Posts Tagged With: fun

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

Love,

CP

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

Auckland adventures

Well, I had the opportunity to spend a couple days in Auckland this week, and let me just say: I love it already.

The flight was the easiest thing ever. Kylie and I walked ten minutes to our bus stop, and it took us directly to the domestic terminal. Checking our luggage and passing through security literally took a combined time of less than ten minutes, and the flight itself was just over an hour.

Since we were new to the area we didn’t know the bus routes, so we had to take a cab to our new place from the airport – that set us back about eighty bucks, but we didn’t have much alternative. However, after exploring the city for a few days, we now know the buses well enough to get back at a much cheaper cost.

Speaking of cheaper costs, our new room is about fifty dollars cheaper per week than our current place – yet it’s about five times the size; it has its own lounge, and the last guy in there left his TV and PS3 behind. YES.

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Like I said, Kylie and I got out and explored the town. It’s exactly like Toronto, except about half the population, very little garbage in the streets, much less pollution and no homeless people. Okay so it’s the exact opposite of Toronto, whatever. It has its own CN Tower, of sorts!

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Kylie and I had a nice meal at a restaurant to celebrate our one year, and then went to the casino. I will sum up that adventure by saying I did not win five grand this time.

We purchased essentials such as sheets and a blanket and some food to get by, and on Saturday it was back to Christchurch, where we saw Guardians of the Galaxy – awesome movie by the way.

Now just one more week of work at the pallet factory, and we’re off to Auckland for seven or eight weeks.

ALSO I bought a new ukulele so make sure to check out my Instagram/Twitter (links below) for covers!

 

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Music, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heading down unda’

Good news, everyone!

 

 

So back in April, I was able to cross coming to New Zealand off my bucket list – something that’s been there since I first learned that the setting for the Lord of the Rings was here. While I haven’t seen the Shire yet, I’ll be doing so in the next little while as we’re moving to the North Island, where it’s situated (yeah, New Zealand is actually two islands. Who knew?).

Now, I’ll officially be able to cross visiting the land down under off that list, too. Kylie and I booked our flights yesterday – we’ll be in Australia from September 28 to October 8. Needless to say, I’m super psyched to get warm, visit some beaches, scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef, surf on some waves, ride some kangaroos etc.

Back to the moving thing, I’ve given notice to my employer and landlady, so it’s really happening. On Thursday we head up for the weekend, then one more week of work and shitty 6:50 a.m. wakeups, and off to Auckland for eight weeks. Definitely pumped to be done with stacking wood.

In other news, I broke 60 pages into my attempt at a novel, hovering at about 19,000 words currently – I’m thinking I’m about 1/5th done, probably. So that’s cool – the goal is to be done by the end of November, currently.

The next update will be nice and long, as I’ll have a bunch of Auckland stuff to talk about!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

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

Casino nights and creative stints

Oh man, it’s been about two weeks since my last update. WAIT, I CAN EXPLAIN!

Things have been quite busy around here the last little while. We’ve managed to successfully get a place in Auckland as of July 31, which is a huge relief since it means we won’t have to camp out in a park or something. We fly down the 31 to August 2 for our first trip, then again on the 9 for good. Or, well, for eight weeks at least.

Kylie and I also went to the Christchurch casino for the first time, along with some friends; the casino has an all-you-can-eat burger night on Thursdays, so we partook in that before hitting the slots. After losing about ten dollars, a well-timed max bet netted me over five grand, so needless to say, the night was a success in the end. You’re not allowed to take pictures in the casino, so here is a representation of what happened.

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You can tell I used to draw comics for a living, can’t you? Anyways, that comic isn’t the only form of creativity I’ve been practicing these last weeks. I mentioned in a previous post that I had been frequenting a site called Sporcle – it’s a site with tons of quizzes and you should definitely check it out if you have the time (and let’s be real, if you’re reading this, you have the time)! When you do, you should start by checking out the quizzes I have created, spending hours and hours getting them just right. Links are here:

Monopoly quiz – think you know Monopoly?

Zelda: Majora’s Mask logic/knowledge quiz – Logic and knowledge required.

Zelda: Ocarina of Time A-Z – Name the items associated with the best game of all time.

 

I’ve also been trucking away at my “novel” – I’ve set myself a personal goal of the end of November to be finished. I’m forty-seven pages in so far (~15,600 words) so it’s going well. I’ve been pushing myself to add 500 words per day and have mostly kept it up for the past while.

On the other end of the artistic spectrum, Kylie and I have been creating some lovely music, so here are some more links for you to check out, share, like, subscribe to, whatever you do on YouTube.

Hey Ho – Lumineers cover

No Rain – Blind Melon cover (featuring flute)

And I have a few on SoundCloud too:

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I think that about covers the links I wanted to give you! I’d have way more content if I hadn’t finally decided to watch Breaking Bad. Holy shit, I just…wow.

Oh! I also lost my onesie virginity on Thursday.

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More updates soon: Auckland in less than two weeks!

Follow along for updates, pictures and 15-second covers:

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

(Ok there were two more links.)

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Early Saturday, Music, New Zealand, Place to see in Christchurch, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to the north

Hello all! Apologies for the lack of blog posts recently; it was my birthday week and so I’ve been getting belligerently drunk all day every day for the last seven or eight days.

JUST KIDDING! I’ve been going to bed at 10 p.m. so I can get up to go to the pallet factory. But I’m only there for another 8 weeks or so; after that, I’m moving up to Auckland!

What!? Well hey now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. These things –that is, life recaps – have to be done in chronological order; it’s the rule.

You may have noticed a few semicolons used in the past few paragraphs (if you didn’t, don’t worry, at least you’re pretty); I’ve been working on my future-best-selling novel and have slowly become comfortable using them – correctly or not remains to be seen – again after having them beaten out of me at the Gazette. I’m pumped with the progress I’ve made, although it is slow going. They say every story has a beginning, middle, and end, right? Well, I’ve written the beginning and end, and now all I have left to do is fill in the middle. Should be easy!

In other news, I had a winter birthday for the first time ever. Apparently June 1 is the first day of “winter” in this strange land?

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Anyways, to celebrate, I went to a bar with about five or six young women – Kylie, her flatmates and their friends. I felt old.

Kylie, being the creative entity she is, got me a few awesome gifts:

Yeah, it's a Zelda mug; fill it with hot water, and the heart container fills up.

Yeah, it’s a Zelda mug; fill it with hot water, and the heart container fills up.

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As you can tell, the theme this year was “mugs.” She also got me some books and candy, and her flatmate Susie got me a very rude card as well.

So now, onto the travel plans! It all actually seemed to come together rather nicely, as if the universe were saying “hey guy, you should go to Auckland, or something.” I applied for a radio internship in Auckland, and although I didn’t get it (at least, I haven’t heard from them yet and it starts on the 16 so I assume that) it got me thinking it’d be exciting to check out Auckland. Then, Kylie’s placement coordinator sent out an email saying they wanted people to do their placements outside of Christchurch. THEN, one of the airlines offered some pretty sick deals for flights, including some to Auckland and back. So we’re heading up at the end of July just for a weekend to take my bag of stuff and one of Kylie’s bags, find a place, check out the lay of the land, etc. Then, August 9 we head up again, taking Kylie’s remaining bags, and we’ll be there for like two months or something. Pretty exciting!

I’m now counting down the days until I move on from the pallet factory. I’ll be pursuing the background talent stuff so who knows, maybe I’ll become a huge New Zealand star?

Doubtful, but follow me just in case.

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

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

Saturday Antarctic excursion

Today, I wanted to surprise Kylie, so I took her on an impromptu date to the Antarctic.

Well, as close to the Antarctic as I’m likely to get – for the foreseeable future, anyways. Christchurch is actually only about 1,800km from one of the main Antarctic base camps – not all that far, really. We visited the International Antarctic Centre which, aside from providing tours and a range of activities, is actually the gateway for people venturing to the coldest, windiest, and driest continent in the world.

Kylie was quite a good sport about it; I sprung the fact that we were going on a date on her late Friday night, while we were waiting for a bus to take us to see Maleficent– which was very good, by the way – and that she wouldn’t be able to sleep in on her Saturday. Although I refused to tell her where we were going, she agreed, and we left for the bus stop around 10:10 Saturday morning.

She didn’t know where were going until we got off the bus and saw this:

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We checked in at the main counter, and one of my fears was relieved; I had thought I’d have to plan out our order of activities, but that wasn’t the case. A nice lady at the counter gave us a little map and wrote times beside when we should go to specific activities. First up: a ride in a Hagglund.

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The Hagglund is an amphibious Antarctic vehicle – and these were authentic ones. We boarded for the ride – but first we took a selfie.

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The ride consisted of a trip around a unique course designed to recreate conditions of traversing the Antarctic tundra. Contrary to what you might believe, the ride wouldn’t be smooth; blowing winds spread dirt, gravel, and ice chunks over the surface, making it a bumpy ride, which we experienced. We also went up some steep inclines and plummeted down – the jostling had us gripping our handholds for dear life – and finally went through a small pond that was three metres deep. The Hagglund handled it with ease.

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After our ride, we entered the Explorers’ Legacy room. It had lots of props, like a cabin, flags, penguins, and more, and also had changing lights and weather conditions, including a sunrise and “snow” (bubbles).

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Showin' em who's boss

Showin’ em who’s boss

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Next up, we went into the “snow and ice experience” – a room kept at -8 degrees Celsius, with snow and an ice slide and some cool props like an igloo and snowmobile. We put on authentic Antarctic coats, even though -8 is a warm spring day in Canada.

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Every half hour, an “Antarctic storm” would sweep through the room, gusting up to a terrifying 35kph and dropping the room’s temperature to -18.4 degrees Celsius with wind chill. This was a neat experience, as the lights went out and a voice crackled over a radio warning of an incoming storm. It reminded me of the day in April when I left home, except not quite as cold.

After we escaped from the Antarctic storm, we went to see a cool 4D movie about journeying to the Antarctic. The seats moved, we felt the cold spray of the ocean – and some seagull poop that hit us in the face – and saw some stunning cinematography.

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After that neat little experience, we went to a gallery of Antarctic memorabilia, including rocks and fossils, equipment, food samples, and much more. There was a station where you could dress up in authentic gear again – we didn’t bother with the pants, gloves, boots, hats etc., but I tried on a jacket that looked a lot like a Western University official Canada Goose jacket.

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Finally, we wandered into the Little Blue Penguin exhibit. These guys are the smallest species of penguin, and, as you’d expect, are adorable.

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It’s actually quite a touching story – each of the penguins (there are about 12 I think) were rescued. They all have some sort of disability which would have made it highly unlikely that they survived in the wild, and were brought to the IAC to live their lives. One, named Marty, was born with her left leg paralyzed, and so swims in a peculiar fashion; she also has her own spot near the corner of their enclosure.

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Another one is missing a leg, a few are blind in one eye, and one, named Toto, is 23 years old and has cataracts and Alzheimer’s. Only two per cent of penguins live to age 20 – most last six or seven years – so she’s truly remarkable. We stayed around for feeding time, and then visited the gift shop to pick up some swag. Kylie got some shirts and kindly purchased me a coffee travel mug.

All in all it was quite a fun day, with immersive experiences and a bit of education thrown in to boot. It almost makes me want to visit the Antarctic…although I’ll probably settle for just going home.

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

 

Categories: Adventure, Blog, Christchurch, Early Saturday, Holiday, New Zealand, Place to see in Christchurch, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Handling wood like a pro

Happy hump day all y’all! I’ve worked for a week at my job handling wood now, and I’ve come up with a list of imperative dos and don’ts you need to follow, should you ever find yourself surrounded by wood.

Size matters.

 

When it comes to wood, size is everything – so much so, in fact, that if a piece of wood is off by more than three millimetres, it has to be recut. There’s an age-old adage that says something like “measure twice, cut once” – I didn’t bother looking up the exact words – but that’s actually an understatement if anything; you really need to measure five times, cut once, then measure the wood you cut to make sure it’s right. Also continue to measure periodically, as the blocks tend to shift slightly, and 1mm is all it will take to ruin you. My saw partner and I spent two hours yesterday unstacking a pallet of cut wood to shave off five millimetres from the ends, because the kids who cut it weren’t careful. New saying: measure all the times, and then cut.

Handling wood can be messy.

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I learned this extremely obvious one the hard way. On my first day on the job, I wore my other pair of jeans – for the record, I had two pairs: my black ones I wear every day, and some blue ones; I’ve since bought more – and they immediately went from nice jeans, to work jeans only. Little wood pellets, sawdust, dirt, and paint now adorn my formerly-classy jeans – and even a quick rinse in the washer won’t fix that now.

Wear the proper protection.

Well this is a classic one. When dealing with wood, it’s necessary to use protection for your safety, as well as the safety of those around you. The people in charge say that, when you’re cutting and stacking wood, you don’t need to wear safety glasses, just ear plugs. False. I can’t count the amount of times –okay it’s seven – where I’ve had to stop because a bit of dust leapt off the wood right into my eye. It doesn’t help that we have giant doors there, and the wind blows through them all day every day. I also went about ten minutes on my first day without gloves; that was dumb. So, so dumb.

Be gentle but firm with the wood.

If you’re getting the wood onto the belt in order to cut it, there’s a technique to it. You have to use physics and science and whatnot to swing it on. However, if you do this too violently, the long-ass wood will snap, which is really damn inconvenient. You have to roll the wood, coax the wood, but you can’t let it rule you. When stacking cut wood into piles, it’s okay to kick it into place, but not too hard. Your steel-toe boots can damage the poor thing.

Don’t try to handle too much wood by yourself.

 

The biggest wood I’ve had to handle thus far was planks of the stuff measuring 3.6 metres. That’s pretty long wood. Since the planks are relatively thin, handling one is no problem; however, if there are two or three stacked on each other, I need my partner’s help. It’s important not to try to take on more wood than you can handle, because it can cause things to get messy and slow down production. Remember: don’t be afraid to ask your partner for help handling large loads of wood.

Embrace the wood jokes.

As a worker in an all-male plant handling tons of wood, you have to be able to take the jokes that inevitably come despite you doing nothing at all to bring it upon yourself. Also, for some reason, the radio station on in the factory – side note, it’s called myFM…weird! – always plays Timber by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha (did I spell that right?), and when it comes on, it’s appropriate to do anything from smirking when she yells timber, to singing and dancing along with the song. As long as the boss isn’t around, anyways.

Follow along with my adventures with wood!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Blog, Christchurch, List, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning to handle wood

Hello lovely people! Also, non-lovely people; I don’t discriminate.

Let me start off by saying in the last two days, I’ve seen and handled more wood than I’ve ever had to before.

 

WAIT. LET ME EXPLAIN.

 

Last weekend, I grew weary of living the dream – that is, I got bored with not having anything to do all day, plus my bank account was a little lower than I liked – so I applied to a bunch of jobs. I got an interview for two; the first was a temp agency, the second a courier position. I didn’t get the courier job because I surprisingly failed a New Zealand geography test. Fortunately, the temp agency interview consisted of watching some videos and filling out paperwork. I went in at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, and left at 11 a.m. with a job lined up for the following morning. I’ve been working there for the last two days, and the first day left me incapacitated and unable to write about it – it involves working at a pallet-building company from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. We’re not allowed phones on the floor, but here’s an approximate picture of what it looks like.

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It’s not hard work – it consists of cutting, stacking, nailing, or painting wood. It surprisingly doesn’t get all that boring, and the time goes pretty quickly. The only problem is that to get there I have to walk 15 minutes, take a bus, and then walk another half-hour. But for 115 bucks a day I’ll put up with it.

It’s also a pretty good job because it’s basically a free gym membership; while the wood doesn’t weight much, repeated lifting, twisting and placing will have me in shape in no time. Not to mention the hour of walking every day.

In the meantime, a few other things are on the go; I applied to a travel-writing thing which I should hear back from soon – if I win, I get to go on a 10-day excursion through Europe and write about it. I’m also applying for an internship (paid! Suck on THAT Canada) for a popular radio station here, so we’ll see how that goes.

Now, I must be off; I am going to see X-Men: Days of Future Past now. I’ll let you know how it is!

Xmen

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Blog, Christchurch, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Visiting Riccarton House & Bush

Sundays exists for the sole purpose of doing nothing. You can lie in bed all day, walk around in your pyjamas, and get piss all done. However, since most days have been like that for me recently, today I decided to get out and see more of Christchurch. Kylie and I went to explore a local art market at the Riccarton House. We took a nice, leisurely walk down there – it took us about 20 minutes – in beautiful autumn weather.

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While it was smaller than I expected, it still had some pretty cool stalls.

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A lot of the stuff there was handmade, and some of the stalls’ owners were spinning the wool as we watched. The results were pretty cool.

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After we browsed for a bit, we noticed a path leading to the Riccarton Bush; this is a fenced off area with no predators allowed in, that contains some of the oldest, largest, and rarest trees in Canterbury.

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There was quite big loop trail that went through the forest, and a bunch of different plant specimens to look at. Eventually I got hungry so we left, but not before Kylie got a picture with a big tree resembling the Deku Tree.

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Definitely another place worth visiting in Christchurch; the arts market is only on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so plan accordingly. The Bush is open while the sun is up, though, so take your time and enjoy the scenery.

On another note, we also saw Godzilla the other night. Fan-freaking-tastic. It really takes me back to when I was about ten, watching the last version of Godzilla to come out. There isn’t much plot; some guy who looks like a mix between Frodo and Harry Potter is the son of Bryan Cranston and does a bunch of stuff then Godzilla shows up. I also found out that X-men: Days of Future Past comes out on the 22nd here, as opposed to the 23rd in Canada…so I’ll be sure to post a full, spoiler-filled post before you have the chance to see it.

Don’t miss it!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

 

Categories: Adventure, Blog, Christchurch, Holiday, New Zealand, Place to see in Christchurch, 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

1

Queenstown gondola and luge 

2

Milford Sound trip

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Arrowtown Autumn Festival 

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Bungy Jumping off the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge 

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Queenstown Gardens and waterfront 

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Thanks, and enjoy!

Connect with me:

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

 

Love,

CP

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

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