Discovering Arrowtown | Pie & Pint Festival

Lake-Hawea
Sometimes everything just goes right. You know those days where you can’t believe one thing after another just keeps getting better and purely by chance? Well pretty much our entire time in New Zealand was just like that. #blessed …I hope you read that with sarcasm, I cannot stand when people tag that. The best day though where everything kept going right was on our way to Queenstown. It actually started the night before, we had been driving through the beautiful countryside and took longer than we planned because we kept coming across amazing places like this, which we hit at the perfect time with the sun getting low.

We were about an hour outside of Queenstown when it started getting dark and after our bad experiences on our first day where we missed a bunch of beautiful scenery driving in the dark and ended up backtracking, we really didn’t want to miss anything this time. We had heard about the amazing tunnel that goes all the way through a mountain heading into Queenstown and did not want to miss it, so when we came to a fork in the road with both directions saying they were heading to Queenstown we weren’t sure which way to go.

We decided to follow the map and go left but only a few hundred metres down the road we changed our mind, turned around and decided to follow our gut and go the other way, via lake Wanaka. Best decision ever. As we drove through the town even in the dark it looked too cute not to stop so we changed our plans and found a holiday park to stay for the night. After making Daniel walk up and down the main road 3 times reading the menu of every place (he’s such a saint) we had a delicious dinner at Wanaka Speights Ale House, the place we originally picked for dinner. Lamb shanks and blue cod, New Zealand specialties so you can’t go wrong, though it wasn’t hard for it to taste amazing when we had been eating camping food in the rain the few days before.

The next morning we just happened to wake up in time for a stunning pink and red sunrise, for those of you that know me you know I don’t enjoy waking early so this was just pure luck again. And wasn’t it worth itLake-Wanaka-Sunrise-over-trees

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If you are in Wanaka you MUST get a hot chocolate at Patagonia, best hot chocolate (and free wifi win!).

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We then headed off for Queenstown, but once again got side tracked when we saw a sign pointing towards a detour through ‘Historic Arrowtown’ we figured why not, we could always turn around. Again following our gut paid off, as we drove through Arrowtown it honestly looked like a movie set with its cute house and autumn leaves. We decided to head in and try to find the centre of town to check out what real estate was like there, seriously it was so cute we were about ready to chuck out our Berlin plans and move to Arrowtown instead!

arrowtown-autumn-leaves historic-arrowtown arrowtown-light

Suddenly we turned down a street and it was blocked for some event, another stroke of luck there happened to be a parking spot right there so we parked and went to investigate. It was blocked off for part of their Autumn festival, that afternoon it was a Pie and Pint festival. Does it get any better than that?! Naturally we bought tickets beer glasses and joined the festivities. Local brewery stalls, gourmet homemade meat pie stalls and folk music, it was like my dream afternoon. I felt like I was in Gilmore Girls, small town just doesn’t get much better than that.

Arrowtown-autumn-festivalArrowtown-cider Cassels-Sons-Brewery-Arrowtown Milk-Stout-arrowtown Arrowtown-festival-beer-glasses Arrowtown-pie-pint-festival Venison-elderberry-pie Empty-glasses

We’re still off to Berlin but moving to Arrowtown is now our future settling down plan (where we’ll be para-gliders of course).

Life Lately | When It Rains It Pours

Nothing-worth-having-comes-easy

Ok clearly I’m not very good at the whole consistently posting thing but I swear I have a good excuse, I finally bought my one-way ticket to Germany! I’ve spent the last week organising that, who would have thought a one-way flight would be so tricky. When it comes to the visa issues that go with such a flight (Europe’s not so cool with you flying in without a plan to leave!), money issues trying to get the cheapest way there and timing it gets difficult. Thank god for the wonderful Erin at STA, so helpful. She managed to find the best and cheapest way to get me to Zagreb, Croatia. Its going to be long and painful as I’m flying Sydney to Singapore, to Helsinki, to Zurich where I’m going to stay with some family friends and leave all of my excess luggage there before catching a 14 hour overnight train Zagreb. Its going to be sucky but oh so worth it.

So today I’ve been off at the German consulate attempting to apply for my German working Holiday Visa, it didn’t go so well. Note for future expats: they are not the most helpful or patient (even though I was the only one in the 20+ person waiting room). Its ok I’ll come back next week, I’m sure she’s looking forward to it as much as I am…

Some really big news last week, my position at work was filled! Eek! No going back now. But its for the best, the new person brings everything I had to offer and more so I can leave feeling relieved that they are in really good hands.

I had a fun but kind of sad weekend fare-welling my 2 best friends as they set off to travel Europe. It was a great night with everyone, dancing, drinking and being merry. But it was sad because it was the last time for a while that the 3 of us will all party together. I’ll see one of them in a month when she gets back and then I’ll meet up with the other in Croatia for Yacht Week and the Greek Islands, but still last time all 3 of us will be together for a while! After almost 10 years of friendship this is so strange to think about.

Best-friendsThe ladies
Sydney-Departure-GateGood luck! Have fun!!

It was a bit of an odd night (besides all of the cocktails, speeches and sparklers) because I saw a bunch of friends who I don’t get to see on a regular basis so hadn’t had a chance to tell them I was leaving and since I may not see them before I leave I had to just randomly drop this news into conversations. Its kinda awkward telling people, its not like it naturally comes up in conversation so I have randomly dump it in like “that’s great your job is going so well oh by the way I’m moving to Germany in 6 weeks” this is usually followed by looks of shock followed by congratulations so its not all bad. Its nice to have such wonderful supportive friends, its going to be hard not seeing them for a while. Its not like the US where everybody leaves their high school friends to go to college then leaves their college friends etc, here most people go to University in Sydney so majority of people still live at home and go to the same Uni’s. This means my high school friends are still my main group of friends, our group has just expanded as people made new friends at Uni and added to it. Its really nice because I have a really strong core group of friends, its going to be tough not having them around in Berlin.

So yeah its been a little hectic, but this week I’m going to post more of New Zealand because I haven’t even gotten to the awesome parts yet!

MY PINTEREST IS ALL BIKINIS AND CAKE

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This is pretty much the story of my life.

Today I noticed my pinterest feed was an unhealthy mix of bikini body inspiration (aka girls in bikinis with bangin’ bods) and cakes. I suffer from a very common issue, I want to eat all the time and still have that perfect bikini body. Thats not so much to ask yeah?? Well today I realised, holy shit its only 2 months until I leave for Europe! 2 months people! Thats only 8 weeks!! (crap just writing this makes me realise how close this is). And I may or may not have slacked off and gone more towards the cake side of my pinterest and less towards the bikini bod side and am now a few cakes heavier than I’d like. So I’ve decided its time to quit slackin’ and make shit happen! I have 2 months, thats doable (I hope, I’ve never really actually properly tried before). Don’t worry I’m not going to go crazy or anything, mostly because I never could I like food waayyy too much but also really all I need is to shed a few kg’s and tone up.

There are two main motivators here. One Daniel and I both got pretty slack with what we ate in the last few months he was here, no regrets it was a great time! So we made a bet as to who could be the fittest by the time we got to Berlin (relative to the person, I mean come on he’s training to be a pro athlete thats just not a fair competition). I told him yesterday I was getting serious and not going to bitch anymore but take action! He said thats sweet but I didn’t need to do that for him, I said I know! You like me just the way I am right? right?! I was kidding (sort of). Really my big source of motivation is happening before I get to Berlin. I have an awesome trip with a couple of my good girlfriends planned. We’re doing… wait for it… YACHT WEEK IN CROATIA!

Yacht-week

This obviously is not my photo its from The Yacht Week facebook

Thats right 8 of us girls (1 poor guy) have hired a fancy yacht and hottie skipper for a week in Croatia to partake in the awesome week long party that is Yacht Week. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what yacht week is check it out here. Basically its a whole heap of yacht hired out by groups of party  people all sailing from port to port during the day and partying at each port/on the yachts at night. Can you say best week ever? (probably not you’ll be too drunk busy.)

But of course what yacht week also stands for? A week of constant bikinis… and photos to document the best week of our lives. So thats why I am busy trying to ditch this winter inner tube for a Victoria’s Secret worth bod (maybe aiming a little too high).

Taking a leaf out of Karli Bell’s book from September Farm I’m writing and publicly declaring this goal of eating healthy and actually making it to the gym at least 3-4 times a week in the hopes maybe this will make it stick. So let it be known!

Motivational tips to keep on track or healthy tips send em this way!

Winter is Coming

Sydney suddenly got cold. Its officially winter people! I had the ugg boots on, heater out, hot chocolate, soup, you name it! Winter warmers I was all over it. You’re probably thinking wow I didn’t know sydney got cold! I just thought Australia was hot all the time, I mean isn’t it all just beaches and desert with people riding kangaroos (if your nodding your head right now stop. just stop). Contrary to popular belief we have winter! The temperature today was a high of 17 degrees Celsius (62 Fahrenheit). And I. Was. Freezing. (I think I hear some crickets from northern america, Europe, parts of Asia and you know what probably right here in Sydney too). Yep I said it, today it was 17 and I was freezing. You know what the average winter temperature in Berlin is 2 degrees C. Shit. How am I going to survive?!

I’m clearly not built for these temperatures. My hands turn blue at even the slightest hint of cold. I shiver when there is a coolish autumn breeze. My feet permanently feel like ice cubes. How am I going to survive Berlin?!

I keep telling myself I’ll be ok because I’ll be able to buy appropriate warm clothing there (obviously I won’t be able to buy anything even remotely suitable in Australia). But I had pretty much appropriate clothing when I was In New York over New Years a few years ago and I was so cold I almost cried one day. I wore 3 layers of pants everyday (it still impresses me that I managed to get them all on everyday) and felt like I wasn’t even wearing pants. This picture looks like it was staged and we were making a joke about the cold. Nope. I wish. It was literally too cold to unzip our faces even for a photo. Our other photos we had down to a science mad unzip, smile, snap the shot, quickly zip back up and blow out warm air to warm our now frozen faces.

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We really mastered the whole ‘smile with your eyes’ concept.

Even last month in New Zealand I wore my ski jacket the entire time (not to mention all the layers underneath) and that was autumn, in New Zealand!

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I’ve just resigned my self to the fact that gone are the days of fashionable dressing ( or at least attempting) I am going to permanently look like a marshmallow person in Germany. Think Michelin man, Pillsbury Doughboy, that will be me.

Winter is coming. I think I’m gonna need a lot of gluhwein.

Anyone have any tips on surviving a real winter?

When Spontaneity Doesn’t Go to Plan

When we planned our New Zealand trip we didn’t really plan anything. We booked plane tickets and the van and that was pretty much it besides a vague idea of what we wanted to do. This is pretty unlike me, I’m a big planner, and a big procrastinator, but once I sit down and start planning I get pretty into it (trip advisor is my bible). We wanted this particular trip to be spontaneous and just go where we wanted when we wanted. It all started great…

roadtrip beginning

And then we realised we’d driven an hour in the wrong direction. Thats when Daniel started driving and I took charge of directions (men!).

We were off to Hamner Springs. On the way we read all about it and its natural hot springs, which came highly recommended in the free pamphlets guide books. That’s when we got to thinking, did we really want to go to what sounded like a real touristy destination or would we rather continue a bit further to what looked like a smaller potentially more unique hot spring? We were umming and ahhing when we drove right past the turn off to Hamner Springs, it was a sign!! A sign that that was our first mistake.

Our second mistake was not turning around when we started to rethink our decision as we were driving along a dark winding road through the forest that we could barely see a couple feet in front of our car. Finally we reached Maruia Spring … and drove right past it. What looked like a small town on the map was in fact a one building resort. We should have just cut our losses and turned back for Hamner Springs at that point, but no! We were on the road there was no going backwards!

I’m going to blame it on our exhaustion from driving in the pitch black on seriously windy roads but for some reason we thought that the next ‘town’ on the map, Springs Junction, would be better. Nope, once again New Zealand had gotten the last laugh. Springs Junction is in fact, just a junction. Two roads meet, there is a little roadside shop and a petrol station. That is all. That bitch spontaneity failed us again. So we went back to the original plan and drove to Hamner Springs and it was the best decision we could have made. The drive back sucked and desperately trying to find somewhere to stay for the night was stressful. Luckily the family that owned the holiday park paused their game of twister to take pity on us and let us stay the night in the field with the goat.

Hannah with goat

Hamner Springs was worth it all. I can’t believe we almost missed it for the sake of spontaneity. It was beautiful and I swear if I suddenly woke up there I would think I was in North America. Our one bit of spontaneity did pay off though, we skipped the springs. They were touristy as we had thought, not the natural rock ones you imagine, they were just giant pools fed by the springs filled with kids (human soup, not appealing).  Instead we climbed Conical Hill and had the best view out over the valley.

look out Hamner Springs

red and white mushroom Hamner Springs

Conical Hill

Conical Hill Hamner Springs

Hamner Springs

Hamner Springs Cafe

For the rest of the trip we didn’t give up on spontaneity all together but we did try to have a basic idea of where we were going to stay each night with at least one potential caravan holiday park there. We definitely learned our lesson about these supposed ‘towns’ on New Zealand maps.