Saturday, August 29, 2009

City life (I)

Hello friends and family!  I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post!  I've been busy settling into life back in Wellington after my trip down South.  All is well and I'm working on a new post with a full update to be shared with you soon!  I wanted to put up a few pictures I took the other day walking around Wellington.  These are mostly shots from just outside of the busy streets with all of the great shops and cafe's, on sunny, beautiful Oriental bay.  It's a great area with beaches, marina's, restaurants, ice cream shops, & amazing views.  Here you will find lots of runners, rollerbladers, skateboarders, wind surfers, and ducks chasing you for any type of bread or carbohydrate you might have!  There is plenty more of the city to be shared...but here is a start.  Note, the tree resembling pictures were taken outside of the famous 'Te Papa' museum, they are made completely of wire!  Welcome to Wellington...

Love, Rach

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dream a dream

A friend of mine posted this link via Twitter today.  I love it.  It's such a great reminder to live with the imagination and endless scope of possibilities of a child...and to never grow weary and become hopeless.  I wanted to pass it on in hope that it will inspire you as well to "Dream a dream as big, as big could ever dream to be."

Friday, August 14, 2009

South Island: Part 2

Tuesday I boarded a train from Blenheim and headed down to Christchurch for one night before flying to Queenstown.  This was my first time on a train & I have to admit that I was quite excited about it!  During the trip I had amazing 360 degree views with my left side being coastline and my right side snowcapped mountains…this spectacular landscape is what I came to see.  I arrived pretty late to yet another new adventure…staying at a Backpacker lodge for the first time.  I can’t stand the word ‘hostel’…which is the official coined term, so I’ll call it the backpackers.  It was quite nice actually.  A comfortable lounge and kitchen where you can cook to your hearts content.  Clean bathrooms with plenty of hot water, a comfy bed, and all for the low price of $30NZD/per night ($20 US Bucks!!)

Wenesday morning’s alarm went off at 5:30 am so I could catch an 8:30 flight down to Queenstown.  The bus drive from ChristChurch to Queenstown is 7-8 hours which is long, but when you want to see the countryside it is a great, cheap way to travel. By plane it takes just under an hour. Since I am only spending a little over a week in the South this trip, I wanted to take advantage of cheap one-way flights so I grabbed a flight down to Queenstown for one leg, and will bus it back for the other leg.  Great idea…except that flights into Queenstown are often a game of rush & roulette as  it is common for the finicky weather to defer a lot of air traffic.  My flight was delayed 2 hours and the weather decided not to lift as expected at take off, so we had to land at an airport in a very southern NZ city called Dunedin.  There we were greeted by coach buses that would take us on a 3 ½ hour drive back up to Queenstown.  My 9:35 arrival time and day in Queenstown turned into a 5:30 arrival time and a very hungry me.  I also missed out on some great aerial views and photos from the plane due to the weather.  Looking at it positively, I was able to see much more of the South Island than I had planned which sure didn’t disappoint, and I have a great excuse to come back down here again!  

Thursday I took a day trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound, it's in Fjiordland National Park a very preserved and protected part of the country, and the drive over takes you right through the beautiful mountains.  The road we took had been closed the previous 2 weeks due to a massive avalanche that blocked the access.  I saw first hand how destructive one of those can be! I then boarded a small cruise boat and floated through the Sounds past spectacular waterfalls & we even saw some fur seals.  It was an unforgettable day.  Today (Friday) was my day to explore the city.  I took a long walk along the edge of Lake Wakatipu and got some great shots of the Mountain view.  I also picked a lunch spot right on the shore & did a little window shopping.  Here are a few shots from the past few days, mostly from Milford Sound & Queenstown. 

Cheers, Rach 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

South Island: Part 1

On Saturday I sailed the ocean blue taking the Ferry from the North Island to the South Island. We floated across the Cook Strait and down through the Marlbourough Sounds this beginning my 11-day journey through the South Island of New Zealand. Really a trip to the South Island should be planned out through an entire month so you have enough time to actually enjoy the beauty instead of rushing from place to site to bus to tour. Giving yourself a plentiful amount of time will also allow you to do proper tramping (Multiple day hiking trips), skiing, mountain biking, bungy jumping, paragliding, skydiving, bush-walking, or any of the other crazy fun things to do here. I will be here for a year and can come back anytime so I'm cheating and taking a quick solo tour... :)

I was greeted at the Ferry dock, in a small town called Picton, by a friend of a friend from back home in Cambridge (one of those small world things!) Strait-away we went for a walk called ‘the Snout’ which was a beautiful incline up to an amazing view over the Marlbourough Sounds (the Sounds are comprised of a series of interlinked flooded valleys running down from the Richmond Mountain Ranges into the Tasman Sea at Cook Strait.) Fun fact…Marlbourough is the sunniest area in New Zealand & because of this there are many vineyards in the area. We then drove to the house located in a town called Blenheim (pronounced Blen-em) just south of Picton. The next morning we took a trip to Nelson Lake National Park, a popular tramping area about an hour drive away to do some hiking. Both days were beautiful and because the sun was out it was WARM (remember it's still winter here!!).

Wellington City!


xo, Rachel

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To the South...

THIS is the South Island of New Zealand.  Locals call it the 'Mainland' because it is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.  From the snowcapped mountains of the Kaikoura's in the North, to the Milford Sounds & fjiords in the South, to the many skiing, snowboarding, bungy jumping, sky diving, heli-skiing enthusiasts that holiday in the 'Adventure Capital of the World' Queenstown, to the wine vineyards of can find it all here! Before I start working in this great land, I want to see it.  I planned an 11 day journey through the South Island taking me on trains, planes, boats, and buses from top to bottom and back up. You can refer back to these maps to find each city as I blog my way through the trip! (Click to view full size) Cheers...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Spectacular Views

Monday was absolutely beautiful here in Wellington!  This city is known for having unpredictable weather, so a calm, sunny, blue sky day is definitely one to be taken advantage of. A short walk from my flat is THIS view!  From one of the Harbors you can look out and see the beautiful open ocean one way (the next bit of land is Antarctica...brrr!), and if you look the other way you can see some of the incredible snowcapped mountains in the northern region of the South Island.  Here are a few pictures from my first couple of days here in New Zealand!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

NZ Lingo

I've only been in New Zealand for a couple of days and have already heard a lot of new names for some of the most common things.  Here are a few:

-Sticky Plaster (Band-Aid)
-Rubbish Bin (Trash Can)
-Dairy (Covenience Store)
-Heaps (A Lot)
-Tog (Bathing Suit)
-Jandals (Flip Flops)
-Judder Bar (Speed Bump)
-Lollies (Candy)
-Aerial (Antenna)
-Bonnet (Hood of the car)
-Boot (Trunk of the car)
-Singlet (Tank Top)
-Ta (Thank You)
-College (High School)
-Varsity/University (College)

Sticky Plaster is my favorite!  I'm sure there will be more to come...