Friday, 28 February 2014

The New Zealand Chronicles//Part Three


             Our last day in Queenstown was definitely my favourite because it was the most memorable part of the trip. One of my goals for this trip was to either go bungy jumping or paragliding. Since touching down in Queenstown, I knew that I would be revisiting New Zealand in the near future so I decided to leave bungy jumping till next time and went paragliding instead. Paragliding was definitely one of the greatest experiences i've had in my life so far. It was so comfortable and I felt safer paragliding than I do in a plane-and I love plane rides! According to my instructor, we went the highest he had been in two days- I honestly didn't expect to go that high up. Paragliding is definitely  the best way to enjoy the view as well as get your adrenaline kick!

          Instead of taking a flight back to Auckland, we decided to drive up to Christchurch and fly from there. On the way to Christchurch, we spent one night at Lake Tekapo. Lake Tekapo is a lake(duh!) in the South Island of New Zealand, a short two to three hour drive from Queenstown. Once again, we spent the day driving/walking around the lake. It is such a beautiful place- much like all of New Zealand! Although there isn't a lot to do there, the scenery was spectacular and made up for the lack of activities.

          Some of my favourite memories from school involve stargazing with my friends on camp and ever since then i've always loved the stars! Lake Tekapo is located in the Mackenzie Region which is renowned for the clarity of its sky and low light pollution and was declared a gold level International dark sky reserve in 2012- which in simple words means that its a pretty great place to check out the stars! Unfortunately, the one night we spent there was cloudy so we didn't get to see any stars but we did see a pretty spectacular sunset! Although I didn't get to see any stars, there were a few alpacas in front of our room which definitely made my day!

            The next day we drove up to Christchurch, which while being the the largest city in the South Island was probably the most quietest city i've been to. Due to the recent earthquakes, Christchurch is  still being rebuilt but it was amazing to see how the people were working around their short comings. For example, there is the Re:START Mall, which is a bunch of stores in containers- a very cool concept if I may say so!

RE:Start Mall

              The next day, we headed back to Auckland for the last few days of our holiday! We spent the days hanging out with our family friends and relaxing as much as possible. My favourite moment from those last few days was definitely heading into the city with friends and hanging out by the harbour.

         I honestly cannot wait to go back to New Zealand. It was such an amazing trip and it was definitely sad moment heading back to reality in Australia! 
Till next time New Zealand!!!

Friday, 21 February 2014

The New Zealand Chronicles//Part Two

              After spending a few too many days lounging around, we put our adventure hats on and headed to Milford Sound. Milford Sound, a fjord in the South Island of New Zealand, is a five hour (well, we took five hours with all the stopping!) drive from Queenstown. The drive is spectacular as you drive through the mountains, and we ended up stopping far too many times to take pictures!

Early morning fog.
               Upon arriving at Milford Sound, we stepped onto a boat- well a cruise boat-which took us around the fjord. Now i'm not a big fan of boat rides, however the calm sea (thank you, weather Gods) coupled with the spectacular views made it a VERY enjoyable and memorable experience. My favourite part was definitely when we were at the point where the fjord met the Tasman Sea. It was so surreal because, one moment we were surrounded by mountains and then the next there was a vast expanse of sea in front of us. Apparently, it is almost impossible to see the Sound from the Tasman Sea- Captain Cook and many other vessels have missed the Sound while travelling around the coast. The other highlights were seeing the seals and the numerous waterfalls. Despite being an exhausting journey, it was definitely worth it because the views were amazing! There are also lots of nice places to stop at on the way to and back from Milford Sound, such as the Mirror Lake.

Hello, Tasman Sea!

Mirror Lake

                          The next day we drove to Arrowtown, a quaint gold-rush village 15 minutes away from Queenstown. The main part of the village is Buckingham Street which is filled with heritage buildings that house restaurants, bars and shops.  Interesting fact- there is also a Chinese settlement in Arrowtown which was set up by the Chinese gold miners who had been invited by the Otago Provincial Government to mine gold in the 1860s!

          In the afternoon we went for ANOTHER walk around the lake- it's amazing the amount of exercise you put up with when you are on holiday!  I loved that this trip was so casual that we could take as many walks as we wanted, and stop wherever we wanted to take a picture as we weren't on any schedule as such- definitely the best type of holiday!

Just keep swinging!

Till next time.....

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The New Zealand Chronicles//Part One

Yes, that is a bear beanie!
              I can't remember the last time I went on a proper holiday and recently my family and I decided to visit New Zealand. We have only been once before and there is so much to do in this beautiful country that we decided to go again.
              The first stop on our trip was Auckland, a city in the North island of New Zealand. The first two days were spent lounging around and on the third day, we ventured to the city centre. After browsing through a few shops, we had lunch at Elliott Stables. Located on Elliott Street, Elliott Stables consists of a bunch of restaurants with a central courtyard where you can sit and eat. It is a definite must see, especially if you are a Harry Potter nerd as it has a very Diagon Alley feel to it! Later in the evening we headed to a night market. The highlight of the night market was sorting through mounds of rings for the perfect one- the seller literally had over a thousand rings!

My chosen few.

               The next day we departed for Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world. Honestly, neither words nor the enmillion pictures I took during the trip can accurately represent the beauty of this amazing town- everyone should add this destination to their bucket list! The first few days in Queentown were spent driving in and around Queenstown, walking around the lake and taking as many pictures as possible!
The view from our balcony.

A copper house in the mountains?!

The Travelling Converse.

Artwork in a cafe we visited.

        There's still more to come, so stay tuned for part two!