Mysterious Light Beam Over Rangitoto Island, New Zealand

Light beam over Rangitoto Island outside Auckland New Zealand seen on 31 Jan 2016

The mysterious light beam over Rangitoto Island this past weekend created quite a stir. An iconic landmark in the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto Island can be seen from nearly every north and east facing Auckland shore, as well as the south facing beaches of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula where I live. The light beam over Rangitoto left many Auckland residents wondering […]

Caluzzi Bar and Cabaret: A Drag Queen Show Not to Miss in Auckland

Drag Queen show at Caluzzi Bar and Cabaret in Auckland New Zealand

“Welcome Darlings, are you here for the show?” From the moment we entered Caluzzi our lives were temporarily transformed to one with a bit more flamboyant energy, jubilant laugher, and energetic fun. Restaurant, bar, and cabaret, it’s all here, rolled up into one full evening of themed entertainment. The “girls” are larger than life, animated, hilarious, […]

Late Night Halloween on K-Road and Queen Street in Auckland

Even some of the shop keepers got into the late night Halloween spirit in Auckland, New Zealand

Last night was a real eye-opener for me. Late night Halloween in Auckland brought out the creativity that New Zealand is known for. Since immigrating here 12 years ago, I have been incorrectly referring to Halloween as a “children’s” holiday in New Zealand. I thought the MOTAT Olde Hallow’s Eve event last week was pretty […]

The Not-So-Famous Welcome to Fabulous Auckland Sign

Welcome to Fabulous Auckland Sign

Fabulous Auckland. That’s how I often describe it, but now it is a bit more permanent title. Let’s start at the beginning: Walking up a steep, unfamiliar street somewhere between Newmarket and the Auckland Domain I glanced inside an open warehouse and found a treasure. In the midst of the nothingness, a serendipitous discovery. A […]

Does the Auckland Sky Tower Look a Bit Like an Alien Ship?

Auckland Sky Tower lit up at night looks a bit like an alien ship flying over Auckland New Zealand

The rain was light but steady, eliminating my opportunity to take a photo looking up at the Auckland Sky Tower without the rain landing on my lens. I have often seen it lit up in colors from a distance, but I am infrequently walking in town at night. I waited for the shot as this […]

Intimidated by Cows: How is it a Weekend Travel Inspiration?

Brown cow in a paddock in Shakespear Park, Auckland New Zealand

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, I had limited exposure to farm animals.  Why would I?  Farmers farmed, suburban girls  . . . didn’t, so it’s no wonder I am intimidated by cows. On a recent, rather long hike with my daughter, I cringed as I looked over the next paddock gate. I took […]

Just Smile – An Auckland Pirate is my Weekend Travel Inspiration

Just Smile - A funny pirate carrying a sign on Queen Street in Auckland New Zealand

Now that I am traveling locally, I see Auckland in a different light, and generally I can just smile and enjoy the city. Sometimes I need a bit of encouragement. I noticed him diagonally across Queen Street on one of major intersections with traffic lights that include a rotation for pedestrians to cross in all […]

A Blindfold Limbo Prank Live in Auckland, TV1 Breakfast Show

Blindfold limbo prank from the clowns of New Zealand's TV1 Breakfast show.

Have you heard of the blindfold limbo prank? I hadn’t, but Sarah sure knew what was going on as we came upon the scene. From the beginning: A few weeks ago Sarah and I took the ferry up to Auckland for the Writer’s Festival.  We had a short walk up  Queen Street where we came […]

Hiking Faraway, New Zealand’s Descriptive Signage

Faraway - the name on a paddock in Shakespear Park, Auckland New Zealand

Ever wonder how far is faraway? Today I found out. One of New Zealand’s idiosyncrasies is naming things exactly as they are.  Why else would its two main land masses be named “North Island” and “South Island”? It does come in handy at times.  Recently Shakespear Park redid its paddock gate signage, with new signs […]

Bagpipes at a Beach in Auckland, New Zealand

Bagpipes at the beach in New Zealand

Bagpipes were the last thing I expected to hear at a New Zealand beach. The music is distinctive, yet when I turned my head I was surprised to actually see bagpipes.  Well, technically it was just one man and one instrument. The two adorable children were following him everywhere.  I am sure there is a […]

Our Teens Try Fire Spinning in Auckland, New Zealand

Fire Spinning in Auckland New Zealand

I never thought about fire spinning before Sunday evening when we encountered a group of talented people in the popular Mission Bay district of Auckland. Their activities involved hoops, poi, juggling, balancing, and spinning. We could see (and smell) there would soon be fire. We introduced ourselves to a friendly guy named Sam who told […]

Is that a Crop Circle in Auckland’s Shakespear Park?

Is it a crop circle in an Auckland Park (New Zealand)

Gazing across Okoromai Bay at Shakespear Park an odd pattern in the long grass caught my eye. From my deck it almost looks like a crop circle. I know it wasn’t there yesterday. I had to get a closer look. Camera and family in tow, we hiked over to the park. *Shakespear Park was named […]

Moonbright: Stranger In the Woods: An Adventure in Auckland

Musician in Moonbright: Stranger in the woods - Live Action Role Playing in Auckland

Photographing Moonbright: Stranger in the Woods, I stood in the sidelines and really didn’t follow the unfolding story very well.  To add to my confusion, players occasionally jumped out at me: Like the The Crucible, (the LARP my daughter participated in last month), Moonbright is an on-going Live Action Role Playing event. Stranger in the […]

Photos: Giant Santa, a Holiday Icon in Auckland, New Zealand

Giant Santa and his reindeer in Auckland

Auckland almost lost an icon this year. The giant Santa and his reindeer have been saved, although he has lost his creepy wink and almost inappropriate beckoning finger.  About a month ago, after 54 years of tradition (this is a really long time for New Zealand), Heart of the City announced that there will be no […]

LARP – Live Action Role Play in Auckland: The Crucible

LARP-The-Crucible

Watching my daughter participate in her first LARP (Live Action Role Play), I can see why she is so attracted to the experience.  She reads fantasy, writes fantasy, and now it comes alive.  This particular on-going New Zealand LARP game is called The Crucible, and will be played for three years. Even being the youngest […]

Crazy Cow Chased Us in New Zealand

Crazy Cow in New Zealand

Look at this cow: Gorgeous, isn’t it? If your thought is, “Cows are female, that’s a steer,” then you already probably know more than I did when I started this hike. I wasn’t looking for cows. My plan was to take a dozen little girls on a hike to see baby lambs. The park ranger […]

Is Tui Brewery Really Run by the Gorgeous Women in their Ads?

Tui Brewery on the Mangatainoka River, North Island, New Zealand

I know what you are thinking, why on earth would I be going to Tui Brewery to look for gorgeous women? Just take a look at one of their television commercials: New Zealand is famous for lots of things, and according to the Tui Brewery’s advertisements, the gorgeous women who work for Tui is one of […]

An Old Skeleton Found In Gulf Harbour New Zealand

Skeleton in Gulf Harbour

As soon as we heard an old skeleton had been unearthed near our home, we headed over to the Anchorage, a building site in the quiet seaside town of Gulf Harbour, New Zealand. I am fascinated by the discovery and the possibility of an ancient legend to follow, as local iwi have been alerted to […]

Steampunk in Auckland – A Victorian Tomorrow That is Today

Steampunk Aethercon Convention in Auckland

Steampunk is the world of the future as imagined from the Victorian past.  Walking into Aethercon, The Steampunk Convention over the weekend was like entering a different world.  I had no idea what to expect, as I struggled to get my head around this subculture which seems to be an eclectic mix of science fiction, fantasy, […]

Bubble Soccer in Auckland – Funniest Thing I Have Seen in Weeks

Bubble Soccer in Auckland

What is bubble soccer? I had to ask when Sarah came home with a huge smile, and rambling on about climbing into a giant bubble and playing soccer. “It’s really fun and I was laughing the entire time.” The more she talked, the more I giggled, but it was the photos that pushed it over […]

Photos: International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 2014 in Auckland

international mine countermeasures exercise

Pretty cool to have the New Zealand Navy on the beach by our house for an international mine countermeasures exercise and Diving Exercises. The letter from the navy stated: “The exercise will involve 600 personnel and five ships from 14 nations and will test our ability to respond to a humanitarian emergency in the Pacific.” Army […]

Dana Johannsen Should Apologize to the People of New Zealand

Dana Johannsen Should Apologize

As an expat living in New Zealand I generally feel pride for both my former and existing nations.  However, when I read Dana Johannsen’s article, Sochi – It’s like watching Kiwis on an expensive ski holiday trashing our country’s top athletes and suggesting we have embarrassed our country in Sochi, I was stunned. Not only […]

Our Car Was Towed Away from the Auckland Lantern Festival

towed away

You know that moment when you get a really great parking space, right in front of what should be a relatively crowded event? It happened to us Thursday night at the Auckland Lantern Festival, and we were thrilled.  A crowded city, a row of parked cars close to the entrance, and one backing out just […]

Trapped in the Park – Our Latest New Zealand Adventure

trapped in the park

Are you wondering how we got trapped in the park? One of the many great things about living in New Zealand is the stunning hiking opportunities.  The local regional park near our home is no exception.  Nearly two years ago a predator-free fence was built, the  non-indigenous mammals roaming around the park were poisoned, and […]