Auckland & Rotorua

After a short delay in Melbourne, the flight over was surprisingly pleasant and quiet. In total, it took around 3 hrs to make it over the Tasman. We forgot how close New Zealand was to Australia.

At the airport in Auckland, we picked up a Spark data sim to go into our pocket wifi device which would allow internet for our phones, tablets and laptop. We had an amazing experience with these in Japan so Michael had bought one in preparation for this trip.

We checked into our Waldorf hotel, somewhere in the CBD and discovered they had upgraded our room to the top floor with plenty of space. It was super quiet which made catching up on sleep (something we lacked leading up to and out of our wedding) more easy.

Originally, we were to leave Auckland the following day but we decided to stay for another night. It was a bright move. Another slow day to recover from all that buzz of the previous week. We ended up staying in the same room for $151 when the going rate was $310 via the usual sites (wotif, etc). Michael was happy.

While researching Auckland, Michael found several mentions of Lucky Buddha, somewhat of a modern take on Asian cuisine. Overall, it was only average and we recommend you skip it. We ordered lamb ribs mixed with an asian style salad and a duck dish. After dinner, we went across the corner to Giapo to have icecream. Before ordering, you get to sample the 9 different flavours. Aside from the huge sugar content, we recommend it (just don’t have a large meal beforehand).


We visited this on our way to Rotorua. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in New Zealand. You get a guide that takes your group along paths with plenty of photo opportunities. The only artificial tree in Hobbiton was the one sitting on top of Bag End as it would have been hard to build a hobbit hole in amongst the roots. Once you reached the Green Dragon Inn, you were greeted with a drink (alcoholic or non) of your choice.


Robin warned us of the smell.

We didn’t know what hit us but it smelled like eggs. Luce thought it was Michael.

Rotorua is the smelliest city in New Zealand and is caused by the sulphuric hot springs and geysers littered all around the region.

We reached our motel and the smell lingered. Despite the smell, we couldn’t believe how touristy a city like this was with the many hotels, motels, eateries, fast internet, etc all along the main road. Rotorua was going to be our home for the next 3 nights.

Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

We visited this place to see Lady Knox geyser which erupts daily at 10.15am and then went for a stroll around the area.

Caving and glowworms

Next up was some caving in search for glow worms in Waitomo with Glowing Adventures. This was about 2 hours drive from Rotorua and well worth every moment. We had a lovely guide, Heath (whose family owned the farm the caves were located in for four generations), and only a small group of 6 people. As you can see from the pictures, we had the best time with our huge smiles and we got so close to the glowworms. Highly recommend it.


For our last day, we decided to go hug a tree before heading towards Taupo. Instead of a short 10 minute stop to see what all the fuss was about, we ended up doing an 11.5 km hike around the forest. It was majestic and relaxing.

Japan 2018

Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Miyajima

In Sydney, we boarded our plane to Japan on time but were sat there for about an hour as engineers inspected serviced one of the engines. The flight itself was pleasant, and knew food and entertainment were being provided as part the normal Qantas service. However, as we selected seats further back of the plane, we found that we were left with not much meal selection once they eventually made it to us. Sometimes, they would run out – we missed out on a couple fruit runs. So make sure to sit further up the plane if you get the option.

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Table of Contents Plus 1601

  • Released: 5 January 2016
  • Bump tested WordPress version to 4.4
  • Add ‘enable’ and ‘disable’ API functions so a developer can better control the execution.
  • Add Brazilian Portuguese translation thanks to Blog de Niterói
  • Add Spanish translation thanks to David Saiz
  • TOC+ widget now adheres to a blank title if none provided. Thanks to Dirk for the cue.
  • Updated jQuery Smooth Scroll 1.5.5 to 1.6.0
  • Updated text domain to better support translation packs.

Get it from WordPress | GitHub


Table of Contents Plus 1509

  • Released: 4 September 2015
  • Added Hebrew translation thanks to Ahrale
  • Added Japaense translation thanks to シカマル
  • Added Greek translation thanks to Dimitrios Kaisaris
  • Updated jQuery Smooth Scroll 1.4.10 to 1.5.5
  • Supply both minified and unminified CSS and JS files, use minified versions.
  • Convert accented characters to ASCII in anchors.
  • Bump tested WordPress version to 4.3
  • Fixed: PHP notice introduced in WP 4.3
  • Fixed: javascript error with $.browser testing for Internet Explorer 7.
  • Plugin has moved to GitHub for better collaboration.
  • Help needed: preg_match_all failing with bad UTF8 characters producing no TOC. If you can help, please participate in this issue.

Table of Contents Plus 1505 released

1505 is immediately available in the WordPress repository.  Changeset includes:

  • Huge thanks to Jason for an updated Simplified Chinese translation.
  • Added collapse property to the toc shortcode. When set to true, this will hide the table of contents when it loads. Example usage:
  • Added label_show and label_hide properties to the toc shortcode. This lets you change the “show” and “hide” link text when using the shortcode.
  • Bump tested WordPress version to 4.2.1.

As always, report issues at the plugin page.


It’s a Girl!

I’m super pleased to announce the healthy delivery of my new baby girl Scarlet.  We drove all the way to Wagga Wagga (around 3 hours trip from South Canberra) on Saturday to pick her up at 8 weeks.  She was one of the favourite of the breeders, smallest of the litter but probably the feistiest that can hold her ground.  Scarlet is a wheaten (red and white) border collie.

Scarlet mostly slept on the drive back and preferred to lean on my brother who was in the back seat.  We drove straight home without a toilet incident.

As expected, she gave her fair share of the whelping through the first night but once she knew I was around, she went back to sleep.  Not surprising given that only the night before, she was sleeping with her plentiful litter.  She adjusted very quickly and is now only waking me up at 0630 for a toilet break… and breakfast if I stay up.

Scarlet is affectionate, playful and very active.  She’s not shy and always initiates play time with Simba.  Her favourite move is a launch with all four paws in the air towards Simba, only to land short – she hasn’t mastered distance yet.




Down for the count?


Red Hill rainbow

After work, was chasing the Strava climbing challenge for January and saw this rainbow on my first lap of Red Hill.  It had disappeared by the second lap. If you look closely, you can make out a second outer rainbow!


On top of Red Hill