| An Autumn Holiday |

We took the boys on a mini holiday over ANZAC weekend.

We spent a day in Queenstown, watching boats, climbing trees, and buying wine.

We did our first whole-family walk up Mt Iron (the littlest one made it all the way to the top; the biggest faceplanted onto a rock and is now sporting an impressive black eye), scootered alongside Lake Wanaka, and climbed things we thought we couldn’t climb.

We recharged our batteries, ignored much of the outside world, enjoyed the autumn sunshine, and returned home feeling rather relaxed.

It was blissful.



Easter 2016

Autumn in Central Otago is one of my most favourite times of the year. The Clutha River winds its way through the region, accompanied by lines of tall poplar trees that are slowly shedding their cloaks of green for capes of red and orange. It’s a stunning time of year to visit, and we are so very lucky to have a place to stay that is just over three hour’s drive from Dunedin.

We spent Easter in Wanaka, and it was unseasonably warm (hot, even), but predictably beautiful. We went with no plans, and spending a relaxed few days with my boys and my parents was just what my soul required. I didn’t check the internet once, we paid little heed to the clock, and we had a blast.


My parents very kindly looked after the boys one morning when the hubs and I decided to climb Roy’s Peak, a 16km round trip just out of Wanaka. We started our climb around 7.30am, claimed the peak before 10am, and enjoyed a morning tea of fruit and cold sausages looking out over a bed of thick clouds. Sadly, this meant the views were obscured from three-quarters of the way up, but under the cloud bank, the views were breathtaking. As we descended, we met hundreds of others beginning their climbs, and even though we’d missed the views, we had to admit that having the peak to ourselves for a while was a good trade-off.


We celebrated Tiny’s 6th birthday on Easter Monday, with playground visits, a fish-and-chip dinner, and a chocolate sponge made by my mum. He thought it was pretty special having a holiday on his birthday, and my parents thought it was pretty special spending the whole day with their grandson on his birthday.



Tales of {NZ} Travel: the journey so far

Tales of NZ TravelAs I’ve been writing about the various places in New Zealand that we’ve visited, it suddenly occurred to me that some of you may not be able to visualise where this this journey is taking you. As I picture our country and map out a route that makes perfect sense to me, you might be left scratching your head.

Well, dear reader, wonder no more! Here is a very badly edited* map of New Zealand for your viewing pleasure.

NZ MapSo far, we’ve gone bush in The Catlins, eaten delicious seafood in Invercargill & Bluff, admired stunning landscapes in Fiordland, been adventuring in Queenstown, journeyed through Central Otago, relaxed in Wanaka, explored the rugged The West Coast, and enjoyed wine and sunshine in Nelson-Marlborough.

Now that we’re at the top of the South Island, we’re going to jump islands and tiki tour around the North Island, before heading back over the strait to visit the east coast of the south.

*I usually use PicMonkey to edit images, but it seems to be having a wee barney with the laptop at the moment. Sigh. Paint it is then.

Tales of {NZ} Travel: Wanaka

Tales of NZ TravelMy love affair with Wanaka began when I was just a nipper. Long ago, my grandfather bought two plots of land for his daughters, in a small settlement called Albert Town, located 10km outside of Wanaka. My aunt and her family built a permanent home on one plot of land and we spent many school holidays and Christmases staying with them until my parents built a small holiday home on the other plot when I was eight years old.

I feel, therefore, that I know Wanaka quite well, even though it has changed drastically since I was a child. It still has a slow-paced holiday resort feel to it, which neighbouring Queenstown has lost a little, and I think retained a bit of its charm. I never grow tired of holidaying there, and love it now that we can take our boys to the little house I spent so much time in as a child. We stayed there for a few days on our recent holiday, and it was lovely.

Lunching in WanakaLake Wanaka
The town is settled by this picturesque lake, with many bays and sheltered inlets that are popular swimming spots; when the wind blows up the lakefront and into the township, it is inevitably more sheltered in the bays. It’s a great spot for swimming in the summer, and you can go boating, jet skiing, parasailing and pedal-boating as well.

Lake Wanaka

Summer of 2012: Tiny was a wee blondie, and Pickle was about 12 weeks grown in my tummy

Lake WanakaWalking Adventures
There are many fantastic walking tracks in and around Wanaka; a trip to the Information Centre on the lakefront, or the Department of Conservation office at the entrance to the town, is essential if you are planning on doing a bit of walking. Walking the Outlet Track is spectacular, and takes you alongside the Clutha River; the steady climb up Mt Iron is a bit more taxing, but the views from the top are stunning and well worth the feeling of breathlessness.

Mt Iron

The view from Mt Iron

Albert Town

Autumn colours along the Outlet Track

Puzzling World
This is always a bit of a favourite, with young and old. The maze is tricky, and the various illusion rooms inside are always fun. It’s probably more appealing for slightly older kids who will appreciate the illusions; Tiny is still a little bit young to really get it.

Warbirds & Wheels
Whereas Tiny is a bit too young for Puzzling World, the Warbirds & Wheels museum is right up his vehicle-loving alley. Based near the airport, on the way into Wanaka from the Cromwell turn-off, there are loads of old cars, as well as a collection of old planes, all lovingly restored. The 1950s-American-style diner serves a very good coffee and the cheese and bacon scones are pretty good too.

IMG_3726 IMG_3714Winter Fun
You can’t really visit Wanaka in the winter without visiting Cardrona, Treble Cone or Snow Farm (for cross country skiing). I’ve been to all three, and they all have their good points – dependent on the snow, of course! And aprés ski, if you’re coming home through the Cardrona Valley, make sure you stop at Cardrona Hotel, for a warming glass of something in a quaint setting.

Rippon Festival
Every two years, at the beginning of February, there is a music festival at Rippon Vineyard. Showcasing the very best of New Zealand music, this is an awesome day-and-night out. Just remember to take loads of sunscreen, wet wipes and your own food, as buying there is pricey. The port-a-loos are a bit gross, but that’s part of the music festival experience, right??!

Rippon Festival '06

Shihad playing at Rippon06

Tales of {NZ} Travel: a family holiday

We’ve just been on a little family holiday.
A week away from work, internet, kindy, the humdrum of everyday life.
A week of four-in-the-bed lie-ins, frosty mornings, lazy afternoons, relaxed bedtimes.
A week of reading, playing, wine drinking, too much eating.
It was just what we needed, after a hectic winter, and I feel like my soul has been refreshed a little.

Frost in Wanaka Warbirds & Wheels Museum Warbirds & Wheels Museum Warbirds & Wheels Museum Lake Hawea Playtime Upper Clutha River Gibbston Valley Masadam Cheese Sandpit Fun Queenstown Lake Hayes Springtime at Lake HayesBeanbag Perch Giant Hand in Wanaka Pairs on Wheels Card Game Autumn in Wanaka