Thankfully these cockatoos aren’t in my yard because they just destroy tress like crazy. These guys were sitting outside my parents’ hour today and leaving behind a giant mess!
After spending a few days back at work in the basement, I realise how much I miss being outside. Even though it was quite a warm day, it was lovely lying under the trees in the park during lunch. The bad part is when lunch and nap time are over and it’s back to work.
Day 13 – Taupo to Waitomo to Tongariro to Taupo
Today was an action packed day. We started by driving to Waitomo and I unfortunately forgot to take my travel sickness pills. It almost ended badly but I pulled through and we headed off into the caves. They gave us wetsuits and socks. We abseiled down into the caves, down a giant slide, across a flying fox, climbed up walls, jumped off ledges, and drifted gently through the glow worm caves. It was very physical, a lot of hard work, very cold, I got a lot of bumps of bruises, but it was so much fun and beautiful. I’m very glad they gave us helmets because I hit my head so many times. Also because the floor was uneven, I fell over almost constantly.
After getting semi warm showers and having some hot soup and bagels, we did a walk around the rainforest before heading off to Tongariro National Park. A few days before one of the volcanos erupted, but there was no sign of that there as they had reopened most of the roads and tracks. It looked very Lord of the Rings like, so pretty.
Day 7 – Twizel to Haast Pass to Franz Josef
Today was another long driving day, which means plenty of opportunities to take photos when I wasn’t sleeping. I have to take travel sickness pills, but they make me so sleepy. At least it’s better than the alternative of throwing up all over the husband. I don’t think he’d really appreciate that.
We drove past Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka and up into Haast Past, which is full of lovely winding roads. We stopped off a few times to do some walking and see waterfalls. It’s very pretty, even that giant hill we climbed up to get to the lookout of Haast Pass. We had some lunch in a cheap dodgy looking diner, but my bacon and eggs were amazing.
We saw some of the coast as well, no sand, just rocks, and encountered a little bit of rain. Today’s photo was taken driving along the west coast coming out of Haast Pass.
Franz Josef was such a pretty little town. We headed to walk up to the glacier, which you can’t really get that close to unless you’re on a guided tour, which makes sense because there are so many rock falls and stories of careless travellers getting injured or even killed there. It was still very pretty.
One of the things we had noticed today was that we hadn’t come across a single traffic light since we’d been here. Everything is well signed give way signs, roundabouts etc. I can’t believe it took us so long to notice. I suppose where we had been driving was all small towns though, so not that surprising.
Day 6 – Queenstown to Lake Tekapo to Lake Pukaki to Twizel
I just cannot get over how beautiful New Zealand is. Everywhere you look is just like a postcard. We did a lot of driving today and saw so many beautiful things that it was really hard to decide what should be my photo of the day.
We started the day by checking out of Queenstown and drove up to Tekapo Springs. We went to the tube park, which was smaller than we thought it would be. Normally in winter it’s covered in snow, but since it clearly wasn’t, they had this synthetic track to go down the hill on. It was pretty fun going down together. It was small and cheap, but fun. We then relaxed in the hot pools for a while to admire the views of the lake. It’s just such a lovely pastel blue colour, which apparently gets its colour from all the particles of ground up rocks combined with the sunlight. It’s truly amazing.
We had lunch at a little restaurant near the lake and walked around on the rocks for a bit. There were these flowers called lupins lining the shore, which aren’t native, but kind of pretty. We also walked around the Church of the Good Shepard and saw the bronze statue of the border collie sheep dog. I’m not religious, but I do like some of the architecture of the old churches. This one was so quaint.
We drove back to Lake Pukaki, which was just as beautiful and bought some fresh salmon to have for an afternoon snack. After checking into our motel in Twizel, we headed out for a drive around the lake to the Mt Cook region, which is where the photo of the day was taken. There were some amazing reflections and views of the mountains. Although I think the husband was getting annoyed with me taking photos because when we stopped to take photos of some sheep, he almost drove off on me. I can’t help that New Zealand is so pretty!
Day 3 – Te Anau to Queenstown
We drove back to Queenstown and enjoyed another great day of weather. We keep hearing about the rain in New Zealand, but apart from the tiny bit of drizzle on our first day, it’s been nothing but perfect. I don’t think I packed for this weather as I was expecting it to be much wetter and cooler.
We stopped off at a few lookouts, saw lots of cute sheep, drove through a red tussock grass reserve, which reminded me of something out of Dr Seuss. I can’t believe how clear and blue the water is around here. It’s so amazing.
We had lunch in Queenstown and took a wander around the gardens before meeting up with our guide for our Segway tour. Our guide, funnily enough, was from Adelaide. I’m beginning to notice that most people are on working holidays and we’ve met very few locals. I thought going on a Segway would be tough, but it was actually really easy and heaps of fun.
I have also discovered my new favourite New Zealand food, which is home made creme brulee fudge. It’s so amazing that I almost inhaled it, which my husband thought would be cute to name me the Greedy Fudge Monster.
When we went to check into our hotel, we were informed that they had overbooked the hotel because of a conference. However, we got upgraded to their sister hotel, which was nicer, better, and was closer to town. We don’t often have much luck, in fact lots of things that happen to us make me feel like we’re just a complete disaster, but this was pretty lucky.
We walked out to town for dinner and then had a walk along the shoreline after picking up some more fudge. Yes, it’s that good and highly addictive.
The photo of the day was taken at one of the lookouts on our drive. I’m pretty annoyed about that giant speck of dust on the sensor, but it can’t be helped and I’m not game enough to clean it myself, so there it will stay for the rest of the trip.
All the leaves are starting to come back. I love how the trees are bare one day and then suddenly they’re back.
It was my friend’s birthday today so we drove out to her place in Oak Park and then went out to dinner in Flemington at Laksa King. I love that place. The food is so good and cheap. Every time I go I have to get the chicken roti rolls. Anyway, this is a pic of the overhead wires for the trams along Flemington road. They’ve removed a lot of the overhead wires now, but some still remain.
Last November we had some free accommodation on the Gold Coast which came about when the in laws had booked a holiday but then had to cancel. We took the opportunity to go on a road trip to visit my brother in law up on the Gold Coast, the husband’s aunt and cousins, and we also stopped by Canberra on the way home to see my brother and his new girlfriend. It was also nice to get away after a sometimes stressful year.
We ended up seeing a lot of the rainforest and doing lots of walks, went to the beach, met up with a few friends and family, went to ALL the theme parks and discovered the awesomeness of sour watermelon slushies. My favourite was finding the best fish and chips and then eating them on the beach like hobos while watching a storm roll in. You couldn’t do that in Melbourne without freezing to death.
We had a great time driving through the beautiful country and my little Astra did quite well on the trek. We also discovered when driving home from Canberra on the last leg that my car has cruise control. The Mr was not happy with this discovery as I was convinced for 6 years that it did not have such a magical function. Would have been useful to know at the start of the trip!
The blossoms are starting to come out, which means spring is just around the corner. It’s been so cold and wet lately, it was nice to see the sun. It’s also nice that the days are getting marginally longer.
We went out into the city to see the Game Masters Exhibition at ACMI and the Flight of the Conchords at Plenary Hall a few weeks ago, and got some shots of the city. I love Melbourne but I really don’t get out into the city enough to fully appreciate it.
I’ve wanted to do Open House Melbourne for a while, but every year I kept forgetting. This year I remembered and dragged along the husband and a couple of friends. Open House Melbourne “is a not-for-profit association that runs annual events providing the public a free and rare opportunity to discover a hidden wealth of architectural, engineering and historic buildings nestled around the city.”
It was a great opportunity to explore Melbourne and take photos of course. It was a shame that it was so cold and rainy, but it was still a fun day. I’m looking forward to next year’s event because there are so many places that I didn’t know about that I’d love to see. There are amazing photos on Flickr for the photo competition.
I am now much more inspired to head into the city and appreciate all that Melbourne has to offer. I think that often we take the granted the city we live in.
Here’s my selection for the day. Beware there are a heap of photos.
Brick wall taken on my walk home from work, complete with annoying lens flare. I love late afternoon light.
I went for another walk at lunch today, but instead of the sunny blue skies that I had yesterday, it was cloudy and chilly.
I took a walk up to the shops at lunch on a beautiful sunny winter’s day. I happened to walk past a church on the corner, which I had never really paid attention to before. I’m not religious, but I just love the architecture of old churches. Being winter, the lack of leaves on the trees also mean that I can appreciate the sky.
We went to Japan in October 2010 for our honeymoon. Miyajima is a little island off the coast of Hiroshima. We travelled there by ferry and explored around whilst trying to avoid the hungry (greedy?) deer roaming the island. Admittedly they were much more tame than the ones in Nara. See out other photos here Tokyo Kyoto Nara Kobe Hiroshima.
Some leaves on the trees just refuse to fall. I’m sure they’ll be gone by the end of winter.
Sunset on the way home. Hopefully don’t get run over by any impatient cars. Apparently stopping at clearly marked pedestrian crossings is optional during peak hour!