Travel: Wai ariki Farm Park

before heading back to christchurch after our hanmer staycation, we visited wai ariki farm park. it is a small farm with various friendly animals to feed. a small café is available where you pay the entrance fee to the farm. you can also buy there the animal food for $2, if you wish to feed the animals. we stayed only for an hour since baby got some colds and it’s quite cold that day too.

wai ariki farm park
wai ariki farm park
family farm visit
family farm visit

i’m too lazy writing a long post now so just have a look at some of the photos. and i just want to say that someday, i want my own farmville!

Travel: Conical Hill

one of the things we did at hanmer springs during my birthday weekend escapade is…walking. hahaha! i don’t know if this sounds exciting but then i really like nature walking adventures. aside from it being a cheap form of exercise (technically they’re free), there are also a lot of beautiful sights at the different walking tracks you will encounter. each walking track brings a different sense of excitement and accomplishment to me.

we tried one of the short tracks which is the conical hill walk. it’s an hour-long walk with a zigzag pathway made available so walkers can reach the summit and have a beautiful view of the hanmer district.

entrance to conical hill
entrance to conical hill
forest walk
forest walk
sitting bench
sitting bench
zigzag footpath
zigzag footpath

we make quick stops from time to time to take photos of the beautiful view.

view of hanmer basin
view of hanmer basin

the most rewarding time is always reaching the top. 🙂

snow-capped mountains
hanmer basin view from the summit

of course, not forgetting the selfies!

riding in tandem boys
riding in tandem boys
birthday girl
birthday girl
familia pabebe
familia pabebe

after the family walk, i had my much awaited “me time” moment. it feels good to have the massage after an hour of walking, while husband’s looking after the baby. 🙂

a well deserve mommy time :)
a well deserve mommy time 🙂

i will post later on our farm adventure, so stay tuned!

Travel: Staycation at The Chalets Motel

staycation /steɪˈkeɪʃ(ə)n/ noun – informal – a holiday spent in one’s home country not abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.
whoever coined that word is a genius. i love staycation. or perhaps, i could not go far enough because money is too precious when you now have a family. also, there was a sudden shift in activities when having a family vacation. everything has to be well planned. not much of the spontaneous adventures like what i do when i was still single.
for my 31st birthday, we went to hanmer springs, a town two hours drive up north from christchurch. hanmer spring is known for its thermal pools and spa and the best time to visit is winter. good thing it’s my birthday, we have an excuse to go there. do you imagine yourself taking a dip at one of the thermal pools with the snow-capped mountains as your backdrop? 🙂
for my three-part birthday post, i will share first our chosen accommodation. i thought it deserve a separate blog post as we spent most of our time here just relaxing and chilling like a villain. hahaha. when making a booking reservation, i’m always confused on which among the following should i prioritize:
  • best reviews but out of budget
  • affordable but experience is so-so

since it’s my birthday and i feel i deserve a nice vacation before going back to work force, i chose the one with the best reviews with a bit extra on our budget. once in a blue moon.

the name of the place is the chalets moteli have an idea what a chalet is but still googled it. chalets are a common type of accommodation in the alpine region of europe and is mostly made of wood. i am not the hotel-y type of person because i find it boring. i prefer interesting accommodation with a bit of character in it. when i saw that they still have open slots for my birthday, i knew that the chalet and me were meant to be. haha. here in new zealand, motels are very common as there are many backpacking tourists roaming the country.

we arrived friday at around 4pm. the host is a nice woman who gave us a complimentary drink new zealand style…a small bottle of milk. haha! their office have a wide array of books and dvd collections that you can borrow during the stay. after paying the bill and getting the key, the host brought us to our one bedroom with spa chalet.

the place is equipped with everything from blankets, towels, pans, microwave, ref, stove with oven, newspaper, clothes peg pin, dishwashing liquid, newspaper and many more. it’s a fully functional house with wifi connection and cable tv too. the house looks cozy and very calming. i imagine there’s snow falling outside but then waley.

the bedroom
the bedroom
toilet and bath with a spa
toilet and bath with spa

my husband used the spa during the first night. birthday nya din daw. i used it on the second day, lakas maka sowshal indi ako sanay. wahahaha.

the kitchen
the kitchen
the living room
the living room
the kitchen
complete with mini fridge, stove, microwave and kettle
the living room
comes with wifi and cable tv

here is the view from the outside. our rented chalet is the one at the right.

the chalets motel
the chalets motel

and here is the view of the mountain from the porch.

a bit of snowy mountain
a bit of snowy mountain
lush and greenery makes a mommy happy
lush and greenery makes a mommy happy

for our first night, my husband cooked pasta and brought the cake he gave the other day. nothing fancy, i’m happy just spending a quiet time with my family. ok na din at least tipid. 🙂

Travel: Porters Ski

the recent south westerlies brought lots of chill for the entire new zealand especially for us here at the south island. some areas are even lucky to have the powdery snow. here in christchurch, we don’t have the snow but occasionally gets snow flurries and frost every morning.

since i grew up in a tropical country where beaches are common, snow is a different experience for me. i still have to master putting on layers of clothing before going out. honestly, i feel lazy wearing so much clothes thus i prefer to stay indoors most of the time. also, the negative temperature is not so fun after all. people in the philippines complain too much during summer. people here also complain when it’s too cold. 🙂

last saturday, we went to porters ski, an hour and a half drive away from christchurch. it’s the closest ski field in the city, making it very accessible for families and ski fanatics. we arrived there before noon time. the parking at the ski area were already full thus we have to park our car at the bottom entrance and take the shuttle instead going up to the ski area. i enjoyed looking at the snow-capped mountains while sitting by the window.

someday, i would like to try skiing too or snowboarding. but since baby is in tow, we just enjoy playing with the snow while waiting for our friends who enrolled for the lessons. time will come that baby will walk so that will be a perfect time for us family to learn something new together.

this is also our baby’s first winter. we always bring him with us wherever we go. i hope we don’t look like bad parents for bringing our baby in the very cold weather, but then i eventually saw some infants that day making me relieved. i made sure to put lots of layers so he won’t shiver. he’s got a singlet + onesie + socks + fleece onesie + feather down infant’s onesie. he’s also got goggles if it gets too windy just like what we experienced at mt.hutt.

sometimes, i feel that our baby is too small to be expose outdoors. we were told not to bring our baby in crowded areas because there’s a chance he gets sick from catching a virus. i am aware of this so we just go out if necessary. it’s hard for us because we cannot leave him at home and nobody will look after him. i feel that enjoying life shouldn’t stop just because of having a baby around. like most people say, “ah enjoyin mo na yan habang wala ka pa anak, mahirap na pag may bata“. well, it’s true. for us, traveling is harder now especially there’s three of us and i tend to move slower because i’ve got lots of things to prepare and it’s always x2 but the happiness of traveling when you’re single, with a partner or with the family are all different based from experience. 😉

traveling with a baby is exciting, harder but twice the fun. as parents, we want to build happy memories with our child so when he grows up, he will look at the photos of the family adventures making him feel loved and happy.

Travel: Lake Tekapo

to capped off 2014 (and make up for the boring new year’s eve celebration) here in new zealand, husband and i went on a road trip and joined our friends in lake tekapo. it is a 3 hour-long drive, 250km away from christchurch. road trips are fun here in new zealand as they have good and well maintained roads, no traffic and the scenery along the way will keep you awake all throughout the travel.

road trip NZ style
road trip NZ style

we stayed in lake tekapo for 3 days and 2 nights. our friends rented a 3 bedroom holiday home and all we did was just relax, eat, drink, played poker and strolled along the beautiful lake. we were blessed with a very good weather, scorching summer heat that almost reminds us of the PH summer, perfect opportunity to take photos of the lake and its beautiful surroundings. the water from the glacier, which flows through the rocks, make up for the lake’s turquoise-blue color.

we arrived 30 minutes ahead from the rest of the bunch. while waiting, we went to the lake and church of good shepherd first. there were lots of tourists that day. it’s quite challenging to take photos of the small church as there were too many people on it. it’s like taking a photograph of the merlion with many people surrounding it. haha!

wild lupins in bloom
wild lupins in bloom
tekapo bridge
tekapo bridge
the driver
the driver
perfect weather
perfect weather
peaceful lake
peaceful lake
church of the good shepherd
church of the good shepherd
overlooking the hills
overlooking the hills
large rocks along the lake
large rocks along the lake

after that, our friends called us and we joined them for check-in. the house looks old but nice. it has large windows that have a view of the lake and the mountains. lakas maka retire!

living room
living room
living room
living room
kitchen
kitchen

the following day, we woke up early for the sunrise. yehey! no other tourists to spoil the view. hahaha!

church of the good shepherd at sunrise
church of the good shepherd at sunrise

after lunch, the group decided to hike and do some walking activities. since i’m no longer fit to hike and do long walks, husband and i decided to stay behind and just stroll beside the lake. we’ve decided to meet them later on by driving towards the summit instead.

horses and trekkers
horses and trekkers
turquoise blue water
turquoise blue water
soshal!
soshal!
the lake
the lake

it was very windy upon reaching the mount john observatory at the top with wind speed of 60km/h. i felt like the wind’s going to knock me off but thank goodness, i’m swelled and heavy, haha!

mt john observatory
mt john university observatory
view from the top
view from the top

new year’s eve, we headed back to christchurch. not as exciting as celebrating in the philippines. we just ordered pizza and noodles for take away and spent new year’s eve at home. regardless, celebrating it peacefully and quietly is a change and we’re also looking forward to the peaceful and quiet 2015 ahead. chinese feng shui says it will be a lucky year for those born on year of the rat (1984), so there at least something positive to start with. 😉

happy new year everyone! i hope you had fun celebrating with your friends and family.