Milford Sound

Since we saw a lot of the south island with my parents, we decided to spend the bulk of our 10 days in areas where we hadn’t been yet. Milford Sound is one of those places that you have to go if you’ve lived in NZ for a few months. It would’ve been a sin to leave here without going. Although, there are kiwi’s who live here who have never even been to the south island (ruth!!). It’s hard to explain the grandeur of this place. We had the chance to kayak around the sounds, which was a one-of-a-kind adventure. We would probably classify kayaking as one of our top 5 favorite things. We also did a few hikes in the area and didn’t get eaten alive by sand flys. Win, win! (sand fly’s are like mosquitos but a lot worse in my opinion).

Excited to be in fiodland!

Excited to be in fiodland!

M to the ilford

M to the ilford

wow!

wow!

morning kayak

morning kayak

happy to have calm sea's

happy to have calm sea’s

Gertrude Saddle - such an awkward name =/

Gertrude Saddle – such an awkward name…

Milford track

Milford track

so darn cute. i'm just sayin.

so darn cute. i’m just sayin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Queenstown

If you follow me on instagram then you probably know how much I have enjoyed Queenstown. It has definitely been our favorite town mainly because it’s target market is tourists. A few kiwi’s told us that we wouldn’t like it because it was too touristy but we are well, tourists, so it was a blast! Our first visit we stayed there for a few days with my parents. We were up for whatever they wanted to do. My mom chose the calm, relaxing boat cruise around the lake and my dad chose the jet/speed boat that goes through the canyon. Dustin put together a quick little video to give you an idea of what we experienced.

They got SO close to the sides of the canyon, it was nuts! And the jet boat only needs 10 cm of water to be able to operate so it looked like we were going to hit rocks and tree branches but we didn’t. After our two boat rides the boys went to ride the luge from the gondola. The girls went shopping (duh). We had dinner in the sky tower that overlooked the city…it was awesome! Dustin and I spent 5 more days there on our own South Island trip. He did his big bungy jump and he also went mountain biking. I went shopping and got a massage while he was being a crazy man. I will dedicate a whole post to his bungy jump since he got it all on film. Did you know bungy jumping was invented by a kiwi in NZ? True story. Here are a few pictures – maybe you will know why it’s our favorite city from the pictures.

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Dream Holiday Homes

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cruisey

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Reliving the glory days of Beach Front Boat Rentals

The view from our hotel!

The view from our hotel!

happy, happy

happy, happy

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The Ultimate NZ Road Trip

My apologies for my lack of blogging these past few weeks. All good excuses, of course. The night we returned from our big trip with my parents, our friends threw Dustin a surprise birthday party! And then my parents left a few days later, followed by a baby shower I hosted, then one last “bobby” with our friends to say goodbye. Now we are back in our favorite city – Queenstown. But before I update you too much, let me give you a summary of the ultimate road trip with my parents.

As most of you know, Dustin and I didn’t date for too long before we got engaged and married. Of course my parents knew Dustin – but there’s so much more to learn when you spend two weeks on the road with your favorite son-in-law! When we were planning the trip, we wanted to have a variety of places to stay to get the full experience. It truly is in those moments of discomfort that you giggle the most. We didn’t think twice about staying in the same room as my parents at one spot because it was an in between place to stay on our way to a nice holiday home we rented.  Well there we were, all crammed into one tiny room not realizing that it would be stretching my parents out of their comfort zones to a) walk to the bathroom down the street b) share a room with their daughter & son-in-law. But by golley, it was fun! We laughed really hard about a few things and it was the running joke for the rest of the trip. Y’all, my mom slept in her clothes. It was hilarious! And Dustin was smart enough to capture the funny moment…

Nice and Cozy

Nice and Cozy

I don’t care who you are, that’s funny.  Dustin is really big on making memories and indeed memories were made. We did so many fun things it’s hard to pin what was my favorite. I loved Queenstown which is probably why we are already back and spending 4 more days here. The first few days were spent traveling down the west coast and then we made our way back up north again on the east coast. The amazing thing was that we saw so many different types of scenery. Snow capped mountains, giant cliffs over looking the ocean, seal colonies, rocky beaches, sandy beaches, pristine lakes, rocky mountains, lush green mountains, farm land, huge waterfalls, canyons…and I could keep going.  My mom’s favorite were the large irrigation systems. As my dad would say, “you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.” Hehe Ok, so it wasn’t her favorite but she kept pointing them out and it’s hard not to give her a hard time about her Hedley upbringing. It was a quick 12 days to have them here but Dustin and I both are so glad to share that special time with them. For most people they will only hear and see pictures of what we did but the fact that they got to sit next to us and experience the same things we did will always be a fond memory. We laughed A LOT, ate a lot of food and saw a lot of the south island…all elements of one fantastic road trip if you ask me.

Crayfish Trailer

Holy Guacamole!

Holy Guacamole!

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The “roaring meg” gorge.

Queenstown

Queenstown

Mama & Papa

Mama & Papa

 

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Emergen-sea

What a day, what a day!
I will update the blog soon about our trip prior to our crazy day in Kaikoura. Until then, I will tell you about our craziest memory yet! The whole trip we had been bugging my mom about swimming with the dolphins in Kaikoura. She finally agreed and we got signed up to go out yesterday morning at 8:30. My dad was just observing and the rest of us were going to try to swim with the dolphins. Key word – try! When we were getting ready to leave, my mom noticed that one of our tires was completely flat. We should’ve taken that as a sign. We decided to briskly walk down to the dolphin place just in time to get all decked out in our wet suit gear. A wet suit hat (?), flippers, body and jacket of the wet suit and our snorkle gear. They showed us this cute video about how it’s really fun to swim with the dolphins and how you will circle with them and sing with them.
Hmmm…not exactly how our dolphin encounter went.
Let me tell you what they didn’t act out in the prep video – how to walk on a boat that is rocking back and forth from the massive swells. Dustin has a tendency to get sea sick so he loaded up on ginger pills which were no help to the chaos. I’ll get to that in a minute. Ok, so we’re out on the water – excited for what the ideal and oh so optimistic video “prepared” us for. The boat is rocking pretty hard but I’m trying to act cool since no one else was showing any concern. Then one person threw up, then two and then Dustin goes out to the back of the boat looking pretty white. In the meantime, they spotted some dolphins so we go over to where they are and they are rushing us to get all of our gear prepared to jump in and swim/sing/dance with the dolphins. I stayed put in my seat feeling pretty uneasy about the whole situation. My mom, listening to the leader of our boat, gets up and slowly but surely rocks back to the end of the boat. Right as she goes to sit down a huge swell knocks the corner of the boat right into her forehead! As most everyone knows, your head bleeds a lot so it looks a lot worse than what it really is. Dustin tells me pretty casually that my mom hit her head because he is so sick he can hardly talk. When I look over there’s blood everywhere so I call for my dad to come out.
This is when the fight or flight kicks in and I happen to be neither…I freak. I obviously didn’t inherit my dad’s ability to rescue people (he used to be a firefighter). Oh no…I just panic and think of the worst thing that could possibly happen. My dad was a total life saver because at this point Dustin and I both are out of commission. During all this chaos, the rest of the people were jumping in the huge swells to do what we had originally come to do. I feel so terrible that I just want to cry and I have no desire to see any dolphins…I just want to get my family off the boat. At one point (not exaggerating) I look over and see Dustin huddled up in the corner – white as a ghost, my dad holding a bloody towel on my mom’s forehead and my mom covered in  blood.Somehow Dustin mustered up the energy to get on his gear (like a zombie) and I even think I heard him mumble something about getting his money’s worth. hehe
My mom didn’t want to ruin everyone else’s experience so she was insisting that I go in the water when we saw the dolphins. The problem was that she had blood ALL over her face and my desire to do anything else except get off that dang boat had gone completely out the window. Finally when my mom threw up, they didn’t even give her an option, they were going to cut the trip off by a couple of hours so we could take my mom to the hospital. To be completely honest, I don’t think anyone was disappointed because they discounted everyone’s trip and the weather was so bad that more and more people kept feeling sick.
Once we FINALLY got off the boat (hallelujah!!!), the company had someone pick us up at the wharf and drive us to the hospital. Mind you we are all still wearing our wet suits and Dustin is still not feeling great. Luckily my mom was doing fine, I think she just really wanted to get out of the wet suit. The doctor (who was wearing jeans) took care of her and gave her a few stitches on her forehead. Who knew her free souvenir wasn’t going to be a sea shell or a pretty rock, it was going to be a scar on her forehead! The company paid for all the medical expenses and completely refunded our money.  After it was all said and done we were very, very thankful for a minor injury and we can now laugh at the craziness of the trip. Swim with wild dolphins in the ocean? No thanks! I’ll take my controlled environment at Sea World, thank you.
I don't always go to the emergency room but when I do, it's in a wet suit.

I don’t always go to the emergency room but when I do, it’s in a wet suit.

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