Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hahndorf, South Australia

Located approximately 30 minutes drive outside of Adelaide City, Hahndorf is a quaint little town of German influence.

Hahndorf was founded in 1838 by Captain Dirk Meinhertz Hahn, who arrived by a ship named "Zebra" with 188 passengers and their belongings, plus crew.  The ship carried 100 barrels of pork, 100 barrels of flour, 65 barrels of fresh water, 17 hogheads of beer and vinegar, 14 barrels of herring, two boxes of boots and shoes and 40,924 bricks.

The immigrants loved the land so much and noticed how incredibly fertile it was so they decided to stay on.  The rest, as they say, is history!

Today, Hahndorf is very similar to what it was like back then and one can still see the architecture of the original surviving buildings.  The main street is filled with hotels, restaurants, galleries, gourmet food outlets and a large variety of accommodation.

Authentic German food is sold in Hahndorf, as well as Australian and European Cuisine.  The gourmet coffee shops also sell a variety of decadent cakes and desserts.

The Hahndorf Inn Hotel was built in 1863 and has retained most of its original features.  The Hahndorf Inn features classic German cuisine and pub style favourites in a cosy rustic setting.  For those interested in tasting the German beer, they serve beer by the litre and for a little extra one can purchase the glass as a momento!  Be sure to book a table if you are traveling a distance to get there because they are extremely popular and one will have to wait quite a while to get a table during peak times.

Because the Hahndorf Inn is a German hotel, they will be celebrating October Fest during the Labour Day weekend in Australia.  If you live around these parts or if  you're going to be there during the festivities, then make sure you pop in for a beer and to say "hi" to the locals.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rugby World Cup Fever in New Zealand

Most times I’ve traveled to NZ have been when there has been some kind of international rugby game on and the fever stakes are high.  I’ve never intentionally gone to NZ to follow or watch any of the games either, if truth be known I’m a strong supporter of the social scene not so much of the actual game.

I thoroughly enjoy going to watch a sports game from a corporate box, I think this is the only way to watch a game.  Let’s face it, from where the corporate boxes are situated there’s not a lot one can see on the field anyway, in fact anywhere other than the front row is at a disadvantage when it comes to football and then god help you if the players are on the other side of the field because you’ll have absolutely no way of knowing what is going on unless the supporters on the other side scream loud enough.

But this brings me back to the corporate box.  While I love the corporate box I find them so terribly disorganized.  The seating is usually outdoors, which is fine by me – get those screaming supporters out of the comfort areas, they don’t belong indoors!  My gripe is that the food arrangement is very poor. 

Corporate boxes compete when it comes to serving their guests great appetizers and at the same time the adult beverages are awesome, but I find it rather difficult when the young sparsely clad girlies walk around with the appetizers and expect you to take a couple in your one hand, hold your glass of poison in the other hand and then still find a fairly decent way to talk, eat and drink in a standing position!  How thoroughly awkward.   If you have a corporate box that is different in that people can comfortably sit down and socialize as well and drink and eat, I urge you to send me a complimentary ticket to do a review on it…. So far none have inspired me.

Which brings me back to rugby fever in New Zealand during the world cup.  Let me tell you the Kiwi’s know how to turn on the charm as well as host a wonderful event.  They need very little coaching when it comes to standing out in a crowd.  They have a wonderful fighting spirit and sport is in their blood.  When it comes to rugby or cricket, they are passionate and energetic.  The local pubs turn into a festive scene and one would be forgiven if one thought you were attending your own birthday party.

If you’re following the rugby world cup 2011 and are not in NZ at the moment, you still have time to grab a last minute ticket and get there for a couple of the games, and when there is not a game playing, one can always travel around the marvelous countryside, stop off at a couple of vineyards for an adult treat, or get into one of the many extreme sports they put on for us.

Enjoy the Rugby World Cup 2011, while I love New Zealand, it would be terribly un-Australian to support them when I’m a die hard Aussie, so good luck mates, but GO Aussies, go!

~  Vanessa

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

New Zealand - island of the long white cloud - is a stunning part of the world to visit. It has a similar feel to parts of Canada, however, the real bonus is that the weather never gets as cold as Canada.

My destination for the next couple of days is Mount Maunganui, which is located on a peninsula to the north of Tauranga.  Mount Maunganui is also the name of the extinct volcanic cone, which rises 232 meters above the town.  The locals colloquially call the mountain The Mount.

There are walking tracks around The Mount and also up to the summit and from the top, one can view the Bay of Plenty, the expansive beaches and on a clear day, one can even see the smoke plume from the volcanic island, White Island.

I've decided not to stay in hotels this time around and am not disappointed at all.

My first couple of nights are spent in The Terraces Apartments on Ocean Beach Road.  I love my apartment. It’s gorgeous. Besides the fact that I struggled to get my small rental car into the narrow garage, I still love my apartment. It is three storys high… the garage, laundry and third bedroom, opening onto a patio garden are all on the ground floor. The first floor has a kitchen, dining room and lounge room and the top floor has two bedrooms and a bathroom.

The apartments are immaculate and well appointed, which just delights me. The main bedroom and the lounge room each have a balcony overlooking the expansive beach, and of course the sea – the bay of plenty.   The apartments are very reasonably priced and due to their location are an excellent start to your vacation.


I took a walk to Moturiki Island just off Mount Maunganui with my camera.  There are lots of sea gulls frolicking in the water along the shores of the island.  The view back to the mainland is beautiful with The Mount framing the view from one side and the sea from the other side.  

The beach is clean and wide and in the early morning one will come into contact with many walkers and joggers.  The streets are lined with cafe's too, so there's great opportunity to meet a friend on the beach front for a morning coffee or even breakfast (before or after a walk or stroll).

The Mount has a delightful shopping precinct spread out along the main inland street with many coffee shops, surf shops and restaurants.

If you're looking for a very relaxing vacation out of season, you won't go wrong with The Mount.

As usual, your comments are most welcome so please feel free to leave your mark!

~ Vanessa