A Pause in the Story

Some of you have been able to follow along as the Blogger Babes have shared happy stories from New Zealand and Australia.

Photo Credit: Alys’ camera on timer ūüôā

Pauline (and her oh so much fun daughters Danella and Joanna, and Joanna’s partner Steve), Alys (and her husband Mike), Boomdee, and I had the most amazing time! Its hard to believe that after all the anticipation and planning, we are back home and blogging about it. I urge you to visit the blogs of these remarkable women and read their posts about the Blogger Babes Trip of a Lifetime. In case you are checking in for the first time, we:

All too soon our holiday came to an end, and some of our group journeyed back home. As for me, and for Alys and Mike, further adventures awaited. While Alys and Mike toured more of New Zealand, I prepared to fly off to Australia to begin my solo adventure. Before that though, I enjoyed hiking and jetboating in Queenstown.

Once in Australia, I spent two days touring Melbourne and one fabulous day in Sydney.

The trip was incredible and after a couple years of anticipation and planning, it is hard to believe that the trip is over, and that we are all back home. Of course, being back home means that the world intrudes and the fullness of life gets in the way of blogging, and visiting blogger friends. So while I have so much more to share from the trip, I’m going to take a short break from writing new posts to visit all of you.

I’ll be back soon to share stories and images from The Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park.

Cheers!

New Zealand Wine Tasting

A trip to New Zealand would just not be complete without a visit to a winery, and we were fortunate to have Rippon within walking distance.  No matter the wine, the view alone is worth the visit.

Is that not incredible?  Stunning!

During the tasting we learned that “the winegrowing team’s principal commitment is to the soil. Nurturing a healthy, responsive medium underfoot binds the vines and the people to their land.¬† Biodynamic farming and no irrigation help the vine drive energy into its seed and issue raw material that is capable of fostering wines that are true to their place”.

My favorite of the wines that we tasted was the Pinot Noir.   The winery also produces a Sauvignon Blanc, an Osteiner, a Gerwurtztraminer, and an Riesling.  Of course, part of the fun of any tasting is the people you are with.

After the tasting, we enjoyed playing with photography,

and hanging out in the Chair for Contemplation.

Finally, with no Designated Driver required, we walked home.

Happiness!

Daytrip to Queenstown

With Alys’ husband due to fly into the Queenstown airport, the 7 of us piled into two vehicles and drove the 68k into the city.

Can you guess who my seat mate was?

Along the way, we passed Bradrona, the famous “bra fence of Cardrona”.¬† The collection of bras started¬†around¬†1999, when four bras mysteriously appeared overnight on a fence along the Cardrona Valley Road.¬† It wasn’t until an unknown bra thief began cutting them away under the shadow of the night that the fence gained its notoriety.¬† Every time they were cut away, even more were added, and the bra count has reached over 7000.¬† The infamous¬†fence was rebranded to “Bradrona” in 2015 to raise money for breast cancer and $30,000 has been raised by people leaving¬†donations in a box at the site.

What a powerful monument to say the least.  While we did not leave our bras, we did make a monetary donation.

We weren’t on the road long before, unable to resist the incredible view, we stopped at the top of the mountain.

What a thrill and what a chill!

Check out that road down the mountain!

Our first views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu took our breath away!

One of the fun things about New Zealand is the ever present cafe with ourdoor seating.  We found a table and enjoyed the view, the buskers, and the coffee.

A quick walk through the Queenstown Gardens revealed old growth trees, more beautiful views, and quiet time for reflection.

Then it was off to ride the Gondola!

Absolutely incredible!

After oohing and aahing over the view, and taking many a photo, we settled into the lounge for drinks.

Photo Credit Alys Milner and her selfie stick

The clouds began to roll in.  Check out the difference between these next two images.

We took the trip back down and after dinner in the Queenstown city centre, we hit the road for Wanaka.

Tommorow: Kayaking!

Three Days in Dunedin

Please take a moment to read Alys’ take on our journey thus far ‚̧

Gardening Nirvana

I’m having the time of my life!

In some ways this journey began two years ago.  During a Skype session, the Blogging Babes, as we’ve come to call ourselves, dreamed out loud of a trip to see Pauline in New Zealand. In 2015 Pauline joined us on our side of the world for an incredible trip to Virginia and Washington, D.C. Our time together deepened the friendships and expanded our hearts.

Now here we are three years later, meeting up with Pauline and her two lovely daughters in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Mike drove me to the San Francisco airport where I connected with Laurie. Though I dreaded the 13 hour flight across the Pacific, I was in for some lovely surprises.

SFO at Joe & the Juice Putting our heads together at Joe & the Juice, SFO (This one’s for you, Joe)

We got our sillies on five minutes into our journey, before boarding the…

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University of Otago

After a wonderful day Experiencing Dunedin and Otago Harbour, we slowed our pace with a lovely walk around the University of Otago.

With the first students being accepted in July 1871, it is the oldest university in New Zealand, and the third oldest in Oceania.

With over 20,000 students, the University offers Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral degrees in Health Sciences, other Sciences, Business, and Humanities.

I’m not sure which was more impressive: the architecture or the trees!¬† The stone, while of a darker color, reminded me of Hokie Stone.

The walk was peaceful, offered wonderful scenery, and was the perfect way to end our day.

Dunedin: Rest, Recovery, and Pauline’s World

When we finally went to bed, I can honestly say that I don’t remember my head hitting the pillow.¬† ¬†Eight solid hours of sleep later, I was wide awake and feeling pretty good.¬† Even still, it takes more than 8 hours to recover from that long day of travel, and I was glad that we had a low key day spent exploring Pauline’s world, including her family.

We awoke to see Danella’s patio garden.¬† Even though the day was overcast, the flowers beckoned and my camera was soon put into action.¬† I’ve never taken my laptop on a trip before but I knew that I would want to share photos from the camera, not just the phone.

Danella provided coffee and toast (perfect with fresh tomotoes!) and soon Pauline and Siddy joined us.  That Siddy! He is adored by everyone that he meets.  What a sweet puppy!

After a quick nap, we took the short ride to Pauline’s home.¬† After a lifetime of seeing the driver in the front left seat, it was odd to see just the opposite.¬† Siddy, on Alys’s lap, enjoyed the fresh air!

Fans of Pauline already know what a talented artist she is.  It was wonderful to see her space and all her creations, and of course, the illusive Orlando!

 

We enjoyed an assortment of snacks accompanied by New Zealand wine, and after being joined by Joanna and Steven, a delicious dinner.

Dessert was the traditional Pavlova, prepared by Pauline and served by Joanna.  Evidently, New Zealanders and Australians disagree over who created this yummy dessert.

Before heading back to Danella’s for the night, we took a drive to see the ocean.¬† See the next post!

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