We love the outdoors in New Zealand. Give us a lung-full of fresh air any day of the week. We thrive on long tramps (in stubbies come rain or shine) and short stomps. Hells, a beer in the back garden will do. Which is why we know you’ll love Oregon, USA.
Allow us to explain further.
Crater Lake National Park
FOR WATER BOMBS
Crater Lake, which is unsurprisingly a lake formed from a crater (say Oregon, hope you didn’t spend all day thinking of that one). Boasting the title of deepest lake in America, it’s a majestic shade of dark sapphire. Hike the surrounding old-growth forest and descend to the water’s edge where you can camp, picnic and yes, water bomb into the lake. Far removed from civilization, this isolated mass of water is so unbelievably blue it reflects the clouds, but unless you’re a snow-loving yeti, visit July through to mid-September, when the climate’s pleasant and your views won’t be hindered by fog.
Wizard Island is an ancient volcanic cinder cone floating in Crater Lake which you can access during the summer months via boat. Magic.
The Oregon Fruit Loop
Fear not, this isn't the local cat lady with twigs in her hair, it’s the 35-mile scenic Oregon drive which weaves between the region’s bountiful orchards, farms, forests and small town communities. Come September, the burbs erupt with locally grown produce, with everything from blueberries to beer hops sprouting all over the land. Grab a map (and a car) and navigate a route from orchards to country stores, local vineyards and micro-breweries, picking up punnets of pears and jars of honey en route. The locals who manage this annual influx of nature’s finest fare will be more than happy to stop and have a yarn; even the odd alpaca will come out and tip his proverbial hat. The friendliness is as abundant as the fruit in these towns.
Stop by any number of roadside fruit stands and you’ll lose count of the varieties: Tokyo Rose, Ginger Gold, Zeistar. And cheerful prices make these tasty orbs doubly sweet.
FOR GONDOLAS & A PICNIC FINALE
Sorry, we were momentarily distracted by the above image. Have you ever seen anything quite so breath-taking? Canada eat your heart out, look at this Oregon masterpiece.
The Wallowas are Oregon’s most celebrated mountain range, affording stunning panoramas of the surrounding high desert and Hells Canyon. The fastest (and by far the easiest) means to access the summit of Mount Howard, is to take the Wallowa Lake Tramway from Wallowa Lake Village. The 1127 metre near-vertical ascent might leave a temporary butterfly in your stomach, but the views from the top will leave an impression forever. From snow-dipped alpine crags to rocky canyons, and the dazzling Wallowa Lake many feet below, is enough to make your retinas implode.
The Summit Grill offer a boxed lunch for fitness-buffs who wish to hike along the summit’s alpine trails. Or you can simply stop at the top and they’ll make you a damn good hot chocolate. Either or.
It’s all about the trout when you’ve OreGON fishing
OREGON SOUNDS LIKE ALREADY GONE. GET IT?
Kiwis like to get outdoors and dip their tackle, just to see what bites, and in Oregon many thing like to take a tug on your line. Smallmouth and largemouth bass, panfish, walleye, shad, river trout, rainbow trout (pause to take breath)… salmon, steelhead, catfish. Did we mention the trout? So much trout action.
For the avid fisherman, or woman, there are countless sites for fishing, with a year-round angling season and various companies, such as Fishing the Gorge, who will provide tailored tours. Head to Hood River if you want to wade into thigh-high water and wrestle with strong currents; both the salmon and river trout will be doing the same.
The fish in these must-see areas:
- Lost Lake - brown, rainbow, and brook trout, kokanee
- Laurance Lake - rainbow, bull, and cutthroat trout
- Benson Lake - Trout
- Deschutes River - Rainbow, brown trout, Steelhead and spring chinook.
- Hood River - Trout, steelhead, spring and fall chinook.
Smith Rock State Park
FOR AN ADRENALINE SURGE
Consider yourself hardcore? Okay, let’s not pussy foot around the bushes and brambles, let’s go to Smith Rock and take on some bad-ass crags. The birthplace of US sport climbing, it’s here you’ll find 14 key climbing areas and the best cliff-edge routes in the country. With almost 2000 routes to choose from and a healthy supply of boulders, for the avid boulderers amongst us, there’s a stone wall for all.
Every other adrenaline-surging activity in this park. Nature’s playground, you’re also privy to horse trekking, mountain biking and even slack-lining; balance-skills permitting.
The Gorge Beer Trail
FOR WELL, BEER.
From breweries with a distinct laboratory feel, to homely patios with views panning across a glorious landscape, the beer venue options are almost limitless in Oregon. And with so many of them affording outdoor assets, it absolutely comes under the category of ‘outdoor pursuits’. The Gorge Beer Trail will take you through many a town, stopping at sun-drenched beer gardens and waterfront barns where you can have a pint and watch the kite surfers pass. Wherever the hops may grow, one should follow.
The comprehensive beer trail route which can be found here