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New Zealand - North Island

 
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And so it begins...preparing for departure at LAX.
And so it begins...preparing for departure at LAX.
New Zealand's answer to Thailand's famous beachside sport climbing:  excellent trad and sport routes on a secluded beach at Te Ananui on the East coast of the North Island.  That's me in the bottom lefthand corner of the photo.
New Zealand's answer to Thailand's famous beachsid...
Farmland Crag of Sheridan Hills in Wharepapa South
Farmland Crag of Sheridan Hills in Wharepapa South
Chunderosa Buttress at Sheridan Hills crag in Wharepapa South.
Chunderosa Buttress at Sheridan Hills crag in Whar...
Natalie enjoying a classic trad line called Millenium Madness at Waipapa, draped in the North Island jungle.
Natalie enjoying a classic trad line called Millen...
A week's worth of "minor yard work" in exchange for free lodging at Bryce's
A week's worth of "minor yard work" in exchange fo...
BIG trees in the jungle on the North Island...
BIG trees in the jungle on the North Island...
Natalie, as see from Bilbo's front door on the set of Hobbiton in Matamata, NZ.
Natalie, as see from Bilbo's front door on the set...
Hanging out with the natives...
Hanging out with the natives...
Our first kiwi waterfall
Our first kiwi waterfall
Our kiwi tour-mobile
Our kiwi tour-mobile
Natalie enjoying the warm waters of the thermal hot springs as they percolate out of the sand at the famous Hot Water Beach on the Cormandel Peninsula.
Natalie enjoying the warm waters of the thermal ho...
My first geyser, near the tourist hotspot of Rotorua...or as the kiwis call it "Roto-Vegas"
My first geyser, near the tourist hotspot of Rotor...
The bizarre rock formations of the Animal Biscuit Valley at the North Island sport climbing mecca of Froggatt Edge.
The bizarre rock formations of the Animal Biscuit ...
Natalie cleaning the anchor after another fun sport climb at Froggatt Edge.
Natalie cleaning the anchor after another fun spor...
Whanganui Bay on Lake Taupo has some of the best rock (and best trad routes) on the North Island, and the lakeside setting is gorgeous.
Whanganui Bay on Lake Taupo has some of the best r...
Sunset on the main cliff at Whanganui Bay on Lake Taupo.  Natalie looks like a tiny speck of blue in the very center of this photo (click on the image to see it full size); she is climbing out of a corner crack just above the tree line.
Sunset on the main cliff at Whanganui Bay on Lake ...
The view from the top of our first trad climb at Whanganui Bay.
The view from the top of our first trad climb at W...
Bryce Martin cranking his way up an overhung 5.11 corner crack at Whanganui Bay.  Not bad for a 55yr old... (this climb spat me off twice on toprope)
Bryce Martin cranking his way up an overhung 5.11 ...
Natalie following me up Sayonara (5.8), a beautiful straight-in hand and finger crack at Whanganui Bay.
Natalie following me up Sayonara (5.8), a beautifu...
The 3 snow-covered volcanoes of Tongariro National Park on the North Island.  On the far left is Mt. Tongariro; in the center is Mt. Ngauruhoe (aka Mt. Doom in Lord of the Rings); and on the right is Mt. Ruapehu which actually erupted the day before we arrived here.  This "minor volcanic event" sent ash and rocks 15,000 ft into the air...
The 3 snow-covered volcanoes of Tongariro National...
Starting off on our first of NZ's Great Walks:  The Northern Circuit of Tongariro National Park.  We walked 26 miles in two days, with a legit alpine section.  Fun!
Starting off on our first of NZ's Great Walks: Th...
The north face of Mt. Ruapehu on a perfect morning.  What looks like a shaddow on the snow near the summit on the right is actually the debris field of ash and rocks from the "minor eruption" which occured the previous day...
The north face of Mt. Ruapehu on a perfect morning...
Our nice walk around the volcanoe is about to get much steeper as we are headed for the saddle above the snow line.  Natalie is the tiny red dot on the far left...
Our nice walk around the volcanoe is about to get ...

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