Tag Archives: Travel

William Rackette’s Sanctuary

Set appropriately in the lush and beautiful Dandenong ranges, on the outskirts of arty Melbourne!

The sculptures, embedded into the rocks and trees are a legacy of William Racket’s friendship with the aboriginal people back in the day, his love of nature and his applaud able artistic talents. Walking through the place gives a great sense of wonder and you can’t help but imagine what a passionate, full life Racketter’s would’ve lived!  Coolest legacy Australia!

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Lake Wakatipu

Picturesque lake stretching from Kingston through Queenstown to Glenorchy. If you took a drive around the place you’d be stopping just about every minute for photos or just  to stare!

No doubt the best place for fresh morning walks but there’s many other activities going on as well.

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Bit of Peace – Milford Sound

Schedules, trains, spreadsheets, linen,hair,dirty dishes,words said, words heard, words read, buildings,screens, screens,more screens,food, meal plans,perfect shoe hunt,nonstop songs in head, faces,moving lips and everything else squeezed in between in my forever galloping mind faded away in this magnificent, mystic place.

Bit of a drizzly,dark day so the emerald surrounding cliffs disappeared into foggy sky and not many wanted to brave the deck in the cold. I had it to myself most good part of the slow glide around this beautiful fiord, where I stood,gaping. So places have powers too.

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Shakespeare Park Auckland

My heart swells at such places – large hilly farmlands hemmed in by pretty oceans and cliffs with nicely planned multiple trails.And stern looking cows and paranoid sheep scattered around for full effect.Been almost 4 years in NZ I am still gasping ( sometimes really loudly) at how gorgeous some places in NZ are.( And relatively safe, which is a bit of a pleasant change to where I grew up )Here’s some pictures of Shakespeare park, about 45 minutes from Auckland CBD.

Place has got 3 trails and you can enjoy it all a day.

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Much grass to roll around in:

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Throw some cool kite-surfers in the mix.

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Think sitting on hills was not the best idea in the wind!Most of my lunch flew off!

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Psyched that the walk took me to beaches:

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Eel?
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Always cuddly looking sheep freaking out every time you go close.

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MUCH  fun to be had with this, ending the walk on a high note!20161029_173933

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Villa of Highwic

Fell upon this place on a life drawing venture. You wouldn’t imagine you’d find an old heritage place in urban Newmarket but there it is, right beside the motorway on Gillies.Wandered around for a while,imagining life without showers and getting creeped out by so many old things and  doors suddenly banging shut behind me!

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The ball room, life drawing setting for that day.

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The drawing room, where ladies would withdraws and knit and sew and have tea.

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What girls bedrooms looked like back in the day ( I was bit creeped out by the dolls recalling horror-filled Chucky!)

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The maid’s room ( Mr. Buckland’s second wife was their former maid apparently).

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The boys room, bit less private than the girls.

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The bath.The water pipes have been added over time.

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And this would be my favorite place in any era!

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Queenstown/Wanaka

My first thought as I flew over the southern alps was ” I’d like to lick the snow off those mountains” Haha! I must’ve been hungry!

The place  is gorgeous everywhere you turn!Not one to be glued to phones/cameras but I did convince myself to close my gaping mouth and take some photos for memories sake. So here’s what I’d fondly ( and some not so fondly) remember my visit to South Island New Zealand by:

1.Beautiful lakes –  Excellent for breakfasts, followed by slow walks. The drive to Glenorchy, about an hour from Queenstown offers many scenic stops along lake Wakatipu .Lake Wakatipu

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Lake Wanaka

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Lake Hawea on a very rainy drive .

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2. Queenstown hill – not to stressful and offering 360 deg view of the place including the lake – i’d do this over and over!

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3. Milford Sound – done on a cloudy day which made the place even more mystic but the highlight of the trip was an excellent commentary provided by JUCY’s bus driver Eric through Fiordland – also he stopped at some cool places like The Mirror Lake and The Chasm for us.

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4.Blue pools – except it wasn’t blue by the time I made it.A very strange experience standing in front of a raging, swollen river in the cold rain wearing a New World plastic bag over my head!

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5. Roys Peak Wanaka – another beautiful harmless looking mountain turning into a bit of a nightmare with the gusty wind and the ice-grit on top – go prepared! Totally worth it.

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6. Skiing  – My first time skiing and at Cardrona and it turned out to be an excellent day  thanks to a very patient instructor who in the end managed to get me doing a few rounds all on my own without falling or crashing into people.

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7. Arrowtown – not crazy about the town itself but a leisurely walk around the river is just amazing! ( even if done in rain).

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8. Backpacking  – Not so fond!The places I tried were clean with excellent facilities,close to action etc and sociable crowd but If you are an introvert like me, you’d need some space regardless. I’d prefer   AIRBNB    over hotels or hostels any day.

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A Cup of Suva

Last week on my unplanned visit back home, it rained endlessly. The place was wet and humid as always bringing back horrifying memories of my battle with  frizzy hair !

When people talk about visiting Fiji they usually mean the west or the north of the island as that’s where the beautiful beaches and islands are but good to visit this place for a couple of days to get a dose of the “real” Fiji, as we say.

Suva,countries capital is  a melting pot of cultures, housing and infrastructure.It’s not uncommon to see yet another shopping center sprouting somewhere or land being cleared for housing plots and squatters next to fancy houses, given that the place is becoming denser by the day.Population is  330 000 – mostly Fijian or Indian with rising number of Asians and Europeans . The retail shops are usually owned by Indians, restaurants by the Chinese.

Maniac driving  and jaywalking ( strolling)continues on roads riddled with potholes and unbelievable traffic at times!

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Closely Knit society with pretty much everyone in a circle intersecting with a hundred other circles and therefore hard not to be known.I find the place brings out a restless, hell-raiser vibe in me, which is always lost the moment I am on the plane back to Auckland .

If visiting a great place to stay is the Grand Pacific Hotel – recently brought back from the dead..

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Check out the University of the South Pacific  – you can always book a lodge at their marine campus for a smaller budget. The university hosts a number of events on during the year such as the poetry slam and theater. I would suggest to watch anything performed by the Oceania Dance Theater, my favorite from those days.

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University community is usually found at this shopping center which includes a cinema and appropriately a few bars).I got a lovely Shellac manicure for $25,  a steal!!!!

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Visit the Government House .

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Stroll in town, the waterfront and the harbor.20160810_15174820160810_15174020160810_161013

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Watching rugby and soccer is a common pass-time and so something is on all the time at the National Stadium next to University and opposite that in an indoor gymnasium next to which are two big public pools, hosting quite a few events as well.

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Check out the Museum situated at a well maintained Thurston Garden and take a clay pottery making lesson.

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Visit the handicraft market which are popular for beautifully carved woods and ornaments made of shells. Be sure to get your customs stickers.

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Check out the local market! El Cheapo and mostly organic.

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Try some local cuisine!Featured below is Kokoda (raw fish in coconut milk with boiled tapioca on the side). Most local food-courts will have an authentic Fijian place.

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Fiji Indian cuisine is very very different from Indian cuisine! The spices are of much lesser variety and the same for meats or veggies with water or sometimes coconut milk as base. Try Singh’s Curry House but featured below is my mum’s kitchen 😉

Chinese is popular and again very localized. Great places to try is the Golden Palace and the Shanghai or Joji’s and Daikoku for Japanese.

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A little further out of town are other activities that can be done such as a 3 day hike up Mount Korobaba( including lodgings & meals at Fijian villages), zip lining and white water rafting.

And if you are driving up to Nadi a great stopover would be the Warwick Hotel, proudly in front of a little marine reserve where schools of beautiful fishes are all too visible  if you sit in the morning on the floating deck on the lagoon.Another beautiful stopover further up is the Outrigger Hotel. Coral coast has quite a few options though.

The Outrigger.

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