A taste of travel

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Something sweet is always on the menu!

Is there anything better than traveling and tasting the food along the way in different countries? Hmmm, I don’t think there is!

I don’t know about you but I always remember the food I tried somewhere, I would even try and make it on my own when I return home.

Tasting local food and drinks of a destination makes the travel experience complete, especially for a foodie like me.

You have to agree, food and travel is a perfect match!

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Baklava in Sarajevo

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Belgium waffles in Bruges.

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Caramelized nuts in Sweden.

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Fluffy doughnut in New Zealand.

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Cinnamon bun in Gothenburg.

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Fresh local fruit in New Caledonia.

Bon appetit!

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Sun is shining in Noumea

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Want to wake up here and have this view right in front of you? You just need to visit New Caledonia!

As a special collectivity of France in southwest Pacific Ocean this small island is a true piece of Europe in the middle of nowhere.

Hot summers with a sea temperature of around 26 degrees was one of the reasons why we chose this place as our holiday destination.

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Another thing I liked while reading about New Caledonia is that it’s not so crowded as other islands around here. In a way it’s not discovered yet and that’s what made it so attractive.

We flew from Auckland and it took us two and a half hours to get there, how great is that! We landed in Noumea, biggest town on the island. And I have to tell you it’s much bigger than we expected.

It took us around 45 minutes to get to the city centre from the airport. I’m going to give you one advice now – don’t take ‘Arc en ciel’ shuttle bus. There is a public transport which cost 280 XPF. It was Sunday evening when we got there and we had to take that shuttle which cost us 3000 XPF one way per person! More than ten times higher price!! Crazy, but we didn’t have a choice.

Many tourists in New Caledonia spend most or all of their time in Noumea (don’t do that). It is a great place, with beautiful sandy beaches, bars and restaurants along the coast and many places to visit on a day trip.

Duck Island.

A few things to note; New Caledonia is not a cheap place to go to. It depends a lot what kind of traveler you are. In Noumea we stayed in a backpackers and while traveling around the island we were camping so for us the accommodation wasn’t expensive. Interesting thing is that there is only one hostel in Noumea and there’s no camping grounds in the vicinity so our options were limited for the time spent in the city.

The view from our room in the backpackers. Beautiful!

When it is about buying a food, prices in supermarkets surprised me a lot. It’s more expensive than here in New Zealand. It’s almost cheaper to eat in a restaurant than to buy a meal for two in the supermarket. Other options for a quick delicious (cheaper) meal are small shops called Snack. You will see during lunch breaks in Noumea how busy those shops are when everyone rush there to grab a bite.

One thing I like to do when visiting other countries is stopping by at the market. The market in Nouma is open from Tuesday to Friday from 5am to midday. You can buy there delicious local fruit and veggies. It is located beside the marina at Port-Moselle.

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City centre is very busy until early afternoon. Everything close early in Noumea and everyone move from hot sunny streets to the beach. In case you are planning some shopping do it in the morning.

There’s not much going on in the centre in the evening, all the happenings are at the Anse Vata beach. It is the most vibrant part of Noumea and everyone is there.

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Place des Cocotiers (Coconut Square)

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City centre Christmas Festival at the Coconut Square.

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Anse Vata beach.

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One of the resorts in Noumea is called Le Meridien and you can walk there from Anse Vata beach. Great thing about the resorts in New Caledonia is that you can use their facilities even though you are not staying there. This resort has a great bar on the beach under the palm trees, perfect to hide from the sun a little bit.

Many day trips are available from Noumea, a lot of them go from Anse Vata. With a taxi boat you can get to the small islands close to town or you can take catamaran to the Amedee Lighthouse. There are only one or two companies which offer this trip to the lighthouse so you need to pay the whole package (from 15000 XPF), you can’t just pay for the boat ride.

We went to the Duck Island, it is just 10 minutes with a taxi boat from Noumea. It is a nice place for a half day trip. People come here to snorkel and gear is available for rent but it’s better to bring your own. There is an underwater trail you can follow to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Have in mind that there’s no a lot of shade on the beach.

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Ile aux Canards (Duck Island)

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First three days in New Caledonia went fast and it was time for us to hit the road around the island. More tips in my next post!

Happy traveling!

Travel to: New Caledonia

Bourail, New Cledonia

Hey guys!

It’s been a while but here I am back from the trip around New Caledonia. It was perfect! When deciding where to go during Xmas holidays this small Pacific country popped up and there we were standing on those beautiful sandy beaches, strolling around small villages and amazing islands for two weeks.

New Caledonia is still not crazy popular tourist destination and that’s a huge plus. It wasn’t hard to find unique, silent places with beautiful views of the lagoon.

When to go, where to go, how to travel around and what not to miss while in Nouvelle Caledonie you will read here in my next posts.

Happy travels!

Camping at Mavora Lakes

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Who wouldn’t like to see this scenery first thing in the morning?

I enjoy camping so much! Spending time in nature is what makes me a happy traveler! That’s one more reason why New Zealand is a perfect country for me. Everything here is about spending time outdoors.

Department of Conservation has campsites all over the country with a cost of only $8 per person/night. Usually these sites are in the middle of nowhere, far away from everything and that’s the best thing about them. These campsites have major facilities you may need – toilet, sometimes tap water, picnic tables, BBQs and most of the time there’s no mobile network coverage (how great is that!).

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The camp we went to last weekend is called Mavora Lakes. This area was used as a film set in some of the Lord of the Rings movies. It is located two hours from Invercargill and in the end about 40km of gravel road lead you there. The scenery along the way is wooow!

There is only one thing with this campsite you might not be happy about: there are sand flies everywhere. Just don’t forget insect repellent and everything will be OK.

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Pristine nature, sheep, lambs, cows and calves running over green meadows, mountains in the background and fresh air complete the picture.

Some of the activities people can do here are fishing, walking, tramping, mountain biking and horse riding.

I can’t wait to go back again to enjoy peace and quiet disturbed only with different melodies coming from the birds singing on the trees above my tent.

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Before sunset…

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How beautiful is this scenery? I’m amazed!!! We couldn’t find better place to finally open this year’s camping season.

I captured this photo yesterday, just a few minutes before sunset. Look at this golden grass, looks like it glows.

I’m so happy we found another perfect destination close to Invercargill for relaxed, peaceful getaway… Mavora Lakes is definitely the place to go back to.

Southern Scenic Route: Road trip you can’t miss

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Road tripping in New Zealand is a must. It is definitely the best way to discover this amazing country.

Today I’ll take you on journey between Queenstown and Dunedin. The road is called Southern Scenic Route and it is about 600km long ride you can’t miss.

We are driving around this route pretty often as the road goes through Invercargill and it always lead us to Queenstown or Dunedin for our weekend getaways.

The road is passing through Queenstown, Fiordland (Te Anau), Western Southland, Invercargill, beautiful Catlins, Clutha and Dunedin (Moeraki, Larnach Castle).

We are so lucky to live here as these wonderful places are within short drive from our home.

Let me take you on a ride around ‘one of the world’s great undiscovered drives’, how one magazine labeled it a few years ago.

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Queenstown

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Te Anau, Fiordland

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Clifden

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Riverton

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Queens Park, Invercargill (my favourite place in town)

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Curio Bay

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Purakaunui Falls, Catlins

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Kaka Point

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Dunedin

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Baldwin St, Dunedin, the world’s steepest residential street 

There are so many great things to do along the way – short walks, boating, camping, tramping, fishing, mountain-biking – just pick your favourite activity and explore this beautiful part of the South Island.