Guide to Christchurch: A One Week Itinerary

February 23, 2016
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It’s been a busy few weeks around here! Summer is in full swing. I have a really cool story about winning a competition which gained me entry to a super awesome bike race, but that’s for next time. I just sent my wonderful parents off to Tahiti this morning after their two week visit to New Zealand… busy, busy!

I had big plans with my parents to see a few different parts of the country and show them some really New Zealand stuff, but this thing happened. I call it: New Zealand Weather. Christchurch was stunning; sunny, warm, calm. The rest of the country was raining. Flooding. Deluging. Sliding. You get the picture.

We decided it would be a lot nicer to stay local and warm (i.e.: within approximately 2 hours of town!), than try to be soaking wet tourists. And this left me with a challenge. Find lots of stuff to do in and not far from Christchurch.

So without further ado, I bring you my personalized Guide to Christchurch: A One Week Itinerary. (One week because we actually did sneak off to Dunedin for a few days before the weather went nuts!)

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You know what they say about “The Best Laid Plans”…

January 29, 2016

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Our plan was to spend 4 nights away, a short holiday in Queenstown. After work on Thursday we would drive a a few hours and camp, then carry on early Friday morning.

We always boast to friends visiting New Zealand, and Americans who are familiar with the strict NO freedom camping laws in the States, about how you can “just pull of the road anywhere” and spend the night in New Zealand. While I stand by this general boast, it turns out that Scott and I are pretty damn picky about where that “just anywhere” is.

After passing up several “way too close to the main road” options, and a few “Tekapo is so lame and touristy that they actually do ban freedom camping” places, we found ourselves tired, grumpy, and well past our intended driving distance. We eventually agreed on a bumpy four-wheel drive track down by Lake Pukaki. We’d both gotten up at 6:30am on Thursday, and it was now the wee early hours of Friday, and we were in a place that was legal and off the road. Good enough. We kicked the biggest rocks out of the way, chucked up the tent, and passed out… Continue Reading…

A Glowing New Year in Nydia Bay

January 15, 2016

When I think of New Year’s Eve, I think of sparkly dresses and sparkly wine, music and dancing, staying up late and counting, and generally being let down by the whole charade. There have been fun New Year’s Eves, sure. But they don’t usually live up to the hype. There’s some I’d like to forget and other’s too fuzzy to remember.

I didn’t plan on this year being any different. But it was different. It was epic. That always seems to be the way, actually, when you start with New Zealand, bikes, and adventurous friends.  Continue Reading…

5 Month Hiatus

November 27, 2015

Taking a 5 month break from blogging is a big no-no. At least if you want to retain an audience and/or attract new readers. For me it wasn’t a choice to take a break; it wasn’t even a conscious decision.  Continue Reading…

House Hunters International: Risking it all in Christchurch- A City in Repair

August 13, 2015
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Here’s how I saw it going down. We secretly filmed House Hunters International (well, not so secret if we’re Facebook friends) back in January. We had a blast. I promised myself I’d write everything down about it right away to share with you guys. They promised to email me and my friends/family at least a week before the show premiered.

So neither of those things happened. I found out after it had aired that we missed our 22 minutes of fame! And, I realized, I’d never written about our HHI experience. So that’s my plan now- to will my brain into remembering past what I had for breakfast and bring you the first hand, inside scoop on what it’s like to be a star guest on B-list late night mom-cable TV! Continue Reading…

Waitomo Glowworms and the FREE Raukuri Cave

May 7, 2015
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So glowworms.

Have you ever seen a glowworm? It’s a pretty ridiculous little thing. Much like a lightening bug or those creepy flashlight fish, glow worms use bioluminescence attract prey. This is fairly brilliant in the whole circle of life thing, except that in the case of the glowworms (which are larvae that later turn into very non-glowing flies), they frequently “catch” their mature neighbors. In fact, they are incredibly cannibalistic. Continue Reading…

Arrowtown in the fall

May 2, 2015

May 1st (or 2nd, as the case is now. Whoops.). It conjures of images of May Day, baby animals, clearing skies, summer vacation, budding flowers …. NOPE. The small percentage of us down here in the Southern Hemisphere are heading speedily towards winter. But for the last week or two, we’ve enjoyed the last warmth of autumn sun and some beautiful fall color. Those of us who spent some time in Otago, enjoyed it even more. Continue Reading…

Wai-O-Tapu: A tourist trap worth stepping in

April 14, 2015

When traveling (or living) in New Zealand, a country whose largest export is tourism, it can be daunting to sift through all of the stuff there is to do. JUMP OFF THIS! ZIP DOWN THAT! FISH OVER HERE! Tramp, bike, fly, swing, and soar over there! (And now we’ve just summed up Queenstown.) There is a lot of tourism in New Zealand that, from me, elicits major eye roll.

That being said, when we were up on the North Island last week, we did three major touristy things. And because I did some homework, they were all freaking awesome!

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Your 10 Step Guide to Hiking (and not dying on) The Tongariro Crossing

April 10, 2015

Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of New Zealand’s most famous tourist activities. It’s always on the “Must Do for Tourists” lists. It’s home to Mount Doom of Lord of the Rings fame, as well as some of those stunning colorful geothermal pools you always find when Googling New Zealand. It’s 19.4 kilometers of volcanic wonderland, and it’s heaven for gloat-y Instagrammers and aspiring photo-bloggers.

There’s a lot of information out there about the Tongariro Crossing. Look back over the last 5 years and you’ll find articles like, “Trampers Close to Dying” and “Heart Attack on Tongariro Crossing“. There’s too much written about what to wear, when to go, how to get there, and how to not die. The latter is actually fairly important. So I am here to your rescue, to provide you with a simple 10 step guide on how to both enjoy and avoid death on the Tongariro Aline Crossing.

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Blenheim and the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

March 24, 2015

A few weeks ago we took a 24 hour trip to Blenheim. If we refer back to a handy map of New Zeaand’s south island, you may note that Blehnheim is not at a distance of which one would usually classify as overnight trip only material. But as it turned out, we needed to be in Blenheim for one night only, so we made the best of it.

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