Hitchhiking Japan: some tips

I’m always a little bit nervous when hitchhiking in a new country, especially where there’s a language barrier. But Japan is great to hitchhike! People know the concept (pronouncing it ‘hitch hike’, emphasising the space between the two syallables). We also saw some Japanese hitchhikers. To hitchhike, you do the same as you would in…

Moss & monkeys in Yakushima

The mountainous island of Yakushima is said to be 90% covered with forest. 90%! Because of this, Chris and I board the oldest, rustiest and cheapest ship in Japan’s waters and sail to this fairytale place. Yakushima has actually been extensively logged and replanted. However, some old-growth forest still remains, and two-thousand year old yakusugi…

Hiking the Dewa Sanzan in Honshu, Japan

Japan is a hiker’s paradise, and the Dewa Sanzan (the three mountains of Dewa) is a  pilgrimage route of the aesthetic Shugendo religion. Shugendo pilgrims and Japanese hikers can walk all three mountains – Haguro San, Gas San and Yudono San – although many non-religious hikers choose to walk just one or two of the…

Hitchhiking Honshu, Japan

Tokyo is surely the most capitalist, consumerist city in the world, and is not a good introduction to beautiful Japan. Billboards and lights scream at people to buy stuff. Trains are crammed with adverts whilst people are transfixed with smartphones. Everywhere I turn, there are women who  look like film stars. Looking perfect is seemingly…

Hikes on New Zealand’s south island

We spent our last couple of weeks in Aotearoa (New Zealand) hiking some astoundingly beautiful routes in the regions of Mount Aspiring, Fiordland and Aoraki. The hiking trails that we did can be linked up (via a bit of road walking or hitching) to make a longer trail. At the bottom of this blog post…

Hiking the Te Araroa Part 5: Reflections on the hike

I have been walking the Te Araroa hiking trail in New Zealand. This post covers the section between Lake Tekapo and Lake Ohau. After this we decided to quit the Te Araroa two-thirds of the way down the south island. Below I talk about our reasons why we quit, and I reflect on my time…

Hiking the Te Araroa in Aotearoa (New Zealand): part 4

I am hiking the Te Araroa, a long distance hiking trail which spans the length of Aotearoa (New Zealand). This blog post covers the following sections of the trail on the south island: Rakaia river to Rangitata river; Rangitata river crossing;  Two Thumb Track. (We did not attempt to cross the Rakaia river on foot,…

Hiking the Te Araroa in New Zealand: part 3

This blog post covers the following sections of the trail on the south island: Waiau Pass; Boyle Village to Arthur’s Pass; Arthur’s Pass to the Rakaia river. You can also read part 1 & part 2 of the hike. 1) Waiau Pass trail in the Nelson Lakes: 115.5km, 8 days: It’s raining. The river hurls…

Hiking the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand: Part 2

This blog post covers the first 230km of the Te Araroa on the south island: the Queen Charlotte Track, the Pelorus river trail and the Richmond Ranges. You can also read part 1 of the trail. “This is not a trail,” I splutter at Chris breathlessly as I huff and puff my way up, terrified…

Hobbling and hobbits on New Zealand’s north island

“You can’t hike any more. You have to change your plans,”  the doctor says sympathetically. “Was it your dream to tramp across New Zealand? Had you been planning it for years?” “Well, no,” I reply, “but it’s really disappointing. How long will I take to heal?” “Three more months, maybe…or keyhole surgery.” I have torn…

Hiking the Te Araroa trail, New Zealand: Part 1

Chris and I spontaneously decide that we’re going to walk a hiking trail which spans the length of New Zealand – or Aotearoa in Māori – some 3,000km. The trail is called the Te Araroa. One month later, we arrive in Auckland. I don’t know that much about New Zealand, except that my favourite comedy…