A Māori Yellowstone and a Jurassic Forest

The author in the crater of Mount Tarawera

  I’VE always been attracted to the Rotorua geothermal region, in the North Island of my native New Zealand. It’s a complex of volcanoes, hot pools, geysers and lakes. If that sounds familiar, it should be. For, the area is New Zealand’s equivalent of Yellowstone National Park in the...

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A Fickle Easter in Brooklyn: Photos and writeup by NZ author Mary Jane Walker

Brooklyn Heights Map

  This year, I decided I was going to revisit Red Hook, a waterfront district of Brooklyn. I discovered the charms of Brooklyn and its waterfront enclave of Red Hook just after Donald Trump was elected president. I had no time for the hysteria and street protests and wanted...

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Cape Brett: Hiking to the Birthplace of Aotearoa


  Introduction: Breakwater to the Bay of Islands One of the most famous places in New Zealand is the Bay of Islands. As its name suggests, this gorgeous bay on the east coast of Northland, due north-east of Waipoua Forest, is full of islands. The Bay of Islands is...

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Pacific Parallels: Auckland, Vancouver, San Francisco

Auckland from Space. Satellite photography is from NASA Earth Observatory Image Auckland_17_2002239. North at top.

PEOPLE are perpetually fascinated by history as it might have been: by parallel universes and the plotlines of films like Sliding Doors. In that respect, there are a number of curious parallels between the Canadian city of Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), and Auckland, New Zealand, a city across the...

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Auckland’s Great Barrier Island (not the Great Barrier Reef)

At Awana Beach

THE largest of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf Islands is Great Barrier Island, also known as Aotea, the island of the white cloud or the shining sky. When I get tele-marketing calls selling holidays on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, I tell them, ‘We have our own Great Barrier Island.’ I don’t...

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On a Kiwi Visa in Cappadocia

In front of a Turkish flag, in Cappadocia

I arrived in Turkey for the second time in my life toward the end of 2017, landing at Istanbul. Almost immediately, I could see that a lot had changed. The prosperous and secular country I visited last time was in a slump. Islamic headscarves, previously rare, were also common....

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Outfoxed in the Valley of Marvels

In October, my friend Jean-Claude and I went to visit an area that the French call la Vallée des Merveilles, the Valley of Marvels. Google Maps calls it the Valley of Wonders. Whatever you call it, the valley is in the far southeast of France, inland from the Riviera and...

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From Country Music to Energy from Space: A Maverick USA Way

The Maverick USA Way Logo and myself in Sun Records, Memphis, with a NASA T-Shirt

    From Country Music to Energy from Space: A Maverick USA Way, Mary Jane Walker’s fifth book of world travels   Mary Jane Walker is pleased to announce the launch of the fifth in her series of unconventional accounts of world travel, A Maverick USA Way.   A...

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From Venice to Mt Etna: My Long Drive through Italy

My route down the Italian peninsula and around Sicily

  Will you be doing anything like this for Thanksgiving weekend? In October, I drove for more than 1,500 km down the Italian peninsula and around Sicily. After my stay in Venice, which you can read about here, I drove to Mount Etna in Sicily. I travelled more than...

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Views of Venice: A Maverick Traveller visits the ‘Most Serene Republic’

Venetian Sunset

THIS has been an easy blog to write, and an even easier one to illustrate. Anyone with a modern camera can take pictures that look like the work of the painter known as Canaletto. Strategically located on a cluster of harbour islands at the head of the Adriatic Sea,...

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