Category Archives: New Zealand

Hamilton Zoo: New Zealand

I guess the way we spend time during a holiday has changed completely. I used to write about adventures and running around when we holidayed as a couple but as a family it was a more relaxed pace like spending a day at going to a zoo :).

We have been looking forward to this family getaway for a long time and we were all excited.

First thing at the zoo is a photo in front of the signage šŸ™‚

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Hamilton Zoo is an average sized zoo, not very big to require days exploring but big enough (25 hectare) to spend with small kids walking, around and enjoying. The best part is that the animals are not caged like in most zoos so visiting Hamilton zoo feels like you are walking in a National park and animals are living in their nature habitat. All the animals are still at a safe distance in massive enclosures so they could roam freely.

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We started our tour with the Rhino first as the lady in the counter told us there is a baby rhino on display who will be removed later.

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I guess everything when they are baby are very cute, even the rhino. We enjoyed the two adult rhinos playing with each other while the baby rhino followed her mum around. We spent lots of time there and Chhori was excited to see a rhino after watching all the animal related rhymes.

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It was really nice to see many animals so close as well. I have never seen a red panda or a giraffe so near me. When we visited Dubbo zoo, we had a pretty good encounter with giraffes but this was even better as we are on the same level and I could see how tall they really are. They are just spectacular and we spend lots of time admiring them.

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The Sumatran tiger exhibit was also impressive so were the chimpanzee and cheetah.

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There were many chimpanzees on display and there were some babies too. It was really cool to see them lay a picnic rug before they sat down. So many of their actions reminded me of human beings šŸ™‚

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We also saw lots of other creatures, including native New Zealand birds and reptiles.

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The other thing I discovered that day is how patient and great teacher AS is to our daughter. The whole day, he was pointing at animals and birds and explaining to Chhori what they are and talking to her to keep her interested.

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Also I saw how much my parents loved Chhori as they kept on playing with her making sure she was OK. It is so great to have them around.

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It took us around 3 hours to walk around the whole zoo. Chhori napped for an hour or so during the visit so she was full of energy when she was awake, running around everywhere and enjoying the day.

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We all were hungry at the end of it so we went to the cafƩ onsite for lunch. They even have peacocks walking around the cafƩ area. We ordered burger and chips and Chhori had nuggets.

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There is a playground inside the zoo as well so Chhori and I managed to have fun for a while on the swing before we left the zoo.

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I have to admit we all had great fun. A perfect way to spend a day in Hamilton.

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Next stop Hamilton Garden, see you soon with that post.

Take care everyone,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

 

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Our family trip to New Zealand

As I wrote in my post, I was excited and anxious about our trip to New Zealand. I was excited for Chhori as it was her first overseas trip but scared for myself as I didnā€™t know how I would handle her if she started to cry or threw tantrums in the plane.

Our flight was at 9 am so we took a cab to the airport very early. Luckily, Chhori woke up on her own around 6 am so things worked out perfectly. We had a bit of drama for the cab but we reached the airport on time and checked in and were in front of boarding gate by 7 am.

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Like last time, Chhori was walking around and saying ā€œHiā€ to everyone around us in the waiting lounge. She made friends with a few of the air hostess from Emirates. They were really nice and sweet with her and Chhori loved all the attention.

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Then it was time for the actual test: 3 hours flight with a toddler. The good news was that she was well behaved and happy the whole flight. She just ate and interacted with people most of the time. We also had a tablet ready for her just in case she got cranky but she was not interested in her rhymes for a long period.

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She would rather walk up and down the aisle. Everyone on-board were very sweet to her when she went in front of them randomly and said ā€œHiā€.

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On our way back she even made friends with a family who had two kids around 6 and 8 years. They were happy to take her for almost an hour, so she sat on the mumā€™s lap playing with crayons and toys. The kids were playing with her and she was delighted to play with new people and toys. I really appreciated having such lovely people on-board our flight. So overall, Chhori was well behaved on the plane and our next big test will now be during our big trip to Malaysia and Nepal next year. Hope it will be as easy as this one.

As I and AS had been to New Zealand multiple times, this time we made sure we knew what we were doing every day in advance. We flew to Auckland and spent a few days in Hamilton and the rest of our trip in Auckland.

When we left Sydney, it was warm and sunny for winter but New Zealand was really cold and chilly. Once we landed, we hired a car and went straight to Hamilton.

Hamilton is a small beautiful city 2.5 hours from Auckland airport. By the time we reached our hotel, it was dark and was drizzling a little. We checked in and were glad to find our rooms were warm and cosy. We ordered our dinner and just rested for the evening as we planned to go to the Hamilton Zoo the next morning.

The next day, we were greeted by a beautiful sunny day and were glad there would be no rain for the rest of our time in Hamilton. Our hotel was next to a golf course so we could see greenery when we opened the window. I felt very relaxed and happy and so did AS and my parents.

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On the other hand, Chhori was too excited discovering new rooms, opening every drawer and cupboard :). It definitely made us realise how much we have done at our own place to childproof the rooms. We donā€™t have to worry at all to leave her on her own in our apartment but at the hotel, it was hard to be constantly making sure she didnā€™t hurt herself or break something.

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After breakfast, we drove towards the zoo . I was driving that morning and, it was a breeze to drive there in comparison to Sydney, no road madness and no crazy drives. It made me realise it may be a great idea to live in a small city where getting from one place to another is not a big headache.

I will write about our trip to Hamilton Zoo in my next post.

Till then take care and have a great day.

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Chhoriā€™s first overseas trip

We are off to Auckland, New Zealand tomorrow and I am really excited for Chhori as it is her first overseas trip. I know it is not very far away but 3 hours flight to another country where you need a passport to enter will be another milestone to celebrate for Chhori.

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand

We are going with my parents and it will be their first time to New Zealand as well. Me and AS are going to be the guides for this trip as we have been to NZ multiple times.

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We (AS and I) love New Zealand as it reminds us so much of Nepal and it is definitely one of our favourite destinations. If you remember, we went to New Zealand on my babymoon too so technically Chhori has been there when she was still in my tummy šŸ™‚

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For last few days Chhori has flu and mild fever but it seems to be getting better. I hope she will be 100% when we head to the airport tomorrow.

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We have done most of the packing and are eagerly waiting for our adventures.

We will be there for a week and have planned most of the days on what to do and where to go.

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I will definitely blog about the trip once we are back.

Till I see you again, have a great day and see you soon.

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Our trip to New Zealand : Milford Sound

While we were in New Zealand, we went to Milford Sound for a day trip.

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Milford Sound is a fiord in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island, within Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) Marine Reserve, and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. It has been judged the world’s top travel destination and called the eighth Wonder of the World.

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One of the worldā€™s most beautiful fjords, Milford Sound also holds the dubious honour of being the wettest place in New Zealand. On average, there are 186 days each year when rain falls, dumping almost seven metres of the stuff on anyone unlucky enough to time their visit badly. Although there is less rain during the winter months, there are still sixteen days a month of wet weather in any season. Iā€™d read that the high rainfall totals led to spectacular waterfalls, and, when windy, dramatic updrafts of water.

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Milford Sound is more than 3 hours away from Queenstown so we decided to book a tour rather than drive there on our own. It was an exciting journey for us with beautiful scenery ending with an amazing cruise.

Milford Sound (13)The coach that we were on was perfectly suited for sightseeing in a place as dramatic as the Milford Road, with clear glass windows and roof. The bus stopped every once in a while so we could all take every picture possible on the way.

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Our first stop was Te Anau, which is a lovely little village sitting on the edge of Lake Te Anau. At Te Anau we met up with the famous Milford Road, one of the great drives in the world. Itā€™s quite a long lake, whose coast we followed for a while.

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The next stop was Mirror Lakes, to take some great photos of the reflections of the mountains in the lake and we were very lucky that the water was so calm.

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Our cameras were on constant work during the whole trip as all the places we saw were so beautiful that we wanted to capture every one of them.

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Then, we stopped at the Chasm walk next which took us into the woods to a couple of bridges where we saw waterfalls that had done amazing things to the rocks around themā€”gouging holes and depositing tree trunks in holes in the rocks 20 ft. above the current flow.

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We had a few other stops before we reached Milford Sound.

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The road is quite challenging and I was glad we decided to get the tour rather than drive ourselves. We headed through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2 km long tunnel linking Milford Sound to Te Anau and Queenstown, by piercing the Darran Mountain range at the Homer Saddle. You could tell it was dug by hand because there were pick marks on the side walls and on the roadway. It was pitch black inside the tunnel and a very different experience. Once we were out on other side, it was downhill with a windy zig zag road that takes you down to Milford Sound.

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Finally, we reached Milford Sound and it was just beautiful and breathtaking. We had a boat waiting or us for the cruise. Arriving at Milford Soundā€™s boat dock, the sky was a deep blue and we took the opportunity to capture some amazing shots.

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As soon as we boarded, we ate lunch as both of were starving. The sandwich and coffee tasted better with the spectacular view and a hungry tummy šŸ™‚

The cruise started and the pilot informed us about the place and its history. We saw some seals sunning themselves on a rocky outcrop and some beautiful waterfalls along the way.

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A couple of times the pilot ran the boat up very close to a waterfall, so those on the bow got sprayed and AS managed to get some really nice photos.

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After almost 2 hours, our tour wound down and, we got on the bus and headed back to Queenstown happy with how our day went. It was an amazing day with some great memories for life.

Take care everyone,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to vote your favorite blog . NEPALIAUSTRALIANā€™s Blog Award 2014

Our trip to New Zealand : Glenorchy

The day we went to Glenorchy was one of our our absolute favourites and truly made us want to stay longer and explore the spectacular south island even further. It felt like another world altogether. Low-lying clouds obscured the peaks of the mountains that rose dramatically from the edge of an impossibly blue lake, pretty wildflowers grew alongside winding roads and there was a photo opportunity at every turn. It really is just the most breathtakingly beautiful place.

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The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in the land from Glenorchy north and it was easy to see why. AS being a big fan of the movie, we decided to do a guided tour instead of us driving on our own. We had previously been to Hobbiton on North Island and he loved it.

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Glenorchy is a small town set against a background of lush beech forest and rugged mountain ranges 45 km from Queenstown. It is nestled between the Richardson and Humboltd Mountain Ranges and overlooked by the mighty snow-capped Mount Earnslaw in the North. From Glenorchy you can travel on to the Rees Valley, Paradise and the Dart Valley, Kinloch township, Routeburn Valley and Greenstone/Caples Valleys which boarder both Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks.

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We were picked up in a 4WD vehicle and we went off-roading around the Glenorchy area as our guide pointed out various filming locations for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (and the Wolverine film and also Narnia). We left Queenstown early in the morning and drove up along the lake to Glenorchy.

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The road from Queenstown to Glenorchy is considered to be one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand and I absolutely agreed. With majestic mountains and the beautiful waters of Lake Wakatipu, it is no wonder we fell in love with the place every day. We were lucky to have a sunny day with clear blue sky. Wherever you look, you get magnificent mountain views.

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Our guide had good insight and knowledge about the area and the films.

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We stopped at a few lookouts along the way to take it all in. We stopped at Wilson Lake on the way ā€“ a filming location for the Lord of the Rings where they filmed the Ithilien camp scenes. The tour guide had an iPad so when we stopped at a location, he would play a few minutes of the clips from the movie shot at the location we were parked at and it was a great idea. For someone like me who does not remember a lot from the movie, good vision to compare with and for someone like AS, it was a treat.

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From there, we went to a place called Paradise and I have to agree that it was. The Glenorchy to Paradise road travels through at patches of red beech forest. These beautiful areas were used as filming locations for Lothlorien in the Lord of the Rings.

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We stopped at the forest where they filmed Boromirā€™s death (very scary for me) and scenes of Lothlorien. We also saw the trees that inspired Peter Jackson to film scenes here, and looked across to the snowy mountains where they filmed the Misty Mountains scenes.

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Then, we travelled past the location for Hobbiton for the Hobbit film, and also entered a forest they used to film a scene in the new film. Visiting the landscape used for the opening to the Two Towers was also spectacular ā€“ as we looked out over the land where Gandalf rides Shadowfax.

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From there, we stopped at Glenorchy Lagoon Walkway and it was a beautiful remote area and we hardly saw anyone else. From time to time, we saw a jet boat but apart from that it was absolutely quite with beautiful snow-capped mountains, nice green hills and us, just spectacular.

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After enjoying the great place, we came back into Glenorchy and it was a little busier with a few people wandering around. We spent time down at the lake and exploring the Glenorchy shed. It was demolished back in 1999 when there was a big flood and the Lord of the Rings crew helped rebuild this after this happened.

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Our guide prepared tea and coffee while we explore and we had tea with sandwich and biscuits with the great view in the background.

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We really didnā€™t want to leave the area but we had no choice but go back to Queensland as it was almost the end of our tour.

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I highly recommend anyone going to Queenstown, especially those into the Lord of the Rings movies and books to visit Glenorchy as it will bring lots of things from the movie into reality. Even if you are not a fan, you will absolutely love the spectacular view and breathtaking scenery.

Interesting facts about Lord of the Rings

  • The Lord of the Rings franchise is the sixth highest-grossing in movie history behind James Bond, Harry Potter, Shrek, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Peter Jackson began the process of sourcing locations for his cinematic masterpiece his team embarked on a worldwide search to find a beautifully haunting landscape

I will be writing more about our New Zealand trip so come back for more. Till then take care.

M from nepaliaustralian XOXO P.S: Do not forget to nominateĀ  your favorite blog . Nominations open for NEPALIAUSTRALIANā€™s Blog Award 2014

Our trip to New Zealand: Cromwell

Our next stop was Cromwell from Wanaka. It was a lovely drive through wineries to Cromwell.

Cromwell is another historic town that has a history in the 19th century gold rush days. The town is located right on the banks of the Lake Dunstan, where you can enjoy boating, swimming or kayaking. There are plenty of contemporary restaurants, accommodation choices and shops in Cromwell, but the heart of the town is Old Cromwell Town, which is full of restored buildings and even 150-year old minerā€™s cottages.

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As we were driving, we knew we had reached Cromwell when we saw some giant fruits.

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We stopped there, had coffee and cake, took few photos in front of the giant fruits and drove on to Old Cromwell Town.

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The story is that when Lake Dunstan was being constructed (it is a dam) the locals knew that the original Cromwell was going to be drowned. The citizens of Old Cromwell, knowing the town was going to be drowned decided to move some of the buildings to higher ground.

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Initially, eight buildings were chosen from the old commercial area due to be submerged by the advent of the new hydro lake. These buildings were to be relocated further up the main street to a site above the new lake level ā€“ and so began ā€˜Old Cromwell Townā€™.

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Now Old Cromwell has a superb cafe called the Grain and Seed cafƩ, which serves excellent coffee and homemade food, as well as other shops and art gallery.

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As we walked around the area, we saw a small area of residential dwellings of the 1880ā€™s period and the preserved ruins of some of Cromwellā€™s original buildings. It was really awesome to see all the old things and imagine how people used to live in those days.

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Some of the things are so old that I had almost forgotten that there existed such old ways of printing newspaper or the manual workings of blacksmith with coal fire and all.

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After enjoying the great place, we headed back to the hotel at Queenstown. We had another big day planned for the following day which involved a trip to Glenorchy. Will be writing about that in my next post.

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Take care everyone,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to nominateĀ  your favorite blog .

Nominations open for NEPALIAUSTRALIANā€™s Blog Award 2014

Our trip to New Zealand: Wanaka

While we were in New Zealand, we rented a car and decided to go for a drive. Our first stop was Wanaka.

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Wanaka is a town in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand. It is situated at the southern end of Lake Wanaka, adjacent to the outflow of the lake to the Clutha River. It is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park.

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Wanaka is just over an hourā€™s drive from Queenstown and itā€™s simply stunning. Driving over the hills on he winding mountain routeĀ – Crown Range Road – via Cardrona will take you on the steepest gradient on a highway in NZ. It was really scary as the road was zigzag and you could not see anything coming from the other side. I think I would not have gone that way if I had known that the road was so dangerous because to drive on that road , not only do you need to drive carefully but you pray that anyone coming from the other side is awake and careful as well.

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But the drive was worth the trouble as on the top of the hills, we saw snow. We parked the car and it was really windy but we still managed to walk for a while and enjoy the place before running back to the car.

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After that we drove by some beautiful small farms and ended up on the shores of Lake Wanaka at a lakeside cafe and just sat and enjoyed the view.

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Lake Wanaka is not as deep as Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown so it is possible to swim in it during summer without freezing your bits off. There are a number of ways to enjoy the lake with a host of kayaking and boating options available. We just decided to walk around and enjoy the place though before deciding to go for lunch.

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We were not sure what to eat and finally found a nice Korean place where we enjoyed noodle soup and stir-fried chicken.

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After lunch we drove to The Anzac Memorial Cenotaph which is a very short quick drive from town.

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From here we saw the marvellous view beyond the town and straight down the lake.

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We spent some time there and made our way to the Puzzling World.

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Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World is a tourist attraction near Wanaka, New Zealand. It started out as just a single level maze in 1973, but over the years expanded to add overbridges to the maze design (thus creating the world’s first 3-D maze), a large “puzzling cafĆ©” where guests can try out several puzzles, five large rooms of optical illusions, the Leaning Tower of Wanaka (which has a backwards clock that was started on the eve of the new millennium) and other attractions (such as the Roman Bathrooms) that ascribe to their theme of “puzzling eccentricity”.

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We took some fun photos there. From there we drove to Cromwell, more on it in next post.

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Take care everyone,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to nominateĀ  your favorite blog .

Nominations open for NEPALIAUSTRALIANā€™s Blog Award 2014