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Kayak Noosa

Hi guys,

I’ve been back in Auckland for about two weeks now and I wanted to do a post on an activity I did during my holiday in Australia. We had booked a 2 hr sunset kayak tour with kayak noosa for $60. They also do hiring of kayaks and paddle boards if you’re keen to explore yourself. The guide also brings a camera with them on the tour, so you don’t have to worry about taking your own photos or risk ruining your expensive camera. They email you the photos a few days after which was very helpful.

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Kayak Noosa by the River

We met at their shop front at 3.30pm and lucky for us; there was just me, my partner and another lady who signed up for the day so we had plenty of time to relax and observe for wildlife with the guide. They give you a brief training session on how to change the tail direction and how to let up the sail (on our double kayaks) as well as how to use the paddles. So it’s great for beginners who aren’t very confident on a kayak.

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Before we set off

We paddled towards the mangroves and the guide pointed out to us some heron’s, crabs, stingrays, as well as other migratory birds and birds of prey. We got to see a kite dive for fish right by our kayak which was amazing to see. Our guide Tracey, was very knowledgable and helped explain a lot of what we saw. So if there is anything you wanted to know more about, don’t hesitate to ask them as they can probably answer!

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In the mangroves

 

After a bit of paddling , we beached onto north heads where we relaxed and had a bit of afternoon tea provided by the guide. You can also go for a swim in the water but we stayed on the beach to chat to the guide. During the ride back, we propped up the sail to help us with our paddling because the wind was in our favour. It was great, we got to sit back and enjoy the sunset as we sailed back, feeling the warm water trickle through your fingers and enjoying all that’s happening around you on the river. I really enjoyed the trip, so props to Erica and Tracey for the great service!

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Jumping on the beach

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Kite diving for fish

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Sunset

-medlabgeek

 

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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Hi all,

I’m currently in Australia on a little holiday before I start my next placement at Labplus. Boy is summer hot here! I’m constantly sticky and sweaty and require air con just to survive in this country. Other than the heat, I’m loving it in Aus ! Theres so much to do and the surroundings remind me of home yet feel so new and fresh at the same time. We flew to Brisbane and drove up to Noosa, where we are staying for 5 days before going back to Auckland.

One of the things I really wanted to do was cuddle a koala so it was a given that I had to visit the lone pine koala sanctuary. We bought our tickets online beforehand as it’s cheaper if you prebuy rather than purchase at the door. Even though we went on Monday, there were still a LOT of people so get in early if you want to get a photo of you cuddling a koala. It does cost extra for any animal held photos you want to take (they offer snake photo’s as well), at $18 / animal. Which is quite reasonable as you’re allowed to take as many photos on your own device as well as have a professional photo to keep (printed and free to download digitally). They do ask at the ticket counter if you want to pay $1 for a guide-book but you don’t really need it as there are plenty of maps available around the sanctuary and you can snap a photo of the show times which is shown right after you come out the entrance building.

Below are the photos of me while I held the koala and snake (yes I paid for both and excuse my nasty tan lines).

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They also have a lot of australian icon animals such as the wombat, platypus, dingo, kookaburra, kangaroo, and Tasmanian devil. So you can’t get more Australian than that! I absolutely loved it here because I felt like I was up close and personal with them. You can also pay $2 for a kangaroo feed pouch at the same store where you purchase photo tickets. There’s an open section full of kangaroos for you to freely pet and feed. If you don’t want to fork out the extra $2 then no worries! They are so used to human interaction that you can walk right up and take photos without having to feed them 🙂

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A mum and her joey!

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More photos of some other animals we encountered:

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Tasmanian Devil

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Snake

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Kookaburra

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White crested sea eagle – raptor show

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Sheep dogs at the show

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Lizard


-medlabgeek

Skyline, Kuirau Park and Agrodome Rotorua

On the weekend, my family drove down to visit me, and we took it as a chance to celebrate my mum’s birthday which was on a Tuesday. I decided to shout the family lunch at the Stratosfare Restaurant.

The skyline isn’t as high as the one in Queenstown, but once you get up there, the view is just wonderful. The weather was clear and sunny, so we could see across the lake and you can also get a great view on the whole of Rotorua. I opted for the package option which includes the gondola ride up as well as the buffet lunch for $55 per adult. If that is too pricey, you can always eat at the cafe which is right next door or bring your own lunch 🙂 Everyone is able to see the same view so you would not be disadvantaged. It was such a lovely day that lots of people sat outdoors and ate packed lunches. If you haven’t been on a luge before then I highly suggest you spend money on that instead ! It’s great fun for kids and adults and you will not regret it. Because I live in NZ, I’ve been on them plenty of times so we didn’t do the luge this time, and focused on making the most of our buffet instead 😛

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After the buffet, we traveled back down and looked at some of the geothermal springs within the town. The one at Kuirau park is quite nice to stroll around (and it is free). There are also little foot pools within the park where the water comes from the springs for you to feel the temperature and have a nice foot soak so wear some sandals if you plan on giving it a try !

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We then went and attended the farm tour at Agrodome. It was veeeerrrryyy busy and packed full of tourists so if you plan on going, book early! We had booked online in advance but when we arrived, they had overbooked and we were about to be turned away (with a refund) until 7 people had cancelled because they were annoyed with the Agrodome. But because of that, my family and I had to sit all over the place throughout the tour 😦

The tour is a bit more expensive than the show and in my opinion, the show is a lot better, you get to see how sheep are sheared and farm dogs show you how they herd the sheep as well as get to feed lambs (but I went when I was very young).

The tour is an hour-long and a tractor carries the group around the farm, showing you the type of farm animals they have and what they are used for, the kiwifruit orchard, manuka plants, olive tree’s as well as let you taste some kiwifruit juice and NZ honey. The highlight is when they let you feed some of the animals with pellets provided. If you are traveling to NZ and your home country does not have many farm’s then this would be great for you as you can get up close to the farm animals and see the day-to-day activities of a farm in NZ.

 

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Red deer

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Llama’s are so cute in a dorky way!

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Baby llama

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-medlabgeek

Government Gardens 

So now that I’ve been staying at Rotorua for my placement, I’ve been exploring the many wonderful places Rotorua has to offer. The first place I visited on my days off was the government gardens! It’s very similar to Auckland Domain and Hamilton Gardens but on a much smaller scale. The famous architectural building is the Rotorua Art Museum and it really is a beautiful building and great for family photos.

Rotorua Art Museum

Among the grounds is a small rose garden which is bright and colourful and a great place to sit and read a book or nap under the shade.

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There are also lots of well maintained flat areas of lawn where locals come to play croquet so if you happen to come on a day that they are there, feel free to watch !

On the other side of the museum is the blue pools building. There is an admission fee to go inside and see the blue pools as well as swim in it. It can also be hired for private functions. On the right of the building is a small thermal spring for people to see.

Blue pools

There are also quite a few art sculptures and small gardens on the premises which are really lovely.

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Right around the gardens is the lake where you can do water activities and relax. Or if you are more fitness savvy, there is a trail you can walk that takes you right around the lake. The views are quite nice but during the time I went, there were ALOT of little flies soaking up sun in the middle of the path buzzing at your head level so I suggest you bring a hat and sunglasses to cover up. The sulphur smell is also quite strong and it reminded me of a very strong salty beach.

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Overall it’s a great place to visit, walk around, take photos and enjoy the nature around you. Besides, it’s free ! So it’s great if you’re on a tight budget and have spare time in this wonderful city 🙂

-medlabgeek

Wingspan National Centre

Last weekend I went to Wingspan in Rotorua to look at national birds of prey within New Zealand. They are situated around 10mins away from Rotorua city itself. The museum and aviary are quite small and takes around 30mins to 1 hour to see everything depending on if you want to take your time and take some photos. The main highlight is the show at 2pm so be sure to arrive there a bit earlier so you can get good seats as most people arrive at 1.30pm to catch the show. I arrived there around 12 and there was only 6 of us walking around with heaps of car park spaces left but by the end of the show, the carpark was all filled up. The centre closes at 3pm so it’s a really good half day activity if you don’t have much time to do anything else or if you have some spare time and don’t know what to do then drop by for a visit!

The main entrance where you pay also gives you free drinks like tea and coffee and they also have blankets and umbrella’s for you to bring outside if it rains or you get cold (though it is summer here now).

It costs $20 for an adult and all proceeds go to them helping out the birds as it is not funded by the government. The work they do is amazing and the staff there are all very knowledgeable about the birds. Though the show starts at 2pm for NZ falcons, there was a Harrier talk at 1.30 pm during her feeding time so if you sit there a bit earlier you can see the harrier as well.

On the day I went, there were NZ Falcon chicks around 21 and 24 days old so at the end of the show they brought them out for us to look and take photos (though we couldn’t touch). That was very interesting and something I would probably never see again so I was really lucky to go at that time! I was also lucky enough to get chosen to hold one of the falcons on my arm while they fed! They can get through quite a number of people so if you are keen then don’t be shy and definitely put your hand up.

Below are some photos I took from the day, enjoy! 🙂

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-medlabgeek

Queenstown Trip (4)

Date : 3rd July 2016

We woke up quite early today because we had booked an Elm Wildlife Tour in Dunedin at 1pm. The tour is around 5 hrs long during winter and they take you around the coast of Dunedin to see the natural wildlife. It costs $109 for an adult but if you have a student ID, you can get a $10 discount 🙂

We arrived in Dunedin by 12pm and had a quick lunch at a nearby restaurant at the Octagon. The shuttle arrived a little late but it was probably due to a delay from picking up other’s from different locations. From what I saw, they do pick ups at certain hotels but we were picked up at the i-Site visitor centre in the town central.

There were two guides, one that did all the driving and the other which did some commentating whenever she saw certain landmark features or wildlife nearby. They were very informative and didn’t talk extensively, which I prefer. The scenery was amazing, one of the most beautiful scenic places I’ve been to. Especially the inlets that we drove past, as it was in the afternoon, and the skies were very calm, there were hardly any ripples at all so the reflection on the water from the mountains and hills were perfect.

We got to see some wading birds, but due to the lack of wind, we were unable to see any Royal albatross at the Royal Albatross Centre. The stay up at the Royal albatross centre is around 30 mins and that is the only place you can buy some food and make a toilet stop (that is more modernised). They then lead you to a private section where they have a longdrop for people to use and we stay for around 2 hours there to visit two different beaches. Here you can see sealions, yellow eyed penguins and fur seals. By the time we had arrived to see these animals, the sun was beginning to set and the sky was glowing red and purple. Just amazing.

Tomorrow morning we return our rental car and take a 9am flight back to Auckland, so this is the end of our trip 😦

Hope you enjoyed the blog posts as much as I enjoyed the trip!

-medlabgeek

Queenstown Trip (3)

Date : 2nd July 2016

Today my best friend and I had a 2 hour horse trek planned in Cardrona. It took around half an hour to get there and it was so much colder than Queenstown (the guide later told us that its because we were about 350m higher up). The place we went to is called Backcountry Saddle Expeditions and usually costs $90 for a 2 hr ride. We booked for the morning session at 10am and found it on bookme for a discounted price of $75.

When we got there our first sight was beautiful. Below is a photo of what we saw. All the horses were lined up in front of a beautiful landscape with a warm dusky glow. We went into the horse stable to sign some papers and get our helmets fitted. If you didn’t have a beanie or gloves they happily provided them for you to wear on the trip (trust me your feet and hands will get mighty cold so wear thick socks if you have them).

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They set us up with a horse they thought would be suitable for our skill level and height. On our particular trip we were with another group of 4 from Melbourne, totalling 6 of us not including our guide Leanne. The horse that I was set up with was a mare called Chocky and my friend was set up with a mare called Frosty.

The trek took 2 hours and was among the valleys in between Cardrona. The surroundings were beautiful, and we saw many wild rabbits along the way. The horses are so easy to handle and very gentle so if you are nervous, you will very quickly forget that you ever were and just enjoy the beauty around you during the trek. Leanne does a great job of teaching you how to trot and tells us a lot about the surroundings as we go by and we were given plenty of opportunity to trot (if our horses behaved :P).

After our ride my boyfriend came to pick us up as he went to do rifle and claybird shooting at Have a Shot in Wanaka which is only 20 mins away. Below are some photos of the claybird target shooting, these photos are from when we went last year. We had decided to do all of the activities; claybird, rifle, archery and golf. But if you only feel like doing one or a few of the activities, they do have singular prices which you can find on the link I provided above.

We then stopped at the famous bra fence. It all started when a local farmers wife died of breast cancer and after she passed , her husband and his friends were mourning her and decided to hang their wives bras on there as commemoration. This all lead to many others doing the same and now a donation box for breast cancer is built there too.

We also stopped by Cardrona hotel. Though people say it’s one of the oldest hotels in NZ, the truth is that the front facing board is only the oldest part and everything else was built in the 70’s or later with many refurbishments. Nevertheless it is a famous spot and great for touristy photos. There were constantly people stopping by on the opposite side of the road, waiting for their turn to get a photo but it wasn’t so badthat you felt like you couldnt take your time to get the good shot without anyone standing around it.

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-medlabgeek