THE PERFECT ISLAND HOLIDAY

Happy New Year everyone! I'm guessing most of you are back at work after the festive season and wishing you were still on holiday. So here is a little distraction for you, or possibly some inspiration for your next holiday.

Towards the end of last year, after our first winter in NZ, we decided to take a short break to see us through to the end of the year. With Auckland being so close to the Pacific Islands we were spoilt for choice when it came to destinations— in the end we found a good deal on flights and accomodation in Rarotonga, so the decision was made.

Let me tell you, this place is paradise! It was exactly what we were after, five days of sun, sea, sand and relaxation. It didn't take us long to settle in to 'island time' and forget about the timetables and stresses associated with everyday life. Not wanting to fill every second of the day with things to do and see, we arrived with no plans and let the weather or our mood decide the days itinerary, which usually consisted of eating, kayaking, snorkelling and snoozing on repeat!

 

Sunrise at Muri Beach.

Taakoka Island.

Cruising the lagoon.

Exploring Koromiri Island.

Koromiri Island from above.

Captain Awesome, king of the coconut trees!

One of the best ways to view the island, from the sea.

The pool at Little Polynesian Resort. It was extremely hard to leave this place.

Charlie's Cafe and Beach Hire. 

No crowded beaches here.

A colourful section of the Punanga Nui Market.

Chilled Nu.

I was mesmerised by the beautiful flora on Rarotonga. The flowers above would fall to ground and looked like little discarded hula skirts! 

The end of another day in paradise.

There is so much to see and do on Rarotonga, wanting a relaxing trip we skipped a lot of the more adventurous activities such as diving, hiking to the Needle, or laser tag amongst the ruins of an abandoned hotel! But we enjoyed every minute of our time on Raro, here are some of our recommendations:

Take an entertaining and educational snorkelling trip with Koka Lagoon Cruises Get a birds eye view of Rarotonga with Air Raro Marvel at the skill of the cultural dancers (and possibly join in) at Higland Paradise Shop for food, sarongs, ukuleles and pearls at Punanga Nui Markets Devour delicious waffles at The Waffle Shack Fill up on fish burgers while gazing over the aqua lagoon at Charlie's Cafe Have trouble deciding what to eat at the Muri Night Market Sip on chilled Nu (coconut water), available almost everywhere... even the side of the road! Enjoy the peace and tranquility at Little Polynesian Resort

TAKE ME BACK TO BALI

You may recall a post of mine, from late last year, about bicycling in Bali. Well, going through my photos I realise there are enough for a few posts! I'm sure you won't mind though, Bali is such a beautiful place, if you get a chance to travel there you definitely should! We had fun getting lost in the maze that is the Ubud Markets; we ate way more than we should at the numerous local restaurants (and didn't get Bali belly!); we relaxed; we explored; we swam and we ate some more!

So lets go back to Bali!

Ubud, Bali - Picturette

The view from our back fence at Bali Breeze.

Bali Breeze - Picturette

Ubud Market - Picturette

The bustling markets in Ubud.

Monkey Forest Ubud - Picturette

Take care at the Monkey Forest, they look friendly enough but one of them bit my mum which led to a visit to the medical clinic and a round of rabies injections! Not what you want while on holiday.

Bali - Picturette

Ubud, Bali - Picturette

Canang sari, Balinese offerings.

Ubud, Bali - Picturette

Ubud Palace, Bali - Picturette

Ubud Palace, Bali -Picturette

Ubud Palace, Bali - Picturette

Ubud Palace

Ubud, Bali - Picturette

Ubud, Bali - Picturette

Ubud, Bali - Picturette

A common mode of transport in an uncommon colour. Great for transporting all manner of cargo!

Bali Balloons - Picturette

Bali - Picturette

Ubud, Bali - Picturette

Ubud, Bali - Picturette

BICYCLING IN BALI

After a busy second half of the year I finally have time to finish off some personal projects, one of those being sorting through some holiday photos I took six months ago...where has the year gone?  So I'm pretending it's not Christmas next week and reminiscing about bicycling in Bali. While a day of bike riding may sound exhausting to some, it was really a leisurely cycle downhill through some breathtaking countryside. Starting with breakfast overlooking a crater lake at Mt Batur, then a coffee or two at a Balinese plantation, with various stops along the way to explore a traditional Balinese compound, rice paddies and a giant Banyan tree. Followed by a feast at the end (and a well deserved Bintang!). Bali-77

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I had no idea that ginger flowers were so beautiful!

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Roasting coffee beans.

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The mister waving for the camera!

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My uncle had a go at threshing the rice!

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Ancient banyan tree.

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Bali is a beautiful place and the people so friendly, I hope to visit again someday. Until then, I will content myself with the memories these photos hold.

NEW ZEALAND flashback!

Hooley dooley! Has it really been six months since my last post? Actually, I can believe that, life of late has been of blur of study and home renovation with a few other adventures thrown in. Anyway, it's good to be back! Looking back over my blog I realise that I never got around to posting all of my New Zealand photos (even though that trip was almost twelve months ago!).  Being winter in Australia at the moment its seems appropriate to share the final leg of this journey now. The last part of our trip took in the stunning blue waters of Lake Ruataniwha and Lake Tekapo (the water really is this colour!); a relaxing dip in the warm waters of Tekapo Springs while enjoying the spectacular view over Lake Tekapo; a visit to Mt John Observatory, which felt like being on another planet! And finally, a couple of nights at Terrace Downs Resort, not to play golf but for a day trip to the snow at Mt Hutt.

We visited in between seasons and were lucky that the snow season had been extended so the roads, accommodation and snow fields weren't too busy, but New Zealand seems to be beautiful at any time of year.

Needless to say, by the end of this holiday I was ready to move to New Zealand's South Island!

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NEW ZEALAND continued

So the Christmas holidays are over and I am back in Sydney trying to get back into a routine, which is proving difficult when sorting through last year's holiday snaps. Continuing on the tour around New Zealand's South Island, today's post takes in Blue Pool (which actually looks more green in my images!), Cardrona, Lake Wanaka, Queenstown, Arrowtown and the Lindis Pass. A severe storm hit the island during our visit but the mister and I were lucky to avoid most of it, we had to skip Milford and Doubtful Sound due to the bad weather but this meant more time in the snow so it all worked out. So if you are sweltering in Oz right now and are struggling to keep your cool in the heatwave, just imagine yourself floating in the pool below, I know that's where I'd rather be. :) NZ_Holiday_2013-132

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