To break up the incredibly long flight from down under to Europe we decided to stop over in Singapore. Its a place we’ve never been before and since we flew Singapore Airlines it seemed only sensible to make a stop.
Ten hours got us there. It was a long tedious flight, most of which I cannot remember since I take anti anxiety meds to fly. I’m fairly sure I watched a film. Although I couldn’t tell you which one. Luckily hubby is fine flying so he takes on parenting duty and I try and imagine myself anywhere but on a plane.
Singapore itself was amazing. It immediately impresses from the airport onwards. Modern imaginative architecture and old colonial style buildings butt together along the water front. I’m not really a city scape person. However I really did enjoy our 3 days there. It was hot, meltingly so. But we missed any monsoon type rainfall and were able to eat out say by the river.
We did a stopover package which was excellent value (Singapore Airlines in no way sponsored us – ha I wish!) We got vouchers for many of the attractions in the city so we filled the days. The big wheel, cable car rides to Sentosa Island, bus trips, entry to the cloud gardens and the flowers gardens. While I wouldn’t say the flights were anything special – long flights, airplane food, full to capacity (I prefer Air New Zealand) the stop-over deal made the trip really affordable and a must do.
The kid was amazing. I’m not sure why we continue to be surprised by this if I’m honest. She’s well travelled and sensible so good behaviour shouldn’t come as a shock. But I always have a super proud parent moment when, after 10 hours on a plane, a taxi ride and into a new hotel room. We dump our gear, pop a clean dress on her and say ‘right off we go’ and head out to walk and find dinner and she just perks up and carries right on.
After two huge days of walking and exploring and crashing out every evening after supper it was time to head back to the airport and onto the second flight. Fourteen hours to London 😮
There isn’t a lot I can say about Milford Sound and the trip to get there that cannot be conveyed through the pictures. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and only had a half day of rain in the whole trip. We drove down slowly, taking time to stop at a variety of picture points, small walks and hikes off the road.
It is hard to explain quite how remote Fiordland really is. Its a comfy 6h from Queenstown and for 2/3rds of that drive you need to expect no cell phone coverage. Once you are past Te Anau there is none. at. all. Milford is off the grid so runs off generators and hydroelectric. If you do want to use internet its via satellite (and surprisingly usable!)
We stayed ay Milford Sound Lodge and were really super impressed with the accommodation, people and the food. And the kea who came to our door every time he saw us.
We did a lovely boat tour with a stop in at the Discovery Centre. I wasn’t really sure what we would see ‘under water’ in a fiord – for the record – plenty! A huge variety of fish, corals, sea cucumbers, star fish and anemones. On the boat tour we saw seals and little crested penguins.
After two amazing days down there, we headed back to Queenstown for a couple of nights before coming home. Great food, fun on the Luge and gondola. More great food. Then lots of driving with big vistas. Long hours. But worth it.
Alaska part two. These are some of the views and places that we will always remember and want to see and visit again.
The Marjorie Glacier. Sorry for the picture overload. It was amazing. Huge. It was almost impossible to photograph it with a sense of scale. There were sea lions lounging on icebergs at the base and they looked like little dots. Actually the entirety of Glacier Bay Nation Park was wonderful.
The train ride in Skagway was so interesting. It follows the old gold trial route and rises up above the snow line. Twisting and winding along the narrow track, clinging to the mountainside. Through unlit tunnels and beside old rickety bridges.
Flying out above the archipelago at Ketchikan and landing in the fjords. Flying beside the soaring cliffs and hill top lakes. Finding timber wolf tracks on the beach and marvelling at the tidal range.
Canopy walks in BC and hiking through the forest. Water park play and the city at sunset, eating sushi watching the cruise ships get ready to depart. There were many things we didn’t photograph, particularly towards the end of the trip. Much of Vancouver which we loved, but just wanted to savour ourselves not through a lens. Gelato, sparkly shoes. Green parks and the train rides.
That view – on top of the ship, found by going through the door to nowhere.
So … this is very late. But at least its here haha. These are the wildlife highlights from the trip. Taken on different days in different locations.
Sitka Deer seen with the Black Bear on a coastal expedition from Ketchikan. We had a 3h trip around the inlets and small islands. The bear is a youngster and was photographed on a small island that is apparently used a lot by the younger bears to keep out of the way of the bigger, older more aggressive males. The black and white Bald Eagle was taken on the same trip and we had a great encounter with harbour porpoises while motoring back to the dock (video on my instagram)
The Orca and Humpback Whale pics were all taken on a trip out of Auke Bay outside Juneau. We were incredibly fortunate to see the transient pod of Orca as they are not sighted that often in that area. We saw about four humpbacks and while motoring homeward spotted the sea lions hanging out on the marker. The bald eagle coming to land on top was a bonus. While photographing the eagle we spotted the breeching humpback. It was a 2016 baby playing with his mum. Best. Mothers. Day. Ever.
With the exception of the grizzly bear (who lives in a forested bear habitat – with a friend, both were rescued as abandoned cubs – outside Vancouver) all these are wild animals photographed in their natural habitats. The grizzly bears are within an area but are left to forage naturally for about 70% of their diet etc. It is only at certain times they provide additional meat/fish.
Things we didn’t get pics of included harbour porpoises, harbour seals, and mountain goats. Also many types of birds we didn’t have a clue about.
Please excuse the variety in editing on these. They are all hubby’s images and he has play around with them as he enjoys. All credit for capturing these amazing creatures goes to him.
Amadee Island is a 45 min fast ferry ride form Noumea. A simply must to day trip. I’m not usually one for ‘day trips’ as such – well, not really one for anything formally organised. But this was awesome! From the ferry ride out there, the beach, wildlife (read sea snakes, extremely venomous but also extremely docile) turtles, reef sharks, multitudes of fishes seen from the glass bottomed boat. The staff on the trips were knowledgable and friendly, happy to natter away to madam and answer her endless questions. We walked and swam and lay in the shade. Had a wonderful lunch with music and rum punch. It was a perfect last day.
Learning to snorkel. Fishes. Funny faces. Sailboats and storm clouds. Sunset. The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre. Rain and mists in the far south. The beautiful waterfall was a highlight of what was a very interesting but very long day. We hired a car (nissan micra) and decided to drive over to the northern coast then back round through the south. just over 200km. 6h. I mistakenly didn’t pack a picnic. Smallest was amazing. As was hubby. The roads. Were not.
To be fully truthful I should add that the fishes were photographed at the aquarium – which I throughly recommend – awesome.
We flew out to Noumea on the island of New Caledonia a couple of weeks ago. A weeks sunshine and relaxing in mind. Hubby took the majority of the pictures which was lovely. We walked and played on the beach, snorkelled and ate fantastic french patisseries. Seriously we all but lived in baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolat. The pictures are in no particular order, more collections of areas. The main town, right outside our hotel and the marina. Walking through the Ouen Toro Park dry forest to the lookout at the top – with the huge cannons and views. Beaches and sunsets and rock pools. The petit Tchoo Tchoo train. A wonderful way to see round the town and the highlights. Also a must do if your 4. Views and relaxing. sunsets and silly shadow pictures.
Ok, I split this into two posts as I realised the number of photos was just to overwhelming for one post (possibly to overwhelming for two – but hey ho)
Our road trip down, sitting eating strawberries together on a well earned break. 6h of driving is hard on a little person. But she coped. Bird park, dancing while waiting for daddy to take arty water shots. Walking on the promenade. Biking at Arrowtown. Gosh its beautiful there. But busy, oh so busy. Definitely not a place we want to live. Scenery, place, size all perfect. Volume of tourists, to high. And I grew up in a tourist area! Splashing in the river. Glorious evening supper outside. Jumping and climbing.
Ok, yeah. It was to many pictures.
So the last few days of the holiday were spent back at Vuda Marina on the boat, relaxing, swimming, music evenings. Bliss. It went so fast, literally flew by, with the perfect combination of relaxing and doing. No wasted days but also delightful quiet moments. Time to simply enjoy. And read books. I read 4. Yup 4 in 9 days!
After a swim on the final morning we flew home, a long day but good flights and little moo was awesome.
It was a great holiday. I never did ‘family holidays’ as a kid, never really did extended family. It was so beautiful watching madam with her grandparents. How she interacts, her love and enjoyment in having more people in her life. Making new memories, tucking away special moments, little keepsakes, reminders in our home. So now we savour family time, unconditional love and awesome fun. Heres to lots more adventures.
The next is coming up, 3 times around the sun, celebrated with Nana Sue!
So after a few days at Vuda Point we sailed out to Musket Cove. It was the most beautiful place and we had a wonderful few days.
She slept on the sail out, passed out in the cockpit with us, oblivious to salty splashes and gusty breezes. We arrived in late afternoon, and after a little wiggle getting moored up we went for a explore. Bliss. Dream sunsets and warm sand and fish filled water.
We had beach bar BBQ’s and found friends for Moo, she had such fun and happily played with a couple of kiwi kids who were holidaying on their grandparents boat. Such lovely kids, the sort you meet and hope that yours turns out as nice. Incidentally they shared the flight back with us as well and were so patient and kind – although did return madam at one point with a very polite ‘Please can you have her now, she’s kind of annoying’. Ha.
We swam in the sea with stripy fishes, found hermit crabs, swam in the salt water pool – madam was not a fan of the ‘yucky tasting water’ – the fact your not meant to drink pool water seemed to have passed her by.
It was family. Warm and inviting.
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