A Road Trip on the North Island of New Zealand

New Zealand has been popular self-drive destination with well-maintained and signposted roads and spectacular scenery around every corner. During your itinerary planning, you are sure to come across dozens of suggested itineraries, ranging from a few days to a month, including the country’s most-visited regions. For a truly memorable trip, we suggest enhancing your itinerary and discover a diverse array of scenery and off-the-beaten-path experiences on three of the North Island’s highways.

Beyond Mount Rushmore: Southwestern South Dakota

The area west and south of Rapid City is home to several national and state parks as well as the famous and frequently photographed Mount Rushmore. While Mount Rushmore draws a huge number of visitors every year, visiting this area and skipping the rest of the region would be like swinging through Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and visiting nothing else. The park areas around Mount Rushmore include large tracts of land where Bison roam freely, one of the largest caves in the world, unique geological landscapes not found anywhere else in the world, and fun cultural and historical attractions.

South Australia: The Epicurean Way

South Australia has developed The Epicurean Way, a great food and wine touring route that links together four iconic wine regions of McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa and Clare Valley. Enjoy sumptuous produce and a superb array of wines set against a backdrop of spectacular scenery as you make your way around the route.

Our Mongolian Adventure

I can’t fully explain why we wanted to go to Mongolia. Of all the places in the world, most people would rather visit another country. Many of our family members were amongst those that politely asked why, and our answer was something vague, such as “It just looks interesting.”

Our trip would take us on a two month journey through China and Mongolia, of which we spent almost three weeks in Mongolia. Most of that time was spent on a 15-day tour of the Mongolian countryside in an old beat-up Russian army van, now re-purposed to carry tourists across the rugged terrain. We would spend most of our journey in this old nearly broken-down van while camping in the countryside, eating very fresh meat, and meeting the locals.

Photo Friday: Sinai

The Sinai Peninsula of Egypt is truly a fascinating place. During our time in the area, we spent a few days near Mt. Sinai and a few more relaxing on the coast of the Red Sea. First, our journey took us from Cairo on a fairly long bus ride to the town of Katreen, near the base of Mt. Sinai and St. Katherine’s Monastery. We slept at a small Bedouin camp and met some other travelers who had hiked to the top of the mountain the night before, starting at 2:00 in the morning. Supposedly this was the best time to hike in order to avoid the heat and also see the sunset from the top of the mountain.