Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Favorite Three-day Weekend Destination

Wellington Harbour
  Just for fun a couple of mates of mine and I went down to Wellington again last weekend. We started out the trip by missing our flight. Being the first flight I have ever missed, I was shocked at how well I managed to keep calm and carry on. I just kept saying to myself that if I am going to travel and many thousands and thousands of miles I have and will, then I am bound to miss a flight or two here and there. Further I didn't have any children with me, had no itinerary to met upon my arrival, and it was a short and cheap flight to begin with....
View from roof
of Te Papa
  Friday we went to Te Papa - third trip for me and I still haven't seen everything! Then had wine and beers on the warf and attended a small get-together at a friends house. Saturday we went up Mt. Victoria, to the Weta Workshop, had that famous Wellington coffee, cruised around the bays and went out for BYO Japanese in the CBD. Sunday was a lazy day filled with sight seeing and flight home. A fun-filled, yet refreshing weekend full of great weather - can't beat it!

You can vaguely see
the South Island in
the distance

I tried my first Dragon Fruit -
kind of bland, but
seriously colorful

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bluff Oyster Tradition

On Saturday I went to Euro Bar and ate basically the same meal I had in my 11 March 2012 post. 

The only major difference was the Marc Bredif Vouvray instead of a Sav Blanc. Again it was a delight to the sensations of a meal. 
Choi Jeong Hwa -
Flower Chandelier

Then I went to the Auckland Art Gallery, which I hadn't been to in way too long and a stroll through enchanting Albert Park. 

I spent my Saturday night watching the home opening of the Warriors League season while babysitting. Sunday was our first drizzly, raining day in weeks and the couch entrapped me most of the day. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

December Adventure... and then some

I wrote this blog months ago but somehow saved to my drafts instead of publishing it!!!

  The Christmas Holidays went off without a hitch. The obvious, but significant alteration to the season was the weather. It was rainy, unfortunately, but the hot, humid air brought seafood, the bbq grill, and cool salads to the table along with a laid back, lounging on the porch attitude.
  Saturday after xmas, a couple of friends and I flew down to Queenstown for eight days of... well we asked for a bit of adventure and found more than we were really ready for.
How do you dry a tent when it is raining?
Hang it from the window, of course
  Day one was a settling/ fueling/ pack day with a beautiful, clear sky to serenade a peaceful dinner on the decks of the wharf. Sunday bright and early we bused a few hours to The Divide, near Te Anau, to start the first hike with cloudy, but warm skies. Being the first time I have hiked with a heavy pack (dry without food my pack weighed in at 26 lbs at the airport), the first few hours of steep grade was wearing, which was expected and beautiful, so not really a problem. Then the rain started. Then we crossed the HUGE water fall, that the hikers behind us had to take the flood detours around due to the extreme weather, soaked us to the bone. Then the two hours of rocky, wet, pouring terrain gave us welcome to the flat spot we were to set up our tent with frozen hands, soaked feet, and drenched pack. Which was a necessarily and passable problem until we had to wake up at 4am to put on cold, wet boots to book it out while the "weather was good" to make our rendezvou shuttle at the of 32km trail of the Routeburn.
  Let this be said: the entire trip we maintain our humorour spirits, sharp mind, and perspective with reality and the greater joke we must have been playing in the universe. This is why we didn't really, seriously, consider throwing each other off the cliffface or sitting down in a hole to die.
Te Anau Shore
   Because no soon had we praised the gods - Greek, Roman, Christian, Satanic or otherwise - that is wasn't raining - it started at it again. But we were mostly soaked anyways so how worse could the acsent to The Saddle really be? SNOW. That's how. Seriously snow in summer. We didn't expect or prepare for this. So the next two hours was literally a put one foot in front of the other because stopping just isn't an option until the extremities can be felt again or they may never have feel again. The decent brought less precipitation and eventually sunlight, which made us absolutely giddy.
Ledge Bungy
  It is strange that less the a fortnight after this, I can't truly appreciate the blessing it is that my feet are and have been dry for most of my life. But at this time, when they were cold and wet and had been for two days, I would have waged kingdoms to have dry, warm feet.
  The second day ended up mostly "dry" and 20km of absolutely breath taking scenery, had I had the breath and energy to give. It was the last day of 2012 and I had literally given it my all by they time we had bused back to Queenstown. We did attempt to "go out," but ended up back in our cabin, oh so happily, before the fireworks were alight.
  The first was perfect, as planned. A day of rest. Just three girls, laying in a small cabin, reading, playing cards, enjoy the finer things in life, like a roof and again dry feet.
 Weather was just not in our favor, historically unaccountable for, the locals told us, so we canceled our next day of back packing, in turn for a hostel in Te Anau.
Queenstown from Gondola
  A water taxi led us to the next camp site, morning next, where upon we set up camp and attempted to summit. I wasn't able to keep the pace or mentality to fight the snow again much above the tree line and so didn't make summit, but was able to picnic at Luxemore Hut of the Kepler. Then we descended, suppered and fought the mossy (misquote) and sand flys before falling into a crowded, if not contented two man tent.
  Our final day of hiking was uneventful back to Te Anau and alas, we had hiked 75km.
  Saturday the 5th we flew back to Auckland for a shower, shelter, non-dehydrated food, and a bed with sheets and everything! We did chose to walk the 9km to the airports, pack a-back; strangely you get attached to the troublesome thing. Before departing I did my duty to the home of it, and preformed a 43metre- swan-diving- ledge bungy jump of the the city.
  Exhausted (understatement) as I was I spent the week potty training a toddler, and encouraging a infant to crawl (she started the day after my return!) while teething!

  It has been a busy couple of weeks. I am not sure how I have made it, or how I will embrace my next year, and I still know it was an incomparable year, just as the next will be.

Back in NZ

  I must apologize for my very obvious lack of blogging. Not only had it become tedious and my adventures more routine, but I hadn't really though anyone was reading anyways. This notion was corrected when I went back Home a few weeks ago and was given words from many friends and family stating their frustration with my lack of communication. I will attempt to rectify this err; however, I must admit this prose is not the easiest, nor first thing I think to do with my free time.
  In an attempt to make it equally informative, but without so much time, I will at the very least up load pictures and captions of my tale.
 Since December I have: gone to the South Island to back country trek (which was a little more adventurous than I had expected or wanted with some terrible weather to boot), had a relaxing and beautifully weathered birthday, and spent the first weekend of February at the biggest party of my life, down in Wellington for the International Rugby Board Sevens Tournament. February brought about Mia's first birthday, followed by a trip to Hawaii with a friend on her way home and a week stopover in Colorado before returning on Monday the 4th at 5am and promptly starting up with work again a 9am.
 All is well here and the kids are continuing to grow, amaze and challenge me. I have signed another contract to stay on up until they find a replacement for me or 1 August.
Routeburn Trail

We needed a way to dry the tent

Te Anau

Kepler Track

Te Anau


View from our room

On the way to the Diamond Head Trail

Sandy Beach

Shaved ice from the North Shore

At the Dole Plantation
Fireworks as seen from our room right before I
caught the shuttle to the airport 
  I have two more out of Auckland trips planned for March and heap of rest to catch up on.