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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Queen Street Waharoa – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Queen Street gate in Aotea Square in Auckland New Zealand

Q is for Queen Street waharoa . . .  or quite cool gateway. Practical Information:  Waharoa means “gateway” in Māori. This one was formed in wood and copper by Selwyn Muru, a Māori sculptor who carved it with chainsaw and chisel. The five symbols across the top are Whetu me te Marama (representing heavenly spheres), Tawhiri Matea […]

Ocean Sailing – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Ocean Sailing? In days past, today this boat just goes out from the Auckland Maritime Museum

O is for ocean sailing . . .  or offshore fun. Practical Information:  This is the Ted Ashby, a ketch-rigged deck scow. It sails nearly everyday from the Auckland Maritime Museum. As an island nation, people arrived here via ocean sailing. It’s only in modern times that there are alternative forms of transportation. The Auckland Maritime Museum […]

Ninety Mile Beach – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Sunset on 90 mile beach in New Zealand

N is for Ninety Mile Beach . . .  or nice sunset. Practical Information:  Possibly the most famous beach in the country, Ninety Mile Beach is actually only about 60 miles long. Ninety Mile Beach is a road and therefore all road rules apply. (And yes, people do frequently get stuck if they don’t watch the […]

Lord of the Rings – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Gollum on display at the Wellington Airport in New Zealand

L is for Lord of the Rings… or large. Practical Information:  Wellington airport bills itself as the middle of Middle Earth. The Gollum photoed on the page was installed in October 2012. The total exhibit has three fish and is 13 metres long and 3 metres high. The Lord of the Rings trilogy utilised over 150 filming […]

Just Published (Choose A Way Auckland) – #AtoZ

Choose A Way Auckland

J is for Just Published. Today my first book Choose A Way Auckland publishes. It’s an interactive ebook offering you choices like: Would you rather . . . OR OR More about Choose A Way Auckland:  Choose A Way Auckland is an interactive city guide by local travel writer and photographer Rhonda Albom. She shares firsthand […]

Inlet – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

An inlet along the northern coast of New Zealand

I is for inlet. Practical Information:  There is over 14,000km of coastline in New Zealand. This inlet is one of 1000’s of beautiful and peaceful spots. I captured this shot through an open window at Mangonui Fish Shop in Northland, a popular spots for fish and chips on the North Coast. The shot was taken looking out towards Doubtless […]

Glacier – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Walking on Fox Glacier on the South Island of New Zealand

G is for glacier . . .  or glacial ice. Practical Information:  A glacier is a river of ice that is slowly moving downhill. Fox and Franz Josef are the two best known glaciers in New Zealand, and are often considered to be the most accessible glaciers in the world. They each travel through subtropical rainforest, […]

Dunes – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Giant Sand Dunes at Te Paki, Northland, New Zealand

D is for dunes . . .  Or daredevil. Practical Information:  Great for sand surfing, which is free if you have your own board. If not, don’t worry, you can hire one there for only $15. The giant sand dunes at Te Paki are located on the western side of the narrow peninsula, about 17 km […]