Monthly Archives: September 2012

We are having a whale of a time in Kaikoura!

Days 5 and 6 (27th and 28th of Sept): Kaikoura

Pardon the pun! I have to start with a picture of the day (and will explain how we arrived at this photo later, so read on!) 🙂

It is now Friday 28th of Sept and I write whilst overlooking Kaikoura Bay in our lovely beachfront apartment. We drove up yesterday from Hanmer Springs. We were sad to leave Hanmer as really felt at home there. I mentioned that we hadn’t played mini golf yet but we managed to fit in a game on Wednesday afternoon at the Alpine adventure course – which was beautiful.

I enjoyed nice pancakes with banana and maple syrup at the Garden House Cafe before we left. On the way out of Hanmer Springs we stopped at a lookout point overlooking the Hanmer River.

The drive up here was quite an eventful one too! Never to be ones to take the ‘safe’ route – we opted for the ‘scenic’ inland route to Kaikoura. Now we have discovered in the past that ‘scenic’ in New Zealand usually means very crazy roads! This was a very windy and at times very narrow – but definitely scenic route! My husband John excels at that kind of driving so we really enjoyed the drive!

Arriving in Kaikoura we checked in to Waves on the Esplanade into our lovely apartment. The weather was quite mixed here as one way towards the Kaikoura beach it was pretty gloomy, yet towards the headland the other way it was beautiful sunshine!

We decided to embark on the Kaikoura Peninsular walkway – this had been highly recommended on trip advisor as one of the best things to do in Kaikoura, so we decided it was the perfect time. At 7 miles long and involving many climbs and descents around the whole of the peninsula we knew it would be challenging but also spectacular.

We saw some seals along the way – some were just laying around on the paths!

We also climbed up to different lookout points along the way, and had beautiful coastal views and views down to lovely sheltered coves. Having been on a fair few good coastal walks with my Dad it is definitely up there with the best and I know he would have loved it.

Coming round the headland the weather was mixed, but we had no rain and the views were incredible. We did start to tire towards the end of the walk, but thoroughly enjoyed it and arrived home about 3 hours 30 mins after we started. John decided it was his favourite ever walk! And having been on loads of walks together that is really saying something!! 🙂

The day ended perfectly with a trip to the Black Rabbit Pizza Company (also recommended on Trip Advisor) with a nice Hawaiian to share and I can categorically say it was the most delicious pizza I have ever tasted!! Anyone that knows me will know what a huge fan of pizza I am – so this is quite a statement.

We awoke this morning to lovely sunny weather and ate breakfast on our balcony overlooking the sea.

 Very hopeful that it was perfect weather for our whale watching trip we set off on our walk to the whale watching office to discover as their board said it was “ideal sea conditions” – which they said was very rare so we are very lucky! We were worried about sea sickness but both of us were fine which was a real relief!

Our whale watching trip was incredible and we were very lucky to see 3 sperm whales whilst on the trip. Anyone considering doing the trip definitely should because it really was once in a lifetime! And I got a good shot of the tail of the whale as it dived back under (see featured photo).

We have enjoyed a nice walk along the beach this afternoon, and are looking forward to the next part of our adventure tomorrow when we head up to Marlborough sounds – where we will celebrate out 11 year anniversary together tomorrow and John’s 30th birthday on Sunday. 🙂

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Our Amazing NZ Adventure has 100 likes!

Just a quick posting today to say that my blog has now received 100 likes!! I really appreciate each and every one of these. Our New Zealand adventure is only just beginning and I will continue to update when I can. I am hoping to post tomorrow with an update from Kaikoura. Thanks to all those who have read and liked! x 🙂

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We Love Hanmer Springs!

Day 4 (Weds 24th Sept) continued:

So, I am continuing my post for Day 4 now, as have been able to access my photos off my camera.

The morning at the thermal pools was really memorable, and we took a couple of pictures here ourselves:

Our favourite pools were the aqua therapy pools (which had lots of jets under the water which massaged you) and the sulphur pools which were very hot but very relaxing!





We spent the afternoon relaxing walking around Hanmer Springs and because the weather was so beautiful we decided to head up to Conical Hill Lookout on the Conical Hill Walk (instead of mini golf!).

We saw some really cute rabbits at the start of our walk and managed to capture them on camera:








The walk was well-signposted and shaded most of the way through the forest, with lots of benches and resting points – some with stunning views.

As we reached the top it was truly rewarding. The 360 degree views from here were unbelievable and it was definitely one of our favourite ever walks!

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Relaxing in Hanmer Springs

Day 4: Hanmer Springs (Tues 25th Sept)

I am writing this from a lovely cafe overlooking Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools (they have free wi-fi!). We have spent the morning in the pools and just had lunch at the cafe. We have loved our time at the pools – and have a return pass so we can come back tomorrow! Amazingly we mostly slept through the night too, and seem to have already adjusted to the time difference incredibly well. We are hoping for some mini golf fun later, and also plan to post some more pictures of the pools when I have the photos off my camera. The two photos we have here were taken by people at the pools.

Day 4 highlights:

  • Waking up in our wonderful house to the stunning view.
  • Relaxing in the thermal pools in the sunshine – there are 12 different ones, including aqua therapy ones, rock pools (with minerals) and super hot (and smelly!) sulphur ones.
  • Chatting to the photography guy at the pool who basically offered me a job taking pictures here! As great as that would be we have a fab holiday planned first, but it was just really good to know just chatting to people can bring up all sorts of opportunities!

I will post again when I can – as we will try and find free wi-fi where possible. Off to play mini golf! 🙂

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From Frome to Hanmer Springs

Days 1-3: From Frome to Hanmer Springs (Sat 22nd to Mon 24th Sept)

We have arrived in Hanmer Springs, which is a lovely place! We are staying in THE most beautiful house with views over the mountains and hills. It really is such a lovely house (and only affordable because we paid for 2 nights and got the third night free!) and we feel really at home already. 

We haven’t slept properly since Saturday evening but have coped surprisingly well. The flights were pretty smooth and Singapore Airlines were great. I would recommend the fruit platter as a good alternative if you are fussy about airline food as it was really nice but I was quite sick of fruit after having 4 meals of it on the two flights! The desserts we had also included delicious chocolate ice cream and a chocolate truffle (these things are important). Singapore airport was nice, it was quite relaxing and fairly quiet, so we were able to easily kill our 5 and 1/2 hour wait time in between flights.

Arriving in Christchurch the weather was lovely and we picked up our hire car from Hertz – a black Barina Spark (a bit like a Corsa) and then visited Countdown for food on route to Hanmer Springs.  

Here are a few more pictures of the house we are staying in, and the view from our balcony:

After spending a relaxing afternoon chilling in our house/Hanmer we enjoyed a nice walk into town (it is still clearly off-season here as it is very quiet) and a trip to Saints Cafe for food (which in contrast was nice and lively with a good atmosphere – perhaps it was the place to be!).

We are heading to the thermal pools tomorrow which should be nice and relaxing.

Day 3 highlights:

  • Befriending a very strange (but nice!) young man in the car park of Countdown (a supermarket) who stopped to chat with us and decided to share random facts about himself (he was born in 1984 and was half Maori etc. etc.!) – being very tired from all the travelling this seemed quite surreal!
  • The lovely New Zealanders we have already met who have been so friendly.
  • The drive from Christchurch and within minutes being surrounded by stunning scenery.
  • Arriving at our amazing holiday house with such lovely views.
  • Enjoying a nice pizza at a lovely cafe called the Saints Cafe here in Hanmer.
  • Spotting what we thought was a huge eruption at a mountain nearby (we took pictures!) and after worrying that we might have to evacuate (which was weirdly exciting!), calming down and as it calmed down we realised that it may have been a fire and hoped all was ok. It was really strange though as there was no mention on the news or anything (we checked on Teletext – yes they still have teletext here!), so perhaps it is a common occurrence!

Categories: Accommodation | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

All checked in and ready for destination New Zealand!


We are now at Heathrow airport and due to board our flight to Christchurch (via Singapore!). My parents were kind enough to give us a lift to the airport and it was hard saying goodbye to them. A year is a long time! But we will stay in touch loads and be able to stay in contact with our family and friends via Facebook, Skype and this blog!

For anyone interested in our plans for the trip we have a complete Itinerary so you can see where we are headed. We fly into Christchurch and are heading to Hanmer Springs first.

We really can’t wait for our adventure to begin and will write more when we can! 🙂

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Less than 48 hours to go!

So, there are now less than 48 hours until we leave for our New Zealand adventure – starting with a month’s holiday and then settling in New Zealand for a year to work and travel. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown since we booked our flights at the end of June. We just have tomorrow left – when we plan to do our packing. We already have everything together and a brilliant list – as I am ultra organised, so all should go to plan. We will probably also take one last walk into town together and, without getting sentimental, say goodbye to Frome (the place we live) – for a year at least! We also plan to spend our last evening with my parents who I will miss loads – having a meal and watching my football team on TV. I won’t have time now to blog again before we leave so the next time I write will be once our adventure has started.

Online check in complete (no thanks to Singapore Airlines’ appalling bad online check-in system!), boarding passes printed, suitcases at the ready, next stop Christchurch! 🙂

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Busy busy busy . . .

As the date of departure for our upcoming NewZealand adventure draws ever nearer I am finding there aren’t enough hours in the day for preparation! There is still loads to be done, but I am an extremely organised person and with the help of my husband I know that when the 22nd arrives we will be ready to go! It is also easy for everything that you have to do to somewhat cloud the reasons we are going in the first place – and I am trying to strive hard to make sure this doesn’t happen. Looking back at some wonderful images (see below) that we took on previous holidays to our favourite country does help to remind me that we are going to an incredible country to have the adventure of a lifetime. So with 11 full days left until we leave I say bring the adventure on!

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Life and Travel

Just wanted to share this picture I came across online as thought it said it all. Having absolutely loved the great many travel adventure I have been incredibly lucky to have been on I feel this is so true.

Here is to many more future travel adventures! 

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A planned week in the city








I still can’t actually believe that we leave for a year in New Zealand 2 WEEKS ON SATURDAY!! It has again been quite a while since I posted but life has very much taken over in the last few weeks. We have however found time to book our 8 night stay in Auckland once we have finished our month ‘holiday’. We wanted a base in Auckland once we come back from Great Barrier Island to enable us to do lots of practical things like setting up our bank account and potentially start looking for work. We spent a huge amount of time researching where would be best to stay in Auckland and comparing many different places and prices. Being right in the city centre was important to us, and a place with reliable internet that had good reviews on Trip advisor (our bible when it comes to deciding where to stay!). We decided in the end on the Celestion Waldorf Apartments and secured a great advance rate price for 8 nights. Read the fab reviews here! 

Categories: Accommodation | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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