Are those my shades? What happened? Alex….Where were they? In your shoe, the whole time? Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to the channel. I’m Alex aka @Alexthevagabond. I just woke up. I had a coffee, hence… the reason that I’m speaking at a million miles a minute, but it’s like day four for us in New Zealand. We took a little bit of a vacation for a few days. I know that’s kind of ironic seeing as how we’re travel vloggers. This is Carrie Rad, my fiancee. She’s eating pretzels for breakfast because it’s Van Life. You don’t really eat real meals. You just snack all the time. Are you having fun so far? I am. This is our first morning after our first evening of van life-ing, and I’m feeling pretty good. This will be our home for the next two weeks. It’s a Toyota Hiace. Probably late 90s model. This is our couch area, slash sleeping area, slash living area. We can eat here. I actually quite love this so you can swing it around You can have dinner like this across from each other and then you could just put it back and use it as a side table, if you’d like. It’s also removable so you can unscrew it there, put on the ground. The wood plank here folds back and then you move these pillows and you create a little bed situation. It is quite large, actually. These are like…cooking. So there’s a dirty water.. gray water, I think they call it. This is how you pump the water. It’s not easy. That’s the clean water. We’ve got some utensils and such, some dishwashing stuff. We’re going to be driving this thing essentially from Auckland all the way down to Christchurch. We’ll be stopping along the west coast. We’re going to take the ferry across from Wellington to Picton, a little bit later in the journey. But today the goal is leave Rotorua and make our way to Lake Taupo. We’re going to do a little bit of fly-fishing and then the day after tomorrow in the next video, we’re going to be doing the Tongariro Crossing. So join us, stick around. It’s going to be fun. That’s pretty much it. I think on that note, it’s time to get the hell out of here. This is probably one of the most touristy places on the North Island. It’s also nicknamed the Sulfur City because it’s essentially New Zealand’s most geothermally active location. There’s a huge sulfur vent over there that leaks into the lake and creates this really beautiful effect. But it does make the whole city smell a little bit like rotten eggs. But that being said, it’s still a beautiful place to visit. If you’re into mountain biking, this is one of the best places to do that in New Zealand. But over the years it has become a little bit popular with tourists. The Maori revered Rotorua’s geothermal waters They actually called it “wai-o-tapu” or sacred waters, and there are many places to bathe if you’re into hot springs. But unfortunately, we’re not going to have too much time hanging out here. We’re just stopping through, but if you do come to Rotorua, it’s definitely worth stopping in, checking out. We’re going to be hopping in the car and driving down into Taupo. That big truck can, but we can’t. I have to go back at it, around the other way. We’re going to flip. We’ve made it to Taupo and ah…oooo No, that’s not going to work. Lovely. That’s what I needed. We’re stuck. So this is totally not a four-wheel-drive car. No, no. Now they’ve called in the reinforcements. Look at this. There you go. That’s what we needed. That looks more like it. That’s what should have happened in the first place. I believe in you. We got this. Oh my god. That was intense. I did not expect to have such a little adventure just to make a left turn a couple hundred meters away to park in the lot for the fishing. Well, we’ve made it to Lake Taupo area. The lake is just over on the other side of the road from us. But Lake Taupo has tons of different rivers and streams that feed into it. It’s one of the largest lakes in New Zealand, and it’s the largest lake in the North Island of New Zealand. But we’re surrounded by this beautiful forest. We have some pine trees. We’ve got native bush so we can hike up footpaths along the river, and there’s plenty of really good fly-fishing. So we’re going to set up our rods and throw on some waders, and then take a little hike up the river to see if we can’t catch any fish. Managed to get all switched over. We’re in our waders. It’s hot, a really nice summer day. We’re here in the beginning of March, but we’re kind of having a little bit of a heat wave here. Super fun being able to share this with Carrie. She’s also an avid fly fisher, but has never fished in New Zealand. It’s really nice because it’s super still right now. And in New Zealand it’s usually quite windy, so we’re really lucky right now. We just have to be super quiet because I guess this water here is really, really, really clear. So we have to go in stealth-mode. One thing about fly-fishing is there are a lot of little tedious tasks to get to the good part of the day, which is actually fishing. But there’s a lot of little things you have to do to get there. But it’s all worth it in the end. Like Carrie said fly-fishing can be kind of a pain in the butt because there’s a lot of steps. There’s a lot of knots that you need to know. You need to understand all of your equipment but essentially the reason you have the big long rod and all of the line is because you’re using the weight of the fly line…. this to catapult your line out when you’re essentially loading the rod and unloading it to cast. Whereas with a traditional spinning rod, you just kind of like flip the switch on the thing and throw some weight on there and chuck it This kind of requires a little more finesse and the goal is to take your fly, which is called a fly because it’s actually imitating a a type of fly or insect to land on the water and imitate that insect so that the fish thinks that your fly is actually a real fly and eats it. Sounds simple. Trust me, it’s not. Okay, well it’s about 6:00 p.m. We’ve been on the river now for about two hours. It’s just absolutely beautiful. There’re all sorts of birds… like a little shag flying overhead The tui’s are just making the coolest sounds The tui bird is a indigenous bird to New Zealand, but they just have the most unique call that their sound is just incredible. There’s been a bunch of tui’s up in the trees here talking back and forth. A lot of action, a lot of fish rising for dry flies, but they’re kind of selective and we haven’t been to a fly shop yet. So we’re using flies that we have from back home in California Carrie’s had about three or four strikes. She’s hooked one fish. I’ve yet to hook any… Gotten a couple of strikes. I’ve been kind of mixing and matching, trying different flies. It’s just an absolutely beautiful place, and it feels so good to be back out here on the river. So zen. I caught one, but he got away. But I set the right way, which is good, but I didn’t reel him in the right way, but that’s one step further than not being able to set correctly. So I’m happy with that. All right, ladies and gentlemen, it has been a long day. It’s been a super long day, but it’s been a really fun day, and hopefully you all enjoyed it as much as I did. I had a great time. Beautiful part of New Zealand up here in the central part of the North Island, Lake Rotorua, Lake Taupo. We didn’t really get up to too many touristic things. I think that, um….. I’ve been in New Zealand a lot of times over my life. My dad’s from New Zealand. I’m a Kiwi citizen as well as an American citizen. I studied abroad here, lived down in Dunedin. I came back and did essentially every single touristic experience you could do during the Biggest Baddest Bucket list back in 2013. And this trip is is kind of like the opportunity to revisit New Zealand and really get off of the the tourist track, the beaten path and do a lot more outdoorsy activities versus tourist experiences. So tomorrow on that note, we will be heading to the Tongariro Crossing. It’s one of New Zealand’s great walks. It’s been called the best day hike in New Zealand and potentially the best day hike in the world. We’re going to be crossing up and over a volcano. It’s going to be really, really awesome, but it’s a long hike. I think it’s definitely twelve plus miles. Tomorrow morning we’re getting picked up. You have to take a shuttle essentially drops you off at one side and picks you up on the other side of the hike. The shuttle picks us up at 6:00 a.m. sharp here in the little caravan park. So we have to try to get some sleep. We have to be totally prepared. So I’m going to put the camera down. I’m going to start packing, get all of my hiking stuff together, prep all my camera gear for a big day tomorrow, but it’s going to be a super fun one. So hopefully you enjoyed this video. If you did, you know what to do: give it a big thumbs- up, subscribe, turn on notifications, if you have not already. And as always, remember, stay curious, keep exploring, and we will see you on the road. Peace.