30 March 2012

Camping on the West Coast

Coastal drive

Pink mountains

On the road from Arrowtown to Haast, we saw the landscape transform from rugged, dry mountains one might see in West Texas to a lush rainforest. Gillespie's Beach is one of the few free DOC campsites, and therefore very crowded. When we mounted a small hill to pitch our tent, we were struck with stunning views of the Southern Alps, pastel pink and purple with the light of the setting sun.

Arrowtown to Haast

Fog & hot air balloons
Fog & hot air balloons over Michael Hill's golf course.

Our ten days in Arrowtown flew by. We worked hard painting the house and enjoyed delicious meals and comfortable living in exchange.

Our hosts Paula & Bede were very nice, and one particularly memorable afternoon was spent driving up the river in search of gold. I felt like we were in a truck commercial when Bede told us to roll up the windows and plunged the ute into a deep ford, water sloshing up around the cab as we bounced over rocks in the riverbed. We zigzagged our way down the river, eventually finding a good spot to pan.

23 March 2012

QWERTY Walls by Sarah Frost

Sarah Frost

From afar, Sarah Frost's installations might look like just another tile mosaic. Up close, they are made of thousands of individual recycled keyboard keys. Obsessive, quirky and memorable. Just the way I like 'em.

19 March 2012


Boys panorama

When you hear someone mention New Zealand, you might recall the epic scenery from Lord of the Rings. While the entire country is full of beauty, little else can match the scale of the Fiordlands and the Southern Alps.

Frolicking Harry
 See Harry frolicking in the valley here.

18 March 2012

Taking the scenic route


From Invercargill we drove to Lumsden, a journey that can be made in 80 kilometers. We did it in about 280 kilometers, stopping along the way to enjoy the scenery as far west as we could go.

Invercargill to Orepuki

Munro Special

If you've ever seen the film The World's Fastest Indian, you will have heard about Burt Munro and his customized motorcycle that crossed the world to set speed records that still stand today. Burt built his masterpiece in his shed in Invercargill, New Zealand, and some of his bikes and parts are on display in the local hardware store.

Munro Special

15 March 2012

Jalapeño Jelly

Jalapeño jelly

When we were packing up to leave Christchurch, car full to bursting, every bit of consolidation seemed a small victory. I took our bulging bag of jalapeños and reduced half of them into jalapeño jelly. It was my first attempt at making jelly, and it turned out great, so I decided to share the recipe here.

14 March 2012

Etsy Love: Imaginary Animal

Imaginary Animal

These cutesy hair accessories from Imaginary Animal are taking me back to my youth, when I was obsessed with hair bows. Thankfully, these hair bows are dainty, unlike the bownormous things born of the 80s.

06 March 2012

The Lost Gypsy of Papatowai


Just off the scenic road through the Catlins, there is a dummy holding a Curios sign, pointing to a big green caravan that looks like it could belong to the Weasleys. This was my favorite stop in the Catlins, the Lost Gypsy Caravan. We first heard of this eccentric treasure from a DVD called South.

03 March 2012

Milton & the Catlins

Holy rock

We stayed two nights with Kerry in Milton, with grand plans of gold panning that didn't quite materialize after a night of fun and poor morning weather. Instead we visited a local beach, Toko Mouth, and an old train tunnel where we saw our first glowworms. Kerry's backyard kittens gave us an adorable sendoff, and on our way out of town I saw a sign advising us to "be happy." Will do!

01 March 2012

Collecting Cockles

Cockle beach
Beach covered in cockles at low tide

Our last day in Dunedin was a fine one, and we made the most of it by collecting cockles and heading out to Long Beach. Cockles, or clams as we call them in the US, are not part of my normal diet, but I'm always keen to try new things.