The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'

1 Comment

…New Zealand, the North Island


After a glorious week on the South Island, we continued our brief tour of New Zealand on the North Island.  Yes, two weeks is brief, should you be planning your next holiday there. To be consistent, this will primarily be a “postcard post” with captions as needed. Sunrise ferry from Picton (South Island) to Wellington (North Island).  Also top photo.


Wellington is infamous for the gale force winds that blow through thanks to the Cook Strait, but it wasn’t too terrible that particular morning.  The city is trendy and a haven for foodies and the artsy type.  We loved it.




From Wellington, we drove north to one of New Zealand’s better known wine regions:  Hawke’s Bay.  Below is Mission Estate Winery, NZed’s oldest winery with some pretty amazing wines.


The nearby coastal town of Napier boasts black sand beaches. Camping there, listening to the crashing waves as we fell asleep and awoke, was bar none.


At the recommendation of a sommelier, we opted for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing; a 19k trek that traverses three volcanic peaks in New Zealand’s oldest national park. Certainly a different look and feel from the South Island.  It was a little bit cold, a little bit hot, and the trek ended with views of volcanic vents before ending in rainforest terrain.  It’s a point-to-point trek, but you can arrange with various bus companies to pick you up at the car park finish (where you’ve dropped your car) and take you to the car park start, all before beginning the trek.  Convenient.






Seeing as we were in natural hot spring territory, it made sense to end the day by sitting in one. While there are plenty of pay-to-get-in options, we wanted a more authentic, raw experience.  After a little bit of research we found a gem.  And we enjoyed some Colorado beer that had been sitting in our Aussie fridge since Christmas, that had also traveled in our bags all this way until a divine opportunity presented itself so they could be consumed.

If there were ever a perfect moment in time that you’d want to pause, this was ours.


We hit some rain the following day, so we headed to Auckland where we spent a couple of days before heading back to the States, and ending one amazing year.




Below is our route.

Screen shot 2015-07-06 at 10.53.12 AM

And there you have it.  Some of the most gorgeous, diverse landscape I have ever seen.  Certainly one of our favorite places to have ever visited!  After exploring a tiny bit of both islands, we have a better idea of where we would want to go/what we would want to do if we are lucky enough to travel to New Zealand again.  Which we hope we are!  And next time, we will give ourselves more than just two weeks.


1 Comment

…New Zealand, the South Island


I’m going to continue living in the past, as I take you on our little journey through New Zealand this past April…

After departing Hobart, Tasmania, Nick and I flew to Christchurch, New Zealand and picked up our home on wheels (above). It would take us snugly around both islands for a couple of weeks. Note that two weeks is NOT enough time.  We could easily spend a month on each island.

Amazing. Stunning. Gorgeous. Any other broadly descriptive adjective can be used to reference New Zealand. It was scenery overload at ever turn. We stopped constantly for photos. I have thousands! And even though I whittled them down for TBR, you will be scrolling. A lot. I’m sorry.

I could easily give a good commentary on every photo you’re about to see, but honestly, it would mostly consist of the location followed by, “ISN’T IT BEAUTIFUL?”  “IT’S BEAUTIFUL!” “I TURNED AROUND AND SAW THIS!” “THIS IS AWESOME” “GORGEOUS!” “WOWZERS!” “JUST STUNNING!” And the like…

So, instead, I’m just going to tell you to GO!  My lousy comments should not convince you.  My lousy photos should. Because New Zealand’s scenery makes any level photographer a “grood” (good and great) photographer.

Lake Tekapo sunset


So many fluffy low hanging clouds!  Everywhere!


Lake Pukaki-The lakes have this amazing turquoise tint to them.  So hard to capture on camera, looks unnatural, but it was just beautiful.


Hooker Valley Trail-Mueller Glacier (Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park)


Hooker River (Aoraki/Mt Cook)


Aoraki/Mt Cook, Hooker Glacier, Southern Alps


Tasman Glacier/Blue Lakes Trail


Classic NZ trail companions (Devils Creek Trail-Queenstown)


Queenstown (Southern Alps in background)


17km kayak tour of Milford Sound




Sunning fur seals


Sammy the baby fur seal




Wanaka (Aoraki/Mt Cook)




Track to Fox Glacier


West Coast views


Marlborough Sound-Drive to Picton ferry terminal


Dun Mountain Trail-Views of Tasman Bay


Sunrise ferry to the North Island


Here is the route:

Screen shot 2015-06-26 at 10.22.23 AM

Of course, if you have any questions about our adventure on the South Island, ask away.

Next up, the North Island!