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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A Solo Woman Traveller in Qatar

Doha, Qatar: Museum of Islamic Art Gobo Projection

  AT THE beginning of October 2017, I stopped off for two nights in Doha, the capital city of the the small Persian Gulf state of Qatar (and its only sizeable city). Travellers from New Zealand often choose to break the long journey to and from Europe in Bahrain,...

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New Zealand: Easy for Solo Women Travellers

Journey to Queenstown from Christchurch

Travelling in New Zealand is easy for solo women travellers, whether you are an adventurer, hiker, mountaineer or photographer, or just an ordinary person. You can find cheap places to stay everywhere, using campsite phone apps. Whether you choose to buy a car or rent a car there are...

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Adventures at Snow Farm: Nordic Skiing Downunder

Map of Snow Farm

This winter, I have been told that I cannot do Alpine skiing because of my broken shoulder. A collision or heavy fall would take my shoulder back to being broken. So, I wondered about trying gentler pursuits such as Nordic skiing, or snowshoeing.  I had a go snowshoeing once...

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Mostly Marvellous Melbourne

ONE place I never get tired of visiting is Melbourne, the southernmost of Australia’s big cities, a city that lies roughly on the latitude of Hamilton and the Waikato on the shores of Port Phillip Bay. In many ways, Melbourne is the original ‘garden city’. In this 3D aerial...

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