Your friendly guide to freedom camping in New Zealand


Summer is in full swing here in New Zealand, which means two things: 1) unpredictable weather and 2) unpredictable tourists.

It’s no secret that New Zealand has become a hot spot destination for nature lovers around the world. While Kiwis are generally happy to share their little slice of heaven with the rest of the world. They only ask one small thing: don’t take the piss.

Need a translation? No worries, I gotcha.

Take the piss is a British/NZ/Australian term that does NOT mean go pee on something.

When someone in New Zealand is taking the piss, it means that the person has taken certain liberties at the expense of others — still confused? Let me put it in layman’s terms: If you visit New Zealand, please stop treating it like your own personal garbage can.

freedom camping

For a while, New Zealand was known as a dream destination for “freedom camping.”

In short, freedom camping is a poorly-named activity that allows travelers setting up camp anywhere, even places with no facilities or designated campsites. A classic kiwi pastime, it was all well and good when it was mostly just kiwis out freedom camping around their own country.

But what do you think happened when New Zealand exploded into tourism stardom, and millions of people flocked to this little island for a holiday?

If you guessed heaps of people saw it as a chance to travel for free, then you are correct. If you guessed that freedom camping pisses off a lot of locals and is a massive part of the overtourism conversation today? You are also right.

freedom camping
Image by RON ECKMAN

To be clear, New Zealand does still allow freedom camping but under strict guidelines (which many ignore). However, it’s often misunderstood, and it DEFINITELY does not mean you can pull up your wildly offensive Wicked Campervan and park at the most Instagram-able site you can find.

Don’t worry fam, if you’ve dreamed of renting out an outrageously expensive old VW Combi and camping by a wild, vacant turquoise lake filled with blossoming flowers; you’re not out of luck. I’m going to tell you exactly how you can have your cake and eat it too.

Here’s precisely how you can freedom camp responsibly in New Zealand, be respectful and not take the piss. Read on, dear ones.

freedom camping

1. Go self-contained, do it

There was once a time when freedom camping wasn’t as popular, and local councils didn’t view it as a threat to New Zealand’s pristine environment.

That all changed in 2011 when the Rugby World Cup resulted in entire fleets of campervans being rented out. The public 420 designated free campsites were trashed. People pooped everywhere. It was a mess.

In 2018, regulations got tighter. Now, the national standard says that all camper vans must be self-contained. Self-contained is the word to remember around freedom camping.

This means you need to be able to live in your vehicle for three days without requiring more water or dumping your wast.

freedom camping
No self-contained sticker

Let me put it differently.

This means you need to be able to shit in your van for three days without getting rid of your poo. So don’t come at me with your Toyota Estima telling me it’s self-contained unless you’ve got three days of poo stored up there to prove it, ok?

The regulations also require the vehicle to have freshwater storage, wastewater storage, a lidded bin for your rubbish, and a toilet that can be used inside the car, even when the bed is in place.

Let’s make it clear for the people in the back. If your van does not have a toilet, it isn’t self-contained.

Poo in a loo – and be prepared for when there isn’t one

freedom campingThis is what a self-contained van looks like. Does it look like something your grandparents would travel in? Yes, but that’s just how it works. It’s big enough to live in for days.

2. That little blue sticker doesn’t mean shit

If you’ve been in New Zealand, you’ve probably seen the much-coveted blue sticker that is supposed to prove your van is the self-contained meaning you can camp anywhere you damn well, please. Not true.

It’s usually stuck on the back windshield or bumper of a campervan – or shitty converted hatchback or mini-van used by long-term backpackers to bum around in.

If you’re shopping around for a camper van to use during your year-long working holiday, don’t let some slimy salesperson trick you into believing that blue sticker has any meaning whatsoever.

The magical blue sticker means nothing any more!


If you’re confused, refer to the requirements in point #1.

If you can’t poop in the van for three days straight according to the specifications, it’s not self-contained.

Even the van it has 10 of those blue stickers on the back, it’s not self-contained. I could get some of those stickers on the black market and pop them on my Subaru Outback. That doesn’t make it self-contained.

Don’t pay an extra $1,000 for that van you found on Trade Me just for the sticker! The sticker doesn’t mean anything anymore. It’s the actual set up inside the camper. This is what they check for.

freedom camping
Do you think they’ve got a toilet and three days of poo in here? NO.

3. Where can you park your self-contained camper van?

Now that you know what your self contained camper van is and is not, you can start looking for designated freedom camping spots.

Just because you have a self-contained vehicle does not mean you can pull up on any quiet road you feel like and conk out for the night.

Chances are people probably live down that road and don’t want to see your ugly ass van when they wake up in the morning. Please respect the people and the land here. New Zealand is the home of many, and it’s not Disney Land. Would you park your car outside someone’s house and live out of it wherever you’re from? Then why would you do it here?

freedom camping

This also means you can’t drive up to the shores of Lake Wanaka for a peaceful night of sleep.

Try it, and you’ll be met with a $400 fine when you wake up in the morning. Trust me, it’s easier to pay for a campsite at that point.

But, if you’re dead set on finding free camp spots, you’re not out of luck.

There are plenty of spots for responsible freedom camping, but the rules and regulations change depending on the region your in, and the specific DOC land around said region. The best bet is to go to the local iSite Visitor Information Center, DOC visitor Center or check with the local council.

Rankers are also an excellent resource for those looking to find a proper freedom camping location.

freedom campingWhile it makes a beautiful photo, it’s unrealistic to think you can pull up to any old beach and park up for the night. Most likely, your free campsite will be an old gravel parking lot in the middle of nowhere.

4. How to be an excellent little freedom camper

Okay, you’ve got the right vehicle, you’ve found the right spot to park up for the night, now what?

Just like any camper, there are a few things you can do to be a responsible visitor. Remember, each location will have it’s own specific rules and regulations. These hot tips will be universal no matter where you are.

  • Generally, No Fires: Fires can be a serious threat to New Zealand’s ecosystem, especially in dry regions such as Central Otago. There are year-round fire restrictions on public conservation lands, and no open fires are permitted during the fire season. You should only light a fire at designated DOC campsites with fire pit amenities. If you’re hoping to roast some s’mores by the fire, you’re probably out of luck. Be prepared to cook all of your food on your gas stovetop.

freedom camping

  • Pack it in Pack it out: It seems ridiculous to have to say this in 2020, but here we go. You must take whatever littler you accumulate while camping out of the campsite with you and dispose of it in the rubbish bins or recycling bins. Chocolate bar wrappers, toilet paper, tea bags, we’ve seen it all. Don’t try to tell me it accidentally fell out of your pocket; we don’t care. When you’re getting ready to leave a site, do a thorough once over to make sure your site is clean.
  • Don’t bathe in the lake: As tempting as it may be to score a free shower in crystal clear lakes, resist all temptation and pay for an actual shower elsewhere. You can find cold and sometimes hot showers at campsites as well as paid showers at gas stations or hostels. Similarly, don’t wash your manky-ass clothes in the lakes or rivers either. Soaps and detergents are harmful to water life, so if you’re going to wash your clothes in a buck, dump the water in the soil to let the dirt filter it before entering the water systems.

freedom camping

  • Dispose of your wastewater at designated areas: Now that you know how to be a responsible freedom camper with a vehicle that can hold wastewater (greywater) for three days, what the hell do you do with it when it’s full? You don’t dump your shit anywhere other than designated waste disposal dump stations. Most official campsites will have dump stations
  • Boil your water for at least 3 minutes: In general, water in New Zealand is much cleaner than a lot of other countries, and often drinking from rivers and streams will be harmless, but it’s best not to gamble if you’re worried about the water quality. Give the water a quick three-minute boil to get rid of any harmful bacteria that may be lurking.

freedom camping

  • Lock your shit up: While it’s rare to find violent crime in New Zealand, theft is relatively common when it comes to visitors and camper vans. Be sure to lock up your camper van when you’re out or when you’re sleeping for the night. There have been a few sporadic cases of violent crime against camper vans; While you generally don’t have to worry about that, it’s always good to think twice before camping in a super remote and isolated area.
  • Lastly, pay for a freaking campsite once in a while: Look, I get it, traveling is expensive, and even $20 campsites can add up over a few weeks. But tough shit. That’s life. That’s traveling. Not everything can come for free. By all means, do your best to seek out one of the 500 open designated freedom camping areas. If you can’t find one close by, bite the bullet and find a local campsite.

freedom camping

5. Just stay in campsites or holiday parks

You can find holiday parks in nearly every town, and DOC campsites dotted all down the country.

New Zealand has an incredible network of cheap campsites and holiday parks galore where you can park up with heaps of facilities. When I am traveling around in a campervan, I often split my nights between holiday park campsites, freedom camping, and DOC campsites. After all, hot showers are fantastic.

If you end up at an unattended DOC campsite, don’t take the piss and try to pay for free. Don’t arrive late at night and leave before dawn all to avoid the $10 fee.

The money you pay for DOC campsites is much needed to maintain our beautiful ecosystems. It provides facilities to visitors so everyone can enjoy this country. Seek out freedom camping if you must, but don’t forget that there’s nothing wrong with a good old fashion DOC campsite once in a while.

freedom camping

Now, go forth and be free, you wild ‘lil freedom campers.

Get that shot that will win you at least 20 likes on the gram. Twirl in the field of lupins, New Zealand’s most beautiful weed.

Do what you need to do but do it responsibly. Thanks for visiting this beautiful part of the world. And an even bigger thanks for leaving it better than you found it.

Have any tips for freedom camping responsibly? Have you ever traveled this way before? Spill!

freedom camping

The post Your friendly guide to freedom camping in New Zealand appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

Your friendly guide to freedom camping in New Zealand


Summer is in full swing here in New Zealand, which means two things: 1) unpredictable weather and 2) unpredictable tourists.

It’s no secret that New Zealand has become a hot spot destination for nature lovers around the world. While Kiwis are generally happy to share their little slice of heaven with the rest of the world. They only ask one small thing: don’t take the piss.

Need a translation? No worries, I gotcha.

Take the piss is a British/NZ/Australian term that does NOT mean go pee on something.

When someone in New Zealand is taking the piss, it means that the person has taken certain liberties at the expense of others — still confused? Let me put it in layman’s terms: If you visit New Zealand, please stop treating it like your own personal garbage can.

freedom camping

For a while, New Zealand was known as a dream destination for “freedom camping.”

In short, freedom camping is a poorly-named activity that allows travelers setting up camp anywhere, even places with no facilities or designated campsites. A classic kiwi pastime, it was all well and good when it was mostly just kiwis out freedom camping around their own country.

But what do you think happened when New Zealand exploded into tourism stardom, and millions of people flocked to this little island for a holiday?

If you guessed heaps of people saw it as a chance to travel for free, then you are correct. If you guessed that freedom camping pisses off a lot of locals and is a massive part of the overtourism conversation today? You are also right.

freedom camping
Image by RON ECKMAN

To be clear, New Zealand does still allow freedom camping but under strict guidelines (which many ignore). However, it’s often misunderstood, and it DEFINITELY does not mean you can pull up your wildly offensive Wicked Campervan and park at the most Instagram-able site you can find.

Don’t worry fam, if you’ve dreamed of renting out an outrageously expensive old VW Combi and camping by a wild, vacant turquoise lake filled with blossoming flowers; you’re not out of luck. I’m going to tell you exactly how you can have your cake and eat it too.

Here’s precisely how you can freedom camp responsibly in New Zealand, be respectful and not take the piss. Read on, dear ones.

freedom camping

1. Go self-contained, do it

There was once a time when freedom camping wasn’t as popular, and local councils didn’t view it as a threat to New Zealand’s pristine environment.

That all changed in 2011 when the Rugby World Cup resulted in entire fleets of campervans being rented out. The public 420 designated free campsites were trashed. People pooped everywhere. It was a mess.

In 2018, regulations got tighter. Now, the national standard says that all camper vans must be self-contained. Self-contained is the word to remember around freedom camping.

This means you need to be able to live in your vehicle for three days without requiring more water or dumping your wast.

freedom camping
No self-contained sticker

Let me put it differently.

This means you need to be able to shit in your van for three days without getting rid of your poo. So don’t come at me with your Toyota Estima telling me it’s self-contained unless you’ve got three days of poo stored up there to prove it, ok?

The regulations also require the vehicle to have freshwater storage, wastewater storage, a lidded bin for your rubbish, and a toilet that can be used inside the car, even when the bed is in place.

Let’s make it clear for the people in the back. If your van does not have a toilet, it isn’t self-contained.

Poo in a loo – and be prepared for when there isn’t one

freedom campingThis is what a self-contained van looks like. Does it look like something your grandparents would travel in? Yes, but that’s just how it works. It’s big enough to live in for days.

2. That little blue sticker doesn’t mean shit

If you’ve been in New Zealand, you’ve probably seen the much-coveted blue sticker that is supposed to prove your van is the self-contained meaning you can camp anywhere you damn well, please. Not true.

It’s usually stuck on the back windshield or bumper of a campervan – or shitty converted hatchback or mini-van used by long-term backpackers to bum around in.

If you’re shopping around for a camper van to use during your year-long working holiday, don’t let some slimy salesperson trick you into believing that blue sticker has any meaning whatsoever.

The magical blue sticker means nothing any more!


If you’re confused, refer to the requirements in point #1.

If you can’t poop in the van for three days straight according to the specifications, it’s not self-contained.

Even the van it has 10 of those blue stickers on the back, it’s not self-contained. I could get some of those stickers on the black market and pop them on my Subaru Outback. That doesn’t make it self-contained.

Don’t pay an extra $1,000 for that van you found on Trade Me just for the sticker! The sticker doesn’t mean anything anymore. It’s the actual set up inside the camper. This is what they check for.

freedom camping
Do you think they’ve got a toilet and three days of poo in here? NO.

3. Where can you park your self-contained camper van?

Now that you know what your self contained camper van is and is not, you can start looking for designated freedom camping spots.

Just because you have a self-contained vehicle does not mean you can pull up on any quiet road you feel like and conk out for the night.

Chances are people probably live down that road and don’t want to see your ugly ass van when they wake up in the morning. Please respect the people and the land here. New Zealand is the home of many, and it’s not Disney Land. Would you park your car outside someone’s house and live out of it wherever you’re from? Then why would you do it here?

freedom camping

This also means you can’t drive up to the shores of Lake Wanaka for a peaceful night of sleep.

Try it, and you’ll be met with a $400 fine when you wake up in the morning. Trust me, it’s easier to pay for a campsite at that point.

But, if you’re dead set on finding free camp spots, you’re not out of luck.

There are plenty of spots for responsible freedom camping, but the rules and regulations change depending on the region your in, and the specific DOC land around said region. The best bet is to go to the local iSite Visitor Information Center, DOC visitor Center or check with the local council.

Rankers are also an excellent resource for those looking to find a proper freedom camping location.

freedom campingWhile it makes a beautiful photo, it’s unrealistic to think you can pull up to any old beach and park up for the night. Most likely, your free campsite will be an old gravel parking lot in the middle of nowhere.

4. How to be an excellent little freedom camper

Okay, you’ve got the right vehicle, you’ve found the right spot to park up for the night, now what?

Just like any camper, there are a few things you can do to be a responsible visitor. Remember, each location will have it’s own specific rules and regulations. These hot tips will be universal no matter where you are.

  • Generally, No Fires: Fires can be a serious threat to New Zealand’s ecosystem, especially in dry regions such as Central Otago. There are year-round fire restrictions on public conservation lands, and no open fires are permitted during the fire season. You should only light a fire at designated DOC campsites with fire pit amenities. If you’re hoping to roast some s’mores by the fire, you’re probably out of luck. Be prepared to cook all of your food on your gas stovetop.

freedom camping

  • Pack it in Pack it out: It seems ridiculous to have to say this in 2020, but here we go. You must take whatever littler you accumulate while camping out of the campsite with you and dispose of it in the rubbish bins or recycling bins. Chocolate bar wrappers, toilet paper, tea bags, we’ve seen it all. Don’t try to tell me it accidentally fell out of your pocket; we don’t care. When you’re getting ready to leave a site, do a thorough once over to make sure your site is clean.
  • Don’t bathe in the lake: As tempting as it may be to score a free shower in crystal clear lakes, resist all temptation and pay for an actual shower elsewhere. You can find cold and sometimes hot showers at campsites as well as paid showers at gas stations or hostels. Similarly, don’t wash your manky-ass clothes in the lakes or rivers either. Soaps and detergents are harmful to water life, so if you’re going to wash your clothes in a buck, dump the water in the soil to let the dirt filter it before entering the water systems.

freedom camping

  • Dispose of your wastewater at designated areas: Now that you know how to be a responsible freedom camper with a vehicle that can hold wastewater (greywater) for three days, what the hell do you do with it when it’s full? You don’t dump your shit anywhere other than designated waste disposal dump stations. Most official campsites will have dump stations
  • Boil your water for at least 3 minutes: In general, water in New Zealand is much cleaner than a lot of other countries, and often drinking from rivers and streams will be harmless, but it’s best not to gamble if you’re worried about the water quality. Give the water a quick three-minute boil to get rid of any harmful bacteria that may be lurking.

freedom camping

  • Lock your shit up: While it’s rare to find violent crime in New Zealand, theft is relatively common when it comes to visitors and camper vans. Be sure to lock up your camper van when you’re out or when you’re sleeping for the night. There have been a few sporadic cases of violent crime against camper vans; While you generally don’t have to worry about that, it’s always good to think twice before camping in a super remote and isolated area.
  • Lastly, pay for a freaking campsite once in a while: Look, I get it, traveling is expensive, and even $20 campsites can add up over a few weeks. But tough shit. That’s life. That’s traveling. Not everything can come for free. By all means, do your best to seek out one of the 500 open designated freedom camping areas. If you can’t find one close by, bite the bullet and find a local campsite.

freedom camping

5. Just stay in campsites or holiday parks

You can find holiday parks in nearly every town, and DOC campsites dotted all down the country.

New Zealand has an incredible network of cheap campsites and holiday parks galore where you can park up with heaps of facilities. When I am traveling around in a campervan, I often split my nights between holiday park campsites, freedom camping, and DOC campsites. After all, hot showers are fantastic.

If you end up at an unattended DOC campsite, don’t take the piss and try to pay for free. Don’t arrive late at night and leave before dawn all to avoid the $10 fee.

The money you pay for DOC campsites is much needed to maintain our beautiful ecosystems. It provides facilities to visitors so everyone can enjoy this country. Seek out freedom camping if you must, but don’t forget that there’s nothing wrong with a good old fashion DOC campsite once in a while.

freedom camping

Now, go forth and be free, you wild ‘lil freedom campers.

Get that shot that will win you at least 20 likes on the gram. Twirl in the field of lupins, New Zealand’s most beautiful weed.

Do what you need to do but do it responsibly. Thanks for visiting this beautiful part of the world. And an even bigger thanks for leaving it better than you found it.

Have any tips for freedom camping responsibly? Have you ever traveled this way before? Spill!

freedom camping

The post Your friendly guide to freedom camping in New Zealand appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

Australia’s wildfires are turning New Zealand’s glaciers red


One of my favorite parts about the mountains of New Zealand’s South Island is my proximity to glaciers. Growing up in suburban Virginia, I never really experienced mountains of this scale before – and now I’m hooked.

Living in Wanaka, the heart of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, and a peaceful lakeside mountain town, I’ve spent a lot of time in our neighboring national park – Mt. Aspiring.

Mount Aspiring National Park is a magical mix of remote high country wilderness, big mountains, and stunning river valleys. Home to over a hundred glaciers, it’s a place straight from the Lord of the Rings – literally. Every time I explore Mt. Aspiring, it takes my breath away.

But a new phenomenon has arrived in New Zealand – for the past couple of weeks, the smoke and dust from the unprecedented bushfires in Australia have arrived in New Zealand.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

I was away from Wanaka when I started to see posts from all my Wanaka friends on social media about their cars coated with thick red dust. It seems the devastating effects of the immense wildfires in Australia have made their way here.

As hundreds of uncontrolled fires burn across New South Wales and the Queensland coastlines in Australia, the wind has carried the smoke, ash, and dust thousands of kilometers across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand.

For days our usually clear skies were hazy, a bizarre thing to witness.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

As the sky turned an ominous yellow haze, the smoke blanketed towns all across the South Island before eventually clearing up a few days later as the winds changed.

We carried on with our normalcy and routines, luckily free from the horrors of fires (at present). But as I journeyed back into Mt. Aspiring National Park last Friday, I noticed something unusual.

Why did the glaciers appear to be red?

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

Hopping on a last-minute scenic helicopter flight with Wanaka Helicopters out to see the glaciers around Mt. Aspiring, I was fizzing with excitement as I piled into the front seat on one of those calm, spring mornings.

We’ve had a crazy amount of rain this springtime in Wanaka, so much rain in fact that the lake is high. Normally quite dry on this side of the mountains, everyone is worried the town might flood this week as more rain is on the way.

Right now is the perfect time for a scenic flight around Wanaka, and it’s definitely the most colorful time of year. The valleys are bright green with all of the rainfall, and there is still snow on the mountaintops. For photographers like me, we froth on these colors.

australia fire new zealand

As the snow melts and the mountains are pounded with massive rainfalls, hundreds of temporary waterfalls gush down from the glaciers in a scene out of a movie. It doesn’t look real.

Taking off from the Wanaka airport on a morning Amazing Aspiring scenic heli flight, conditions were just magical. No wind, blue skies, and warm air, spring was in the air, and I was itching to take in my favorite mountains again.

Zooming out over the town and down the iconic Matukituki Valley, I could see the river was pumping, and the lake was high, while the stunning peak of Mt. Aspiring twinkled in the distance.

And as we got closer and closer towards the first of the mighty glaciers, I pulled my sunglasses off to wipe them. Did I see things, or did the snow look, well, a bit red?

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

From far away, the glaciers looked almost dirty, a sooty look they often get at the end of a hot summer as the ice melts and rock tumbles down onto the ice in certain places. But it was springtime, and the snows were beginning to melt. What’s the deal?

Chatting with the pilot, I realized this phenomenon was tied to the raging wildfires plaguing the east coast of Australia. The recent westerlies brought a red haze and smoke across the pond here to New Zealand.

As the dust settled across the South Island, it coated our glaciers in a layer of red too.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

How crazy is that?

While I’m no scientist, I wonder this layer of red will exist in the ice to tell the story of the bushfires in a thousand years? The same way we could see the ash layers from ancient volcanic eruptions around the world now?

Curious. Curious.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

As a frequent visitor to Mt. Aspiring, and flying as often as I can around these big mountains I call home, it was unusual and exciting to see something rare and different. How crazy is it that we can see the impact of fires in Australia here in New Zealand?!

It’s pretty remarkable to see the impact of the fires from so far away.

Our glaciers don’t need any more battles as they are already truly endangered; it puts the impact of climate change into even more stark reality we can’t ignore.

This will cause our glaciers to melt even faster due to the obstruction of the ice-albedo effect – where shiny glaciers reflect energy into space. Someone correct me, but this is how I understand it to work; the red dust is now covering the usually reflective glacial ice, causing the glaciers to melt faster. Ah, science!

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

Cue the anti-climate change propaganda. Though I would be heartily surprised if there were any non-science believers still on my blog.

The higher temperatures caused by climate change allows for more dryness and worse fire seasons in Australia especially. Greenhouse gas emissions have a direct impact on increased temperatures, which equates to increased dryness.

Climate change definitely makes bushfires worse.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

Nothing really puts into perspective both the immensity of our mountains quite like a helicopter flight. It shows just how fragile they are. Especially when you see the impact of something so massive here in New Zealand.

I want everyone to be able to experience the joy and euphoria that comes from these wild spaces. I want to preserve our glaciers for generations to come. It breaks my heart to see the devastation both directly in Australia but also high on our precious mountains here in New Zealand.

Good luck to everyone working hard to stop this.

Have you ever seen anything like this? Have you experienced the effects of wildfires before? I’m curious, share if you don’t mind.

australia fire new zealand

Many thanks to Wanaka Helicopters for showing me around my favorite mountains. Like always, I’m keeping it real – as if you could expect less from me!

The post Australia’s wildfires are turning New Zealand’s glaciers red appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

Australia’s wildfires are turning New Zealand’s glaciers red


One of my favorite parts about the mountains of New Zealand’s South Island is my proximity to glaciers. Growing up in suburban Virginia, I never really experienced mountains of this scale before – and now I’m hooked.

Living in Wanaka, the heart of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, and a peaceful lakeside mountain town, I’ve spent a lot of time in our neighboring national park – Mt. Aspiring.

Mount Aspiring National Park is a magical mix of remote high country wilderness, big mountains, and stunning river valleys. Home to over a hundred glaciers, it’s a place straight from the Lord of the Rings – literally. Every time I explore Mt. Aspiring, it takes my breath away.

But a new phenomenon has arrived in New Zealand – for the past couple of weeks, the smoke and dust from the unprecedented bushfires in Australia have arrived in New Zealand.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

I was away from Wanaka when I started to see posts from all my Wanaka friends on social media about their cars coated with thick red dust. It seems the devastating effects of the immense wildfires in Australia have made their way here.

As hundreds of uncontrolled fires burn across New South Wales and the Queensland coastlines in Australia, the wind has carried the smoke, ash, and dust thousands of kilometers across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand.

For days our usually clear skies were hazy, a bizarre thing to witness.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

As the sky turned an ominous yellow haze, the smoke blanketed towns all across the South Island before eventually clearing up a few days later as the winds changed.

We carried on with our normalcy and routines, luckily free from the horrors of fires (at present). But as I journeyed back into Mt. Aspiring National Park last Friday, I noticed something unusual.

Why did the glaciers appear to be red?

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

Hopping on a last-minute scenic helicopter flight with Wanaka Helicopters out to see the glaciers around Mt. Aspiring, I was fizzing with excitement as I piled into the front seat on one of those calm, spring mornings.

We’ve had a crazy amount of rain this springtime in Wanaka, so much rain in fact that the lake is high. Normally quite dry on this side of the mountains, everyone is worried the town might flood this week as more rain is on the way.

Right now is the perfect time for a scenic flight around Wanaka, and it’s definitely the most colorful time of year. The valleys are bright green with all of the rainfall, and there is still snow on the mountaintops. For photographers like me, we froth on these colors.

australia fire new zealand

As the snow melts and the mountains are pounded with massive rainfalls, hundreds of temporary waterfalls gush down from the glaciers in a scene out of a movie. It doesn’t look real.

Taking off from the Wanaka airport on a morning Amazing Aspiring scenic heli flight, conditions were just magical. No wind, blue skies, and warm air, spring was in the air, and I was itching to take in my favorite mountains again.

Zooming out over the town and down the iconic Matukituki Valley, I could see the river was pumping, and the lake was high, while the stunning peak of Mt. Aspiring twinkled in the distance.

And as we got closer and closer towards the first of the mighty glaciers, I pulled my sunglasses off to wipe them. Did I see things, or did the snow look, well, a bit red?

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

From far away, the glaciers looked almost dirty, a sooty look they often get at the end of a hot summer as the ice melts and rock tumbles down onto the ice in certain places. But it was springtime, and the snows were beginning to melt. What’s the deal?

Chatting with the pilot, I realized this phenomenon was tied to the raging wildfires plaguing the east coast of Australia. The recent westerlies brought a red haze and smoke across the pond here to New Zealand.

As the dust settled across the South Island, it coated our glaciers in a layer of red too.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

How crazy is that?

While I’m no scientist, I wonder this layer of red will exist in the ice to tell the story of the bushfires in a thousand years? The same way we could see the ash layers from ancient volcanic eruptions around the world now?

Curious. Curious.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

As a frequent visitor to Mt. Aspiring, and flying as often as I can around these big mountains I call home, it was unusual and exciting to see something rare and different. How crazy is it that we can see the impact of fires in Australia here in New Zealand?!

It’s pretty remarkable to see the impact of the fires from so far away.

Our glaciers don’t need any more battles as they are already truly endangered; it puts the impact of climate change into even more stark reality we can’t ignore.

This will cause our glaciers to melt even faster due to the obstruction of the ice-albedo effect – where shiny glaciers reflect energy into space. Someone correct me, but this is how I understand it to work; the red dust is now covering the usually reflective glacial ice, causing the glaciers to melt faster. Ah, science!

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

Cue the anti-climate change propaganda. Though I would be heartily surprised if there were any non-science believers still on my blog.

The higher temperatures caused by climate change allows for more dryness and worse fire seasons in Australia especially. Greenhouse gas emissions have a direct impact on increased temperatures, which equates to increased dryness.

Climate change definitely makes bushfires worse.

australia fire new zealand

australia fire new zealand

Nothing really puts into perspective both the immensity of our mountains quite like a helicopter flight. It shows just how fragile they are. Especially when you see the impact of something so massive here in New Zealand.

I want everyone to be able to experience the joy and euphoria that comes from these wild spaces. I want to preserve our glaciers for generations to come. It breaks my heart to see the devastation both directly in Australia but also high on our precious mountains here in New Zealand.

Good luck to everyone working hard to stop this.

Have you ever seen anything like this? Have you experienced the effects of wildfires before? I’m curious, share if you don’t mind.

australia fire new zealand

Many thanks to Wanaka Helicopters for showing me around my favorite mountains. Like always, I’m keeping it real – as if you could expect less from me!

The post Australia’s wildfires are turning New Zealand’s glaciers red appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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I’m craving more authenticity on Instagram


Is anyone else just sick and tired of all the BS and fake behavior on Instagram? From picture-perfect vacation photos to the most killer bikini bodies to hashtag tags for likes, where is the boundary between real and fake? Between staged and candid? I’m craving more authenticity on Instagram.

Even as a self-professed influencer, I don’t get it. I really don’t. What is real? What is fake? Where’s the line? Where are the real stories these days? Where’s the authentic content? Isn’t that what we all want deep down? Real, bona fide, gritty, raw stories?

Or do I want to be skinnier, wealthier, smile-er, more perfect?

As I struggle to reconcile my role in this wild and crazy internet world, where authenticity has become a commodity, I can’t help but wonder how authentic can anything be anymore? Oh god, self-identity crisis INCOMING! Am I fake too?

HOW TO BUILD REAL INFLUENCE E-COURSE

I'm craving more authenticity on Instagram

How is it mentally right for anyone to see and consume this kind of stuff online OR try and emulate it? No wonder everyone is full of bitterness, stress, and anxiety; me included these days. We constantly bombarded with images and videos of completely unrealistic lives. How can we not compare ourselves to what we are told is the standard online?

I don’t know about you guys, but I begin to notice that the more time I spend exploring on Instagram, the worse it can be for me, especially if I’m not mentally stable, which is to say, a lot of the damn time. I’ve been going through some stuff over the past year, and I’m still pulling myself out of a burnout.

“UGH Liz why aren’t your legs longer and why don’t you have a thigh gap and why didn’t you get a better shot at this place? Why didn’t you think of that first? How did she get that job and I didn’t?”

The list goes on and on and on.

Oh, that’s right, you are short and love burgers and are anxious as all hell.

I'm craving more authenticity on Instagram

If my mental guard isn’t Teflon strong without any cracks, I quickly submit into the mire too. After all, isn’t it much easier to dwell on where you seemingly fail than to sit in your success and own happiness with who you are? Why can’t we just be happy with where we are? Me included?

Remember, comparison is the thief of joy. This is a part of my daily mantra and one of my affirmations I tell myself in the mirror every morning. Yes, I actually do this.

For instance, every morning, I get up and look at myself in the mirror and say (among many things), “you are enough.”

Stop comparing yourself to people on the internet; we’re all stars and doing our best. The hustle to keep up a perfect facade has been killing me for a long time now. I’m craving more authenticity on Instagram and social media; how about you?

Let’s all work together to sharing more of our real selves, not to be afraid, to be honest, and right, and to stop performing and instead be genuine. I’m speaking to myself as much as anyone, as it’s so easy for me to slip into “blogger Liz” and hide behind a shiny face.

I'm craving more authenticity on Instagram

The more and more I dwell on this, the more I think that I really hope my stories and posts have been inspirational, and if anything I’ve ever posted made someone feel like they weren’t good enough or perfect enough, I’m not only heartbroken but so sorry. In conclusion, we’re all wildly imperfect together in this messy world.

So next time you’re scrolling through social media and feel those dark thoughts start creeping in, please remember you aren’t alone; we’re all in this together. And the only thing those diet teas do is provide explosive diarrhea.

And I don’t know about you guys, but I’m dying to see more heart on blogs. I’m CRAVING some damn good stories and authentic pages to follow. I’m craving more authenticity on Instagram! What can I do better? How can I get more real? How do I find my voice again? Inspire me!

Do you guys have any recommendations for creative people who fit the ticket? Who are you enjoying following on Instagram right now? Please leave me a comment and let me know and I’ll share them. 

Come join me at the Travel Bootcamp and learn how to get paid to travel too

I'm craving more authenticity on Instagram

The post I’m craving more authenticity on Instagram appeared first on Young Adventuress.





Source link

I’m craving more authenticity on Instagram


Is anyone else just sick and tired of all the BS and fake behavior on Instagram? From picture-perfect vacation photos to the most killer bikini bodies to hashtag tags for likes, where is the boundary between real and fake? Between staged and candid? I’m craving more authenticity on Instagram.

Even as a self-professed influencer, I don’t get it. I really don’t. What is real? What is fake? Where’s the line? Where are the real stories these days? Where’s the authentic content? Isn’t that what we all want deep down? Real, bona fide, gritty, raw stories?

Or do I want to be skinnier, wealthier, smile-er, more perfect?

As I struggle to reconcile my role in this wild and crazy internet world, where authenticity has become a commodity, I can’t help but wonder how authentic can anything be anymore? Oh god, self-identity crisis INCOMING! Am I fake too?

HOW TO BUILD REAL INFLUENCE E-COURSE

I'm craving more authenticity on Instagram

How is it mentally right for anyone to see and consume this kind of stuff online OR try and emulate it? No wonder everyone is full of bitterness, stress, and anxiety; me included these days. We constantly bombarded with images and videos of completely unrealistic lives. How can we not compare ourselves to what we are told is the standard online?

I don’t know about you guys, but I begin to notice that the more time I spend exploring on Instagram, the worse it can be for me, especially if I’m not mentally stable, which is to say, a lot of the damn time. I’ve been going through some stuff over the past year, and I’m still pulling myself out of a burnout.

“UGH Liz why aren’t your legs longer and why don’t you have a thigh gap and why didn’t you get a better shot at this place? Why didn’t you think of that first? How did she get that job and I didn’t?”

The list goes on and on and on.

Oh, that’s right, you are short and love burgers and are anxious as all hell.

I'm craving more authenticity on Instagram

If my mental guard isn’t Teflon strong without any cracks, I quickly submit into the mire too. After all, isn’t it much easier to dwell on where you seemingly fail than to sit in your success and own happiness with who you are? Why can’t we just be happy with where we are? Me included?

Remember, comparison is the thief of joy. This is a part of my daily mantra and one of my affirmations I tell myself in the mirror every morning. Yes, I actually do this.

For instance, every morning, I get up and look at myself in the mirror and say (among many things), “you are enough.”

Stop comparing yourself to people on the internet; we’re all stars and doing our best. The hustle to keep up a perfect facade has been killing me for a long time now. I’m craving more authenticity on Instagram and social media; how about you?

Let’s all work together to sharing more of our real selves, not to be afraid, to be honest, and right, and to stop performing and instead be genuine. I’m speaking to myself as much as anyone, as it’s so easy for me to slip into “blogger Liz” and hide behind a shiny face.

I'm craving more authenticity on Instagram

The more and more I dwell on this, the more I think that I really hope my stories and posts have been inspirational, and if anything I’ve ever posted made someone feel like they weren’t good enough or perfect enough, I’m not only heartbroken but so sorry. In conclusion, we’re all wildly imperfect together in this messy world.

So next time you’re scrolling through social media and feel those dark thoughts start creeping in, please remember you aren’t alone; we’re all in this together. And the only thing those diet teas do is provide explosive diarrhea.

And I don’t know about you guys, but I’m dying to see more heart on blogs. I’m CRAVING some damn good stories and authentic pages to follow. I’m craving more authenticity on Instagram! What can I do better? How can I get more real? How do I find my voice again? Inspire me!

Do you guys have any recommendations for creative people who fit the ticket? Who are you enjoying following on Instagram right now? Please leave me a comment and let me know and I’ll share them. 

Come join me at the Travel Bootcamp and learn how to get paid to travel too

I'm craving more authenticity on Instagram

The post I’m craving more authenticity on Instagram appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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