Summer Above the Clouds // part 3

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For our final trip of the summer, Wilson and I headed off to New Zealand to hang out with my sister and her boyfriend. We arrive with no itinerary, no expectations, and no plans. It was going to be quite the adventure. We started the trip in Queenstown exploring the shops and gathering informational pamphlets. We then planned out what we thought would be the best for the trip and then went about it. We went zip lining, on a cruise in Te Anu and on a luge adventure.

We also went snowboarding in Wanaka. Snowboarding was a definite highlight because where we live snow sports are usually available between November (if you're lucky) and March (we went in August/September). It was also a treeless slope. They call it a snow field there and that is exactly what it is. Nothing but the face of the mountain and snow. Not a tree in sight. It was such a neat experience being in the snow on vacation. 

New Zealand is one of my favourite countries by far because everywhere you look you see mountains. The first thing I said when we left the airport was "let's move here". I cannot begin to explain how amazing it is. This post has more pictures than necessary to try and show how incredible the scenery was. I would highly recommend going sometime in your lifetime. You will not regret it. 

After New Zealand, we went to the Gold Coast before going to Sydney, Australia. We were in the Gold Coast for one day, but we hung out with some amazing friends and explored Surfer's Paradise. Someday, I would like to explore the Gold Coast further because everything about it looks so beautiful.

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Sydney is always so nice, we did the typical tourist things like seeing the opera house, Bondi, Manly, and the city. We went shopping and to Hillsong Church. We also spent two days in the Blue Mountains exploring and adventuring. We went on the world's steepest train and took a cable car across a canyon. We stayed in an Air B&B which saved us quite a bit of money and also made us feel more at home. We ate at a restaurant called Pancakes on the Rocks which is open twenty-four hours a day and seriously worth the wait in line. We spent a little over ten days in Sydney relaxing and hanging out before heading home on the final plane of the summer. 

This summer was filled with adventure and exhilarating experiences that I wouldn't trade for the world. There is nothing better than traveling with the person you love most and seeing a new place. If we were to do it again I wouldn't change anything but I would probably space it out a little more. Travel the world when you can. You will never regret the experience of a new culture or place and the vacation part is something we all desire. 

Three Sisters (Blue Mountains) - they get their blue look from the gas emitted by the Eucalyptus plants. 

Summer Above the Clouds // part 2

Our second trip began in the Maldives. After almost 27 hours of flying, we finally arrived on a beautiful island of white sand and huts that sat in the very blue Indian Ocean. We were exhausted, and the only thing we wanted was a shower. When our room was ready that was the first thing we did; the second was sleep. We got ready for dinner and layed down for a moment that turned into hours. I will never be able to tell you how that first meal was, but I will say breakfast the next day was to die for. 

We spent ten days in the Maldives, enjoying food, the gym and more food. The problem with an all-inclusive resort is that you never stop eating. They also give you massages on the house that were incredible, and nothing will ever compare to that experience. Everything about the Maldives was like a dream but towards the end of the trip we were starting to get a little bit stir crazy and had mad island fever because there wasn't much to do. We played a riveting game of chess but other than that we mostly just hung out on our deck and in the water - which wasn't awful but repetitive.

After the Maldives, we went to China to see Wilson's family and experience something out of the ordinary. We stayed first at a self-proclaimed five-star hotel that was cool but overpriced and full of cigarette smoke. We then moved to downtown Guangzhou, which was a little bit easier on the lungs for sure. 

From China, we took a train to Hong Kong where saw more of Wilson's family, shopped a little bit and went to Disneyland. Hong Kong was amazing, the air was a little bit cleaner and, therefore, didn't give me as much asthma and was easier to enjoy. We were only in Hong Kong for two days but we loved every second of it. 

After twenty days away from home and our dog we were more than happy to come back to Canada. 

A Summer Above the Clouds // part 1

Wilson and I spent a lot of time visiting places we've never been and making special memories in each and every one. Our marriage started with a trip to Hawaii where we got married (read the about the wedding here) and spent the first week as a married couple with our families and friends. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. We got to spend a week celebrating our wedding with the people we love most. 

We got married in Kona, Hawaii, and that is where we spent most of out time. We explored beaches like Mile 88,  Hapuna, and the pier, we went to the volcano park and over to Hilo, spent a lot of our time at the hotel, in the pool. We ate a lot at of burgers at Splashers Grill, on our wedding night, for breakfast, for lunch, and for dinner. We stayed in Waikoloa Village and spent a lot of time at the shops there.

Hawaii was amazing and there are few things I would change about our experience there. I have compiled a list of do's and dont's for our time in Hawaii that will hopefully help you in your travels. 

DO: Order food by the pool; go to Splashers; eat Kona Coffee ice cream; shop at the Queens Shops; go to the volcano, get Scandinavian Shave Ice; explore non-tourist locations (talk to a local and ask where to see turtles); go to the end of the world; splurge on a day bed for a pool day; use sunscreen (even if you're not prone to burns); buy $0.99 water; explore.

DON'T: spend everyday at the pool; book rental cars through third-party sites unless you're sure the rental place with honor your rental; forget water; forget sunscreen; get tattooed in a high tourism area (they change the price from person to person); waste your time. 

We learned from our mistakes and I hope you can too, sunscreen and water are the two most important things that will help you enjoy your time, but being there with the people you love most will also enhance your experience.