Entry Archive

all of our entries in a nice neat list

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Entry Archive
all of our entries in a nice neat list

August 2019

August ski weekend

The weather up on Mt Ruapehu was just coming to the end of a 3 week epic storm with a 2.4m base to show for it. We hoped we would get a little snow action over a weekend.   Leaving on a Thursday after school (trying to pick the best time that suits 3 different ages is never easy!) we arrived around 8pm and bedtime didn’t come until

March 2019

Weekend in Wairarapa

A surprise 70th Birthday weekend away for the Peck Grandparents - Granny and Poppa.

January 2019

Sunny Nelson Camping

It sure was sunny...  There was a clown.  Waterslide. Berry picking.  Bumper boats.  Drive to a nearby beach.  Fancy lunches.  4 families. Hill sliding.

December 2018
February 2017

Olive is Five

The day has finally come. Our baby is five. She has seen a lot of happy last days at kindy so she knew what to expect but the concept of not going back to kindy was still a little strange. We celebrated her birthday with a few presents in the morning, followed by her happy last day at kindy, where she made her crown, sorted her gifts for the other children and chose her besties (Hazel

January 2017

Camping Greytown

Three nights camping in Greytown with six families (12 adults and 12 kids), what could go wrong?! Well nothing! it was a success! the weather played ball with it only getting cold during the nights. Must remember that for next time. Camping in NZ is camping for all seasons. We didn't see Olive but for dinners and bedtime as she was having a blast with Anthony and Ben. Iris tailed along with a

September 2016

Sunshine Brisbane

It was an early start arriving in Brisbane to visit the Turners and their new addition baby Archie! The kids did really well on the plane, Olive enjoyed the iPad and Iris enjoyed doing everything she could. We put toilet training on hold until our return even though she was really interested, not the best time while traveling! Once we arrived we headed to Sunshine Coast for a three night

August 2016

Childless in Queenstown

A childless weekend in Queenstown with friends, enough said.

January 2016

Queen Elizabeth Park Camping

We made it camping! After delaying it a day due to rubbish weather, we had two beautiful days of sunshine. 12 adults and 11.5 children and everyone keen to make it an annual outing. Queen Elizabeth Park is great - very spacious, a fun playground for the kids including a massive inflatable pillow all the kids absolutely loved. Olive loved hanging out with her boys (Anthony, Ben and Harry)

September 2015

Olive & Iris's Ohakune Ice Experience

We finally got around to going up to Ohakune to catch the last of the spring snow and hang with the oldies. With only two bedrooms we braved sleeping all in the same room which worked well if Iris went to bed first followed by Olive (and me waiting until she was asleep). But it did spark new ideas of bunkbeds.. for a later date. With only gumboots and one waterproof jumpsuit, tom managed to

February 2015

Olive Turns Three

With the new year done and dusted and the summer months upon us, we decided to plan Olives birthday party. This year, we teamed up with Lana and Nige to create a special joint birthday party for Olive and Anthony at Staglands. Staglands has this great barn you can hire out - Alex had his 2nd birthday party here, and it seemed perfect to host Olive and Anthony's 3rd birthday party. Gini and

December 2014

Mt Maunganui Beach & Sun

It was the Turners year for Christmas so the Mt Maunganui timeshares were booked. This time there would be five cousins and eight adults with four bedrooms. A recipe for a full on week of family. We decided to break up the journey with a few days in Taupo before reaching the Bay of Plenty. Paul, Lauren & the Turner boys joined us. We managed a few recreational adventures like the AC baths

September 2014

Ohakune Snow Getaway

We decided to head up to Ohakune for a long weekend - our yearly pilgrimage to the snow gods. This time it was just us and Myah who was still staying with us. It was our first road trip with both the girls, so it we were a little unsure how it would go. We decided the best approach was to pick Olive up from daycare at 12.30 and head off straight from there and make a day of it. Unfortunately

June 2014

Iris our new flower

We had gone past the due date of the 16th of June 2014, 4 days to be exact. On the evening of the 19th we had dinner and I started to have mild contractions, we popped Olive off to bed at the usual time. From 8.30pm the contractions got a lot stronger until about 11pm, we called in Nan to babysit and she arrived in record time with her duvet in tow. So we made our way to the hospital. Upon

April 2014

Camping Kaitoke

In a flash of inspiration, both Jen, Dave and us decided we needed to get a tent for Christmas. Alan and Trish helped out, and on Christmas day, both families were now proud owners of massive tents! Jen and Dave's - four room, ours a more modest (but still bigger than we could ever need) three room. After the end of summer, and rolling through Autumn, and neither of us having used our new

January 2014

Turner Melbourne Wedding

After 14 years or so, my brother Paul and Lauren finally decided to tie the knot! With a lovely inner city apartment booked, we left the day after boxing day for a week in Melbourne with the Turners. The flight wasnt too bad since Olive was still traveling for free (and no seat) she was pretty content with drinking from pump bottles, pulling sick bags out of the pockets and replacing them

October 2013

A Week in Wanaka

After laying low for a few months (except for Gini and Olive venturing to Melbourne), we decided it was time for another family holiday. Robin and Helen were keen on Wanaka and managed to book two neighbouring timeshare units. We jumped on board and Lauren, Paul, Ali and Lachlan also decided to make the trip over from Melbourne. The timeshare was situated in a beautiful spot, 50 meters from

June 2013

Family Fijian Resort Getaway

Back in March an email went round to see who was keen on an island getaway. We decided to put house renovations on hold for a bit and take the plunge into family resort style extravagance! Fiji was agreed upon, and the Thompson's, Harris's and us were booked! Six nights at the 5 star Radisson Blu on Denarau Island. This was our first time staying at a resort - and it certainly won't be our

March 2013

Wine, Sun and an IronDan

That time again - holiday time! This time we decided to head up north to spend 3 nights in Havelock North with Andy, Nicky and their two little ones, Ben and Liam. Then the 8 of us (including Lyon) ventured further north to Taupo where Derek, Helen and little Harry joined us for another few nights. We were fortunate enough to travel in style this time, in the Turner Peugeot - with a roof

February 2013

Olive's First Birthday Bash

We've made it! Olive turned the big o-n-e on Friday the 15th so on Saturday we held a bit of a birthday bash for her. All of her family and friends were there except for those overseas who sent lovely messages, there was an amazing cake (Little Bug Blue) created by Mummy, a slide, a sandpit and a swing which were all put to great use - especially by the older friends. The grandparents came

January 2013

Christmas 2012 Holiday

After several months of spending every available spare minute in the backyard busying ourselves with one thing or another, it was about time we had a holiday. Even only to keep us away from the house for a few weeks! Addictive as this home ownership is, sometimes it's good to take a break and let the completed work sink in a little before rushing onto the next task. Before we took off on our

September 2012

Sunshine Backyard Transformation

When we first saw 78 Sunshine Ave at the open home, upon seeing the back yard, we instantly knew there was massive potential here for vast improvement. The French doors leading out to nothing, the ugly concrete retaining wall, the flax bushes taking up half the potential lawn space to name a few. We also happened to move in during the wettest, coldest time of the year, and the grass quickly

7 Month old Olive gets a new room

Wow Olive is seven months old. Where did the time go? Isn't it funny how the memories of her arrival into this world have faded? I think we can thank the hormones for that one. It truly feels like years ago that we were new parents taking our little Olive home from the hospital. Okay I'll get a grip, she has only just turned 7 months not 7 years! So what has our little livy, twiggy, peach or

July 2012

Sunshine and Busyness

It took a year of searching, three failed tenders and a bitterly cold winter at a cold, damp flat to finally find a house that ticked most boxes and within our budget! Welcome to 78 Sunshine Avenue, Karori. Our new home. A home of our own! With winter quickly approaching, and the dread of having to go through another winter in a cold, drafty, damp, slug infested flat on a street with a

June 2012

Four Months of Olive

After the Taupo holiday we had a breakthrough with Olive's day sleeps. She started to settle and sleep for 45 mins, three times a day! There was no real uncontrolled crying (thank god!) more of a grizzle for 20 to 30 minutes with silent patches before she drifted off to sleep. It was just as well as it was getting a bit ridiculous, buggying it and rocking the capsule everyday! Not to

April 2012

Taupo Family Holiday and a Marathon

A number of firsts. First road trip with Olive. First holiday with Olive. First marathon for Tom. First time sleeping in a big baby cot for Olive. First time changing an explosive poo nappy in the boot of someone else's car for Gini! Many months ago, Andy and I decided it was high time we did a marathon. We set our sights on the Rotorua Marathon, hoping to give us enough training time, and

Two Months of Olive

Has it only been two months? It feels a lot longer! We are discovering Olive's personality and that sometimes it just doesn't make sense so just accept it. Olive so far (fingers crossed) has been a good night sleeper. In the early days I had to wake her! Both our parents say to never wake a sleeping baby but in this case we had to as she had a little jaundice and was so new! Her night

February 2012

Two Weeks of Olive

Two weeks ago, Olive was born. It's hard to imagine that we've only had her with us for such a short amount of time. She is definitely ruling the roost already, with our lives completely transformed to cater to her every need (if we could only understand what they were!). The first two weeks have been an adventure. Olive has met and been cuddled by many friends and family. She's been sniffed

The birth of Olive Eliza

Olive Eliza Peck was born at 2.30am on 15th February, 2012. Her due date! She may be the only one in our family to arrive to something on time. She weighed in at 3.61kg or 8lb. The labour went as well as labour can go and after two nights at Wellington hospital (which was great), we have made it home, now a family of 3 (plus one furball who is currently living it up on holiday). More words

September 2011

Sunny Hot Brisbane Escape

Having not been overseas for 9 months we booked a trip. We thought it was high time we visited my brother Graham and wife Lisa for a spot of sun in Brisbane for a long weekend. Got a great deal on the flights so it was all booked and ready for us! It just so happened that it was sun all week leading up to our weekend which was a good start! The weather continued to impress us Kiwi

August 2011

Skiing the South

With a burning desire to get away on a holiday, but with not wanting to spend a lot of money in doing so, Jo and Shane mentioned the idea of heading down to Queenstown and Wanaka for a week. All we needed to convince us was a quick search for cheap flights - and we were booked! Not a week for the Tang clan, but a long weekend. It will have to suffice. And suffice it sure did! After the snow

July 2011

A Month of Lyon in Karori

After our fantastic wedding, and the after-wedding-comedown, there were two things left on the agenda for our Wellington return. Buying a house, and getting a dog! Unfortunately for us, the house market had slowed to a crawl with winter impending, so we shopped around for a rental house that would be nice enough to let us rent with a "well behaved dog". Little did they know (after

April 2011

Tang Wedding Part Deux!

This is a selection of photos taken by our wedding day photographer (and her assistant) Penny Towns. She did a remarkable job covering the day through her various lenses. We are very happy with how they turned out and capture the moments brilliantly! See the previous entry for a run down on the magical day. Enjoy!

Tang Wedding Part Un!

After two and a half years of being engaged abroad, tang has tied the knot in Wellington. This is the unofficial photo collection through the eyes of our family and friends. Thank you for your photos: Peter, Perry, Pat, Lisa, Jo & Woody, Kate and the list could go on The day started reasonably early for the Turner household for a 9am start with the hair & make-up. Michelle

January 2011

Down South

After travelling for over 6 months we thought it was only right to keep on going in our own country! So the Turner clan boarded the ferry with two cars with fairly plain sailing ahead. Coming into the South Island with the water so blue made it feel good to be home. Graham was adamant we would see the South Island in one day and so we drove and drove. Almost 6 hours to Franz Josef with

December 2010

Two Christmases, 2010

After spending a number of years over in London I had longed for a family Christmas dinner of yester years. Christmases in London were great - usually either away at some remote country with friends, or in London with friends. This year, however, we had two family Christmases! We had only been back in the motherland for a few days before it was time to head away again - up to Mount Maunganui

South America: Argentina & Santiago

After completing the three day Bolivian Salt Flats tour (which was probably my top highlight of the whole trip), we were left at a small town inside the Chilean border by the name of San Pedro de Atacama. Our aim for the next 24 hours was to catch up on some sleep and to figure out a way to get from here down to Santiago, hopefully via some interesting sites! We had a couple of ideas - the

South America: Bolivia

We boarded another bus, which looked a little worst for wear and no toilet to speak off which did immediately make me need to go! The water bottle went away for the rest of the bus journey. The bus weaved around lake Titicaca and stopped for enough time for lunch in Copacabana, which wasn't a bad spot but totally geared for tourists. After an hour or so the bus filled up with no air

November 2010

South America: Peru

After an exhausting last day in Buenos Aires, Argentina, we were looking forward to a nice relaxing, comfortable, 400, 5 hour flight to Lima, Peru. Did I mention it was 400 per person? Unfortunately we lucked out on that one. We were the unlucky ones who had to sit in front of the emergency exits. This meant, due to evacuation issues, our seats had less leg room and didn't recline. In

South America: Argentina & Uruguay

After getting yet another stamp in the passport and crossing our first border, we waited for another bus to pick us up on the Argentinean side, as it would seem buses just don't wait for foreigners to have their passports stamped! It was easy enough and we arrived at the bus terminal on the Argentinean Puerto Iguazu side to see the closeup view of the amazing falls. We did noticed

South America: Brazil

Our flight left Heathrow Terminal 5 without delay around 1pm. Four and a half movies and 12 hours later we arrived to a new unknown - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! South America - tick! It was after midnight when we reached the town center and hostel Harmonia, a friendly small hostel down a small strip of hostels near Ipanema Beach, Ipanema. We quietly checked in and found our bunks in a dorm room

October 2010

Smurfy Semaine Quatorze: Germany, Luxembourg & Belguim

Biers in Germany, Frost in Luxemburg & Hilly Belguim As we had extended our trip and our old flatties were a month behind our van tour we were able to cross paths again a month down the track in Munchen. They were catching up with an old German friend and were enjoying a normal bed in the city so we pulled up to the only campsite (which would have been horrible during Octoberfest as it

Smurfy Woche Dreizehn: Austria

Getting the Hell out of Croatia & Austria After a few false starts we were finally on our way and hopefully out of Croatia. Don't get us wrong, we loved it. Just not with engine troubles and Croatian mechanics. With the week of hell behind us we drove up the coastal road for the last time. Got back into the Smurf groove after a little food shopping. Even managed to rescue our foot mat

Smurfy Tjedan Dvanaest: Coastal week of Hell, Croatia

After leaving Slovenia and heading back over the border with a few suspicious looks and searches of the smoking van we were back in Croatia! We made our way very slowly down the coastal road towards Zadar. We topped up the oil every hour and stopped at a few campsites along the coast, one even turned out to be free as there was no one there to give our money to. It was quite a stressful

September 2010

Smurfy Woche Elf: Austria & Croatia

Smurfy Breakdown 2 & Tom's Austrian Birthday After the work had been done on Smurfy and he was sounding healthy again it was time to pay. We asked for the papers that came with the guarantee, which Marin responded with '1 year you come back to me and I will fix, I guarantee my house!' he then went on to say 'I would not put a bad engine in' so with no other choice we handed over

Smurfy Tjedan Deset: Northern Croatia

Northern Croatia After a few hours drive north with a look a like Smurfy which was a few years younger tailing us until we both pulled up at Kamp Korana, a few kilometers from the entrance of the Plitvice Lakes National Park. It was our first camping drive-through, as it had windows on both sides of the entrance building, we handed over our passports (NZ ones - need to made a good

Smurfy Tjedan Devet: Central Dalmatia Croatia

Central Dalmatia Croatia After leaving the lovely town of Dubrovnik, we headed up the coast and had a brief stop in Bosnia, so Tom could have his Bosnian sandwich before we crossed back over into Croatia, a brief visit to Bosnia but what a visit! They didn't even seem to look at our British passports so it was a speedy checkpoint. We stopped in Makarska in time for a sunset swim,

Smurfy Tjedan Osam: Dubrovnik, Montenegro

Dubrovnik & Detour to Montenegro After a sleepless night aboard the Jadrolinija ferry in our separate sex cabins (no love boat here!) we arrived in Dubrovnik at 7am in the morning, much too early for the brain to be functioning. The border control attempted to look for all the alcohol and drugs we VWers seem to carry with us but smurf came through squeaky clean and in a daze

August 2010

Smurfy Settimana Sette: France, Italy

Crossing the South of France & submerging in Italy's Lakes With a large south coast of France ahead and limited time to cross it we pushed Smurfy to the limit of 90kph no more of course! we aren't cruel! The border into France was passed in a blink of an eye or it may have been a huge queue as school holidays come to an end. So may tolls who could say! but we made it into France

Smurfy Semana Seis: Spain

Valencia and Catalonia, Spain The next stop on our East coast of Spain whirlwind tour was to Valencia. We knew very little about Valencia except for the fact that it hosted the America's cup in 2007 and it is also where Paella originates from. We Smurfed up to a nice sounding campsite 12k out from the city center, near the beach. Upon arrival we were greeted by the owner who after a

Smurfy Semana Cinco: Spain

Central Spain With Portugal in our rear-view mirror and beautiful planes of cork trees, olive groves and orange plantations we arrive in Toledo, just south of Madrid for two nights in El Grego campsite with the old town on a hill as a backdrop. It was a long stinking hot drive being close to five hours so when we discovered we had a pool as we had lost the coast, relief washed over us.

Smurfy Semana Quatro: Portugal

Portugal We reached the border between Spain and Portugal with a recognisable border sign - an EU blue circle of stars with a large PORTUGAL in the middle. We were in uncharted territory! First point of call, to replenish our dried up sea-bodies, was a spot of wild camping on a beautiful beach an hour down the Portuguese coastline, just south of Viana do Castelo. After the busy crowded

July 2010

Smurfy Semana Tres: Spain

North Coast of Spain It felt like toll after toll, euro after euro and then the tolls became really cheap as the booth guy greeted us with an hola! We were in Spain. First Spain stop San Sebastian! We took the huge Igeldo hill up to the campsite and were very lucky to get in with a nice spot! we later realized weekends aren't a good time to be moving campsites! it was completo the next

Smurfy Semaine Deux: France

Loire Valley, Atlantic Coast and the French Basque Country Day 8 of the Smurfy trip was upon us, and our first with guests - Anna and Perry all the way from London. The day started in Blois, with a short drive to center vile to pick up our new guests from the train station as well as to equip them with hired bikes from the local bike rental shop. A meander back to the riverside camp spot

Smurfy Semaine Une: France

Normandy & Brittany in France We set off with London in the rear view mirror and Dover in sight for the start of our Smurfy European tour. We lined up little smurfy amongst the larger species of campers and started to feel very small until we spotted another smurf - which was more smurf like colored and got our first friendly fellow VW wave, which set our adrenalin mood for the

Leaving London Life

Just over three years ago we left everything we knew in New Zealand for an adventure of the unknown! Now we are once again leaving, London this time, for more adventures over the next five months but what did we do in London town over those three years? Hmmm. Good point what did we do? We opened our bank accounts, got jobs, moved into a flat and were given a Ngaio plant. The transition was

June 2010

The Norway Express

We had one final overseas trip left in us before we left London bound for Europe in Smurfy, our VW van. With much anticipation we were finally on our way to Gatwick flying to Norway for a week! Our trip to Norway was centered around Norway's majestic mountainous beauty with a touch of city to boot. It all started in Oslo, with an early afternoon arrival, a quick train ride to the center and

The Walled City of Chester

On our return journey from Ireland, we decided to pop into Chester for one Smurfy night and a lunch with Uncle Peter before the drive back to London. We had heard a number of good things about this quaint English city and due to it's close proximity to Manchester where Uncle Peter lives, we decided it was the perfect rendezvous point. It was not all smooth sailing however as due to our missed

May 2010

Green, Raw, Untamable Land of Ire

The England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales - inside outside puppies dog tail (elastics anyone?) Journey continues... Tuesday : After a mad 2am ferry crossing from Holyhead, Wales to Dublin, Ireland, we reached land at 5am after a disrupted nights sleep along the many seat benches on the 'love' boat ferry - still flasher than the Inter islander I'm afraid to say. The drive to Kilkenny from

Snowdon - Top of Wales

The first point of call on our first major Smurfy excursion was a fleeting visit to Wales to climb it's highest peak - Mt Snowdon. We set out from London on a hot and sunny Monday morning in a well rested Smurfy all packed up and ready for a good 10 days of camping. The drive went smoothly (thank you TomTom) and we reached a lovely picturesque spot in the heart of Gwynedd, Snowdonia the

Conflicted Belfast & Northern Ireland

While Iceland's ash cloud spreading volcano was having a breather from covering Europe and causing flight troubles, we flew unaffected to Northern Ireland to see what their past & present political troubles were all about. We had our rental car all booked and ready for us at Belfast City Airport, which was a quick 15min drive to the city centre. After a smooth drive with our TomTom we

April 2010

Bonnie Scotland, aye.

We had a few days up our sleeve for the Easter holiday break so what better an idea than to tick another country off the list of "been there, done that". What we didn't realise, however, was how breathtaking the Scotland scenery would be, how friendly the people are and just how much we would thoroughly enjoy this short break. We quickly were wondering why the hell we hadn't

March 2010

Folkstone on the Sea

With our new found freedom, owning a van we took to the roads once more for round two of testing to the south east coast, near Dover. Folkstone to be exact. We managed to see a few sites along the way. First stop was Tom's Mums house in Maidstone on Nursery Road. We think we found the right one! It had been a number of years since Tom had been there. Our next stop was Rye. A cute little town

February 2010

Skiing the Snow of Austria

As we flew into Innsbruck it felt like we were gliding around in a snow globe, everything was covered in beautiful fresh snow, just what the ski doctor ordered! And so we embarked on our first 'package' holiday and followed like the sheep that we were to the large double decker bus which was heading to Mayrhofner, a cosy little village in the centre of a valley with an abundance of ski

January 2010

Drayton Past, Around the Corner to Mountgrove Present

After a year in North West London in 2008, we thought it was time for a change from Kilburn. So we looked at too many flats to count or want to remember!, booked a van and moved to East London, Islington, to be exact in March 2009. Tom through out the hunting process insisted on us not living close to the Arsenal Stadium and I didn't object but as it turned out - you really couldn't get any

December 2009

Delights of Turkey

After a fun-filled Christmas dinner at Paul+Laurens, our winter holiday was finally upon us. On a sleepy, hungover felt Boxing Day, a mini cab took Gini along with Marcus, Jess and myself to Luton airport where our next EasyJet expedition was taking us - to Turkey! We were lucky with the weather. 3 days before our flight was departing, Luton airport was covered with snow and cancellations were

Christmas Special 2009

2009 started with friends Jo & Shane from New Zealand traveling through London, who we then caught up with for a weekend in Paris. It never stops being wonderful and surreal meeting friends in amazing cities around the world. Paris was covered in snow, which always posed a good reason for red wine away from the cold but it did add an element of romance when walking through the manicured

September 2009

Deliciously Hot Cinque Terre Walk

With Andy & Nicky and Dave & Sonia travelling Europe on a shoe string, we couldn't resist putting on our mini packs once again and joined them for walk in Italy. The minute we stepped outside Pisa airport (which is the easiest airport we have ever been through!) we knew we were in for a treat with the weather. It didn't take us long to walk from the airport to the B&B the others

Croatian Catamaran Escapade

Sailing the seas of cheese. Tom has yet to write this entry.

August 2009

Lakes, Walks and Full Tummies

With the August bank holiday looming, we just had to take advantage of it! So we booked a lovely B&B in the lake district with Marcus & Jess for a spot of walking in the country. First impressions were we were back in New Zealand. It was so green but we soon discovered why - it rained quite a lot the whole weekend! But being true kiwis we carried on as usual. Even ate our lunch in the

July 2009

Busy Bees in Manchester

We finally managed to organise a time to head up north to visit Uncle Peter and Auntie Pat. Long overdue - but worth the wait. The Virgin train from Euston to Stockport went without a hitch and a little over two hours later we were in Pat's flash new Audi being instructed by "Patricia" (the car's GPS navigation unit) on how to get to Chatsworth. After driving through the rolling

May 2009

My Big Fat Greek Lindos

With a sad Tom just a blur in our back windscreen we headed for Gatwick airport for a summer holiday. We joined forces with the barbers and butlers of the northern hemisphere and landed in Rhodes Island 3 or so hours later. With a quick stroll around Rhodes coastline enjoying the first of many sun filled days and even spotted Turkey which is a lot closer than one imagined. We finished in the

The English Wood Wedding

After two and half years of being engaged, Jo and Woody finally tied the knot, in true English style. Here are the photos from the day. G

April 2009

New Zealand Celebrations

A smooth but restless flight from Tokyo via Auckland landed us back to our home of all homes, Wellington. You know you're home when people are there to meet you at the airport! Both sets of parents as well as a couple more Turners (Graham and Lisa) who secretly jumped the ditch for the long weekend festivities. A fantastic surprise. After the brief hello's at the airport, our fleeting visit

March 2009

Our Spring Blossom Japan

First stop when we hit Japan's shore was the sweet shop for some Wasabi peas, something to snack on while booking our accommodation for the week, clearly we were prepared! After exploring the guide we had a small idea of the different areas in Tokyo and went with Asakusa. Once we arrived above ground we soon found it impossible to find our Ryokan, as the signs were a little out of our

January 2009

Une Nuit a Paris

With Jo and Shane from the motherland over for their Europe taster we thought why not rendezvous in Paris?! When we can! Don't you just love Europe?! They took the Eurostar (smart thinking) a few days ahead of us to get in some of the sights which we had seen before and we arrived by plane early on Saturday morning for just one night in Paris. The Hotel we all stayed at was in a brilliant

December 2008

Christmas Special, 2008

To think that a little under 12 months ago, in late December 2007, we were here in London, packing up our travel bags for the last time and flying home to the southern hemisphere for two weddings. The first, Graham and Lisa' wedding on the Gold Coast, the first port of call, a fantastic week of celebrations. The second, Josh and Kate's wedding in summery Wellington. It was fantastic to be

Marrakesh Christmas Muslim Style

With snow as early as October in London, one starts to doubt there is a sun at all in England. It was just another excuse to head to another country. With family heading to Morocco, warmer temperatures, actual sun and more undiscovered Tang terrain for all of us to explore, we opted for a Muslim Christmas In Africa. We were booked into a riad owned by a German man named Hans and his

November 2008

New York, New York

We hopped off the flight in JFK expecting people to pop out dancing and singing the musical, New York! It seems New York isn't like Scrubs. Instead we arrived late at night and hopped on the subway (no not the sandwich) to our accommodation. The following morning we caught up with Andy and Nicky for some fine breakfast at a diner and caught up on the news. People had warned us about the

October 2008

The Old Engagement Crowned

With Tom's parents passing through the UK on their travels we thought there was no better time to have our UK engagement party! The Old Crown was recommended and booked for the night of the seventeenth in October. We had a classic English pub style shin dig which mainly involved beer, talking and then more wine. It was great to finally celebrate our engagement with everyone in the UK and we

Gaudi's Barcelona

What a surprise it was that on the morning of my 29th birthday, Gini gave me the gift of new travels! A beautifully crafted birthday card outlining a long weekend away and tickets for two to Barcelona! So the following weekend, with bags packed, we took off to Stanstead airport and hopped on our easy jet flight bound for Spain - a country unseen by us both. Barcelona is an amazing city.

August 2008

Bruges Beer Bikes & A Ring

With the August long weekend looming, Tom booked us a trip to the land of chocolate, beer and mussels! Bruges in Belgium. We traveled Eurostar style which now to Europe for us is the only way to go! Such a stress free way to travel. It took two hours to Brussells where we changed for another train for free to the town of Bruges. The next morning we wandered around Bruges and ended up in the

July 2008

Viva Las Vegas

The second port of call on our USA excursion was to none other than Las Vegas - the city of a thousand vices. Or something like that. We were relatively vice free, however, but I can easily see how it could take control of you, devouring your wallet and stealing your innocence with its array of temptations. Anywho, I continue! Almost a year ago, while we were chilling out in Lyon, France,

The Streets of San Francisco

By pure coincidence we touched down on US soil on no other day than the fourth of July! Independence day. What luck! It turns out they like to celebrate this day over all others, so we caught up with Andy and Nicky, dumped the suitcases (I know we are moving up in the world!) and headed down to the pier (and water, which was so nice to see again - its been a while) in search of the fireworks

June 2008

A Taste of Tuscany

Many moons ago, when Helen and Robin first booked their European getaway, they invited us Londoners (Paul, Lauren, Gini and I) to join them for a long weekend in Tuscany. Without hesitation, the cheap flights were purchased, the Monday booked off work and the long wait begun. Unfortunately, as what usually happens with such impeccable organising, something awful happened. Paul got sick. So

Dad's Devon

With the oldies over from New Zealand we took the opportunity to take a wee trip down the coast an old tramping ground for some. With Mum off with old teacher friends we had Dad all to ourselves who became our personal tour guide for the weekend. We left on the Friday, Tom and I a bit dazed from the week of work and Dad behind the wheel heading for the M4. After a frustrating wait in the

April 2008

Our Fort in Fordwych

After a month on Dunsters' couch we thought it was high time we moved on out. Plus a landlord was willing to take three unemployed tenants and one super generous and responsible brother to foot the bill if sh*t hit the fan. Thankfully it hasn't happen yet! We opted for a flat in the same area more for convenience than choice but the area had a familiar feel to it from the times I've

March 2008

Easter in Penzance

After all the hard work finding a flat, job and new life and some free train tickets going spare, Lauren booked our first trip in England. So we started with the bottom and travelled for five hours until we reached the end of the line, Penzance. We had high hopes we would have a sunny and hot Easter but the first day set the trend of a cold and windy Lands End, come to think of it, it

February 2008

Best Wellington Summer Ever!

We heard what a great summer New Zealand was having, got FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome and popped home to have some fun in the sun. A trip to Wellington isn't complete without a wine trail of our favourite NZ drop. Argh how I have missed the NZ white wine. Martinborough put on another splendor of a day - I haven't been disappointed yet. So the walking, eating and of course drinking

January 2008

Josh & Kate's Wellie Wedding

Two weddings were more than enough of an excuse to end our travels in frozen Eastern Europe and to return home to sunny Wellington. The second of which, was the Josh Harris and Kate Angus wedding. I never thought I would see the day when Josh found someone who he could see himself settling down with - and them, with him. Incredible to think he would be one of the first of us boys to tie the

Crossing Tongariro

The sun was shining, the birds singing, a great day to cross Tongariro. The bus picked us up from our door step and we stepped on as tourists for the day. By the time we had arrived at the starting point around Whakapapa side of the mountain there was already an ants trail of people on the track ahead. Paul took this as a sign to pick up the pace almost immediately so we only saw a green

Trio Coast Celebrations

The plane arrived in the morning and by mid day I was loaded onto a trolley bus and off to Mt Tamborine for a wine trial. Tom had the easier route by just hanging at the house with a beer in one hand and relaxing with the boys. The hens and stag night had begun... The trolley bus was a lot of fun, we started with bubbles to get us girls giggling and stop at various vineyards for

December 2007

Christmas in Crane Singapore

We changed our flights to stay in Singapore over Christmas and indulged ourselves with a nice Hotel for a 'relaxation' holiday before heading for the chaos in Australia. We had both been to Singapore but never stayed more than a few days to see what it has to offer, so the exploring begun. Orchard Road we came across first, as it isn't hard to miss with its fantastic lights and lots of

Snow Flakes on Poland

Poland hadn't been on our list for this year but with Nick staying in Warsaw we took the opportunity to pay him a visit. The minute we stepped off of the train it was a least five degrees lower than in Berlin. So freezing is a good description. After our brief excitement that our NZ dollars were worth more (its such a rare thing these days) we caught our first taxi in months (we were truly

Germany: Battered and Bustling Berlin

After a comfortable and relaxing six hour train ride from Prague we arrived in Berlin. An S-bahn followed by the U-bahn and we had reached our hostel. I had very few preconceptions of Berlin - I had read about very little and hadn't expected it to be one of our destinations for this year. This is a good way to approach a city such as Berlin. With such a unique and devastating background and

Dazzling Prague, Czech Republic

After a cheap train ride from Munich and great directions from the Clown & Bard Hostel we arrived at our Hostel in Prague at night. Who did we meet at reception? No other than Tim, the Australian from our grape picking experience - small world. We had a good catch up with Tim and meet his mate Mark (American) over a few good Budweisers (not the American one) in the underground hostel

Germany: Munchkins & Beer in Munich

We had a painless train ride from Zurich to Munich but arrived thirty minutes late. tut tut Germany. Paul on the other hand had two flight delays and arrived two hours late. You just can't beat the trains in Europe, enough said. Starting on the late side of the clock we only had a few beers at the Hostel's pub for a catch up on what has been happening in the world outside our travel

November 2007

Uber Bon Switzerland

It was obvious as soon as we crossed the border leaving Italy that things had changed. Everything seemed perfect and in place. Trains were on time to the second. Rubbish was non-existent. The people were friendly and courteous without expecting anything in return. The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful. We were now in Switzerland. Our first stop on our brief tour of Switzerland was to its

Italy: Rain in Verona, splash of Milan

Ahhh Verona. We only had a fleeting visit to the town Shakespeare used as his romantic setting for Romeo and Juliet. As we walked to our Hostel, which of course was on hill we got a great view of the city and felt like we were back in France. I guess it was a combination of the river, architecture and small community feel about the place which was quite a contrast to Venice. We dumped our

Italy: Canal Maze of Venice

We stepped outside the train station into another world. A world where water is your road and boats are your transport, so unique and magical. I have to admit I was giggling all the way on the ferry down the Grand Canal because I just couldn't believe my eyes, I instantly loved the place. It was so different with a fairytale atmosphere. We past many amazing buildings with unique Venetian

Italy: Spaghetti Bologna

Curious as to the origins of the famous "Spaghetti Bolognese", we took a quick stop in Bologna on our way north to Venice. Bologna, a university town was worth a quick stop. A delightful hotel, pretty piazzas, a massive cathedral and - my highlight - a tower to climb! Bologna hosts many towers - a few of them leaning at various degrees, one of them (not leaning) was

Italy: Firenze Florence in Marble

We left wet Rome for another day and headed north for Firenze as the Italians call it - Florence (makes life interesting when we are searching for train destinations!) The public transport was definitely on the improvement and a lot cheaper than in France. We arrived in Firenze and couldn't help but find the Duomo Cathedral. I can honestly say I have never seen such a Cathedral as this. Your

Italy: Roaming in Roma

After spending the past week down the south of Italy, it was a nice change to return to where it was a little more "civilised". Less rubbish, less bustle and less disorganisation. We were once again in Rome! Unfortunately the weather was still not on our side. With only two days before Nige left us we had to make the most of our time in Rome. We braved the rain and wandered

Italy: Roughing it in Sicily

We woke to the rocking and swaying of the train carriage we were sleeping in. We could only assume that we had somehow been transported onto the train ferry and had left the mainland towards uncharted territory - that of Sicily! Darkness and boredom took over me so I checked my emails from my cellphone to find one from Paul, warning us to barricade the door to stop the almost certain

Italy: Rosso Pomodori Napoli

After a successful rendezvous with Nige in Roma and our first Italian caff later we caught the next train heading straight for Naples or better known as Napoli (by the locals). It took two hours on the intercity train for ten euro each and it was our first taste of Italy's public transport system. Lets just say it needs improvement in that department. Our first impressions were, we set

France: Sun & Sea is Nice

My third visit to Nice - and without a doubt the most thorough. The first - a fly through with the family in '94 only to knock the skylight off the camper van we were driving while navigating under one of the low lying bridges (sorry Dad, had to say it). The second - a two hour stop off while racing my way through Europe on a Contiki trip back in 2003. After a four hour journey from Arles

France: Arty in Arles

To break our journey to Nice we settled on Arles for some fine art culture and a slice of Roman history to taste. We arrived with a carnival in full swing at the train stations front door step, it seems the French like a good bumper car ride or sugar donut in the middle of Autumn to keep them jolly. We thought we would be the only tourists in the small town of fifty thousand but we soon

October 2007

France: Trio around Toulouse

We arrived in Toulouse with one main goal. Relaxation AKA chilled out sightseeing. After arming ourselves with the right map from the Tourist Office - which I have say are always really well equipped - we could pick and choose what we wanted to see. Now when I think of Toulouse I think brick, and lots of it. With clay being Toulouse's natural resource it was used throughout the city. It

France: Full Bodied Bold Bordeaux

There was a major train strike throughout France which affected our travel plans to Bordeaux. Instead of a comfy train for two & half hours it was a five hour bus trip with a one hour stopover in a random town. On the bright side we made it to Bordeaux, the land of great wine, so we hear. We were dropped off at the station in the dark a bit dazed from the traveling but with our trusty

France: Medieval Sarlat

One of the main reasons for breaking our Lyon to Bordeaux journey into two was to explore a few of the castles the Limousin region had to offer. Unfortunately, what we didn't realise was that the uber castles were about 100 kilometers south of Limoges (where we were staying) and in a separate region called "the Dordogne". Unperturbed by the lack of public transport to the Dordogne

France: Fragile Limoges

We arrived in one of France's most architecturally elegant train stations on time. It happened to be the semi finals for the Rugby World Cup which New Zealand didn't happen to be in... humpf, but in good spirit we joined the masses to watch on the big outdoor screen in Place Republique (large square) and watched England vs France and cheered on France so we wouldn't stand out in the crowd

France: Lyon Part Dieu

Thanks to a client of mine back in New Zealand, we were able to kick back and relax in Lyon for four weeks. Perfect for recovering from the grape picking excursion. Our little abode for the duration was a tiny little apartment in Part Dieu - away from the touristy areas and close to the commercial area and the main train station. The perfect location really. The apartment

September 2007

France: Cold Chamonix

Memo to self: Autocar is a bus - not a different kind of train. So silly. We discovered this after purchasing our tickets that our 'train' didn't have a platform number - how strange. All the departure board would say is Autocar, it got us thinking... hmmmm off to the information desk and with a little pigeon english and sign language later we discovered our 'train' was leaving the bus

France: Dijon moutarde

When looking over the map of France, we spotted Dijon. Now could that be the same Dijon as in Dijon mustard? hmmm It set the cogs in motion and before we knew it we were on our way to the little town of mustard oh I mean Dijon. The train ride took around two hours with lots of interesting scenery along the way and of course the iPod comes in handy at times like these. First thing was

August 2007

France: Grape Picking

Bonjour! By day two of the grape picking, this was the word we despised the most. For 13 mornings at 6:50am it was that word, followed by the systematic switch of the light switch which signified the start of the working day for us hungover, tired and extremely sore grape pickers. - - - - - Our much anticipated grape picking expedition started at Belleville train station - about 30

France: Lyon Partie Une

We arrived into Paris and decided to head south to Lyon (which is the third largest city in France) before grape picking. Without any currency in hand we managed to use the ticketing machines to catch a SNCF train (very fast around 300 km per hour) which cost around 78 euro each and only one way - more expensive than the flight to France might I add. On the positive side it did get us into

Lazy in London

We were picked up in style by Paul in a VW in a bit of a tired blur. We were lucky enough to commandeer Trudy's room for the first few days while we slept for 12 hour nights. So slack. A few days later Jen and Dave arrived in London so we caught up with them and James in various pubs. The first being the The White Swan in Richmond on the Thames which gave us our first impression of what

July 2007

Tropical Thailand

What an amazing cultural experience. Our four week journey started in Bangkok - after a late night flight from Sydney, we cleared customs and managed to take a Taxi to what has to be the craziest place in Thailand. Khao San Road. Even at 1am on a week night this place was a bustling, jostling, smelly, hot and sticky circus of Thai doing anything they could to make a buck and farang

June 2007

Sunny Sydney Stopover

And so it begins... The BIG OE. It all started a bit dazed and confused on the morning of the thirtieth. We had spent the whole night before madly packing and didn't get to bed until 1am. In time for 2 hours sleep before we headed to the airport for the early flight out of New Zealand. First stop was Sydney to visit Brother and Leece in their new pad. Sydney turned on the stunning

Leaving Shenanigans

Leaving is always hard.  During my childhood, I've had to leave a number of places, and each time, say goodbye to good friends.  This time, however, has been the hardest to date - mostly due to the enormous amount of people wanting to fine dine us before we take off!  We thank you all, and we will definitely miss you all!  Start your travel savings account and we expect

February 2007

Newtown - a Touch of Paradise

Newtown was everything we wanted on our flat list. A close walk to the shops, a 20-30 min walk to work, a dishwasher, huge sunny deck for summer all rolled into a warm compact flat. Although we didn't really want to move again, Tom's 7th flat move, and my 3rd because moving is not the most pleasant of things to do in your past time. But Thorndon didn't want us anymore and so it begun. We had

Taupo Relay 2007

A record breaking performance by the hardened Random B@stards! We came in the top 30 of all running teams. I would like to think that this wasn't entirely due to the fact that we had two ex NZ runners in our squad, but, in reality, I'm pretty sure that's what put us ahead of the field. Everything went as smooth as silk, Sarah's organising, as per usual, was impeccable. We stayed at a

January 2007

TK Day

A perfect day of sun, fantastic food, great company and not the mention the wine ... Oh the wine! Jo and Shane took us out to Martinborough for a day long session of wine drinking at one of Martinborough's finest vinyards. They host an anual "do" and invite some of the regions best entertainers and restauranteurs. Savouring the flavour of the Sav Blanc for the most part of

Abel Tasman

We flew into Nelson early afternoon, which marked the beginning of our Abel Tasman experience. After waiting a wee while for the bus we were on our way to Motueka, south of Nelson. We made it just in time to get a gas canister, thanks to tom doing a MacGyver sprint to the camping shop. After the Airport assistant kindly took our other canister! Who knew not to take flammable gas onboard.

Martinborough

We set off to Martinborough with one mission in mind. Wine. Since Wellington wasnt producing any stunners and we had limited days to show off to Lisa (token Australian sister to be) and Jo (token Pom) what New Zealand is capable off. Alcohol and sun was the obvious choice. Sure enough the weather was a beamer! With wine around every corner, an easy stroll between vineyards and a few

October 2006

Happy Helenoween

It was dark and stormy night. Which invited the worst of the underworld to come out and play. So we pulled out finest scary faces and headed to the gathering on Mt Vic. Thanks to our hosts, Helen (the birthday girl), and Derek (the drunken loon), for a great night!  

Kooky Old Thorndon

Grant Road marked the beginning of a new era. Living with the opposite sex! (oh gosh). The flat was transformed we hung photos, bought new furniture and even cleaned once or twice. Just as the sun was sticking around a little longer than usual and summer was on its way the landlords decided they wanted to come home, so we were out! With only 4 weeks to find a new tang pad, we

June 2006

Tom's New Desk

A while after I received an excellent assortment of tools for Christmas from my family, Gini suggested to me that I should put them to good use and make myself a desk - as my current desk was a tiny little white kiddie desk, which is far from fitting for the very expensive Mac which sits on top of it. Three months later , and here I am, typing away, sitting at my incredible new Rimu

May 2006

Cateye Moonride

Pain. Suffering. Exhaustion. Dirt. These are a few words I initially used to describe our latest adventure. Of course, in hindsight, these were probably the only words that came to mind while contemplating the weekend in the several days spent recovering. We can both now look back on the weekend as an awesome experience and a great achievement. The Cateye Moonride is an

April 2006

Waitewaewae Tramp

Why oh why did we go to Waitewaewae? Well it wasn't that bad but when one thinks a tramp is only going to take at the most five hours and it ends up being closer to seven! You do have to ask WHY OH WHY! Anywho, we thought we would take advantage of the long Easter weekend and venture back into the Tararuas with two new Guinea pigs (Nicky & Andy). We at least had the

February 2006

Great Lake Relay

The Random B@stards were just shy (by mere seconds) of our record, with an amazing time of 13 hours, 49 minutes and 53 seconds. We were placed 103'rd out of 186 teams. The Great Lake Relay is an amazing event, where teams of between 10 and 18 people take on the 18 legs that make up the 160 KM race. We had 13 members in our team this year, consisting of (from group photo) : Row 1 Dumb

Thompson Wedding!

Andy and Nicky's wedding was an incredible day of great food, tasty wine and more elegance than you can shake several sticks at! Tom was privileged enough to be the Groomsman - luckily a role not too difficult for a wedding first timer. His duties involved smiling sweetly during the hours of photos, schmoozing with the guests, helping the best man through his pre-speech nerves

January 2006

Mt Holdsworth Tramp

In January of 2006, four people decided to undertake an epic quest of conquering Mount Holdsworth - one of the highest peaks in the Tararua Ranges. What follows is a photo account of the three days it took Tom, Gini, Marcus and Jess to complete the journey. It was a great excursion, and the first (of length) which Gini has undertaken, and the longest which Tom has considered - with

December 2005

Christmas

Leading up to Christmas we took a few days off and missioned it up to the mount (Mt Manuganui) to join the Turner parents for some sun, surf and timeshare comfort. Since the Mount was Gini's second home we did the tiki tour for Tom, consisting of the beach, Bayfair, KFC and the Mountain itself. The beach attitude soon took hold and the way of life slowed to a comfortable relaxing mood which

October 2005

Gold Coast

On Tom's return home from an extended Contiki vacation in 2004, a letter awaited him to explain that he had won a trip for two for a week on the Gold Coast! He couldn't believe his luck, but was so exhausted from the Contiki holiday, he left it nearly a year before thinking about it again. Facing expiry, it became urgent that something needed to be done to or the trip would be lost for

September 2005

Ohakune Ski Trip

We set off as early as Peck & Turner possible to beat the crowd to the top carpark (a Turner tradition - thanks Dad). 10am just didn't cut it! - So strange. We ended up in the eighth carpark which sounds bad, but that didn't deter us! A trek and purchase of lift tickets later and we were on the slopes. Gini on a snowboard for the first time ever, boarding the flat Alpine Meadows.