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 […]

2016 Photo Highlights: 4 Continents, 9 Countries, Lots of Transition

Mandala Suci Wenara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

In February, when both our girls said goodbye we wondered what our empty nest would be like. After 18 years of living, learning and travelling together as a homeschool family of four, would hubby and I have anything to talk about once the girls left? The answer is yes. We rose to the occasion, to […]

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 […]

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 […]

Top Travel Bloggers Explore New Zealand and Australia Street Art

Union Lane Melbourne Australia photo by beer-and-croissants

Street art crosses cultures, language, and continental barriers. I love all of it, although I tend to gravitate towards the brighter, happier images. Today I share a collection of interesting New Zealand and Australia street art. It is part of a travel blogger collaborative series highlighting street art from around the world. Enjoy this collection . . […]

Giapo: Taking Ice Cream and Gelato to an Art Form

Colourful ice cream creations from Giapo in Auckland New Zealand

Giapo. Just thinking about their ice cream and my mouth is watering. Who would have thought the best ice cream in the world is found in Auckland New Zealand? Giapo has turned ice cream into an art form, a perfect handmade combination of flavours. The secrets are passion, attention to every detail, and fresh New Zealand ingredients. The shop […]

Mexico Restaurant in Auckland: Colourful, yet Haunting

Artwork on a wall in Mexico restaruant in Auckland New Zealand

I am not sure what initially brought us to the door of Mexico Restaurant, but it was the haunting decor that brought us into this Auckland eatery in the up-market, trendy Ponsonby neighbourhood. Practical Information on Mexico Restaurant: The ingredients are fresh and the flavours authentic. The menu changes every three months, based on seasonal ingredients. There […]

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, […]

Visiting Auckland’s Polynesian-Style Otara Market in the Rain

Shoppers at the Otara Market on a rainy Saturday in Auckland New Zealand

South Auckland is home to the Otara Market, the largest Polynesian-style market in New Zealand. We visited on hubby’s birthday last weekend, and unfortunately, it was raining. In addition to vendors selling food, clothing, flowers, and Pasifika treasures, we discovered the freshest and least expensive produce we have seen in a while. Neither the vendors […]

Winter Fun: Auckland Ice Skating Rink in Aotea Square

Ice Skating in Auckland Aotea Square, New Zealand

One of the great things about living in Auckland is that this city never misses a holiday. If there isn’t one coming soon, we create one. This week we are celebrating winter. The 30 X 16 metre Auckland ice skating rink adds a bit of fun and magic to the season in a region of the […]

Planting Day Replenishes the Native Bush to Auckland Parks

Planting Day at Shakespear Park in Auckland New Zealand

Planting Day brings out the best of people. The sense of community is one of the things I love about living in New Zealand.  Despite the rainy day, about 90 people planted nearly 4000 trees in Auckland’s Shakespear Park a few weekends ago. For now, I can’t plant, so I came along with a camera. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Everyday Differences: Even NZ’s Paddock Fence is Unique

Paddock fence in Shakespear Park, Auckland New Zealand

As I walked by some farm land this morning I was thinking about how a paddock fence really is cultural, constructed differently in every country. In New Zealand they look like this: Walking alongside this fence, you can tell it is all handmade. PS:  This is the same paddock that had the crop circle – […]

Are Ewe Pregnant? Scanning Sheep in New Zealand

Scanning Sheep today - the blue spot means pregnant with a single. At Shakespear Park, New Zealand

It was an unusual start to the day. I was invited out to Shakespear Park where they were scanning nearly 600 ewes (female sheep) in order to determine if they were pregnant with multiples, singles or “empty” (their words, not mine). As they use the same ultrasound equipment that is used on humans in hospitals […]

Xing Around Auckland: The #AtoZ Challenge is Nearly Over

Cartwheel on the beach in Auckland, New Zealand

The A-to-Z challenge is nearly over and finding an X in Auckland was even easier than I thought it would be. Once I got started “Xing”, I could find them everywhere. Before your visit, grab a copy of my book Choose A Way Auckland by Rhonda Albom. Have you gone Xing around your town? What’s […]

People Are What Make Auckland New Zealand Special – #AtoZ

People in Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is an eclectic mix of personalities and people, not much different than other modern cities we have visited around the world. We arrived here nearly 12 years ago, and I still remember the mixed reaction as we told our friends and family we were moving half way around the world to New Zealand. Some […]

Coffee Training is Why Auckland Cafe’s Are Great – #AtoZ

Student latte in barista class

I know Seattle is the city people think of for coffee, but those are people who have never been to New Zealand. As a coffee lover and world traveler I am convinced that some of the world’s best cafes are in Auckland. Now I know why. It’s the barista training. Meet Dave: Why would we […]

Mozzies, Spiders and Ants – Time for a Mortein Giveaway!

Fly almost too beautiful to spray with Mortein

I remember the moment. We had just returned from our restful camping trip to Waipu Cove, I was applying Heal Me to several itchy mosquito bites when I heard the ping of incoming email.  Just before touching the keys, I noticed him . . . a white tail spider, the only thing that scares me […]

Photo Highlights of 2014: Birds in New Zealand

Tui on Tiritiri Matangi Island, New Zealand

With over 170 different types of birds in New Zealand, it’s hard to go a day without seeing a beautiful example of our feathered friends.  As 2014 comes to an end, I want to share some of the year’s highlights in photos.  It’s a three part series, with bird photos as number one, followed by […]

Photos: Auckland Celebrates Hanukkah in the Park

Lighting the candles on the first night of Hanukkah in Auckland

Tonight marks the first night of Hanukkah, the eight night Jewish holiday often referred to as the festival of lights.  In Auckland, Hanukkah in the Park is a celebration of music, story telling, food and candle lighting. This evening’s weather was a bit of challenge, as it is surprisingly cold and shockingly windy for a […]

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 […]

Sarah’s Saturday Snapshots #18 – Bubbles

Blowing bubbles in New Zealand

On Thursday my Girl Guide Ranger group was invited to a party at another group in Orewa, and while I was there I found that lots of people were blowing bubbles. I’ve wanted to try taking pictures of them for quite a while, and one of my friends offered to blow a few bubbles for me […]

LARP – Live Action Role Play in Auckland: 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 […]