Christchurch Botanic Gardens

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A flower in the Cunningham House

One of the touristy highlights of Christchurch is the sprawling, 50-acre Botanic Gardens next to Hagley Park, right in the center of town. My favorite part of the gardens was the Cunningham House, which has a tropical collection of plants from all over the world. There is also an “Erica Garden”! You can easily spend a couple hours wandering around and getting lost in your thoughts.

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Street Art in Christchurch CBD

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Some street art in the Christchurch CBD

A defining feature of Christchurch – and a central theme of pretty much every conversation – is the earthquakes in 2011 that devastated huge sections of the city. Nearly 200 people were killed and countless buildings were destroyed. Six years later the business center still has empty lots and ongoing roadworks that frustrate locals and confuse visitors. One silver lining is the abundance of street art that has emerged to fill the spaces. Here is just a small selection of photos taken on an afternoon wandering around.

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Purple Peak Tramp in Akaroa

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The view of Akaroa from just up the hill

I’ve finally started traveling again, this time to Christchurch, New Zealand for a brief working holiday. My first big trip out of Christchurch was a few weeks after I arrived. A Meetup group went to Akaroa — about an hour outside drive away — to do the Purple Peak trek, which was a bit steeper than anything I’d experienced since South America! My legs were killing me for days after. It was worth it, though, for the amazing views and nice company.

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The Everglades

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A view of the Everglades from the boardwalk at Kirby Storter Roadside Park

The Everglades is a 1.5 million acre swath of wetlands in Southern Florida. There are two main highways that cut through the preserve – the Tamiami (Tampa to Miami) and I-75 (Alligator Alley). Tamiami is generally considered the more touristic way to see the sites, as there are several stops with walking paths along the way. It’s easy to see alligators most times of year and there are tons of bird species as well. My favorite walking path was at the Kirby Storter Roadside Park as it was a bit quieter and more secluded than the other areas. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, there are also extended walking trails for longer camping trips.

The little town of Ochopee is a nice stop along the way if you’re doing a road trip. You can see the smallest post office in the United States and grab lunch at Joanie’s Blue Crab, a divey local joint with lots of fried seafood on offer.

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Wynwood Street Art

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A mural by Toxicomano in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami

There is a neighborhood in Miami called Wynwood which is a mecca for street artists and muralists. Colorful walls stretch for blocks, covered with work by artists like Pez, Kashink, and Toxicomano. You can wander around for hours without knowing what you’ll find around the corner, but if you’d like a bit more guidance you can refer to Wynwood Map, which will help you locate and identify particular art or artists.

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Morikami Japanese Gardens

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Morikami Japanese Gardens

The Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens is located in Delray Beach, FL and is a nice spot to relax and experience some nature. The gardens are lovely and the museum features work by Japanese artists. There is also an exhibit for children about traditional life in a Japanese home and also a variety of different types of gardens, showing how zen gardens have evolved. If you are so inclined, you can feed the koi fish in the pond as well. Try to go on a weekday when it’s not so crowded so you can get the full peaceful benefit of the environment.

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Green Cay Nature Preserve

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Green Cay Nature Preserve

Green Cay is a gorgeous preserve in Palm Beach County, Florida. There is a 1.5 mile elevated boardwalk around the swamplands and you can view an abundance of birdlife and other animals. There is also an educational center where you can learn about the habitat and preservation work being done. If the season is right, you might even see an alligator.

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