Marshalls Animal Park

Marshalls Animal Park is located within the McLaren Park roughly 20 minutes west of Tauranga.  I wanted to photograph the McLaren Falls on our last trip to the Bay of Plenty and the girls are always keen to visit an animal park.  The McLaren Park features more than the waterfall though. It is a large recreational area with camping, canoeing, swimming and of course the Marshalls Animal Park. We arrived at the admissions desk and…

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Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains

The Australian Blue Mountains make a perfect weekend getaway (or even day trip) to escape the bustling city of Sydney.  We left the warm Cronulla beaches to drive a mere 90 minutes west to what felt like a different country.  The day we left for the Blue Mountains saw snow flurries and subzero temperatures at night (-2C).  Luckily our accommodation choice, the Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains, provided us the opportunity to bundle up by a…

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Mount Egmont National Park

Before our move to New Zealand I had never heard of Mt. Taranaki (or alternately known as Mt. Egmont) and despite ample research read little of the region.  Most top tourist websites list the North Island’s must see places as the Hobbiton Movie Set, Waitomo glow worm caves, Rotorua and Taupo geothermal areas, etc. For this reason, I had not planned on visiting the Taranaki region until an accommodation deal prompted me to book a…

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Family-Friendly Wineries on Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island, a short ferry ride away from Auckland City, makes an excellent day trip or even better a weekend getaway destination.   The island is a perfect retreat with picturesque beaches and wineries galore. We selected Waiheke Island as our Christmas Holiday getaway despite it being the island’s busiest time. The laid back vibe was exactly what we were looking for after a full on year.  Our original plan of lounging on the beach…

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Hakarimata Summit Climb

There I stood looking out across the Waikato for miles admiring the beauty of our new home.   Sometimes the simple moments create the biggest impact in our lives.  My 1st trip up New Zealand’s Hakarimata Summit made me want to challenge myself outside my comfort zone and later inspired me to share these experiences through my blog. My 1st Climb A little background… It was June of 2015 and our family had recently moved…

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Aboriginal Art Light Show

The Sydney Opera House recently unveiled a new light show starting at sunset and 7pm each night. The eastern sails feature artwork from 5 Aboriginal Artists during the 7 minute presentation.  The display known as ‘Badu Gili’, translating to water light in the language of Gadigal people. Our 1st attempt to catch the show was a failure due to anticipating the artwork to be displayed on the Opera House sails facing the Harbour Bridge.   We waited…

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Australia’s Symbio Wildlife Park

The Symbio Wildlife Park is located about 45 minutes South Sydney in Helensburgh, Australia. We are currently living on the South part of Sydney so a quicker trip for us. Our family are annual pass holders for the Taronga Zoo and consider it one of the best in the World. The smaller wildlife parks are often more interactive though and we found this to be true of the Symbio Wildlife Park. The girls and I visited…

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5 Action-Packed Bucket List Experiences

Calling All Thrill-Seekers (New Zealand’s North Island) New Zealand has a well-deserved reputation for adventure tourism.  It would take weeks and large sums of $$ to try all the action-packed experiences this country has to offer.  Most adrenaline junkie posts I read are young travelers off for a year abroad and good on them for living life. I am here to tell you that people of all ages can enjoy New Zealand’s thrilling side.  This…

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Three Sisters and Elephant Rock

The Three Sisters and Elephant Rock visit happened as an unplanned detour following our long weekend in New Plymouth. We learned early on that you should always stop for green Department of Conservation signs or brown arrow signs while driving around New Zealand. These signs never disappoint! The Three Sisters (though only two originals left) are rock formations standing 25 meters tall along the North Taranaki coast. Their third sister was swept away to sea…

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Whale Watching Sydney Cruise

Previous whale watching excursions I had seen in New Zealand ranged from around $200 – $250 per person for a 3-4 hour tour.  The 3 hour Whale Watching Sydney Cruise out of Darling Harbor would be available for $99 for 1 adult and 2 kids (Ella was free).  I could not turn down this chance to see whales up close. We arrived at Darling Harbour 15 minutes prior to our 12:45 boarding time.  Here we selected…

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