Girl overlooking lake from hot spring

New Zealand: Rotorua on Any Budget

Rotorua is one of my favourite spots to visit on New Zealand’s beautiful north island! There are tons of activities to suit every type of traveller, but we all know the cost of adventure adds up quickly. Luckily, Rotorua has options from luxury to free and everywhere in between. You just have to get past the smell…the natural beauty comes at a sulphur-y price.

New Zealand: Bungy Jumping and Flat Tires

So…guess I’m boutta go jump off a bridge. Of all the extreme sports/activities New Zealand has to offer, bungy jumping somehow seems the scariest. I could comfortably jump out of a plane with another human attached to me, I think parasailing and white water rafting look rad, but I’m not sure I can will myself to jump off a bridge. We’re about to find out.

Christmas in New Zealand

My wonderful family has come all the way from Canada to be with me on Christmas, which has become somewhat of a tradition since my first time living away from home in Australia 6 years ago.

10 Reasons to Visit Tonga

Tonga probably isn’t at the top of your travel bucket list – could you point to it on a map? I certainly had to Google it… but after spending 10 days there, I’m here to tell you why you should get out your atlas (and maybe a magnifying glass) to start planning your trip.

Here are 10 reasons to visit Tonga:

Tonga: Passports and Royalty

We have been picking up some shells to bring home because Tonga has some rad shells, and they’re free souvenirs. One from yesterday keeps going missing. I found it in the corner of a shelf last night and thought maybe it had rolled away so I put it back with the group. When we found it on the floor this morning, half way across the room, we realized there’s a little guy livin’ in there.

Tonga: Perfect Beaches and Kava

Our last full day in Tonga! I’m gutted. 10 days sounds like a decent amount of time but it flies by so quickly!

Last time we were on Tongatapu we drove most of the west side, so today we’re going to hit everything east. One of our priorities is to visit the flying fox sanctuary, but our hostel host tells us that a recent cyclone caused all the bats to move and it’s now closed, which explains why we had so much trouble finding it last time. Conveniently though, there’s a family living in the tree across the street, fully visible from our balcony! Ches is almost as nerdy about the bats as he is about the fish.

Tonga: Fried Chicken

While sipping our morning tea and coffee on the balcony of our Air BnB we hear our host’s grandson screaming below us. Not like he’s distressed or anything, but just because he can, I think. We lean over the balcony to say good morning, and he replies “hello palangi” which is the best thing that’s happened to me so far today.

Tonga: Bikes and Botanical Gardens

We have a full day to explore Vava’u on our bikes, so decide to cycle out as far as we can to make the most of it. The Botanical Gardens are at the furthest east end of the mainland and seem like the only real thing to do today.

Tonga: Lost Palangis

One last boat ride through the crystal clear waters between Kapa and Vava’u mainland. The sky is overcast and it’s windier than ever so I think we’ve really killllled it with the weather. Our poor boat driver is getting absolute smacked by waves and is soaked by the time we reach land. So sorry mate.

A feast is displayed down the length of a long table

Tonga: Church on Sunday

We’re getting in a kayak when our mate from last night hops over the fence to the resort to tell us lunch is almost ready. We thought we had another 2 hours to kill but I guess the service ended early!

I’m excited to be attending a Sunday afternoon at a Tongan church. Sundays are a mega day of rest here. No shops are open, no one works, not even lucrative whale watching for tourists. The country goes into rest mode, and everyone goes to church.