Sunday, February 26, 2012

Frozen: The Best and the Worst

Skiing and I are not huge friends.  Okay, I like it in theory.... but the reality is the snow is waaaaay to fast under my feet.  I do however enjoy ice skating, and that has to be my winter activity of choice. 

So today, I thought I would share the best and worst of Mount Ruapehu.  The best and the worst of everything, on back to back days.  The first day was so hot we ended up skiing in tee shirts and sunbathing on the snow.  The following day was white out conditions, slopes being closed and heading home early.

The best of the frozen day?  Well, other than ankle blisters popping - turns out I was wearing ski boots that were a little too snug - having to buy a new scarf because I had lost mine in the snow somewhere, and generally dealing with a mountain full of people all stuck by the carpark, there were great times.  The hot chocolate was amazing, the people were wonderful, and we had plenty of time to create prank photos.

Coming down from Mount Ruapehu
The Ski Lesson.....
Notice all those horrid clouds in the background!  Shocking weather
The next morning.  We did not snowboard... but it looks like we did, right?
Toughing out the weather
Riding the ski lift.....
And posing for photographs.... :D

Don't ever believe that I am grown up and sensible!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Swimming with the Swallows

While in Tonga we visited the Swallows Cave, off Va'vau.  The trip was amazing.  Inside the cave, the water was so clear that we could see the bottom of the ocean 50 metres below.  Fish swam, and so did we.  Above us, the swallows nested in their mud nests, precariously clinging to the ceiling of the cave.

The cave itself seems to be somewhere that people, both local and tourists, write their names in the rock.  Generally people seemed annoyed by it, but given that locals have been heading out, and climbing as high as they can in the cave to write their name, or the name of a loved one on the wall, it was hard not to see something so simple and delightful in it.  Something like a local flavour of carving initials in a tree.

Destination Friday: Sun-seeking

Today it has been windy, and a little wet.  To me this translates as time spent dreaming of peace and quiet, and a little sun time.  Usually beaches on secluded islands capture my imagination, but often I prefer to find seclusion in the woods.

Capturing my imagination, of locations in the sun.....

We used to live backing onto National Forest.  Wood pigeons, or Kereru, used to sing and fly around the back garden.  Walking up the back end of the section, and I really mean up.... this National Park was on a mountain range.... reality disappeared into the trees.  After climbing about 20 metres, to the top of our property, the land evened out onto a plateau.  Here I used to sit, watching the birds, listening to the sound of the river just over the road from our house.

So, where do you dream about when you think of seeking bliss in the sun?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Destination Friday - Something so Perfect

The weather here today is stunning, blue skies, warm sun, and above all else, quiet.  It is a perfect day for reflecting on perfect days in the sun.

Dravuni Island, Fiji.  The only problem was overcrowding. :P

During my last trip to Fiji, we had perfect days.  We managed to follow the bad weather, leaving us with perfect skies, green vegetation, and just enough water to dampen the dirt tracks, so dust was at a minimum.  Unfortunately for Fiji, massive floods followed our visit, which was totally unbelievable and shocking to see on the evening news.

So this linky is all about perfection.  Where is your perfect destination?  What happened there?  What do you look for in a holiday?  Or just link up any travel or vacation related post.  Peace.

Monday, February 6, 2012

More Island Time

After spending a veritable lifetime in and out of hospitals with the husband, it is time to remember what happened up until the day before the first visit.... we were back in the islands!  Best of all, we were there with my whole family, which made for instant rent-a-friends as well as entertainment value.

There will be more posted on the locations and what we did in a short while, but for now, some images from the nicest places to visit; Fiji and Tonga.  Both islands were filled with poor people, but rich in personality and generousity.  I would go back in a heart beat.