2014 has been a pretty incredible year. We’ve had some amazing adventures, visited some beautiful places and had our blog go from something just our friends and family read to a part-time passion that we love. As we reflected on the year, we wanted to share with you some of our favorite moments from 2014 and what we’re looking forward to in 2015!
Exploring New Zealand
After getting a taste for the county’s natural beautiful and adventure culture during our 6 week roadtrip when we arrived in 2013, we made a promise to ourselves not to let that sense of exploration fade. In 2014 we spent our long weekends and holidays taking a roadtrip somewhere in New Zealand and had a chance to explore so many amazing places from Cape Reinga all the way to Stewart Island!
One of our greatest finds this year that has helped us explore the lesser known but awesome spots around New Zealand has been our NZ Frenzy book. Whether it’s a cool-as cave, a beautiful waterfall or a soothing hot pool, it has the best tips for finding all kinds of hidden gems! I’m still amazed at how diverse yet accessible this country is. It’s incredible the natural wonders that have developed here, from the glow-worm filled caves, geothermal wonders and the crazy rock formations like Moeraki Boulders. We’ve seen so much of New Zealand already, but there’s still so much more to see and do and I look forward to continuing to explore more of this beautiful country!
Family and Friends visiting
We were really lucky this year to have both of our parents visit us in New Zealand. Jordan’s parents celebrated their retirement with a 2 month trip around the country which coincided with my parents 3 week trip here as well! Living in different parts of the country back in Canada, our families hadn’t had a chance to meet in person so it was pretty special for their first meeting to be here in New Zealand!
We shared an incredible summit of Mount Ngauruhoe on the Tongariro Crossing, a 3-day kayak adventure through Doubtful Sound and the most beautiful day cruising in Milford Sound. Everyone channeled their inner adventure junkie in Queenstown with hang gliding, paragliding, luge and flyboarding thrown in the mix! So happy we were able to share those experiences with our parents and give them a window into our life in New Zealand.
Two of our best friends, Brent & Kristina, also came to New Zealand for a 3 week epic roadtrip across the country! We tried to convince them to come with us when we moved here, but were stoked to be able to spend time with them here even if it was only for a short time! We had an adventure filled weekend in Rotorua sledging, zorbing and luging before taking the South Island by storm! Bad weather on the West Coast impacted our planned activities so we made a last minute decision to explore the Catlins which ended up being some of the biggest highlights of our trip. As usual, we had an awesome time in Queenstown, expanding our flyboarding skills, horseback riding through Glenorchy and making our most successful YouTube episode at Shotover Canyon Swing with Kristina’s mild freakout!
One thing that has been on Jordan’s list to do for some time in mountaineering. With a strong backcountry and mountaineering culture, coupled with an accessible alpine environment, this was the perfect place to pursue that dream. After completing a snow craft course with the NZ Alpine Club Jordan was hooked! Soon after we had our first climb at Ruapehu followed by a challenging summit of Te Ao Whekere and our first solo experience up Mount Taranaki!
Pushing ourselves and reaching new heights (in more ways than one) has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of our lives. We both get that ‘high’ from overcoming a personal challenge like that and it just feels so natural for us to be in the backcountry. With our new skills we can’t wait for winter to come so we can tackle some new mountains!
Completing all 9 Great Walks
After we completed our first Great Walk, the Abel Tasman Coast Track, we were hooked. We made it our mission to complete all 9 of the Great Walks within the next year. Each one is unique, offering a different experience of New Zealand’s diverse landscapes. It was a great challenge for ourselves and one that we hope will inspire others to do the same!
With all the Great Walks done, now we look forward to exploring the many other amazing walks around New Zealand in 2015!
Growing Stoked for Saturday
At the beginning of the year, we had no social medias sites, we were called ‘Living a Kiwi Life’ and pretty much only our friends and family read our blog. It has been an incredible experience seeing our website blossom into our part-time passion that we share together. Our road to growth began when we met Liz from Young Adventuress where we got an appreciation for what it was like to do this as a full-time job. We always thought it would be fun if our story was discovered by others outside our family and friends, but we had never really put any thought into how to make that happen. It was in meeting Liz that we discovered this whole world of blogging and social media and was the inspiration (and guidance) that we needed to kick-start our dream.
In February we created our Facebook Page, Twitter Account and shortly after Instagram and began sharing our stories with a wider audience. It was so exciting to see sites like Lonely Planet, Tourism New Zealand and NZ Great Walks retweet our photos and blogs! I can still remember the first time we made the ‘Hot List’ on Trover – we were so stoked!!
It has been a pretty incredible year with our Rere Rockslide video being licensed by GoPro, our Canyon Swing video making the viral ‘Best of Web’ compilation and being featured in Stuff.co.nz, The Herald and even the latest Great Walks brochures. We’ve worked with some great local operators and have met some really great folks along the way and hope to continue to grow into 2015!
Outlook for 2015
2015 is already shaping up to be a pretty great year. We spent the holidays up in Northland which was an awesome way to kick-off the year. It was one of the last areas in New Zealand we hadn’t been yet so it was great to get somewhere new and explore so many little treasures (more on that to come)
One of the most exciting announcements for early 2015 is getting a chance to work with Devin Graham (aka legendary YouTube film maker Devin Super Tramp) and his team on a 2 week roadtrip around New Zealand filming 13 videos in 14 days! We’ve partnered Tourism New Zealand and a variety of operators around the country to produce Devin’s biggest project yet! This is beyond a dream come true. Having been an avid fan of Devin’s videos for several years, and the inspiration for Jordan’s camera gear purchases and filming style, he’s had a pretty huge influences on our own YouTube videos without even knowing it. We’ve got lots more to share on how this opportunity all came about so I’ll save that for another day, but we kicked it off on January 15th!
As far as trips go, right now we’ve got Tasmania lined up for the end of March and Bali with Jordan’s family in April. Living in New Zealand gives you access to so many amazing countries on this side of the world so we’re trying our best to explore as many as we can! We’re also hoping to get back down to the South Island during the winter for some more skiing and mountaineering and have recently heard about this small Pacific Island called Niue that apparently shouldn’t be missed! Any other places you’d recommend?
Finally, stemming on our adventures into mountaineering in 2014, we’ve signed up for an outdoor rock climbing course with the NZ Alpine Club and are looking forward to gaining experience with lead climbing and top rope setup outside. We used to rock climb indoors back in Canada on our weekends, but never had a chance to learn ‘the ropes’ to enable some outdoor exploring. Looking forward to learning something new!
What are you plans for 2015? Any big goals or trips in mind?
Keep going! 🙂
Wonderful following your journey.
Can I just say my Kowhai tree I planted years ago bloomed incredibly in October of last year, even attracting a bell bird to my part of the city which is unheard of in Christchurch central. The beautiful bird & it’s song hung around for two weeks to feed on the nectar, of all the things I did last year this is my biggest achievement. Plant for our Native birds!
I discovered this blog last year by searching information of NZ for my 4-week trip in December 2014-January 2015. I really got excited by reading the articles and seeing the videos. Now, my trip is already finished and I also enjoyed some of your adventures (black water rafting, paragliding, routeburn track, … ) and am a bit sad its over. But I will keep following this blog to further enjoy this beautiful country. One tip: Otago Central Rail Trail.
So glad our blog helped you plan out your own adventures in New Zealand 🙂 Hope you had a great time on the Routeburn – one of my favorites! Will definitely add the Otago Rail Trail to our list – thanks for the tip!
Came across your YouTube videos on your travels here in NZ and was utterly impressed with the places you have covered since you arrived here! Would definitely love to see some of the places and try out some of the activities mentioned in your post. As for the Pacific islands nearby, you have to visit them preferably with a scuba diving license, they are pretty rustic but beautiful.:-)
Glad you’ve enjoyed our videos 🙂 We do have plans to explore more of the Pacific Islands and since we do have our scuba diving license hope to get in some diving too! I’m just writing our next blog right now about our experience diving the Poor Knights Islands over Christmas actually!