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New Zealand

A dose of New Zealand culture

October 1, 2015

Last night Guy and I had an impromptu date night at The Embassy, where we watched Everest (it was good, and a bit sad – and also kinda awesome to see Jake Gyllenhaal play a bearded hippie).  One of the ads that played during the previews was this one from Beats by Dr Dre.

It was my first time seeing it, and I sat there enthralled.  For one thing, it has to be one of the best New Zealand advertisements released in a long time. And I love that it’s not one of those in-your-face product placement ones.  But mostly I was struck with how ‘kiwi’ it was.

If you’re not familiar with rugby Richie McCaw is one of the most famous All Blacks of all time, and is a national treasure.  So it’s fitting that it stars him in his typical reluctant hero role.  But, I also love that they represented Maori culture and language, because it is such an integral part of New Zealand. And they showcased some of the gorgeous scenery of the South Island.  And then the whole ad is shrouded in a wry sense of humour which is quintessentially kiwi .

I’ve watched it a few times now, and each time I think ‘they’ve just captured kiwi culture so well!’

Take a look and tell me what you think!

New Zealand

The best of New Zealand: Waipu Cove, Northland

July 13, 2015

New Zealand is a land of beautiful scenery, and in particular gorgeous beaches.  I don’t know how many I’ve been to over my lifetime but there are a few that stand out in my memory as the best in the country.  Waipu Cove is up there in my top five beaches – though I also spent most of my summers there camping with my family so admittedly it has some nostalgic value to me.

Apart from swimming and sunbathing there’s great surfing, you can gather shellfish, fish off the rocks and there’s a gorgeous hike over to the next beach Langs.  There’s also a waterfall about 10 minutes drive out of Waipu where you can swim and climb.

If you feel like staying the night there’s a camping ground where you can pitch a tent or park up your campervan, and if your adventurous you can probably just free camp.

northland beaches, new zealand - the traveling anthropologist

waipu cove, new zealand - the traveling anthropologist

waipu cove, new zealand - the traveling anthropologist

waipu cove, new zealand - the traveling anthropologist

waipu cove, new zealand beaches - the traveling anthropologist

new zealand beaches - northland - the traveling anthropologist

northland beaches, new zealand - the traveling anthropologist

northland new zealand - the traveling anthropologists

Where: Waipu Cove is about an hour a half drive from Auckland – and about 5 minutes drive from Waipu town where you can stock up on any groceries and petrol you need.  It’s also around an hour and a half from the Bay of Islands, so can be a nice place to break up the drive if that’s where you’re heading.

How: Just take the main motorway SH1 straight on up – there’s a toll road that costs $3 each way (recommended) or there’s a free slightly longer option.  Both routes are well signposted, and the turnoff is clear as day on your right.

If you want to go for the hike just walk along the beach (if you’re facing the water go to your right) until you come to a stream and you’ll see a little path leading up the hill.  Follow it and you’ll come to a private little beach called Shelly Bay which is gorgeous in itself.  If you follow the track through the grass and walk for about an hour you’ll come to the next bay over called Langs.  It’s a nice beach for a swim and in the summer months there is an old fashioned ice-cream truck parked up.  To get back to Waipu you can walk back the way you came or a faster route is along the road – just stick to the sides because the cars come around the corners a little fast at times.

When: Anytime of the year is a great time to go – it gets really busy on the weekend in summertime but there’s always enough room on the beach for you.

Why: It’s a place that not many tourists get to – but it’s a slice of true New Zealand which should be enjoyed by all.


New Zealand

The best of New Zealand: Red Rocks Seal Colony, Wellington

July 6, 2015

The red rocks are unsurprisingly a bunch of red rocks a short walk out of Wellington’s suburbs that are home to a small seal colony during the winter months.  The rocks are apparently leftover from ancient undersea volcanic eruptions – and their coloured red by iron oxide deposits.

A more exciting explanation for the rocks is available in some indigenous folklore however…There’s a Maori legend that says Kupe – a famous explorer – was gathering paua (abalones) along these rocks when he injured his hand and the blood that flowed stained the rocks red.  Another legend attributes the colour to Kupe’s daughters cutting themselves and bleeding over the rocks as they grieved over their father’s long absence.

The seals that reside here are actually the rejects – the males who were unsuccessful in their attempts at wooing their female counterparts.  Apparently its the females who are aggressive so this means it’s safer for you to walk around in close proximity – but of course they are wild animals so basic caution is advised.

Red rocks seal colony wellington - the traveling anthropologist

red rocks seal colony wellington - the traveling anthropologist

red rocks seal colony wellington - the traveling anthropologist


the traveling anthropologist - red rocks seal colony wellington


the traveling anthropologist


wellington - the traveling anthropologist
the traveling anthropologist - new zealand

the traveling anthropologist - wellington



It’s easier if you have a car – but you can catch the bus there if driving isn’t an option.  Drive along the coast (you can start off in Lyall or Island Bay)  until you can’t go any further.   If you’re catching the bus check out the Wellington bus website here because the routes change depending on the day.  Search for numbers 1, 4 or 29 all of which will take you to Island Bay from where you can walk along the coastline (2 kilometres/1.3 miles) to the carpark.


The walk is lovely any time of the year (it is an exposed coastline so if it’s a windy day layer up) but it’s best to do it in winter (May – October) so you can see the seals cause it just adds something special to the experience.


The walk is nearly entirely flat – just a short steep hill to climb right before you come to the area where the seals are so you can wear any kind of shoes even jandals.  The footing is uneven in some areas so sneakers are a good idea if you have them with you.  It will take you about 40 minutes each way and just a heads up – there’s no bathroom once you leave the car park.

Watching the seals sunbathing kinda makes you wanna sunbathe too so take a picnic with you – or at least some drinks to enjoy.


There’s not many places in the world where you’ll be able to get so close to seals for free while also soaking up some gorgeous scenery.  Plus, you can impress everyone back home with your knowledge of Maori folklore!

New Zealand Travel

The Best of New Zealand: Kaitoke Regional Park (aka Rivindell)

June 27, 2015

It wouldn’t be fair to call myself a huge Lord of the Rings/Hobbit fan (not fair to those true diehard fans) but I have re-watched each movie several times, wasted many hours laughing at cast interviews on YouTube, and visited the Weta workshop more than once. So when me and Guy recently got the chance to go away for a long weekend I insisted suggested that we drive out to Kaitoke Regional Park and camp for a couple of nights.  It was such a beautiful spot, we were able to set up our tent right next to the river with a backdrop of the gorgeous hills.  We hiked, swam in the river and sat around a bonfire pondering the intricacies of the universe.  It was pretty magical.

Even if it wasn’t the spot for filming Rivindell we would have a great time – but I have to admit it did give a little extra something to our hikes when I kept thinking “Frodo might have walked on this bit of earth!” and “Legolas probably brushed past this tree”.  Ahem, anyway you can see how gorgeous it is for yourself below.

kaitoke regional park - the traveling anthropologist

Kaitoke Regional Park - the traveling anthropologist

rivindell - kaitoke regional park - the traveling anthropologist

the traveling anthropologist

the traveling anthropologist kaitoke regional park

Kaitoke Regional Park

kaitoke regional park

the traveling anthropologist kaitoke regional park

kaitoke regional park the traveling anthropologist

the traveling anthropologist - kaitoke regional park

the traveling anthropologist - kaitoke regional park

Where: Kaitoke is about a 45 minute drive out of Wellington City – you could easily do it in a day trip, but if the weather is warm I’d recommend staying the night.  Camping only costs $6 per adult for the night (this gives you access to the toilets, showers, a bbq, power outlets and fresh drinking water).  It is a cold spot at night so if you do camp in winter make sure you’re prepared.

When: Kaitoke is open all year round (but does get cold in Winter, and if it’s been raining recently the tracks might be a bit slippery).

How: You do need a car to get there because public transport won’t take you out this way.  You’ll also need to bring everything you need with you if you plan to camp.  If you’re just doing a day trip bring walking shoes and a towel so you can go for a swim in the river.

Why: If seeing where the hobbits and elves hung out isn’t enough for you…there are several gorgeous hikes to take as well as horse riding, kayaking, mountain biking and even hunting activities for you to take part in.

You can find more information about Kaitoke Regional Park here.