New Zealand

things we hated and loved about new zealand

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There are always plenty of things to love when travelling as well as things to like, things to be apathetic about and things to hate.

For example, living in Australia EVERY time we travel overseas, it usually involves a relatively long-flight. We HATE that…. The closest we can get to being in another country from Sydney is 3-hours away to New Zealand. But in the scheme of things it really is nothing.

New Zealand is teeming with so much goodness when it comes to travel, we don’t know why we haven’t been more often and sooner. Back in 2011, we did pay a flying visit to the North Island – what we saw was just a snippet. What we saw this time has definitely opened up our desire to go back.

The food so amazingly fresh, like this salmon dish we had right on a salmon farm. IMG_0791And to stay in a National Park and have this as our backyard (literally right outside our window). IMG_1074Is it too much to say, “we LOVE New Zealand”? But before we get to that, let’s talk about the things we hated…

What we hated

Actually, we didn’t hate much.

We hated only the sandflies. Everywhere we stopped, we felt like they would swarm towards us. They could smell our fresh “Aussie” meat.

Getting back into the car was a carefully planned operation in itself. Waving our arms around our bodies, while spinning around to ward them off before stealthy throwing opening the doors and sliding in… in the hope that we had lost them.

Nope… we failed miserably many times. Our ankles were mauled by these little pests. The bites would blister and itch like you can only imagine. We WERE going to show you pictures of our wounds but felt it was unfair to subject you to such images.

Score: Sand Flies 500 Le and David 0

What we loved

We could quite easily sum this up into ONE thing. New Zealand is beautiful… really beautiful!

We loved the scenery. It was ever changing. It was nature. It was pictereque. The fact, we could turn the corner and be graced with a gorgeous lake, mountain, valley.IMG_0228 IMG_0748 IMG_0901 IMG_0929 IMG_1050 IMG_0870

We probably don’t need to give any more reasons, but here a couple more.

We also loved the open roads. As you may have gathered, we love road trips… and we love trips where the destination is exciting but also where the journey itself with the pretty scenery flying by our windows. Open roads give such a sense of freedom! IMG_0274We loved that we could go bushwalking and not fear facing deadly snakes (or any other deadly animal for that matter) along the way. Instead, we were able to do plenty of bird-watching bird-spotting.

And most of all, we love that New Zealand is so close to us and that we can just hop on a flight and be there within 3 hours.

Have you been to New Zealand?

Tell us about your thoughts and experiences here.





weekly photo challenge: letters

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Letters, letters, letters!! We couldn’t go past this for the photo challenge this week: containing 37 letters in its Maori name is the village in Rotorua, New Zealand.

We won’t even attempt to pronounce it 🙂



smelly new year

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This was truly a flying visit to New Zealand to see 2010 out. We had about a week for the North Island. So we spent a few days at the Bay of Islands before heading a little further south. It was a long drive from the Bay of Islands down to Rotorua. And as we passed the sign that welcomed us to Rotorua, a question was raised in the car, “Who farted?!” There was a quick succession of denials from the other three passengers. So it was true, the sulphur smell was potent, potent enough to seep through the air vents of the car. But before long, we had adjusted and could barely smell a thing – possibly the occasional boiled egg smell.

The hotel that we stayed at was right by the thermal village and we had views of the thermal activity from our rooms. The hotel hosted a Maori Culture Show and a Hangi buffet! The show was fantastic and there was also an opportunity to learn the Haka.

Having witnessed many Sydney Harbour New Year’s Eve celebration, we were going to welcome 2011 in a different city in a different country! The celebrations were much less crowded (thank goodness) by Lake Rotorua with a lovely sunset as the backdrop, musicians were on stage and the stalls were abuzz. Happy 2011 – to another year of travelling!!

Lady Knox Geyser
Lady Knox Geyser

Day one for the year and we visited Wai-o-tapu which was pretty amazing. It reminded us a lot of Yellowstone but warmer. Artist’s Palette was magnificent with all of it colours and Lady Knox geyser spat on demand… actually with a little help from some soap powder.


An unexpected highlight around the area was when we visited the Redwoods – trees so tall and thin.

Before heading home though, we paid a visit to the Waitomo Caves to see the glow worms. During the tour, our guide explained how he was underground during that devastating Christchurch earthquake and he heard the rumble like a subway. Very eerie and a little spooky but glow worms, stalagmites and stalagtites, awesome all the same!

Definitely will have to come back for the South Island – another to the bucket list!

The thermal village with a very long Maori name
The thermal village with a very long Maori name