Beyond the Postcard

Rediscovering Our Home

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A Walk Through Graze and Feast

Simple. Cheap. Crowded. Loud. These generally aren’t words I would use to describe my favourite food experiences. But tonight they were certainly all appropriate. Add in a few other words like delicious, vibrant and convenient and you have a pretty good idea of the time Jordie and I had at the opening night of Graze in Feast at Shed 10 in the heart of Auckland. G&F is a collection of Auckland’s best street food vendors packed into one giant hall with a few thousand hungry people. From pulled pork sliders to Hungarian puffed bread there was a wide variety of food on offer. We were going to write more about our time here but we think the pictures tell a much better story.

Graze and Feast is running every Friday in July – go check them out on Facebook for more info!

Also check out our Instagram (@beyondthepostcard) for more photos of Graze and Feast.

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The line for Langos was super long but well and truly worth the wait. This meal was our pick of the night. They’re quite big so we shared one to make sure we had room for more delicious food.

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PAELLA!

Good old bangers and mash with mushy peas.

Good old bangers and mash with mushy peas.

A South African food caravan. They had so many interesting flavour combos.

A South African food caravan. They had so many interesting flavour combos.

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We were lucky enough to get the last S’More from Good Night Cocoa. They sold out so fast! Don’t worry though, they’re bringing more next week.

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A Tour of the Tree Tops on Waiheke

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Kia Ora! Jordie here, Jonnie and I were chatting about where we had been in Auckland and where we should go next. I found out a surprising fact about Jonnie, HE HAD NEVER BEEN TO ANY OF AUCKLAND’S ISLANDS. Not Waiheke, not Rangitoto, not Motutapu, not Little or Great Barrier. I was amazed, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. People are always wanting to go on holiday away from where they live (I know I do). Its often easy to forget what is right in front of you. After hearing this revelation I was determined to get him out to the islands so I planned a day trip to Auckland’s most well known island, Waiheke.

Waiheke is home to around 8000 people in the winter but most of the homes on Waiheke are holiday homes so in the summer it can get up to 30,000 residents. That means there’s heaps of awesome summer orientated activities to do on the island and its only a 30-40min ride on the ferry from downtown Auckland so it’s a popular destination for both kiwi’s and tourists.

The island is well known for its prime climate for vineyards and 5-star wineries, which are perfect for a summer’s day drinking rosé in the sun or a cold winters afternoon with an excellent merlot and a hearty meal. However, as much as Jonnie and I love our food, we were looking for something a little more adventurous after been cooped up studying for exams. We decided to spend the day flying over the beautiful native bush, with EcoZip adventures.

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EcoZip is a ziplining company that has three vastly different ziplines that do a great job showing off all Waiheke Island has to offer. The first zipline takes off from the EcoZip base camp and travels over their very own vineyard. This ride was the most sedate of the three and offered a great view of Waiheke and the surrounding Gulf Harbour. Unfortunately there wasn’t a glass of syrrah waiting for us at the end, but our guide assured us that in the near future EcoZip will be offering a Zip’n Sip deal that I can guarantee Jonnie and I definitely be there to try.

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Hot Peeps at Ecozip

The second zipline does a excellent job at showing off Waiheke’s other great natural asset – its native bush. This zipline steps up the speed, height and length. However, none of that really registered as this zipline got us up close and personal with the native bush. As you come zipping in to the end of the line the tops of the trees are only a few metres below you.

After vineyards, scenic ocean views and beautiful natural bush you might be wondering what more Waiheke could have to offer. The third zipline, Kurinui, is about one thing: SPEED! This zipline is the longest of the three and also has the steepest gradient allowing you to reach speeds in excess of 50km/h. If you have an obsession with flying (like me) then you’ll love this one. It truly feels like you are soaring over the treetops. Jonnie and I raced down this one. The guide recommended we tuck ourselves into tight little balls to go even faster. This was by far my favourite zipline (and it has nothing to with me winning the race). If speed isn’t your thing there is still more amazing scenery to take in. In the blur I managed to make out some golden sand beaches and a few other vineyards in addition to the native bush.

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If there is one thing that Jonnie and I took out from our experience at the World’s Biggest Waterslide (read about it here) is that an awesome trip down means at the end awaits a walk back to the top. We were prepared for the walk. What we weren’t prepared for was an inspiring guided tour back to the top through what felt like a greatest hits of New Zealand native bush.

I grew up with a bush on my family’s farm so I’ve always loved the bush and held a great respect for it. This part of the experience definitely made the Eco in EcoZip. They are doing a lot of incredible work restoring the bush around the ziplines. On our walk back we saw everything from Swinging Jack, which I grew up swinging on like Tarzan, to an amazing cathedral of Nikau Palms. 

The Mother of the Forest

The Mother of the Forest

My favourite tree in particular was known as the Mother of the Forest and she is a Puriri tree. She’s actually a celebrity. She is the tree that inspired James Cameron for the Mother Tree in the movie Avatar and I can definitely see the resemblance. However that’s not the reason she is the Mother of the Forest, she is also home to a lot of flora and fauna in the forest. Particularly the Puriri Moth (Ghost Moth) which lives inside the tree for its whole life except for one day where it climbs out of its burrow in the trunk to play the multiplication game with other like moths.

The Chief of the Forest

The Chief of the Forest

Before you are allowed to leave the walking trail and return to one of Waiheke’s fine wineries for a good meal and a chance to reminisce about your experience there is one final challenge. The Chief of the Forest stands in your way. Thankfully, this chief a beautiful big red totara tree only requires a hug to get past. Currently the Chief is quite small given the tree he will grow into, but he is still too big to get your arms all the way around. Jonnie was only millimeters off.

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RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Go with people you know in a group of 2 or more. Each zip line has 2 lines so it’s a lot more enjoyable if you can go down with a friend.
  • If you have a GoPro or a phone/camera that you want to use during the zipline then bring a wrist strap with you so you’ll be allowed, you can also purchase them from the shop at base camp.
  • We hired a GoPro for $40 which includes the photos they took of us. If you don’t have your own GoPro with a wrist strap then we would recommend you hire it. It captures all of the breathtaking scenery and you and your friend going down.
  • If you don’t have a wrist strap, take your camera and keep it in your pocket. Trust me, you will want to take photos of the beautiful bush walk after the ziplining.
  • Bring a jacket. Even if its a scorching day, it can get very windy and cold at the top of the hill where they do the safety briefing.
  • Plan to have a whole day on Waiheke. You would be doing yourself a disservice to not spend an afternoon after ziplining in a winery or exploring some of the amazing art galleries in Oneroa Village.

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Overall this was an absolutely amazing experience, the staff were incredibly welcoming and funny, the Zip lining blew my expectations. It’s a perfect representation of the kiwi culture and what New Zealand is all about, having a blast and looking after nature whilst doing it.

Check out this video from the GoPro we had and get inspired.

JOrdie

THE WORLD’S BIGGEST WATERSLIDE!

Credit to Live More Awesome Facebook page.

God I love New Zealand. It has everything any traveler could ever want. Adventure. Friendly people. Breathtaking scenery. Cow pats. All of this and so much more was on display at the World’s Biggest Waterslide. Six hundred metres of inflatable slide, set up on Jonkers farm with the spectacular backdrop of Bethells Beach.

Did I mention all of this awesomeness was done for a good cause? The World’s Biggest Waterslide was set up by the incredible team at Live More Awesome. LMA is a charity that raises awareness around depression and encourages everyone to open up and talk about depression and ways to deal with it. If you want to find out more about what they do or what they’ve been up to recently check out their website or their facebook page. You can also find a bunch of photos from the waterslide on their Facebook page – Jordie and I were too caught up in the experience and we forgot to take any!

The day of the waterslide started out as an unpredictable Auckland autumn day. Rain. Lots and lots of rain. Undeterred Jordie and I packed our rain jackets, jumpers, togs, towels and a spare change of clothes and headed out for what was sure to be a wet day. In what is stark contrast to how we usually do things, we arrived at the bus stop super early. As we sheltered on the bus a slow trickle of those who had decided to brave the rain filtered on board. It seemed that with each person who got on the bus the rain subsided slightly. By the time the bus departed, the rain had as well and it was replaced with brilliant sunshine.

A short walk, a quick slip in the mud and we were at the top of what was with out a doubt the World’s Biggest Waterslide. Just how epic six hundred metres of slide is, is hard to put into words. The bottom of the slide seems impossibly far away. The slide itself weaves in and out of view and the Live More Awesome volunteer team that mans the slide slowly becomes just a series of smaller and smaller dots.

One short, inspiring speech from LMA founder Jimi Hunt later we find ourselves at the front of the queue ready to experience the slide. The only memories I have of that first slide are a blur. I remember water spraying into my face. I remember drop after drop. I remember thinking “this must be the end” about four times, only to be proved wrong each time. What I really remember about the first slide is how I felt when I got off. It was more than an adrenaline rush. All the worries, stresses and pressures of normal adult life disappeared. They didn’t melt away or fade into the background. They were gone. I felt like a child again. My only focus was on getting back to the top and experiencing that crazy ride all over again.

I looked at Jordie as she got off the slide and could tell she felt exactly the same as I did. That’s when it hit us. Sliding downhill for well over a minute, hitting speeds of upto 50km/h and covering over half a kilometre of stunning New Zealand farmland has one serious consequence. The walk back to the top.

And it didn’t matter. Without a second thought the both of us were off. Dodging cow pats and thistles, watching other sliders go shooting past, laughing and recounting our experience of the slide and what we wanted to try next time. And so this cycle continued. We went down on lilos and yoga mats, in tandem and in trains, frontwards and backwards. We met a bunch of awesome people. Waiting in line we swapped tips on how to go faster, what to try next and what slide number we were on. Somewhere around slide number four we promised each other after the next one we would have a break. At slide number eight we promised ourselves and each other that we would actually have a break. I think it was after slide eleven that we actually stopped. For all of about five minutes. The slide was just too much damn fun. Every time I got off the only thing my brain would tell me was “AGAIN!”

All told we did thirteen slides. At one point the generator to the slide broke down. But in true New Zealand spirit two diesel mechanics happened to be walking backing up the hill. So one quick fix later and the fun was back online.

Credit to Live More Awesome

Credit to Live More Awesome

This whole experience really summed what New Zealand is to me. New Zealand is about having an idea, pulling together the resources wherever they may be found, getting some awesome people on board going out and having a blast. That’s part of the reason this blog exists. Jordie and I truly believe that these little pockets of awesome exist everywhere, most people are just so tuned into their normal life they forget to look for opportunities to try something a little bit different. So I challenge all of you to go out in your home, find something that you never knew existed and share it with the world. And if you can’t find anything, make it happen!

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P.S. LMA is doing lots of awesome stuff encouraging people to stand up and talk openly about depression. Please go check them out!

Welcome to Beyond The Postcard!

Kia Ora and welcome to Beyond the Postcard! We are Jordie and Jonnie and we are lucky enough to be writing to you from our beautiful home, New Zealand. We hope this blog will become a collection of our memories, travels and experiences. Along the way we will share with you some of the hidden gems of New Zealand that truly go Beyond the Postcard.
JordieHi, Jordie here! I grew up on a farm in rural New Zealand and have probably spent more time outdoors than I have inside. I have a great love for adventure, trying new things and most importantly food. My passion for adventure started when I was thirteen and my Dad took me snow skiing for the first time up Mt Ruapehu. I fell in love with skiing and the friendly, carefree atmosphere that surrounds it.  I’ve spent the past few years exploring Auckland and one of my discoveries has been the wide variety of delicious, culturally diverse food that is easily available. I have also been lucky enough to travel to America and explore the East coast with a group of locals. They showed me many sights that you don’t get to see when you’re a tourist and have no knowledge of the area. One of my favourite places were the Amish Markets, which are full of fresh fruit pies, homemade preserves and jams and fresh, organic produce. I’ve met a lot of people from all over the world on the few adventures I’ve had, both internationally and in New Zealand. These people have inspired me to travel through all the stories that they’re shared and the places they have shown me. One day I also hope to create some of my own stories and be an inspiration to other young, keen travellers.

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I’m Jonnie and its fair to say that I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I grew up in Taupo, one of the hottest spots in New Zealand for adventure tourism. I have sailed, skied, mountain biked, kayaked, swam, run and occasionally walked to some of the most breath-taking scenery this small country has to offer. That’s what I love most about New Zealand – when it comes to the great outdoors we have everything you could imagine to offer and it is all done with the best backdrop around. Most people say I’m a food snob, that I’m impatient and that I’m a nerd. I say that I have a love for great food, I hate waiting in lines when I could be doing something exciting, and… ok they are right about the nerd one. More than anything I love to inspire people. I have worked for a few years as a tutor and nothing gives me a greater sense of satisfaction than when I can inspire someone to do something or go somewhere they never would have dreamed of before. To me, this blog represents a great opportunity to inspire people from all over the world to not only come to New Zealand and experience this magical country but to inspire people to get out and explore their homes and share their great discoveries with the world.

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The concept of Fernweh is something that drew the two of us together. It is something we have both felt for a long time and ever since we heard the term we have felt it is the only word to describe us. We both thought the next logical step would be to begin planning our world tour. It wasn’t until a trip to Queenstown last year that we realised that we had taken all New Zealand had to offer for granted. On that trip we met a range of people from various countries who shared with us the stories of their travels in New Zealand. The embarrasing thing was that it felt like some of them had experienced more of New Zealand in their short visit than we had in more than 20 years of growing up here.

We decided that before we took off to explore other countries we should rediscover our home. Since that decision we have been to all sorts of places we never knew existed. From exploring waterfalls to stumbling upon funky little restaurants, where the menus aren’t written in english, we have found some of New Zealand’s undiscovered treasures and we can’t wait to share them with you.

 

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