Piha for Easter

North Piha, Auckland, New Zealand

Easter was coming up and so I got out a map and looked at where I haven’t been yet. I did look at going to Manukau Heads but when looking up accommodation there wasn’t much available unless I became a millionaire overnight so my next choice was Piha.

I have grown up watching Piha rescue and heard it is a dangerous beach, but what noone says is how beautiful it is! Piha is located in the Waitakere Ranges on the West Coast of Auckland. I left on Thursday after work and was blessed with no traffic! It took about 2 and a half hours to get there and made it in time to watch the sun go down at the beach.

I stayed at Piha Beachstay which is a bit hippy, there are only a few rooms so only around 20 people can stay there at one time, there are chickens which the staff collect eggs from which you can purchase and it is about a 20minute walk from the beach.

It was like summer over that weekend so I managed to get in a couple of swims! The water was so warm! I used this weekend as a relax. I spent my days doing walks and exploring, lying on the beach when the weather was nice enough and spending the nights chilling at my accommodation reading and watching youtube/netflix or talking to people.

Since the Kauri Dieback is quite high in this area, there were alot of signs around asking to make sure your boots are clean so as not to spread this disease. Alot of walks have been closed in the Ranges because of this, so it is best to check the DOC website as to which tracks are closed. Please be careful when walking these tracks and clean your shoes where all the signs are, they provide brushes and disinfectant for you to use.

These are a couple of the walks I did:

Kitekite Falls – this track is the most infected track open track in New Zealand I think at the time I went. There was a DOC lady standing out the front making sure everyone cleaned their shoes and giving out information. This is about an hour return, it gets quite wet in parts so make sure you have sturdy shoes or don’t mind getting them wet. Once at the falls, it is beautiful! The falls are quite high and you can walk to the top of the falls and there are pools at the top which you can also swim in.

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Whites Beach – from North Piha you can walk along several tracks that take you to Whites Beach, this one is a bit harder and takes a few hours so you would need to pack snacks and something to drink. There are a few steep bits along this one, but Whites Beach is worth it if your up for the trek as there are not many people that go there so I pretty much had the beach to myself. This track does a loop and brings you back to North Piha beach.

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Karekare Falls – this walk is in Karekare, which I stopped at on my way home. It is a 15min drive from Piha, the walk itself is very short – only about 5min. But it is still a nice waterfall and there is a couple of other tracks you can do from there if you want to carry on and spend more time in that area. The beach is also really nice, its quite peaceful and stretches as far as I could see.

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If your into the outdoors then this is the place for you, I loved my long weekend at Piha and can’t wait until I can make it back there.

 

Until next time x

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Hakarimatas at night!

Hakarimata Summit, Ngaruawahia, New Zealand

On Thursday I went up the Haks at about 6pm, it was a little later than I had meant to go and I forgot that once in the bush it is alot darker! But I was there and I had a torch so there was no excuses.

I have been wanting to go up at night for a while as I had been told there are Glow Worms there.

I don’t know if it was the fact that I had only been up a couple of weeks ago, it was nighttime or I had my headphones but I was powering up there, I stopped less than normal. Since there are stairs and there are quite a lot that are wooden, it made it fine for me to make my way up there without a torch, I was just careful on the flat as there are a lot of trunks and leaves/branches on the ground so you don’t want to twist an ankle.

Once at the top, it was quite pretty, all the lights are on over Hamilton and Ngaruawahia. You don’t get to see the glow worms until you get to the bottom, where there is about a kilometre left. The track follows a creek, and there are glow worms surrounding a couple of the waterfalls and along the track in the bush, it is so pretty!

Unfortunately the camera doesn’t show up the glow worms =(

 

Until next time x

Lake Ngaroto

Lake Ngaroto

I have been very slack on this site sorry! My mission this Autumn/Winter is to get back into it and catch you up on all the places I have been around New Zealand over the last few months. I am going to start with last weekend.

I had heard from a friend that Lake Ngaroto had a nice walking track and that I should check it out. So I finally got around to doing so. It is about 20 minutes from Hamilton and based off the map, not long out of Te Awamutu. Online it says that it is an hour and a half long walk and it did take me about that long.

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The track is really nice! I took my mum’s dog as you can take dogs on leads (you can also bike if walking or running isn’t your thing), which gave me some company. If you are wanting to get a good look at the lake you will be disappointed as you are more walking through the shrubs and farmland area. The grass is so lush and it is really peaceful!

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There is a gravel track and some parts are a wooden board walk. If you have a dog, you may want to take some water with you as there weren’t many places I could find where Ella could have a drink or that I would let her have a drink from as it is a peat lake and some areas didn’t look nice for drinking. Other than that, go check it out as you get quite a good workout as it is about 5.5-6km long, it is quite flat and the scenery is worth it.

 

Until next time x

Relocated to New Zealand

up in the clouds, Brisbane, Australia

Hello All!

I have now relocated back to New Zealand. Two suitcases, one overnight bag and giving away / dumping in clothing bins half my belongings and I am back in my hometown of Hamilton. It was sad leaving London as I want to still do so much travel, but all good things must come to an end. I will still be going for trips around the world, just probably won’t be as often. So in the meantime I will be checking out what New Zealand has to offer and taking you all along for the ride!

Look out for day trips, hikes, events, you name it! I already have a few things booked to look forward to, so check back to see what I get up to.  I am already loving the summer weather and have started to get my tan back as burn time here is about 10 minutes!!

Until next time x

Top ways to save space and must haves in your carry on!

magazine, travel essentials, passport, travel containers, plug, eye mask, earplugs

I think I have become a pro at saving space when it comes to carry on as that is all I ever travel with since I have been in the UK. So I thought I would share some tips as it has really come in handy for bringing the essentials and also making it not heavy and getting all your liquids through customs. I also am putting in there some must haves to make your travel easier and handy when needed!

  1. Buy plastic containers – I bought mine just at poundland and another cheap store. They have been a lifesaver. I put my moisturisers, cleansers, shampoo, suncream and aftersun in these and they save so much room and weight for your bag.
  2. Organisers / Snaplock bags – It doesn’t have to cost the earth to separate out your clothing. Using organisers saves space by taking some of the air out of the clothes and makes it so easy to keep everything tidy as when everything is put together it can expand and look like you have less room. Also great for holding your dirty clothes so they don’t get mixed up with your clean ones =)
  3. Magazine – I always treat myself to a magazine when I go away, so I can keep myself occupied when I am travelling, and if you finish it while you are away you can ditch it and your bag gets lighter – always a good thing!
  4. Wear your bulky stuff on the plane, shoes and jackets can take up a lot of room, but if you wear them they keep your luggage weight down, and free up your bag.
  5. Padlock – If you are staying in a hostel, this is a good idea as then you don’t need to buy a padlock, and it keeps your stuff safe in your locker.
  6. Earplugs and face mask – keeps sound out if you are stuck in a room with snorers – which seems to be regularly at the moment, and also a face mask to block the light out so if someone comes in during the night or you need a sleep in if the windows aren’t that well covered, your sorted. I don’t travel anywhere without these! Even planes if there are crying babies or your in a hotel and its noisy outside – they are a must!
  7. Umbrella and beanie – you never know what the weather will be like – especially in a cold place. A beanie is small and fits easily in your bag, but keeps you super warm if it is colder than expected. And an umbrella. You don’t want to be stuck buying umbrellas or ponchos while your there and wasting money when you can bring your one from home.
  8. Currency – I have found that the best rates for changing currency is when you get there. Always check online first though as the occasional country will not have as good a rate. But in general wait until you get there and to save money on ATM cash, take out how much you think you will spend before you leave so you have it on you and don’t get stung then just exchange bits at a time so you don’t get stuck having to convert alot of currency back at the end.
  9. Make a list of sights/restaurants before you leave for your trip, especially if you only have a weekend. Saves you from becoming overwhelmed by thinking your going to miss something that you had wanted to see/do and its quite fun ticking them off at the end =)
  10. Finally make sure to have fun! If you don’t get to do everything you wanted that’s fine and I have come to realise that just walking the streets and ‘acting like a local’ by just chilling at a cafe and reading a book or walking through a park is just as fun and is just as apart of the experience as going to the more touristy parts of a city.

Leave you tips below for how you save time/space/carry on must haves as I would love to add some new ways to my list as we can always improve!

Until next time x

Running for the train to Nottingham!

On Friday night I had been talking to one of my best mates until after 12. When I got off my computer, I looked on Citymapper to check how long it would take me to get to the train then I somehow got distracted and fell asleep. I woke up to my alarm I had set earlier in the week knowing I would need to get up around 6.30ish but that wasn’t early enough! I needed to leave at 6.30 so I was in such a rush and freaking out as there was a slim chance in hell of making my train on time. I ran from stop to stop – platform to platform and I made it! With not even a minute spare!

I walked nearly the length of the train and found my seat to then relax as I made my way to Nottingham!

Once off the train, I beelined for the Nottingham Castle, I got there before the doors had even opened. If you go to Nottingham and don’t have much time I wouldn’t waste my time or money. It was pretty average, and was mostly just a museum about nothing to do with the Castle. By now I was starving (running around like a crazy person does that), I had seen some good reviews for Hartley’s Sandwich Bar and I got a bacon, mozzarella and spinach panini with a berry boost smoothie. It was delish! Now that my tank was full, I went to my next stop which was the City of Caves. It was well worth doing! Really informative and interesting and if you like playing dress up you get to wear a hard hat =)

City of Caves, Nottingham, United Kingdom

I then went to the bus depo and took a bus out to Wollaton Hall and Deer park. It was just what i needed! It was so beautiful and peaceful, the leaves on the trees were all changing since we are now in Autumn, really lovely.

Wollaton Par, Nottingham

The hall is gorgeous from the outside, and is free to go in and check out the exhibits. There is a couple of floors to occupy yourself for a while. I then headed back to the city centre and wandered around the streets before finding  somewhere for dinner and a few post walk cocktails which is always satisfying!

Another day of exploring been and gone….

Until next time x

Sweden!

Last weekend I ticked another country off the list!

This weeks city was Gothenburg – where Batman lives =)

I stayed at Slottsskogens Hostel, which was walking distance to the city centre and close to a few sights. I arrived quite late on Friday night so it was straight to bed for me, but Saturday I was up and on the hunt for a currency exchange and a supermarket to get breakfast. Scandinavian countries are known for being expensive so I was wary to be careful to save money where I could.

I walked around the small parks based in the city then I headed for the Universeum to take cover from the looming rain. Worth doing if your into science and / or animals.

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I took a stroll through the Haga district, up to a beautiful view over Gothenburg at Skansen Kronan then onto the Botanical Gardens. The gardens were covered with many brightly coloured flowers, and it was free! Nice and peaceful if you want somewhere to relax or take a picnic and soak up the sun.

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Sunday was a walking tour run by the hostel, which was was a walk then history but still fun listening to the Italian guy chat away. I meandered through the central city, back to near my hostel where there is a massive park called Slottsskogen, but the rain stopped me from perching somewhere so I headed home.

Monday I caught the tram out to Saltholmen, to catch a ferry through the Southern Archipelago islands. They are rocky islands and the southern ones are mostly car-less. I got off at Vrango and went for a nature walk and had to make a run for it to grab the ferry back. It was unfortunately time to make my way back to the city to collect my things and head to the airport.

Until next time x

Kent Coast

Broadstairs, United Kingdom

I am a little late on this post. A couple of weekends ago I made my way out to Kent to Broadstairs. It was blue skies and sunshine, and there were people already enjoying the beach when I arrived so after a quick look around I joined them!

It was really relaxing and peaceful, I laid out my sarong and laid back to soak up the rays. It was the first time since I’ve been in the UK that I knew I would be getting in the water! After a short while a lovely lady asked if she could join me and I welcomed her next to me. After a slight language barrier I found out she was from Turkey and was there learning English for the next couple of months. It was nice to have some company.

Before the sky clouded too much I took the plunge and made my way to the water, it was FREEZING!! But I was determined to have at least one experience in the water before the summer ends.

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Once I had dried off a bit I made my way along the beach to check out the bays either side of Broadstairs. I wanted to check out Botany Bay which was about 5 bays along. It was quite a trek on the sand but luckily for the coastal trail on the way back or it may have been a very slow journey on the way back.

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All and all another favourite coastal area where the people are friendly and the food was delish! I would definitely recommend checking this little town out.

Until next time x