Lying within a geologically active volcanic zone of New Zealand's North Island, Rotorua could be easily recognized through its smell of rotten eggs and clouds of steam all over the city.
I dragged myself back to the parking lot with shoes being caked in mud and two-layer pants smelling not so pleasantly. My then-roomate Katy didn't look any less pathetic as she carried her wet and stinky shoes throughout the seven-hour trail.
Ambury regional park is a huge working farm in the southern end of Auckland. It's out of the way but not too remote, rural and restful, and packed with activities to entertain a large group.
Imagine this. You lay down on the sandy beach, sun-bathing and breathing in the ocean breeze. Then the tide goes down. You create a little hole out of sand right below your feet and whoops, you have your own hot tub in the open!
Last erupting 600 years ago, Rangitoto is the youngest, largest and best preserved volcanic island among dozens of cones and craters in the Auckland region.
I don't know how Auckland became one of the most livable cities in the world, but living by myself here as an Asian student has been a battle every single day.
Huka falls track was a soothing color palette in the mist of those cloudy late-summer days. Being one of the most visited natural attractions in New Zealand, the one-hour bushwalk to Huka Falls was surprisingly relaxing and quiet although it was still in the peak season.