Beaches and Bintangs in Kuta, Bali

We arrived into Denpasar, Bali after slowly working through the longest customs queue of all time. After hopping into a taxi at the airport and being driven through narrow streets and multiple near misses with scooters, motorbikes, pedestrians, chickens, dogs, etc, we arrived to our accommodation in Kuta at about 6pm.

Tired, weary and starving after a day that began at 3am NZ time, we were excited to explore for a moment or two before ravishing down some food and collapsing into bed for a good nights sleep.

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On our brief evening explore we didn’t find the beach as we had hoped, having not quite got our bearings yet, but managed to follow our noses back to our guesthouse and grab some dinner at a warung (local food restaurant) across the street.

Maybe this sets the tone for the rest of our travels – I don’t know – but we broke pretty much every “rule” on our first evening. This place had no english menu so we had no clue what we were ordering! We ate Nasi Campur – a common Indonesian meal that is essentially your choice from a selection of different proteins (chicken, fish, tempeh, egg, etc), vegetables and sauces, served with warm rice. With ours we ate cold chicken, cold eggs and some other unidentifiable meats, that had been sitting out for who knows how long. And you know what? We did not get sick in the slightest, it was tasty, and it only cost us $1.50 each!

Kuta Beach

Kuta has a fairly poor reputation amongst many backpackers, as a place full of bintang singlets, fresh tattoos and heads full of cornrows. Wandering the streets I can certainly see the truth in this, however, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when we reached the beach. It was lovely, if overly busy and filled with many, many hawkers trying to sell you everything from jewellery and sarongs, to ice creams, kites and bow & arrows! A simple “no, thank you” repeated three times over as they continually ask you to buy their goods seemed to send them on their way.

Kuta Beach

Kuta Beach

We spent three nights in Kuta, with two full days which we spent mostly lingering along the beach and enjoying smoothies at various beach cafes which sprawl out into the sand.

Kuta Beach

Kuta Beach

We spent one morning waking all the way up to Seminyak beach (about 1.5 hours) where the people thinned out a bit and it was slightly more peaceful.

Kuta Beach

Kuta Beach

One afternoon we indulged in a massage, which typically cost between 50,000 and 60,000 Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) for one hour, approx $5-6 NZD. It was quite lovely, but I’m sure a few more dollars would have helped make the experience more relaxing (or at least paid for childcare for the little girl that insisted on continually ripping open the curtain to my massage booth!).

On our last evening there was a beach festival on Legian beach (just down the end of Kuta beach) so we grabbed some tucker from there along with a bintang, laid out the sarong in the sand and watched the sun set.

Kuta Beach

If you’re on a budget, Kuta’s food offering is not great. Try and eat at local warungs where you can and it will be a lot cheaper, plus a lot more authentic and delicious! We ate at one of the restaurants on Legian street on our second night, and whilst it was a lovely setting, we ordered Indonesian food and not only was it 3x the price of a local waring it was bland and ordinary.

Whilst I did enjoy our time in Kuta, I have been more impressed with the places we have been to since (as I write this I can hear the surf gently folding into the sand, on the peaceful island of Gili Air). It was a great place to start and get a bit of beach time in, so I’m glad we spent some time in Kuta but I’m also happy that we didn’t stay there longer. There is a lot more to Bali (and Indonesia) than an overcrowded beach and a bintang singlet!

Kuta Beach

 

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Long-Term Travel – How I’m Feeling

I have a giant list of post ideas for my little blog, and sat down this afternoon with the intention of working through just that, but with our long-term travel adventure looming my brain has other ideas and this candid snapshot of thoughts came out instead!

Our adventure begins in about three weeks time, so it has been a hectic few weeks of organisation, finishing up projects at work, and managing to sell most of our stuff – and as to be expected not all has gone smoothly and easily. Last night was the first night I have slept for 8 hours in a looong time, and man, it felt good!

The best way I can describe my brain at the moment is like a blender on the pulse function – a mixture of feelings all whizzed up together in go-go-go mode! Every now and then though, I find myself completely calm with this content feeling that everything is going to work out fine. Which it will, of course, but there is plenty to do before then! My mind is playing tricks on me and it is all rather confusing!

Home Nelson New Zealand

I thought it might be a good practice to write down what’s on my mind now so that hopefully, in a year or so, I can look back and laugh/reminisce about the silly things I was worried about at the time. Here goes my random brain dump…

I’m going to miss this place, and everybody that comes with it. I seem to have this problem that the minute I feel comfortable somewhere I have this urge to shake it up and do something outside my comfort zone. I love change, but it also terrifies me. I’m going to miss my perfect little house, my car (I had to say goodbye to it yesterday), my family, my friends, earning money, my part-time dog…at least I don’t have to say goodbye to Alan!

Home Backyard

Going to miss playing with this guy in our backyard!

What if I don’t like travelling? I’ve backpacked for 3 months through Asia before, but never any longer than that. And I talk about travelling ALL the time. Will we come crawling back with our tails between our legs after just a month or so? Gosh, I hope not.

Will we get our to-do lists done before we go? I sure hope so! Aaaah brain overload, so much to do.

I am so excited to own hardly anything. We have sold SO much stuff. Our cars, all of our whiteware, furniture, plus lots of clothes and nick-nacky things. And it feels good! I’m worried about when we come back (will we come back?) how we will afford to buy the things we need, but for now it feels wonderful, and I am inspired to live a more minimalistic life. Hopefully this mindset lasts!

Everybody else is starting to spend money on responsible things, and I’m about to splurge my entire savings on travel. My Facebook feed is filled with friends buying homes, getting married, having babies, buying new pets, engagement rings and new cars. These are all things I want, but not just yet. Should I want that right now? Am I going to regret spending all of this money on adventuring through the unknown rather than a downpayment on a mortgage? Gosh, that sounds so serious. I’m confident in our decision to travel and I’m positive that we won’t regret it – but my Facebook feed certainly doesn’t agree with me!

I’m proud of how I’ve retrained myself in regards to my money. I used to never have a second thought about spending a day at the mall and purchasing essentially a new wardrobe, buying a takeaway coffee at the office each morning, or spending $10 or more on my lunch nearly every single day. Since January this year when I began saving for our holiday to Costa Rica, I have been so strict on myself when it comes to money. I haven’t bought new clothes in months, nor a coffee, nor lunch. I pack my lunch every single day. I drink coffee that is provided for free in our staffroom. And I repeat outfits often. So what? I’ve managed to save a truckload of money! In this process I have also become great at budgeting, become a lot closer to my money and understand my financial position a lot better including my gigantic student loan and Kiwisaver.

Philippines Beach Travel

Can’t wait for views like this, and warm temperatures!

I’m dying of anticipation! I’m eager to board that plane and turn all of my travel dreams into reality. This long-term trip has been in the back of my mind for more than 10 years, and I’m SO excited that the timing has finally fallen into place. We have a very basic plan, and I just can’t wait to see how our adventures evolve as we discover new opportunities, meet new people, and become comfortable with life on the road.

Have you ever set off for a long-term adventure? What were your thoughts going into it?

 

How To Save Money For Travel: My 5 Top Tips

There are plenty of posts similar to this out there on the interwebs, just about every travel blogger has a post dedicated to the best tips and tricks of how to save money for travel.

I’m not going to lie, the way I have saved for travel is nothing new.

Here’s my tips and tricks as to how I have saved enough money to travel for an entire year on a NZD $50 a day budget (you do the math!). While I’ve been saving I’ve also managed to fund a 10-day road-trip around New Zealand’s South Island and a two week holiday in Costa Rica. For the record, I have a fairly entry-level marketing position i.e. I am certainly not raking in the big bucks.

Can't wait for views like this again!

Can’t wait for views like this again!

1. I stopped spending money on unnecessary items. Yup, super basic. I stopped buying new clothes, new makeup, buying my lunch, basically anything that wasn’t essential I have completely cut back on. I work in a department store, so this hasn’t been easy! However, over the course of the year so far I’m surprised that I no longer feel any desire to buy anything new whatsoever. While I am now totally unfashionable and have no idea what the latest trends are, I’m pleased to not actually care at all which is a very freeing feeling!

2. Kind of an extension of #1, I started relating any spending to what I could buy when I was travelling with that amount of money. For example, why would I spend $4 on a coffee, when I could buy 10 pad thais on Bangkok’s Khao San Road for the same amount? It really starts to put the expense of things into perspective. Why buy a $6 sandwich from the bakery when that could pay for an entire nights (or even two!) accommodation in Laos?

3. Selling all of our belongings. We (Alan, if I’m going to be honest) have been selling our belongings on TradeMe for weeks now (for non-New Zealand readers, TradeMe is NZ’s equivalent of eBay). I’m honestly surprised as to how much we have been able to sell! Even if only for a few dollars, when you are thinking on terms like Tip #2, just a few more bucks can add an extra day or more to your trip! Xbox and games, Nintendo and games, random toys, old clothes, a box of timezone tickets (!?) all sold for a profit on TradeMe. We are also selling our “big” stuff (washing machine, fridge, etc), and are in the process of selling our cars. We plan to leave barely anything behind – which is a thought that I am very scared and nervous about but also extremely excited about the freedom that will come with it!

4. I made a budget and stuck to it. I planned out exactly where every dollar from my pay check would go each week (rent, supermarket, gym, petrol, power) and how much I could expect to save each week. Usually some sort of unexpected expense would arise however it definitely worked to give me a good gauge go where my money was going, and it definitely stopped any frivolous spending pretty quickly! I definitely think that the closer you are to your money makes you want to continue to keep it close and not spend it.

5. I got used to instant coffee instead of fancy, cafe coffee. In my office we have a morning tea break together each day, and I was stuck in the bad habit of buying a coffee as we sat in the cafe for our daily catch ups. Thats $4 per coffee, 5 days a week, every single week. It sure adds up! I simply brought a reusable takeaway cup from home and started making my own coffee in the staffroom instead (coffee = free). Yup, I’m the awkward person who brings their own coffee to a cafe and sits there with my muesli bar, but as long as I’m saving money I don’t mind if I look silly!

One of the unexpected expenses - a last minute invite to watch the Crusaders play rugby on a beautiful evening

One of the unexpected expenses – a last minute invite to watch the Crusaders play rugby on a beautiful evening

With about six weeks to go before we head off, we still have plenty more belongings to sell,  a few more pay cheques to bank and a few more lunches to pack from home for work, we are on the homeward straight now!

What are your top tips for saving money?

 

A Travel Announcement: Life’s Next Big Adventure!

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”

- Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye

My beautiful hometown of sunny Nelson

My beautiful hometown of sunny Nelson

I LOVE this quote. I’ve had it jotted in notebooks, etched in my mind, and even stuck to the fridge, ever since I discovered it more than a year ago.

Perhaps I love it because it explains how I feel about life.

It explains why I have no problem moving from place to place, and never settle (hang on, I’m only 24, who says I need to settle yet!). From Nelson, to Wellington, to Auckland, to Christchurch, to where am I going next…with plenty of excursions dotted between – a month in Thailand, another month in Vietnam & The Philippines, a couple more months in India, back to Nelson…

I feel like I leave a piece of my heart in every place I travel to and live in. And I take with me moments, that build together exactly like the quote says, like bricks. Bricks in my mind that are the building blocks of me, of my whole being.

Wow, thats getting a bit deep. I just love travelling, okay!

With that said, I’m going to have to take that quote off the fridge. But why?!

Because we’re selling the fridge. Actually, we’re selling everything. Well, except for our beloved KitchenAid Food Processor and my beautiful giant elephant painting, and whatever other little treasures we can convince our parents and friends to find space for in their garage for who-knows-how-long.

Because, we’re packing up and going travelling!

Yup, thats right, Alan and I have resigned from our jobs, we’re packing up our house and we’re leaving our comfortable little bubble that we have created here in Christchurch.

We’re off to see the world, to create more memories, and to build more bricks of life, together.

A ‘no-plan’ plan of backpacking Asia until our wallets are dry…

1st stop: Bali, August 26th.

The countdown is on – I can’t wait!

Any advice to share for a soon-to-be nomad?

A Day Trip to Milford Sound


Whilst for most of our South Island road trip we were blessed with dry weather, it was a very wet start to our day in Milford Sound, down in the far south of New Zealand in Fiordland. Usually, rain wouldn’t be a reason to smile – but for Milford it is! Milford is one of the wettest places on earth, with about 220 days and 7 metres of rain each year…that’s a lot!

Milford Sound
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Although a clearer day would have been great for photos, the rain creates what are called ‘temporary waterfalls’ i.e. waterfalls that only exist after bouts of rain, and cascade gracefully down the cliff-face, which make for spectacular scenery and good fun spotting out of the car window!

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Many do like we did, and make Milford Sound a day trip from accommodation base in Te Anau. Milford is about 120km from Te Anau but takes a good 2 hours (or more) because the road gets fairly windy and narrow, plus its pretty common to get stuck behind tour buses which can be difficult to pass along the way.

But its okay, you’re not in any rush because there are plenty of scenic stops to be made on the journey – lakes, waterfalls and an exciting cave-like tunnel to look forward to as you descend down into Milford. Despite the rain and chill in the air on the day we visited (April) we rugged up warm and made a couple of scenic pit-stops!

Mirror Lakes is about halfway between Te Anau and Milford. The idea is that the lakes are so clear and still that everything above the water line is reflected in the water below. Unfortunately a wet day is not the best for the Mirror Lakes as the raindrops disrupt the mirror effect…

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…but we still had great fun watching the ducks diving beneath the water for their food, and we spotted a massive trout!

My favourite stop was The Chasm – a series of powerful waterfalls. We threw a stick in to see how far it would go down, it was immediately swallowed by the thundery water below….you certainly wouldn’t want to fall in there!

Ten or so minutes before you get to Milford, the Homer Tunnel is good fun to drive through.

We arrived around lunchtime and after a quick bite to eat we checked in for the 2.5 hour long Nature Cruise we had booked with Real Journeys. We had such a cool boat: The Milford Mariner!

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The guide on the cruise was pretty knowledgeable (and also pretty funny). I learnt plenty – one interesting fact being that despite there being so many trees growing on the mountains/cliffs, there is no topsoil! Therefore most of the trees are rooted into the moss – which can be up to 6m deep – and the roots are all interconnected to each other beneath the moss to create some kind of stability. This can cause problems – if one tree slips it can cause a domino effect as it brings down the rest of the trees it is connected to, in what is known as a ‘tree avalanche’. Interesting, huh?

We cruised right out to where Milford Sound meets the Tasman Sea, where we ran into a few rolling waves which made for a bit of a rollercoaster effect – it was fun!

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We saw plenty of seals, and even had a pod of dolphins swimming beside the boat at one stage.

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Milford Sound

The boat was steered beneath waterfalls where we were showered with spray – it was a very fun, interactive cruise!

Whoever thinks that rain can ruin a trip needs to go to visit Milford Sound – in my opinion it is the perfect way to spend a rainy day.

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Top tips for a day trip to Milford Sound

  • Pack a waterproof jacket – chances are, it will rain!
  • Wear warm clothes – polyprop, scarf, thick socks, beanie. Lots of layers!
  • Bring your lunch, snacks and a water bottle (you can pre-order a lunch pack on the boat but much cheaper to just pack and bring with you).
  • Take a camera, and perhaps something waterproof to stash it into if you want to take photos near the waterfalls!

Have you visited Milford Sound? Would you like to?

Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin, Instagram & Twitter to stay up to date with The Butterfly Editions!

Two Week Costa Rica Itinerary

We spent two weeks in Costa Rica in May this year. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we went to Costa Rica primarily to visit Alan’s sister who is currently living there, and also to see and do as much as we could fit into our limited time there!

Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

Because Alan’s sister lives in Heredia, we spent more time in The Central Valley than most people probably would schedule into a two week trip. But with a comfortably warm climate, no pesky mosquitos, and plenty of day trips and adventures to be had, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Central Valley.

We hired a car, which we had for 9 days in total of our 14 day trip. Here’s a quick recap of how we spent our incredible two weeks in Costa Rica – and how we “squeezed all the juice out of the orange” (a great quote from our rental car company!) on our trip.

Costa Rica Fruit

Day 0 We arrived late at night in Juan Santa Maria Airport, and went straight to our Bed & Breakfast in San Joaquin, Heredia.

Day 1 San Joaquin, Heredia. Visited Britt Coffee Factory.

Day 2 San Joaquin, Heredia. Picked up the rental car. Visited a beautiful waterfall about an hour out of Heredia that only the locals know about – we sure got the special treatment! Visited Sarchi, which is famous for its intricately painted ox-carts.

Day 3 San Joaquin, Heredia. Day trip to Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Day 4 La Fortuna/Arenal. Spent the evening at Baldi Hot Springs – a little bit over the top but totally amazing!

Day 5 Monteverde. Night Nature Walk – saw plenty of wildlife in its natural habitat which was incredible.

Day 6 Monteverde. This day was an absolute highlight – we went zip-lining and climbed up the inside of a tree – wow!!

Costa Rica Climbing Tree

Day 7 Jaco. A relaxing day spent at the beach, and beside the pool.

Day 8 Manuel Antonio. We went on a sunset cruise from Quepos, jumped off the roof of the boat and snorkelled in the Pacific Ocean.

Day 9 Manuel Antonio. A nature walk through the National Park and swimming in one of the most beautiful beaches ever.

Day 10 San Joaquin, Heredia. Spent the Afternoon in San Jose, and visit the museum. Back in the Central Valley to be picked up the next morning to head to Tortugeuro.

Tortuguero boat Costa Rica

Day 11 Early start heading to Tortugeuro with Exploradores Outdoors.

Day 12 Tortuguero. Raining, and totally relaxing.

Day 13 San Joaquin, Heredia. Back to the Central Valley, ready to fly out the following day.

Day 14 Hasta luego, Costa Rica! La Paz Costa Rica

We had such a fantastic time in Costa Rica!

To me, our itinerary felt like a perfect combination of activities, adventure, thrill, wildlife, beaches and relaxation. Of course there were plenty more places I would have absolutely loved to visit, but we simply didn’t have time for on this trip, for example Puerto Viejo in the South and the beaches of the Nagoyan Peninsula in the North – I’ve heard Samara Beach is incredible!

Rare is the trip where you can make it everywhere you want to go – there always has to be a reason to come back, right?!

Pura Vida!

Hasta Luego, Costa Rica

Sunset Costa Rica

We arrived home a few days ago to the freezing cold of Christchurch, after spending the last two weeks in Costa Rica.

We made up our minds in a single split-second to go along with Alan’s family to visit his sister who lives there, and boy am I glad we did!

I’ll definitely be writing more about our favourite places we visited and activities we did when I manage to defrost my fingers and toes with the harsh winter cold we are currently experiencing back home! But in the meantime, here are some photo highlights of our time in the paradise that is Costa Rica. We sure fit a lot into two weeks!

Hasta luego, Costa Rica – I really hope to see you again soon!

Mango Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

Iguana Costa Rica

Frog Costa Rica

Costa Rica Travel

Tortuguero Costa Rica

Sloth Costa Rica

Surf Costa Rica

Costa Rica Travel

Toucan Costa Rica

Ox Cart Costa Rica

Sarchi Costa Rica

Costa Rica Travel

Costa Rica Travel

How to spend an Afternoon in Arrowtown, New Zealand

Arrowtown is SUCH a pretty place, guys.

Far away near the bottom of the South Island, Arrowtown has an incredibly rich history – literally, rich in gold! Gold was first discovered in Arrowtown in 1861 and within years was stripped almost bare of the rich mineral. These days, Arrowtown makes for a peaceful holiday spot amidst beautiful and interesting surroundings.

Arrowntown NZ

Here’s how to spend an afternoon in the picturesque village of Arrowtown:

1. Begin with a cheese roll at Jonesey’s Cafe. You’re down south now team, Cheese Rolls will appear in cafes everywhere! Jonesey’s serve giant cheese rolls, like nothing you will have ever seen before.  They are award-winning, too!

Jonesey's Cheese Rolls image source

Will put a smile on your dial for sure.

Arrowtown NZ

2. Stroll around the Chinese Village and learn all about the Chinese settlers that came in the 1800’s for the gold rush – and worked in extremely tough conditions to earn enough to make a better life for their families.

Arrowtown Chinese Village Arrowtown Chinese Village Arrowtown Chinese Village

3. Pan for gold – have your own real New Zealand ‘goldrush’ experience! Guaranteed to leave with a few flecks of gold of your own, its a worthwhile way to spend 20 or 30 minutes of your day.

Arrowntown NZArrowntown NZ

4. Wander up and down the main street, admiring the colonial architecture and the town’s stunning alpine backdrop. Check out the shops too for some cute souvenirs and gifts.

Arrowntown NZ Arrowntown NZ Arrowntown NZArrowntown NZ

5. Visit The Remarkable Sweet Shop! Its amazing. And top up with some lollies for the next leg of your journey!

Arrowntown NZ Sweet Shop

We visited in Autumn, which was absolutely beautiful with the leaves changing colour all around us – but Arrowtown is beautiful any time of year!

Arrowntown NZ Arrowntown NZ

How to get there: Arrowtown is a 15 minute drive from Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island.

Have you visited Arrowtown?

What to do in Queenstown

One thing I have made a resolution to do is see more of my own country. Considering the fact that Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations, and I hadn’t been since I was a kid, it quickly made it to the top of our list for a bit of an Easter Weekend road trip.

In hindsight, perhaps Easter Weekend wasn’t the best choice, because it most certainly seemed to be everybody else’s! Queenstown was PACKED, guys. But we were on holiday and chilled out – though some places we busier than they usually might be, we still had an amaaaazing time!

Queenstown 1

Here’s some of the things we did that should be on your list in Queenstown:

Skyline Gondola and Luge – Head up the Gondola for a morning/afternoon, and add on a few luge rides for fun. We bought the Gondola + 5 luge ride package for $50. The luge is super fun! We were there on the busiest day of the year (they had so many people they ran out of helmets!) and it took us a good 3 hours or more to complete our 5 rides, however on a normal day you will do your 5 rides in an hour or so. Tip: grab some lunch before or after you go up, food at the top is pricey!

Queenstown Skyline Luge

XD Theatre – A family-run business offering a couple of types of simulators, great for a rainy day or to pass a bit of time. Our favourite was the 7D simulator where you had to shoot the zombies…even though I came second to last it was still fun! Again, pricey – $30 a pop or $45 for two rides. But it was good fun!

Hot Chocolate or Gelato at Patagonia – Patagonia Chocolate shop is a bit of a destination in Queenstown. They serve real hot chocolate, as in delicious dark chocolate melted into hot milk. YUM! We went for the hot chocolate because the fresh evening air was chilly, but their range of gelato looked incredible too – if only it was a few degrees warmer!

Queenstown Patagonia

Walk around Kelvin Heights – Kelvin Heights is on the other side of Frankton, a peninsula jutting out on the other side of the lake from Queenstown. We went for a drive and ended up strolling right around the golf course (perhaps 2-3km) and had a lot of fun involving an old boat ramp, jetty’s rope swings…and miniature Chihuahuas (OHMYGOSH SO CUTE). Beautiful views across the lake.

Queenstown Kelvin Heights

Queenstown 2 Queenstown 3   Queenstown 5

Day trip to Arrowtown –  Just a 15 minute or so drive away, Arrowtown is an absolutely picturesque town to visit for a morning or afternoon. Head there for lunch in one of its many cafes, and spend a couple of hours wandering the streets exploring its golden history.

Arrowtown

And some things we didn’t do that should be on your list:

Shotover Jet – Not only was this super busy when we were there but it is also very expensive! At $129 a pop for a 25 minute ride, we simply couldn’t justify the cost (in cut-back mode, we are off to Costa Rica in May!). However, from what I have heard it is super thrilling! The Shotover Jet is the only jetboat that does full 360* spins and has exclusive access to the Shotover Canyon – if you can afford it, it is highly recommended!

Bungee Jump – There are plenty of bungee options in Queenstown, just be sure to book in advance if you are there over a busy period. When we were up the Gondola the bungee up there was fully booked – however the bottom of the luge is a great viewing platform to watch them jump off. I enjoy the thrill of watching others do it but don’t know if I could do that to myself…!

Ice Bar – Another Queenstown institution – the Ice Bar. There are actually two Ice Bars in Queenstown- yep, that’s right a bar in which everything is made from ice. From what I’ve heard they are fun for about 15 minutes or so before you get cold and over it – but worth it for the novelty! We didn’t make it but I will probably go to an Ice Bar next time.

Fergburger – Not so much fine dining, but perhaps the most popular burger bar in New Zealand – if you don’t mind waiting in a queue at least 15 people deep. I hear its delicious, but when I’m hungry I don’t have the patience to wait in a line that long..!

Where we stayed:

Kawerau by Hilton, in the Hilton complex in Frankton. $118 per night. Great if you have a car, perhaps stay closer if you don’t. There is a water taxi that zips you into town but its $10 each way which adds up quickly and it is not very regular (doesn’t run after 9.30pm).

Queenstown Kawerau Hilton

Its no secret that Queenstown is a very expensive city. Make sure you go with that in mind. Book accommodation well in advance, and go with the expectation you are going to burn through a bit of cash. No regrets, right? Also – call up and confirm your booking a day in advance, just to be safe.

Queenstown 6

 

Queenstown is such a beautiful area of New Zealand! Have you visited Queenstown?

Healthy and Delicious Crispy Toasted Muesli Recipe

Muesli 1

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. If I’m out for brunch, I’m an eggs benedict kinda girl, but at home I usually rely on cereal/muesli/porridge, yoghurt and fruit for a healthy boost of energy to get going in the morning.

And boy, this muesli is a superb start to the day. It’s a versatile and simple recipe that can easily be adapted with what you feel like or what you have on hand. You can change up the nuts and seeds, or even add some dried fruit. Live a little, be wild, go crazy!

Muesli 2

Crispy Homemade Muesli

Inspired by Annabel Langbein’s low-fat muesli recipe in Great Food for Busy Lives

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups rolled oats (I like the chunkiness of the homebrand ones)
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup fruit juice (I used Just Juice’s stevia sweetened apple juice, though I’ve made with cranberry before and that was delish)
  • 1/4 cup flavourless oil (or coconut oil would be fab!)
  • And a couple of generous handfuls of banana chips, to mix through at the end!

Method:

Preheat oven to 150*C. In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds and cinnamon. Mix the apple juice and honey together and heat to dissolve the honey. Add the oil to the juice/honey mixture. Pour the wet mix over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Tip into the largest roasting pan you have and spread out (cleaning up is a breeze if you line the pan with baking paper!). Bake for about an hour, checking every 15 mins or so, until golden. Mix through the banana chips. When cool, store in an airtight container.

Muesli 4

I like it best served with my favourite The Collective yoghurt, blueberries and peaches. Yum!

Whats your favourite breakfast?