Mirror Lakes

New Zealand is a wonderful country for road trips, everywhere we went there were lots of little side trips and walks available. This particular walk was really just a small boardwalk off the highway, but it provided gorgeous views…

and a little Kiwi humour.

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Wonderful New Zealand

Today we leave NZ and fly to Australia. Although Australia has been my dream destination since I was a teenager, I am sad to leave NZ. It has been an incredible trip. We wrapped it all up with a five day stay at an old friends house in Piha, near Auckland, spending our days walking on the beach, wine tasting and eating wonderful home cooked meals. After two weeks in a campervan, it has been heaven.

This photo taken from our friends balcony in Piha might give you a clue as to why we never want to leave New Zealand.

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July long weekend! We went on a trip to Iki, an island in Nagasaki. The island is famous for Alcohol, beaches and things shaped like monkeys, so pre-trip anticipation of good times were high, and Iki did not disappoint.

We took the ferry on saturday morning, picked up rental cars and after setting up our tents headed to beach number 1!

Spent the afternoon swimming, unsuccessfully snorkling, exploring, trying to do cartwheels and eating strange flavoured potato chips.

If Iki has a downfall, it’s its lack of places to eat. Every restaurant we tried either had no space for 10 people or was closed. We ended up at a curry and beef bowl restaurant with mediocre food for dinner, but had a great time the rest of the night. The next morning started with bang after we found the number one tourist attraction on Iki.

Saruiwa: A rock shaped like a monkey.

From the northern end of the island you can catch a short ferry to a smaller island with a beach and nothing else. It was gorgeous. Beautiful beach, clear blue water, it was hard to believe we were still in Japan.

We returned, extremely sunburnt, from this island and found the only grocery store on the island and bought enough meat to have our own BBQ at the campground. Yakisoba, grilled veggies and delicious meat.

It was a wonderful weekend and I’ll likely post more on Iki later, haven’t organized my photos yet, but posting to appease some dearly missed friends!

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Great Wall

The Great Wall of China. I still can’t believe I actually got to go! It was the only place I knew I wanted to see on our trip. We took an overnight tour offered by our hostel and had an amazing time exploring the wall.

We left the hostel at 1 pm and drove two hours to the far end of the Badaling section of the wall. This was not the Badaling section teeming with tourists and souvenir stalls. In our entire time on the wall we saw only one other group. Our guide showed us where the tents were and told us what time to meet back for dinner and then we were free to explore the wall!

As amazing as it was to be at the Great Wall, all I could think about for our three hour hike was how many stairs there were, and when they would stop. It was quite the workout. Up and down, up and down, some parts on rocks that crumbled beneath our feet or on stairs only half as wide as my foot. The extreme concentration I was putting into not dying of a fall or a stroke meant that I took only one photo of myself on the wall, and it’s that beauty up there. I’m not sure what I was thinking.


After a delicious dinner we were set free on the wall until 8:30 the next morning, when the guides would be back to pick us up. All alone on the world heritage site, we had a good time playing with our cameras and flashlights, until one of the flashlights fell over the wall and we were forced to compete in events of physical strength instead.

The night was cold, windy, and more than a little miserable, but it was worth it in the morning, when we woke up to watch the sunrise. Some of our group were ambitious and went on a two hour trek, but I only made it to the first tower. The view was spectacular.

I definitely recommend the overnight tour. While we might not have been at one of the most famous or most beautiful areas of the wall, having the whole place to ourselves was amazing. The tour cost about $90 and included three meals and all the camping equipment. I would however, recommend bringing warm clothing and an extra blanket so you can sleep well enough to hike in the morning.

How to: We booked the trip through Leo Hostel, a place I would definitely recommend staying!

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Gyeongbokgung Palace

This palace is in downtown Seoul, and apparently the most important historical tourism location in the city. We stopped for photos and accidently skipped it as we continued our quest for ice cream.

I loved the roofing though!

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Japanese bucket list

Two months ago, I sat down with my friend Maureen, and started dreaming up a list  of things we wanted to see before we left Japan. There are so many things we wanted to see and experience, we didn’t want to forget any!

Now that we only have two months left, I have been checking my list more and more often to make sure I get it all done!

Things I plan to do this month include: Firefly Festival, planting rice, going to a famous ramen restaurant and an onsen town, and seeing a gigantic buddha statue.

Things I may never be able to cross off – going to Tokyo, Nara, Osaka. I am running out of time and money to see these places, so they will probably be left for a return visit to Japan.

Japan Mind Map

Sure, it’s a little obsessive and anal.
Sure, making lists may take you out of the moment and may make you forget why you wanted to do those things in the first place.

But if feels so good to tick them off!

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