Aurora lights at the Oreti Beach

The Oreti Beach was crowded with photographers last weekend while the southern lights were playing on the beautiful starry sky. Ever since we moved to the far south I was impatiently waiting to see this very special nature phenomenon. And I got it.

Oreti Beach is one of the best places to see southern lights and I’m lucky to be living just ten minutes from there so I made it on time to capture this moment!

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Dawn on the far south

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This is the road from Invercargill to Queenstown. I drove down this road a few times before but never this early in the morning. The atmosphere is totally different. It’s so calm and peaceful… And look at that mist that makes it even more amazing. I think I should get up earlier more often and just drive around while everything is still asleep. That’s when I can have moments like this one only for myself…

My view of the fancy Melbourne

dsc05466Few weeks ago I went to Melbourne to catch up with my friend from Croatia who was traveling around Australia. I haven’t been there before so I was really excited about this trip. It was so good to have the opportunity to visit Melbourne just for a few days. It took me 4 hours to get there from New Zealand, how great is that, to have Australia wthin a stone throw distance?

Melbourne reminded me of Auckland, but, much bigger Auckland. In this city live three times more people than in the biggest city in New Zealand. Melbourne has almost the same population as the whole New Zealand and you can see that on the streets. So many people in the rush, public transport is crowded, traffic jams …

dsc05569Weather in Melbourne was almost the same like in New Zealand, a bit warmer of course, but still very changeable. One day was over 30 degrees (this is the temperature that we don’t even have here) and then on the next day 9 degrees, rain and wind. In the end, you don’t know what to wear. At all times you need to have the clothes for all weather conditions.

dsc05563I would say that Melbourne is really cool, fancy, sophisticated city. Not really the kind of the cities that I enjoy. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, just it didn’t really leave an unforgettable impression on me. Maybe I expected too much because so many people is in love with this city, and in the end, I didn’t feel that warm atmosphere which I need when I’m traveling. It’s somehow soulless and that’s the biggest flaw…

If I exclude the atmosphere Melbourne is beautiful. Skyscrapers in the city centre are so massive and I’m generally impressed with those tall giants whenever I see them. Yarra River is the icon of Melbourne and along the bank it is easy to find perfect spot for the picnic and BBQ. Narrow laneways are hiding bars, restaurants, fashion boutiques and street art…

Lets go for a walk…

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The view from St Kilda beach

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Have you been in Melbourne? How did you like it?

Wandering through the well known streets

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I haven’t been around for a while and you know why? We went home for the holidays! After year and a half we went to Croatia to check out what’s going on around there. It was really nice to see everyone, have a beer and talk about all the novelties. Year and a half is a long time and a lot of things happened. Everyone was interested in how’s life here in New Zealand and we were curious in what has changed back home since we left…

img_20170116_101134img_20170110_133828img_20170110_133517img_20170110_133507It was a great month overseas, a bit cold though! We forgot how cold it can get so this trip reminded us that ten degrees under zero and snow is a part of every winter in Croatia. In New Zealand winter is so mild and, you know what, I like that a lot!

Now we are back. After more than 30 hours in the air we landed in Queenstown, ready for the summer season all the way down on the south!

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Check out here, in my previous posts, why you should visit my hometown and how beautiful Zagreb can be under the snow!

Further South: Nelson & Christchurch

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As soon as we left the ferry in Picton I realized that the stories were truth. The rain was behind us because this is the sunniest region, nature is different, there’s no so many cars as up North, villages are really far away from each other and the towns we visited are smaller.

On the way to Nelson we passed through the part of the Marlborough Region which is the largest wine growing region here in New Zealand. We tried a great number of wines produced here so it was nice to see all those vineyards which are just coming one after another making this ride full of great sceneries. I can imagine how beautiful it is during the season of grapes picking…

Nelson was the place for our first night here on the South Island. It’s nice small town on the eastern shores of the Tasman Bay. It attracts visitors with its local arts and crafts scene. This is mostly the summer destination and that’s why at this time of the year the streets were a bit deserted. We found beautiful sandy Tahunanui beach as the perfect spot for an early breakfast before we continue our trip all the way to Christchurch.

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Christchurch. I was really looking forward to visiting this city but I didn’t really know what to expect. What you can see as soon as you get there is that 22nd of February 2011 was the day which changed everything. Traces of the devastating earthquake are everywhere. While you are walking around all you can hear is the sound of the heavy machinery and all you can see are the workers in reflective vests who are helping to raise the city back on its feet. You can also see that people are trying to make everything as it was before and to live the life as they did before. One of the first steps after the catastrophe was to bring the life back in the centre of the city by opening Re:START container mall. Today more than 50 business are operating there and it’s a very popular spot among the tourists and residents.

I was able to imagine how beautiful this city was before 2011. Definitely many years will pass until they rebuild it, but when they do it, I’m sure that Christchurch will again charm the travellers from all over the world…

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Across the Cook Strait

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Decision to move on the south of the south came out of nowhere. Was it a good decision? I’m sure it was! I really liked Auckland but in the past few weeks we were thinking about moving to the less crowded place, with no traffic jams and with a little bit less rain so getting the job on the other side of the country came as a good push to leave Auckland sooner. During the past year we travelled almost all around the North Island so moving to the south was an obvious step and here we are, in Invercargill. Our new address is in one of the southernmost cities in the world.

It is great to be able to move quickly, believe me, not having a lot of luggage is perfect! Everything fitted in our car and we were ready for the ten days trip and more than 1600 kilometres which led us all the way to the south – New Plymouth, Levin, Whanganui, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru, Invercargill!

Our first stop was New Plymouth. We were there already but, because of the weather, we weren’t able to see Mount Taranaki so we went there again. And what happened? The weather was the same. Rain didn’t stop for a second and the fog was so thick. It gave us the reason to come back again, maybe third time will be the lucky one and we will have the chance to visit Egmont National Park during the nice sunny day. My friends were there last weekend and they sent me the photo of the mountain, so beautiful, right?

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Mt Taranaki

Two hours later we arrived in Whanganui, home of Whanganui River, the longest navigable waterway in New Zealand. This river runs all the way from Mt Tongariro to the sea…

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Wonderful scenery was following us while we were driving along the Kapiti Coast. Beaches with no end were on our way all the time…

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Next stop, Wellington. Still my favourite city here in New Zealand. I don’t really know why I like this city so much. It is a nice place to be but there’s a lot nice places around here so that’s probably not the reason. You know how in some places you just feel right? That’s how I feel when I’m in Wellington.

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Wellington Cable Car

Early morning was the time to get on the ferry to Picton. I was so excited about this three hours long ride across the Cook Strait. Not only because I like sailing and being on the sea but because I’ll will finally reach the South Island and I will finally see on my own is there a truth in the stories about how different this place is if you compare it with the North of the country.

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