wild coast, NZ

today we hiked over a mountain to the most beautiful, remote & rugged shore.

near Jackson’s Bay, on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, we discovered wild blue ocean waves, foaming white as they crashed into the rocks stoically standing along the shore.

my husband has been teaching me to drone. he has a DJI Mavic 2 Zoom which is a marvel of machinery. it fares brilliantly in the windiest of conditions and takes epic photography and film footage.

Queenstown :: Mt Nicholas Station

What a fun experience visiting a working sheep & cattle station!

The boat ride over to the farm, cruises through the most spectacular scenery. The boat’s Captain provides some historic info & interesting facts about Lake Wakatipu. Did you know that, with five rivers feeding the lake and one river exiting, Lake Wakatipu has a tide and can rise & fall over 20cms every hour!

Seating on the boat is warm and comfortable and there are amenities like toilets and a snack/drink bar.

It docks at the one end of the lake, on a beautiful, grey pebbled shore. Our station tour host & guide greet us, and we start with a visit to the wool shed where the knowledgeable Gail explains the sheep’s lifecycle, how & when they are sheared, how wool is graded, the process for sorting, cleaning & treating, and where the wool from the Mt Nicholas Station ends up. It’s very interesting and the smell of the wool shed is definitely unique!

We head over to see a few farm animals, including the most gorgeous, well mannered (retired) dogs Belle (who is on heat) and Khan (who really wants her), some pigs, chickens & sheep. The dogs can’t wait to give us a demo of their former trade; rounding up the sheep. We even get to see a lot of Khan chasing Belle around trying to mount her! It’s all incredible to watch.

Gale takes us on a bus ride to see a tiny bit of the 100,000 acres of the property. It’s the most spectacular scenery and she gives us some great history and knowledge of the current station owners & workers. She is interactive and easy to listen too.

We arrive back where we started for some Ploughman’s Lunch; some homemade soup, meats, cheeses, bread, pickles and sweet treats before the boat arrives to collect us for our return journey.

All up, it was a fun, informative and beautiful hands-on experience, that roughly took about 3 hours in total.

Definitely a recommended activity when you’re in Queenstown.

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

there is something spiritual about floating on a glacier lagoon, air so cool and crisp it literally takes your breath away.
once we made it away from the shore and the rubber dinghy’s engine cut, it was silence… interspersed by the occasional call of birds overhead and the cracking of the icebergs as they swayed, creaked & settled on themselves on their slow journey from the glacier to the sea.
we witnessed lines of time in the layers of ice; thousands of years right in front of us. ash from past volcanic eruptions.
harshest winters of clear ice and warmer summers in cloudy colour.
a kaleidoscope of time and an environmental barometer.
Iceland is literally the land of fire & ice.
it was one of the best adventures we’ve had.
and eating a chunk of thousand year crystal ice fished straight from the lagoon was incredible!
my view…Jökulsárlón icebergs

this is me…. @thisismelly

Secret Parisian Bars & Divine Delights

We’re in Paris for my upcoming fortieth birthday!

I found the restaurant on Instagram and just had to go…

No bookings mean we have to wait for a table, but how joyous to do so! We have a drink downstairs in the speakeasy. You are given no directions, and clandestinely enter through a “no entry” meatlocker to find a dim, red velvet walled bar. The menu suggests a flight for the tastebuds; sweet, sour, acidic, dry…a cocktail to match. Relax & chat while you wait listening to some hip hop chill.

We get a text message that our table is ready! Dinner is fun; the servers are friendly and happy to help with recommendations. They don’t even mind our lame attempt at ordering in French.

We have prosciutto & melon to start which is light and sweet and delicious. For mains he has the steak with roast potatoes and cheesy polenta which he exclaims is heaven on earth. I have the Instagram pizza which is large and delicious; bubbly, fluffy woodfired dough and wafer thin slices of ham and mushrooms. We have a side salad that is so big it could feed a herd of rabbits! We ambitiously order a bottle of red wine, but have some green tea to help digest while we share a heavenly dessert; a slice of some godly creation where tiramisu meets banoffi pie. Divine.

Seriously, there is nothing bad to say about Pink Mumma. Go, eat, drink and save room for dessert.

:: adventure :: New Zealand part 3 :: fiordland

“So lovely was the loneliness of a wild lake.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe 

The Doubtful Sound awes you with its scale and beauty.
Vertiginous mountains rise straight out of the water, clouds hovering their tops, smothered in thick rainforest of fern and podocarp trees. Sheer cliffs at sharp angles stoically impose their presence, often with waterfalls starting so high that the water becomes mist on before it reaches the ground.

It’s magical here. Mystical even. A place that has essentially remained unchanged since it was discovered by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. After months of exploration up and down the entangled waters that snake their way into the mountains and sub-aquatic valleys of the South Island’s fiords, Cook was doubtful he’d be able to find his way back to the ocean from this maze of epic but rugged waterlogged beauty. He named it Doubtful Harbour.

It’s so calm and peaceful. On average it’s 400m deep (1300ft), and with protection from off & on shore winds, it’s surface is often glassy and mirror-flat. Because it’s logistically difficult to get to, tourist numbers are minimal with only a few boats sailing it’s expanse at any one time. We didn’t see another boat the 4 hours we sailed The Sound’s pristine waters.

It’s status as marine & nature reserve ensure the only inhabitants are dolphins, fur seals, native birds like the kiwi, weta and morepork and the world’s rarest little penguin the Fiordland Crested Penguin. We stopped for a while and saw this beautiful little couple…

We cruise aboard Real Journey’s Patea Explorer. It’s freezing outside, the mix of wind from sailing across the water and the light rain whipping around us boring through the layers of clothing and chilling us to the bone. But it makes for a more authentic experience; us in the elements, engulfed by the wildness and remoteness of The Sound.  

The captain announces that we’re anchoring at a sound reserve for a few minutes to experience the true nature of Doubtful Sound’s moniker ‘Sounds of Silence’. I can’t quite explain the experience of pure silence from static noise. Bobbing aboard a boat in the middle of a mirror lake, surrounded by 4,000ft of forested mountain walls, with only the occasional call of a bird and the distant rush of a waterfall is incredible. Your ears ring in the silence, your throat catches and your chest aches with pure wonder. It’s soulful.

If you get a chance, you need to experience this place for yourself.

***

We stay in the closest town, a 2 hour journey by boat & bus, nestled on the shore of NZ’s second largest lake, in the peaceful little town of Te Anau.

We stay at a little motel; Lakeside Motel and Apartments, our room is on the ground floor that looks out to the most amazing view, below.


 The motel owners really love their garden and all their care is evident, the trees are neatly pruned, the grass is short and intensely green and the tulips are an explosion of colour; a welcome contrast against they endless grey-blue of the lake and surrounding mountains.

The first night we eat at a little pizza place where the owner’s 12 year old son pours our beers from the bar tap, and the food is simple but homey and welcoming. The next night we have take-away fish’n’chips sitting on the dock overlooking the waves and watching the day’s last rays of sun shimmer on their rippling peaks. It’s a quiet town, simple in its beauty and lovely how it doesn’t try to be anything flashy.


 It’s the gateway to one of the most transcendent places on earth, so it doesn’t need to be.

***

Read [Part 1] or [Part 2]

//all photos my own//

:: adventure :: New Zealand part 3 :: fiordland

“So lovely was the loneliness of a wild lake.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe 

The Doubtful Sound awes you with its scale and beauty.
Vertiginous mountains rise straight out of the water, clouds hovering their tops, smothered in thick rainforest of fern and podocarp trees. Sheer cliffs at sharp angles stoically impose their presence, often with waterfalls starting so high that the water becomes mist on before it reaches the ground.

It’s magical here. Mystical even. A place that has essentially remained unchanged since it was discovered by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. After months of exploration up and down the entangled waters that snake their way into the mountains and sub-aquatic valleys of the South Island’s fiords, Cook was doubtful he’d be able to find his way back to the ocean from this maze of epic but rugged waterlogged beauty. He named it Doubtful Harbour.

It’s so calm and peaceful. On average it’s 400m deep (1300ft), and with protection from off & on shore winds, it’s surface is often glassy and mirror-flat. Because it’s logistically difficult to get to, tourist numbers are minimal with only a few boats sailing it’s expanse at any one time. We didn’t see another boat the 4 hours we sailed The Sound’s pristine waters.

It’s status as marine & nature reserve ensure the only inhabitants are dolphins, fur seals, native birds like the kiwi, weta and morepork and the world’s rarest little penguin the Fiordland Crested Penguin. We stopped for a while and saw this beautiful little couple…

We cruise aboard Real Journey’s Patea Explorer. It’s freezing outside, the mix of wind from sailing across the water and the light rain whipping around us boring through the layers of clothing and chilling us to the bone. But it makes for a more authentic experience; us in the elements, engulfed by the wildness and remoteness of The Sound.  

The captain announces that we’re anchoring at a sound reserve for a few minutes to experience the true nature of Doubtful Sound’s moniker ‘Sounds of Silence’. I can’t quite explain the experience of pure silence from static noise. Bobbing aboard a boat in the middle of a mirror lake, surrounded by 4,000ft of forested mountain walls, with only the occasional call of a bird and the distant rush of a waterfall is incredible. Your ears ring in the silence, your throat catches and your chest aches with pure wonder. It’s soulful.

If you get a chance, you need to experience this place for yourself.

***

We stay in the closest town, a 2 hour journey by boat & bus, nestled on the shore of NZ’s second largest lake, in the peaceful little town of Te Anau.

We stay at a little motel; Lakeside Motel and Apartments, our room is on the ground floor that looks out to the most amazing view, below.

 The motel owners really love their garden and all their care is evident, the trees are neatly pruned, the grass is short and intensely green and the tulips are an explosion of colour; a welcome contrast against they endless grey-blue of the lake and surrounding mountains.

The first night we eat at a little pizza place where the owner’s 12 year old son pours our beers from the bar tap, and the food is simple but homey and welcoming. The next night we have take-away fish’n’chips sitting on the dock overlooking the waves and watching the day’s last rays of sun shimmer on their rippling peaks. It’s a quiet town, simple in its beauty and lovely how it doesn’t try to be anything flashy.


 It’s the gateway to one of the most transcendent places on earth, so it doesn’t need to be.

***

Read [Part 1] or [Part 2]

//all photos my own//