Been There Done That, Free, Mountains, New Zealand, Walks

Mount Te Aroha Summit Track

Soaring nearly 1 km above the town of Te Aroha, you will find the summit of Mount Te Aroha. The tallest mountain in the Kaimai-Mamaku range offering spectacular views across the Waikato and Bay of the Plenty regions. Mount Te Aroha walks are lesser known than other area tracks meaning less tourists to contend with. My dear friend and I walked at a vigorous pace only stopping briefly for photos at the lookout and summit. There are…

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Been There Done That, City Parks, Free, New Zealand

Rotorua’s Green and Blue Lakes

Before our relocation to Australia, I took the girls on a weekend getaway to Rotorua to check off some must-do activities like Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland, Redwood Treewalk, and Buried Village of Te Wairoa.  We found the Green and Blue Lakes by accident on our drive out to the Buried Village.  Rotorua area is known for its many lakes producing great spots to trout fish, boat, water ski and swim.  Lake Rotorua being the largest of the lakes and…

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Animal Parks, Been There Done That, Family Friendly, Free, New Zealand

Pukekura Park – Taranaki Region

During our trip to New Zealand’s Taranaki Region, we made a stop at the Pukekura Park. The beautiful Botanical Gardens span across 128 acres of land smack in the middle of New Plymouth.  With free  admission and beautiful scenery, it makes a perfect place for a walk and picnic. One of the park highlights is the red Japanese inspired bridge that stands out in front of a picturesque backdrop of native trees and bush.  Known…

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Been There Done That, Bike Trails, Free, New Zealand, Walks

Pipiwharauroa Trail – Te Uku Wind Farm

On our first visit to New Zealand we drove out to Raglan Beach to check out the nearest beach before our country relocation.  The short 45 minute trip from Hamilton City (our home for 2 years) featured the Te Uku Wind Farm along the way.  I was instantly fascinated with the Te Uku Wind Farm having never seen a wind farm in person.  Once I found out about the Pipiwharauroa Trail which curves through the wind farm,…

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Australia, Been There Done That, Mountains, Walks, Waterfalls

Scenic World Blue Mountains

On our first trip to Australia’s Blue Mountains,  Three Sisters Rock Formation and Scenic World Katoomba were suggested as must-see stops. We learned that the Three Sisters could be viewed easily from the privately owned Scenic World and we would have the opportunity to ride the steepest passenger railway in the world. We purposely booked accommodations near there at the Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains. I had assumed that the Scenic World Cableway, Skyway and Railway were…

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Been There Done That, Free, Mountains, New Zealand, Walks

Kauri Loop Walking Track – Hakarimata Range

On an earlier post I talked about one of my favorite climbing tracks in the Waikato region, the Hakarimata Summit. A few months before our relocation to Australia, this track was closed after tremendous flooding in the area washed away a significant section.  They estimated it would take months to reopen and we would be moved by the time it was rebuilt.  Our Thursday morning group had to look into other climbing tracks around the…

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Harry Potter Themed Birthday Party

Aubrey turned 9 in September and she requested a Harry Potter Themed Birthday Party. We gifted her “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” on her last birthday and she immediately fell in love with the characters.  I started putting together the party a bit last-minute due to our recent country relocation.  During my party theme research, I came across the StarDust Kids company that will send character entertainers to your party and Hermione was an option. …

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Excuse My Ramblings Or Not

Tips for Building Friendships Abroad

I am often asked, “is it hard to make friends moving countries?”  And the answer is YES! I am not going to sugar-coat this part because it would not be fair to someone considering a country relocation. If you clicked on this post maybe you are struggling to meet friends in your new country or this is a concern you have before committing to relocate. Frequently I meet-up with fellow expats and we have similar…

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Animal Parks, Been There Done That, Family Friendly, New Zealand

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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Mountains, Places to Stay

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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