Auckland

Adam and I recently took a long weekend trip to the city of Auckland. Auckland is on New Zealand’s North Island and although not the capital of New Zealand, it is the most populous with over 1.6 million people living there.

We stayed at the Grand Millennium hotel which is a short walk from the city centre and has a pool, cafe, bar and restaurant.

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We only had a short time in Auckland so we headed out into the bustling streets (so much busier than Christchurch!) to see the sights and do some shopping. We enjoyed walking around the parks and streets, and found the cafes and restaurants to be reasonably priced and of excellent quality.

In the evening we headed to an underground Thai restaurant which was wonderful and then headed out to see the famous sky tower.

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It cost us about $30 each to go up into the sky tower and as a one off ‘touristy’ activity, I’d say it was worth it. The views of the city are great and you can enjoy a drink and some gelato whilst up there too. We went up at dusk so that we could view the city as it began to light up.

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The main event and the original reason for our trip was to go and see Mumford and Sons play live in concert. We’d missed them whilst living in The Netherlands and were delighted to see they would be touring near us in New Zealand so booked tickets as soon as they went up. They played at a festival style gig at the Outer Fields of Western Springs Stadium.

We spent the day eating and drinking and enjoying several support artists before the main event began.

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The gig was excellent and finished off a really lovely weekend in Auckland.

Wherever you are in the world, have a wonderful week ahead.

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Mt Richardson

Mt Richardson is located in the Mount Thomas Forest Conservation Area of Canterbury. It’s less than a two hour drive from Christchurch and we headed up there with a friend one sunny day during the summer holiday break.

We linked the Richardson, Blowhard and Bypass tracks to create a nice loop. Hiking this way takes takes you steeply up through the forest to the peak and then heads back down over stunning ridges with open views of the surrounding peaks.

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There’s an additional short track you can follow on the way back to the carpark which takes you via a pretty waterfall and stream – perfect for cooling off hot feet!

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This is another stunning area of Canterbury and one which we look forward to exploring more in future. An additional bonus is that the hike is near the small town of Oxford which is great for snacks on the way home!

Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely week!

Dog Stream Waterfall

Dog stream falls are found at the end of a short walk in the Hanmer Basin. The winding track climbs up through a beautiful beech forest which gives you lovely glimpses of the valley beyond. There are a few sets of wooden stairs and it’s quite steep at times. There’s also one small stream to cross on the way.

After about an hour you arrive at the stunning 41 meter waterfall.

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We hiked up early to avoid the crowds but counted at least fifteen other people heading up to the falls on our way back. So if you want to enjoy the area in peace then best to head up earlier on!

We made this hike a loop by joining the Spur Track which climbs up to the bush-line (more stunning views!) and then heads back down a pretty nature trail.

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If you enjoy waterfall spotting then this is a short easy track to enjoy. The town, Hanmer Springs is close by and is perfect for a meal or ice-cream afterwards too.

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Wherever you are in the world, enjoy your week!

Lyttelton Coastal Path

Lyttelton is a small port town close to Christchurch. It has a nice farmers’ market each week and is a pretty place to look around. Adam and I heard it had a nice coastal path as well so we went to have a look.

This coastal path is easy walking and takes in a handful of little coves and beaches along the way.

The water looked very inviting and if the weather had been a little warmer, we’d have probably gone for a swim.

The walk goes via Magazine Bay, Corsair Bay and Cass Bay.

The scenery is really lovely on this walk: forest, hills, beaches, sea – beautiful! It takes less than two hours to complete (there and back) and you can create a loop at the far end by circling around Pony Point Scenic Reserve.

Afterwards we headed back into Lyttelton and went to a cute cafe which had more lovely views overlooking the harbour.

Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely week!

Ryde Falls

Ryde falls is found in the Oxford Forest Conservation Area of Canterbury, about an hour’s drive from Christchurch. Adam and I headed out to explore this area on Christmas Day and really enjoyed this easy, half-day hike. We headed in on the Wharefedale track which  starts out with beautiful views over the valley and then heads quickly into a dense, green forest full of vibrant vegetation.

There were a few streams to cross during this hike but as it was hot and incredibly muddy it was always a relief to plunge our feet into the cool water and clean them off again.

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After a while we came to Ryde Falls which is apparently a five-tier waterfall (we could only see four so I guess one tier is higher up and out of sight). The falls are beautiful and you can get really close, and even swim in the lower pool during the really hot months.

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We headed back on a slightly different (even muddier) track to make the hike a loop and enjoyed a picnic lunch back in the open, close to the carpark.

This is a super hike with beautiful forest surroundings. We’ll definitely be going back to this area to explore more in future.

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Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely week.

Halswell Quarry

Halswell Quarry is located on the outskirts of Christchurch and is now a large park area with permanent orienteering courses set up, hiking paths galore and plenty of ponds, and gardens to admire. The working quarry closed in 1990 but its history is quite interesting and you can learn about it from various information boards as you walk around. Near the entrance is one of the historic buildings, the ‘single men’s house’ that you can have a wander around in.

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We decided to have an easy stroll round the quarry on Sunday looping up and around the quarry face then back down through the trees and parkland. The views of Christchurch and beyond are lovely, and the mountain info board at the top helped us identify some of the peaks in the Southern Alps.

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At the bottom we were able to grab a couple of shakes and some brownies from the coffee van which was a really nice end to the walk.

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Wherever you are in the world, have a good week.

Boulder Bay Run

Yesterday we took part in the Boulder Bay Classic 10.5km trail run at Godley Head. Adam and I started trail running in July of this year shortly after arriving in New Zealand. The first trails we ran together were those at Godley Head so it seemed fitting to sign up to the local race there. This race starts at Taylor’s mistake Beach and then winds up and along the coastal paths before looping back around to finish back in the valley. I haven’t run many trails but this has surely got to be one of the most beautiful runs in the world!

The weather was already warming up when we arrived so after the obligatory selfie shot we smeared on the sun cream, tied on our race chips and managed to squeeze in a quick coffee before the warm up.

The race started at 9am and more than 300 of us thundered along the beach and through the gates onto the coastal paths. There are a number of hills along the route with a total elevation of around 250m. I found the race hard work, hot and really enjoyable. I finished with a time of 1 hour 12, coming 41st out of 65 in my category. For my first official run, I was pleased with that. Adam did really well and came 13th in his category with a finish time of 53.58.

After the race, the atmosphere was really great. Everyone congregated on the valley floor and lounged in the sunshine, enjoying the prize giving ceremony. Adam also managed to bag a spot prize of 50 free coffees at a local cafe so that will no doubt come in handy after future runs!

This race was a great morning out and I’m sure we’ll be there again next year trying to improve our times!

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Wherever you are in the world, have a great week.