Flat

Everything has gone smoothly regarding our move into our new flat which is nice. The people we’re living with are really cool (I’ve already found a footy team to play for which 2 of my flatmates are involved in) and the flat is pretty nice. It’s great to be able to empty our bags and sleep on a mattress in a room which is ours.

Wellington is still an awesome city to be in and hopefully we’ll be sorted with jobs soon and be all nicely settled in.

A few people have asked us about our flat so here’s some pics.

004

Our room and a girl in the corner of it.

005

The kitchen.

006

This is the way in.

007

Where to have a sit.

There’s a bathroom and toilet as well but I’ll spare y’all that.

Love from Dave

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Picz ov da south

Hello everyone.

Leigh has already done a lovely blog about what she’s done the last couple of weeks. To be honest my movements have been quite similar so I won’t bother repeating them as such but give a bit more detail about what we did and show you lots of pretty pictures.

One thing worth mentioning is that whilst camping in the middle of nowhere in a minibus may sound all exciting and glamorous but next time I’m sticking to the Hilton chain. Leigh probably liked it more than I did.

nothilton

Rotorua:

So yeah, our last week in Rotorua was very nice. On one of the days Ingrid leant us out to her friend Trish and we went to an amazing local place called Kerosene creek which is a natural hot spa. Because it had rained for 2 days straight before it was cool enough to get in, although we didn’t stay in long because it was still very hot. Apparently you can’t really go in in the middle of summer. Prizes awarded for guessing why my hand is behind my head.

kerosene

Whilst in Rotorua York City survived relegation. Because of this I tortured a cat for about an hour trying to make her wear my York City shirt. Eventually she fell asleep and I gained victory.

ivyyork

Wellington:

I’d tell you more about Wellington but as Leigh describes we mostly spent it worrying and deciding to leave. As far as I can tell we only took one picture and it didn’t really work. This is across the harbour at night.

wellingtown

Road trip:

Life in the minibus wasn’t that bad really. It was nice to just be the two of us. As darkness fell and we had nowhere to stop and found ourselves halfway down dirt tracks to nowhere getting overtaken by sheep on mopeds it did get quite stressful. The first night we aimed for a freedom campsite (free, nothing there but legal to park in) and didn’t find it so we parked next to a sign riddled with bullet holes instead.

bullets

Someone hates 50kmh speed limits.

The best bit of camping was undoubtedly waking up still alive. The first night we feel asleep in pouring rain and woke up to this, which was a genuinely great start to a day. You can see my bed inside the open door. Luxury.

minibus morning

Driving on that second day was amazing. The plan had been to see the south island after we’d worked in Wellington but that would have meant coming in the middle of winter (plenty of places in the south island are much closer to a pole that the North of Scotland so it’s chilly) but coming now we got a few nice days. The scenery is genuinely stunning. Ironically we mostly took pictures of man made things like dams to prove this.

dam

dam2

Queenstown:

We’d taken so many pictures of the south island our battery ran out in Queenstown. Queenstown is a very pretty place on a big lake. Cleverly it’s invented itself as a centre for adrenaline junkies and it’s now one of the bigger towns in the country. (not saying much mind you). It’s pretty yeah but it’s a bit weird being in New Zealand and getting served by an English person every time you go into a supermarket. Because it was so small prior to developing in this way there are no angry locals who don’t like travellers or anything really, everyone’s foreign and selling things like jumping off a bridge. It was getting busy as the ski season is starting and at our hostel everyone was looking forward to spending months together working as a toilet cleaner in the resort. Each to there own but I’ve really enjoyed meeting kiwi’s and seeing random places. Would love to go to Queenstown again for a weekend mind.

Dunedin:

We went from Queenstown to Dunedin but regretted it instantly when we got dropped in some docks reminiscent of the Wire. People had told us Dunedin was nice but we’d arrived in West Baltimore. Luckily, in the less attractive areas of Dunedin you don’t get mugged at knifepoint as often as you do in the ‘real’ hood so we walked into the city centre which turned out to be absolutely lovely. A real gem actually.

We spent a day walking round and seeing the sights. The best of which I want it to be known Leigh understated.

What do these cities have in common? Rome, Paris, London, New York, Istanbul, Tokyo, Cairo, Milton Keynes and Mexico City? Not sure? None of them contain the worlds steepest street! It was amazing. Most people will roll their eyes reading this but you’re just haterz. How many streets have you ever seen? Well in Dunedin there is one that’s steeper than all of them. Half way up some Taiwanese tourists started taking pictures of us. Look up Taiwanese travel blogs until we appear please. It was like the perfect day ever. We have pictures on Leigh’s phone (We’d still not charged the camera battery, which almost makes me cry thinking about it.) and will show you one day. The scene looked a lot like this though.

verysteep

We only took one picture of Dunedin which is a nice picture but it deserves more. One night wasn’t enough for the city actually, wish we’d stayed longer.

dunedin

Christchurch

As Leigh said we stayed with our friend Simon so I won’t go over that again. But it was great to see Simon and he was so generous letting us stay 3 nights and showing us round!

I can imagine Christchurch isn’t much fun to live in any more but visiting I really found it fascinating. The city was perhaps New Zealand’s most attractive place to visit prior to the Earthquake. Apparently a very British place historically and known for being almost immune to earthquakes and the general odd weather New Zealand gets. But over 2 huge earthquakes just over 2 years ago that was all ruined and devastated the city.

The enormity of what this means is staggering when you think about it and the value of stuff still sitting in hotel rooms/offices in the red zone must be huge. Travellers like us must have been unable to retrieve passports and belongings which still just sit there now. Simon told us after a few weeks they allowed certain people a certain amount of time to retrieve crucial stuff to businesses. The amount of people was limited at any one time because basically there was every chance an aftershock would occur and they’d all be killed.

All the old architecture obviously wasn’t designed for earthquakes as the buildings in places like Wellington where they’re more common are. You still can’t get into the old city centre for safety reasons.

2 years on and the Cathedral is as it was just after the quake. Could you imagine how gutting it would be if in York the minster was condemned and the streets around it fenced off?

cathedral

The second earthquake was less strong but far more deadly. All the buildings were weakened by the first and the second hit in the middle of the day. Near the boundary of the red zone you can still see shops set up as they were at the very time. This hairdressers has clippers out and the open sign turned. Presumably someone was wandering around for a few days with half a haircut in the aftermath.

haircut

The flip side of this is that the rebuild plans are truly inspiring and I have no doubt that in 10 or so years Christchurch will be one of the best cities in the world. Temporary things to brighten up the place have been put into gaps where buildings once were. One example is a mini golf course around the city, this hole stands where a Thai restaurant used to be.

minigolf

Other ‘gap fillers’ include a dance floor with an i-pod station where people just turn up and dance, a huge bookshelf to be a book exchange and all sorts, it’s a great idea and makes a difference walking round.

The temporary business district is called the re:start mall and is a community of shipping containers. It’s cool to walk around, and apparently the people of Christchurch have taken to it a lot but it’s clearly not ideal. The banks for example don’t really have banking facilities as we found out to our expense.

restart

Leigh took this picture which is quite poignant. The pointy building on the right is the cardboard cathedral. Whilst the real cathedral is out of use and may take years to renovate/rebuild they’re making one out of cardboard. The white chairs are a tribute to those who lost their lives in the quake. Just beyond the green traffic light is a space where a large building once stood. The building was the CTV building where the worst deaths occurred. After the first quake it was passed safe to return but wasn’t and when the second hit is literally just collapsed killing 115 people including a lot of foreigners who were at the language school in the building.

cardboard

Seeing a city which is literally still a disaster zone is really creepy but we’re so pleased we saw it; we only regret not seeing it pre-quake.

So we left Christchurch on Friday with an intention to go north and hopefully camp in picton a few nights and go to wellington and sleep in our new flat’s lounge for a few nights before we moved in and that’s as far as Leigh got…

Christchurch to ????

Everyone in New Zealand when you arrive tells you one thing. Hitch hiking in the south island is easy and the best way to get around. Everyone has a story about a great local guide who showed them unusual sights or went out their way to take them somewhere they weren’t heading to. Up until now we’d not had the chance/courage to try it but Simon spoke highly of it and getting to Picton is expensive.

Of course we knew full well we’d be the exception. We’d be the ones stood at the side of the road for 10 hours getting horrible stares or possibly being the first hitchers abducted and killed ever. At the end of our trip we’d be telling people our horror story as an extreme anomaly to everyone elses stories. It’s always the way.

We’d picked up some hitchers on our way down, a nice couple of girls from the USA and England so were owed some karma right?

So we got to the North of Christchurch and an appropriate road heading out the city to the main highway at about 9 AM. Ha, I though rolling my eyes. We’ll be here ages. Simon said not to worry if it took a long time to get picked up. Sometimes it would take a couple of hours or sometimes about 10 minutes.

After 5 whole minutes a car pulled over and a cheerful Kiwi woman popped out and said she and her husband were going to Blenheim which is literally 20 minutes drive from our eventual destination. We gladly accepted and they were great company, even going to the outskirts of Blenheim to drop us in a good spot to try and hitch again. OK so we’d got lucky, but the next one would be our bad luck story yeah? All we wanted was a ride to the town so we could camp in a campsite we’d seen that at least had hot showers.

So 5 more minutes later and a friendly policeman called Jeff picks us up and asks us if we’re getting the ferry to wellington. We say no we’re camping a few days and when we get to Picton itself he offers us a spare double bed in his house for our stay in Picton! Being English our first reaction is omg he will kill us in our sleep but he showed us the room got us bedding and connected our laptop to his unlimited internet and went out to a meeting; a couple of huge mistakes for a psycho killer to make…

But of course, he isn’t a psycho killer, he’s just a really nice man with some spare beds. So we’ve stayed 3 nights and are staying one more in luxury we could have only dreamed off compared to a chilly campsite. He’s been a great source of local info and we’ve enjoyed some great walks over the last few days in a late burst of Summer. After our first night he picked up 4 Germans who are staying here as well now and we all had a huge party on Saturday night until the early hours. It’s been great and totally unexpected fun.

We’ve been incredibly lucky to end up here and get a chance to explore Picton. Its slogan is “surprisingly perfect Picton” and that’s about right. There’s talk about moving the ferry terminal and the first thought is that it might destroy Picton as a town, but there’s another theory which is it would make Picton a destination in its own right. At the moment it’s known as ‘the place you drive through to get the ferry’ but people would do well to stay a few days and perhaps if it’s not overshadowed by the boats it would be stronger. Granted we’ve had awesome weather and company but it’s turned out to be another absolute gem we weren’t expecting.

Picton is at the North of the South island but it is protected by a labyrinth of ‘sounds’ which protrude into the Cook Straight. They provide amazing photo ops from the land.

smout

picton

Queen charlotte

 

Things got a bit Mario kart here- surely it depends on where you want to go????

wrong way

Very cute. Aw me.

 

 

 

 

aww

YAY 4 PICTON

beachplz

So that’s all for now.

Getting the ferry to Wellington tomorrow and fingers crossed we’ll be there a bit longer than last time…

Byeeee xoxoxoxoxox luv from dave

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

there and back again…

Goodness, hasn’t it been a while!? Sorry about that… well lots has happened so we’ll start at the beginning, shall we?

So it’s actually been a little while now since we left Rotorua  and we were very sad to leave it behind.

008

Rotorua: catch a bus and soak your feet!

Our last week was pretty excellent, we mainly did the same sort of things and enjoyed the time we had left in the city, we spent part of the time house sitting and we enjoyed the most of simple things like sitting on the sofa that you miss more than you realise when you’re away from home. Also, New Zealand X Factor has begun so we spent a fair amount of time glued to Daniel Bedingfield’s face.

001

Who’da thunk when ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ came out 10 years ago that this legend of a man would be shaping the next generation of Kiwi musicians..?

Another thing we hadn’t realised is quite what a big country NZ is. It tends to get thought of as the little country next to Australia, but actually it’s a fair chunk bigger than the UK, and the land is distributed in a more long-and-skinny way. Whilst the UK is bigger in population (over 60million to NZ’s 3million – weird or what?!), the moral of the story is that it takes a bloody lot longer to get anywhere over here. Anyway, an 8 hour bus journey later and we made it to Wellington, and another 8 hours after that (not quite) we finally found our hostel!

Wellington is the capital and has a reputation for being very nice (as well as being very windy and being the place in the world you’re most likely to get hit by a bus). We tend to agree with all of those but we still had a good few days. We went to see a couple of flats we’d got lined up and did some boring things like applying for jobs. And we managed to squeeze in some interesting things like seeing the national museum Te Papa, which is wonderful and we’ll talk more about that later.

Despite the fact that Wellington was really nice and we’d planned to stay there for a bit, we decided to get the ferry to the South Island. What is life without a little spontaneity?! So, then we decided, since we’re on the south island, why not buy a mini bus and drive to the south of the south island?!!??! Can you think of a reason? No? Neither could we! So that’s what we did!! 😀

020

HAHAHAHA just kidding, we didn’t buy it, but we did nab ourselves a dandy relocation car (where you do the rental company a favour by moving a vehicle for them and they do you a favour by not charging you to borrow said vehicle). Actually it wasn’t a car, it was a campervan, except it turned out to be not so much a camper van as a mini bus, fancy that! But we’d never driven a mini bus across New Zealand before so we thought, why not? And actually we had a pretty nice 2 days looking at the ridiculously stunning scenery that NZ has to offer. It also turns out this was a perfect time to come because autumn is really setting in here, which means the views are possibly the most beautiful  of all, with all the trees a thousand different colours, and the very first sprinkling of snow capping the mountains. Just lovely.

Here are some pictures – imagine it like that, but better.

028               032

So, we were having a great time being in the south island when we got a text saying that we could have a flat in Wellington – excellent! The room is available from the 15th, which at that time was about 10 days away, so it really seemed most sensible course of action to run around the south island before then. Isn’t it good how everything works out?!

Queenstown is known as being a bit of a ‘party capital’, because it’s packed full of young people enjoying their time away from home I suppose! It is a gorgeous place, and it’s really wealthy because it does a great trade in winter as a ski resort type place and in the summer as a summer resort type place. It’s also the place that people go to fulfil the apparently mandatory gap year requirements of taking a couple of years of your life through terrifying adrenaline junkie pursuits – bungee jumps, canyon swings, sky dives… well we didn’t get up to any of that this time round, but maybe one day!

However, even without all of that there’s enough to do in Queenstown just wandering round looking at how pretty everything is, and despite the fact there was really low fog the whole time we were there it was still a stunner of a place. Since our time was limited we decided to tick the biggest things we wanted to see off our list, and though neither of us are able to explain why we were both certain that we wanted to visit Dunedin.

It turns out we were right because Dunedin too is a gorgeous place, a bit of a relief after spending so much time being ‘tourists’, because Dunedin is a lot more normal, just a city of working people getting on with life, which is quite refreshing. I did have one beef because apparently Dunedin is the home of Cadbury’s chocolate in New Zealand (anyone else seeing a problem here!?!?! They do know it’s not from there, right!?) Granted I was thrilled to find out I wasn’t going to be starved of decent chocolate whilst here, and sure it’s harsh to make Kiwi’s trek all the way to Birmingham for the Cadbury experience, but still, we have to protect our heritage, don’t we?

But anyway, you’ve got to love anything that makes a city smell like chocolate, even if it’s just the one street by the factory (Rotorua should figure out how to make sulphur smell like chocolate, in my opinion). We also saw one of the most exciting things we’ve seen yet – THE WORLD’S STEEPEST STREET. You might think that sounds like a bit of a boring thing to spend the afternoon seeing, but you would be wrong. I will allow Dave and the pictures to elaborate!

One of the things we were most keen to do in New Zealand was meet up with our friend Simon, who we met when we were working in America a couple of years ago and is still travelling. In the time that we completed our 3rd year of Uni, graduated and worked for a few months, he’s worked his way across America, Canada and Alaska, and for the last year or so he’s been in Christchurch, where he was nice enough to put us up, feed us, show us around and generally take care of us for a few days. THANKS SIMON! He even brought us some Walkers crisps from his trip to England. What. A. Legend.

Even though we kind of knew what to expect I don’t think we were properly prepared for Christchurch, which you should know was pretty much devastated by 2 earthquakes, 6 months apart in 2010 and 2011. It’s pretty hard to describe, so I’ll let Dave do it, but I’ll just say that even though it’s a bit crippled it’s still a wicked place, and it’s a massive inspiration to hear people’s stories and see the efforts that are going into rebuilding it. We’re a bit gutted that we didn’t get to see the traditional buildings that used to be there (Christchurch was known for having lots of nice English style architecture, it just sucks that bricks aren’t a very earthquake proof material), but in conclusion, it was excellent and very much worth the visit.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rotorua again again

Here are some things what we have done:

002

We made Pizza! Turns out it’s actually not that hard. This is a big success for us because not only was it very yummy but we are managing to expand our culinary repatoire(?)… We also made a pretty great ratatouille as well. By the time we get back to England we are going to be masterchefs. Yay! Also note the lovely MistyMoo eyeing up our dinner. Of all the excellent animals we have met she is by far one of the best, and that’s saying something.

003

 

Rotorua is a particularly green city, with enormous lakes and forests, etc. In comparison this very nice park seems kind of pale, which is funny because it’s actually spectacular. So far we’ve only explored a bit of it, but besides this pretty lake there are dozens of hot mud pools and thermal heated baths (the whole city is like a big spa – you can literally just soak your feet while you’re waiting for a bus). Fantastic place. 

008

This is what people with artistic talent can accomplish in half an hour. (Not me, just for the record). Dave enjoyed getting his botty out and he did wonderfully on his debut as a life model. It’s nice to know he’s got a career to fall back on. Not a bad portrait, huh? 
009

As we said, lots of lakes. This one is the ‘Blue’ Lake Tikitapu. Lovely. As you can see from the clouds we definitely aren’t in the height of summer anymore… Autumn has set in although you can still enjoy being outside. The tricky thing is that the weather can change from blue skies to rain pretty quickly. Keeps things interesting though. 

021

I’m rather proud of this picture – Lake Tarawera.

025

We accompanied Liz, Steve and MistyMoo on a hike to Hamurana springs. If you can drag your eyes away from our pretty faces look how amazingly clear the water is. This spring is the source of the (very little) river – the actual bit where the water comes out of the earth. I’ve never seen anything like it before so I think it’s all very exciting. It actually does look like glass, you can see everything in perfect detail. Apparently this spring produces enough water to fill 2 Olympic size swimming pools every hour. Cool!

031

 

Yesterday we came back to stay with Ingrid, Jan and Jacob. Here he is demonstrating how tasty our cupcakes are. Great decorating!

035

 

We went mountain biking and it rained a LOT. Aren’t we adventurous!!? To be honest I was finding the ‘easy’ tracks challenging already, but adding loads of slippy mud certainly does make the whole thing more interesting! Dave was grubby too but he was more interested in a hot shower than documenting it for you. 

 

"If this was a human girl you would not be happy."

“If this was a human girl you would not be happy.”

That’s a direct quote.
020

Isn’t his beard coming along well?!!??

So, that’ll do. We are here for one more week and then off to Wellington next Tuesday. Love to all xoxo

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More Rotorua

Hello all,

 

Been a while since our last blog so thought we’d do a bit of an update, even if we don’t have much to say.

 

We’re still in Rotorua which is still a very pretty place although it turns out you don’t really get used to the smell. We stayed with Ingrid and Jan until Sunday which was the plan and we are to go back there in about a week’s time to look after Jacob for the first week of their Easter holidays, which oddly take place about 2 weeks after Easter. #NZOLO

 

For this week we’re staying with Liz and Steve who are actually English and met each other at school in Northampton and have raised a family over here. I sometimes border on asking people what made them move to New Zealand to settle down but when it comes down to it if the choice is Northampton Vs New Zealand (for example) it seems a silly question. They live in a really nice house which is quite central in Rotorua and the main shops are only a few minutes’ walk away. They are really friendly and I think we’ll have another really good week being here.

 

Unless a particularly good opportunity comes up we think we will move on to Wellington in about 2 weeks time and try and find jobs there. The longest drought in the history of New Zealand is over and the last few days have really had a bit of a feel of autumn about them. Much of what Rotorua specialises in is outside so it might be nice to be in an actual city with indoor jobs when the winter gets here. Besides, we’ll have been here nearly a month and that’s long enough in a small town really innit m8 2k13.

 

We’ve done some really cool things in Rotorua the last week or so. We’ve been mountain biking in the Redwood forest and gone on some nice walks, taken part in another life drawing class and seen lots of the local sights. Dave also played his second game for Rotorua United which was a 6-2 win over a town called Opotiki.

 

There is a stir around the female population of Rotorua about rumours that Dave may be the next model at the life drawing class. More news on that when we receive it.

 

HERE R SUM PITCHURES!!!!!!

 

003

Leigh and a big tree.

011

This tree was in the path so I just picked it up and chucked it out the way.

One day we cooked and it wasn't actually a disaster.

One day we cooked and it wasn’t actually a disaster.

Very arty.

Very arty.

Winners!

Winners!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rotorua Smellz

There is a town in Derbyshire that stinks. Literally, it smells awful. I can’t remember its name; it might be Bolsover but nowhere on the internet says that Bolsover smells and it smells so bad it’d be on the internet by now. My point is that people only notice this place when they happen to drive by on the M1 and they put their foot down on the accelerator and get to the clean air of Mansfield a bit quicker. New Zealand had a better idea, they took their smelliest place and told people to pay to come and smell it, and it worked well.

 

Of course Rotorua is nothing like that smelly town in Derbyshire because Rotorua is gorgeous. It’s a city, (a small one- smaller than Harrogate) that is situated in the middle of New Zealand’s answer to the Lake District, a region with over 17 lakes, all of them stunning. It’s a big tourist and holiday resort and you can see why. Once you get over the smell you’re left with some amazing geysers, mud pools, natural springs and things that Bolsover or wherever probably doesn’t have to offer.

 

We’ve been staying in Rotorua for a few days now and it’s been great. The family we are staying with are really friendly and live in an amazing house with great gardens. When you’re in their gardens you forget that you’re right next to a road and within walking distance of a city. It’s a perfect balance really. Across the road is a redwood tree forest and they have given us bicycles to borrow so we can get to the city centre in about 15 minutes, or go the scenic route which involves lots of hot springs and far smells. The work hasn’t been too hard yet, in fact yesterday I took their son Jacob to the local park and played football for two hours and that counted as work.

 

Jacob’s parents and called Ingrid and Jan and are both lovely. Jan is South African and works in town so we see less of him but they live really busy and fun lives. Evening activities since arriving have included swimming in a lake in the middle of the night whilst it’s raining and attending a life drawing class where it turned out the naked Dutch model loved the French film ‘intouchable’ which is probably my favourite comedy film around.

 

The variety of places we’ve seen so far has been fantastic and I could see us stopping in Rotorua for a while. The city centre is small but well formed and we’re considering stopping here to find work for the winter rather than going down to the ominously named “windy Wellington” which was the original plan.

 

I certainly feel quite at home in this city. I even have found myself a football team to play for. Rotorua United are one of the cities football clubs (the other is Ngongotaha but I’m not putting in the effort to spell that) and I emailed them to ask if they had space for a keeper and I made my debut today in a 3-0 win, hooray!

 

Hopefully all carries on well. We’re living with Ingrid and Jan until next Sunday and they want us back for the school holidays a week after than so we just need to find somewhere to go in between.

 

Here are some pictures to prove that this is mostly true:

Nowhere does terrifying signs like Rotorua.

Nowhere does terrifying signs like Rotorua.

Dr Evil has moved to the Bay of Plenty.

Dr Evil has moved to the Bay of Plenty.

 

The ground does farts here lol

The ground does farts here lol

A Furness keeper's dream come true, not a ball in sight.

A Furness keeper’s dream come true, not a ball in sight.

I took too long writing this so Leigh's found someone to share the bed with tonight, i'm in a basket. :(

I took too long writing this so Leigh’s found someone to share the bed with tonight, i’m in a basket. 😦

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cattycatty

Hello world.

Here are some ramblings about our time in Katikati – we actually left 3 days ago so pretend that we posted this right away.

Katikati is a nice little town about half an hour from Tauranga, which is the 5th biggest city in New Zealand (go google). We spent a lovely 8 days there, although that’s rather an exaggeration because the place we were staying was another 6 km into the countryside. We were woofing (translation; working in exchange for food and a bed and stuff) with a family who have a holiday lodge on their property in addition to some pretty lush gardens people can visit.

We were mainly working with James, a fellow Brit who mercifully understood the importance of tea breaks and lavished Twinings upon us. The gardens take a fair old bit of looking after so we spent a lot of time weeding and generally tidying up the flowerbeds, etc, as well as a bit of planting, some work in the veg patch where we accidentally let the chickens escape (sorry James) and the most exciting part where we got to cut up a tree with a chainsaw.

James and Victoria (who is a Kiwi and is a Montessori pre-school teacher so is a mine of information if you’re interested in the subject like me!) have 2 gorgeous boys Caspar (7) and Felix (4) who were very gracious and spent many a long hour entertaining us and educating us about Star Wars and such things. We also really enjoyed the bed after the last place – shame it didn’t come with a cow but the en-suite and the pool were probably worth the trade.

We were really lucky that we got to tag along on a few family outings – Easter here seems to be a much bigger deal than it is in England. Possibly because it’s really the last bank holiday of the summer so people like to make the most of it, so we all went to the beach which was really great. We also had a hike in the forest next door, which is currently being felled so we had a good old nosey. From what we’ve seen so far in New Zealand a fair bit of the industry is made up from timber manufacture – it’s a weird thing to see but undoubtedly interesting!

Every year the Tauranga Rotary club holds a massive book fair, and we somehow managed to time our visit on that one weekend, so we got to go along! As it turns out, taking a couple of book lovers to look at hundreds of books they have neither the money nor the luggage space for is a small kind of torture, but nevertheless we had fun, most particularly when little Felix – attracted by the brightly coloured cover no doubt – picked up ‘The Little Book of Complete Bollocks’ and requested a reading. Brilliant.

Probably the thing we’ll miss most about staying there (apart from the company) was the awesome views – the benefits of being really far up are that you get to enjoy immense scenery that makes you feel like you are in a Truman Show-style bubble where you could walk up to the sky and touch it. Really wish I had the camera/skill as a photographer to capture some of the images, but here are some poor attempts for you instead… Enjoy!

What a pretty place

What a pretty place

Just lovely

Just lovely

156

N'awww

N’awww

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment