It’s hard to believe another year in New Zealand has come and gone! 2015 was another awesome year filled with many new experiences, new friends and exciting challenges along the way. As we reflect on the year that passed we wanted to share with you some of our favourite moments from 2015!
Becoming a part of Team Super Tramp
2015 kicked off with a two-week roadtrip around New Zealand with YouTuber Devin Super Tramp and his crew Parker, Carter and Dakota from Team Super Tramp, Chris from Cinechopper and Louis from Fun for Louis!! It was a jam-packed two weeks filming 12 videos in 14 days taking us from sandboarding in Northland all the way to Milford Sound in Fiordland.
It was a dream come true to not only meet Devin and his team but to be able to be the local Producers of the videos, organizing all the logistics with operators and sponsors to make the trip happen! The exposure from that opportunity also helped us reach a new audience and increase our followers across our social media channels, bonus 🙂
Learning the Ropes
In February we enrolled in the New Zealand Alpine Club‘s Summer Rock course that teaches top rope climbing, abseiling, and starting to lead climb on rock. We were novice indoor gym climbers back in Canada, but hadn’t really climbed since we moved to New Zealand, and with the recent exposure to backcountry tramping and mountaineering, we were keen to learn some rope skills for future adventures.
During the course we had 6 nights at Fergs and three weekends outdoors – bouldering at Baring Head in Wellington and two lead climbing weekends at Kinloch in Taupo and Froggat in Wharapapa South. Not only did we learn some really useful and fun skills, but we gained 10 AWESOME new friends who were just as keen to climb, tramp and hang out together 🙂 We have missed having a close group of friends as we hadn’t really made many strong connections since we arrived (as we’re usually off on our own every weekend!) so it was great to have a cool group of folks which also made it easier to keep it up with plenty of peer pressure to head to the gym or Pukerua Bay each week!
Venturing outside New Zealand
In March we finally ventured over the ‘ditch’ to Australia, but decided to head to the more temperate (and more New Zealandish) area – Tasmania. We spent 10 days roadtriping across the small island, focusing on as much tramping as we could! We climbed the famous Cradle Mountain, kayaked Tasman Peninsula, walked the gorgeous beach at Wine Glass Bay, and explored the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. One of my favourite parts though was experiencing Tasmania’s unique wildlife, meeting the ‘feroious’ Tasmanian Devil, the curious Forrester Kangaroos and the lovable Wombats!
We met Jordan’s family in Indonesia in April for a whirl-wind week trip that took us from Mt Rinjani in Lombok, the temples and rice fields in Bali to the Ijen blue flame volcano in Java! It was our first time in Southeast Asia, and while it was significantly different than what we were used to in New Zealand, it opened us up to new experiences and was even more special to have Jordan’s family there with us.
In 2014, we had our first mountaineering experience late in the season, so this year we were keen to get up in the mountains as soon as possible. The season kicked off in early June with one of our best weekends in New Zealand at Mueller Hut in Mt Cook National Park and spent several weekends up on Mt Ruapehu. We enrolled in two more weekend NZAC mountaineering courses that introduced us to building snow anchors and pitching up steep sections with ropes which helped us finally conquer our first Grade 2 climb on Girdlestone.
To further our mountaineering skills even more and get an introduction to glacier travel, we spent a week in November at Mt Cook National Park taking the NZAC’s High Alpine Skills Course. It was an incredible week learning glacier travel, crevasse extraction and tackling our toughest Grade 2 climb yet up Mt Walter (2,905m). Jordan and I feel really comfortable now with our skills and this course has opened up the Southern Alps (and hopefully Canada) for us to explore (we ended up spending 3 days up at Centennial Hut in Westland National Park over Christmas!)
Glowworms in Motion
One of the greatest surprises of 2015 was the success of our glowworm timelapse video. It started as a labour of love involving over 60 hours of sleeping in caves and ended up our most popular video yet (~85,000 views and counting) with Jordan even snagging the coveted New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year prize in October for the time-lapse category! So proud of him to receive such a huge recognition and it was very well deserved for the dedication, passion and creativity that he put into making that video.
Exploring more of New Zealand
There really is an endless list of things to do in New Zealand. In 2015 we were able to knock off a few more of those items with a number of trips around the North and South Island. The New Year kicked off in Northland, we made SEVEN trips to the South Island including two winter weekends in Queenstown where we finally got to try the Naseby Ice Luge and were a part of an Instameet in Kaikoura where we swam with dolphins! We finished off the year with an 18 day roadtrip where we literally circumnavigated the entire South Island (from Picton to Curio Bay Southland!) taking in some of our favourite hikes to date (more details to come in future blogs!)
Outlook for 2016
I’m really excited for 2016 and the opportunities it will bring! This will be a year of change and new opportunities for us (more to come on that) and I look forward to tackling it with my partner in crime!
What was your biggest highlight of 2015? What are you most excited about in 2016?