For Earth Day, I wanted to take a moment and share some of the photos from our trip the the Karori Bird Sanctuary in Wellington, New Zealand. This sanctuary is a massive forested area surrounded by a pest proof fence so the birds are safe from predators. While the birds are allowed to come and go if they wish, they’re provided with additional food inside the sanctuary to help them thrive.

birds We walked around for quite awhile before we actually saw any birds as we chose a more secluded path. You could hear them calling but would only see the swaying trees.

kaka Then we found the Kaka feeders and were soon surrounded by a flurry of the brown parrots, ready for snacks.

bird watching Down in the valley, we found so many other species of smaller birds flying about, playing and chirping.

quackers There was this duck (who I affectionately call Quackers) who was very curious about me and sat down right next to me at a shady spot on a bench.

kaka feeder We walked around for hours enjoying the tranquility of the area, listening and looking for birds.

It was deeply affecting to learn how much New Zealand has been transformed by humans. It is hard to believe that there used to be 12 foot tall flightless birds roaming the island freely. With a saddening amount of extinction, especially amongst bird life, I’m thankful that there are places like the Karori Sanctuary taking action to preserve the endangered species still struggling.

As an island, the environmental impact of everyday life in New Zealand is much more clear. Where here in the US, many are able to push aside ideas about living greener, it seemed to be the general consensus of everyone in New Zealand to conserve and preserve the magical environment that we all reside in.

I hope you celebrate Earth Day by doing what you can to protect our precious world, even in some small way.

bed and breakfast

Do you every imagine the most ideal life? One that is perhaps, not even in the realm of practical dreams, but instead pure fantasy? Did you ever imagine that you would stumble upon this dream in reality?

I found this place at a bed & breakfast in New Zealand called Awatea Lodge. We stayed here for just a night and I completely fell in love with the place. It was peaceful and yet filled with life. And a few darling alpacas.

little alpaca and a brown one
We were hosted by the lovely Joan and Brent who shared their beautiful home with us.

They grew various organic fruits on the property which they kindly shared with us, even giving us a bag to take with us on the road.

The porch was covered in grapes which filled the air with their sweet fragrance.

We spent an evening just sitting on the porch, with this sweet cat, enjoying wine and each other’s company.

shawn at the farm
I could easily imagine us just passing endless time in such a serene place.

pretty girl
One of the lady alpacas. She was quite tolerant of us taking her photo. She hummed at us a bit, but was also quite curious.


New Zealand

Every time I start to write something about our honeymoon I get stuck on what to say. I get stuck on what photos to share.* So I’m just going to jump in, somewhere in the middle, and see where it takes us.

Did I mention we went to New Zealand? I’m not sure anymore what made us choose to go to New Zealand other than the fact that it sounded crazy and wonderful so we just went for it.

You know, it’s hard to plan a vacation and a wedding at the same time. I’m not sure if you knew this, so I thought I’d mention it. So we didn’t plan entirely too much (despite the fact that I’m a compulsive planner). Then as we were preparing to depart, the terrible earthquake hit Christchurch. It wasn’t until we arrived in New Zealand that we became aware of the extent of damage to the city. Our trip became even less planned than it was before.

Luckily, we brought our tent and sleeping bags with us so we could camp just about anywhere. One night we ended up with the most amazing spot, right next to the beach.

sea shells

On this particular evening, it started to rain not long after we set up our tent. We snuggled up with some ginger ales, books and games and just enjoyed the night in our little orange pod. It was wonderful.

Along with camping, comes camp meals. I became obsessed with hummus and avocado sandwiches. As we were on the road for most of the trip, we ate quite a few of these.

One morning we woke up to these little birds squawking outside out tent. We kindly shared some of our breakfast with them, although they were not too fond of the avocado.

So here’s a start, there is much more, including volcanoes, magic mushrooms, sulfur lakes, fancy hotels and a lot of Lord of the Rings awesomeness. Stay tuned!

*at some point on this trip I developed some sort of photo fatigue and took hardly any photos, even though I wanted to. Luckily Shawn took a great deal and is kind enough to share.