New Zealand, here I come.

Today is the 5 year anniversary of this blog, I honestly had no idea until I fired up the Chromebook to write this post. 5 years ago my micro preemie daughter had just come home from the hospital and now she’s a few months from kindergarten and I’m planning a trip to New Zealand. Time flies.

I don’t know what it is about New Zealand that intrigues me. I’m not a Lord Of The Rings guy or an Extreme Sports fan, probably the 2 most common reasons to visit. I’m also not very interested in the South Island, everyone says it looks exactly like BC and I live here so… North Island only for me. My flights and hotels are booked, I’ll give you a quick rundown of my journey.

Photo - Tourism New Zealand
Auckland Skyline. Photo – Tourism New Zealand

I’m flying to Auckland from YVR with a quick stop in San Francisco. 16+ hours including the stopover. I leave Vancouver early Saturday afternoon and arrive in Auckland just before 6am on Monday. Time zones are crazy. I’m there in mid November which is late Spring and the weather is pretty similar to Vancouver. I’ll be staying 9 nights at The Albion of Auckland, a 4 story walk up built in 1873. It’s cheap, the location is awesome, and it sounds like it’s a little rough around the edges, which suits me just fine.

Silo Park. Photo - newzealand-ryugaku.com
Silo Park. Photo – newzealand-ryugaku.com
Mount Eden. Photo - Wikipedia
Mount Eden. Photo – Wikipedia
Silo Park, a section of reclaimed industrial waterfront, and Mount Eden are 2 places that I plan to photograph. Photographic opportunities seem to be everywhere you look in Auckland, I’m excited to hit the streets, meet some people, and burn through some megapixels.

Downtown Wellington - Photo - Andy Radka
Downtown Wellington – Photo – Andy Radka
I’ll be flying to Wellington, which is at the south end of the North Island, for 3 nights. A return flight with a carry-on AND a checked bag was just over $200CAD. I’m staying at The Setup On Manners, a hotel that used to be an office building. It too is cheap, located right downtown, and looks pretty cool. I’m too old for hostels, but if you’re into it they are plentiful and very affordable in Wellington as well as Auckland. I’m planning to take in a soccer game while I’m in New Zealand, I’m even bringing my Whitecaps kit and a Southsiders scarf. I haven’t decided if it’ll be Auckland City FC or Wellington Phoenix.

Takapuna Beach. Photo - mymidnightmoon.com
Takapuna Beach. Photo – mymidnightmoon.com
I fly back to Auckland for 1 night before I head back to Vancouver. I decided to spoil myself a little so I booked 4.5 star hotel in Takapuna, a swanky suburb of North Shore City which sits just north of Auckland. The Spencer On Byron Hotel is one of the tallest buildings in Takapuna and has some great views. Fun Fact, Shania Twain’s “When You Kiss Me” video was filmed on Takapuna Beach. Thanks Wikipedia! My flight home is non-stop. I leave at 8pm on a Sunday and arrive at lunchtime on the same Sunday in Vancouver. It’s time travel, pretty much.

There are a ton of craft breweries in New Zealand, a country known for its beautiful hop varieties. I’ll be using the Beer Tourist New Zealand interactive maps a lot.

Have any tips? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram @wflbc or you can email me at wflbcscott@gmail.com.

Five and a half months until I take off, I can’t wait to share my journey with you!

Scott.

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Jam Cafe – WFLBC in Victoria

There are few people who’s opinion on food I trust more than Steffani Cameron (@SnarkySteff). She recommended I check out Jam Cafe while I’m in Victoria this week so I did. Guess what, it’s awesome. Located in the Old Town area of downtown Victoria, Jam Cafe is a breakfast/lunch only place that closes everyday at 3pm. There’s almost always a wait to get a table so plan on an extra 20 minutes if you’re paying for parking.

The Jam.
The Jam.

Luckily I showed up right when a table was available. The menu is made up of unique, locally sourced dishes that fall squarely into the “comfort food” category. I ordered the Harrison Fernando, a buttermilk biscuit topped with chorizo, house made sausage gravy, and 2 sunny side eggs served with hashbrowns. If I was a religious man I would thank the good lord above for this breakfast. Rich, decadent, filling, complex yet somehow simple. If you come to Victoria this place has to be on your list. Also, you HAVE to try their sugar cured bacon.

The Harrison Fernando
The Harrison Fernando

Location – 542 Herald Street, Victoria BC.

Twitter – @jamcafevictoria

Facebook – Jam Cafe Victoria

Interwebz – jamcafevictoria.com

Scott.