Posted by: Liz | June 30, 2009

Christchurch Cathedral

Originally uploaded by Fruits_Of_Love

One of our 7,000 photos is famous! That’s right, a contact from the Schmap Christchurch Guide contacted us and wanted to use the following photo for their eighth edition. Check out the shot my dad took of the Cathedral.

I enjoyed snapping photos so much as well as composing fun blog entries that I’ve started a new blog. Check it out and feel free to post comments or photos of your own (I’ll try and set it up so readers can share their photos). To learn more, read my new blog – www.mycandidgallery.com!

Famous photo on the following site: Christchurch

Posted by: Liz | May 8, 2009

Memories and Photos

Matt is right, we are constantly musing over our New Zealand pictures. What better way to share our adventure with friends and family. He is also right about us enjoying the comforts of home. I can attest to loving a plush feather duvet on my bed and wide open windows at night.

The Evolution of Matt, I mean Man

The Evolution of Matt, I mean Man

All  luxuries aside, it goes without saying that we both will always hold a special place in our hearts for the cold, uncomfortable, sometimes sleepless nights we experienced in the great outdoors. Such as the night we camped underneath Mt. Cook with the sky illuminated by the full moon, or the night we weathered 2 nights of rain on the Routeburn Track, or even the night we spent hours killing sand flies in an effort to save our swollen ankles. These are the nights the “build character,” my dad always says.

Rainbow shines at the site of our engagement

Rainbow shines at the site of our engagement

It almost seems that the memories of our overseas experience are almost sweeter now looking back than the actual moments themselves. Call me crazy but its true!

We snapped literally thousands of photos…I definitely found my new favorite hobby….ahhh, to someday own a digital SLR, lens, tripod…snap back to reality! We hope you enjoy flipping through our plethora of photos via Flickr.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eamilne/

Posted by: Matt | May 4, 2009

From the Backporch

The leaves are breaking out of the twig-ends of the trees in full swing now. Every day we’re getting more and more towards full-green spring, and the flowers are making their presence known. A little under two weeks ago we were still walking around Auckland and Liz was kicking piles of leaves off the sidewalk as Fall set in throughout New Zealand.

Early fall photo from stunning Queen Charlotte Track

Early fall photo from stunning Queen Charlotte Track

It seems like we’ve made the transition at just about the perfect time, the weather changed while we slept in the plane and now we get nice long evenings again. We both find ourselves discussing our recent adventure every day and we constantly muse over pictures. However, we’re delighted to be home. We’ve said farewell to our little island country, the Southern Cross, Flat Whites, winding two-lane roads and said howdy to home, the Big Dipper, buddies and family.

Drinking a famous flat white at Day's Bay, across the harbour from Wellington

Drinking a famous Flat White at Day's Bay, across the harbour from Wellington

We’ve already set our plans for the next big adventure. We’ll be heading to Denver in the Fall. No other plans on the docket yet, but we’ve got plenty of dreams and we’re excited to share those with you in person. 🙂

"Goodbye New Zealand!" Photo taken from the East Cape.

"Goodbye New Zealand!" Photo taken from the site of the East Cape lighthouse.

Posted by: Matt | April 18, 2009

Farewell Bongo

Yes, Bongo has been sold to his new owner, a kiwi who will be using him to get back and forth to the mountains for skiing and boarding this winter.  So I think it’s fair to say Bongo’s adventures will continue long after we’re back home.

 

Bongo and the crew at Jackson's Bay for Fish'n Chips.

Bongo and the crew at Jackson's Bay for Fish'n Chips.

He’s been our constant companion during our trip, but I don’t think we’ll be purchasing any more 20+ year-old cars any more. 🙂

 

Now all that’s left is packing up and getting ourselves back State-side.

Posted by: Liz | April 16, 2009

Sunsrise

I’m hooked! To the sunrise, that is. For the past few weeks, especially since New Zealand “fell back” for daylight savings time, I have been rising with the sun.

My routine is to snatch my camera, head down to the beach before it pops above the horizon and begin snapping away! I also find myself humming my favorite John Butler Trio song…”Sunrise over sea, no longer, my cup half empty…” Ahhh, pure bliss!

Here are some pics of the sunrises on the East Cape, the most easterly part of New Zealand and therefore the first area of the world to see the sun rise.

Sunrise outside of camp site

Sunrise outside of camp site

sunrise at Hicks Bay, just west of East Cape lighthouse

sunrise at Hicks Bay, just west of East Cape lighthouse

There are heaps more photos to share and I promise we’ll organize them all on our flickr account soon. For all you sail boat & water lovers, yesterday Matt and I  sailed on 36 foot yacht all around the Bay of Islands in Northland and landed upon the same sacred land  Captain Cook discovered back in the late 1700’s. Today we’re off to catch a glimpse of the giant Kauri rainforest trees, which are currently under careful care and are approaching the world’s endangered list.

Posted by: Matt | April 13, 2009

It’s all coming to a close

Well, we’ve arrived back in Auckland.  We’re only staying for a minute before heading up to the Northern tip of the country, but we’ll be back here in less than a week to sell the van, pack our bags and get ready to fly home.  By the way, if you know of anyone that wants a 24 year old van with 280,000 kms and happens to be located in Australasia, let us know. 🙂

We’ve had a great last few days catching up with a good friend from Queenstown and making a few new friends along the way.  We’re cruising along the coast of the North Island and camping our hearts out along the way.  In the next couple days we’re going to get our final tastes of wine touring in, snorkel a little bit and hopefully finish a book….did I mention that we have way too much stuff right now?  Need to get rid of everything possible during these last few days.

See ya soon!

Posted by: Matt | March 31, 2009

Golf Cross Anyone?

Now, don’t be jealous, but Liz and I were recently treated to a round of GolfCross by the inventor of the game himself.  The game involves using a ball that looks similar to a golf ball, and it looks similar to a rugby ball.  Take a look at the website, it will make more sense: www.golfcross.com.  You hit the balls through endzone style goals instead of a cup, and in general, it’s a lot of fun.  Burton, the inventor of the sport was one of our WWOOF hosts.  We’d heard about GolfCross on a number of occasions, but had no idea we were going to be hanging out with the founder of the sport.  There is a slow movement heading towards the sport for a number of reasons, and there aren’t any courses in the US yet, but maybe someday soon we’ll all be able to play GolfCross somewhere near our home.

GolfCross at Ocean Beach.

GolfCross at Ocean Beach.

In addition to whacking an oblong golf-like ball, Liz and I also did some serious wine tasting during our time in Martinborough, the town near where we WWOOFed.  Martinborough is one of the premier Pinot Noir and Chardonnay regions in the world and believe you me, we set out on a mission to make sure that was true.  We lunched at the wineries, sampled, bought a bottle or two.  All good fun.  We’ll definitely miss being in wine country when it’s time to say farewell.

Vineyarding!

Vineyarding!

We’re back on the road now, currently sitting in Taupo with a couple days to kill before we move towards the East Coast.  More to come soon….

Posted by: Liz | March 27, 2009

WWOOF, WWOOF

That’s right, we are WWOOFing this week. Matt and I are Willing Workers On Organic Farms (well, one farm specifically). We showed up for our week long home-stay experience this past Monday and so far we have learned a lot and had heaps of fun!

Ahanui Farm, our WWOOF location

Ahanui Farm, our WWOOF location

To give you all an idea of the kind of work Matt and I tackle on a typical day let me explain…we arise to fresh oats, coffee and juicy peaches, plums and pears. Then we settle into our gum boats (rain boats or rubber boots) and head out on the farm to either dead head plants, harvest apples or pumpkins, scoop horse dung or, as was the case today, heard 13 sheep and 3 cattle.

Harvesting pumpkins

Harvesting pumpkins

While scopping horse dung or cleaning chicken coops may not be your cup of tea, Matt and I enjoy imersing ourselves into a slice of organic farm-style Kiwiana. We’ve learned how to tackle the extensive veggie garden, paint wooden poles for the family’s horse eventing practice, pick fresh apples & peaches and  josh around with a fun-loving family in the comforts of their home.

Experiencing a little Kiwiana...herding sheep

Experiencing a little Kiwiana...herding sheep

If you’re interested in learning more about WWOOFing, check out the website – http://www.wwoof.org. Sorry, Matt and I are both booked this summer, we’ll be WWOOFing at our respective parent’s homesteads.

Posted by: Matt | March 17, 2009

“We’re having too much fun!”

So, we’ve spent that last week-and-a-half traveling all over the South Island of New Zealand.  We’ve been hiking, touristing (doing all the things we considered “silly” while we were locals), and visiting towns along our way up the island as we slowly head North.  Oh yeah, we’re engaged too. ☺  I asked Liz to marry me a little over a week ago and she said yes!  We were up in the mountains in the little town of Kinloch preparing for a four-day hike when the moment struck me.

I’d been planning on doing it sometime during that week, but didn’t have the moment picked out.  As we were watching the early morning sun mix with the clouds over the lake surrounded by the Southern Alps, she said “we’re just having too much fun.”  I knew that was my chance, and I very clumsily managed to get the ring out of it’s hiding place in my pack and ask her my big question.  We had a great day after that, and we’ve had a great week traveling since.

Looking out over the lake on the afternoon we got engaged.

Looking out over the lake on the afternoon we got engaged.

We got snowed and rained on during our hike through the mountains, but it was amazing with all the snow-covered peaks.  Since then we’ve been in the more tropical destinations of Akaroa, a small French-influenced town on the Banks Peninsula and I’m currently sitting in shorts and a t-shirt in Nelson, totted as the sunniest place in the world.

From here we will continue on and head over to the North Island on Friday.  Friday night we’re finally going to catch our first rugby match.  Hope the home team wins.  We’ve got little more than a month left on our trip, but we’ve definitely made the most of our time so far.  Hope everyone is well, can’t wait to see you soon.

Posted by: Liz | March 2, 2009

Free-fall into Paradise

Words cannot describe the feeling that rushes over you when you jump out of a plane and free-fall to the ground. This morning I tackled a 12,000 foot sky dive with the crew from NZSKYDIVE and it was wicked! As Matt can vow, sky diving is something I’ve wanted to do since I stepped foot in New Zealand, I just didn’t tell friends and family of my desire…for good reason though – didn’t want ya’ll getting nervous 😉

Glenorchy + Lake Wakatipu = Paradise

Glenorchy + Lake Wakatipu = Paradise

The jump was over the Glenorchy arm of Lake Wakatipu as well as a corner called Paradise (no joke). This part of the South Island is famous for turquoise water, tall mountain peaks and several Lord of the Rings shoot locations. I enjoyed the plane ride straight up 12,000 feet just as much as the free-fall down. We even caught a clear glimpse of Mt. Cook in the distance from 9,000 feet above ground (something my family was fortunate enough to also see during their flight home from New Zealand).

The free-fall was 45 seconds long although it felt like 10. My guide Dave , who sky dives in Nova Scotia, Canada during the northern hemisphere summer, was very skilled and brought us safely to the ground. All and all the whole trip was a very ‘cruizy’ way to land in Paradise.

HUGE rush exiting the plane

HUGE rush exiting the plane

12,000 feet above paradise

12,000 feet above paradise

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