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AFAR Explorer′s Wishlist
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SH 47, National Park 3989, New Zealand
These days New Zealand’s landscape may be best known from scenes in The Lord of the Rings, but set aside your preconceptions of Mt. Doom: Mt. Ngaurahoe (Doom’s butt double in the films) and the craters surrounding it are gorgeous. The Tongariro...
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Matiu/Somes Island, 5012, New Zealand
Smack in the center of Wellington's large harbor sits Somes Island, an ecological reserve overlooked by almost everyone visiting the capital. Boasting a colorful Maori and European history, Somes Island is now a nature preserve open to visitors....
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Lake Tekapo, Canterbury 7999, New Zealand
Even on a cloudy day, Lake Tekapo's brilliant shades of blue are caused by "rock flour" - finely ground particles of rock from the glaciers at the head of the lake and suspended in the melt water. The treeline is comprised of Monterey Pines which...
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45500 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
One of my favorite campgrounds in Big Sur is the big open meadow at Andrew Molera State Park. It's great for large groups and it's one of the best bases for hiking and surfing in the area. More than 20 miles of trails run throughout the park's...
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Marblemount, WA 98267, USA
It's about a ten-mile round-trip, but a summer hike up to Goat Lake in the Central Cascades will reward you with a glacially-colored mirror of snow-clad crags and distant waterfalls. An easy day-hike from Seattle (if you get up early), it's also...
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Manawatu-Wanganui 4691, New Zealand
This huge, single-day hike is in the running for the "Best Day Hike in the World" contest. If you're spending time in Taupo on the North Island of New Zealand and you love a challenging hike with unbelievable topography, be sure to give yourself a...
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Pembroke Park, FL, USA
This is your view from the top of the Diamond Lake Hike, which starts about 12 kilometers outside of the town of Wanaka. The views are so beautiful from the summit that it's nearly impossible to ever head back down the mountain. The track starts...
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Lake Matheson, West Coast 7886, New Zealand
Lake Matheson is a magical little spot near Fox Glacier. It's a great place to take a walk at sunset, before enjoying dinner and some local wine at the Matheson Cafe. On a clear day, the reflection in the lake proudly displays all the reasons to...
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Urupukapuka Island, Northland, New Zealand
There are 144 islands in the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand, and Urupukapuka (the largest of them all) aims to please. Check out the island's website to help plan your day, which will be a fabulous and full day that includes a...
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Castle Hill 7580, New Zealand
This 10-day tramping (that's Kiwi for "hiking") trip on the South Island of New Zealand is hard to beat. This will be your first hike of many, all of which connect you to a land so beautiful that it's impossible to ever leave. Kura Tawhiti is a...
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Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast 7886, New Zealand
Brace yourself for the physical pull you'll feel as you approach the dramatic, 7.5 mile long glacier named Franz Josef, in Westland National Park in New Zealand. Together with the nearby 12 mile long Fox Glacier, you'll be astounded by this unique...
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90/3 Sridonchai Rd, Tambon Chang Khlan, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
If you know me at all you know that I'm not much of a backpacker. Don't get me wrong - I love hiking, camping, trekking, and the outdoors more than most people. What I don't dig is sitting around ramshackle guesthouses with 20-something tourists...
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71895 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
For such a remote region, Big Sur has more than its share of amazing places to stay. One of the most unique is Treebones Resort, nestled high in the foothills of South Big Sur overlooking the Pacific. The off-the-grid property offers 16 signature...
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Last summer, Tim and Kathy Turner took a break from the Mont Blanc hiking circuit for a night at Refuge des Mottets, a French backcountry lodge decorated with cowbells and old iron cookware. The Turners, from the United States, were the only...
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11 Richmond Rd, Pohara, Takaka Golden Bay 7183, New Zealand
I WWOOFed at the Sans Souci Inn for a month and my wonderful hosts sent me on many adventures. I hiked up to Rawhiti Cave, the largest cave opening in NZ; got coffee on "Jacques Cousteau's Pirate Espresso Ship;" admired wood pigeons in The Grove;...
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Edeforsvägen 2A, 960 24 Harads, Sweden

Five futuristic tree houses, from the Bird’s Nest to a full-size UFO, were built with minimal impact on the Lule River Valley. The newest tree room, Mirrorcube, has reflective glass walls that disappear into the pines. After a meal of local elk or...

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Playa Maderas Maderas, Nicaragua
We had an unforgettable experience staying at Buena Vista Surf Club, while visiting San Juan del Sur. The eco-lodge is set into a hill overlooking the jungle and Playa Maderas with a giant sundeck where guests could enjoy the view. It was a great...
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San Antonio, Limón, Costa Rica
One of the most amazing places I have stayed, and would stay again in an instant, is the Pacuare Eco Lodge in Costa Rica... I stayed in the above cabana high in the rain forest canopy above the ground. The cabana has its own private bridge and hot...
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216 Okuti Valley Rd, Okuti Valley 7591, New Zealand
A farm-style experience about an hour from Christchurch, Okuti Garden caters to travelers who love to create and play. An art box encourages crafting; “tree circles” are great for yoga and meditation; and a small lake features a boat...