Best NZ Day Trips: Whitecliffs Boulders Mangaweka

I’ve spent a lot of time doing day trips around New Zealand over the years so thought I would start to share some of them here. I recently visited Whitecliffs Boulders and it’s definitely one to add to the list.

My brother, Daniel and his partner Caroline found this awesome spot just out from Managaweka. You follow winding roads to an unassuming parking area and make your way down the countryside (literally through paddocks with cows and sheep) to the bush area. As you enter the bush, you start to see the giant moss-covered boulders that make this piece of the land so special.

I would try and write how the boulders arrived there in my own words but the website does a great job already: ‘It is believed that millions of years ago rivers carried sediment from eroding land out to sea. Shells and trees were also carried out to sea and were trapped in the sediment. The sea water contained dissolved chemicals and formed a cement around what was left of the buried shells and plant material. The cement in this case is calcium carbonate. The organic material seems to create a node for this process to occur.’

Some of the boulders are really giant, easily as tall as me and they are all covered in a beautiful green moss, it’s like the magical playground I had imagined in my childhood. There’s a path winding through, but as always, if you jump off the beaten path you’ll find something better.

Highly recommend taking a picnic down and enjoying that down there too. Not to be missed if you’re in the area.

Directions can be found HERE.

Charley Noble Wellington – Delicious Dining in the Capital

If you’re looking to enjoy world-class dining with quality New Zealand produce while you’re in the Land of the Long White Cloud, then you’re in luck. Charley Noble in Wellington has long held a reputation for being one of the best restaurants around and if my dining experience was anything to go by, it certainly holds up to its name.

We chose to sit at the bar for lunch for a bit more of an entertaining experience, watching the chefs expertly prepare the meals. I would absolutely chose to sit there again, I may have even picked up a few new chopping techniques!

We explored the menu and soon called over Justyna to help us choose – everything looked good. She pointed out a few items (some I would never have chosen without her suggestions) and we put together a few complimentary plates.

To start, we ordered the market ceviche, venison carpaccio and the pig’s tail salad. Yes, you read that correctly, the pig’s tail salad! Right there is one of the menu items I would have never chosen without Justyna’s influence. It is not what you would expect, well it wasn’t what I expected! Mandarin provided a perfect burst of sweetness contrasting the texture and taste of the crunchy pig’s tail (almost like crackling) and slightly acidic dressing. I highly recommend giving it a try.

The market fish ceviche was beautiful and light, with a lovely orange flavouring and delicious sweet and spicy candied chillies! The candies chillies were a first for me and I was both surprised and delighted with their flavour and texture – slightly crunchy, still with a nice chilli bite but also sweet from the sugar.

The venison carpaccio was a classic dish, well delivered. Quality, fresh local produce. The meat literally melts in your mouth. Must try.

The Charley Noble somelier, Jordan, was very knowledgeable and personable – my favourite! He perfectly matched my wine (Colere Pinot Gris – Pinot Blanc from Marlborough) with my entrees so that it didn’t clash with the candied chilli in the ceviche. The wine was lovely and oak-y, aged four years. Beautiful pairing to bring out the flavours.

For my main wine pairing I sampled two reds, ultimately going with a Waipara Pinot Noir from Greystone. Jordan said that particular wine is very popular, he can pair it with almost anything.

Again, Justyna was called in to help us chose our mains. We went with the super juicy and flavoursome house made pork sausages with had some wonderfully charred radiccio and pears to accompany them. The meat is sourced from the Wellington region and always free range. We couldn’t go past the risotto with zucchini, pecorino, house pesto and smoked baby tomato. Full of flavours and still quite light. Finally, we chose a side of eggplant, zucchini, parmesan and mozzarella bake, which as you can imagine was cheesy greatness.

On my next trip to Charley Noble I’d like to try their fish of the day. When I visited, snapper was sitting pretty on ice, sustainably caught, in the restaurant within a few hours. Actually, my list to try next time is quite large. There is the fire grilled cauliflower steak (looked amazing), anything from the woodfired rotisserie (dinner only) and their steaks are legendary. Can you see why I had so much trouble choosing what to eat?!

You’d think I would have no room left, but I couldn’t miss out on dessert! To sample some of everything I went with the petit fours. I loved the fluffy marshmallow with raspberry. The yoghurt panna cotta with crunchy ginger snap and caramelised pineapple was absolutely suburb, but the winner for me was the peanut butter and chocolate bar. I washed these down with a Passage Rock late harvest Cabernet from Waiheke. It was silkier than a port but still sweet in flavour, without being overbearing.

Amazing food, knowledgeable staff, lunch with a show, fantastic local wines, I was in a happy place.

Side note – I also wish I had tried the house made pasta. I was daydreaming watching the Chef making the pasta, when a waiter came over and asked me if I was done. I was so mesmerised that I nearly jumped out of my chair! The poor guy got such a surprise. Ha!

Charley Noble Eatery & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*While this dining experience was complimentary, this review is true and authentic. I will be back at Charley Noble on every trip to Wellington that I have an opportunity. And I’m starting with the pasta!

Surprise!!

I’m coming home!! 

Yep, I made the decision today, I’ll be back in NZ mid feb 🙂

Kicking goals, once I decided this morning I booked a few days in NYC, A tour from NYC – Miami with Top Deck Travel, a few extra days in Miami and maybe a cruise or a trip to Barbados.

Then I made my bucket list for my last few weeks here which include snowboarding and a Canucks game. I’m doing both on the 1st. BOOM!

Love kicking goals! My poor, poor bank account however… 

Image

 

Friends – how do you meet them?

Wherever I am in the world and whoever I speak to people are always telling me how they would like new friends but they can’t meet them.

It seems that everyone would like someone more on their wave length.

Just tonight I read a blog about someone who had just moved and wanted new friends and spoke to a friend who would like new friends.

Then there’s my friends who are always telling me how much they miss me and want me to come home – understandable really, I am pretty cool.

There’s heaps of dating websites and apps to help you find new prospective dates but what is there for finding friends? There’s apps where you can decide if someone is hot or not that is in the same area but how do you find a friend that also likes long walks on the beach but not in a romantic way? Perhaps I just don’t know about them? I did hear of one called Meetups but I’ve never really taken the time to look into it and don’t know how popular it is in other places like New Zealand or Australia.

These days it is unusual to strike up a conversation with a stranger. In fact, when it does happen, we often tell people about it as it is such  an unusual occurrence.

A little friendly convo at the bus stop or waiting in line for coffee can make someone’s day or make someone really uncomfortable – how do you tell which is which? I think it is usually the former but people seem to be so suspicious of people’s motives these day sometimes they assume there is another reason.

Personally, I have never had an issue with meeting people and making friends. I guess that comes with travelling often and just being open and receptive to other people. My best mates are generally people that I have lived with or worked with – you get to know these people on another level. Highs and lows – you’ve shared them.

Since I moved to Vancouver I have met friends in all different ways and places. I have an amazing close group of girls (all bloody Aussie’s mind you but nonetheless) here – we all met at an Australian Club watching footy. I have met people through work and living situations but I’ve also met people in other situations. For instance one chick I met at a club – it’s unusual for a drunken-you’re-my-new-best-friend liaison to pass one night but 3 months later we still hang out. I met a wicked Kiwi chick at my fave shop – she is the manager there and picked up on my Kiwi accent. I have met numerous people through twitter – I am reasonably active on it and have been invited to a few meet-ups through it.

How do you make new friends?

Ps. I have found that wine sometimes helps 🙂
Pps. By sometimes I mean always.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. C. S. Lewis

Vancouver-iversary

Or rather, my Vancouver Anniversary, three months!

Really doesn’t feel like I have been here three months. But then again I have accomplished a fair bit. I got a job, moved once (soon to be twice) and have found some pretty awesome people to surround myself with.

I’ve also travelled around a few places. Which is good as that’s the main reason I moved over here, other than to experience living in a new country that wasn’t Australia or NZ. Which, let’s be honest, are very similar. Funnily enough though, Canada is also very similar.

I’ve been to Lake Louise, Banff, Calgary, Kelowna (x2), Penticton, Portland and Seattle. Two states in Canada and three in USA. So many more to see though!

Whistler is up next weekend. Can’t wait for the first ever Whistler Beer Festival!

Following that I have a trip to Vegas on 17 October. Got tickets to NBA – Yeewwww! Then I want to get to Vancouver Island, Mexico (one of those cheap all inclusive resort deals, hello cocktails on the beach, dancing and hot men), Quebec, Toronto, Montreal, New York (again, yes I love that place), Miami & a cruise (yep, again, can’t beat it) and maybe New Orleans. Prob some other random places thrown in that friends are going to and I get FOMO over. I have huge FOMO. Fear of missing out.

Anyway before I blab on and on about travelling more, back to my Vancouver-iversary. I should really celebrate. But I’m trying to have a quiet weekend. Yup me. Quiet. I know what you’re thinking, and I’m not about to go making any bets that I won’t end up going out. Let’s put it that way.

9 more months left on my visa for Canada, interested to see what’s in store!

celebrate.

Four more sleeps

The countdown is on. In four more sleeps I will be leaving New Zealand and embarking on my adventure to Hawaii and Vancouver.

I am really sad to be leaving New Zealand. I have been having such a fantastic time and it saddens me to leave my family knowing I may not see them again for up to a year. That will be the longest time I have spent apart from them. Thank goodness for skype, viber and iPhone’s!!

So while I am sad I am also incredibly excited. I have always wanted to visit Hawaii. It seems like a magical place. Touristy, but magical. I will be travelling alone but I don’t mind. 8 days in paradise, I’m sure I can make some friends.

THEN the big adventure begins. My visa has come through and I am moving to Vancouver for a year. Having never been to Vancouver, or Canada, I am super excited to get there and have a look around my home for the next year. I have rented a place in Coal Harbour for the first 3 weeks and I will take things from there.

Working in Digital Marketing, I really, REALLY want to maintain my skills and stay in my field. It changes so fast. Fingers crossed I can find a role in an industry I am passionate about while staying in digital. Wish me luck!!

And now to attempt to sleep, while my mind is racing of my new adventures.

Sweet Dreams!

Want new blogs to your inbox?

Yeah you do!

Add your email to receive new blogs to your inbox. We promise not to spam.

You have Successfully Subscribed!