27 October 2014


|| Crystal waters | Snow | Hiking ||

Sunday blogging with some photos from the latest hike at the incredible Lake Louise, Alberta (With Hot Chocolate & Oreos in hand). 

The October weather has seen snow fall come and go up on the mountains, but for this trip we were caught with some flurry which unfortunately started to freeze. Luckily we had packed for the occasion, dressed in our winter best our combination of thermals and waterproofs that did the job well. The walking boots however did not. With the number of other trekkers passing through the route, compacting the snow on the paths, meant it was only a matter of time before I had to resort to crawling up the mountain, twice.  

I have never seen water so pure. The aqua blue of the lake stood out behind the trees as we climbed higher. Passing frozen lakes at the higher altitudes, before finally reaching a small tea house at the top, sadly closed for winter. We waited a few moments to catch our breath, get some photos and mentally prepare for the slide down.

Not a single person made it down the mountain without a slip or a fall. Some had resorted to side stepping the 3k, others mixed it up with a butt slide on all fours... My personal favourite was my incredibly talented friend Melissa throwing some Michael Jackson moves in each fall, for example some involuntary knee slides and semi-backflips. The important thing was that at the end of the day we had all laughed hard, almost to tears.     

That is what weekends are made for. 


12 October 2014


|| Autumn in Banff National Park ||

After a brief sprint around New Zealand, we have finally arrived in Canada. Its a little colder than what we are used to! The winter sports season starts in a few weeks, but we are here earlier than planned to get started setting up shop in our new retail positions.

We went through a programme called Gap Year Canada to help get us set up with jobs and housing. We are adjusting to having an apartment to live in rather than a car and I was especially over excited to use an oven for the first time in 11 months! Our house mates are slowly starting to arrive and we are making plans to explore Banff and enjoy a Thanksgiving hangover together. 

My landlord offered his camera for the weekend for me to grab a few shots of Banff in Autumn. The photos above were taken just after a forest fire, so the smoke was creating an awesome mist in the mountains. Banff National Park is so beautiful. Now we wait for the snow! 



|| Love What You Do ||


10 October 2014


|| Hobbiton. The Hill & Across The Water ||

Here it is. My New Zealand highlight! - The amazing land of Hobbiton. Arriving near the town of Matamata, the landscape changed from highways and cityscapes to rolling green hills and yes, plenty of sheep. 

The actual filming location is tucked away on a working sheep farm. After squealing with joy in the gift shop, we jumped on the buss and drove the short distance to the famous shire set. We were taken on a guided tour and given quirky facts about the film as we went. For example the tree above Bilbo's house on The Hill is actually artificial and cost $1 Million to create! Also around The Hill are many different sized Hobbit Hole doors, each created to emphasise the bigger or smaller characters.  

At one stage the guide asked for a volunteer and from a group of about 25, would you believe it, only my hand shot up...

So I'm standing at the front of a Hobbit door and everyone is looking, camera waiting, and I have to push the door open, at this point there is a lot of suspense...So I push open the door annnddd there is nothing behind it. All the Hobbit Holes are only a front set! Apart from Bilbo's which has a little bit of hallway interior.

The rest of the day was pretty awesome, we got to try some homemade cider from the farm, delicious, we were snap happy with the camera and then attempted to not buy every souvenir in the store. 


6 October 2014


|| The week New Zealand kicked our Arse ||

It's crazy how fast time goes by. Last week me and my partner Andrew did a speedy travelling trip around New Zealand. Even though we only left a few days ago, it feels like weeks have passed! 

In a short space of time we successfully navigated our way south, straight down the middle through Lake Taupo, the Northern countries largest lake, towards windy Wellington, then up the West coast back to Auckland! In between a few hours driving, we got to see some incredible countryside, waterfalls and cities, trek through rainforest and the Lord of the Rings filming locations, experience some Maori culture and eat at some great cafe's, while patiently documenting it all on a Samsung S4 (Heartbreakingly my Canon has officially died until I can send it off for repair).

So onto our week : On arrival at 12:30 midnight we made camp in the airport. The car rental company we had gone with didn't open until 9am that morning. A few hours later we arrived at the rentals and had the wonderful information that our booking had not been received, we were not on the system and better yet they didn't have any vans available. Lesson learnt, never go through a third party when booking car rental. Back at the airport we quickly got on the phone chasing quotes and finally secured a Jucy Car, at a little higher price than planned but at that stage we were tired and desperate. 

We completely skipped Auckland, saving it for the return journey and drove a hour south to a rest area to recover. The next day made the Auckland trip worthwhile. We visited Hobbiton ( post to come!! ) - what an incredible experience, then continued south passing more rolling hills and cattle farms. The trip was looking up from its disastrous first day, until we lost the wallet! 

We are about 60/40 sure that it was my mistake and I accidentally kicked it out at a rest stop...anyway after a few stressful hours searching, cancelling cards, reporting it to the police and figuring out how the hell we can get access to money, we had no choice but to carry on South! 

Wellington weather was good to us, not that windy, we spent a few hours in the huge four floored museum on the water front checking out the amazing exhibitions. The rest of the weekend was spent working our way up the west side of the Island, visiting towns on the surf coastal road. Then our luck turned. Some good soul had handed in our lost wallet! We were reunited with our driving licences and everything else that was in there, all accounted for. 

We ended our trip on a high, with a good pizza in the fabulous city of Auckland on a beautiful sunny day. A long rest on the flight to LA was well needed after this turbulent week. 




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