Dizzy Swallows

Honeymoon: Otorohanga and Waitomo

June 4th, 2014

After our second day in the waters of Raglan, we hopped straight from the surf and into the car, arriving salty and sweaty at the doorstep of our next abode, the incomparable Kamahi Cottage. This luxury B&B is tucked up on one of the pastoral rounded hills of the tiny Otorohanga district, adjacent to Waitomo, famous for its glowworm caves.

I can’t say enough good things about Kamahi. Our hosts were hospitality incarnate, sweet and attentive, yet respectful of privacy. Their home and the cottage preside over the family’s working farm, a massive spread of hundreds of acres that has been in their family for generations.

The cottage itself was perfectly appointed for comfort and pampering, with a beautiful half-story bedroom and the most divine amenities, right down to wooley socks and complimentary whiskey.

Guests can opt for a gourmet dinner cooked by owner Liz, either delivered to the … Continue reading

Honeymoon: Rivendell to Raglan

May 21st, 2014

Leaving the Able Tasman, I found I had somehow neglected to pack my camera battery charger. Crisis! This meant for the rest of the trip I was jealously guarding power, choosing my shots with much more care. I always travel with two batteries, and kept the last reserves of my first to shoot our last glorious stop in Fiji (so you have that to look forward to). Until then, I scrimped and saved, with some help from Jacob’s cell phone camera…

A brief stop in Queen Charlotte Sound, and then it was off to the North Island.

We took the ferry from Picton into the charming city of Wellington, where we scored a few thrift store finds and had the second best Indian food I’ve ever had (this being the best).

We then made our first and only stop related to The Lord of the Rings (if you … Continue reading

Honeymoon: Able Tasman

May 7th, 2014

A few days and misadventures after Kaikoura, we found ourselves at the top of the South Island, in the beautifully lush Able Tasman. After several nights of camping and one horribly long drive we were ready for some luxury in the form of The Resurgence Eco Lodge. I have mixed feelings about this place. On the one hand, the setting was gorgeous, the cabin (“bush chalet”) was charming, and the food was delicious, but on the other…none of these things seemed quite on par with their price. And I’m really not sure what they meant by “Eco,” besides the fact that the lodge is located in the bush outside of the tiny town of Riwaka.

We were very excited to explore the Able Tasman National Park, however, and our hosts helped us book a trip which included a 12 mile hike into one of the park’s bays, from where … Continue reading

Honeymoon: Kaikoura

April 28th, 2014

Hey dear ones! Today finds our honeymoon travels moving on towards the East Coast town of Kaikoura.

Yet another series of twisting roads spat us out onto the coast, all azure seas and white rock. The town itself is small but bustling, attracting a fair set of tourists with its marine life and seafood. We, in fact, were there for both.

Our lodging was the gorgeous Blue Heron House B&B. Throughout the trip, I mentally ranked our abodes on a scale of expectations met. Blue Heron House was a standout that far exceeding expectations. It is one of those rare finds for which the promotion photos do not do justice, and the price tag is something of a disguise.

I loved the gardens, and the wrap around porch onto which the French doors of our bedroom opened.

It was a calming home-base from which to explore the town and … Continue reading

Honeymoon: Moeraki to Oamaru

April 9th, 2014

Hello lovelies! Another week already and forward with our continuing New Zealand travels…

From Queenstown, we once again set out across the South Island, with not much more of a plan than to reach the east coast. Consulting the GPS, I found we we could easily swing through the tiny town of Moeraki, famous in tourist guides for its eccentric boulders.

The Moeraki Boulders are best seen at low tide, and we serendipitously arrived just as the water was lapping about their bases. It is a remarkably odd sight: the boulders appear like so many ponderous beach balls, half buried in the sand. Even more bizarre are the cracked and partial boulders, with their great, honeycomb veins exposed in geometric pattern.

We dutifully posed for photos atop the domes.

Or in them, as the case may be.

These photos we taken with some haste as the tide was rapidly rising. … Continue reading