| 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.

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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: 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

Tales of {NZ} Travel: Queenstown

Tales of NZ TravelQueenstown. Adventure capital of New Zealand. The place high on every tourist’s ‘Must Visit’ list, and well-worth this status. It is a place I have visited often, as a child when my grandparents had an old cabin at the camping ground, and now with our own children. Living just over three hours away makes Queenstown – and indeed all of Central Otago – a regular haunt. Lucky? I think so 🙂

Lake Wakatipu
Queenstown is nestled on the shores of this bitterly-cold lake; various boat tours operate throughout the year, with the most famous being the TSS Earnslaw.

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Gondola and Luge
A ride in the gondola affords stunning views of Queenstown and her mountains, while the views from the top of the hill are breath-taking. There’s a luge track which is hugely popular; Tiny went on a couple of runs with his daddy and liked it, but I imagine he will LOVE it in a few more years.

1980  Queenstown  January (14)

The gondolas have changed a little since 1980…

Adventuring
Queenstown is best known for being an outdoor playground; the skiing is fantastic, the whitewater rafting is thrilling, and the bungy-jumping is still going strong. There are walking tracks of varying levels, most within a short drive of the township. On a more sedate level, the Queenstown Gardens are pretty to wander through (or play frisbee-golf in), and the shopping is good.

Wine Touring
The Gibbston Valley is home to a number of very good wineries and vineyards; Chard Farm, Peregrine and Amisfield are among my favourites. You can pick up a wine map at any information centre in Central Otago and do your own tour, or book yourself onto one of many organised tours.
IMG_0507Arrowtown
A short drive from Queenstown, this gorgeous little settlement is a highlight of visiting the area. A former gold-mining village, Arrowtown has retained its quaint charm and slow pace. The breakfasts and pastries at Bonjour are divine, and there are some lovely galleries to visit. My favourite time of year to visit Arrowtown is autumn; the colours are so beautiful, and a walk around the Arrow River is lovely with the golden leaves fluttering down on your head or crunching underfoot.

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The Kingston Flyer
If, like us, you have a train-obsessed child, it is worth driving to Kingston and buying tickets for The Kingston Flyer (warmer months only). This beautiful old steam train chugs along from Kingston to Fairlight; the mountains loom high above, and the sheep graze alongside. It’s not a cheap outing, but the look on Tiny’s face when he saw the train was priceless, and therefore it was worth every penny.

IMG_0444IMG_0451We’re heading back to Queenstown for a holiday soon (our wine stocks are terrifyingly low!); it’s a great spot in which to recharge the batteries and forget about “real life” for a while.

Things I’m Loving

Our batteries have been recharged after a wonderful four-day mini-break in Central Otago.

I grew up holidaying in the area with my aunty and her family, and it’s one of my favourite places in the country.

The mountains, the poplars, the weeping willows; the drive through the winding Manuka Gorge; the views as you drive alongside the Clyde Dam and Lake Dunstan; the hills dotted with vineyards; the fruit orchards; the ruins of gold miners’ huts.

We stayed at a “quaint” motel in Arrowtown; loving spending the days playing tourist.

We met up with friends for lunch at Carrick Winery; loving good food and good wine enjoyed with good friends! (Thanks so much for coming across to meet us, Em xxx)

We rode the gondola in Queenstown; loving tacky touristy photos!

Tall took Tiny on the luge; loving my hesitant boy’s bravery!

We ate divine French breakfasts at Bonjour; loving authentic French pastries and coffee!

We visited Chard Farm and Amisfield; loving delicious New Zealand wines!

We rode on the Kingston Flyer; loving being moved to happy tears upon seeing the excitement on Tiny’s face when he saw the train!

We had two sleeping boys on both the journey from and to Dunedin; loving the chance to talk to my husband uninterrupted!

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Linking up with Meg and other loving lovelies