Yellow River Scenic Park, Zhengzhou

Chinese to English translations can sound over-flowery and often downright weird. Halls of Mental Cultivation, Palaces of Heavenly Purity, even a Humble Administrator Garden, but the name of Zhengzhou’s chief attraction is almost amusingly succinct. Yellow River Scenic Area is, as you might expect, close to the Yellow River and from its high up vantage…




Nanjie Cun: The Last Communist Utopia?

Nanjie Cun has often been described as China’s last Maoist village. Given China’s current approach to economics, which ironically began under Chairman Deng Xiaoping in the mid eighties just as Nanjie Cun became a collective, it could be argued that it is also the last remnant of Communist China. Although the Communist Party of China…




Amazed by Zhengzhou, China

I’ve been around a little bit but travelling into the city of China’s Zhengzhou was different to anything i have ever experienced before. The weather was great when I touched down, sun shining, albeit dimly through a haze of dust and pollution. A film of fine dust covers everything inside and out. Construction The scale…




How to Shop Cheap and Healthy

Just because long term travel requires careful budgeting, that doesn’t mean backpackers have to live on instant noodles. Someone should have told that to my younger self. Eleven years ago when I first left home to travel Australia, I pretty much lived on Mi Goreng noodles, bread and the occasional egg. I’m still partial to…




How to Dine for Free in New Zealand

Budget travellers have to make sacrifices to fulfil their dream of world travel. When saving for your trip you’ll have to forgo that daily coffee, eating out, the latest phone and so on. Once you finally have enough to begin your trip it is necessary to budget carefully on the road too. Eating and drinking…




How to do Queenstown on a Budget

Situated south of the south island in New Zealand, Queenstown is a small town of around 15,000 people. Huddled at the foot of Ben Lomond, surrounded by mountains and Lake Waikato, it’s not hard to see why it is so popular with tourists and backpackers. Queenstown’s population swells to more than twice its usual occupancy…




Christchurch: Then and Now

Four years ago I travelled to Christchurch with Noel, a fast walking, fast talking Irishman from Cavan, and Ian, a lanky, slow-ambling Californian. I had met them working on the Thornton overpass in Wellington. We had been working there for months, high up and exposed to the elements, demolishing and removing rusty old crash barriers…




New Zealand: 10 Things I Hate About You

Perhaps this article should be called ‘NZ, Ten Things I Find a Bit Irritating About You.’ But that wouldn’t be paraphrasing the title of a popular movie so I’ll leave it as is… Hate does seem a little strong given that I’ve spent the guts of two years travelling in the country and obviously, for…




The Travel Bore

If there is such thing as a travel community, the Travel Bore permeates every level of it. She (it is often a ‘she’, though travel verbosity is not exclusive to the sex) has been found in every hostel, hotel, beach hut and long-tail boat at one point or another. If you travel long enough and…




Epic NZ Road Trip – Part 2

I have previously lamented that New Zealand has rather draconian laws regarding freedom camping. One can receive hefty instant fines of $200 for camping in an undesignated area. And I have yet to see an area that is designated. Having said that, though not strictly freedom camping, there are a some spots that are not only free but…