Month: December 2014

Christmas In Dunedin, NZ

When I lived in NZ I may have taken for granted just how stunningly gorgeous the country is. The beauty of your surroundings may be something you don’t appreciate until you get older (I was 16 when I left), but whenever I fly back home and see so all that untouched green landscape it makes me proud of that silver fern on the front of my passport.

Now that the corny patriotism is out of my system I’ll get to the point. This time last year I was able to have a number of uniquely kiwi experiences. My family moved to Dunedin in 2013 and last Christmas I visited them in their newhometown”. We are north islanders so my dad was keen for us to be as touristy as possible during my brief trip to the south.

If you ever find yourself in Dunedin, here are five things I recommend giving a go…



Larnach Castle is the only castle in NZ, but it’s as grand as they come. It’s not actually that big inside as the rooms are mostly contained to the inner tower but they are a few storeys high, which means, thanks to the castle’s hilltop placement, the view from the rooftop is 360degrees of 100% pure NZ.

Larnach Castle, Dunedin, NZ

The gardens are gorgeous and my Mum wouldn’t shut up about how getting married there would be wonderful. I really could not tell if this was some kind of hint to me or if she was considering renewing her vows and having a whole extra wedding.



I couldn’t resist this one. Unfortunately you can only go through the factory on a guided tour and you don’t actually get to see any of the chocolate in the making. I did appreciate the tour guides purple dungarees geddup and kind of felt bad that his script was quite obviously aimed at hyperactive children and our group was mostly… not children.

HIGHLIGHT: Free chocolate (obvy) and the CHOCOLATE MONSTER (you had to be there).


This was the highlight of the trip for me. We rented bikes and road 60km along what was once a rail line and is now an extremely popular bike and horse-riding trail. And for good reason. The views are absolutely breathtaking. It was EXACTLY like this scene from LOTR… you know, minus the Orcs.


Baldwin Street in the Dunedin CBD, is just a run of the mill residential, suburban neighbourhood street, but with a twist. It’s the steepest suburban neighbourhood residential street in the ENTIRE WORLD. This doesn’t sound that impressive, it’s no sheer rock face, and even in photos and videos it looks kind of tame.

But when we drove up Baldwin street I thought the car was going to roll backwards onto the roof. People live at the top.

Baldwin Street at street level



The Friday Shop is exactly what it sounds like – a shop open only on Fridays. The little bakery on Highgate Bridge is so popular that if you aren’t in by 10am you will have missed out. So, get there as early as possible and stock up on croissants, pies and other delicious morsels because TGIF. Best… Pie… Ever.

And that was what I got up to in Dunedin last Christmas. If you have any questions about Dunedin or NZ let me know in the comments 🙂




In Defense of Australia’s Most Reliable News Source

The other day I mentioned that the NT News was the only reliable news source and my go-to publication for current affairs updates. While this was mostly a joke it’s one a frequently make because I do read the NT News online on the almost-daily.

I was challenged by a friend on this recently

“Are you serious?!”

To which my boyfriend answered

“Obviously she’s joking”

To which I shrieked


And I’m not joking. At least not completely…

The NT News is the only major daily newspaper in the whole of the Northern Territory, the Australian state that’s technically a territory not a state and the place everyone always forgets about because of its cyclones and bogans and crocodiles.

Exhibit A: Taylor Swift isn’t going to Perth on her Australian tour next year and Perth is like hella mad about it using the hashtag #TaylorSwiftAddPerthDates to no avail.

#TaylorSwiftAddDarwinDates said no one ever, because, unlike Perth, Darwin accepts that it’s not that great of a place to visit, and I respect that.

I am actually heading to Darwin for the Christmas break on Wednesday. It will be blisteringly hot, horribly humid and there may or may not be a cyclone on Christmas Day but in honour of my visit I wanted to reminisce about the NT News and why it is wonderful:

You’ll Always Belong

There are around 150,000 people living in Darwin, the NT’s capital. While this isn’t tiny small it’s small enough for you to know someone by less than 6 degrees of separation.

Because I grew up in NZ people often say to me “Oh, a kiwi, do you know ___________?” NZ might look small on a map but it’s still an entire country with 4 million people on it. So, no, I probably don’t know your cousin’s cousin on your step mum’s side.

On the other hand, if “Oh, you’re from Darwin, do you know ________” is the question, the answer is probably, sadly, yes. Yes I do… (but then again everybody does…?).

Darwin is small enough that my friend’s Dad coined the phrase “The Darwin Swivel”. A term used to describe the action of scanning the vicinity for the person or anyone who may know the person you are about to talk about in an unfriendly manner.

But let’s back track to what I said before, for a moment.

“You’re from Darwin”

The NT News doesn’t care where you are from, really. Whether you’ve been in the Territory for 4 generations, 40 years, 4 months or you backpacked there on your gap year for four weeks and you actually live in Sweden, if you want to call NT home, they’ll welcome you with open arms. I only lived in Darwin for two years during high school, but if I ever do something wonderful with my life, the NT News headline will be

Territorian, Sophie, Does Something Wonderful  

When you travel, people always ask you where you are from and I struggle with this a bit because I don’t know what to say. I was born in London and grew up in NZ but I don’t feel like I can say with confidence I am from either of those places anymore. Melbourne is the same though I’ve lived here for twice as long as I lived in Darwin. Nevertheless, if I say “I’m from Darwin”, it doesn’t feel fraudulent because (though they’ve set the bar extremely low) I know Darwin accepts me as one of their own.


The Stories Are Always…. unique

Partly because the place itself is unique (not to mention the people). Partly because if there isn’t a naked bogan or a crocodile on the cover it’s been a slow news week. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

Here are some NT News covers from over the years:

NT NEws2

NT News 1

NTNews 3

and here is me with an artist’s depiction of Kevin The Horny Ghost:


Seriously. You can’t make this shit up.

Thanks for making it this far down in the post. If you enjoyed yourself click LIKE and follow me on…