Our last days in Norway were spent in Geiranger and Bergen. I didn’t get any pics of Bergen. We just had a quiet walking and exploring day and because it was a bit overcast the camera stayed in the bag. It is a beautiful town, full of little nooks and lanes as well as a great place to walk, eat and relax (and buy reindeer skin – if you’re me anyway)

Geiranger was probably our most favourite place of the whole trip – magical. It was another foggy morning when we docked but by the time we had got up out of the village and into the hills it cleared into the most beautiful day. We hiked up to Storseterfossen waterfall – it was a steep steep hike but great fun and well worth it. The views were magnificent. On the hike back down we stopped off at a little farm and got ice creams and drinks before descending the final few km’s to the village.

Leaving through the fjords was spectacular – none of the pictures can capture the scale of the waterfalls, hundreds of feet tall, plunging into the fjord, straight down the cliffs. One un-captured but magical moment was seeing a ice dam release at the head of an almost vertical glacier further up the fjord and vast quantities of water snow and ice cascading down like an enormous waterfall. Only to vanish minutes later.

It’s not a bad life – Norway was definitley the highlight of May.

We had a wonderful trip up the English Channel to Norway – smooth calm seas and most of the travelling done at night. Our first stop was Stavanger and we headed out of the town to hike the Manafossen waterfall. It was a short but steep walk up to the top to view the falls but well worth the effort. Lots of scrambling up steps and rocks holding a chain. The kid was delighted! We didn’t really venture into the town much – towns aren’t really our thing, and drizzle and decreasing temperatures meant we headed inside for hot chocolate and crepes. had a wonderful trip up the English Channel to Norway – smooth calm seas and most of the travelling done at night. Our first stop was Stavanger and we headed out of the town to hike the Manafossen waterfall. It was a short but steep walk up to the top to view the falls but well worth the effort. Lots of scrambling up steps and rocks holding a chain. The kid was delighted! We didn’t really venture into the town much – towns aren’t really our thing, and drizzle and decreasing temperatures meant we headed inside for hot chocolate and crepes.





Our second stop was Skjolden – a tiny little village at the end of a long fjord. We woke to thick and uninspiring fog which cleared delightfully into a beautiful sunny blue skied day. We walked up into the hills to look down on the village, following a small track back through the woods along the lakeside. After a ice cream break and stocking up on water we followed the other side of the lake to go and look at some more huge waterfalls. There were a lot of waterfalls on this trip – half way through the kid announced “yes mum, its a waterfall, just like all the others!”

We had a whirlwind but great trip to Canada in March, there are more pictures untaken than taken. We explored new cities, used AirB&B for the first time (huge success) met with old friends, the kid got to take contortion classes with a pro. She trained twice in 5 days and loved every single second.

We drove miles and miles, walked the streets to take in the sights, enjoyed the aquarium when the outside was just to cold. Ice skated in the sunshine and loved every second of Niagara Falls.

The pics above are an embarrassing hodge podge of hubby’s edited images and my iphone snaps. But they offer a flavour. It was great. It was cold. It was fun.

A pic from our recent trip to Montreal. Not long after this was taken she abandoned the frame and went out solo.

You cant tell from the pic but it was SO cold, -9 the day this was taken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 😮

December 8, 2016 Big Adventures

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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.

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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.

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