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Kyle

Kyle

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Kyle Ellison is a freelance travel writer based somewhere between Maui, Hawaii and the rest of the world. When not writing, Kyle can either be found scuba diving in Hawaii, hiking in New Zealand or holed up at a food stall in an obscure international destination. Or, if all else fails, check Baja, Mexico. To follow Kyle’s writing and wanderings, visit his personal travel blog and follow him on Twitter at kylethevagabond.

Mar212013

Travel Recommendation

Exploring the Waitomo Caves

Auckland

My Recommendation Tip

The subterranean Waitomo Caves are justifiably one of the most popular visitor attractions on the North Island.

Mar202013

Travel Recommendation

Great Barrier Island

Auckland

My Recommendation Tip

With a population that has swollen to well over a million residents, the city of Auckland is easily the largest metropolitan center in all of New Zealand. To most New Zealand travelers, Auckland conjures images of the iconic Sky Tower, the timeless Harbor Bridge, and the thousands of sailboats which rest dockside in Waitemata Harbor. There is shopping along Karangahape Road, trendy cafes in the Parnell district, and the beaches of Piha are only a short drive away. In short, it is South Pacific urban living at its finest.

Mar192013

Travel Recommendation

Poipu Beach Park

Kauai

My Recommendation Tip

Nearly all visitors to Kauai will agree that Poipu Beach Park is the undisputed darling of Kauai’s south shore. Located nearby to a number of popular south shore beach resorts, Poipu Beach Park offers pristine snorkeling during the winter months, advanced surfing during the summer months, and ample stretches of golden sand for laying a towel out during any time of the year. The beach itself is broken up into two separate bays, one of which is calm and good for small children since it is protected by an offshore reef. The other side of the beach is much more exposed to ocean swells and provides experienced snorkelers with a tropical playground that is considered by most to be the best snorkeling on the island’s south shore.

Feb262013

Travel Recommendation

Going Off the Beaten Path in the Chatham Islands

Christchurch

My Recommendation Tip

Although New Zealand is a definite hotspot on the global backpacker and adventure travel circuit, few travelers ever venture off the beaten path by making a side trip to the Chatham Islands.

Feb262013

Travel Recommendation

Riding A Scooter In Hawaii

Hawaii

My Recommendation Tip

We’ve all seen it: An image of a smiling couple cruising in Hawaii with the the top down and the wind in their hair. For many, it’s the ultimate image of freedom.

Feb222013

Travel Recommendation

Shopping on Karangahape Road

Auckland

My Recommendation Tip

Ask an Auckland old timer about Karangahape Road and they’ll tell you it’s the city’s red light district. Sure, there are still some adult rated shops and some seedy characters that linger around “K-Road”, but the unscrupulous business activity has gradually been replaced by a more traditional and family-friendly style of commerce:

Shopping.

Feb212013

Travel Recommendation

The South Island’s Most Beautiful Beaches

South Island

My Recommendation Tip

The South Island of New Zealand is the 12th largest island on the planet and has over 3,600 miles of coastline.

Feb212013

Travel Recommendation

The Romance Of Fiji

Fiji

My Recommendation Tip

Like many of its South Pacific counterparts Fiji is packed to the palm trees with adventure, beauty, action, and romance.

Feb192013

Travel Recommendation

Famous Foods to Try in Hawaii

Hawaii

My Recommendation Tip

There are many reasons to visit Hawaii: The beaches, the weather, the rain forests, the laidback lifestyle, all are aspects of the islands which continue to draw visitors in droves.

Feb192013

Travel Recommendation

Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb

Auckland

My Recommendation Tip

Eight lanes wide and 3,300 feet long, the Auckland Harbour Bridge is one of the most iconic symbols of the city’s skyline.

Feb072013

Travel Recommendation

Best Beaches in Maui

Maui

My Recommendation Tip

Trying to choose the best beach in Maui is like trying to choose the best candy in the candy store; everyone is going to have their particular favorite for their own set of reasons.

Feb072013

Travel Recommendation

Cape Kidnappers

Auckland

My Recommendation Tip

Set at the end of a 5-mile long peninsula, Cape Kidnappers is arguably one of the most scenic points found along the North Island’s rugged east coast.

Feb012013

Travel Recommendation

Things To Do On Denarau

Fiji

My Recommendation Tip

If you want to surf in Fiji, go to the Mamanucas. If you want to eat a traditional lovo meal, spend a day in a Fijian village. If you’re idea of perfect Fijian holiday is to lounge poolside with a tropical drink, play golf, and stay in the finest of accommodations, then look no further than Denarau.

Jan282013

Travel Recommendation

Arthur's Pass National Park

South Island

My Recommendation Tip

The South Island of New Zealand offers some of the world’s best hiking and alpine scenery, and the area around Arthur’s Pass National Park definitely isn’t any exception. While areas of the South Island such as Queenstown and Milford Sound receive a lot of the attention, Arthur’s Pass National Park offers alpine scenery that’s just as stunning but without a lot of the crowds.

Jan272013

Travel Recommendation

The World Buskers Festival in Christchurch

Christchurch

My Recommendation Tip

If one thing is certain it’s that everybody loves a good street performer, and in few places in the world do so many of them gather in the same place as at the World Buskers Festival in Christchurch.

Jan162013

Travel Recommendation

Auckland Seafood Festival

Auckland

My Recommendation Tip

Similar in scope to the Whitianga Scallop Festival, the Auckland Seafood Festival was started in 2006 as means of celebrating the abundant seafood culture so prevalent in this South Pacific outpost. Held each January during Auckland’s anniversary festivities this extravaganza is frequently held overlooking the bustling and scenic expanse of Auckland Harbor.

Dec282012

Travel Recommendation

Wellington Cup Carnival

Wellington

My Recommendation Tip

The Wellington Cup Carnival is a three-day celebration held each January which centers around the Wellington Cup horse race, one of the premiere racing events for Kiwi jockeys, gamblers and racing enthusiasts. The race takes place in the rural community of Trentham which is reachable by a 40 minute train ride from the the capital city of Wellington. In addition to professional races the Wellington Cup carnival usually pairs race day with a wine festival featuring some of New Zealand’s top wineries. Throw in some live music performances and the fact that the carnival is held in the middle of summer, and this becomes one of the most festive events to take place within an hour of Wellington.

Dec282012

Travel Recommendation

Hawaii History and Culture

Hawaii

My Recommendation Tip

When it comes to experiencing Hawaii’s history and culture most visitors might expect to find it at a luau. Though luaus can indeed provide cultural insights—cooking a pig in an underground imu, gathering of friends for a big pa’ina (party), practicing chants and the art of the hula—many elements of Hawaii’s history and culture exist in places you wouldn’t think to look for them.

Dec192012

Travel Recommendation

New Years Eve in Christchurch

Christchurch

My Recommendation Tip

Given that New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve, it would only make sense that New Year’s Eve in Christchurch be a festive affair. Though not nearly as rowdy as the New Year’s celebrations in Queenstown or Auckland, the downtown pubs and clubs will still be packed with live bands and party-seekers, and the largest outdoor festival is the massive gathering in Hagley Park where families come to celebrate the holiday.

Dec182012

Travel Recommendation

New Year’s Eve Events In Auckland

Auckland

My Recommendation Tip

Since the holiday takes place during the middle of summer, many of the New Year’s Eve events in Auckland draw revelers outdoors to celebrate the festivities.

Dec142012

Travel Recommendation

New Year's Eve on Oahu

Oahu

My Recommendation Tip

Hau’oli makahiki hou!

That’s the cry you’ll find echoing off of every street corner during New Year’s Eve on Oahu, a commonly used Hawaiian phrase which translates to “Happy New Year!” The other thing you’re sure to hear during New Year’s Eve on Oahu is fireworks—lots of them—with the sound of explosions coming from every possible direction.

Dec052012

Travel Recommendation

Breweries in Hawaii

Hawaii

My Recommendation Tip

There came a point in time in the last two decades when a handful of Hawaii beer enthusiasts decided that sipping Mai-tai’s and imported beer just simply wasn’t good enough. Hawaii—with its iconic blend of active pursuits and laidback island lifestyle—needed some smooth beverages which would mimic the flavors of island life and provide local people with drinks they could be proud of.

Nov302012

Travel Recommendation

Surfing in Fiji

Fiji

My Recommendation Tip

There isn’t a surfer on the planet who hasn’t dreamt of surfing in Fiji. From the mind-bending barrels of Cloudbreak to the legendary waves of Tavarua or Namotu, Fiji will forever exist as a surfer’s fantasy trip.

Nov302012

Travel Recommendation

Doubtful Sound

South Island

My Recommendation Tip

Playfully billed as “The Sound of Silence,” the sheltered waters of Doubtful Sound were not always held in such heralded esteem. In fact, the name of the sound is actually derived from when Captain Cook opted not to enter the area given that he was “doubtful” of the chances it could be navigated safely.

Nov152012

Travel Recommendation

Christmas on New Zealand’s South Island

South Island

My Recommendation Tip

Though Christmas on New Zealand’s South Island is celebrated in the same form as many other places in the world, two notable exceptions make Christmas in New Zealand a special and unique affair. For one, as one of the first places in the world to greet the rising sun, those celebrating Christmas in New Zealand are among the first on the planet to do so with many Kiwis already testing out their new gifts while children in North America still anxiously fend off sleep in anticipation.

Nov052012

Travel Recommendation

Free Things to Do in Auckland

Auckland

My Recommendation Tip

Cities, by their very nature, have a reputation for being expensive. Considering that Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand you might expect it requires a small fortune to enjoy yourself in the famous “City of Sails.” While Auckland definitely has its pricey areas, there are also enough free things to do in Auckland that even a traveler on the skimpiest of budgets can get outdoors and enjoy the city.

Nov012012

Travel Recommendation

Ninety Mile Beach

North Island

My Recommendation Tip

The Northland of New Zealand is a vast expanse of rolling green pastures, windswept sand dunes and sheltered turquoise coves which all help to create one of the most scenic regions of the country. Thrusting northwards to its dramatic terminus at Cape Reinga, the Northland serves as the pointy end of the fishhook the demigod Maui mystically used to pull the islands from the sea. An area steeped in cultural history and natural wonder, one of the most popular visitor attractions in the area is the stretch of coast known as Ninety Mile Beach.

Oct242012

Travel Recommendation

New Zealand Cup and Show Week

South Island

My Recommendation Tip

Held each November during the crisp months of spring, the New Zealand Cup and Show Week in Christchurch is a formal fusion of horse-racing, fashion, agriculture and music. Held at the Riccarton Park Racecourse and Addington Raceway, crowds of over 20,000 people gather to experience the excitement of harness racing, horse racing, and to partake in all the wine tasting, toe-tapping, and sheep-shearing festivities.

Oct192012

Travel Recommendation

Waimea Canyon

Kauai

My Recommendation Tip

Urban legend holds that Mark Twain dubbed Waimea Canyon as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” upon first catching sight of her deep, colorful gorges. Whether or not the legend is true isn’t what’s important, because regardless of whether Twain uttered the comparison or not, Waimea Canyon legitimately lives up to its now-famous moniker.

Oct192012

Travel Recommendation

Toast Martinborough Festival

Auckland

My Recommendation Tip

Just because the Wairarapa region only produces 1% of New Zealand’s wine harvest doesn’t mean it can’t throw one of the country’s largest festivals. Held on the third Sunday of November outside the town of Martinborough, the Toast Martinborough Festival is a gathering of 10,000 global wine enthusiasts looking to sample succulent cuisine, sip award-winning wines, and dance the daylight hours away to some of New Zealand’s most toe-tapping and rhythm-inducing acts.

Oct032012

Travel Recommendation

Hot Water Beach Natural Hot Springs

Auckland

My Recommendation Tip

You have never seen grown adults dig in the sand with such vigor and excitement as at the natural hot springs on New Zealand’s Hot Water Beach. Set on the eastern coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, the aptly named “Hot Water Beach” features a set of natural springs which pump water as hot as 147° to just below the sandy surface. In order to tap into the springs, visitors and locals alike all flock to the long, golden sands with a bevy of buckets, spades and miniature shovels in an effort to create their own personal hot tub in the sand; like young children digging for buried treasure.

Photo courtesy of Takver via Flickr.

Sep272012

Travel Recommendation

Best Cities for Biking on the South Island

South Island

My Recommendation Tip

Touring across the South Island of New Zealand by bicycle is one of the most popular activities in the entire Southern Hemisphere, but what if you are looking for just the best cities for biking on the South Island? Sure, taking a 12-day trip across the Canterbury plains, the Southern Alps, and the wild west coast would be a cycling trip of a lifetime, but what if you don’t have that much time and are simply looking for a single city on the South Island to spend a day or two getting out on two wheels?

Aug292012

Travel Recommendation

Things To Do on Ohope Beach

North Island

My Recommendation Tip

Relaxing in the sand and watching a volcano erupt is just one of the many things to do on Ohope Beach on the North Island of New Zealand. Situated in the eastern Bay of Plenty the volcanic White Island hovers on the horizon off of Ohope Beach, although oftentimes visitors are too busy surfing, golfingor walking the sprawling shoreline to give the active volcano any mind.

Aug272012

Travel Recommendation

Hot Air Ballooning on the South Island

South Island

My Recommendation Tip

It’s no secret that the South Island of New Zealand is regarded as one of the most scenic places on the planet. While many will tell you the absolute best way to experience this beauty is from the windows of a helicopter, why not try something a little different and tour the South Island of New Zealand from the basket of a hot air balloon?

Aug242012

Travel Recommendation

Mauna Kea Summit and Observatory

Hawaii

My Recommendation Tip

Reaching 13,796 ft. above into the sky, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the state of Hawaii, narrowly beating out neighboring Mauna Loa by a mere 118 ft. The accolades don’t stop there, however, because when measured from the bottom of the sea floor Mauna Kea actually tops out at an astonishing 33,476 feet, thereby making it the tallest single mountain found anywhere on Earth.

Aug102012

Travel Recommendation

Where to Honeymoon on New Zealand’s South Island

South Island

My Recommendation Tip

New Zealand’s South Island is home to some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes, and with a population of only one million people, choosing where to honeymoon can be an overwhelming task. After all, in this storybook land of rugged glaciers, forgotten fjords, white sand beaches and famous vineyards, there really isn’t a bad place on the island to spend one of the most momentous holidays of your life.

Aug082012

Travel Recommendation

Seeing a Rugby Game in New Zealand

Auckland

My Recommendation Tip

Anyone traveling to New Zealand must understand that rugby holds a nearly religious importance in the hearts and the minds of the Kiwi people. The first official match took place in the town of Nelson in 1870, and rugby has since become the national sport of New Zealand and the national team—the All Blacks—remains one of the most talented and feared squads in all of professional rugby. Given this history and deeply rooted passion, it should come as no surprise that seeing a rugby game in New Zealand ranks as a ‘must-do’ in terms of authentic cultural experiences.

Aug012012

Travel Recommendation

Wine Tasting on the South Island of New Zealand

South Island

My Recommendation Tip

Anyone who knows about New Zealand wines knows that the South Island is famous for its Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. This classic grape of New Zealand’s South Island is used in wine which most frequently finds its way on to international wine menus and in foreign cellars. Those who have been wine tasting on the South Island of New Zealand will tell you, however, that there is far more to South Island wines than just the well-known vineyards of Marlborough.

Jul262012

Travel Recommendation

Visiting the Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands

My Recommendation Tip

As the site of some of the best beaches, boating and weather found anywhere in New Zealand, the Bay of Islands is a highlight of any North Island holiday. A sheltered bay which houses 144 small islands, the aptly named Bay of Islands is a four-hour drive north of Auckland and is located in a setting where the chaos of the city center gradually fades into the rolling green hills and sparsely populated beauty of the rural Northland.

Jul132012

Travel Recommendation

Day Trips from Christchurch

New Zealand

My Recommendation Tip

More than just the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, Christchurch is also the perfect base for taking day trips to explore the Canterbury countryside. Although it takes at least an hour to properly get outside of the city center, Christchurch is rung with an array of day trip destinations which range from the quaint to the adventurous to simply getting back to nature.

Jul052012

Travel Recommendation

Adventure Activities in Queenstown

New Zealand

My Recommendation Tip

Trying to choose between adventure activities in Queenstown is like trying to choose a show on Broadway; with so many options it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Jun292012

Travel Recommendation

Things To Do in New Zealand in the Winter

New Zealand

My Recommendation Tip

Yes, New Zealand has some of the best skiing and snowboarding opportunities in all of the Southern Hemisphere, but this doesn’t mean skiing is the only thing to do in New Zealand in the winter. While the stacks of fresh powder draw tens of thousands of Kiwi ski bums and bunnies to the slopes, down at the non-ski resort areas of the country there is no shortage of things to do in New Zealand in the winter.

Jun152012

Travel Recommendation

Skiing at The Remarkables

Queenstown

My Recommendation Tip

Besides being one of the world’s best-named mountain complexes The Remarkables also offers some of the best skiing found anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. With a season that kicks off in June and runs through mid-October, The Remarkables ski area is set only 45 minutes outside of the adventure sports capital of Queenstown and offers groomed runs and a terrain park suitable for the entire family.

Jun132012

Travel Recommendation

Harbor Cruises from Auckland

Auckland

My Recommendation Tip

In a city with approximately 135,000 boats it’s an understatement to say that Auckland is a great place to get out on the water. Known to the world as the “City of Sails,” Auckland’s yachting and pleasure cruising is not only regarded as one of its greatest pastimes, but the city is notorious for producing some of the finest sailors in the world. Luckily for Auckland visitors, many of these yachtsmen also operate a wide-offering of Auckland harbor cruises, thereby giving travelers the chance to island-hop the Gulf of Hauraki or enjoy a dinner cruise where the Auckland Harbor Bridge and Auckland Sky Tower punctuate an iconic Auckland backdrop.

Jun062012

Travel Recommendation

Best Hikes on New Zealand's South Island

South Island

My Recommendation Tip

In a country where nearly 30 percent of the land is protected in national parks, if you were to hike a different trail on New Zealand’s South Island every day for an entire year you still wouldn’t come close to conquering the bountiful scenery. Nevertheless, a handful of South Island hikes are definitely more popular than others—although being popular doesn’t always translate to being the best.

May312012

Travel Recommendation

Queenstown Winter Festival

New Zealand

My Recommendation Tip

There is a certain buzz surrounding ski towns where the first snows of the year begin to fall, and what better way to harness this excitement than with a ten-day, city-wide festival dedicated to unbridled enjoyment and merriment? Ever since 1975 when the June snow starts falling in Queenstown, the entire community gets into party mode and welcomes over 40,000 visitors to what is arguably the biggest winter blowout found anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere.

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