Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Mexican Wedding

June 16, 2013

mexican wedding attirevineyard con astroturfwedding crowd

If you are ever invited to a wedding while you are traveling – by family, friends, a stranger you met on a long train ride – I would strongly recommend graciously accepting the generous hospitality and enjoying what is bound to be an unrepeatable cultural experience.

Read the rest of this entry »


Travel Knitting

May 24, 2013

2013-03-13 07.52.31

Travel knitting requires small projects for small moments.  Something tricksy enough to not bore you, but that won’t get totally ruined if you forget which row or where in the row you are.  I’m often grateful for a piece of knitting that I can pick up while I’m waiting for a friend or host to get ready, or while waiting for a ride.  Mostly though, having something interesting to knit makes those long bus and train rides bearable.  And you end up with something new and beautiful to wear, enhancing your minimal travel wardrobe and bringing you daily joy.

I carry a little knitting kit with me when I’m on the road: a couple of different sizes of double pointed needles, a needle gauge, a little tin with a few stitch markers, safety pins, a tapestry needle and a decent sized stitch holder, a notebook for keeping ideas and notes, a paper copy of a favourite sock pattern (normally Nancy Bush’s Fox Faces Socks) and enough fingering weight wool for one tiny project.  Don’t take more yarn than you need – traveling is an excellent way to add to your yarn stash.  So many yarn stores to visit, so little time.

Girl in Melbourne

May 12, 2013

2013-05-04 18.31.02

Melbourne is a city that swaddles you and keeps you warm, as long as you are appropriately dressed.  It’s the kind of destination you always park a scarf when visiting (especially in Autumn) because you never know how bitterly cold it might be.  This is why Melbourne feels a lot like home, because New Zealand is the same.  And because my sister lives in Melbourne, so a part of home is always there to welcome me.

I never really do much when I am there, only the things that you imagine people do in this town.  Shop, go to cafes, eat, wander through parks, walk up four flights of steps in search of a bookstore, go to museums and galleries.  But it is an easy to navigate city, so simple to get around.  Perfect for exploring and for solitary wandering days punctuated by meals with friends.

Farm Life

March 16, 2013

sheephaymakingnz gothic

A trip to the family property in Waikouaiti, just outside Dunedin, usually involves hanging out with the sheep and chickens and a bit of hard work – usually gardening or helping with the sheep.  This trip both my sister and I were home and helped with the end of summer haymaking.  Our father cut the grass using his vintage tractor, and we then spent three days raking and turning the hay.  I will always remember the smell of the grass drying in the sun and whenever I close my eyes all I see are Dorothy Norman’s photos of grass.

Katiki Point

March 14, 2013

moeraki lighthouse

Many people visiting New Zealand skip Coastal Otago for the grand mountainous splendor of Mackenzie Country and Central Otago, but from the Waitaki down to the Catlins is one of my favourite parts of the South Island.  It’s only a five hour drive from Christchurch to Dunedin, and there are plenty of places to stop on the way.

One of the best places to visit is Moeraki, but don’t just go see the Moeraki Boulders and eat a delicious lunch at Fleurs Cafe.  One of Moeraki’s best kept secrets is Katiki Point – a short cliff top walk with beautiful ocean views and lots of wildlife.

From Moeraki town center, drive down Lighthouse Road.  There is a public carpark at the lighthouse.  Walk from here through the long grass and fields towards the point.  Yellow Eyed Penguins and Blue Penguins do nest here, so try and keep your voices low and watch out for holes in the path (Little Blues often build their nest in abandoned rabbit holes).  You can often see Yellow Eyed Penguins on the beach, or standing on the hills around the beach moulting.  There is also a reasonable sized seal colony here and huge numbers of NZ Shags (Cormorants).

Katiki point is also the site of an old Maori Pa.  If you go at low tide you can walk over the rocks to the pa site.

Girl in New Zealand

February 15, 2013


Tomorrow morning I am off to New Zealand for 10 days to visit my family and all my favourite coastal places.  There will be small port towns (Lyttelton), delicious food (Oamaru and Moeraki), estuary walks (Waikouaiti), and cliff walks up and down the coast.  I will be hanging out with sheep, and I may even get to milk them.  If the weather is good I’ll help my parents make hay.  If the weather is bad I’ll sit in the sunroom with Ben the cat and watch the rain on the glass.

Girl in Coffs Harbour

February 1, 2013

coffs harbour beach

I have a song that I like, by Lyttelton band The Unfaithful Ways, called Little Mountain Town (sometimes I wish I lived in a little mountain town, where everybody knows  your name and nobody gets you down).  This summer, I discovered an adjacent fantasy – longing to live in a little seaside town.

Read the rest of this entry »

5 ways to spend your Singapore mornings

January 23, 2013

markets chinatown

The day is slow to get going in Singapore… Singaporeans start work at about 9.30am and shops usually don’t open until 11am. The good news is that this means the shops are also open really late – it’s not unheard of for people to go shopping at midnight!

But if you’ve just arrived from Australia or New Zealand, you’ll probably be awake at the crack of dawn.  When you’re in a city for a short period of time, every day is valuable.  You don’t want to waste a minute.

Here are some things in Singapore that you can do during the morning before the shops abnd museums open

  1. Spend a peaceful hour with the 1000 buddhas in the rooftop garden of the Buddhist Temple in Chinatown.  The ground and top floors are open from very early in the morning, and then at 10.30am the other floors open, including a museum.
  2. Find your local wet market and have a walk around looking at all the produce that’s available.  Find a vendor to buy some of the ubiquitous packs of tissues you see everywhere in Singapore.  You’ll need them for #3
  3. Go to your nearest Hawker Centre and queue up with all the Singaporeans buying takeaway food for later in the day. You can have a second breakfast or get something wrapped up to eat later.  It’s a great way to check the Food Centres out before it gets crazy busy later in the day.
  4. Make an early morning trip to Singapore Zoo or Jurong Bird Park.  By the time you get there the park will be open and ready for business.  You can have breakfast with the fauna while all the stores on Orchard Road remain closed.
  5. Go for an early morning walk (before it heats up!) at Macritchie Reservoir or Canning Fort Park, or sneak your way into a hotel to go swimming.

Singapore City Guide

January 19, 2013


If anyone tells you that Singapore is sterile and boring, ignore them.

This cosmopolitan island may have a lot of shopping centres, flash hotels and fancy restaurants, but it also has an incredible local food scene, a rich and multi-layered cultural history, and lush wilderness.  And with a brilliant (and cheap) public transport system, it’s easy to get around and explore.  I spent 10 days in Singapore in November, and didn’t come close to running out of things to do.  I felt really at home and all the locals I met were very enthusiastic about their city.  I think that rubbed off on me a little bit.  I’ll definitely go back.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to travel New Zealand for free

September 3, 2012

New Zealand is a beautiful shape.  It’s not called the land of the long white cloud for nothing.  As NZ Poet Cilla McQueen described it, it’s just a long green spine, sticking out of the ocean.  The country is no longer than 15 hours drive from tip to tail of each island, and only 6 hours across.  As well as offering you beaches and mountains in the same day, it’s this geographical fact that can help you stretch your travel budget while in Aotearoa.

The key piece of knowledge to have about New Zealand is that most visitors travel from North to South.

All you need to do to relocate rental cars the length of the country for free is travel in the reverse direction.

Read the rest of this entry »