Photos by Sarah, Thursday Doors

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in upper Trafalgar Street, Nelson, New Zealand.

The current church was constructed in 1925. The majority of marble was sourced from the Pakikiruna Range, near Takaka and then ground down and mixed with plaster to give the unusual appearance and colour of the cathedral.

The steps are constructed from granite obtained from Tonga Beach, in the Abel Tasman National Park.

Prompt: Norm 2.0, Thursday Doors – April 26, 2018

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Reflections on Anzac Day

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance here in Australia and, also in New Zealand.

It commemorates those who served and died in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations, from both countries. Anzac Day was originally held to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (hence the acronym ANZAC) and is held on 25 April each year, a date, which marks the landing of those troops in Gallipoli in 1915.

As I have grown older (and debatably wiser), this day has grown in significance for me personally. In our immediate family history, we didn’t have any family members who never made it back from war. My mother’s father was deemed “unfit” for service, and my other grandfather was shot and discharged from service, early on in World War II. We were fortunate.

I recall, as a child, walking in the marches with my school, but not really understanding why. Later, as a teenager and young adult, I saw this day purely as an extra public holiday, and welcomed the day off. I am ashamed to admit that.

But as I entered my 30s and 40s, Anzac Day began to really affect me on both a spiritual and emotional level. I started attending the services and something happened. I now truly realise the full horrors of war; the gravity of the sacrifices made by thousands of Australians; and the enormous debt I owe these people, for the freedom and lifestyle I enjoy today. I do not ever want to take that for granted again.

To those who have returned broken, either physically or mentally, and to those who will never return; the immense sadness it all weighs on me. I am eternally grateful for your service. I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like.

Today, I spent Anzac Day in quiet contemplation. On my own, and thankful.

THE ODE*
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget.

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Image credit By Sarah
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Image credit gerard4170 via Pixabay

* The Ode comes from “For the Fallen”, a poem by the English poet and writer, Laurence Binyon. It was published in London in The Winnowing Fan: Poems of the Great War in 1914.

Stories by Sarah

Shinrin-Yoku

Gravel crunched under my feet, as I began the hike through one of the youngest eco-systems in the world – the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Geothermal areas were marked on my map, as well as native plants and bird-life, to look for.

Feeling grounded, I breathed in the fresh mountain air, imagining the breeze was really the forest exhaling along with me. I rounded the corner and saw steam rising from the aptly named baths in front of me. Glaring sun broke through the canopy.

Out of the fire and into the “Frying Pan Lake“? Shinrin-Yoku at its best! I thought.

By Sarah ©2018


Image credits By Sarah ©2018

Prompt: Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction – April 19,2018, Task – In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about forest bathing. You can use the Japanese term, Shinrin Yoku, or you can make up your own ideas about the phrase. Go where the prompt leads.

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.

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.

Daily Post Weekly Challenge, Photos by Sarah

Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Waimungu Volcanic Valley is ‘the world’s youngest geothermal system’. Waimangu’s steaming landscape and other fascinating geothermal features can be found by taking a self-guided tour along the park’s crater walkways.

Prompt: Daily Post, Weekly Photo Challenge – Out Of This World

Daily Post Weekly Challenge, Photos by Sarah

The Portal

The Portal at Steampunk HQ in Oamaru is a “retro-futuristic mirror and lighting installation that features original glowing light sculptures with a theme of skulls and mythology”. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to feeling out of this world

Prompt: Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Out Of This World

Photos by Sarah, Tuesday Photo Challenge

Tasman Glacier

A kind of unwanted progress…

The Tasman Glacier / Haupapa is the largest glacier in New Zealand and one of several large glaciers which flow south and east towards the Mackenzie Basin from the Southern Alps in New Zealand’s South Island.

The glacier remained at a constant 28 km (17 mi) in length for all of its recorded history in the 20th century before progressing with its current period of rapid melting in the 1990s. Between 2000 and 2008 alone, the glacier receded 3.7 km. Since the 1990s it has retreated, on average, about 180 metres (590 ft) a year.

The glacier is now in a period of faster retreat where the rate of retreat is calculated to be between 477 to 822 metres (1,565 to 2,697 ft) each year. With this rate of progress, it is estimated that the Tasman Glacier will eventually disappear.

Source: Tasman Glacier

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Image credits By Sarah ©

Prompt: Daily Post Daily Prompt – Constant; and also, Dutch Goes The Photo, Tuesday Photo Challenge, Week 84 – Progress

Photos by Sarah, Tuesday Photo Challenge

Hobbiton This Way!

The Hobbiton Movie Set was a location used for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and The Hobbit film series. It is situated on a family run farm 10 kilometres southwest of Matamata, in Waikato, New Zealand. It is now a tourism destination, with guided tours of the set.

Image credit By Sarah ©2017

Prompt: Dutch Goes The Photo, Tuesday Photo Challenge, Week 76 – Signs

Photos by Sarah, Tuesday Photo Challenge

Mirror Lakes

Mirror Lakes are a set of lakes lying north of Lake Te Anau and immediately to the west of the road from Te Anau to Milford Sound in New Zealand.


Image credit By Sarah ©2017

Prompt: Dutch Goes The Photo, Tuesday Photo Challenge, Week 76 – Signs