Challenges by Sarah, Kiwi Capers

All Good Things Come To An End – Day 8, Kiwi Capers

Our week in New Zealand has just flown by. The Clam and I had an amazing time! Incredible to think we were able to pack so much into our time here.

Some highlights for me were:

  • Buller Canyon Jet and Swing Bridge
  • The MANY Beer and wine tastings
  • Incredible scenery, scenery, scenery
  • Spending time with my sis 💜

I invested in a couple of Marlborough’s finest Pinot Noir, so my favourite photo for today is the unique packaging I have purchased to ensure my treasure makes it home safe and sound…

Challenges by Sarah, Kiwi Capers

Christchurch Bound – Day 7, Kiwi Capers

We got up bright and early this morning, to do the Dog Stream Walkway and Conical Hill Walkway in Hanmer Springs. Despite a misty morning, we had a lovely walk and enjoyed the forest and mountain scenery.

After a hearty breakfast we hopped to it and headed for Christchurch, stopping for a couple of wine tastings in the Waipara Valley along the way. Once we checked into our new digs we checked out two local breweries – Eagle Brewing and Two Thumb Brewing Co. A very nice way to spend the afternoon! I especially liked the Two Thumb’s Barrell Aged Oat Stout and Eagle’s Fresh Hop Pale Ale.

It was a cold, wet and pretty miserable day all day today – temperatures maxing at about 10oC, so choosing a favourite photo was a little tricky!

Here is an “artsy” shot of the sky as seen through the trees on the Conical Hill Walkway…

Challenges by Sarah, Kiwi Capers

Jet Boats, Swing Bridges and Hot Springs – Day 6, Kiwi Capers

What an action packed day we had today. We started off by heading up the Matiri Valley to catch a glimpse of the south east side of the Kahurangi National Park. We bumped and jostled along a 16km dirt track and had lots of fun driving through potholes and puddles.

After we returned to reality, we headed down to the the Buller Gorge to check out the longest Swing Bridge in New Zealand (at 110m long from what I recall) and take a ride on the Buller Canyon Jet. It was AMAZING and definitely better than other jet boating I have done. We spent over 40minutes on the water and Mark spent time sharing history and information about the river. He even let us take photos and film.

Once we had had our fill of adrenaline, we hit the hills, winding our way through Lewis Pass and on to Hanmer Springs. Although we encountered some rain and freezing temperatures, we saw some breathtaking scenery and took so many photos we almost didn’t make it to Hanmer! We limped into town with our petrol light on.

Since we’d had an adventure filled day, we headed over to the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa for some soaking in heated mineral pools and a relaxing massage,

My favourite photo from today was so hard to choose that I just had to pick two. The first is a panoramic from the middle of the swing bridge…

The second is a scene from the Matiri Valley…

Challenges by Sarah, Kiwi Capers

Abel Tasman National Park – Day 5, Kiwi Capers

We had one of the most delightful stays at The Prince Albert Backpackers and Bar, in Nelson. It was crazy good value for money and happily would have paid more for the experience we had. Highly recommend it if you’re in the area and on a budget.

After we checked out, we headed to Abel Tasman National Park. What a spectacular find this was! Due to my sister’s injury to her leg, we had to change plans and engage in lighter hiking adventures than planned. It just goes to show that sometimes things happen for a reason.

We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our 6km walk. We stopped at Porters Beach, and Tinline Bay and hiked as far as Coquille Bay before turning back. All in all, a good two hour hike with breathtaking scenery at every turn.

We are now stopped for the evening at Owen River Tavern and Campgrounds (just outside of Murchison).

My favourite photo from today is this interesting rock formation on Porters Beach…

Challenges by Sarah, Kiwi Capers

Weee! Up a hill, down a hill – Day 4, Kiwi Capers

Today, we left Blenheim behind and hit the road for Nelson. We took a slight detour through the Marlborough region (again!) to check out Moa Brewing Company and Cloudy Bay (owned by Louis Vitton), as we missed these on our trip yesterday.

Next, we travelled a mountainous winding road that was lots of fun to drive. We saw a sign for ‘Cable Bay’ and thought “What the heck?” and took another detour to check it out. We were so glad we did! What an amazing hidden gem this was! We had a cheese platter lunch before taking a “stroll” up a VERY steep hill. Unfortunately my sister injured her leg and now we are waiting in a medical clinic – hopefully it’s all ok or we may need to rethink our walking itinerary.

My favourite photo from today is this panoramic from the top of the hill overlooking Cable Bay…

Challenges by Sarah, Kiwi Capers

Cook Strait and Marlborough Wine Region – Day 3, Kiwi Capers

Today we departed the North Island for the South Island, ferrying across with Bluebridge Ferries on the Strait Feronia. We cruised through the Marlborough Sounds before arriving in Picton and embarking on a tasting adventure with Na Clachan Winery Tours (highly recommended by the way). We sampled many Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir before heading into Blenheim for dinner and beers at Dodson St.

My favourite photo of the day (out of MANY taken) is this one cruising through the sounds, with our ferry in the foreground…

Challenges by Sarah, Kiwi Capers

Windy Welly – Day 2, Kiwi Capers

What a windy old day in Wellington! We started off with a quick bite to eat and caught the cable car from Lambton Quay to the quaint suburb of Kelburn. We enjoyed a great view from the top before heading out to visit Zealandia. Zealandia is a protected sanctuary where some of New Zealand’s most rare and extraordinary wildlife thrive. After hours of walking trails and birdwatching, my sister and I embarked on some beer tasting at four local breweries – Garage Project, Heyday Brewing Co, Whistling Sisters and Fortune Favours Beer. We sampled some delicious brews and nibbles before turning in for an early night, ready to catch the Bluebridge ferry tomorrow morning.

My favourite photo of the day, is the no. 2 cable car heading into the station, with a view of Wellington in the background.

Challenges by Sarah, Kiwi Capers

Wellington Bound – Day 1, Kiwi Capers

Well, departure day is here! After spending a lovely time over the Easter long weekend, with family and friends in Canberra, my sister and I are off to Sydney International Airport, ready for our flight to Wellington. Ironically, the hotel we are staying at is located at “1 Bunny St”! We found this amusing and are looking forward to the adventures that await us. We will arrive around midnight (New Zealand time) and we have our fingers crossed for a smooth and uneventful trip.

See you on the flip side…

Challenges by Sarah, Kiwi Capers

Introducing The Clam

I thought I would write a pre-trip post and introduce you to my sister Claudia – my travelling companion on our upcoming holiday to New Zealand. Claudia is the youngest of my three sisters (we have six kids altogether in our family – 2 boys and 4 girls).

Despite a ten year age gap, we have always been close. We shared a room growing up – even though I was a teenager and she was a toddler and we enjoy spending time with one another.

The thing I love best about my sister is her laid back and relaxed attitude. I have a tendency to be a little “highly strung” at times and suffer periodically from anxiety and depression. Her no-nonsense, ‘whatever’ approach always puts thing into perspective for me, and reminds me not to take things too seriously.

Now, you may be wondering, If her name is Claudia why is this post entitled Introducing The Clam?

Well, I promise. There is a reason.

Two years ago today, my husband and I were visiting my mum and dad in Canberra. My sister lives with them as she helps care for my mum after her stroke in 2015. We all decided to go ten pin bowling and the bowling alley was very ‘old-school’. We had to write our names on a slip of paper and hand it to the young man attending the shoe counter. He then entered the details into the computer for our lane, on our behalf.

Claudia and I were challenging each other and as we commenced the bowling, we soon realised the hilarity that confronted us on the screen. Instead of entering ‘Claud’ the young man had inadvertently entered the name ‘Clam’. (I have always told her her handwriting was messy!)

You can imagine every spare, every strike and every miss, our guffawing laughter as we received encouraging messages for the ‘clam’.

The nickname has certainly stuck and two years on, ‘The Clam’ is still going strong. Although her game has not improved much…

I am certainly looking forward to some good times and laughter with my sis.

Kiwi Capers

Kiwi Capers

This Easter school break, I am heading back to the South Island of New Zealand for a holiday. Only seven more sleeps and I will be setting off on a seven day adventure to the Marlborough region with my youngest sister.

During this time, I anticipate I will have limited wifi availability, as well as time to participate in my regular challenges, therefore will not be posting as often.

So, I am setting myself a mini writing challenge for each day while I am away: “To write 50 words about the day’s activities and upload my favourite photo, capturing this”.

Some of you will remember me completing this challenge for my Hawaii vacation earlier in the year, and it was a great way to record my holiday and share snippets of it with you…so stay tuned for some Kiwi Capers soon.