Luke and I are excited to be experiencing our first holiday season in the Southern Hemisphere. Our holiday attire: shorts, bikinis, sunblock and of course a beer in hand! Summer has fully arrived and although each day hasn't been incredibly sunny in the Mount, it is still very warm at all hours of the day. We have moved into a new apartment which we absolutely love. We can see an amazing view of the Mount from our bedroom, we have a wonderfully large deck that gets sunshine all day long, our flatmates do nothing but laugh with us and we could not be happier. As we moved in, we realized that one of our flatmates is a Christmas fanatic and as she unpacked and placed her many red, white, gold and green trinkets around, we knew our beautiful new home would be a nice place to spend the holiday season. 
Although it seems a wee bit backwards to be sweating it out on Christmas day, I am ecstatic to be sharing this time of year with my New Zealand family, on the farm, and that Luke and I get to work on our Christmas suntans while participating in the family BBQ and clinking our refreshing glasses of home-brew beer.  

Sweet Dea & Dukey

With my sister in from Canada and a month of adventures ahead of us, Luke, Jenn and I loaded up our little Camry and headed out to explore the South Island. We began with a very rough idea of where we were headed, a tent, sleeping bags and Jenn's massive suitcase in the trunk, grabbed a few maps and set out exploring. 

Photo Diary & Highlights Thus Far...

North Island to South Island Ferry from Wellington to Picton
Taking in the beautiful South Island scenery from the 3.5 hour ferry journey
Throughout Jenn's journey, she has come across many interesting ways that her life has been/could be threatened in New Zealand. She has begun to compile a list, cleverly named: "Ways to die in New Zealand". Among the first few are: 
being attacked and run over by a baby bull
3rd degree sunburns from the hole in the ozone layer
falling off a cliff while trying to walk uphill like a sheep
Camping in Nelson
There was a beautiful creek beside our campsite and we spent an entire day basking in sun with our feet in the water!
Jenn has learned that her idea of camping and our idea of camping are just a wee bit different... her main issue, not having protection from the bugs that attack her every night. Her current bug bite count is far too high to share. Way #4 to die in New Zealand: 
excessive bug bites, perhaps contaminating her with Malaria
Caving in Takaka
We make caving helmets look good... right?
Jenn learning about marble stone and sink holes
It was here that Jenn learned that there are Moa (extinct NZ bird) bones found deep beneath the ground floor in dark caves. These Moa's were believed to fall into large holes in the ground, tumbling to their death in the deep, dark caves. Once out of the cave, the many "sink holes" were pointed out to us across the land, each one with the threat of death by falling into it and disappearing forever. Way #5 to die in New Zealand:
Death by falling into a sink hole
Beaching in Kaiteriteri
Having a little jumping photo fun to showcase the beautiful golden sand beaches of Kaiteriteri. This beach was literally across the street from our cabin.
Way #6 to die in New Zealand:
deciding to be brave and do a bungy jump, only to have the rope break and end up in a pit of crocodiles. 
Tramping in Abel Tasman National Park
The tramping in Abel Tasman was just beautiful! A well-groomed trail that can take up to 3-5 days to complete, or a few hours to walk out and walk back. There were hills and valleys and beautiful views of bays like this one.
Jenn showcasing the 3hour50minute walk we had ahead of us... she was in flipflops and Luke was barefoot... needless to say, we did not make it to Anchorage!!
Way #7 to die in New Zealand:
Attempting to do a 3hour50minute hike along the Abel Tasman National Park with no food, no water, sunset fast approaching and wearing only flipflops
Swing Bridging in Buller Gorge
Walking across the massive swing bridge in Buller Gorge - Jenn was surprisingly terrified...Luke and I had fun with that one.
Jenn showcasing the intense chill in the air as we walked through the faultline rupture from an earthquake in 1929. The earth was thrust 4.5 metres into the air along the faultline.
Way #8 & #9 to die in New Zealand:
falling into the river when the swing bridge collapses
getting stuck in the ruptured fault line
... to be continued