There and Back Again: road tripping in New Zealand

14 days, 2400 kilometres, two calm ferry rides, one horrible virus, one broken contact lens, and countless family memories.

Dunedin to Waverley and back again by car, with various side trips along the way.

What a way to spend the school holidays.

Dunedin – Kurow – Lake Tekapo – Christchurch – Blenheim – Waverley – Wellington – Hanmer Springs – Methven – Dunedin

Hakataramea Valley Hakataramea Valley Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo Lake Tekapo Lake Tekapo Kaikoura Fur seal, Kaikoura Moa Brewery, Blenheim Moa Brewery, Blenheim Virginia Lake, Wanganui Virginia Lake, Wanganui Virginia Lake, Wanganui Wellington Hanmer Springs Hanmer Springs Hanmer Springs Hanmer Springs Terrace Downs Terrace Downs


Tales of {NZ} Travel: Christchurch

Tales of NZ TravelI’m torn. Torn between writing about the Christchurch I knew before, and writing about the Christchurch I know after. Torn between focusing on what was, or focusing on what is and could be in this broken, but slowly, slowly healing, city – our Garden City.


So I’m going to do both. I’m going to tell you about things I loved when I first visited (as an adult; you don’t really want to hear about my experiences as a 10-year-old, swimming at the then-new QEII aquatic centre and eating McDonald’s for the first time…I got a Birdy toothbrush in my Happy Meal!!!), and things that I loved when I last visited, after the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.


I used to love walking through Cathedral Square, shopping for fudge at the Arts Centre and looking through market stalls in the centre of the city. ChristChurch Cathedral was a beautiful building, iconic and striking, and it broke many hearts when it was badly damaged in February 2011. However (and I don’t wish to offend or upset anyone here, so please, please forgive me if I inadvertently do), the Transitional Cardboard Cathedral is also a beautiful striking building, in a completely different way, and I think it reflects the changes the city has been forced to embrace. And perhaps the next building will be better in more ways than we can possibly imagine.


Tall, Tiny and I spent time wandering around Re:START Mall, the container mall in January 2012, and it was fantastic. Bustling, colourful and full of hope, each container was unique and made for a special shopping experience. Many of the main shopping areas in the central city were still closed off at this stage, but being able to shop at the same time as see many of the damaged buildings was a sobering experience.

My first experience of a zoo couldn’t have been better than open-range Orana Park. I have fond memories of feeding and patting a giraffe, and being surprised at how they felt like a short-haired dog – I’d expected them to be velvety-soft.

A great place for a walk or a run, Hagley Park always reminds me of a mini (very mini!) Central or Hyde Park. It’s green and pretty, and always busy. There’s nothing nicer than strolling along the banks of the Avon River, too.


Good coffee is to be found at the Addington Coffee Co-op, while C1 Espresso does a pretty mean eggs Benedict, and has some of the coolest, quirkiest stuff to be found in a café. Special mention must go to The Make Café, a crafter’s paradise serving good food and coffee to satisfy the stomach, and beautiful fabrics and crafty goodies to satisfy the soul. I got to spend lots of time at the two latter cafés last year when I attended Around the Table and met some of my favourite and bestest blogging friends.

AngeMeghanMelissa MeghanAnge      For a long time, Christchurch will continue to be a work in progress, and I admire everyone who is endeavouring to make it better, brighter and more beautiful than ever before xoxo

Around the Table and Back Again

This is a post I’ve been reluctant to begin (despite having ideas and words swirling around my head since arriving in Christchurch on Friday afternoon) purely because it means a most anticipated event has now been and gone. Ever since I first caught wind of Around the Table, I’ve been hanging out for it, hanging out to meet loads of lovely people I’ve stalked gotten to know through their blogs.

Illustration by the gorgeous Stella

And now the weekend has been and gone, and my memory bank and happy tanks are full. Full of superb conversations, beautiful and friendly faces, haunting and emotional sights, warm and welcoming hugs.

Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral

Christchurch’s Cardboard Cathedral

185 Empty Chairs Memorial

185 Empty Chairs Memorial

There were so many women I was excited about meeting. The most brilliant part was that most of these lovelies exceeded my expectations of what they’d be like (including being even more gorgeous in real life!), and every time I spoke to them I was inspired by their sheer awesomeness.

And surprised when virtually everyone I met said they thought I’d be taller! Just so you know, I’m 5’2″.


Loved meeting these two. LOVED it. LOVED them. Photo pilfered from Meghan.


Meghan and her gorgeous curls came to play for the weekend. Photo pilfered from Meghan.

There were a handful of moments where I felt slightly overwhelmed (60+ women in one room? You know that’s gonna get craaaaazy.), but none where I truly felt out-of-my-depth. I may have been a little shy when it came to speaking to some people, but I had so many interesting and varied chats with others. There were some people I’d have loved to spend more time with (Deb – the world’s most amazing hugger, seriously – and Talia spring instantly to mind here), but it was never going to be easy getting enough time with everyone.

I even learned some stuff, and came away brimming with ideas and plans and hopes and new knowledge.

C1 Cafe Christchurch

C1 Cafe: seriously good coffee, seriously good Eggs Bene

On Sunday, after breakfast at C1, the others climbed to the roof to enjoy the view. In the sudden silence, with a sleeping baby in my arms, I took a moment to let it all sink in.

What a weekend.

A huge THANK YOU to the lovelies who made it all happen – Juliet, Miriam, Sophie and Treena-Marie – and an especial thank you from Pickle to Melissa and Leonie for all their lovely cuddles (and from me, for a little bit of breathing space!) xxxx


“But I don’t want to leeeeeeeeave!”

And and extra thank you to Sophie….lovely, adorable, beautiful, genuine, generous, amazing Sophie….thank you for opening your home to us and for making us feel like we were stepping into the home of old friends. You are a true gem xxxx


Sigh. Sophie. Adorable.