ideas for things you could do.

 

Head up Mount Victoria

Wellington is a city designed, as far as I can tell, on the principle that everyone deserves to get a great view. What this means is that the city planners decided that a whole bunch of hills should be incorporated into the town design, with only the very central city being vaguely flat.

A good way to get an idea of the cities layout therefore is to play it at its own game, and head on up Mount Victoria, one of the higher peaks in the area, at just under 200 metres. Here you will get panoramic views of the whole city, including the airport, whilst being buffeted by some serious winds. Wellington is known as the windy city, and it certainly lives up to its name.

Wanders through Wellington

Boat sheds wellington Having babbled on at some length as to the virtues of Dunedin, it is now time to turn my attention to my other favourite Kiwi city - which also happens to be the countries capital – the city of Wellington.

Wellington is tucked away on the southern tip of the North island, and most travellers will visit, even if only on their way to the ferry.

It would be a shame to skip this town though, because it has oodles of character, and loads of ways to entertain yourself. If you had a day to get stuck in to Wellington, here are some ideas for things you could do.

 

Head up Mount Victoria

Wellington is a city designed, as far as I can tell, on the principle that everyone deserves to get a great view. What this means is that the city planners decided that a whole bunch of hills should be incorporated into the town design, with only the very central city being vaguely flat.

A good way to get an idea of the cities layout therefore is to play it at its own game, and head on up Mount Victoria, one of the higher peaks in the area, at just under 200 metres. Here you will get panoramic views of the whole city, including the airport, whilst being buffeted by some serious winds. Wellington is known as the windy city, and it certainly lives up to its name.

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Strictly Coffee Company and Strawberry Sound Dunedin I don’t normally write too much about the cities of New Zealand. This is partly because I’m mostly travelling this country for its epic scenery – which it has in bucketloads – and partly because, if I'm honest, New Zealand cities don’t normally do much for me.

Don’t get me wrong. They certainly have their charms. Rotorua was interesting because it smelled like rotten eggs. Auckland had it’s hilly, volcanicness. Napier was all about the art deco.

But generally, the scenery in the rural areas of New Zealand far outweighs the offerings of the major towns and cities. Plus of course, when you live in a van, cities are unfriendly places, with non-central campgrounds and the ever difficult issue of finding somewhere to park. Which usually means our stays are short.

I was, therefore, somewhat surprised to find myself rather awed by the wonders of Dunedin, the city tucked away at the bottom right hand corner of the South island.

Dunedin in a day

Strictly Coffee Company and Strawberry Sound Dunedin I don’t normally write too much about the cities of New Zealand. This is partly because I’m mostly travelling this country for its epic scenery – which it has in bucketloads – and partly because, if I'm honest, New Zealand cities don’t normally do much for me.

Don’t get me wrong. They certainly have their charms. Rotorua was interesting because it smelled like rotten eggs. Auckland had it’s hilly, volcanicness. Napier was all about the art deco.

But generally, the scenery in the rural areas of New Zealand far outweighs the offerings of the major towns and cities. Plus of course, when you live in a van, cities are unfriendly places, with non-central campgrounds and the ever difficult issue of finding somewhere to park. Which usually means our stays are short.

I was, therefore, somewhat surprised to find myself rather awed by the wonders of Dunedin, the city tucked away at the bottom right hand corner of the South island.

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Mitre Peak in Milford Sound

I have a confession to make. In a previous post, I referred to the geological feature known as a Sound as being the New Zealand equivalent of a Fiord.

I have come to learn that this is seriously incorrect – they are distinct features and confusing one with the other is a bit like confusing a puddle with a lake.

For clarity therefore, here is the definition.

A Sound is a waterway formed by the action of a river, which results in a v-shaped valley. A fiord is created by the movement of ice, usually in glacial form, which results in those lovely u-shaped valleys that you probably remember from the geography lessons of your youth.

All this geography aside, I will now talk about Milford Sound, which is actually a fiord (I’m not the only one who gets these things wrong, although at least my efforts don’t end up on atlases), in the World Heritage listed Fiordland National Park, on the south west coast of New Zealand’s south island.

Awe Inspiring Milford Sound

Mitre Peak in Milford Sound

I have a confession to make. In a previous post, I referred to the geological feature known as a Sound as being the New Zealand equivalent of a Fiord.

I have come to learn that this is seriously incorrect – they are distinct features and confusing one with the other is a bit like confusing a puddle with a lake.

For clarity therefore, here is the definition.

A Sound is a waterway formed by the action of a river, which results in a v-shaped valley. A fiord is created by the movement of ice, usually in glacial form, which results in those lovely u-shaped valleys that you probably remember from the geography lessons of your youth.

All this geography aside, I will now talk about Milford Sound, which is actually a fiord (I’m not the only one who gets these things wrong, although at least my efforts don’t end up on atlases), in the World Heritage listed Fiordland National Park, on the south west coast of New Zealand’s south island.

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Tokamaru Bay Wharf

The East Cape of New Zealand’s North island has a lot going for it. Driftwood fringed beaches jut up against towering cliffs and deserted roads. Spectacular vistas lie around every corner. And it is perhaps the most Maori influenced part of all New Zealand – the closest one may come to seeing how New Zealand may have ended up had the Brits not landed a couple of centuries ago.

History is all over the place here. It was here that Captain Cook landed back in the 18th century, and it was also here that the first Maori canoes, or wakas, landed over eight hundred years ago.

Despite all of this, a woeful 1% of visitors to New Zealand make it out to the East Cape. On our trip, it wasn’t hard to see why. The roads, where they exist and haven’t been washed off the cliff faces, are winding and long. Distances take a while to achieve. But the rewards are entirely worth it.

New Zealand's Spectacular East Cape

Tokamaru Bay Wharf

The East Cape of New Zealand’s North island has a lot going for it. Driftwood fringed beaches jut up against towering cliffs and deserted roads. Spectacular vistas lie around every corner. And it is perhaps the most Maori influenced part of all New Zealand – the closest one may come to seeing how New Zealand may have ended up had the Brits not landed a couple of centuries ago.

History is all over the place here. It was here that Captain Cook landed back in the 18th century, and it was also here that the first Maori canoes, or wakas, landed over eight hundred years ago.

Despite all of this, a woeful 1% of visitors to New Zealand make it out to the East Cape. On our trip, it wasn’t hard to see why. The roads, where they exist and haven’t been washed off the cliff faces, are winding and long. Distances take a while to achieve. But the rewards are entirely worth it.

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Mount Ngauruhoe and the South Crater

Ok, so I know it’s not really called Mount Doom. Hardy hobbits did not trudge many miles bearing the one ring of power and throw it into the fires of this mountain, which dominates the landscape here for miles around.

Yes, it’s real name is a Maori word: Ngauruhoe (pronounced, from what I can tell, Nara-ho-ee).

But still, you can’t help but peer at it, knowing that actually, in your heart, you consider this to be Tolkien’s mountain, the mountain he would have imagined Doom to be like, had he been thinking of a mountain.

It’s just so… volcanic. When you draw a volcano as a kid, or make one out of papier-mache in an inevitable science class, chances are, it will look just like Mount Ngauruhoe. Perfectly conical sides lead up to the crater rim, and steam obliging pours off the top to complete the picture. Obviously, this is one mountain that needs climbing.

Climbing Mount Doom

Mount Ngauruhoe and the South Crater

Ok, so I know it’s not really called Mount Doom. Hardy hobbits did not trudge many miles bearing the one ring of power and throw it into the fires of this mountain, which dominates the landscape here for miles around.

Yes, it’s real name is a Maori word: Ngauruhoe (pronounced, from what I can tell, Nara-ho-ee).

But still, you can’t help but peer at it, knowing that actually, in your heart, you consider this to be Tolkien’s mountain, the mountain he would have imagined Doom to be like, had he been thinking of a mountain.

It’s just so… volcanic. When you draw a volcano as a kid, or make one out of papier-mache in an inevitable science class, chances are, it will look just like Mount Ngauruhoe. Perfectly conical sides lead up to the crater rim, and steam obliging pours off the top to complete the picture. Obviously, this is one mountain that needs climbing.

Read More