Tag Archives: sightseeing

Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty

After our awesome NYE in Sydney, we headed straight to New Zealand on the first day of 2014 – all set for 10 days of adventure! We landed in Auckland, spent the night, picked up our rental car and then drove to Tauranga which is on the Bay of Plenty on the North Island. The weather was great and we headed to Mount Maunganui to hike…it was right on the water with a beach just in front of it, so we knew the view was going to be a great one!

Mt Maunganui

It was a really nice hike and the views were wonderful!

Tauranga Collage

Mt Maunganui Hike 1

Mt Maunganui Hike 2

Afterwards, we enjoyed some really delicious beer at a local brewery. Being in Korea, one of the things that we miss most is local, awesome beer on tap so we were in heaven.

NZ Beer

The next day, we went out on a dolphin watching trip – we had wet suits so that if we found a pod of dolphins, we could jump in and swim with them. I was super excited about it and so we headed out early in the morning on a beautiful day. Unfortunately, we didn’t find enough dolphins to get in the water with them, but we did get the chance to have some swim with the boat we were on for a little while which was great. One of the dolphins even had a baby with her!

Dolphin Watching TaurangaTravel Tip: If you’re heading there and looking for a nice little place to stay, we really enjoyed our stay at City Suites.

NYE in Sydney!

As I said before in my last post about Sydney, spending New Years Eve in this amazing city was very high on my bucket list! We booked a cruise ahead of time so we could enjoy the fireworks in one of the best seats in the city. With tickets in hand, we didn’t have to board until 7 PM meaning we had all day to explore a bit more. So, to make our NYE even more amazing, we headed to Bondi Beach to spend the day.

Bondhi Beach 2

The weather was perfect so we enjoyed the day at the beach before heading back into town to get ready for the main event!

Bondhi Beach Collage

We went to Darling Harbor to get on the boat and then took a cruise around Sydney harbor – we got a great view of the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House.

Sydney NYE Harbor Cruise

Harbor Bridge on NYE

Our cruise boat was in the Harbor of Lights parade so all of the ships had lights all over them and we made a big loop around the water before parking right in the front row.

Harbor of Lights Parade

We were one of a few ships allowed to be as close to the bridge & Opera House…we were literally right in the front row.

Front Row Seat - NYE Fireworks

The fireworks were amazing – it’s hard to put into words just how awesome it was. It was absolutely the best firework show we’ve ever seen!

Sydney NYE Fireworks 1

Sydney Fireworks 2

It was the best way to ring in the New Year – 2014 is going to be one to remember! I’m so glad we went and highly recommend everyone putting this on their bucket list!

Fabulous Sydney!

At the end of the year, we took a flight down to Sydney to celebrate closing out a great year and starting up another incredible one! Before the big festivities on New Year’s Eve, we had a few days to explore the city. I had been to Australia before and absolutely loved it but this was Ryan’s first trip down under. One of the best aspects to this trip was the fact that we got to leave winter behind in Korea and step into the beautiful summer weather! Hello shorts and flip flops!

Erin Pink Shorts Sydney

Our first stop was the Sydney Harbor area – we had to pick up the tickets for our NYE Harbor Cruise (more on that in the next post…I had been excited about that for months!). At the harbor, we walked around to check out the major Sydney sights – the harbor bridge and the opera house. While walking around, we stumbled upon a market in the Rocks – we perused the stalls, grabbed some great food, and also a beer at the oldest pub in Sydney. It was a fantastic place to hang out!

Ryan and Erin - Sydney

The next day, we went to the Featherdale Wildlife Park to meet some of Australian’s most famous creatures. We had a blast checking out the animals – kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, echidnas, cassowaries, kookaburras, and many more!

Featherdale Animal Park

It was a great place to see all of them – a bit outside the city but it was a great smaller wildlife park (a quick travel note – head there early…the animals are a bit more active in the morning before it gets too hot so it’s worth waking up earlier to go). While there, we were able to snap a picture with this cutie koala – a required picture for any trip to Australia and we were happy to check that off our Australia bucket list.

FDWP - KoalaWe truly fell in love with this city and enjoyed every minute that we spent there! Our best day of course was New Year’s Eve…I’ll fill you in on all of that on the next post!

Weekend in Hong Kong!

You may remember that we wished you a Merry Christmas while posing with a Santa Claus in a mall in Hong Kong. We had popped over there for a weekend in December because we wanted to get a dose of Christmas spirit. In our small little corner of Korea, the Christmas holidays are not really that big of a deal (at least not in Geoje) and you don’t get the Christmas cheer with Santa Claus, snowmen, reindeer, twinkly lights, and Christmas tunes that just really get you in the holiday spirit. Lucky for us, Hong Kong is a short flight away, so we hopped on a plane and headed there to check it out! We sure got our dose of Christmas spirit – it was EVERYWHERE. Every hotel or shopping center had Christmas trees and decorations galore. It’s an interesting environment here in Hong Kong because you have quite a few Western Expats.

HK Christmas

On our first morning, we headed to a breakfast place called “Flying Pan” and both enjoyed an awesome breakfast – while breakfast places don’t seem all that worthy of writing about, they are for us. Breakfast spots are essentially non-existent where we’re living and going out to breakfast is one of our favorite things so we cherished this cute little restaurant and devoured our eggs.

Flying Pan

Afterwards, we walked over and stumbled upon some escalators. I realized these were the escalators that I had seen on the travel channel – it’s the longest outdoor escalator series in the world, so we hopped on and enjoyed a ride all the way up to the top.

HK Outdoor Escalator Collage

After getting to the top, we found ourselves walking around to explore this great city in the fantastic weather (seriously – it was 75 degrees and sunny and then got to about 60 during the evenings…it doesn’t get much better than that!). Unlike Korea, we really didn’t feel all that out of place here. It was a nice blend of many different cultures which we really enjoyed.

HK Botanical Garden

We found our way to the Peak Tram and got in line. The tram took you up to the top of the large hill and had great views of the city.

HK Peak Tram

That evening, we went to the other side of the water to see the Skyline and laser show. Hong Kong is known to have one of the most spectacular skylines in the world and it definitely does.

HK Skyline

The next day, we headed to the Stanley Markets and walked around looking for some paintings. We ended up finding a few great paintings and then walked along the water to grab some lunch. Although it was a bit of a drizzly day, we had a fun time exploring another area in Hong Kong.

HK Stanley Market Collage

We took the bus back to the main part of the city and spent some more time walking around the city. One our favorite sites was watching the guys on the bamboo scaffolding. They must have been some of the bravest people alive because they would be up there working on this stuff at insane heights using minimal safety equipment! They would drop the bamboo scaffold poles down to the guy on the ground and he’d catch them and pile them up on the ground. We found it fascinating!

HK Scaffolders

We got back to the main area of Hong Kong a bit before dinner and decided to head to our restaurant of choice a little early. Boy, am I glad we did! This is a Michelin rated dumpling restaurant called Din Tae Fung and there is usually a huge line but because we headed there at 4:45 PM, they showed us right to our seats and we were in heaven for the next hour. The dumplings were amazing, the chicken soup was the best I’ve ever had, the spring rolls were crunchy, and the vegetables were fresh and delicious. They have this restaurant in a few major cities and it is definitely worth going there if you have the chance.

HK Dumplings

We took a late night and I mean really late night flight at 2 AM to arrive back in Busan on Monday morning at 6 AM. It was a fun weekend and we snagged a great Christmas card photo – that was the real success!

London Calling!

London is one of my favorite places in the world…it’s another place that both Ryan and I have been separately but never together. As we were on our way back to Korea from Scotland, we stopped in London for a couple days. My favorite way to enjoy the city is to walk around and see all of the hot spots of the city. It was incredibly cold and even snowing at times, but we were able to hit a lot of the highlights. We saw the Tower of London and London Bridge…

Tower of London

 Big Ben and Westminster Abbey…

Big Ben

Buckingham Palace, and…

Buckingham Palace

Platform 9 3/4. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and so I was really excited to stop by here. Ryan’s not much a Harry Potter fan, but he was nice enough to let me stand in line and took my picture.Travel note: Platform 9 3/4 can be found at King’s Cross station and the spot with the trolley/luggage going into the wall is outside of the ticketing area which was quite touristy but I still thought it was a very fun stop.

Harry Potter

During our time, we were able to enjoy a few English pubs – we absolutely love the beer, the food, and the atmosphere of these places so we were always up for popping in to one when we got a little too cold. While walking around, we found yet another wonderful English pub where we had some great beer and the best fish and chips we had our whole trip (I’m telling you, we really had an obsession with this meal…we couldn’t get enough of it!). It is a welcome change to the way they serve fish in Korea so we were loving every bite!

Best Fish & Chips

Afterwards, we swung by Trafalgar Square to grab some great pictures and then…

Trafalgar Square

found the MI6 headquarters as seen in James Bond… 

Ryan at MI6

and finally, took a walk along the Thames river.

Thames River

Lastly, we went on a Jack the Ripper Tour which was surprisingly fantastic. I didn’t know much of anything about Jack the Ripper, but the tour guide was really enthusiastic and did a great job of telling the history and taking us to all the spots where the murders took place. It was fascinating and in a pretty neat area of London that we wouldn’t normally see. They even took us through the street that J.K. Rowling used as her inspiration for Diagon Alley.

Jack the Ripper Tour

Jack the Ripper Tour in Whitechapel

Afterwards, we grabbed a pint in the same bar where the first victim had her last drink and was killed…certainly a bit morbid, but it was interesting to be in a place where something so infamous took place so long ago. If you’re heading to London, I highly recommend the tour.

Jack the Ripper Tour

Goodbye for now, UK, I am certain we will meet again in the future (hopefully just a bit warmer next time).

Mind the Gap

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