Snapshots: The Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel Peninsula is pretty much the closest weekend getaway from Auckland. Less than three hours’ drive and you’ll find yourself dipping your toes in the ocean while admiring Cathedral Cove, patting pigs on road 309, straining your neck trying to glimpse the top of kauri trees, or watching the sunset on Whitianga beach.

Not pictured: the wonderful Hot Water Beach on Mercury Bay, where visitors can dig their own pools at low tide and paddle around in the natural spring’s burning hot water –  basically a free spa, but with the added possibility of a beer…

Snapshots from Bariloche

Bariloche was my first stop in Argentina. But it took me a while to realise that it was Argentina, and not Switzerland. Because San Carlos de Bariloche – as is its actual full name – has got a lovely little stone church on its main square, is surrounded by mountains and lakes, and is famous for its chocolate. (And rightly so, I must admit.)

But no, Bariloche is truly part of Argentina. We stayed there for a couple days and I spent them with my pal Mia walking around town, dutifully tasting each chocolate shop’s products to ensure overall quality, and hiking through Nahuel Huapi National Park to make up for it.

Mia found out that Argentinian winds are INSANE

Starting our hike through Nahuel Huapi National Park

La Cascada de los Duendes 

Cerro Catedral – a busy skiing resort in the winter, and a magnificent viewpoint in the summer

The view that was worth the pain – turns out Mia is terrified of heights

Next up… We drive all the way down Patagonia’s Ruta 40!

Snapshots from Hampi

Two weeks into my time in India came the real reason I wanted to go visit the country: a reunion with my best friend! She lives in Bombay, where I flew to meet up with her, but we soon hopped on a flight south to go check out the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Then we spent what felt like a million years on trains and met up with two of Shambhavi’s friends to be on our way to Hampi, a village in Karnakata famous for its ruins – those of what was the capital city of the Vijayanagara Empire, between the 14th and 16th centuries. But Hampi is also well loved by travellers for its island, whose main road is tightly packed with hostels and cafés where it feels good to chill for a day or two. Here are a few photos from my time there…

Hampi India

Hampi IndiaCrossing the river to Hampi island

Hampi India

Hampi India

Hampi IndiaSakina inside Virupaksha Temple

Hampi India

Hampi India elephantMy BFF Lakshmi, temple elephant at Virupasha Temple

Hampi India

Hampi IndiaThe other BFF, Shambhavi, total casual

Hampi India

Hampi India

Hampi India

Hampi IndiaInside Vittala Temple complex

Hampi India

Hampi India

Hampi India

Hampi India

Hampi IndiaSpent nearly 10 minutes sat, staring at this tree. I have a thing for trees and this one is a stunner

Hampi India

Hampi IndiaVirupasha Temple at sunset

Hampi India

Snapshots from Halong Bay

I finished my Vietnam trip with three days spent on a cruise in Halong Bay. It’s truly a paradise – as well as being, like many of my favourite spots, a Unesco World Heritage site. What makes the bay unique is the thousands of big-and-small islands that dot it, all covered in thick green rainforest. From jumping off the boat’s bow straight into the water, to skinny-dipping at midnight on our lil’ private island… It was an indulgent end to an otherwise quite cheap trip and the photos are making me want to go back!

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Snapshots: Hue, Vietnam’s imperial city

From Hue (or Huế, as it’s written in Vietnamese) reigned the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty in Vietnam. The city was also the capital of the country until 1945. These two facts together make for a glorious city, with its citadel and forbidden Purple City a beautiful physical incarnation of the country’s history. Huế’s surroundings are dotted with tombs of past emperors, all elaborate monuments built early into their reigns. Huế’s a good spot for history buffs and photographers into colours and lines (that’s me).

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam

Hue imperial city VIetnam