I'm a wedding and portrait photographer living in Vancouver, BC with my husband Randy.  I photographed my first wedding when I was only 17 years old - and I've photographed over 200 weddings since! I am an avid bookworm, lover of green tea, pretty nail polish & my Labradoodle Harley. Thanks for visiting!

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From Queenstown to the country

March 6, 2015

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For three weeks, we traveled the country of New Zealand (#WatsonsdriveNZ) and blogged our way through it. Follow along + catch up by reading Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart TenPart ElevenPart TwelvePart Thirteen and Part Fourteen.

Ooh I’m so excited to tell you guys about this day! It was one of my favourites of our trip for a lot of reasons. Let’s start from the top. We couldn’t wait to get out of our gross motel (read Part 14 – lightbulb reference) so we were at Halo Cafe for breakfast by 8:30. It was a cute place! We’d give it two thumbs up.

After breakfast, we wasted some time around the city until eleven o’ clock. We had signed up the day before to go tandem parasailing on the lake! Neither one of us had done parasailing before. It’s pretty funny – I put up a photo of us doing this – and both my aunt and my mom-in-law asked how Randy got me up there. Excuse me! I was perfectly calm and excited to do this. ;) Randy reminded me I had to process it first. Although you do go 600 feet in the air, if the ropes break, which they won’t, you’d just parachute down to the lake. No problem, I can swim. And it’s a lake, not an ocean, no sharks. I’m in.

We went out on the boat with three other groups of people for an hour. Each of us only got about 10-12 minutes in the air, but it’s a really cool experience. You can’t come to Queenstown without doing something cool. You get up to 600 feet, apparently. While we were up there, I told Randy it feels like when you were a kid and you asked somebody to push you higher, higher on the swing set. And that moment when you’re at the top and felt like you could see the world. That’s parasailing, but much higher and you stay at the top for 10 minutes!!

Lunch spot was Vudu Cafe, steps away from the pier. This place is a bustling, coffee shop – one of the most well-known espresso/cafes in the city. I was saving room for sorbet – so I had a baked good and a smoothie. Randy had a quiche and a meat pie. After lunch, I bought a scoop of sorbet I had been eyeing from the day before – chocolate sorbet from Mrs Ferg Gelataria. I have only had chocolate sorbet once before. Sorbet is made without milk/dairy so I’m always amazed that somebody can make it still taste chocolatey! I was so happy.

Our next big destination was Milford Sound but that wasn’t until tomorrow. Randy found a Bed and Breakfast online called Castle Hill Lodge Bed and Breafkast. It’s a few minutes outside of Athol, a town too small to call a town, an hour outside of Queenstown towards Milford Sound. It seemed like a good option and would give us a head start for the next day.

We are sooooo glad we found Castle Hill! We checked in at 2pm, ready to get out of the city and into the county, and drove up the gravel driveway to a beautiful house set on 9 acres. The owners, Sharon and Mark, greeted us at the door and got us settled in our room. Sharon offered us coffee or tea and brought me a tray with green tea and cookies. We were invited to hang out in the guest lounge, a room with a computer, couches, board games and two open patio doors leading onto the deck. Sharon and Mark let us know we were free to roam the property, visit with their cat Hercules, their dog Barkley or the sheep, goats, pig and chickens they have.

I loved these chickens! We came outside and saw they were eating bugs off of the front of our rental car. I laughed so much. I love animals. My love for these chickens kind of changed when they turned and started coming after me though. I ran.

I love farms!

And this house!

There’s vacancy in the inn, if you’d like to bunk up with this pig.

Castle Hill Lodge from the front. Isn’t it beautiful!?

This goat was tied up and we went over to say hi, very carefully, he RAN away and knocked over his food pail. Hah!

We grabbed dinner at Highway Cafe, a funny little spot in the small town of Athol a couple kilometres down the road – though we highly regret not staying at Castle Hill Lodge for dinner. (You can pay $25 there and eat with them!) After dinner, we got back to Castle Hill Lodge and sat on the back deck with Sharon and Mark and a few of the other guests. They had all four rooms in their B+B full and they had THREE cars drive up the driveway to ask if there was vacancy in the time we were sitting outside! Queenstown (and suburbs around it) were crazy during February!

Anywho, we absolutely loved our time sitting on the deck with tea that summer evening. Sharon and Mark are delightful – moved from the U.K. six years ago. You meet a lot of different people and different styles of B&B owners – Sharon and Mark open up their home to you and really want to share conversations. It was the most restful evening we’ve had the whole trip and left us dreaming of our piece of property we’ll one day hopefully be able to afford within 1-2 hours of Vancouver… ;)

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