oceania places to go

The in-betweens, NZ ’10


one of our favorite things about travel is finding things that are otherwise unnoticed. of course there are travel books and things you MUST VISIT when you go somewhere, but some of our favorite memories have been during the in-betweens, the times we have just pulled over because we had to see what was down this little alleyway or take a photo of a ridiculous sign. that’s why our recommended mode of travel is rental car!

here are our favorites from our NZ trip.

here’s our little vehicle!

this was the coolest calmest body of water ever, so incredible!

honey tastings?? are you kidding me? we saw this sign and had to check it out. then shortly after we found a blueberry wine sign and HAD to stop there. i guess we didn’t take any photos but oh my what an experience! we were the only ones there and this lady let us try all these different wines and liquors she’d made. we’d never tried so many different types of tasty drinks before, and also some not so tasty! some were so sweet! we chatted with the lady for a while and she told us that she just loved experimenting with wines. so she’s made wine out of every fruit imaginable. she said some she couldn’t sell because after tasting them she would wake up on the floor the next day. it was hilarious! and yet another fun random find only because we were wandering off the beaten path.

mt. doom from lord of the rings…wow this scene was breathtaking!

ok this was freaking random. we stopped in this field and all these cows just started mooing and coming toward us. really freaky!

and this may not have been the first time i’ve trespassed…don’t judge me!

worth it, see!

don really aimed high in life…

couldn’t understand this sign!

and i guess the only down side of renting a car is the potential of getting a ticket. whoops! this is the only time we’ve ever gotten a ticket while traveling, not our first run in with a cop though. ah well, adventures adventures…

oceania places to go

Hobbiton, NZ part 2 – ’10

maybe it’s because of our yearly watching of lord of the rings, or maybe it’s because the hobbit part 2 just came out, or maybe it’s because of our little hobbit (because she eats so many meals a day, get it!!!) but i just felt in the mood to share more of our hobbiton visit!

we shared the first part here about how we accidentally got a private tour in the rain 🙂

as i said in the previous blog post, they usually have the holes stripped down like this but they were already dressing the set for filming the hobbit!!! yay for us!!

our tour guide that we couldn’t understand 🙂

so much detail!

unfortunately bag end was off limits that day, that’s up the hill there.

the party tree, which is sick or something…another story we couldn’t quite make out with the rain and the accent 🙂

they even paint smoke on the chimneys to make the houses look lived in!

where gandalf rode into hobbiton through…jared is totally geeking out right now

we were finally allowed into a few, and now we’re totally in the market!

hope you enjoyed, that’s the most nerdy we got while in kiwi-land, but come on, you have to admit, those are some good stories!!


oceania places to go

Rotorua, NZ ’10

 here’s another post from our super last minute new zealand trip in 2010. we posted a little teaser from hobbiton and now here’s a little something from rotorua. it’s a stinky town because of all of the thermal activity around there. on our way there, we had some lunch and we were laughing at the chicken flavored chips they had. the girl there wondered why we would laugh at that since she heard we had jalapeno flavored chips in the US.

right outside of our hotel room was a thermal hot spring! we saw it go off every hours or so. as we headed out of rotorua, we went to two thermal parks, waimangu and wai-o-tapu. we got a good deal getting into the parks because it had been raining non-stop since we left auckland and there was flooding on part of the trail. luckily they also had these nice large umbrellas for us to use like in hobbiton, we apparently were not prepared with our dinky little san diego umbrellas 🙂

these two parks were huge and unfortunately because of the rain, we had a hard time taking photos…it was actually good practice for us to get the shot right the first time rather than having all the time in the world to take photos.

it was cool on the hikes that there were all these open places with the thermal activity but then we were also walking through forest, it was beautiful!

all of the places at wai-o-tapu were named after the devil and hell, we found where he lives!! run away! the funny thing was that there were all these dark names like devil’s ink pots, devil’s bath and inferno, but then there were also places like bridal veil and champagne as well.

love the detail in the rocks from all the bubbly acid over time.

such pretty colors from all the elements

at the end of the hikes we were soaked and actually got picked up by buses because of the flooding. i asked the lady if they ever worry about volcanoes or earthquakes. she said volcanoes but they usually have 2-3 weeks notice, that’s nice!!

we need to start finding vacation spots that don’t rain 100% of the time, i guess that’s due to our general poor vacation planning…oh well still fun!!

oceania places to go reminisce things to do

where it all began..

we used to have this game called geo-safari when we were kids. my brothers and i got so good at the game that when the tv show where in the world is carmen san diego, started, we were in heaven! we wanted to be on that show and actually go to all those places they talked about.

but my love for travel did not start there, it started when we were pretty young and we had our first exchange student. she piqued my brother and my interests in traveling. we had exchange students every year for years from sweden, norway, denmark, france, holland, portugal, morocco,  and australia. we would talk to them any chance we got, learn how to count to 10 in their languages, and make fun of their eating habits (pizza and fried chicken with a fork and knife, don’t you know we eat with our hands!)

the first trip i took out of the country was by myself for five weeks, i went to australia to visit 5 exchange students. i saved all my babysitting money and went, and i was hooked. i was awed by God’s creation in a place i’d never seen or even dreamed of really. i enjoyed the culture, learning the differences in our versions of english, and seeing that the world was much bigger than a 15 year old could even imagine. i knew i had to see more, and learn more, and this is where it all began.

ALSO – do please notice my awesome fashion choices! oh wait, i had no idea how to dress myself for the better part of my life…

oceania places to go

‘Hobbiton’, New Zealand – ’10

so this is a story about how two people tend to be really really last minute with trip planning…and how this particular trip was so last minute that they didn’t even tell anyone they were going.

we were, in fact we were so busy with weddings in 2010 that our 9 days in a row that we had free that whole summer really crept up on us. so we talked about where we wanted to go [everywhere] and narrowed it down to peru and new zealand. peru is closer but when we priced them out, new zealand was much more affordable and faster to get to! so a week before we left, we bought our tickets and headed down under.

the photos below are a bit of a tease unfortunately because we can’t post many of our hobbiton photos until both the hobbit movies come out which i believe will be 2013…boo. ‘hobbiton’ is a working sheep farm in matamata. they found the location for the lotr movies by flying over it in helicopter. they asked the owner if they could work something out to use this as a set for the films. the neat thing is that the owner kept the ‘hobbit holes’ up for people to come visit. we expected to see what you see here, stripped down, but we got a real treat when we realized they were already dressing the set for the hobbit movies which is why we aren’t allowed to post the photos yet.

so we showed up after making a reservation for the tour and it was pouring rain…ya know…their winter. luckily they had boots for us to wear and better umbrellas than we had! turns out we were the only, yes the only people on the tour. this is not the first time i’ve accidentally had a tour all to myself but that’s another story. anyway, we awkwardly hopped in the tour bus and listened to an older man mumble in his kiwi accent for an hour or so as he led us through the town. we were able to wander out and go inside the houses (which i’ll post in two years if the world hasn’t ended). but then it got a little more awkward as we realized that the tour wasn’t over. since it’s a working sheep farm we got to have our very own personal sheep shearing demonstration! yippee. i even got to feed the lambs their bottles, hahaha. this was not our first experience with sheep on a trip either, but that’s another story…

our super nerdy van…just for the two of us and our tour guide, who used the microphone and speakers, haha

our tour guide showing us still frames from the lotr movies

the party tree!

time for sheep shearing…turns out the guy had been to the states a few times so we chatted about that before we got down to business

love his shoes, so authentic!

they are pretty cute, they wag their tails like dogs 🙂

travel photography, new zealand, hobbiton, hobbiton new zealand, sheep shearing, travel portraits