David Lee

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Member since
2nd May 2009

In late 2007, I quit my job and left the comfortable life in the USA for the open road with nothing but a 20-pound backpack, a long list of countries to see, and a penchant for sharing my adventures online.

Starting in Tahiti, I worked my way west through 20 countries on 5 continents. Low on money, I stopped traveling to spend the first half of 2009 living in beautiful Medellin. My days are spent figuring out how best to help motivate others to travel, while my nights are devoted to learning salsa, Colombian style.

Go Backpacking

David Lee's activity

  1. March 2013
  2. David Lee wrote a blog post The Ultimate Train Challenge

    If you’re looking for a way to challenge yourself in 2013, I’ve got a proposition to share."

  3. David Lee wrote a blog post How to Enjoy London Theater on a Budget

    Theaters try to sell every ticket, for every show, and are therefore willing to release excess inventory at a discount."

  4. David Lee reviewed Sesimbra in Portugal

    Swimming and sunbathing are the best parts of a beach holiday and Sesimbra has plenty of this to offer. When you get hungry, you can pick up some fresh fish from the fishermen who sell their catch on the beach. This area of Portugal is more traditional…"

  5. David Lee reviewed Mother Teresa’s House in Kolkata, India

    Just off AJC Bose Road and a short walk from Mother Teresa Sarani (yes, a road named after her), is the Blessed Missions of Charity Motherhouse. Marked by a small wooden name sign and guarded by 2 soldiers I arrived at the charity. Though it is a pilgr…"

  6. David Lee reviewed Punta del Este in Uruguay

    The Monaco of South America. This once sleepy fishing village has blown up into one of the hottest Summer destinations on the continent. Due to its proximity to both Argentina and Brazil, it attracts legions of beachgoers during the high season. T…"

  7. David Lee reviewed Cabo Polonio in Uruguay

    Cabo Polonio is a little hippie hamlet that still reflects the old world ways of Uruguay’s coastal fishing villages. During the high season, Cabo Polonio attracts a bohemian crowd. Like Punta del Este, they’re there to party, only they&rsquo…"

  8. David Lee reviewed Punta del Diablo in Uruguay

    Furthest east, near the border of Brazil, lies Punta del Diablo. This fishing village truly is what Punta del Este was like before developers took over. When the bus drops you off in the middle of town, you’ll step out onto dirt roads. S…"

  9. David Lee reviewed Zwinger Palace in Dresden, Germany

    Adjacent the opera house is the Zwinger Palace, which was my favorite site in Dresden. Aside from the ornate exterior, designed in the Baroque style, it boasts the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery, $13 admission), which hous…"

  10. David Lee reviewed Semperoper (Tour) in Dresden, Germany

    The plaza outside the opera house, Semperoper, is an excellent spot to begin a walking tour of downtown Dresden. Casual visitors will appreciate the rich exterior design, while culture vultures can take a 45-minuteguided tour ($12) to learn about the hi…"

  11. David Lee wrote a blog post How To Enter Israel Without Being Detained

    As a backpacker there is a good chance you will be detained. It doesn’t matter whether you’re American, European, or Arab, everyone is a suspect at the border."

  12. David Lee wrote a blog post 5 Ways To Sleep For Free In Europe

    Backpacking in Europe is expensive. Aside from the flight, your next biggest expenditure is often accommodation. Hotels will ruin your budget unless you’re traveling with friends."

  13. David Lee wrote a blog post The Medellín Travel Guide

    It’s here! My first book, the Medellín Travel Guide: Insider Advice from an American Expat in Colombia is now available."

  14. David Lee reviewed Erawan Museum in Bangkok, Thailand

    Located just outside the border of Bangkok in a province called Samut Prakan, is the 3 headed elephant Erawan Museum, one of my favorite sites in the city. Approaching the monument you’ll see the humongous sculpture, proudly towering over the high…"

  15. David Lee reviewed Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, which is not housed in a historical building, is instead a modern facility that showcases some magnificent works of Islamic art. Among the many galleries (which are set up in an open space rather than being section…"

  16. November 2012
  17. David Lee reviewed Pink Beach in Indonesia

    After coming face to face with Komodo Dragons in the morning, we boarded our speed boat for ashort ride to Pink Beach, on another part of the island. Arriving at high tide, we were able to pass over the coral, and jump directly off the boat and onto the…"

  18. David Lee wrote a blog post Burricleta: Do the Electric Bike Ride in Costa Brava

    It was with mild anxiety that I approached Burricleta’s neatly organized row of electric bikes in the village of Sant Hilari Sacalm, Costa Brava, Spain."

  19. David Lee reviewed Mount Bromo in Indonesia

    After 15 minutes of twisting and turning in the dark, we reached the parking area at the foot of a dirt path leading further up Mount Penanjakan (2,770 meters). From here, we were on foot. It was hard to see in the pre-dawn hours, but the entire path at…"

  20. October 2012
  21. David Lee wrote a blog post Hiking and Ice Climbing Sólheimajökull Glacier

    Ten percent of Iceland is covered by glaciers, with Sólheimajökull Glacier being one of the most frequently visited as a day trip from Reykjavik."

  22. David Lee wrote a blog post 48 Hours in Miami

    Here’s a recap of my first 48 hours in Miami."

  23. David Lee reviewed Blue Lagoon in Reykjavík, Iceland

    Upon paying a 35 Euro ($45) entrance fee, you’re given a towel, and plastic bracelet which is used to control the lockers, and track your food and drink tab. The men’s locker room was clean, and well-designed. There were shower stalls b…"

  24. September 2012
  25. David Lee wrote a blog post Basic Tips for the First Time Traveler to China

    Here are the basic tips and insight for the first time traveler that I picked up on my first trip."

  26. August 2012
  27. David Lee reviewed The Perhentian Islands in Malaysia

    It’s not easy to walk from beach to beach searching for the best bungalow. The season for the Perhentians is short so, by April, many places are booked solidly for stays in June, July and August. If you’ve got your heart set on a particular p…"

  28. July 2012
  29. David Lee reviewed Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid, Spain

    Located seconds from Madrid’s grand Plaza Mayor, this indoor market first opened its doors in 1916. One of the city’s oldest markets, the building was falling into disrepair until it was refurbished in 2009, when it proceeded to become one o…"

  30. David Lee reviewed Tambopata Research Center in Peru

    Tours to the Tambopata Research Center benefit from a 6:1 ratio of visitors to guides. The small groups allow more interaction, as well as improving the odds of spotting wildlife during the walks. Kurt, one of the co-founders of the Tambopata …"

  31. June 2012
  32. David Lee reviewed Virginia Beach

    All public beaches in Virginia are free. They generally do require a fee for parking, but visitors can even avoid that if they’re willing to walk a few blocks. There are restaurants and vendors, especially near the boardwalks, but beachgoers can a…"

  33. David Lee wrote a blog post Bicycle Wine Tour in Mendoza

    Having already been on a wine tour a few days earlier, I confirmed that their tour would be to three different wineries, in a different region of the city. And instead of hopping in and out of a van, we’d be on Trek mountain bikes."

  34. David Lee wrote a blog post The Best Parillas in Buenos Aires

    Steakhouses in Argentina are referred to as parillas."

  35. David Lee wrote a blog post Getting Around Bangkok: The 5 Main Modes of Transportation

    Bangkok is a city where nearly every possible mode of transportation is available and necessary to use on a regular basis to get around."

  36. May 2012
  37. David Lee reviewed Attend a Boca Juniors Game in Buenos Aires, Argentina

    As the stadium filled up, and game time drew near, a beautiful cheerleader squad emerged onto the field. From half way across the field, it was abundantly obvious just how short and tight their uniforms were. They proceeded to do a dance number that&rsq…"

  38. David Lee wrote a blog post 5 of the Tastiest Hawaiian Fusion Foods

    Here are 5 incredible fusion eats in Hawaii that you shouldn’t miss!"

  39. April 2012
  40. David Lee reviewed Viedma Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina

    It seemed kinda crazy, walking under tons of solid ice, thousands of years old. Ice that is shifting daily. Ice that is melting under the warm Summer sun, right before our eyes. But that’s exactly what we did, and it was fascinating. The first …"

  41. March 2012
  42. David Lee reviewed Ayutthaya Historical Park in Ayutthaya, Thailand

    The floods of 2011 were a huge blow to Thailand’s magnificent ancient capital. Many of the national treasures were underwater but hopefully things will be restored and renovated."

  43. David Lee reviewed Issyk Kul Lake in Chust, Uzbekistan

    On my first trip to Kyrgyzstan, as soon as the weather started to get a bit warm, the people always talked about escaping to Lake Issyk-Kul, especially in August. I later learned that late July and August brings unbearable 40 degree Celsius heat at time…"

  44. February 2012
  45. David Lee wrote a blog post 7 Reasons to Visit Kyrgyzstan

    Isn't that where Borat is from?"

  46. David Lee wrote a blog post Alpacas: Cute, Soft, and Delicious

    Ais for Alpaca. The most versatile, delicious, and nutritious creature in Peru."

  47. David Lee reviewed Astrid and Gastón in Lima, Peru

    In 2011, Lima’s Astrid & Gastón was ranked #42 on a list of the world’s 50 best restaurants. It was one of only three restaurants in Latin America to make the illustrious list, with the majority being located in Europe and the USA…"

  48. January 2012
  49. David Lee reviewed Wayna Picchu in Sacred Valley, Peru

    When I first lay eyes on Wayna Picchu, I had no idea how I’d get up it. I’d heard there were ropes on the steep sections (actually they are steel cables), but from below, it looked impossibly steep. But believe it or not, there is a trail th…"

  50. David Lee reviewed Machu Picchu in Sacred Valley, Peru

    The streets of Aguas Calientes were dark and empty at 4:20 AM, when I met up with the others from the Salkantay Trek. Together, we began the 20-minute walk down the road to the main entrance of Machu Picchu. We arrived at 4:45 AM, just as the entranc…"

  51. November 2011
  52. David Lee wrote a blog post 7 Safety Tips for Riding the Buses in Ecuador

    Before I stepped on my first bus, I’d already heard a handful of stories about people being robbed, backpacks slashed, and valuables stolen."

  53. David Lee reviewed Vilcabamba in Loja, Ecuador

    Vilcabamba, a quiet little pueblo three hours south of Cuenca, has a reputation for fostering old age in its residents. The valley in which the town is located is nicknamed “The Valley of Longevity” and studies have been done to try and dete…"

  54. David Lee reviewed Parque Seminario (aka The Iguana Park) in Guayaquil, Ecuador

    It just so happened that my hotel was located adjacent Parque Seminario, also known as Iguana Park on account of the land iguanas that hang out there. The idea of giant lizards hanging out in an urban park struck me as odd, and piqued my curiosity. It&…"

  55. David Lee reviewed Guayaquil's Malecón 2000 in Guayaquil, Ecuador

    The Malecon runs one and a half miles along the riverside in the city center, and is best walked in the early morning, or late afternoon, when the sun isn’t so strong. Between both the fencing that separates it from the street, and the strong show…"

  56. September 2011
  57. David Lee reviewed Swim with sea lions in Gardner Bay in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

    Aside from reading Darwin’s Origin of Species 15 – 20 years ago, I had little knowledge of the Galapagos Islands, so it was a wonderful surprise to learn that we’d have the chance to go swimming with sea lions in Gardner Bay, Located on…"

  58. David Lee wrote a blog post 5 Safety Tips for Taking Taxis in Latin America

    While I still don’t think it’s practical to adhere to every tip 100% of the time, I will no longer be so lackadaisical when taking taxis in foreign countries."

  59. David Lee reviewed Basilica del Voto Nacional in Quito, Ecuador

    The Basilica del Voto Nacional, which is the largest neo-Gothic cathedral in the Americas. A ticket to enter costs $3. Elevators run up both towers in the front, but I declined them in favor of the stairs. After two flights, and a pounding heart, I reme…"

  60. David Lee reviewed Mountain Biking Cotapaxi Volcano in Quito, Ecuador

    Mountain biking Cotopaxi Volcano was easily the most scenic, exciting bike ride of my life. And one of my favorite day trips, ever. Unlike other bike tours, the Biking Dutchman’s was more focused on the bike riding, and did not include the (strenu…"

  61. July 2011
  62. David Lee wrote a blog post View of Mount Everest From A Commercial Airplane

    Ah! The life of a travel blogger..."

  63. David Lee wrote a blog post What The Heck Is A Working Vacation?

    The following is a guest post by Professor G. Michael Schneider."

  64. David Lee wrote a blog post How to Negotiate A Camel Ride to the Great Pyramids

    The Great Pyramids of Giza are best experienced on a camel. End of story."

  65. David Lee reviewed The Great Pyramid in Cairo, Egypt

    The Great Pyramids of Giza are best experienced on a camel. End of story. Arguing that it’s better to approach the last of the 7 original wonders of the world in a minivan, or massive air-conditioned bus, will be an exercise in futility. It may t…"

  66. David Lee wrote a blog post Anatomy Of An Armed Robbery in South America

    It's bad when you hear about people getting robbed overseas, but it happens to even the most experienced of travellers..."

  67. June 2011
  68. David Lee reviewed Taganga in Colombia

    It was obvious when I awoke my first morning in Taganga, a small fishing village on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, that the beach would not be joining the illustrious list of other tropical paradises I’ve been lucky enough to visit. T…"

  69. April 2011
  70. David Lee wrote a blog post Bare Naked: Inside a Japanese Onsen

    I quickly discovered through this feedback that the Japanese traditionally do not wear bathing suits when using the onsens. Finding this out in advance gave me a little time to mentally prepare for my first nude, public bathing experience."

  71. David Lee reviewed Borobudur in Magelang, Indonesia

    It was dawn when our train pulled into the station; there was a crowd awaiting the trains arrival. Despite the touts and bicycle taxis that were there to hustle customers to their particular guest house, they were unobtrusive and not nearly as pushy as …"

  72. February 2011
  73. David Lee wrote a blog post World’s Best Beer Name

    Exploring foreign lands can work up a man’s thirst, the kind that can’t be quenched by just any girly-man beer."

  74. January 2011
  75. David Lee wrote a blog post Photo Favorite: Obama Jeans

    I knew Barack Obama was popular overseas, however I was surprised to find his image being used to help sell jeans"

  76. David Lee wrote a blog post How to Buy a Tibetan Thangka in Nepal

    I've bought a lot of cheap trinkets in my travels, but there is one souvenir that makes up for all my episodes of bad judgement..."

  77. David Lee wrote a blog post Shantaram – An Epic Adventure in 1980′s Bombay

    As luck, or fate would have it, a Canadian woman appeared atop the Pokhara mountain where I was enjoying breakfast with a Himalayan view one morning..."

  78. David Lee wrote a blog post Review: The Ultimate Tech Guide for Travelers

    Professional hacker. World traveler. Thoughtful blogger."

  79. David Lee wrote a blog post Dare #18 – Failed – The Case of the Undercooked Intestines

    My last dare dates back to December 2008, when I ate sheep’s head (specifically tongue and brain) in Soweto, South Africa..."

  80. December 2010
  81. David Lee reviewed Taj Mahal in Agra, India

    "Visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra was one of many highlights from my time in India. Waking up at the crack of dawn to get in early, I took the requisite photos from the head-on perspective, however this random shot from a corner angle immediately became my…"

  82. David Lee reviewed Salento in Colombia

    During my trip through Colombia’s coffee region, it was recommended to me by several fellow travelers that I visit Salento, a well-preserved pueblo which serves as the jumping off point for day trips to the Valle de Cocora. In Salento, as with mos…"

  83. David Lee reviewed Extreme Horseback Riding in Valle de Cocora in Colombia

    Last month I met a horse named Canario, and if I had my way, that horse would retire from shuttling tourists around, and live out the rest of its years chomping fresh, green grass under the towering wax palms of Valle de Cocora in central Colombia. Ex…"

  84. October 2010
  85. David Lee reviewed Bulungula Lodge in South Africa

    Bulungula Lodge is situated amidst the rugged landscape of South Africa’s Wild Coast. It was built adjacent a Xhosa village, with the villagers owning a 40% stake in the Lodge. Guest accommodations are in the form of traditional African rondavels…"

  86. David Lee reviewed Lake Homes of Pablo Escobar & Family in Medellín, Colombia

    Visitors to Guatape, the lakeside pueblo two hours east of Medellin, Colombia, will find there are two main ways to cruise around the lake by boat. First, you can opt for a large, slow boat with a bar and upper deck for dancing as you motor along. This…"

  87. September 2010
  88. David Lee wrote a blog post Guatape: My First Colombian Pueblo

    In August Troy and I accepted an invitation to Guatape, a popular weekend destination for Medellin residents."

  89. August 2010
  90. David Lee reviewed Feria de Las Flores in Colombia

    The night of July 30th kicked off the annul Fiesta de Flores here in Medellin, Colombia.  It’s the biggest festival of the year for Medellin and one not to be missed if you are in the area the first week of August.  Every day there is som…"

  91. July 2010
  92. David Lee wrote a blog post Colombia’s Love Affair with Arepas

    Arepas are the comfort food I missed while in the USA."

  93. David Lee reviewed Cartagena

    To experience the charm of the old, walled Cartagena, one simply needs to walk the streets, admiring the Colonial architecture while mixing with the locals, and maybe munching on some fresh fruit. I left the hostel around 9 AM, passing a bar I remember …"

  94. David Lee wrote a blog post My first 24 hours in Cartagena

    To experience the charm of the old, walled Cartagena, one simply need to walk the streets..."

  95. June 2010
  96. David Lee wrote a blog post Affordable & Appetizing Food on the Go

    Figuring out what to pack is hard enough for a backpacker… and then comes the food problem"

  97. David Lee reviewed Nile River Journeys in Luxor, Egypt

    Even though I chose to take a barge-like cruise ship up the Nile River, I still had plenty of time to enjoy felucca rides around Aswan.  As with everything in Egypt, the cost had to be negotiated, and it’s best to bring your sense of humor."

  98. David Lee wrote a blog post Reliving Swingers at The Dresden

    If during the course of my travels, I have the chance to visit locations used in movies and TV shows, I’ll always do my best to take them."

  99. David Lee reviewed Observatory Shoot Out (Rebel Without a Cause) in Los Angeles, United States

    Rebel Without A Cause was required viewing for a college class I took called Music, Marketing, and Youth Culture. When I tweeted about my trip to Los Angeles and asked for recommendations, Griffith Observatory was mentioned several times. I remembered …"

  100. May 2010
  101. David Lee reviewed Biodiversity of the Okavango River Delta in NW Botswana, Botswana

    Botswana’s Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta. Traditional wooden canoes, called mokoros, are used as a means to travel from the mainland to the various islands within the Delta. They can hold 3-4 people apiece. And unless …"

  102. David Lee reviewed The Home of Former President Habyarimana in Kigali, Rwanda

    On the morning of my last day in Rwanda, I visited the old home of former President Juvenal Hayarimana. When his plane was shot down over the compound in 1994, killing him and the president of Burundi, it was the spark needed to usher in the genocide. …"

  103. David Lee wrote a blog post Tracking the Elusive Chimpanzees of Nyungwe

    Dave enjoys the tracking, but will he meet his quarry?"

  104. April 2010
  105. David Lee wrote a blog post Photo Essay: Batwa Village in Rwanda

    After crossing Lake Kivu, and ending up in the southwestern corner of Rwanda, we visited a Batwa village."

  106. David Lee wrote a blog post Fire & Ice: Visiting An Erupting Volcano in Iceland

    On March 20, 2010 a volcano erupted in Iceland near the Eyjafjallajokull glacier after nearly 200 years of lying dormant. On April 7, 2010 I got to see this magnificent force of nature from right up close."

  107. David Lee wrote a blog post Cruising Lake Kivu by Speedboat

    After a few nights in Gisenyi, we boarded a sleek, new speed boat to cross the length of Lake Kivu. We donned comfortable life jackets, which were a more fashion friendly black (vs. the traditional fluorescent orange), and took off. As we got some dista"

  108. David Lee wrote a blog post Photo Essay: The Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda

    With only about 700 mountain gorillas left in the wild, the chance to spend an hour with these gentle creatures was a real once-in-a-lifetime experience."

  109. David Lee wrote a blog post Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park

    Less than a week earlier, I was in suburban Virginia watching Gorillas in the Mist. Now, I was in the heart of Africa, about to visit these critically endangered primates in person."

  110. David Lee wrote a blog post Photo Essay: Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village

    In the shadow of Volcanoes National Park, home to the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda, sits Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village. Here, reformed poachers have come together to showcase the traditional Rwandan way of life."

  111. March 2010
  112. David Lee wrote a blog post Cooking, Tigers, & Trekking in Chiang Mai

    As I was running low on time before my flight to South Africa, I opted to fly from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai, rather than take the slow (and noisy) river boat."

  113. David Lee wrote a blog post Rwanda Trip: The 6-Day Itinerary

    In less than two weeks, I’ll be exploring the Rwandan countryside in the heart of Africa - here's what my itinerary looks like:"

  114. David Lee wrote a blog post Photo Essay: Mountain Bike Tour in Northern Laos

    There are a lot of activities you can book from Luang Prabang in northern Laos. As I planned to do a multi-day hill tribe trek across the border in Thailand, I decided to opt for a mountain biking excursion, which included my first elephant ride."

  115. February 2010
  116. David Lee wrote a blog post Daily Life at Boudhanath Stupa

    After my Annapurna trek, I returned to Kathmandu for my last week in Nepal. I could only handle a few nights in rockin’ Thamel (the tourist district) after having experienced the tranquility of Pokhara, so I sought refuge in nearby Boudha, home to one of"

  117. David Lee wrote a blog post Destination Asia: Vaccines and Prescriptions

    Vaccines are just one of those things that every traveler needs, but nobody wants to get or pay for"

  118. David Lee wrote a blog post Manila: The Forgotten City

    This is a guest post by Jerik de Guzman: Re-discover Manila and be prepared for the surprises it’ll bring you."

  119. David Lee wrote a blog post Planning for an Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike

    This is a guest post on Go Backpacking by Deb Lauman."

  120. January 2010
  121. David Lee wrote a blog post Getting Bed Bugs in Chiang Mai, Thailand

    I can finally admit it…I got bed bugs once! One of the worst things I have ever had happen to me while traveling and I guess maybe if you travel long enough it’s bound to occur."

  122. David Lee wrote a blog post Did You Know You Could Get Pins and Needles in Your Trachea?: Eating in Sichuan, China

    Sichuan region is best known for spice and for hot pots. Most local spice is bearable, but one, the “numbing spice” (ma la), seriously tingles, then numbs your mouth, lips, and ultimately trachea."

  123. David Lee wrote a blog post Destination Asia: The Visa Run-around

    Some things about Asia make me miss Europe."

  124. December 2009
  125. David Lee reviewed Thong Nai Pan Noi in Thailand

    After a week of serious partying on Haad Rin, including a Full Moon Party, I headed to a small, quiet beach on the northeastern edge of Koh Phangan. Thong Nai Pan Noi was a tropical paradise defined. The beach was small, and quiet at night, which made …"

  126. September 2009
  127. David Lee reviewed Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal

    Since rioting Tibetans and the iron-fist of the Chinese government meant I’d miss the chance to visit Tibet, I was soaking up as much of the culture as possible in Nepal. Nowhere was it more alive than around the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Boudha…"

  128. May 2009
  129. David Lee reviewed Australian Tennis Open in Melbourne, Australia

    I booked my departure flight from Australia out of Melbourne for the end of January because it seemed like a noteworthy city to visit. It was only after talking to my tennis fiend of a friend (code name - Sup2dresq) before leaving that I learned my trav…"

  130. David Lee reviewed Franz Josef Glacier in South Island, New Zealand

    Given the 4-hour half-day glacier hikes seemed lame, I opted to upgrade to a heli-hike. Basically, you get a scenic helicopter ride up the glacier (higher than where the regular hikes go), hike around for 1.5 hours, and then get a ride back down. I had …"

  131. David Lee reviewed Tongariro Crossing Hike in North Island, New Zealand

    I awoke from my slumber in Taupo to a chilly, cloudy, rainy morning. As I peered out the hostel window, I could barely see across the lake to the volcanoes I was hoping to climb. The Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage site, and home to New Zea…"