Travel Page by Planet Ranger
Home search About Advice

Travel Page

Kickin' It Kiwi Style

Welcome to the 2nd edition of my travel page. The first edition for those who don't know was... "Tales from Wales" where I documented my third year of university in beautiful Swansea UK. Well, I am turning over another leaf and heading to New Zealand to attend teachers college and have some adventures along the way. Most of you know the deal here, I write stories about my travels, add some comments about current world issues and display some photos. Please leave me a comment (if you wish), I always appreciate hearing from you all.

Diary Entries

Thursday, 08 January 2009

Location: Australia

Hey... a quick update with only a few minutes left on my internet.

So, we are now at Coff's Harbour on our journey down the east coast. Looking back on the trip it has gone so quickly as we return to Sydney tomorrow. Over the past two weeks we have been driving south on the A1 from Cairns. It has been fun... there have been a lot of beaches and it has been very hot. However, it is much more commercial than the rest of our trip... just billboard after billboard like American beach cities so we wish in retrospect we would have spent more time in the Outback. Anyway, we have enjoyed our time. We LOVED the Great Barrier Reef and then spent three days sailing around the Whitsunday Islands and then went out to Fraser Island for a day.

So, we head to New Zealand on Monday to hang out in Dunedin for a few days.

I am just watching some some television and saw that '24' is returning for another season, WHAT! You all know how crazy I am about that show... It will be nice to watch that when I am have to be inside during the winter, definitely not looking forward to going back to cold.

I am really close to seeing you all again. Can't wait!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Location: Townsville, Australia

Happy Holidays everyone!

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and is enjoying the between Christmas and New Years relaxing lull. Dad and I definitely missed the traditions of Christmas this year. It didn’t seem like Christmas in the least. We spent Christmas in Cairns, in northern Queensland. It is very warm and completely opposite to the weather at home, sorry. We went out on the Great Barrier Reef one day. It was incredible… an entire different world down there. Our other two days at our resort stay were spent relaxing on the beach and enjoying the view from our room watching cricket and one night they had a Boston Bruin game on!! For Christmas dinner we had our Dutch friends over and had steak and corn on the cob. We have now started to make our way down the east coast. We are stopped in Townsville, we stayed here last night and today plan to take the ferry to Magnetic Island. Tomorrow we leave here early for Arlie Beach and will spend the next two nights on a sail boat going around the Whitsunday Islands.

Since Alice Springs our days have been very full. The camping trip was great. Of course, everyone loved dad and we made some really good friends. Our guides were amazing. The trip was broken into two parts. First, was through the desert from Alice Springs to Darwin and the second was around Kakadu National Park. Dan was our first guide. We just loved him. He was a real Outback cowboy and taught us so much about the country and what life is like in the outback. Dingo was our second guide around Kakadu. It is not the best time to go there because it is the wet season so the popular waterfalls were inaccessible and the wildlife, mostly crocs, are more spread out so harder to see. We were not disappointed though, Dingo did a good job of showing us aboriginal rock art, taking us to well hidden waterfalls and swimming holes and we even saw a croc and had a snake scare! We have seen so much and have so many stories to share. Looking forward to having the opportunity to do that.

Have a happy new year everyone. Will try to update again soon. xo

Monday, 15 December 2008

Location: Australia

The adventure continues!

At the moment dad and are choo choo chooing up to Alice Springs from Adelaide. We have been on the train for about 20 hours and have another 5 to go. We upgraded to a sleeper cabin which I was thankful for.When I look out the window all I can see is red sand and desert like vegetation of dry spiky bushes and the odd dead tree. I could have never prepared myself for this. I had an idea of what the outback would look like but this is unbelievable land. As you probably good imagine, dad has the atlas and train schedule out making all the places we have been and timing the route of the train. It really has been one of Australia’s great journeys.

Since the last time I wrote we have covered a lot of ground. We made it back from the main land from Tasmania. We LOVED Tassie and did not plan far enough time there. Saturday was wasted since we were so tired from the overnight ferry. We drove a lot that day and ended up in Beaumaris on the east coast. The next day we visited Wineglass Bay and hiked around. It was a highlight. This is where we saw our first kangaroos. After our hiking we made our way to Port Arthur where we stayed in a cute little cabin. Port Arthur is home to a historic site that convicts built in the 1800’s. Monday we stopped in Hobart and had a wonderful seafood lunch before making it back to Devonport to get the 8pm ferry. The drive from Hobart was unique. We went up high through a forest reserve and all the trees where dead. It was bizarre then all of a sudden there would be a huge lake. We made it back to the ferry with plenty of time and got a bunch of supplies to make sandwiches. We decided to upgrade to a cabin since neither of us slept that well on the way over. Our cabin had two beds, a wee bathroom with a shower and a table… just like a hotel room. Once we left port I feel asleep and dad had to wake me up the next morning because we were getting into Melbourne. The upgrade was worth every cent. We then stayed in Melbourne for two nights. Melbourne is my favourite Oz city so far in the journey. It is massive but energetic and full of culture. One of the things I like most was the public transport system there. The owners of the hostel we stayed in were the so kind and helped us a lot. Freeman Lodge if you ever need a place t stay in Melbourne. We must have walked close to 50 km during our time there. We visited beaches and walked along the waterfront, explored parks and along the river and watched the rowers. On our last night in Melbourne we went up to the top floor of the Rialto building, the highest building and got to see the enormity of the city at night. The next day we left Melbourne to head to Mt. Gambier via the Great Ocean Road. It was a magnificent drive of amazing costal views. We got to Mt. Gambier later than we expected but had a terrific dinner at a local pizza house. It was rainy the next morning so we decided not to do the hikes I had in the master plan but drive around the Blues Lakes instead. Mt. Gambier is an extinct volcano and there are several crater lakes that are a wild colour of blue. It was a long drive to Adelaide. In Adelaide dad made me purchase new sandals since my smelled so bad. I a sad to throw my old one away, we have travelled along way together. We explored the market and the gardens. I have developed a passion for indigenous art, I think it is very impressive. The Adelaide gallery had a small exhibit and I am really looking forward to the Alice Springs gallery since we will be in the centre of it all. We got on the train and Adelaide and here we are now.

We are staying in Alice Springs tonight and then head to Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) tomorrow and staying at the resort out there. Ayer’s Rock is 400 km from Alice Springs. On Wednesday we go back to Alice Springs and start our Camping trip up to Darwin early on Thursday. We finish with that on Dec. 23 and fly to Cairns on the 24th for a four-night stay at a resort and trip to the Great Barrier Reef on day and Cape Tribulation another. I probably will not have the opportunity to update this page until we are at the resort.

I have loved travelling with dad. It has been a real journey that not many people get to , I am a lucky girl.

Saturday, 06 December 2008

Location: Tasmania, Australia

A quick message with ten minutes left on the internet meter. Dad and I sailed 11 hours last night to arrive in Tasmania early this morning. Tasmania so far is magical. Similar to New Zealand but still very different. My favourite thing so far is the fields of lavander. The smell is amazing. This afternoon we plan to hike up Mt. Williams in the North East and visit Binalong Beach then make our way down the east coat until we find somewhere to stay. Tasmania is famous for their wine, cheese, seafood and chocolate so I doubt we will have any trouble fitting in. Tomorrow we will hike around Wineglass Bay (look it up... it is beautiful) and then down to Port Arthur. Monday Hobart and up the west coast.

Dad and I have done a lot in the short time we have been in Oz. We have traveled a lot, driven on 1000km. Our favourtie night was staying in a caravan at Batemen's Bay. The land is what I expected, very dry sandy soil and burned vegetation. It has been hot, upwards towards 30 each day. It is cooler our here in Tassie but will be in the 40s when we get to the outback. Our kangaroo count is still at zero.

We just heard about the political mess in Canada and I wasted a bunch of my internet time reading about it, holy crow.

Please keep good care and we will post photos and more news soon.

Wednesday, 03 December 2008

Location: Sydney, Australia

Hi All!

It is early morning here in Sydney. Dad is still sleeping. I have been awake for awhile now due to strange noises outside. It is very warm here but all the locals say it is cool, I guess I wont be complaining about the weather for the next several weeks then! We arrived Monday evening (We are 16 hours ahead of the eastern time zone) from Dunedin. It was really said leaving my apartment and friends in Dunedin. Most of them will not be there when we return for a week in January. We had a wild time getting into the city from the airport. Surprisingly dad and I did not argue once about the driving... and it was me driving! Dad is doing really well with this whole backpacking thing and staying at hostels so far, you all would be proud.

We did lots of walking yesterday. All around the town, past the Opera House, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and back and more through town. We drove out to Bondi Beach, a beautiful beach in the east part of Sydney. Dad loved it. We had a couple drinks at a cafe there and headed back into town. We are both shocked by the size of Sydney... it is massive. Today we head down the east coast to Bateman's Bay for the night and then to Lake Entrance on the South Coast tomorrow by Ninety Mile Beach before heading over to Tasmania on Friday.

Hope you all are well, please keep in touch.

Dads love for New Zealand was strengthened last week as we traveled more around the South Island. We did one of the great walks, the Kepler track. We did it over three days but it is designed for four days. One of our days was super long and maybe a bit too long for us but we did it. It rained so hard during our really long day and our last day. I think dad has developed a new passion for trekking... he wants to go back to New Zealand early to do another one before we go back to Canada. That was our main trip away from Dunedin but we took day trips through the Catlins and to the most Southern tip of the South Island and around the beaches of Dunedin.

My graduation was on Saturday, a very enjoyable dad. Thank you all for your best wishes. My favourite part of it was parading down the main street. The ceremony was short and sweet then all my phys ed friends and family went for pre dinner drinks, dinner and post dinner drinks. Dad and I were apart of the post dinner drinks.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Please note updated photo pages.

Monday, 17 November 2008

I think consistency is the best word to describe New Zealand weather lately. It was 29 degrees on Saturday, the hottest it has ever been during my time here, almost too hot to be honest… then, I woke up to pouring rain and 3 degrees this morning. At about 10am it was bright and sunny and when I walked home from school it was super windy, now it is pouring rain again. I am still so confused that it is mid November and going into summer here. It is really strange to see all the Christmas trees and decorations up in the shops when I am wearing shorts and tank tops.

I have been informed that I have yet to write about those topics I promised I would write about, Here we go…

My last teaching practicum went so well. I am really happy with how much I developed my classroom management skills, the resources I have collected and how much my confidence has grown. I had really wicked associate teachers, who genuinely cared for the needs of the students and I found that inspiring. It ended on a high note, at the beginning it always feels awkward teaching the class of someone else and not knowing routines, students, school policies but at the end I had developed rapport and just felt really happy there and didn’t want to leave. I look forward to getting into the class again.

A couple of days after my practicum ended, I met my mom, dad, aunt Nancy and uncle Dave in Auckland to begin our two-week epic road trip from one end of New Zealand to the other. I honestly can’t believe the immense beauty and diverse landscape of this country. Each day was so jammed pack and it became a joke that each day seemed like a highlight that we would not be able to beat, but the next day the bar would go up a little higher. It is going to be very difficult to beat New Zealand for the type of travel that I enjoy most… outdoor pursuits and natural beauty. I would really love to spend more time on the North Island, it doesn’t look promising for this trip, hopefully I will get to come back. Please look at photo page for more stories.
Since then I have just been finishing off T-col, aka Teachers College. The past three- four weeks have been the most stimulating and useful part of the college program for me. I found it was less theory and we all have shared ideas and resources that we created over our practicums. I have made some really good friends, especially in my Physical Education/Outdoor ed group that I hope to stay in touch with and just have to bounce ideas back and fourth throughout our careers. I am very happy that I came to New Zealand for this program. I am not sure if it makes me any more or less marketable as a teachers but some of the different perspectives from just working in a different culture is fresh I feel for teaching in Canada. New Zealand is also the leader for Outdoor Education, I learned a great deal from that course in terms of facilitation, debriefing, safety management, trip planning and hope this subject area will gradually explode in Canada like it has here because I LOVE getting out there and teaching it.
As far as my future plans are concerned, I don’t really have any other than for the next several weeks. I have just three more days left in teachers college and then my daddy is returning on Friday morning, woohoo! He is here for a while with me. We are going to spend the following week hiking tracks (perhaps the Routeburn or Kepler) and I am going to show him all my favourite spots around Dunedin and area that we just didn’t have time to explore before. The list keeps getting longer. I am also really glad he will be here for my graduation on November 29th and will get to meet all my friends and lecturers from school. Then, on December 1st we skip over the pond to begin our Australian Adventure!!!! We have a solid plan of what we are going to do there but it is going to be more laid back than our NZ trip and my daddy is going to stay in hostels with me! The first leg of our tour starts in Sydney, through the Blue Mountains, down to Ninety Mile Beach, onward to Melbourne, over to Tasmania, back to Melbourne, along the Pacific Costal Highway (which is supposed to be stunning) to Adelaide. From there we get on the Ghan train for 25 hours which takes us into the Outback to Alice Springs. We are renting a car there and Driving to Ayer’s Rock, Kings Canyon and Olgas, returning to Alice Springs to meet our group for a six day Outback camping trip which takes us up to Darwin and area. On Christmas eve, we fly from Darwin to Cairns where we decided to treat ourselves and stay at a resort for a few days for Christmas on the tropical beaches. From there, we are driving up to Cape Tribulation and then spending two-three weeks coming down the east coast back to Sydney. We are in Australia for just over seven weeks and then return to Dunedin to collect all my belongings and then back to Canada on January 17th.
From there, I have no idea what I will do. It is a really bad time of year for jobs of any type but things always seem to work themselves out for me, so I will just keep my fingers crossed that they will work out again.
Please look regularly for updates from NZ and Oz, once my daddy gets here I am sure he will keep me on the ball for updating you all.

Previous Diary Entries

Choose a date from the menu below to view older diary entries in a new window.

Photos - Click Below

Leave a Message


Email (optional):


Travelling Soon?

Get Your own Planet Ranger Travel Page. Click Here

Recent Messages

From Nancy
Hi JMac & Reddog,
Great to have an update - all adventures sound wonderful. LaFlash and I went to visit Mary & Julie over Christmas - it was awesome to see them and hear about your activities. Look forward to seeing you soon.
Love Aunt/Sister Nance
From Bruce
Merry Christmas you two. ALthough far away you and yours are close in heart and mind. Take care and keep up the bonding and traveling. What a great thing you are doing and you thot the Great Barrier Reef was special. We are all well and hoping you are too. I called Belleville this evening and all seem fine there.


From Nancy MacD
JMac & Reddog,
Can't believe we aren't there to share all of our favourite things - wine, cheese, seafood & chocolate. Uncle Dave is obsessed with the political activities here - I have been thinking about you both the past week knowing that there would be some very exciting discussions!!! Look forward to hearing about all of your adventures - miss you both tons!!
Lots of love,
Aunt N & LaFlash
From Aunt Rose & Uncle Pe
Hi Jen
Congrats on your graduation on Sat. You will be a fantastic teacher. Say hi to the Dog.
Hope to see you soon.

Aunt Rose & Uncle Peter

From Janet Cooper & Micha
Wow! What an adventure you have been on. Congratulations on your upcoming graduation. It's been such a long time since we were in contact. Katimavik is back in Dalhousie and this week is billet week. Jacqueline who is at DRHS is staying with Russ. Janet shares your awe of NZ as she was there on a Rotary exchange in April 2007. She never got to the South Island but went from Aukland to Fiji for the last 2 weeks of her trip. Sounds like you have a wonderful adventure ahead and we will be checking in for updates. All the best,
Janet and Michael
From Aunt Nance
Hey JMac,
I met your dad at the airport this afternoon - he is on his way right now. He seemed very laid back - he's becoming quite the world traveller!! Uncle Dave & I are very jealous - wished we could be there to share in all of the amazing adventures!! Take care - lots of love!
Aunt N
From nancy g.
Hi there I just emailed you as my sympatico was not working. Love catching up on your life think of you often do wish Katie could come & see you. Maybe next time a trip together. Luv Nan
From Cousin Fran
I just want to say hello. Uncle John Kean sent me some photos of all of you when your Mom & Dad and Nancy & David were visiting you. It looks like you were all having a wonderful time. Made me envious! It's a cold day in Toronto but is supposed to warm up again mid-week. It is difficult to know what to wear from day to day! I am happy you are documenting your adventures and can hardly wait to see your photos when you return. I guess that means I will be making a trip to Belleville in the future. Thanks for the great website.

From Uncle Peter & Aunt R
Hi Jen,Mary,Dog,Nance & Dave
We are having mild fall weather. The election is heating up. I'm campaigning with our Liberal Candidate today and tonight. Hope your having a great time with your visiting family. Make sure to tell the dog that Montreal spanked Boston in an exibition game. All is well here. Rose and I will want to see all the pictures when your Mom & Dad get back.

Lots of Love

Rosemary & Peter
From Rosmary & Peter
Hi Jen

Your Mom tells about this fella. Whats up? Your university is almost complete so big congrats. Lots of love Aunt Rose & uncle Peter
From Aunt Cathie
Hi There!
Just got my computer fixed-so-I just read your blog.What great experiences you are having.It sounds amazing!!!!You have not missed a hot summer here-lots of rain!Take care-bet you can't wait to see your mom and dad,Aunt Nance and Uncle Dave-Have lots of fun.Bye for now-Luv Ya and miss you. Aunt Cathie xoxoxox
From Katie G-G
Hey Jen,
I am patiently waiting for another update to see how things are going! Life in Belleville is pretty much the same. The summer is going by too quickly and before we know it you will be back home!!! I miss you!!
From Aunt Nance
Looking forward to hearing about your adventure in Samoa. Hope you had a great time!!
Aunt N
From Katie GG
Hey Jenny,
Just wanted to say hello. I hope you got my long winded e-mail. I miss you a bunch and hope that you have a wonderful break in Fiji! I'm so jealous!
From Bev
Thoroughly enjoy reading about your adventures. Sorry to hear that the teaching round is frustrating - it'll get better. I bet you're awesome with the kids. Got the garden planted last weekend - a little cool after a hot April. Take care! Bev
From Jono
Just checked out the site and it looks as though you are kicking it with good times and big JMAC smiles. Glad you are loving Dunedin. It holds a special place in my heart too, something we will always be able to share together.

Bundle up for the winter as it does get quite cold in the flats ... your right it will toughen you up! I remember many mornings running to the button on the heater to turn it on. Long sticks are helpful as well as plug in blankets!

Keep loading photos ... they are great! Enjoy your time in the most beautiful place on earth!

Sweet as .... jono
From Bre
Hi jmac!
i just checked out the pics from Milford track...holy hannah those are beautiful- you all look like you are having so much fun! I wish I could come see you over in New Zealand. It looks amazing! I miss you tons! :) can't wait till you are back in my life!
From Bruce
Good morning Jen. Whenever your birthday was, i hope it was a happy one. Certainly seems like it from your pictures and the "sound" of your writing. I am re-living our time in NZ through your story. What a great story it is. Keep it up so that I can continue my vicarious travels. Love you lots, Bruce
From Nancy G.
Happy belated birthday can't believe you are 25 will have to celebrate that one again when you come home. Hunter is crawling all over and standing next will be walking and chasing. Stay warm. Luv Nan
From Aunt Nanc
Happy Birthday Jenn!! I think with the time difference I might have missed it - hope you had a great day and were able to celebrate.
Lots of love,
Aunt N & Uncle D
From Katie G-G
Hey Hun,

Hope you had an excellent 25th Birthday! Looking forward to reading your next entry :)
Miss you!
From Aunt Rosemary & Uncl
Hello Jen
Happy happy birthday with lots of hugs & kisses xoxoxoxoxo.
Spring has finally sprung here - are you still into fall? If your rumour man has time he could hook up with Heidi & Lyle in Montreal.
I'm finding it difficult to razz your dad again because Montreal has beaten Boston soo often and it looks like Montreal will beat Boston in the playoffs. I digress.
We hope you are having a marvelous time. Enjoy your studies.

Take Care

All our luv

The Rookes
From Kathy, Kerry, Andrew
Love looking at your blog. What a wonderful adventure you are having with your life. Keep up the good work - the world is your oyster.
Spring is springing here - we won't miss winter. Looking forward to being outdoors in the sunshine & warmth. They say it will be 21 on friday. Goodbye coats and boots at last.
From Happy B-Day!
We are so enjoying your blog-it is the highlight of my day! Hope you have a good B-DAY!!!!I am going to try to call you soon-just trying to figure out when? Glad you are enyoying you schooling-sounds great.Miss Ya Luv Ya Cathie x0x0x0x0
From From Cathie
Your Easter Weekend sounded fabulous! What great adventures you are having! It is snowing and cold today-will it every end? I am counting down to our trip to Josh Stott's wedding in Dominicon-exactly one month from today. Keep up having fun and learning-You go girl!!!! Miss Ya-Lots of Love C+D XOXOXOXO