Posts Tagged With: beautiful

Gold Coast livin’ part two

Kia ora all! Sorry for the delay between parts one and two of my Australian adventure – I’m in full book mode and have been devoting the time I have to writing that. Nonetheless, here is part two.

So Kylie’s birthday was on the Wednesday – October 1 – and as a present to herself she got her hair did. We managed to score a free bus ride both ways by acting all touristy (asking how much it was, which coins had what value) until the bus drivers gave up in frustration and just said “it’s fine.”

That night, Mikayla took us out for a steak dinner at a nearby restaurant – one that happened to have deals on all mains on Wednesdays. I had a giant steak, but I didn’t take a picture of it because that’s silly.

Okay, it’s two weeks later now and I can’t remember what we did on each specific day. However, I believe it was the Friday where we went to see the coveted glow worm caves – again, no pictures, this time because it was pitch black.

We drove for like three hours to get to this place where we walked for another hour, down a steep hill, in the pitch black, with scary forest on all sides. Somehow, we avoided the drop bears and killer spiders and arrived at the glow worm caves, where we were greeted by a blue-greenish glow, which turned out was the worms’ butts. Some lady was yelling at people for even using a flashlight to avoid falling into the turbulent river a few feet away, so I’ll approximate a drawing of what the scene looked like.


As you can tell, it was very exciting.

Saturday during the day we went to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, which was a total blast. It’s where we got to see basically every cliché you’d attribute to Australia.

We went with Mikayla and her brother, Noah, who showed us around.  Luckily, we arrived just in time for the feeding of a MASSIVE CROCODILE (possibly alligator?)!!!!!


Afterwards, the croc wardens said we could HOLD THE ALLIGATOR (crocodile?) and I was like SHIT YEAH! They overplayed it a bit.


The wildlife sanctuary was pretty sweet. It had a bunch of different habitats, so instead of me rambling, I’ll show you pictures and give the names of the animals, if I can remember them.


This owl, who looked high as.


This wombat, who is actually the size of a dog.


Some koalas, socializing over some leaves from that tree I can’t spell the name of.


A god-damn Tasmanian Devil (like from Bugs Bunny, sort of).

We arrived at a theatre of sorts, just in time for a birds of prey show. One of them got pretty close to me.


There was also a giant pelican.


Of COURSE there were others, but I was a bit busy watching them catch bits of dead rabbit out of the air to take pictures, okay?

Next, I fulfilled my lifelong dream of going in a giant enclosure filled with starving kangaroos, and paying four dollars to feed them. Kylie came too.

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Unfortunately, that was the end of my day pretty much, as shortly after I stumbled into a giant spider’s web and was swiftly mauled to death.


Just kidding! Who did you think was writing this? Anyways, to cap off our day (actually, this time), we had to do the cliché tourist take-a-photo-with-a-koala.


My head is lost in a halo of light – as it frequently is – but you can see Kylie and the little bear pretty well.

After that heartwarming moment, we tried to feed some birds but they didn’t show up, so Kylie held a giant snake instead.


I took a photo from the side because we weren’t supposed to take photos but there was no way in hell I was paying 20 bucks for that picture.

The fun wasn’t over for the day, though. That night, Kylie, Mikayla, her friend Andrew, and I all went to a club and danced the night away. We got in with no cover and were allowed five-dollar drinks all night, and Kylie got free drinks to her heart’s content. We dragged her unconscious body out of the club around 10 p.m.

I’m pretty sure it was Sunday where we went shopping at a giant outdoor mall. Mikayla had some sort of appointment and Kylie tried on all the clothes in one store, so I wandered around looking uncouth with a two-litre jug of chocolate milk. I probably looked like a bogan. That night (possibly) we went to an opera in the park, which was pretty neat, if that’s your thing (it isn’t mine) – the food was good though.

Monday was an exciting day, as we tried stand-up paddle boarding. Basically, you get this thing that looks like a surfboard, and then you stand on it and paddle in some water. It was extremely difficult to find my balance on it, and being tall didn’t help, as the wind was trying to knock me into the water. Luckily the water was warm, because I spent a lot of time in it. OBVIOUSLY I didn’t bring my camera because that would have been stupid, but trust me, it was sweet as.

And finally, on Tuesday, Kylie and I took a train to Brisbane and spent the majority of the day at a lovely market/mall. Around dinner time, we met up with an old friend of mine – Franny – and she was nice enough to treat us to a delicious meal.


And of course, Kylie and I got the glamour shot in front of the bridge.


Sadly, after that it was time to catch the train back to Gold Coast – which we did, barely. It was an early night, as we had to be up at the crack of dawn to make our plane – which we did, barely. We landed in Auckland about four hours later, and our journey to Australia was complete.

Stay tuned! Posts coming up include our drive from Auckland to Christchurch (1,079km), our visit to the Shire, and a few questions for the creative ones among you reading this.

Thanks for reading, and give me a follow, won’t ya?

Twitter: @CamMParkes 
Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Australia, Blog, Early Saturday, Gold Coast, Holiday, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Livin’ it up at Gold Coast

Well, that was quite an adventure. We’re now safely back in New Zealand after a whirlwind trip to Gold Coast, and a long-ass drive back to Christchurch. The days have been so jam-packed that it was impossible to keep up with posting, so I’ll try to remember everything as well as I can for your entertainment.

I’ll deal with the next half of our trip to the land down unda’ in this post – we just did SOOOO much that it wouldn’t fit into one post, you know?

So Monday was our first full day in Gold Coast. Luckily for us, our guide and host Mikayla managed to get out of school relatively early so she could chaperone us around. Of course, we headed straight for the beach, because what else is there to do in Australia?

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For lunch, we went to a sushi restaurant that had a sushi train. I’d seen these in movies and whatnot, but never actually experienced one.

The food comes to you!

The food comes to you!

It’s a brilliant strategy. Basically different colour plates cost different amounts, and they send through a lot more pricey ones than cheap ones. So you’re sitting there waiting for a cheap plate of your favourite sushi to come by, getting hungrier and hungrier, until eventually you cave and grab the next plate. Cool!

When we returned, we saw to our – mostly Kylie’s – delight that the trees out front of Mikayla’s place were the favourite hangout for some lorikeets.

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We chillaxed for the rest of the day, and then spent three hours watching a movie – 1h45 for Who Framed Roger Rabbit after 1h15 of Kylie and Mikayla insisting they were strong independent women and didn’t need no man’s help to set up the DVD player.

Two strong, independent, DVD-less women.

Two strong, independent, DVD-less women.

Spoiler: they did.

On Tuesday Kylie and I wanted to check out the Niagara Falls of Queensland – Surfers’ Paradise. Although we were warned by literally two people that the walk was a long one, we decided to undertake it anyways.

I learned a lesson on Tuesday. When people say they “love long walks on the beach,” they are full of shit. Long walks on the beach are not pleasant. They hurt your legs and your butt, and make you really hungry and thirsty. We almost didn’t make it. But, after an hour and a half of Bear Grills-esque survival, we arrived in the tourist centre of Australia.

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And lo and behold, we had only been there five minutes or so when a long-lost friend found us!


Karley. It's Karley.

Karley. It’s Karley.

We three hung out and explored Surfers’ for a while, checking out the shops, getting lunch, and playing at Timezone – one of those super-fun arcade places where you win tickets and can get little prizes. I won an Australian keychain, thinking that it would be the perfect gift for my loving landlord back in Auckland.

After that, Karley’s flatmates gave us a lift back to Mikayla’s. We had to hurry inside because it was time for the daily bat hunt.


Bats come out during the day here. Yup.

After the bloodthirsty winged-mammals had disappeared (until that night) Kylie, Mikayla, her mom and I went to Q1, which is some sort of tower thing. We had a meal on the observation deck, which is the highest point in Gold Coast – about 72 floors up, I think.


After dinner, we took a nice walk along the beach you can see on the right there, through a giant market. I didn’t buy anything.

The next post will detail our trip to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Kylie’s birthday celebrations, and the hardest sport you can do on water (not surfing). Follow me so you don’t miss out!

Twitter: @CamMParkes



Categories: Adventure, Australia, Blog, Gold Coast, Holiday, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The land down unda’

G’day, mate!

It’s finally happened. After more than a decade of wanting to visit the land down under, I am finally in Australia.

And it is fantastic.

Let’s start from the beginning though.

Our flight was at seven o’clock Sunday morning. Since we had to drop off our rental car with enough time to be shuttled to the airport, that meant getting up at 4:30. We drove to the place, got shuttled over, and found our check-in line by 5:30 – and then the waiting began. Jetstar, which has been great and incredibly fast on our last couple flights with them, had two people working the desks – one of whom was clearly a new employee.

Our baggage area apparently closed at 6:15am, and we definitely would have been done before that, except we added some baggage we didn’t expect.

As we were waiting in line, a frantic mother and her child approached us, asking if we were going to Gold Coast. Apparently, the airline wouldn’t let her child fly unaccompanied, even though he was older than 15 and had a passport, because he didn’t have his school ID. She practically begged us to chaperone Kurtis onto the flight, and we, being great people, obliged. It took a bit longer to check us in because they had to move our seats so the three of us could sit together.

We eventually got checked in and through security, right as the last call for our flight was being broadcast. We took a little bus out to the plane and boarded, and were on our way by 7:15am.


Thanks to the flight duration and time zone change, we landed at 7:15am in Australia. We saw Kurtis reunited with his father, who thanked us profusely. After they departed, I decided to withdraw some Aussie currency.


We had a quick airport breakfast, and then Kylie’s friend Mikayla picked us up. Thankfully, she offered us the spare room in her house, saving us probably THOUSANDS (???) of dollars in possible rent.

Her home is absolutely beautiful. The whole concept of it is based on a constant barrage of nice weather – open rooms, light sea-breeze blowing through – and is perfect for the part of town it’s in.


The best part is, it’s only a two-minute walk to the beach. We basically got here, dropped our bags and changed, and headed out to check out the beach. We didn’t stay long this first time.

It happened to be Celebrate Gold Coast Day, so we took off to a big event with lots of different tents and activities and whatnot. After exploring that for a bit, we returned home and went to the beach for real. But not before stopping at the store to get some Aussie swag.


We built sandcastles and swam in the ocean and enjoyed the sun before heading back to shower and hit up the town – and by that, I mean buy some beer. Which we enjoyed while watching Brave which is actually a pretty good movie okay?

I didn’t have too much opportunity to take pictures (clearly) as my camera was stowed and my phone was running out of juice. Plenty more to come over the next nine days, though!

Follow along on Twitter and Instagram!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Adventure, Australia, Blog, Gold Coast, Holiday, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First impressions of Auckland

Hey all!

So I’ve been in Auckland for just over a week now, and I have to say: my original impression that it was similar to Toronto was pretty off base.

The first Saturday we were here, Kylie and I went out to experience the night life – only, there was none. Everything closes at around five o’clock, even on weekends. Luckily exceptions include grocery stores and McDonald’s, but I was pretty disappointed. There aren’t very many bars, either! I’m looking closer into that, though.

So far, despite the tame nightlife, Auckland is so much better than Christchurch. It’s much warmer – in fact, most mornings I eat my breakfast outside on our patio in a t-shirt. Considering it’s the dead of winter here, this is amazing.


The scenery is beautiful and lush. It makes you feel like you’re on a tropic island somewhere – which technically we are I suppose. Our house is at the bottom of a huge hill, so my leg muscles have been getting quite a workout as well.

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The bus system took a little longer to figure out, and is a bit more expensive, but after using the buses and trains for the last week we’ve pretty much got it sorted.

I went into Background Talent and signed up for that again, so hopefully I’ll be getting some more work with them, so I can see my face for ~1 second on a television. They were super friendly and took a bunch of photos of me, so that’s cool too.


I’ve pretty much realized that around the beginning of September, I’m going to have to rent a car. I’m psyching myself up to drive on the wrong side of the road, especially since, after our trip to Australia, we’re going to drive from Auckland back to Christchurch for Kylie’s last term. It’s about 15 hours so it’ll definitely be a test.

Other than that, I have the house of eight flatmates to myself during weekdays, since I’m the only one here who is on holiday and not working. I pass the day by reading, writing, and doing 15 second covers of songs for Instagram.


I’m happy to announce I’ve reached the 100-page mark in my attempt at a novel, and still have plenty more to go on! My soft deadline of the end of November to finish seems as if it may be in reach. If any of you consider yourself editors, let me know if you’d be down to peruse the draft!


I’m finally getting around to sending postcards, about four months after getting here. Again, if you’d like one, let me know via some sort of social media before the end of the week.

Other than that, keep it real and follow along with the adventures! They’re going to get exciting, as there is plenty to do in Auckland on the weekend.

Twitter: @CamMParkes               

Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Australia, Blog, Holiday, Music, New Zealand, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pictures of Queenstown trip

Hi all!

Not too much to update at this moment in time; I did the extra job on Monday and it was awesome, but that’s really all I can say about it. You know, vows of secrecy, blood-oaths, the whole deal. However, I have uploaded the full albums of our trip to Queenstown! I made them public, so anyone should be able to view them (you may have to be signed into Facebook, not sure). The links are below, enjoy! (Click on the album title, not the sample picture!)


The trip to Queenstown


Queenstown gondola and luge 


Milford Sound trip


Arrowtown Autumn Festival 


Bungy Jumping off the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge 


Queenstown Gardens and waterfront 


Thanks, and enjoy!

Connect with me:

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes




Categories: Adventure, Arrowtown, Blog, Holiday, Milford Sound, New Zealand, Queenstown, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our final day in Queenstown

Hi all! It’s been quite a few days since my last post – blame it on recovering from our Queenstown trip!

On our penultimate day there, if you recall, we went bungy jumping. Well, that kind of took all our energy, so on our last day, we took it nice and easy. We slept in until about ten, and then took the last morning shuttle into town for a nice Subway lunch. After that, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and head down to the waterfront.


It really is quite picturesque. I mean, in real life, too, not just in my photo. If you’ve been watching my Instagram feed (it’s on the right side over there) you’ll have seen a few photos relating to apparent sheep molestation jokes; this was all put to rest though, when I discovered proof that in New Zealand, sheep is man’s best friend.


Interesting. Well, sheep may be man’s best friend, but I know for a fact that Kylie’s best friend is whatever animal she happens to see. Today, it was ducks.


After about three hours of Kylie cooing at the ducks, we moved on, and found ourselves in the legendary Queenstown Gardens. It really was the perfect day for a nice several-kilometre hike around the water; I haven’t gone through all the photos, but here are a few nice ones from the gardens.

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After you walk through the gardens, one of the paths you can take results in you emerging from the trees right along the waterfront. We walked along the pathway there for quite some time, and briefly considered stealing this boat.


In the end, though, we decided it was too much trouble to get wet and swim over to it, so we carried on. Eventually, we found a bench that Kylie sat down on and claimed for her own, forbidding anyone else from sharing it.


She sat there for a bit, and then we carried on. Right as we were approaching our starting point, we saw a cool sight, and something we’ll definitely have to do next time:


At last, we reached our starting point. By this time, it was almost five o’clock, so we headed back to the hotel to rest up. We decided to try dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, and weren’t surprised to find it mediocre, much like our accommodation. Oh well. After that, we packed, played some cards, and went to bed so we could be up for the long journey home.

The nine-hour bus ride is somewhat of a blur; I remember vague images of trying to sleep, getting off to go to the bathroom, and then repeating. Eventually we did arrive in Christchurch, though, and Susie picked us up, even though she was sick. Aw, what a nice Kiwi!

On Monday I get to be an extra in a commercial for some nice cash. After I see how that goes I may continue on with the company, and if I don’t, I’ll be starting the job hunt in earnest – I’ve already picked up a few freelancing jobs in my spare time, so things are good on that front.

And the best news – my IRD number arrived today, so I can officially work in Kiwi Land and not pay 30 per cent tax on it! Yay me!

Next post will be after the extra experience. Don’t miss it, or my photos!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Adventure, Blog, Holiday, New Zealand, Queenstown, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I will ride, chase the wind, and touch the sky

Hey all! So, both Kylie and my phones ran out of data, leading us to purchase an internet pack from the hotel. I did this for YOU, readers, so you could stay updated on my life. You’re welcome.

Yesterday (Friday) we ventured down into the town to figure out what activities we wanted to do. It’s really great having the shuttle to take us there, as the buses are somewhat infrequent and also eleven bucks a ride. This was the view from the shuttle around 11 a.m.


When we arrived in town, we got some food, and then took refuge from a sudden storm in an adventure activity store. We perused the options, and decided to book a day-long trip to Milford Sound, which is a place somewhere. All I know is the scenery is supposed to be awesome, and it includes a two-hour cruise somewhere. Sold!

That’s for tomorrow (Sunday) though; we needed something to do that day. We elected for the cheapest activity: ride a gondola to the top of a mountain and luge down it. When the rain stopped, we headed over to it. Here’s a lovely picture from the base of the mountain…


…on the way up…


…and at the top.


As you can see, it was quite the view; it was also very cold, but at least the skies were clear. So, when you get to the mountain top, you actually learn it isn’t the top; you take a chairlift up even further, and then luge down. The luges are like little go-karts, kind of, that you steer down the slopes; I took a video of my descent, but due to the shitty wi-fi connection here, I won’t be able to upload it until back in Christchurch. Just believe me, it was cool.

As we finished our fourth of five rides, another deluge of rain threatened to numb our hands and possibly drown us, so we ran into a café and had some nice hot beverages. Again, the weather couldn’t seem to decide what it wanted to do, and the rain shortly left, revealing a secret long kept hidden: where the rainbow ends.


After that, the luging was closed down due to the weather, so we headed back inside. We visited a souvenir shop as well as the Jelly Belly Factory, and then took the gondola back down the mountain. It was a bit chilly then, and we were hungry, so we went to Domino’s and got some pizza, and then headed back to the hotel.

Today, we attended the Autumn Festival in nearby Arrowtown. It’s a quaint little place, and had a bunch of vendors, an airshow, and even a parade. My phone ran out of juice so I didn’t get too many photos with it, but I’ll upload an album from my camera when back home. Thousands of people turn out for this festival, and it was a gorgeous day; I actually wore shorts and a t-shirt, and put on sunscreen for the first time.


Okay so it was warm for me, maybe not for the residents of New Zealand.

Tomorrow we catch a bus for Milford Sound at 6:35 a.m. I am not looking forward to that, but the lady who booked us told us there would be free coffee, so I guess it isn’t all bad.

Follow along with me!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Arrowtown, Blog, Holiday, New Zealand, Queenstown, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Queenstown or Bust

Hi all! I’ve had a little bit of trouble accessing internet since we left on our trip for Queenstown – apparently New Zealand hostels and hotels don’t offer free Wi-Fi. Or, much of it, at least; we have 250 measly megabytes to last us the whole week. Oh well, we’re not here to browse Facebook anyways! (And that’s what phones are for!)

Quite a bit has happened, but I’ll try to stick to the most exciting bits in order to prevent you getting bored. And don’t worry; I’ll include lots of pictures.

We left Christchurch Wednesday morning – and an early morning it was. We left Kylie’s res at 7:45 in the AM to make it to our bus that would take us to our bus. We had left with the idea that arriving early would be better than arriving late (a theme of mine, apparently) and due to a lack of passengers on the bus, arrived at our pick-up location about a half hour early. The day was bright and sunny.


Now, the bus we took was called the Naked Bus – I was worried at first because it had no washroom (remember this was a nine-hour trip for us!) and no outlets; however, it didn’t prove to me much of an issue, as we stopped a bunch of times for bathroom breaks, as well as lunch. As for the lack of power, I played Pokémon Diamond until my battery ran out, and my phone got down to two per cent; it lasted long enough to get some good photos.


The bus stopped at a nice little area overlooking a body of water called Lake Tekapo. It was great to get a stretch in – oh, and the view wasn’t bad either.


After gawking at the view for a while, Kylie and I went to a little café/shop. When we first got to it, I saw something at amused me…


…and Kylie saw something that attracted her.


After that brief rest, it was back on the bus we went. I took a bunch more pictures of mountains (I’ll post more of them later) and the scenery. We saw a ton of sheep – but no men at work – and other animals, too. The cows in particular seemed to share my fascination with the rocky cliffs; here is a picture of them cheering on the mountains in their race against the clouds.


The bus continued on, and followed a long, winding road that took us between cliffs, and along sheer drops which would have ended our trip rather abruptly should the driver have listed slightly to the left. He didn’t, though, and around six in the evening we arrived in Queenstown. We didn’t have much time to take photos, as we were grabbing our gear and trying to find our hostel. With the deal we booked, we got one night at a hostel, then the remaining seven at a different hotel. Our hostel was fairly nice, except that the lock I had didn’t fit our locker, and the hostel was out of them. A quick trip down the street to a convenience store solved that problem. After that, Kylie caught a nap while I dove into a new book, and after we had recuperated, we headed downstairs to a bar called Loco that was attached to the hostel. I remember the atmosphere of hostel bars quite well from when I backpacked in Europe a couple years ago; everyone was friendly, drinks were cheap, and the live music was pretty good. Around midnight we headed back to our dormitory room we were sharing with eight other people. Kylie snuggled into her blankets on the bottom bunk, while I read a bit more on the top bunk, before settling in for a good night’s sleep. Or so I thought.

At about 2:30 a.m. we were all awoken by an alarm and a robotic voice telling us to get the hell out or burn, or something along those lines. Luckily it isn’t cold here, and we had a chance to grab our shoes and sweaters before we filed out. We were outside about twenty minutes before allowed back in; when we checked out, we learned the kitchen had flooded, which for some reason caused the fire alarms to go off. Ah well, we got a free breakfast because of it, and then it was off to find our new hotel. The day was another beauty.


Our Google Maps showed us that it was about a 45-minute walk to the new place – Goldridge Hotel – and since we weren’t checking in until 2 p.m., approximately four hours from then, we decided to hoof it. Unfortunately, a four-kilometre hike with all your gear is tougher than I anticipated, and I had to stop for several rests due to carrying the weight of several small children and climbing steep roads. At least the scenery was good.


We ended up caving and taking a very expensive bus the last kilometre or so, and when we arrived we found we could check in early. Kylie appreciated this very much.


We both took naps, showered, and took a free shuttle into town for a nice dinner, and to grab some supplies. Then it was back to the hotel to relax. Tomorrow, we start to look at things to do in Queenstown, the tourist capital of New Zealand; some options include bungee jumping, kayaking, zip-lining, white-water rafting, a gondola ride to the top of a big mountain, various safaris, five-dollar pizzas at Domino’s, and many more. Most of them are expensive, but I’m already planning on trying one tomorrow around lunchtime.

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Categories: Blog, Holiday, New Zealand, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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