Moorea, Sharks, and BACON

How do you leave paradise? Answer: you don’t. Sadly, we had to. But for the week that we were there, we saw sharks, sting rays, and beautiful scenery. Oh, we also saw fish. The four kids (that includes me) stayed in a bungalow right by the water, while the parents stayed in one directly above the water. They had a little window on their floor, allowing us to see all the colorful (and not so colorful ) fish floating under it. They had a balcony, which was connected to a ladder, which led down into the… Read More

Day 179: Lake Tekapo

Ok, so I’m jumping ahead a bit, but I could hardly keep from posting this shot of Lake Tekapo! The photo doesn’t come close to describing what it is really like! The colors…wow!! And all this on a rather cloudy day!  I wonder what it would be like on a bright, sunny day.  I am so overwhelmed by the beauty of New Zealand! Lake Tekapo is famous for it’s gorgeous blue/turquoise colored water and amazing purple, pink, and yellow lupine flowers.  It’s all rather stunning and difficult to take in.  You can just… Read More

Day 178: Tongariro Photoblog

Tongariro National Park is a fabulous destination and definitely one to put on your list!  There are several short walks, even trails that lead to waterfalls.  And then there’s the more famous “Tongariro Alpine Crossing” which goes from one end of the park to the other, and can take between five to eight hours to complete.  The trails offer stunning vistas and you’ll even recognize areas from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, as many scenes were filmed here. We were not able to do the complete crossing, so I’ll reserve my comments… Read More

Day 176: Wai-o-tapu Geothermal Wonderland

Wai-o-tapu Geothermal Wonderland is quite likely one of New Zealand’s most colorful, most diverse geothermal experiences.  This must-see destination is located close to both Rotorua and Taupo and offers three different walks of varying lengths that highlight the geysers, hot springs, and volcanic activity New Zealand is famous for.  The walks are relatively easy, though they could prove to be challenging to those who have problems with mobility. At Wai-o-tapu, you will find intensely colored springs, bubbling mud pits, and steam rising throughout.  The greens, reds, oranges, and yellows are almost unbelievable and… Read More

Day 175: The Coromandel Area, New Zealand

The Coromandel area in New Zealand is lovely.  We could have spent a week there and still not run out of things to explore!  Below are a few of our favorite not to miss areas. First off, the windy, twisty long way up to the Coromandel (route 25 on the west side of the Peninsula).  The views are just stunning, if not a bit scary.  You don’t have to use this route to arrive into the Coromandel area, as there is a much easier, more direct route, but the views are worth… Read More

Day 173: Hobbiton New Zealand

J.R.R. Tolkien.  Author of some of our favorite books, now turned movies.  A favorite of all of ours, how could we not visit New Zealand, where the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were filmed?  The scenery in the movies made the books come to life and we were captivated with the thought of visiting some of the same locations in which these movies were made.  Truth be told, we had never really considered New Zealand as a destination before viewing the movies. And then there was Hobbiton!  Should we or shouldn’t… Read More

Day 170: Campervan Living in NZ

So, after much research and talking to friends and new contacts, we decided to go the Campervan route in New Zealand.  With two adults, four kids, and so much to see and do in New Zealand, we thought it would be crazy to keep moving from hotel to hotel, unpacking, packing, and inevitably leaving something behind at each destination!  So…here’s a little bit of our experience.  Enjoy. With campervans, you can either pay to stay at a campsite (which often provides showers and restrooms, as well as electrical plug ins and dump… Read More