My Life in New Zealand

Category: Fall

Akaroa Heritage Park

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The Heritage Park was established in 1992 and is managed by a local Akaroa Trust. The park was created for people to plant trees to commemorate a special event, if you visit the local library you can see who has planted these trees and the reason for doing so. At the edge of the park, overlooking the Akaroa Harbour lies a Teko-Teko – a carving of Tawhiri-Matea, the God of the Wind which was created by a local.

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Banks Peninsula

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Being a budget conscious traveler I usually spend my time exploring towns and doing activities that don’t cost money, however after doing lots and lots of research I decided that I should splurge and take a cruise through the Akaroa Harbor and into the Pacific Ocean. Akaroa is home to the Hector Dolphin – the smallest and rarest in the world, while I tossed and turned about swimming with the dolphins I decided to just go for the cruise as it was not only 50% price difference, but it was also just too dang cold!

The cruise was all I could have asked for and more – not only were we extremely lucky to spot a humpback whale – first time in the past 5 years – but the scenery was epic, the water was crystal clear, and the skies were bright and sunny!

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Akaroa


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My road trip ended in the beautiful and quaint Akaroa, located on the Banks Peninsula just outside of Christchurch, New Zealand. Akaroa is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. While the British had just purchased New Zealand as a whole from the Maori, the French were heading that way with over 60 families ready to live a life in New Zealand. Although it was a British settlement there was more of a French influence and this can still be seen today  – a very cute tiny peninsula town!

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Lake Pukaki + Lake Tekapo

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The drive from Queenstown to Christchurch is simply stunning! About 3 hours into my road trip I came to Lake Pukaki – known for very blue water and great views of the mountains. Thankfully it was a clear and sunny day which enhanced the views 100 times over. About 30 minutes down to road is Lake Tekapo, another beautiful location. Both lakes are fed from glaciers which gives them the dramatic blue color.

I made a quick stop by The Church of the Good Shepherd as well – constructed in 1935 for the pioneers of Lake Tekapo, and for a small fee of $1750 you can get married there (ha!)

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Little Village of Tarras

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This weekend I headed off on a solo road trip, what a refreshing time it was! On my way up North I passed through the little village of Tarras and decided I had to make a pitstop. Tarras is located between Cromwell and the Lindis Pass on ‘highway 8, and is a small farming community. Tarras was really put on the map with the discovery of Shrek – a merino sheet who hid away for 6 years. When he was found the little community showcased the shearing on national New Zealand television and 60 pounds (9.9 is the typical average) of wool was removed..enough to make 20 suits!

One of the most rewarding things about  road travel through New Zealand is the trip isn’t just about the destination, but rather the road trip as a whole. The views are always breathtaking and there are so many stops to take along the way the the big drive feels more manageable and the vacation lasts much longer!

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Hurunui Jacks Glamping

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Hurunui Jacks really can’t be explained, it must be experienced… out of this world. After spending the day road tripping to Hokitika we ended our journey at Maureen and John’s little slice of heaven off the beaten path. The notion of ‘glamping’ has really taken off over the course of the last year or so, and after spending so many nights in back country huts with nothing but a sleeping bag and your head torch, I was ready to upgrade for an evening and give glamping a try! After taking off our shoes and putting on some gum boots, we headed down the remote path to the tent down by the creek and spend the evening reading by lantern light, relaxing and listening to the sound of the rushing water.

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Hokitika

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The final destination for our West Coast Road Trip was Hokitika and we arrived there around 2PM on Saturday, after a lovely coastal drive. Hokitika is known by locals as ‘the little cool town’ and it definitely lived up to it’s expectations…one main street, cute cafes and wine bars and the best of all – the tiny town is located right on the end of the Tasman Sea with beachfront access. The town has a very laid back feeling – gum boots and casual clothes are the norm- loved it! One of the typical ‘Hoki’ traditions is to have a beach fire with driftwood found on the beach, we made one and shared some Pip’s Pizza, yum!

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Lake Matheson

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After making it though the Haast Pass on Saturday morning we spent most of the early afternoon enjoying our road trip through the West Coast. When we saw the clouds starting to part and the sun shining through my fingers were crossed that we would have glimpses of Mount Cook in the distance.

Sure enough as we got closer and closer to Glacier Country the big mountain was in view! We took a slight detour, a short 5km off the main road, and went to talk a walk around Lake Matheson – famous for reflecting a near mirror image of Mt Cook on a perfect day. This lake is a tiny little body of water protected from the wind and due to its dark colored waters on a sunny day the mountain is reflected on the lake. We didn’t have 100% clear skies, but I thought we were pretty lucky! We took a little wander around the lake and stopped for a morning coffee at the Lake Matheson cafe.

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Makarora + The Haast Pass

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You have to be careful when planning a New Zealand road trip…often times roads are shut for a number of reasons – mainly slips! The Haast Pass has now given me issues THREE times, and I must say I have finally and defiantly learned my lesson. The Haast Pass road opens at 8am and closes at 5pm and if you arrive anytime before or after it looks like you are turning back, however this trip we decided not to turn back and stayed at a little accommodation right at the area of closure.

Makarora is a very small community of 84 people situated right on Highway 6. The Tourism Center offers A frame accommodation, a campground, a bar, and a restaurant. We asked the man behind the counter how often people come to visit, and he said the major slip really put them on the map!

The next morning cars were lined up ready to make the journey across the Haast Pass and into the West Coast of New Zealand.

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Grape Harvest Central Otago

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It’s harvest time in Central Otago and I had the pleasure of helping Richard, the winemaker from Remarkable Wines, harvest his Riesling grapes the other week. I reached out to Richard about helping with harvest and he told me to come on out to Bannockburn and help him and some of his friends and co-workers cut grapes off the vines.

I had the best time, making my day out on the vineyard one of my most favorite New Zealand memories thus far, not to mention the weather was amazing! We picked grapes from 1-6 with a nice tea break in between. At the end of the time among the vines Richard gave me a tour of his winemaking process, including a taste of last years Pinot Noir straight from the barrel! I ended up staying a few hours, enjoying a glass of wine and chips with the winemaker and his right hand man as well his cute little Jack Russell, Jenny.

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Dadoo’s drawing!