Endangered Dotterels and Chicks on a New Zealand Beach

New Zealand dotterel

Out of the corner of my eye I see little balls of fluff bouncing and hovering across the beach. These baby dotterels stop to forage for food. Camera in hand, I attempt to focus on one of the endangered chicks although its camouflage makes it challenging. As a result of this lack of contrast, I […]

New Zealand Sunset Photos

Sunset seen from Army Bay beach in Shakespear Park, New Zealand

I love watching colour burst from the sky as the sun sets beyond the horizon. Living in New Zealand, sunset is a treat I get to enjoy often. Recently I moved all my photos to Lightroom. While I sort through 10 years of images I am reminded of many things, including spectacular sunsets in New […]

Auckland Artweek: Highlights of Street Art and Laneways

This spray chalk and stencil carpet is one of the temporary exhibits in Auckland Artweek, New Zealand

It’s Auckland Artweek. A colourful event encompassing much of the city with free walking tours, gallery exhibits, workshops, and lectures. It’s a coming together of all things artistic in our city. Last weekend hubby and I joined two walking tours: Laneway Art Circuit and Street Art Walk. Heart of the City is one of the […]

Exploring Cornwall Park in Auckland New Zealand

Acacia Cottage is Auckland's oldest surviving building located in Cornwall Park, Auckland New Zealand

Auckland is a city built for recreation, and there is no better evidence of this than it’s lush green parks. Cornwall Park is no exception. It’s a picnic under the trees, an exploration of Auckland’s oldest building, or a hike to the summit of a volcano that was once a Maori Pa. Cornwall Park was […]

Musket Holes in New Zealand’s Oldest Church

Musket holes in the side of Christ Church, New Zealand's Oldest Church located in Russell

The laid-back tourist town of Russell is home to New Zealand’s oldest church, and quite a bit of sordid history. Russell, called Kororareka in the 1830’s, was nicknamed the Hell Hole of the Pacific as it was a wild town populated by drunken men and loose women. The missionaries intending to bring religion to this […]

Which is the Best Season for North Island Waterfalls?

Whangarei Falls during the Winter in Whangarei New Zealand

There are four stunning North Island waterfalls that we recently took our AFS students to see. It was winter in New Zealand, but we got lucky and had mostly sunny days.  Our prior visit up north was in the summer before our youngest daughter left on her AFS exchange to Argentina. The winter rains made quite […]

Ten Reasons to Visit the Chocolate and Coffee Show in Auckland

Chocolate by Makana at The Chocolate and Coffee Show in Auckland New Zealand

I don’t need ten reasons to visit a Chocolate and Coffee Show. The name is enough. It lasts for only two days each year in Auckland New Zealand. And let me tell you, they are two great days for a coffee and chocolate fan like me. For those who need a bit more motivation, here […]

KeriKeri Mission Station: Home of New Zealand’s Oldest Buildings

Stone Store in Kerikeri. New Zealand's oldest surviving stone building

Established in 1819, the Kerikeri Mission Station is home to two of New Zealand’s oldest buildings and offers an interesting bit of the country’s history. It was built 22 years before the Treaty of Waitangi established the relationship between Britain and the indigenous Māori people. Europeans were arriving in increasing numbers, and there was tribal fighting […]

Photos: Adorable Lambs in Shakespear Park, Auckland New Zealand

Adorable baby Lambs at Shakespear Park in Auckland New Zealand

Adorable lambs are bouncing all over Shakespear Park these days. Lambing season is the cutest time of the year in New Zealand and the Auckland region is no exception. From our house, we can walk to Shakespear Park. This is what we found last week: Adorable Lambs Practical Information: Shakespear Park is one of a […]

MOTAT Live Day: Where Else Can You Ride in an APC?

Visitors can ride inside this military vehicle at the MOTAT Live Day in Auckland New Zealand

Sometimes it is the unexpected that turns out to be the most fun. We headed up to MOTAT to see the da Vinci Machines exhibit, and our timing worked out that it was also a MOTAT Live Day, a family friendly event bringing the Museum of Transport and Technology to life. For us, it was an […]

Impressive da Vinci Machines: Traveling Exhibit now in Auckland at MOTAT

A flying machine designed by Leonardo da Vinci in the traveling da Vinci Machines exhibit.

Leonardo da Vinci was a genius who was hundreds of years ahead of his time. Whether you know of him as an artist, an inventor, a designer, an anatomy expert, or a renaissance man, you will probably discover another facet of his brilliance at the Leonardo da Vinci Machines exhibit. Traveling around the world, it is now in […]

Waka Taua (War Canoes) at Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand

Maori waka taua at Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand

Walking towards the waka house, we listened as our guide brilliantly narrated New Zealand’s history.  While many say it was discovered by Dutchman Abel Tasman in 1642, the reality is that the Maori people had arrived 650 years earlier. With only 1000 years of history, New Zealand is one of the world’s youngest nations. Our guide told a version of the story I […]

Why Kiwis and Tourists Should Visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds

A hongi shared at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds is probably the most historic and significant site in New Zealand. Only three hours north of Auckland, it should be a required visit for anyone who wants to understand this great nation. Once you arrive, take the tour and experience the cultural show. This was my third visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds since we […]

Vibrant Bay of Islands Sunset Fades to Misty New Zealand Morning

Bay of Islands sunset as seen from Russell New Zealand

The deep golden colors of the Bay of Islands sunset are nearly warm enough to allow us forget it is winter in New Zealand. As we waited for the ferry from Russell, New Zealand’s first permanent European settlement and the country’s first colonial capital, we looked out across the water to the west. This is the Bay of Islands sunset that captivated […]

Collecting Cockles at Okoromai Bay in New Zealand

Ready to collect cockles (small clams) on Okoromai Bay in Auckland New Zealand

As the tide retreated we could see a few people collecting cockles at the water’s edge. I pointed them out to our Italian AFS exchange student, commenting that it is generally a summertime activity. It was only 12c yesterday, not a day I wanted to step into the water even with protective rubber boots. She, however, seemed […]

Top 10 Reasons to Visit this Year’s Auckland Food Show

Forty Thieves at Auckland Food Show

The doors to the Auckland Food Show open promptly at 10am, and along with a few hundred other people we head in for some of the best the country has to offer. Food, drinks, kitchen equipment, and cooking demonstrations, it’s all here under one roof. This is my second year attending the Auckland Food Show and […]

Zipline – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

A zipline over the forest canopy on Waiheke Island

Z is for zipline . . .  or zoom. Practical Information:  Waiheke Island is a short ferry ride from Auckland. Eco Zip has side by side ziplines that take you over vineyards, then over the forest canopy. Personally, I am a chicken, and prefer to spend my afternoons on Waiheke at either the beach or one of the many wineries. […]

Yachting on America’s Cup Boats – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Yachting in New Zealand - Princess Kate racing against Prince William race against each other on former America's Cup boats.

Y is for yachting on America’s Cup Boats  . . .  or yacht racing. Practical Information:  This is the real thing, yachting at its most exciting. It’s an opportunity to crew on a former Team New Zealand America’s Cup yacht.  Most of the time they take out only one of the two boats, but during summer on […]

Xanthospermous – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Kowhai - the unofficial flower of New Zealand is a Xanthospermous as it has yellow seeds

X is for xanthospermous . . .  meaning having yellow seeds. Practical Information:  Kowhai is often considered to be the national flower of New Zealand, although officially, the country doesn’t have a national flower. It is not uncommon in summer to see Tui drunk in the trees (or falling out) after drinking the Kowhai nectar. […]

Waterfall – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Waterfall in KeriKeri, New Zealand

W is for waterfall . . .  or wow. Practical Information:  Haruru Falls is a block waterfall located on the Waitangi River. Haruru means “big noise” and you know it is named correctly as you hear it long before you see it. According to Māori legend, a taniwha (water monster) lives in the lagoon below this waterfall. […]

Volcanic Crater – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

The Auckland city skyline seen while looking over the 50 metre crater of the extinct Mount Eden Volcano, Auckland New Zealand.

V is for volcanic crater. Practical Information:  Now grass covered, the volcanic crater is 50 metres deep. The photo was taken from the Mount Eden’s summit, just outside the volcanic crater. It is the highest natural point in Auckland. Hiking to the top is steep in parts, but overall it is pretty easy, and took us […]

Uphill – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Walking to the lookout on Mt. Victoria in Wellington

U is for uphill. Practical Information:  New Zealand is a country created on volcanic fields, so up is a common direction. This photo was taken when we had hiked about half way up Mt Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. For an uphill walk, it’s a relatively easy climb to 196m above the city, where we were […]

Tekapo: A Stunning South Island Lake – #AtoZ Postcards of NZ

Beautiful azure lake Tekapo on the South Island of New Zealand

T is for Tekapo . . .  or turquoise waters. Practical Information:  Lake Tekapo is one of three lakes in the Mackenzie basin on the South Island. It’s about halfway between the Christchurch and Queenstown Airports, making it an ideal stop to break up the six hour drive, or a destination on its own. Water from the lake is […]

Sunken ship – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Sunken Ship on Okoromai Bay in Auckland, New Zealand

S is for sunken ship. Practical Information:  This ship is one of three that were sunk on purpose to create a shelter inside Okoromai Bay on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. The other two are deeper, not visible, and not that near. It can only be seen at low tide, and the photo was taken at a king low […]

Rangitoto Island – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Rangitoto Island is the youngest volcano in Auckland New Zealand

R is for Rangitoto Island . . .  or run if she decides to blow. Practical Information:  Rangitoto is Auckland’s youngest and largest volcanic field and home to the world’s largest pohutukawa forest (a native tree that blooms with red flowers in December, earning the nickname “New Zealand Christmas Tree“) Getting to Rangitoto Island is easy […]