Archery at 'Have a Shot' Wanaka
If you don’t feel like heading into the hills, or sticking your snout in a latte in town, there are lots of activities around Wanaka worth investigating. Geoff and I discovered that thanks to some inspired entrepreneurs there is way more to Wanaka than stunning scenery.

We started our day at Have a Shot. I wanted to show off my archery instructing skills and Geoff felt like going a little aristocratic with the clay pigeon shooting. Pride comes before a fall I guess, because after minimal training Geoff outshot me, and he was a dab hand at deconstructing clay pigeons!

Matai Falls: The Catlins
Most visitors to the Catlins explore the rugged coastline with its rocky outcrops, caves, lighthouses and wild critters. On our second day in this forgotten corner of New Zealand, Geoff and I decided to turn away from salty flavoured activities and head inland to hunt for waterfalls.  Technically, there are over 70 waterfalls along the Catlins coast and we decided to visit the big three:  Purakaunui Falls, Matai Falls and McLean Falls. 

Greenstone River - Glenorchy NZ
The weekend family trip to the new Greenstone hut reminded me that tramping is not always about scaling peaks or stomping long tracks. Sometimes, moving at a slower pace, seeing the ‘wanderlust’ on ‘newbies’ faces and hanging out with some ‘younguns’ can be an experience in itself.

Jill and Ray were our ‘Camp Mum and Dad’ for the weekend and somehow they kept all 17 trampers relatively organised. Having taken the van to the trailhead on Friday night and pitched our tents, on Saturday morning we walked along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and headed inland towards Lake Rere.

Shauna @ Sam Summers Hut
Queenstown, in Central Otago, has just over 27,500 permanent residents and accommodates an astounding 1.9 million visitors every year. Known for its commercially orientated tourism industry, on the surface, it seems that the town has been designed for adrenalin thrill seekers, snow enthusiasts, and wine connoisseurs. However, there is a lot more to Queenstown than bungy jumping, snow sports and a 24/7 nightlife.

Ten kilometres along the Glenorchy Road is the start of the Mt Crichton walkway. I went on an adventure Shauna and Gareth Roughley of Roughley Originals Photography and Leah of Leah Travels. We discovered that you can stroll past the remnants of a Chinese gold mining village, wander through a sluiced canyon, and after 45 minutes walking through the forest, explore a fully restored gold miners hut. 

AOK Social Riders at Taiaroa Head
Queenstown and Central Otago tend to steal the limelight when it comes to mountain biking in the South Island. Yet, over the last five years, there has been a quiet revolution in Dunedin. A new track network has stretched out across the city landscape and there are now rides for all abilities, from tough nut dirt jumpers to weekend cruisers. 

Castle Dent - Outram Rodeo
Eight seconds is a long time. The bronc bucks, hooves of the ground and the cowboy holds on tight. When the rider ploughs into the dirt the pick-up riders move in quickly and it is all over. 

Sitting with friends on the embankment at Outram, I realise that this city girl is hooked on rodeo. Just mentioning the word ‘rodeo’ sparks emotionally charged conversation. Some see it as a throwback to an Americanised Wild West; animal activists believe it is cruel and enthusiasts say it is a physically demanding sport for skilled riders.

Sarah Bond - Mt Luxmore
The Kepler Track is a true circuit and the start is within walking distance from Te Anau township. Most people take three or four days to do walk the track and make the most of Gucci facilities at Luxmore Hut, Iris Burn and Moturau hut.  

I wondered if there was some irony in the name as Johannes Kepler, a 17th Century German astronomer discovered that planets travel in an elliptical orbit. Turns out, it was James McKerrow - an early surveyor, who named the Kepler range in 1862, long before the track was built.

Toyota Vitz
After exhaustive online research, Rental Cars New Zealand won the prize for cheapest car hire –Auckland Airport.  I’ve always found hiring a rental car a tricky proposition and when you have a family wedding to go to you need to get a car that goes. However, I’d rather spend my money on holiday experiences and a higher standard of accommodation than a vehicle. All I want is a car that is safe and can get me where I need to go, without the hidden costs.

Lake Alexandrina & Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo is the largest of the three lakes in McKenzie Basin. It’s BIG blue sky country, where rolling plains of tussock smudge into the eastern horizon, and towards the West the Southern Alps bisect the landscape.

Geoff and I got to hide away for the weekend at a fishing crib on the edge of Lake Alexandrina, about 15 minutes drive from Tekapo town centre. We set ourselves a challenge to explore the area and find the best view. 

Waka at Waitangi
I revisited the Treaty of Waitangi grounds with some trepidation as I was left feeling underwhelmed after my visit in 2002. This visit was infinitely better. I discovered that everyone with a New Zealand drivers licence can explore the grounds for free. The $18 guided tour around the Treaty grounds with Dennise Robinson was my favourite Bay of Islands tour.