12 months and 12 photos (2022)

I love choosing 12 photos to highlight what I have experienced throughout the year and it’s a great little recap. This has been a big year with lots of changes, some good and some bad, however, I am grateful to have had a good year overall and ending 2022 on a positive note. Please feel free to have a look at my 2022 highlights below and feel free to share your highlights from the past 12 months.

JANUARY – starting the year off with a little trip to Mudgee, NSW. We had always wanted to visit here and this was the perfect place for us to celebrate 15 years together.

FEBRUARY – This was one of our most epic destinations and a huge bucket list ticked off. Our trip to Uluru was one that we will cherish for years to come.

MARCH – Rain, rain, rain. Two years of rain in Sydney thanks to La Niña. We had many days out in the rain, we wouldn’t let it deter us, it was certainly better than having bush fires.

APRIL – a lovely little trip seeing the bestie in Melbourne. So good to catch-up after so long apart and seeing these Brighton boxes was another item ticked off the bucket list.

MAY – Seeing Dermot Kennedy in concert was pretty special, especially with my Irish friends.

JUNE – BBQ with the boys. Some of my favourite people, fantastic Lebanese food and this was the beginning of my many leaving parties as I leave Sydney for the time being.

JULY – the beginning of our travels. Queenstown in New Zealand was an absolute highlight. We loved it here.

AUGUST – Next on our travels was Bali, Indonesia. Stunning place to visit and we welcomed the sunshine after being in NZ at winter time.

SEPTEMBER – a big reason for me coming home was to see my sisters become married. A beautiful day and I love this photos with my sisters. I’m a lucky guy to have not one but three amazing sisters 🤍

OCTOBER – the main reason for me to come home, my family. Precious time with my niece and nephew, priceless!

NOVEMBER – my baby sister has her wedding. A lovely day and feeling very proud here 🤍

DECEMBER – Home with my number one person. Grateful to be here together and look forward to 2023, side by side ❤️

Doors of WordPress V31 – Best of 2022

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of doors, the last one before Christmas. This week’s Thursday Doors challenge is to show your favourite doors of the year, thanks for that Dan, not an easy thing to do! I have chosen my top 8 doors of 2022, from Australia and NZ, all the way to here in Northern Ireland. I have ranked them in my order of preference, some have been shown already and some are newly featured. Please take a look and enjoy these magnificent doors and hats off to their owners for doing such a fantastic job.

1 – Woollahra

2 – Bronte

3 – Woollahra

4 – Hobbiton

5 – Auckland

6 – Banbridge

7 – Hillsborough

8 – Paddington

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Strolls : Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Many of you here will have heard of Hillsborough from my doors posts, as there are many fantastic doors found in this quaint little village.

Hillsborough is well renowned for its character and charm but more so for its historic castle and gardens. This is the place of residence for when members of the Royal family come to stay in Northern Ireland and only very recently has Hillsborough been renamed Royal Hillsborough for that reason.

This was the first time I had visited the gardens and I was extremely excited as I had always heard how amazing they are and I have always wanted to visit here. We didn’t visit the castle today but that will be for another time. We just wanted to have a good stroll today and get some fresh air. It was made even more special as there was snow on the ground and gave the gardens a really festive and Christmassy feel.

The admission fee is £11 which is expensive enough (in my opinion) to go for a walk, however, the gardens are absolutely stunning and the castle is a true spectacle. There is also a light show featuring in the gardens at present that can be seen at night time, running until the beginning of January. It’s pretty pricey at £22 a visit so we’ll have to wait and see if we decide to return for that or not. From what I witnessed during the day today, it would be quite the display.

If you would like to read more about this wonderful place, you can take a look at the official website here. Thanks for taking a look and I hope you are all enjoying your Sunday.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V30 🎄

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to my 30th edition of Doors of WordPress!!! This week we’re showcasing some festive inspired doors, mine are all red as that’s the colour I think of when I envisage the Christmas season. I haven’t seen too many festive doors this week but I suppose it’s still early days. I love seeing all the Christmas wreaths on the doors too, a tradition that still makes me smile when I see it, so if I see any wreaths over the next couple of weeks, I will be sure to share them.

1 – Love & Death, a cool bar in Belfast city centre.

2 – St Malachy’s Parish Church, Hillsborough

3 – Hillsborough, I love this door, the frame and transom window, very regal in appearance and just beside Hillsborough Castle.

4 – Avonmore House, Banbridge. This house was built around 1791 and was the home of Francis Crozier, the Banbridge born polar explorer.

5 – Hillsborough, a great door and I love the Christmas wreath.

I hope you’re all enjoying the festive season thus far. I’m just working away and enjoying the build up, the Christmas songs and mince pies. I haven’t even started Christmas shopping yet, what about you?

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Poinsettia V✌🏽

Happy Friday everyone. So, I have showcased this flower before but recently I have seen a different variety and it looks so much different in another season and another country. You can see my previous poinsettia here from March when I was living in Sydney. This flower is always grown as a potted plant and is often used as a Christmas decoration due to its bright red leaves. This flower definitely feels Christmassy, more so as it is now the Christmas season and it’s cold here in this side of the world, unlike when I had previously seen this flower in summer in Sydney.

Have you ever given or received this flower at Christmas? It certainly blends in with our Christmas decorations.

Enjoy your weekend guys,

Wayne ✌🏽

M O I R A

As most of you know, I was in Moira last weekend for my sister’s wedding and I really want to show you all this picturesque and charming place.

Moira is a beautiful little village in Co. Down, Northern Ireland and can be accessed directly from the motorway, making it very easy to access. This was only my second time visiting here, which is surprising as it has always been a close enough place to where I had been living.

The last time I was here was in 2016 and it made a huge impact on me even then. I knew I wanted to return for a visit one day and luckily enough for me, I would be visiting for a wedding. It’s an extremely quirky place with many independently owned shops, quaint cafes and award winning restaurants. There is a very welcoming and homely feel to Moira and it has an abundance of character. I will run through some of the places I managed to see over the weekend and highlight a couple of places that I would love to visit in the future.

1 – Ralph’s Bed and Breakfast

2 – Tutta La Pizza

This is a lovely pizzeria across the road from Ralph’s that has amazing pizza, where you can grab a takeaway or you can dine in, whilst soaking in the rustic charm that it has managed to encapsulate.

3 – The StillHouse

4 – Moira Demesne

5 – Places to interest

A lovely sunset on the Main Street on a crisp autumn evening.

All in all this is a great little place to check out and spend a day or two. I personally can’t wait to return to explore more and try the coffee shops and restaurants, as I’m sure there are even more that I haven’t even seen yet.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V28

Happy Thursday everyone. It’s a cold and wet one this week in Northern Ireland (what a shocker) and the dark evenings have leached into the afternoons.

However, last weekend we were in Moira for my sister’s wedding and I was able to spot a few doors that I liked. Take a wee look below and let me know if you have a favourite.

1

2

3

4

5

Number 5 is my personal favourite. The quaintest and tiniest door I ever did see! I wonder if a bird lives in there?!

Have a great day everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Monday Musings – a family wedding

We had the pleasure of watching my youngest sister walk down the aisle at the weekend to be married to her best friend. We had an amazing day with family and friends and enjoyed quality time filled with love and laughter (call me Corny Collins). That is all of the siblings married now in my family and it certainly makes you feel like we’re all getting on in life. Things sure have changed here on Waltons mountain.

My beautiful sister 🤍🤍

I can’t wait to show case the town where my sister had her wedding with a blog post coming very soon. It’s a beautiful, quaint little town in Northern Ireland called Moira. Have you ever heard of it?

I hope you all enjoy your week ahead.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V27

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of doors. This week I’m really missing Sydney and Australia so I thought I would showcase some more of my doors from Sydney, taken just before we left for our travels home.

1 – Darlinghurst

2 – Woollahra

3 – The Rocks

4 – Woollahra

5 – Woollahra

My favourite this week is number 3 from The Rocks. I think these police doors are amazing and very welcoming for a police station. Do you have a favourite this week?

Thanks for checking out my doors. Have a great weekend guys. I will be at another wedding this weekend so won’t be online too much until next week.

Wayne ✌🏽

Banbridge Riverside Walk

Does anybody else love to take a Sunday stroll? I love to walk, as nerdy as that sounds but it really makes me feel good. Since leaving Sydney I have been walking less and less, mainly due to being extremely busy but also as there aren’t too many interesting walks nearby. This riverside walk in Banbridge is the nearest walkway to me and I really love it. The only downside is that it’s really quite short, therefore, it doesn’t enable you to obtain many steps for the day.

The name of the walk is pretty self explanatory, it’s a short walk along the river, the River Bann to be precise and it’s one of the longest rivers in Northern Ireland. The walk itself in Banbridge could take you about 20 minutes but it’s beautiful all the same. It’s especially scenic at this time of year with all the autumnal colours.

It’s a shame you can’t walk the whole length of the river, however, I am grateful to have even a small path to walk along when you need to clear your head and breathe in some fresh air.

Have a great Sunday everyone. I will be watching a Christmas movie this afternoon to get into the festive spirit 😉.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V26

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of doors spotted in Northern Ireland. This week’s selection are colourful and full of character. Let me know if you have a favourite 😊.

1 – Hillsborough

2 – Lisburn

3 – South Belfast

4 – Cushendall

5 – Cushendall

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Common Borage

Happy Friday everyone. I spotted this flower in the Botanic Gardens Belfast and I loved its uniqueness. I have never seen this particular species before. I love the colour and find it a very uplifting flower. Have you ever seen a common borage?

Also known as beeplant or starflower. The edible leaves of common borage, said to have the fragrance and taste of cucumbers, are often used to make salads, soup, and sauces. Its blue, star-like flowers can also be used as an attractive drink garnish and as an ingredient in some gins (Picture This, 2022).

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V25 🎃

Happy Thursday everyone. As it was Halloween this week and we are still in Autumn/Fall, I thought I would try to share my most autumnal and spooky doors. Let me know what you think and if you have a favourite.

1 – The Gatekeeper’s Inn

2 – Banbridge

3 – Hillsborough Castle

4 – Elmwood Avenue

5 – Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

I hope you all had a lovely Halloween if you celebrate at all. I was driving in the evening so I missed it all. I did manage to see a few fireworks in the sky though which was nice.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Bondi

The sunset I am sharing today is from 12 weeks ago in Bondi, Sydney. You don’t actually see the sunset but the colours that were on show were absolutely stunning. I haven’t seen anything quite like the colour changes here of the sky anywhere else, from yellow to orange and then pink to lilac. I was just standing in the middle of the road, outside our friend’s apartment, in complete awe, as were many other locals.

Beautiful Bondi

I hope you enjoy the colours and have had a lovely relaxing weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Pot Marigold

Happy Friday everyone. It is another wet and wild day here in Northern Ireland. I may get used to this! Lucky we have some flowers in our garden that are pretty bright and cheery.

Pot Marigold – found in my parents garden. I love the bright orange colour and it’s perfect looking petals.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V24

Hi everyone and a very happy Thursday to you all. The sun is shining here in Northern Ireland after some horrendous stormy weather yesterday. I have been pretty quiet here in the blogging realm for a few weeks due to some family circumstances but I thought today would be as good a day as any to make a return, plus I love creating doors posts on a Thursday so it’s perfect timing.

I hope you have all been keeping well and adjusting to these seasonal changes wherever in the world you might be. I have been trying to keep an eye on other people’s blogs, as a means to stay in tune with what’s happening here but also for some light reading as a welcome distraction.

I hope you enjoy my selection of local doors from around Northern Ireland and please let me know if you have a favourite.

1 – Finaghy

2 – Carnlough

3 – Glenann

4 – Malone Road, South Belfast

5 – Banbridge

My personal favourite is number five. I love the colour of the door, the glass panels on either side, the arch around the door, the wreath on the door, I could go on and on and on. I just love this one. How about you?

Thanks so much for reading and taking a look.

All the best,

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday sunset – Banbridge

This sunset was taken last week at my parents home in Banbridge, Northern Ireland. Although we didn’t see the sun actually set, I loved the colours of the sky as it was setting. I especially like the way the buildings become a silhouette against the skyline.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend. This is now almost three weeks for us being home in Northern Ireland. Where does the time go??

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Black eyed susan part 2

Happy Friday everyone! Today’s flower of the day was spotted at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park when I was there last week. This flower really jumped out at me and I couldn’t believe it was another black eyed susan. You might remember I showed this flower last Friday but I feel that this flower looks very different from last weeks. Therefore, I thought it would be good to showcase this flower again. What do you think of this flower today? Does it look similar or different to my previous black eyed susan? I have placed the link to last week’s flower below my image.

https://wrookieschu.com/2022/08/26/fotd-black-eyed-susan/

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V23

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another Doors of WordPress. This week I thought I would show case some more doors from Sydney, as it has now been two weeks since we left and it is never far from my mind.

1 – Woollahra
2 – Woollahra
3 – Paddington
4 – Bondi Junction
5 – Paddington

I think my favourite is number five. I love the colours, the panelling and the design on the windows. Do you have a favourite this week?

Ps. I have started compressing my photos and have seen a huge difference in my storage already. Thank you everyone for your help and advice.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

A map at the entrance of this amazing park.

This park is located in South Belfast and is a good walk from where I am staying at the moment. I have been here a couple of times and have always known it was famous for its many flowers and in particular its rose gardens. However, this was the first time I actually followed the map and purposefully looked for the attractions listed, such as the walled garden and Japanese garden. I also was not aware that there is a cafe here too, that was a welcome bonus. I will leave the official link for this park here so you can read a little history about this place and how it ended up being available to the public. https://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/things-to-do/parks-and-open-spaces/a-z-parks/sir-thomas-and-lady-dixon-park

I hope you enjoy reading about this wonderful park and please let me know if you have ever visited yourself.

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Storage?!

Happy Monday everyone! The start of a new week and I’m just having a look at my blog memory. I have noticed that I have used 80% of my storage, presumably on images as I do tend to upload a lot of these. Does anyone here in the blogosphere know what happens when you run out of storage? Do you have to pay for more or is it best to delete some of my older images?

I already pay quite a bit for a yearly subscription for a personal plan and I have 6G of storage, so I don’t really want to pay any more. However, I am worried about deleting images as that may affect my previous blog posts. If you remove the images from the media library, does that remove them also from your blog posts?

There are quite a few questions there but if anyone has any advice, it would be greatly appreciated. Otherwise, I can contact the engineers and see what solutions they can offer.

Many thanks and have a great week.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Black eyed susan

My Friday flower of the day seen this week at Hillsborough Castle. How amazing are these? I love how they look like mini sunflowers and I also love the name, black eyed susan. Also can you see the little wasp on one of the flowers? These are super easy to look after and have even been known to be good for gardeners with brown thumbs (I love that saying!).

Happy Friday and have a great weekend everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V22

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of Doors of WordPress. I have been in Northern Ireland for just over one week now and have managed to spot a copious amount of doors. To be honest, I was nervous leaving Sydney and not seeing any more amazing doors, however, I am pleased to say, Northern Ireland has a fantastic array of doors that I am very much looking forward to showcasing. Have a look below and let me know if you have a favourite door or if you have been to any of the locations.

1 – Banbridge
2 – Hillsborough
3 – Belfast City Centre
4 – Banbridge
5 – Belfast City Centre

Thanks for checking out my doors again this week. Have a great day everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Bali 🍃

After our New Zealand holiday, we had another trip up our sleeves before heading home to Northern Ireland. Initially we were planning on Tasmania, however, New Zealand was freezing and Tasmania would be freezing too at this time of year. So we decided to cancel Tasmania and head somewhere hot. Bali had never really been on my agenda but it’s pretty close to Australia and a popular tourist destination. After some research online and speaking with friends, we settled on two locations to try, simply to break up the trip and have two different experiences. We opted for Ubud for the scenery and peacefulness, contrasting with Seminyak for the beaches and tourist vibe.

This was to be a relaxing holiday, lying by the pool and absorbing some much needed vitamin D. Normally I really dislike these types of holidays but I was fine on this occasion as we had just travelled quite a bit and packed up our whole life. Rest and relaxation was most definitely welcomed.

Arriving into Bali was a lengthy process with four different queues needing to be passed. Covid screening, obtaining and paying for your visa ($100 AU), immigration and declarations. I’m not going to lie, this was tough going after a long flight from Australia and we arrived late at night. By the time we passed immigration etc it was 12pm. Luckily we had pre booked a taxi and he was very kind to wait for us as we had another one hour drive to our hotel in Ubud. I felt so bad for the driver but he reassured me that this is the norm.

UBUD

Element Bali Ubud – this was our hotel in Ubud for 4 nights and to be honest, it was the highlight of the holiday. We are absolutely amazed by this hotel and how fantastic it was. The staff were unbelievably friendly and accommodating, everything was so clean, the food drinks were delicious, the location to town was pretty good and we loved the amenities. We used the spa, the gym and the pool and were so pleased with them all. I would definitely recommend staying here if you ever come to Ubud. You can check it out here for yourselves.

Things to see in Ubud : We hired a taxi to take us around the key sites of interest that we had been researching. The Monkey Temple is a huge tourist attraction but we don’t really have a love for monkeys so we avoided that one.

1 – Seeing the rice fields. This was great to see how the farmers work the fields and grow their best prized crop.

2 – Tirta Empul Temple. A very busy temple for locals and tourists alike. This was built around a bubbling spring and is a fascinating place to see Hindu devotees purifying themselves by ways of ritual bathing.

3 – Sampling the Luwak coffee. This coffee is famous for its unusual methods of creation. The Luwak animal is a cat like creature that feeds on Luwak coffee beans (among other things). When they excrete the beans, the outer shell is removed to expose the inner bean, which in turn is used to make coffee. Seen as a delicacy, this was an honour to taste, alongside some really different and unusual tea and coffee varieties, such as avocado coffee and lemongrass tea.

4 – Saraswati Temple. This just looked amazing online so we really wanted to visit. It can be found in the heart of Ubud centre and was built to honour Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning.

5 – Dinner at Chora. I found this restaurant on Instagram (the benefits of social media) and thought it looked interesting. It was fab! Great healthy food with a Mediterranean influence, fantastic service and a truly serene experience.

SEMINYAK

Aloft Bali Seminyak – We loved this hotel and it had such a great location. It’s a good distance from the town but you are in a quieter location and very close to the beaches. We would walk 5 minutes to the beach and then walk along for about 30 minutes to reach Seminyak town. The rooftop pool and bar was lovely with stunning ocean views, the hotel served up some great food and drinks, plus the staff again were so, so friendly here.

To be honest we didn’t do many tourist things here in Seminyak and we were happy just to relax. Also, I did have a case of Bali belly during the trip (a common occurrence here for Westerners with sensitive stomachs), I think from the water, so I was out of action for a couple of days with pretty bad stomach cramps. However, I can show you a few places that we enjoyed eating in when I felt better, asides from the hotel where the food was really delicious.

1 – Shelter Restaurant. Shelter is a contemporary Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurant located in the central part of beautiful Pererenan. The food was absolutely stunning and the service was exceptional. There was a great tropical vibe and the musical really set the scene, even the bathrooms were impressive. This was our favourite place to eat from the whole trip (maybe as it was also my birthday).

2 – Da Maria. This was a fantastic Italian restaurant actually on the same street as our hotel. It’s great when you can walk to the venue and we had heard great things about this place. Food was lovely and there is a real buzz in this place.

3 – Potato Head Bali Beach Club. This is a really cool place if you want to come and chill out for the day. We loved the food here also and it was just a short walk from our hotel via the beach before you get to Seminyak Village.

One thing you do have to do in Seminyak is watch the sunset from the beach. You can be anywhere on the beach but we found the sunset to be popular near our hotel. The actual beach is called Pantai Batu Belig. People come to just sit on the beach and take it all in, it actually reminded me of Ibiza sunsets.

That’s a wrap on my Bali trip. It’s a beautiful place with the most gorgeous people. This was a great trip for rest and relaxation before heading home to Northern Ireland. Follow my journey home and I aim to highlight the numerous places NI has to offer.

Thanks for taking a look at this Bali blog post and have a great week everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Seminyak V2

Happy Sunday everyone. I hope you’re all having a good weekend whatever you’re doing. We are adjusting to life at home and catching up with family and friends. Today’s sunset picture was taken last week on our last evening in Bali. We were sitting at the rooftop bar at our hotel and we were fortunate to be able to witness this sunset. I love the colour of the sky and the way it contrasts with the dark and moody looking cloud coverage.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Spiral Ginger

Happy Friday everyone. My flower of the day was taken in Bali. I was amazed to spot this as I have never seen anything like it before. It is a species of costus and is native to Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Enjoy your weekend everyone,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V21

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to my latest edition of Doors of WordPress. This week I want to show you some doors that I discovered last week on my holiday in Bali. I will also be completing my Bali blog and hopefully have that up in a few days. I arrived in Northern Ireland three days ago and am enjoying catching up with family and becoming acquainted to the local area but I will continue to blog whenever I have free time.

1 – Element Hotel Ubud
2 – Ubud city centre
3 – Taman Ayun Temple
4 – Saraswati Temple Ubud
5 – Kerobokan Kelod

You may or may not know but Bali is a Hindu island that is part of Indonesia which is predominantly Muslim. Therefore, you can see many, many temples in Bali where the people can practice Hinduism. I really admire the temples and their architecture, some of them are absolutely stunning with such intrinsic detail. Do you have a favourite door this week?

I hope you are all keeping well.

Wayne ✌🏽

Auckland

After Hobbiton, we drove for a couple of hours to reach our final destination of Auckland. We were here primarily to catch up with a good friend who lives here but also we were keen to see and experience what this city has to offer. I will highlight the places we managed to visit while in Auckland for three days.

1 – Cheltenham Beach

2 – Maungauika/North Head Historic Reserve

3 – Takapuna Beach Path.

4 – Wine tasting at The Hunting Lodge.

5 – Sunset at Muriwai Beach.

6 – Auckland Museum.

7 – Ponsonby.

There you have it! Our New Zealand trip has come to an end. What an amazing trip and so fortunate to have finally been able to visit after being in lockdown on and off for two years. I hope you enjoyed the journey and photographs from this truly epic country with the absolute friendliest of people. It’s a trip I will not forget in a hurry. Thank you all for showing an interest in my posts over the past couple of weeks, it really means a lot.

All the best,

Wayne ✌🏽

Rotorua 🌋

This was the perfect spot for us to stop and rest during our drive from Wellington to Auckland. As well as being a great location to stop, we had really wanted to visit here for a couple of reasons.

This area was created thousands of years ago by volcanic activity and sits at the southern end of Lake Rotorua, also formed from a volcanic explosion. Although the volcano hasn’t erupted since, there remains a lot of geothermal occurrences daily, which in turn creates geysers, hot springs and hot mud pools.

We really wanted to try the hot springs as well as seeing and learning about the traditional Māori people. In Rotorua you can find a living Māori village, there the people have been living for more than 700 years. You can have a tour of the village and witness how the people live.

Rotorua itself is a quaint little town with plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars. You will see many Māori people here which is really lovely to see. Another thing to note with this place is that it has a strong sulphur smell (think eggs) from the geysers which can be quite overwhelming if you’re not used to it but I’m so glad we were able to experience it.

Such an amazing place and we thanked the tour guide for an awesome opportunity to see how the Māori people continue to live to this day and aim to keep their traditions alive in the 21st century.

I hope you enjoyed a little insight to Rotorua. This is a definite pit stop if ever travelling from Wellington to Auckland. We made one more stop on our way to Auckland, can any of you guess where it was? I am really excited to show you all later this week.

Take care and thanks for your continued support.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Ubud

Watching the sunset from our hotel in Ubud during the week. The glass walkway was stunning and really adds to the image. We couldn’t really see below as it was dark but the sunset was truly magical. This hotel Element Bali Ubud was out of this world and I will write more about that in my future Bali blog 🍃.

I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

Wellington highlights!

We had flown to Wellington from Christchurch and thank goodness we were able to. The weather had been bad for weeks with heavy downpours. Many flights had been cancelled but fortunately for us, our flight made it across the water to the North Island. It was exciting to depart the South Island and have new experiences of the north. We also really wanted to see Wellington as it is the capital of New Zealand. We stayed here only for one night and would then hire a car and drive up the island to our final destination of Auckland.

As we were only here for one day, I will show you my highlights of the city and what we were able to squeeze in. We really enjoyed Wellington and we were extremely blessed to have good weather (mostly).

1 – Staying in the QT Wellington. This hotel chain is one of my favourites. We have stayed in three others before so we kind of knew what to expect. They’re a little more pricey but we thought if we’re only here for one day, why not treat ourselves to a nice hotel. This one in Wellington I think has been the best QT so far. Extremely quirky and we loved the art throughout the building. I would totally recommend staying here if you visit Wellington.

2 – Take a walk along Lambton Harbour. This is situated just beside the museum and it’s beautiful just to walk along the water front. This eventually leads onto Wellington Harbour.

3 – Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. This museum was on our doorstep so we had to check it out. Such a great place to learn about NZ and for us the highlight was the Gallipoli: The Scale of our War exhibition. You can find more information here. This unique exhibition tells the story of the Gallipoli campaign in World War I through the eyes and words of eight ordinary New Zealanders who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. The people are recreated as larger than life models, really bringing it home what these people went through. An extraordinary exhibition and extremely moving.

4 – Wellington Cable Car. You can find this in the city centre and takes you to a great height up a mountain to see great panoramic views of Wellington. You can also see the Botanical Gardens there too that are really worth a visit.

5 – Take a walk through the city centre. There’s lots of character in this city, funky shops and great pieces of street art.

6 – Dinner at Mr Go’s. This Asian fusion restaurant is really quirky and serves delicious small plates perfect for sharing. There is such a good vibe here.

Thanks for taking a look at my Wellington blog and I hope you are inspired to maybe visit or even just enjoyed looking at some photographs of this amazing city. We would then head towards Auckland and make a couple of stops on the way. Next stop where we were staying is Rotorua, blog coming very soon 😊.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Aphrodite’s Phalaenopsis

Happy Friday everyone. This flower was seen in the garden here at our hotel in Bali where we are vacationing for a few days before heading back to Ireland. I will continue to work on my New Zealand blogs over the coming days and hopefully share my Bali experience also 😊.

Aphrodite’s Phalaenopsis

“Aphrodite’s phalaenopsis is an orchid hailing from Taiwan and the Philippines. It is an epiphyte, which are sometimes called ‘air plants’ because they grow on trees or other objects, and get all the nutrients they need from debris that drops from the air onto those hosts. The delicate yet striking appearance of this flower has inspired the alternative common name of Goddess of Fertility” (Picture This, 2022).

Have a great weekend everyone and take care.

Wayne ✌🏽

MILFORD SOUND

We took a day trip here from Queenstown. It is the one place everyone asked about whether we would be visiting or not when in Queenstown. I’m really glad that we did take the trip here, even if it was a long day. We booked a coach trip (you can do this at the tourist information office in town) and it lasted the whole day. It’s more than 12 hours to drive there, take a boat tour through Milford Sound and then the drive back. It’s a big day but really worth seeing, especially if you may never return here again.

Miford Sound is a fiord, carved by glaciers during the ice ages. It really is captivating and I don’t think I have ever seen anywhere quite like it. The scenery is out of this world, no matter what the weather and if you’re lucky you may be able to spot some dolphins, seals and penguins that call this place home. We were fortunate to have seen seals sunbathing and dolphins that followed our boat back into the dock.

Even the journey to Milford Sound is spectacular and we were able to make a few pit stops to take some photographs. I will show you a couple of our stops and then show you some snaps of the magnificent Milford Sound.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog post and I hope it inspired you to maybe visit for yourself one day.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V19

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to yet another weekly post featuring some more of my favourite doors. This week’s edition follows on from last week’s doors in New Zealand. I have some more to show case from this amazing country and next week I have some extra special doors to show you as it will be my twentieth edition of Doors of WordPress! Let me know if you have a favourite door this week 😊.

1 – Arrowtown
2 – Arrowtown
3 – Rotorua
4 – Auckland
5 – Christchurch

Thanks for taking a look and stay tuned for next week’s special edition!!

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

ARROWTOWN

This place was a no brainer for me. It’s in close proximity to Queenstown and I had heard that this town was extremely quaint and full of character. Winner winner chicken dinner! We took the number 2 bus and were there 45 minutes later, however, if you travel by car it’s only about 20 minutes.

This church was the first building we had seen on arrival to Arrowtown. I love its craftsmanship.

I didn’t know much about the history of the town but that’s ok as they have a museum to provide you with some interesting information. I was already aware that Arrowtown was a good mining town and home to many European and Chinese immigrants who had settled to make their fortune.

Many of the architecture remains intact and the buildings are beautiful to look at. The whole street is very photogenic and there is a stunning river and walkway alongside, which is where the gold had been found many years ago.

Our last stop was for lunch at The Fork & Tap.

Thanks for reading guys and I hope I have been able to show you the beauty of Arrowtown. Please let me know if anyone has ever been there.

Wayne ✌🏽

QUEENSTOWN

When you say to people you are travelling to New Zealand, they will pretty much always ask “Are you going to Queenstown?”. I didn’t really understand why but now that I have travelled there, I totally get it. This place was the highlight of NZ for us. The scenery is just out of this world and made even more special as we were here in winter. The snow peaked mountains were absolutely stunning and you just can’t quite take it all in.

The flight into Queenstown is breathtaking and you won’t be able to peel your eyes away from the window.
As soon as you arrive at the airport you will be blown away by the epic scenery and become lost in the magic of Queenstown.

We caught the number one bus from the airport into Queenstown which takes about 10 – 15 minutes. It’s a very easy ride and luckily for us it stopped just before the town at our hotel, The Ramada. We loved our stay here, great proximity to the town, beautiful scenery all around, very friendly staff, lovely hotel and the breakfast was open until 11.30 and you simply pay for what you order (this was a real novelty for us as you usually pay a hefty amount for a buffet breakfast and they often close early in other places I have been).

For us, Queenstown was all about the scenery and using it as a base to see other places close by. We took the number two bus to the quaint little Arrowtown. We also took a coach trip to Milford Sound. I will post a little blog about these two places after this but these were the two places we most wanted to see. The scenery itself in Queenstown is beautiful and it’s really lovely just taking a stroll through the town and having a look at all the shops, restaurants and bars. There is a lovely walkway that passed the back of our hotel to the town that takes you along the side of Lake Wakatipu. It was beautiful and can also take you to the town via Queenstown Gardens.

Views from the back of the Ramada. We took the walk into the town. It takes about 30 minutes and the views are out of this world.
Lake Wakatipu
The town is very picturesque.

A few people have been asking about food recommendations so I thought I would run through a quick list for you :

Joe’s Garage – perfect for breakfast

Stratosfare – this is the restaurant on top of the huge mountain. Take the gondola up to the top for spectacular views of Queenstown. It’s a buffet dinner with plenty to choose from.

Surreal Bar & Restaurant – nice pub grub and home cooking. All the staff appeared to be Irish too 😊.

Flame (need to book) – we actually couldn’t go here as it was fully booked. My advice would be to book ahead ( for most restaurants actually, as they get pretty busy and there are very few staff here at the moment due to the pandemic).

Bombay Palace – perfect little spot for some Indian food. We loved it.

Boardwalk – PIER Restaurant – this is just at the pier (funny enough). Beautiful views to watch the world go by and they have heat lamps for dining al fresco.

Seafood chowder and a glass of rosé 😋

Paddy Gaddy – Southeast Asian – the food here was stunning. It’s an Asian fusion type restaurant with a real vibe.

Margos Mexican – another one you would need to book. This looked awesome but there was no space the night that we tried. Definitely looks worth a visit if you like Mexican food.

The Pig and Whistle – we loved this place for drinks, either sitting inside or out.

The Speight’s Ale House – lovely quaint little pub with the best toasty fire.

That’s my lot for Queenstown. Such an amazing place that you have to see for yourself. We only had 4 days here but that was actually perfect for us as we weren’t skiing or participating in any winter sports (not our cup of tea). Should that be your thing, you will love this place even more!

Thanks for reading and I will have a couple of blog posts for Arrowtown and Milford Sound coming.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Muriwai Beach

Stunning sunset on the black sand beach at Muriwai, Auckland 🌅

I hope you’re all having the best weekend. My blog posts will be up for NZ over the next few days all being well 😊.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress – V18

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to yet another weekly post featuring some more of my favourite doors. This week’s edition comes from New Zealand. I’m still on my travels but I want to show case some doors from my travels that I have seen so far. Let me know if you have a favourite 😊.

1 – Christchurch
2 – Queenstown
3 – Arrowtown
4 – Christchurch
5 – Queenstown

I have seen some lovely doors here in NZ, although sadly not many residential doors. Let me know if you have a favourite and I will be sure to keep an eye for more doors on my travels.

I hope you’re all having a great week.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Queenstown

Tonight’s sunset from Stratosfare, the skyline gondola restaurant in Queenstown 🌅. You can see the colour change on the mountain tops and the reflecting water.

I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend.

Take care and peace out from New Zealand.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Silk Tassel

Silk Tassel Bush is a flowering evergreen shrub and its flowers look like long silk tassels (hence the name). Seen here in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Have a great Friday everyone. We’re loving Queenstown and can’t wait to share some blog posts soon.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

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