Tag Archives: coffee

Christchurch Day 4

On my final day in Christchurch Lisa’s parents were heading off in the morning, so we decided to take our rental car and explore the city a bit before heading to the airport in the early evening.

Started the day watching our breath form clouds in the very chilled rental car.

Coffee. Linux. All systems are go!

After brunch, we headed up the Cashmere hills to Victoria Park to stop for some touristy viewing and photographing of the city. After living in Wellington, it’s so weird seeing such a flat city for a change.

Flat land, then snowy mountains, as far as you can see.

View of the CBD itself.

Panorama from Victoria Park looking out over suburbs and mountains.

Panorama from Victoria Park looking out over the CBD.

There's always a cabbage tree popping up somewhere in NZ parks.

After stopping at the park, we headed off and down around the coast to Port Lyttelton, a commercial port supplying Christchurch and the greater South Island region. Whilst it was interesting to go take a look, there’s not really a lot in Lyttelton other than the port, lots of heavy trucks, the longest road tunnel in NZ and one pretty dead looking town.

Heading down towards Lyttelton Harbour

Trains! Boats! All the win!

After cruising through Lyttelton and not finding much, we headed through the road tunnel full of loud thundering trucks, before making our way around to Sumner.

Looks like the Matrix had a rendering glitch and clipped the right side of the traffic light off....

Beachy area

Shipping containers make a great wall to hold up the cliffs - assuming the top container doesn't fall on your car. ;-)

Along a number of sections, shipping containers have been used to hold back the cliff and to stop any falling rubble hitting cars. It appears that the locals have taken to doing art installations on the sides of them, we say a number of walls like the above covered with giant paintings.

Cave in Sumner (can a cave have two open ends? Or is it some kind of funky tunnel?)

Heeeeeeeelp me, I'm siiiinking.

Christchurch CBD just visible in the distance.

Fishing pier in New Brighton... seems kind of pointless, but the locals appear to enjoy it.

Neat sand drawings viewed from the pier.

Some seagulls just chilling....

Brighton is the first suburb (other than the CBD of course) where I really started noticing clear sights of residential buildings having suffered heavily in the quakes –  numerous buildings were badly damaged, not to mention the roads and foot paths.

Poor beat up Brighton

What happened to this traffic island? :-/

Heading back into Christchurch in the afternoon, we passed yet another demolished church – whilst churches are by no means the only victims of the quake, there’s very few that haven’t suffered a lot of damage from what I’ve seen, and their distinctive construction styles make for some interesting photo shoots.

God hates buildings?

We ended up having dinner with some of Lisa’s friends by getting some pizza from Spagalimis in Riccarton and then heading out to the airport.


One thing I did notice lots in Christchurch are the numerous hacky heating solutions for bathrooms – a number of houses tend to have small fan heaters bolted to the wall, with the power feed wired into a switch on the wall – I guess it gets cold in the winter….

High tech Christchurch central heating solution.

Returning the rental car was interesting, we pulled into a parking space and a guy in a high viability vest approached offering to take our key – to which I gave him an education about social engineering and how could I validate the identity of some random guy approaching me in the carpark?

If you want a brand new car, I highly recommend going and hanging around the rental car lot in the evening when hurried travelers are pulling in to park, wearing a high visibility vest and offering to take their keys for them.

Lisa thinks I’m a nut, and sure I agree, the probability of such an occurrence in NZ is low, but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen…


Overall it was a good trip to Christchurch – not sure I’d live there at this stage, I do love my cities and with the main CBD being down, I think I might get a little bored –  but that being said, it’s got a nice cold climate and isn’t Auckland, which gives it some pretty high points. ;-)

Christchurch Day 3

It’s been a bit of a gap since my last post, unfortunately a large project (think 80 hr week) took away my spare blogging time, so now I’m playing catchup game, with blog_* folders all over my desktop of content to be posted.

Firstly, a couple pictures missed from day 2:

Trying some local brew picked up from a dodgy bottle store along the side of some highway.

Unimpressed kitty cat is unimpressed!

Day 3 in Christchurch was the big day of Lisa’s friend’s wedding, so I decided to excuse myself from the family madness taking place and went for a walk into the CBD to enjoy a coffee before attending the wedding with Lisa.

Hagley Park

Bit small for a river, bit large for a stream?

One thing I really noticed heaps whilst in Christchurch was the insanely annoyingly low angle of the winter sun –  I guess New Zealand’s South Island is getting pretty close to the bottom of the planet so winter angles are going to be a bit low, but I think it would drive me insane trying to live there with the sun always hitting me in the eyes. :-/

Whilst I'm naturally good looking and tool, the sun is amplifying the effect a bit here.

Aside from the sun however, the weather is amazing, with cool, crisp mornings – setting up on the container having a coffee in the chill air is just an amazing feeling, kind of like being back in Wellington again. :-)

Sitting on top of a shipping container, having a coffee, looking out to a giant demolition zone.... Christchurch is WEIRD.

Even the coffee here needs to get a little shaken first. ;-)

I ended up walking back to the motel in Riccarton – I can get around Christchurch pretty quickly on foot, it’s pretty much all flat so easy to go fast and not even work up a sweat.

I see why the bridge was closed now...

I'm a train!! :-D

More shipping container stores in a random suburb.

Thou shalt not pass!

I spent the evening with Lisa, her family and the soon-to-be-wed couple and their friends in the private function space of a pub, enjoying some amazing food and good times.

Lisa scrubs up pretty well :-P

Amazingly good Sumac and Mushroom soup at the wedding. I must find a way to recreate this.

Whilst it's meaty horribleness, I have to like the presentation style.

The tree of light!

Narcissist Jethro loves reflective skylights!

All up a pretty good and laid back day, skipping all the family business and rushing around pre-wedding was quite a good plan, I greatly prefer the company of a fine laptop and a fine coffee than chaos. :-)

Early Morning Auckland

My good friend @LGnome was transiting via Auckland and had a day to spend up here to see the sights. Naturally I delivered with one near side-swipe, two cars running a red light right in front of us and congested roads.

I also had to get up early (06:00) to get to the airport, before heading into the CBD to get some decent breakfast and coffee and took a few early morning pics – it’s amazing how much nicer Auckland is earlier in the morning when the roads are dead.

Because Shaky Isles doesn’t seem to open before 08:00 on a Sunday, we went for a wander around Auckland for a bit first and I got a few decent pics with my trusty professional grade photographer setup.

Good morning Mr Sun!

I do like Wynyard Quarter's mix of resturants and industry, get some pretty big ships in there at times.

"Gateway To The Cloud" (punny since the Sky Tower is one of NZ's main network exchanges)

No early morning is complete without coffee from Shaky Isles. :-D

Up in Mt Victoria, not a lot of traffic (car or boat) early Sunday morning.

Ti Kouka Wellington

Whilst plotting my visit to Wellington this weekend, I naturally had to place Ti Kouka Cafe high up on the list (sadly they’ll be closed for the public holiday weekend, so I only have a short window to get my visit in).

Situated upstairs on 76 Willis St, Ti Kouka now occupies the space once taken by my much loved and much missed favorite Katipo Cafe, once the local for Tom and I during #geekflat and Amberdms startup days.

After Katipo suddenly closed, it underwent a bit of refurbishment and an entirely new cafe emerged – Ti Kouka.

Rather than focusing on the counter-culture feel and cheerful hearty feeds that Katipo had, Ti Kouka is an entirely new venture with an entirely different approach, focusing on top quality food, presentation and dining experience.

With one of the founders and main chef being ex-Logan Brown, the food is excellent and tends to be a little more varied than the usual fare found in most cafes.

I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy both their breakfast and lunch menu. Whilst the vegetarian selection for lunch isn’t huge, there are a few good options – a couple more would be a nice touch.

Ti Kouka don’t do the stereotypical huge breakfast with everything on the plate, rather choose a base meal and select a few delicious sides to go with it, or mix things up and go with a couple smaller options.

Breakfast, with a delicious pile of their famous chips. Also a bowl of their excellent mushrooms.

Ti Kouka is also where I’ve had the best pancakes/hotcakes of my life – rather than cream, it’s been served with ricotta cheese and buttery maple syrup, which must be real maple, since it tastes far more amazing than any I’ve had before.

Even dedicated pancake parlors don’t come close to this….I normally tend to go for savory meals as the cafe breakfast option due to many pancakes being served a bit too dry & plain, but this is certainly not the case at Ti Kouka and well worth trying.

This is the most delicious pancake I've ever had. Ever.

If you end up at Ti Kouka for dinner or drinks, it is highly recommend to try a side of their chips, which are nothing short of the most amazing potato based creation known to mankind thanks to a triple-frying process.

The coffee is pretty excellent too, I’ve never had a bad coffee there – even managed to order a soy latte without the nasty burnt rubbery taste that too many cafes fail with when making it.

Living in Auckland, I miss this delicious coffee, so, so much. :'(

Whilst the meals never appear huge, they are always very well executed with excellent flavor, well thought combinations, consistently good standards and I’ve always been pleased and full at the end of my meal, without leaving tonnes on the plate like I end up having to do at some establishments.

My only real complaint is that my favorite lunch time meal option of the Grilled Haloumi has been changed from when it was originally introduced with beetroot & dukkah to a new more salad focused option, which whilst good, isn’t quite as good as my original favorite from them. :-(

Sadly this menu item has changed a bit, but still good.

Ti Kouka has quickly established itself as one of my favorite places, although it does tend to be somewhere I go when I specifically want a delicious meal and relaxed dining experience, if I’m craving a big breakfast after a late night and in a hurry, better off looking at other options like Expressoholic-  you want to take the time to enjoy the Ti Kouka experience.

I’ve found that it’s an ideal location for dates, business meetings or an evening with friends for tapas and drinks (Thr-Fri only), the venue is spacious, quiet and has various table options including being able to look down onto Willis St, or one of the more private booths ideal for secluded dates.

Take a look at some of the other reviews on Gusty Gourmet, Foodie Gems of Wellie, and (as much as it pains me to link to them) Fairfax/Stuff, they all proclaim the excellence of the food and there’s a few pictures of some of their nifty meal offerings.

Hobart: Day 02

My third day in Hobart is more of a half day, as my flight to Melbourne was scheduled for early afternoon, which did limit what I could get up to.

Ended up spending a good 1.5 hours at The Cupping Room, a very excellent cafe and coffee roastery.

To give you some idea of how much this company loves it’s coffee, there’s a bit blackboard showing the “family tree of coffee”, how different styles have become derived from one another.

OMG coffeeeeeee

And there’s a menu for the beans you’d like today….. @chrisjrn and myself went through the menu – my favourite is undecided, they are all quite different, yet all of them delicious.

So much awesome

And of course, the tasty, tasty cup porn:


Certainly beats the “flavoured milk” airport coffee I had at Brisbane Airport which left a terrible aftertaste and breath. :-/

Aside from coffee, spent the morning getting shown around Hobart at high speed before heading to the airport to depart to Melbourne, all in all, a great trip. :-)

Many thanks to the awesome Chris Neugebauer (@chrisjrn) for acting as my personal guide for the three days I was in Tasmania. :-)