For the love of Christ…church

After leaving our carefree camper days behind us, it’s been lovely to stretch out in a super cute AirBnB close to Christchurch city. Two doors, instead of a curtain, between us and our adorable children as we sleep; a shower that we’re not nervous will run out of hot water; and a washing machine. Party…

Let it Glow

The scenery on the drive from Hanmer Springs to Greymouth on the South Island’s west coast is nothing short of spectacular. The terrain alters between barren mountain ranges with rivers running over pale grey rock beds, to dense forests of dark timber trunks and feathered green foliage. There are lush pastures with fat cows, jagged…

Kia ora!

We woke at 5am to be greeted by that “service with a grimace” Sydney is famous for…and in spades. The old Greek shuttle bus driver kicked it off with his glazed expression, more interested in watching the ash fall from his cigarette than with helping us with our luggage. As he slammed the bus door,…

New Zealand…bro.

I’ve been to New Zealand twice. In 2003, pre-kid and pre-mortgage, Cam and I rented a campervan and explored the North Island. The trip was super cheap (especially as I’d won $2000 worth of travel via a magazine comp). We went Black Water Rafting through the Waitomo caves, abseiling down, and climbing up through rushing…

Sayonara Japan!

Exhausted after another sleepless overnight flight back to Australia, we tackled Sydney’s rail system. Cam struggled with a cocky ticket seller. What happened to “the customer is king” service we received in Tokyo? While conductors and drivers of trains in Japan were perfectly polished in shiny-buttoned suits, hats and white gloves, our train into Central…

Kids’ picks

We’re on the final leg of our journey, on the shinkansen back to Tokyo, with our flight later tonight. We’ve asked the girls what their favourite parts of our trip have been. While I know they’ve enjoyed just absorbing all of the new experiences, I’m not that shocked to hear temple visits or schlepping luggage…

Fox on the Run

Kyoto has been beautiful. The city is big, but manageable, the people have been lovely,and our house comfortable. But I will admit that we have become a little temple/shrine fatigued. I’m not sure if a survey has been done as to whether there are more churches in Rome, or more temples in Kyoto, but I…

Darkness and Light

I was apprehensive about visiting Hiroshima. I don’t like the thought of deliberately exposing myself, or the girls, to war, grief or death. But at the same time, staying hidden under a veil of happiness and comfort isn’t particularly realistic. Awful things happened to innocent people, and this would be a way to show our…

Eat hard. Play hard.

We’d heard that Osaka, just 20 minutes via shinkansen from our new home-base of Kyoto, had a very different vibe to its rival city of Tokyo; but from photos alone, it was hard to differentiate a street-scape of the two. But our stroll through the shopping areas today of Dotombori, Shinsaibashi and Amerikamura, with the…

Deer, oh deer.

Today we visited Japan’s first permanent capital, Nara. It’s home to a bunch of temples, museums and galleries, but the two main attractions are the Great Buddha (“Daibutsu”) and his hall; and the 1200 wild deer that roam the city’s main park. Their title of “National Treasure” allows them to ¬†wander through the streets (signs…

Ninjas and Pickles

We launched into today with such hope. After the temple-a-thon yesterday, we thought a kid-friendly change of pace was in order, and so decided to head to Toei Kyoto Studio Park, or as we’d been talking it up “Ninja Park”. Toei ¬†is a Japanese film and television production company, and they have a massive lot…

“Can I please have your autograph?”

Are autograph books still a thing? My precious book in the 80’s and 90’s had gelati-coloured pages with gold edges, and I was so excited to have a bunch of car drivers’ signatures (Keke Rosberg, Niki Lauda) gathered by my dad, and then the scribbles of celebs I’d met in my early days of radio…