Australia + New Zealand Video

In case you missed it – here’s our vacation video. It fills me with both great joy and great depression. ;)

This concludes the recaps of the most epic vacation we ever had. Regular programming will resume tomorrow. ;)

~Cait

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New Zealand Part 2

Good news. This is the last long vacation post. The one after this will only have a link to the highlight video – not a thousand pictures. ;)

One of our favorite activities we booked in New Zealand was a horseback ride in Glenorchy through a place called Dart Stables. They have some Lord of the Rings-themed rides that start with a movie tour, so obviously that’s how I got Andrew on board.

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They drove us around for the first hour and a half of the tour, showing us sites where movies were filmed and giving us a wealth of movie trivia.

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Apparently these mountains are part of Isengard? I can’t remember. Ask Andrew. All I remember is that we passed a bridge and a wooded area where Hugh Jackman was in Wolverine. ;)

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We thought our horses might have really epic names like Aragorn or Legolas, but we were given Doobie and Randall. Hahaha. They were fantastic nonetheless. ;)

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Horseback-riding over a stream with mountains in the background makes you feel way cooler than you actually are.

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Our guides were fabulous, and one of them was sweet enough to take our picture.

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Fun fact: we literally met a guy who lives in Oklahoma while we were on this tour. We were in a group of maybe 8 people and 2 guides…IN NEW ZEALAND. What are the odds to meet a dude from Deer Creek!?

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I loved this guy’s post-ride attitude. Haha.

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After our ride, we made a stop at the legendary Fergburger restaurant for a late lunch. The line was always out the door when we’d gone by, and after eating our meal, we knew why.

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This burger is Andrew-approved.

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The rest of that day was spent driving around soaking in pretty scenery. :)

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Jack was with us in spirit. ;)

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This turquoise stream of perfection is called Shotover River, and I wanted to drop a cabin on the bank and live right next to it.

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The next morning, we bid farewell to our happy lake view and headed for the airport.

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Here’s the deal. If I spend a small fortune on a vacation that takes me halfway around the world to a place that is a once-in-a-lifetime, by-the-grace-of-God visit, I’m going to make the most of it. My idea of vacation is more adventurous than relaxing. ;) When I was booking flights, I saw one option that had an 11-hour layover in Auckland. Andrew’s whole obsession with New Zealand began with the Lord of the Rings movies, and at 2 hours away from the Auckland airport, I knew a quick trip to Hobbiton would be a little insane but doable. And thus, we rented a car and sped to the Shire because I really love my husband.

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He was on a whole new level of nerd. ;)

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The Hobbiton set is pretty much just an outdoor attraction. These little Hobbit holes don’t have much room at all behind the doors because all of the indoor shots were filmed at a studio in Wellington. So yes, we did go inside of one, but it wasn’t as glamorous as the movie. ;)

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He’s going on an adventure.

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After a speedy race back to the airport, we wept bitterly and boarded the plane to LA.

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We have still been overflowing with gratitude over this trip. I can’t tell you how many little signs and blessings the Lord sent us while we were traveling. (He rocks.) If you have the chance, I obviously recommend you visit New Zealand. And Australia. If you want to peruse any of my travel research, you’re welcome to come over and chat if you bring me a cheese pizza.

The real question is…where should we go next? ;)

~Cait

New Zealand Part 1

I know these picture posts are forever long, but I’d rather get them all out in fewer posts, because I’m sure you guys are getting tired of hearing about this vacation. I’ll return to boring old Oklahoma blogging soon. ;)

I completely underestimated how much I would fall in love with New Zealand. It was always Andrew’s dream, never mine, but it was absolutely breathtaking. And now I frequently daydream of moving there. ;)

We flew into Queenstown, a cute little ski town that shows off with some crazy beautiful mountains and Lake Wakatipu.

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One thing I never got over was the water everywhere…it was so. flippin. beautiful.

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Andrew was in his happy place. :)

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We landed in Queenstown around 8 AM. Our original plan was to drive north to Lake Tekapo, but it was showing foggy, crummy weather, so we went south instead. We ended up driving past several beautiful lakes, so it was a good switch!

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I saw more sheep in our four days in New Zealand than I had seen in the rest of my life combined. They are all over the place, and I LOVE it.

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We drove down to a place called the Catlins on the southeastern coast. Yes, if it just had one more letter, it would be called the Caitlins. I really wanted to change one of the signs. ;)

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We walked to an area called Nugget Point Lighthouse and took about 15,264 pictures.

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SO PRETTY.

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This next shot is my favorite…it’s hard to tell from the photo, but those rocks are humongous.

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On our drive back, these cutie pies gave us the most adorable traffic jam ever.

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After the drive back, we checked into our hotel and headed out to find food.

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The view wasn’t bad. ;)

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I found pizza. I found happiness.

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Andrew found his favorite apple pie ever (he got it three nights in a row), and I found chocolate gelato. :D

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The next full day in New Zealand was our favorite. Milford Sound was at the top of our list. It was also the vacation day that I had spent the most time on praying for good weather, because it rains 200 days a year in that area. I really wanted some sunshine for pictures. The good Lord provided. :)

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Milford Sound = Never Neverland.

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We booked a cruise & kayak tour with Southern Discoveries and set out around 10:00 AM. The drive to Milford from our hotel was 4 and a half hours, so we were awake for a LONG time that day.

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And it was totally worth it.

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It was pretty chilly in the morning, but thankfully the boat had these stylish orange jackets. ;)

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We had to make ourselves stop taking pictures every now and then to just enjoy everything, and I’m so glad we did, because the pictures don’t do it justice.

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SEA LIONS.

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That one in the front is so sassy.

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After our cruise, the boat dropped the kayakers off at the marine education center, and we headed down to the dock with 5 other visitors and 2 guides. This is a picture of our boat as it sailed away.

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I wish I could relive this day right now. And for the next 50 days.

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Kayaking in Milford Sound felt like God opened up Heaven and let us visit for a couple hours.

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To my utter delight, we saw penguins! You might have to click on the pictures to see this little dude better.

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Take. Me. Back.

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After the kayak tour was finished, we had a quick tour of the marine education center and their underwater chamber. They don’t have an aquarium – it’s a massive viewing area underground where the wildlife is free to come and go as they please.

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We took one more boat trip back to the port and waved a sad farewell to Neverland.

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The road to and from Milford is narrow, windy, and long, but the scenery makes the drive bearable. ;)

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Next post up is horseback-riding in Glenorchy and Andrew’s dream-come-true day at Hobbiton.

Happy Friday, loves!

~Cait