My Favorite New Zealand Beach Shots

Beauty sits everywhere you turn in New Zealand, which includes of course whenever you are on a beach. From the Tasman Sea and remote West Coast to the beaches lying just outside the hearts of Christchurch and Auckland, I’ve had the chance to enjoy many grains of sand and beaches along the waters of the “The Land of the Long White Cloud”.

Some of my favorite New Zealand beach shots and experiences are below. Part of the adventure and fun was just in getting to some of the more remote spots. I can never seem to put the camera down and there is almost always no one else around. No matter the weather they are all just as beautiful.

I’ve shared some of these before, with some new and alternate photos mixed in. Who is ready to visit New Zealand and hit up the beach?! Well without further ado:

Okanto Beach along the West Coast - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

It doesn’t get much more remote than the village of Okanto and this Tasman Sea beach front along the West Coast.

Piha Beach - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Looking down at the breathtaking Piha Beach, my favorite Auckland day trip destination.

Sumner Beach in Christchurch - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Sumner Beach in Christchurch, a popular spot for locals along the east coast. Volcanic rock dots the landscape.

The Pines Beach, Christchurch - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

You’ll find wide open beach along Pegasus Bay at The Pines Beach. Christchurch lies off in the distance.

Shakespear Regional Park, Auckland - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Out on the open Shakespear Regional Park beach just outside Auckland.

Shakespear Regional Park, Auckland - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Get away from the hustle and bustle at Shakespear Regional Park and the Whangaparaoa Peninsula on the North Island.

Bethellls Beach - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Admiring the surf and blue waters of Bethells Beach on the North Island.

Bethellls Beach - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Walking the volcanic sand of Bethells Beach near Auckland. Watch out for that quick sand!

Beachfront in Wanaka - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Walking the early morning Wanaka beachfront along Lake Wanaka.

Opoutere Beach - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

No one else around on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula at Opoutere Beach

Queenstown beach, Lake Wakatipu - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Starring out at the turquoise waters of Lake Wakatipu, along the beach in Downtown Queenstown.

Opoutere Beach - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Looking out into the Pacific Ocean and Hikunui Island from Opoutere Beach.

Where have some of your favorite photos come from in your time on New Zealand beaches?

Pure Michigan Sunflowers as Far as the Eye Can See

We are on the backside of the summer season here in Michigan and the Midwest. That meant when I was out on the open road this week, I came across a field of Pure Michigan sunflowers as far as the eye can see.

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

I got as close to the never-ending field in Whitmore Lake, just outside Ann Arbor, as I could without going in. The early morning light just beamed off the sunflowers that were as tall as me. All of the bright blue sky served as the perfect backdrop. Dawn is my recommended time to experience sunflowers.

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

With sunflowers usually come some bees, but I was lucky enough only to see a few. Can you spot the one below? 🙂

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

You will find this field on the northwest corner of North Territorial and Whitmore Lake roads. I parked alongside Whitmore Lake road watching the morning dew soak my jeans and shoes. It was well worth it to see the summertime beauty that is sunflowers. I will let the rest of the pictures do the talking.

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

From my experience sunflowers don’t seem to stay in full bloom for very long. I was so happy that I drove through this intersection this week. 🙂

Where else would you recommend checking out sunflowers in Michigan? Where have you come across them in your travels?

A Vegas Hash House A Go Go Breakfast & Coffee

Everything is bigger and better in Vegas right? A lot of things are over the top. This certainly included the Hash House A Go Go breakfast and coffee two friends and I experienced recently. You would find none of us complaining!

Hash House A Go Go has several locations in-and-around Las Vegas. We found ourselves on an early weekday morning at their spot within The LINQ Hotel & Casino.

Hash House A Go Go - Las Vegas strip, The LINQ Hotel & Casino

Hash House A Go Go - Las Vegas strip,  breakfast

Before the food comas would commence, coffee was ordered. Specialty coffee is not hard to find along the Strip with a Starbucks every where you look. A lot of the hotels have a shop of their own as well, pouring out specialty and basic coffee drinks.

Well Hash House A Go Go cranks that up a notch. I ordered a Frosted Mint latte which came topped with a whole can of whipped cream (I kid, or am I?).

Hash House A Go Go - Las Vegas strip, specialty coffee

Hash House A Go Go - Las Vegas strip, specialty coffee

One of my friends ordered a Cinnamon Roll A Go Go Latte, which I could have easily consumed in addition to mine. That presentation!

Hash House A Go Go - Las Vegas strip, specialty coffee

I had chicken and waffles on the mind for quite some time, so when it came to the menu I only glanced for a few seconds. Looking around the packed restaurant and seeing lots of people enjoying their signature dish reinforced my decision. The Hash House A Go Go Sage Fried Chicken and Waffles it is.

Hash House A Go Go - Las Vegas strip,  chicken and waffles

Two sage fried chicken breakfasts sat on my tower of hardwood smoked bacon filled waffles. You heard that right, bacon, bacon, and bacon! It was topped with leaks and a maple syrup reduction. Well it was time to dive in.

Hash House A Go Go - Las Vegas strip,  chicken & waffles

Hash House A Go Go serves their large then life comfort food 24 hours a day. One of my friends ordered “a” pancake that could have probably filled up the three of us by itself. What was amazing is that he considered ordering a second one. We might still all be there if that was the case.

Hash House A Go Go - Las Vegas strip,  breakfast

The other enjoyed some biscuits and gravy, eggs, mashed potatoes and other breakfast goodness.

Hash House A Go Go - Las Vegas strip,  breakfast

We all discussed something on the menu that wasn’t even ordered, the “O’Hare of the dog” which was a 24 oz Budweiser in a bag and side of bacon. It must be popular.

Between the three of us, there was enough food for a small army. None of us came close to finishing, all getting full before setting off on the Las Vegas day. Delicious.

Hash House A Go Go - Las Vegas strip,  breakfast

Besides Vegas, Hash House A Go Go has locations in San Diego, Orlando, Chicago, Connecticut and Texas. I’m sure I will find myself back at a Vegas location when in town next. Maybe to experience their brunch, lunch and dinner offerings.

Where else would your recommend grabbing breakfast in Las Vegas?

Cruising Along Lake Michigan in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Is the Michigan summer open road taking you to Mackinac Island or just into the Upper Peninsula and St. Ignace? If so, take some time to drive westbound U.S. Route 2, one of the major east-west drives in the U.P. Once you are about ten miles off I-75 and the Mackinac Bridge you will find yourself along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

You will be on a part of the official Lake Michigan Circle Tour. For miles and miles it will be just lake, beach, sand dunes and brush straight ahead. The brush along the road is narrow, along with the beach that snugs the northern shore of the Great Lake.

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

There are plenty of places to park the car alongside the road to walk the beach. Despite being here in the middle of the summer, I had the scenery all to myself.

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

Well without further ado, some more pics of my time out on the open road in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan:

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

What lake side drives are your favorites? Any in Michigan?

Ketchikan, Alaska From The Boat

Ketchikan is a small fisherman town within the Inside Passage of Alaska and a popular stopping point for cruise ships. It was the first port of a Celebrity Alaskan Cruise I went on a while back. Being the first stop a lot of people were ready to get off the ship, walk the town and go on excursions.

I was surprised how few people there were as we came into and also when we left port. Being me I ran quickly from one side of the ship to the other and from the front to the back. I wanted to capture the town and its surroundings. This felt like an excursion in and of itself.

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

As we came into town in the morning, it was cool and overcast which was the norm. I got my first taste of the colorful buildings and houses that make up Ketchikan.

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

Fishing and crab charter boats went from docked…

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

…to out on the open water. The Aleutian Ballad Is part of the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour, one of the more popular tours in all of Alaska. Speaking of fish, Ketchikan is known as the salmon capital of the world.

aska from the Celebrity cruise ship

Besides boats, I watched seaplanes take off and land on the water and cars take the ferry across the Tongass Narrows over to Ketchikan International Airport, as there is no land access. The air and water are the two ways people can get into town. There is no road access to the outside world from Ketchikan, which resides on Revillagigedo island.

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

Ketchikan in the Inside Passage of Alaska

Being the first major cruise ship destination coming from the south there were other large ships docked.

I can’t get enough of looking at the colorful fisherman village style buildings that make up the town.

Ketchikan, Alaska from the Celebrity cruise ship

Ketchikan, Alaska from the Celebrity cruise ship

The tan, expansive building with the American flag on top is the historic Tongoss Trading Co. Their ideal location right along the docks, led me and scores of other tourists into picking out various Ketchikan and Alaskan souvenirs. For locals, sports gear, furniture and apparel are aplenty throughout.

The capturing continued as our stay in Ketchikan ended and we started heading north, getting further and further out.

I made sure to look up and out all long the way as Ketchikan is surrounded by the Tongass National Forest.

Ketchikan in the Inside Passage of Alaska

I previously posted about the scenes I was welcome to on a dawn arrival in Skagway, at the top of the Inside Passage. Stay tuned as in-between our Alaskan journey brought us into the capital city of Juneau.

Are there any scenic places you visited on a cruise that got your camera out coming into and leaving port?