There are some positive signs that humanity may well be winning the battle against Covid-19. Vaccinations are ramping up, and recent studies have shown that those who've already caught the virus have antibodies that are proving effective in preventing reinfection.
I mention this because there's not much international travel going on while Covid-19 is grounding airplanes and preventing visas from being issued.
And once we get the green light to travel again, the first place I'm going to travel to is New Zealand. I've been twice before, and I could see myself going back there many more times in the future. Why do I love it so much?
Some highlights for me include Arthur's Pass (the walk - or rather clamber! - up Avalanche Peak is an experience), the Kepler track, the Routeburn Track, the Abel Tasman, the Tongariro Crossing and the Milford Track. All offer something unique. In fact, each day of each track offers something unique!
Take the Kepler Track as a good example: day 1 is mainly a climb through forested hillside. It's a lot of work for little reward. You think there's some serious over-hyping of this 3 day trek. And then you reach the treeline, and you're out in the open! The hut is ahead, and when you reach it, you turn around to see a sight for sore eyes...a view of the southern Alps that stretches for hundreds of kilometres. Hours after sunset, if the sky is clear, there's probably no better place to view the Milky Way so clearly. On waking for the following day, you might be treated to a blanket of clouds, with mountains peaking over it - a regular sight on a crisp, winter's morning in this part of the world. On day 2, you'll be walking on many ridges, taking in spectacular views...before descending into a valley where the second hut can be found. Day 3 features a walk through ancient woodland, eventually taking you back to where you started.
New Zealand compels you to walk distances you wouldn't dream of doing back home. A 3 day walk covering 40km is absolutely doable - you're drawn forward by the scenery.
There's plenty of other activities to do there too: skiing, snowboarding, white-water rafting, bungee-jumping, sky diving to name the more common activities you can get up to there.
However, for me, it's the walks that get you closer to the magic of New Zealand: the peaceful nature, the fresh air, the sheer empty space. It also unplugs you from the world for a few days, which we could all do with. Article kindly provided by store.adventure.ie