Coromandel // Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove was near the top of my New Zealand bucket list. I came across some photo on Pinterest while trying to plan, and was determined to go there if we could. in fact, we planned our stay on the Coromandel Peninsula specifically so that we could visit Cathedral Cove. for one - I love beaches. for two - I mean, come on, it's gorgeous.

you can't reach Cathedral Cove by car. you either have to hike 45 minutes through the forest, or arrive by boat. we opted to hike in with a picnic lunch. the parking area is small and we may or may not have just squeezed our rental into a "space" [which is what most everyone else had done.] the hike was actually quite a workout. it was hilly, and rocky in a few spots. but I couldn't complain about the views. I still can't get over how blue the water was. and the sky.

Husband was a good sport about me taking photos, so after I shot my quota we just wandered the beach hand in hand. [ok and maybe I made him take one shot of me.] the main draw of this area is the enormous cathedral-like cavern/tunnel that connects the two beach areas. but I loved the giant rock islands out in the water, and we discovered our own smaller cave as well.

I would have been happy to stay until sunset. or for the week, whichever. but we decided to call it when a huge storm appeared a few miles over. after the long hike back, we made it into the car without getting drenched. as gorgeous as Cathedral Cove is, I don't think it would be ideal to be stuck there during a thunderstorm.

Pinterest gets a win for this one. I was worried Cathedral Cove wouldn't live up to the hype. but like the rest of New Zealand, it was just as stunning as we hoped for.

linking up with Bonnie, Amanda, Caity, Michelle, and Marcella for travel tuesday
and with Nicole for treat yo self thursday


Christchurch // Botanic Gardens

if you don't like pictures of pretty flowers, blue skies, and sunshine... this is not the post for you. since it's officially spring now and Taiwan is starting to show itself in full bloom [helped along by a very rainy week] sharing our trip to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens only seems appropriate.

we visited the gardens on recommendation from Dannielle, who used to live in Christchurch. we wandered for hours through the grounds and hardly covered half of the park. there were pathways and ponds, gardens with specific flowers [or regional plants] and plenty of open lawn for lounging and picnicking. oh - and it's completely FREE.

I'm not an expert on plant life. my mother is an excellent gardener [just like my grandfather before her] and could probably tell you the names of each of these beauties. but I am 98% sure that last photo is of the famous New Zealand silver fern, based on the color under the leaves. all of the plant life in New Zealand was fascinating to me - so different from Taiwan and with many unique native strains.

hydrangeas I can recognize. and of course, the roses. it helped that they were all gathered in one particular place called the "rose garden." seriously, I could have set up a tent and lived in the rose garden it smelled so amazing.

I love going to botanical gardens because they are just so photogenic. [if you couldn't tell.] all the bright colors and fragrances were just... lovely. it seemed like every city we visited in New Zealand had a botanical garden, but I think Christchurch had the largest, oldest, and most beautiful. I would definitely recommend popping in for an afternoon if you are in town.

are you a fan of botanical gardens? where is your favorite one you've visited?

linking up with Nicole.
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