Climbing up Mt Hobson in New Zealand - The View Really Is Worth It

Mt Hobson is the highest mountain on Great Barrier Island, rising 621m above sea level in the beautiful Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand. If you're spending some time in Great Barrier, climbing up to the top of Mt Hobson is a great outing. Once you make it up top, there are some spectacular views over the island and across the Hauraki Gulf and, if the weather is cooperating, you can even see the Coromandel Peninsula. ...more

2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: New Zealand

While Matt and I were reviewing the menus for this years Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, his ears perked up when I said the words "Venison Sausage." As fans of game meats, we were happy to see an "exotic" feature on the menu at Epcot. We both liked the Lamb Meatball last year, but it wasn't a must-try for this festival. We were definitely looking forward to the new options....more

Sailing in New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf

After a successful brainwashing campaign, my husband has got me hooked on sailing. We took the big plunge last year and bought our first sailboat in New Zealand. We even plan on moving on to her in a few months to begin cruising full-time. That is some very effective brainwashing on his part!  ...more

Billie Here

Hi, I noticed that there have been a couple of references to me in previous blogs.  So I just wanted to write something for myself.  I can use the internet, usually just for Christmas and Birthday shopping.  I am allowed free access to Natalie's Fly Buy's points and what a lot of fun I have with those. (Although you have been having to purchase replacement underwear and slippers with those points haven't you?...more

Happy Birthday Dad

Yesterday was my father's birthday.  69 years and 1 day ago a bonny baby boy was born in Whangarei Hospital.  He was the first son of Wilson Lloyd Caldwell McConnell (really where did these names come from) and Emma Marie McConnell (nee Harrsion)  Granny said she didn't get to see him for about 24 hours but she knew he was her baby because he was the best looking in the hospital (she would say things like that - so cute)...more

Create your own little world

I'm always learning new photography and Photoshop skills - most are fairly subtle, techniques that add depth or nuance to an image. But every so often you get a Wow! thing... and this one is just so simple, I have to share...1. crop a jpg image to a panoramic perspective, at least twice as wide as it is high. If you have huge panoramas you've done, stitching photos together so much the better, but they are not  necessary. Variations in subject height and good contrast for the background will make it easier to  get a good result. ...more

the day an earthquake changed a country

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt about favorite places has made me think of something I wrote months ago. Writing is therapeutic for me, I often like to sit down and just write freely as a way of acknowledging an issue. The following post is something I wrote back in March but never shared with anyone until now. I've also edited it a bit for context. ...more

Once upon a sunset

You would think I would be out chasing sunsets every night...telling tales from around the world...more

A path 30kms wide and yet, he hit the reef.

Last Wednesday morning (2:30am, 5th October, 2011, NZT) the cargo ship Rena hit the Astrolabe reef on the Tauranga coast. It was the Rena skipper’s birthday the day before....more

The must-eat food item of New Zealand

So what is there to see in New Zealand? ...more