Alight...so this post is just a few weeks late (but who's counting really?). I have been so busy traveling for work I honestly haven't had a free moment to myself in about 3 weeks. We arrived home on Friday night and are finally finished with our insane travel schedule and will actually be home for a whole 8 weeks. Lets just say I am more than excited to live in my PJs snuggled next to our fur babies as I work, get caught up on all my Real Housewives, get back to a normal gym/yoga routine and actually see friends and family for more than a hot second in between trips. Plus, we are home just in time for the holiday season, only my favorite time of the entire year!

Looking back on these photos though, it was all worth it. The places that we have traveled this past year have been absolutely amazing; Fiji, Canada, Seattle, Chicago, Colorado, Las Vegas, NYC, Australia, New Zealand and up and down the entire state of California twice. I could not have asked for a better & more fulfilling job or a more compatible person to share my downtime with (and who accepts me for all my crazy, stressed out, frazzled & Snickers commercial grouchy/tired/hungry travel behavior).

Though I loved each destination, I think that Australia was my #1. Not only has the country been on my personal bucket list since I was about 5 years old (before I even know what a bucket list was) but it is also home to my favorite animal...the Koala.

  

Our first stop in Australia was Brisbane, which was a beautiful waterfront city with amazing homes built along the river, great food, friendly people & plenty of outdoor activities. Sadly we were only in town for a few days and much of my time was spent in meetings...but we did get a Sunday afternoon all to ourselves which we fully took advantage of with a river cruise to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (which I HIGHLY if not forcefully suggest). The boat takes you along through the city and residential river homes (which are ridiculously beautiful) where they point out sights and serve some pretty tasty food & drinks.

Upon arrival you are greeted by hundreds of Koalas, no joke, they are everywhere.

And then this happened...

I might look calm, but I was literally squealing with excitement waiting in line for this.

I mean how could you not with these faces?!

Best.thing.ever. 

And then the second best thing ever happened when we found out we were able to hand feed kangaroos. Unreal.

(I love the husband's smile in this one...)

Such an unbelievable experience - and so happy I was able to share it with this guy.

 

xo - margaret

Travel Diary: Auckland, NZ

November 2, 2014

Our last stop in NZ was Auckland - which I absolutely loved! After being on the road for over a week to multiple smaller towns and cities it was refreshing to be back in a bustling metropolitan area. I felt at home here and loved all of the outdoor shopping & dining, waterfront views, harbor and the cityscape which was stunning at night.

We were able to enjoy three nights in Auckland which was such a treat to be able to really unpack & enjoy the city.

Stay tuned for our wine country tour tomorrow...NZ style on the outer islands.

 

xo - margaret

Following our stay in Christchurch we were off to the Northern Island in NZ to visit Wellington & Napier.

(On a side note, domestic flights here are insanely different than what I am used to. There is nearly zero security, no checkpoints, no baggage x-rays and you are limited to a carry on size of about 15 pounds...and I mean seriously who can achieve that?! Such a culture shock for this silly American.)

Wellington is an absolutely breathtaking city, situated on the bay with stunning panoramic views of the water and surrounding hills. If you have ever been to Laguna Beach, CA it reminds me very much of their set up but with an actual city instead of the town. Coming around the bend and seeing the view of the water and the city was an unreal experience, these photos (although amazing - thank you husband) cannot begin to do this city justice. You must see it for yourself to truly experience its beauty. Definitely one of my favorites along our NZ travels.

We enjoyed a short one night stay at the Museum Hotel, a boutique and extremely eclectic property with all kinds of unique artwork, artifacts and collectors pieces. I would highly suggest staying here if you are in town and visiting the restaurant and bar on the top level, it's like stepping back in time with an old world meets modern art feel. 

Next up after Wellington was Napier/Hastings where we stayed for two days and started off with a trip to Elephant Hill Winery which was situated outside of town along the coast among the rolling hills. It was just as I thought NZ should look like and was almost straight out of a storybook.

The winery featured an amazing restaurant and tasting room where we had the second best meal of our entire trip - their food, service and wine were impeccable. 

Part deus of our stay in Napier will be up tomorrow as well as our travels up to Hamilton through the mountains and beautiful town of Lake Taupo.

xo - margaret