New Zealand

Christchurch, New Zealand

There is nothing more beautiful in this world, than making lifelong friends under the most peculiar circumstances. You wouldn’t really think that meeting someone from another country whilst travelling in a group of early twenties misfits, drinking your way across Europe, could result in a nearly decade-long friendship! I am incredibly fortunate to have the friends I have, the travel stories I have collected and the opportunity and ability to head overseas purely for a catch-up!

Jemma and I met in London in 2009 and we have since travelled the world together, in 2011 we were travelling across the states and we met Natalie and now the three of us frequently try to catch up with each other. We take turns between Queensland (me), New South Wales (Nats) and New Zealand (Jemma). When we met we were all early to mid-twenties and single, so we were used to making up our own rules and heading off to wherever, whenever we could. Fast forward and we all have long-term partners and thankfully, they all get along and we as a group of six, pretty unique personalities, also all get along. Honestly, I had heard that things all work out the older you get I wasn’t really convinced. Yet here I am, 32 and with some of the most amazing social groups I could have ever hoped for. 16-year-old me would be cheering to know that the drama does stop one day and you can have an incredibly functional and rewarding friend group!

Last year we had an amazing weekend down in the Hunter Valley and the year before that everyone came to Brisbane for our Wedding, so luckily it was New Zealand’s turn! Nats and I had visited Jemma in NZ a couple of times before, but never with the guys – so this was a lot of fun! Both Nats and Tanner and G and I flew into Christchurch from Sydney and the Gold Coast within a couple of hours of each other. Jem and Alex were both working on Friday so we had time to sleep in and then a few hours to walk around Christchurch – which is such a beautiful city – I just love it there :).

To truly get our ‘tourist-on’ as Nats declared, we decided we would book on the Christchurch Tram tour – which was a really fun little activity. It is as touristy as you would expect and to be fair you could definitely just walk around at no cost, but it’s always fun to get out and about and support the local economy you are in! Our tram driver was really lovely although there was a bit of an awkward moment when the description of the traffic 2011 earthquakes which killed 185 people was described as ‘..a really, really, it was…um, a really low point’. Let’s all just agree that in order to keep tourists comfortable, we shouldn’t downplay the terrible tragedy which Christchurch endured and continues to endure today.

It was time to head back home, pack our bags and get ready to head off on our Purau overnight stay! Christchurch is such an amazing city and more than that, it is a survivor – both she and her people are brave, resilient and friendly beyond comprehension. Even those with little would give you the shirt from their back if you asked. I am sad I was not able to experience Christchurch before the catastrophic damage from the earthquake occurred, but I am very thankful that I have been able to return three times in the past six years and see the gradual improvement and rebuilding. Christchurch has a long way to go and the destruction and loss is raw and evident – don’t let this stop you from visiting this beautiful city, she has a lot to offer.

To learn more about this beautiful city, try the following link.

Christchurch Tram info.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

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x C x

 

 

Australia · Europe · New Zealand · North America · South America · South Pacific / Australasia

A love for travel <3

One of the most amazing things to occur after you have been planning and saving for a trip after many months/years is when you arrive at your destination. You are no longer glued to that photo somebody else took and which you downloaded or screen-shotted many moons ago. You are there. Finally.

And you know what? Nothing is more beautiful than that moment. I say this a lot, but honestly the most breathtaking moment I have ever had whilst travelling was when I was in South America and I saw Machu Picchu. Anyone who knows me, will vouch for the fact that I am rarely without words, but Peru…Peru silenced me. I had planned the trip for almost two years with my girlfriend Jemma and to finally be there was just amazing.

The first time I knew I wanted to explore the world, I was not quite six years old. I had the most vivid dream. I was exploring waterfalls and caves with my Dad, I think we were in Africa or Asia (or whatever combination my brain had concocted at such a young age). When I was telling Dad about our adventure and he told me I had just been dreaming, I actually thought he was having me on. How could I have dreamt something so detailed? Also, how was I going to deal with the disappointment that I had not been there?

I became obsessed. I WAS going to travel the world. One day. When I was six we went on our first overseas family holiday, to Bali. I have really lovely memories of this trip. Catching the plane with my family, coming across people who neither spoke English or Anindilyakwa, as was spoken on Groote Eylandt where we lived. It was one of the most exciting weeks of my little life – so many beautiful things to see and smell and taste, people to meet. Amazing!

I came home with braids in my heart, a hundred new stories to tell the kids at school and a burning desire to travel. Being a mining brat, I had the ability to see a fair bit of the top end and east coast of Australia, because we typically moved every two years for Dad’s job. I used to pour over and harbour any travel articles I could get a hold of and I wished for a subscription to the National Geographic magazine for years and years.

Then puberty happened. High school. Jobs. Wagging School to go to the beach. Parties. The usual. Sure enough, by the time I was 17 I had planned my next big adventure, I was going to live in London and work in a pub, like nearly every third or fourth Aussie at the time. I went to uni instead.

Then I dreamed of teaching English in Japan, which then changed to working in a ski field in Canada, then back to possibly landing a job in the UK. Then I changed jobs, changed degrees and decided to travel on leave instead.

I must have planned three or four big trips which never came to fruition. I always had friends with the best of intentions, but when it came down to the crunch, they just were not willing to part with ever spare dollar to save it for a holiday. My friends didn’t want to wear the same clothes all year, miss out on parties and dye their own hair. Which was completely fine, my dreams didn’t need to be my friends dreams!

Eventually at 23 I decided to bite the bullet and just go away on my own. I had my sights set on South America. My Mum gave me a firm and resounding “NO” to her 23 year old daughter running off overseas on her own. So instead, at the pleading of Mum/Friends/Employer, I booked myself onto an arranged Contiki tour instead.

This would turn out to be one of the best decisions I ever made, I met some amazing people, experienced the high of travel I had been seeking and knew that every sacrifice I had made in the past was worth it :).

I am pretty sure I would have had Dad over my shoulder (who had since passed), carrying me along my journey – remembering the five year old who animatedly “remembered” an international adventure all those years ago xx

When did you know you had fallen in love with travel?

x C x

New Zealand

TSS Earnslaw, Lake Wakatipo & Walter Peak Dinner, Queenstown

When we were researching our honeymoon activities, we stumbled across a cruise on a vintage steamship and dinner over at Walter peak High Country Farm. We knew instantly we had to participate in this activity.

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The TSS Earnslaw is a 1912 Edwardian vintage twin screw steamer and is one of the oldest tourist attractions in Central Otago, spending her days in the waters of Lake Wakatipu. It is actually the only remaining commercial passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere. Named after Mount Earnslaw, this ship was known as the Lady of the Lake; until 1968 where she was almost scrapped. Thankfully she was rescued and taken for a makeup in 1984 and in 2012 celebrated her centenary.

 

When we boarded TSS Earnslaw for our 90 minute cruise across Lake Wakatipu and the bar was open, and the weather was beautiful and we were feeling particularly loved-up because we were on a steamboat (!!!) and it was our honeymoon! How can you be anything but over-the-moon excited?! There was a gorgeous engine room you are able to see from inside the ship and there is also a series of historical photos available to view.

IMG_2670Lake Wakatipu has a sense of magic to it, its name comes from the original Māori word Whakatipu wai-māori and is 80km in length. At New Zealand’s longest lake it is also the third largest in the country. It’s sea level plunges to a maximum depth of 380metres and it is surrounded by absolutely beautiful mountains. The Remarkables mountain range lies along the south-eastern edge. You may have seen Lake Wakatipu as the Scottish Loch Ness in The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep and was the backdrop for several scenes in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

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Walter Peak is a mountain located near Queensland and the TSS Earnslaw steamship takes you across the very beautiful Lake Wakatipu to the Walter Peak Country Farm. This Colonel Homestead is absolutely gorgeous, as the ship arrives you see the beautiful gardens, we were arriving on sunset and the view back across the Lake and towards Queenstown was so phenomenal.

The dining experience was also excellent, I am absolutely daydreaming about the food as I am writing this. We had a gourmet bbq dinner, the spread was amazing and it really highlights the New Zealand and local produce. There was also an amazing selection of desserts, cheeses, tea and coffee and a huge selection of drinks which you were able to purchase. You have assigned seating, we really liked having a table just for the two of us.

 

IMG_2678You then have time to explore the gardens, check out the shop or the art gallery before your journey back along the lake towards Queenstown. I went into a mild food coma and rested on G for the journey back across the lake. It was definitely one of my favourite nights in New Zealand. I would highly recommend it – it provides you with an amazing view and perspective of the lake as well. At one point we ended up with a very excited group of tourists who thought we had gotten engaged on the boat, we were celebrating our honeymoon though, so we took the congratulations and rolled with it!

You can book your Walter Peak Farm trip through Real Journeys:

https://www.realjourneys.co.nz/en/experiences/tours/walter-peak-farm-tours/

IMG_2690We purchased our Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ Dinner with the TSS Earnslaw Cruise for $260NZD ($235 Aussie). It’s not overly cheap but it is three hours on a historic boat with access to a bar and a visit to one of the most beautiful little homesteads, the food is great and it is a really nice date-night out. We saw many couples, families, people with their Mum’s and large groups over there and honestly everyone appeared to be having a really nice time!

You can’t beat good food, good wine, a lake view, pretty gardens and twilight! Plus – have you ever seen a steam boat this beautiful?!

x C X

 

 

Australia

Wednesday…

Well it’s 7:45am here in Brisbane, it’s  22 degrees already (um we didn’t even have Spring??) and I’m on my way to work. 

I can’t help but wish I was on holidays. Maybe back in NYC…

Enjoying hot drinks, holding hands and winter. Or maybe back in some tropical paradise….

Cocktail in hand, drunken bingo, eating anything with carbs and cheese with G and spending a good majority of the day without shoes on….or even back on our Honeymoon!

Enjoying New Zealand for all that it is and all it will be! Pinot, whiskey, great food, amazing sights….

Instead I’m on a crowded bus, in peak hour traffic, suspecting today will be like any typical Wednesday – and I’ll have objects and tasks coming at me from all angles. 

We have to pay the bills and afford travel somehow though, right? 😉

Happy Wednesday!

Tell me – where would you rather be today?

C x

Australia

I love you then, I love you still. Always have, always will <3

I was looking through my photos today, as I have been trying to collate my travel photographs into my Instagram page (@novaturient_redhead); and I realised that our honeymoon was ONE YEAR AGO!!!

This time last year we were in Milford Sound, the torrential rain had us locked in our room for three days – which, to be honest – forces you to relax and just enjoy being away on holiday!

We did get out on our last day as the rain turned into a light shower for a couple of ours.

I cannot wait to repeat our last year and every year forward. Bring it on – rain, hail or shine ❤