| 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.



Tales of {NZ} Travel: Taranaki-Whanganui-Manawatu

Tales of NZ TravelI married a man who was raised on a cattle farm in South Taranaki. Prior to meeting him, I hadn’t ventured to this part of the country (except for a brief breakfast stop in Palmerston North on my Dunedin-to-Northland journey a number of years prior); almost ten years later, I’ve been at least once a year, bar the time we were living and travelling abroad. I love taking our boys to The Farm; I love that Tiny thinks Pops doesn’t do a very good job of shifting the cattle unless he is there, and I love that they get to see a variety of animals in their natural(ish) state.

Cattle New Zealand
Palmerston North
Tall went to boarding school in Palmy, and he hates the city with a passion. It bores him, and having spent an afternoon shopping their when pregnant with Tiny, I have to agree. I’m sure it has some redeeming features, and it has no doubt improved a whole lot since he was at school there, but for us, it is merely the city we fly in and out of. Because I’ve never actually explored much more of the city than what I’ve mentioned, I think it’s only fair that I provide you with a link so you can find out for yourself whether it’s somewhere you’d like to spend any time.

Tall’s sister lived and worked in Feilding for a year or so, and we visited her there when Tiny was about 18-months-old. We went to the A&P Show and Tiny had his fill of tractors; apparently the Farmers’ Market is very good.

In all honesty, I much prefer Whanganui to Palmerston North, and actually think the council have done a great job of prettying up the city in recent years. The main street is lined with trees and flowers, with cafe tables spilling out onto the footpath. There are sculptures dotted here and there (including a beautiful one at the entrance to the city), and it just looks more inviting. We’ve had a number of lunches at Element Café and Big Orange (lovely meals and decent coffees), and played around at Splash Centre which is great fun. I will admit that seeing Moutua Gardens (famously occupied by members of the Whanganui iwi in 1995) for the first time was disappointing (it was so small!), and the colour of the river is pretty foul; still, if you fancy a boat ride, you can board Paddle Steamer Waimarie and have a rollicking good time. Virginia Lake is really pretty, and you can wander through the trees and flowers, feeding ducks and swans as you go.

Virginia Lake Whanganui Virginia Lake Whanganui

South Taranaki
Tall was raised in a tiny village* in South Taranaki that has become a virtual ghost town since devastating floods in 2004. There are a handful of houses still occupied, and the pub-slash-post-office-slash-dairy does a roaring trade. His parents sold their farm there and moved to a smaller, easier, windier-but-better farm ten minutes further west, which is where I’ve spent most of my time. We’ve been to the races at Hawera (I saw Spiderman! True story!), and driven all over the district for various reasons. It’s pretty, and rural, and I really love going there. One day, I’m going to stop at Black Sand Studio in Maxwell, and take Tiny to Ashley Park petting farm. And who knows? We may end up moving to the farm if and when Tall’s parents decide they’ve had enough.

Tiny on The Farm On The FarmFarmland New Zealand

* I am being purposefully cagey about the exact location, purely out of respect for my husband and his family. Soz.

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: Invercargill & Bluff

Tales of NZ TravelInvercargill always gets a bit of flack from the rest of New Zealand, mostly for its slow-pace and “country” feel. I’ve visited the city a few times, and it’s definitely not the most exciting of cities, but it isn’t awful. However, it seems to be a place you might just pass through, or use as a base for exploring other southern areas.

A very good friend of mine used to work and live in New Zealand’s southern-most city, so I have visited a few times. To be honest, I’m struggling to recall what we did whilst there, other than visit numerous restaurants and dodgy bars!

Queens Park
Queens Park is a nice area for a stroll; the gardens are really pretty and there are lots of paths to wander down on a nice day. The Southland Museum and Art Gallery is located at one end of the park, and houses New Zealand’s oldest living tuatara – you could spend hours watching and waiting for him to move!

Queens Park1Riverton
It is always worth the 30km drive to Riverton, if only to pick up some hideous gaudy paua and shell kiwiana.

South of Invercargill, Bluff is New Zealand’s southern-most town. Famed for its oysters, Tiwai Point and once, the Paua Shell House, this sleepy little place is the gateway to Stewart Island.The harbour is always crammed with boats, and the smell of the aluminium smelter competes with the smell of the sea.

IMG_9596Our visit to The Catlins last year coincided with the Bluff Oyster Festival; oysters, blue cod and other sea-dwelling foods cooked in a multitude of ways…we were in seafood-lovers’ heaven! Being a little over seven months pregnant, there wasn’t a huge amount for me to sample (I’ve tried mutton bird before, and I wasn’t going there again!), but the fish was as fresh as possible, and it was a fun day. Tiny was enthralled by the helicopters offering 20 minute rides, but not keen on the noise.