Joined January 2018
  • Day17

    See you later NZ!

    January 7 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We got out of bed at 10:30am and scrambled to get the rental car returned by 12pm. We were silly and booked to return the car at 12pm even though our flight wasn’t until after 6pm. So, we spent most of the day at the airport. We bought business class seats (which were cheaper than economy on the way over to NZ) and therefore had lounge access. We couldn’t use the lounge though because we had checked luggage and the bag drop didn’t open until almost 4pm for our flight... Anyway, business class is seriously luxurious compared to economy. We got Moët upon arrival to our seat and I think I had 5 Bloody Marys from the bar throughout the flight. The appetizer (entree) for dinner was salmon and shrimp (prawn). Yum.Read more

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  • Day16

    Another BBQ

    January 6 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    We woke up, got packed, and drove to Christchurch. We stayed at our friends house who were still in Hanmer. We had a nap (of course) and then went to the shopping mall for some gifts and the supermarket to grab a steak. We got to catch up with a friend we didn’t expect to for a bbq. It was awesome to see them! We went back to the house and got some things packed.Read more

  • Day15

    Hanmer Springs Hot Pools

    January 5 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    We set our alarm for earlier but didn’t get out of bed until 11am. We got brunch with our friends and then did some afternoon shopping. We didn’t buy much but it was nice to cruise around. After a nap in the afternoon we went to the Hot Pools.

    According to the website: “The water in our thermal pools starts as snow and rain falling on the Hanmer Springs mountains almost 180 years ago. It seeps into the Greywacke basement rock and comes to rest in a reservoir some two kilometres underground, where it is warmed by heat radiating from the earth’s core. Today, we draw the water to the surface and use it for bathing and heating purposes.” The pools range from 28-42° C. We also went down the two big waterslides and the kids laughed at me screaming!
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  • Day14

    Riverstone Kitchen

    January 4 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We were still in our room when Agra yelled through the door “Mike! It’s 9:20 and at 10 you’ll be somebody I used to know.” We were ready to head off at just about 10am but I had to ask about the Steeler blanket. Agra explained that a man from Pittsburgh met a woman from Oamaru online and sold everything to come visit her. It didn’t work out and the woman dropped him on Agra’s doorstep at 10am. He left the blankets and Agra gave him some t shirts.

    For breakfast we stopped at Cusine Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year Award 2010 called Riverstone Kitchen. On the property is over 4000 cows and a castle that the woman who owns the land lives on. Yes, there is a moat surrounding the castle. If you zoom in on the map you can see it.

    It took 5 hours to get to Hanmer Springs. On the drive we bought some raspberries and black raspberries from a farm selling them on the side of the road. Yummmmm. We got sorted in our hostel and headed to a friends house. We stayed there for dinner and then way too many games of ping pong, pool, and darts in the man cave.
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  • Day13

    Little Blue Penguins

    January 3 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Before we left Dunedin we spent time with family and then began the drive to Oamaru. On the way, we stopped at Moeraki, known for their boulders. Once we made it to Oamaru, our “house mum, Agra” at “Swaggers Backpackers” got us in her car and gave us a tour of the town. We went to Scott’s Brewery for dinner and made some friends from Dortmund, Germany who were dining at the table next to us. We rushed through our last beer to make it in time to see the Blue Penguins, also called Fairy Penguins, come in from their long day of fishing to their nests. These Blue Penguins are actually blue as their name suggests and are less than 1 foot tall. Its quite remarkable considering they swim up to 50km in a 25 km radius from home to fish every day, leaving at sunrise and returning at sunset. They came in 3 “rafts” and totaled 148 penguins that arrived to the colony. After the show we went exploring the town in search of more penguins. We found a few but I felt like we were disturbing them so we went back to the house.Read more

  • Day12

    Attack of the Butterflies

    January 2 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    After getting out of bed at 11am and having some breakfast, we went to the Otago Museum. We didn’t really spend any time in the traditional museum but spent close to an hour in the Tropical Forest in awe of the butterflies. They LOVED Mike’s beard. One landed on the back of his neck and when it fluttered it’s wings, tickled him. Another one landed on his beard and would not leave. Even another joined on his beard. We saw some butterflies take their first flight after hatching as well.

    We drove through Mike’s old university town and he showed me a couple of the places he used to live and pubs that use to be the best student bars on the way to Emerson’s Brewery. The tour was a big boring and we didn’t really enjoy the beers but it was a cool activity. For dinner we picked up food from the Fish & Chip shop. Our four meals cost a total of $23 dollars - probably the cheapest meal I’ve had in ANZ since I came here 4.5 years ago. We watched some more tv before bed!
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  • Day11

    NYD

    January 1 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    Everyone slept in until about 11am in Riverton. We had some toast and tea for breakfast before heading off. It was a rainy three hour drive back to Dunedin. Mike’s Dad’s wife kindly fed us dinner. She made Gooseberry Crumble for dessert. It was my first time having gooseberries and they were tart but tasty. Mike had the job of sorting through his old stuff and found some interesting old treasures like a comic book he wrote and his dad’s passport from 1982. We watched the Big Bang Theory and movies on tv until bed. Happy 2020 everyone!Read more

  • Day10

    NYE

    December 31, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    I woke up with a sensitive tummy and regrettably had to pass on the amazing coffee. After some toast and lounging, we drove to Bluff est. 1824, the oldest town in New Zealand. It was used as a base for sealing and whaling for people from the US and UK. They nearly hunted seals until extinction which is when they turned to whaling. From the look out you can see Stewart Island, the third biggest island of New Zealand. Check the map, most foreigners don’t know that New Zealand is made up of 3 main islands and about 600 islands in total. There was a beautiful cafe at the south end of Bluff - Stirling Point - but they were booked out and walk-ins had to wait for an hour and half. We got take away coffee instead and walked down to Stirling Point.

    We went to a suburb of Invercargill called Windsor for lunch and I tried to find a necklace at a shop in the same town but they have since stopped selling it as it is now in the big NZ department store, H&J Smith. We also tried to get Mike his favorite spring roll from a Chinese take away shop but that shop was also closed for the new year holidays.

    To celebrate the New Year, we went with our friends to a beach town called Riverton, about 30 minutes west of Invercargill. We watched the kids launch water balloons at kids a couple of houses away which really was hilarious. We stopped by another NYE party a few doors down and played Otrio, a 3D version of tic tac toe but we tied every game. We went back to our friends parents house for dinner and by the time we finished up it was already 10pm and still light out. The kids had started making a bonfire on the beach and all the adults went down to join in the fun. I wasn’t feeling great so I watched tv and set my alarm for 11:55 to make sure I caught the fireworks before heading off to bed.
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  • Day9

    Eucher

    December 30, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    We woke up and had breakfast made for us. They also had a real coffee machine and made my flat white with unpasteurized milk from the neighbours dairy farm. It was so tasty and I drank way too much of it. In the afternoon we went to Invercargill’s Bill Richardson’s Transport Museum. It was a bit boring for me, but someone who appreciates cars and history would be very happy there. All of there restrooms had difference themes that were very entertaining! Not too long after getting back we took C to his uncle’s housr where his mum was staying for the handover. His uncle has a massive ‘’man cave” with all of this hunting trophies.. no joke he could sell tickets to his man cave. We went back to the house and got freshened up before heading to Ziffy’s for dinner. It looked like a shabby place on the outside, but it had recently been refurbished and was delicious on the inside. I had half a blue cod dinner and half a chicken salad. Mike had the other half. Back at the house our friends taught us how to play Eucher. We were just about to win until I didn’t feel so good and I spent the rest of the time until bed vomiting.Read more

  • Day8

    Roadtripping

    December 29, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    Today was awesome. After getting up way too late we left Dunedin. On the way out we visited Mike’s Aunt and Uncle for a cup of tea. Mike’s Uncle is a taxidermist and we got see his workshop. We also met their black cat called Achilles. Then we drove through Balclutha and Cluntin and got Subyay at Gore before getting to Invercargill. Mike’s friends very nicely put us up for the night. We had dinner (got to try White Bait) and went to feed the horses. They also have a black cat called Blackie. Plus two others, Stripes and Misty. Then we played a game of touch footy in the back yard before dessert. The kids went off to play videos and the adults got heavily invested in game of Dos.Read more

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