Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Farewell to Aotearoa

It's our last day in NZ today, and we're heading off from Auckland to Rarotonga. We spent a wonderful 3.5 days in Motueka, at the top of the South Island, right next to the Abel Tasman National Park.

I definitely want to come back and spend more time in the Abel Tasman one day - it is a lush, hilly paradise lined with golden beaches (the sand resembles polenta!) and mirrored in the most dazzling emerald green seas. We did two afternoon hikes between the bays, and spent a morning kayaking around the little islands. What a beautiful place!

Our first impressions of Auckland were not great, having been ripped off big time by a dodgy taxi driver and finding that our accommodation in no way resembled the website, but yesterday we enjoyed a day at the museum and walking in the Domain.

Looking forward to catching up with Dad on Rarotonga - will post more updates when we're on the island.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hokey little Hokitika

Well, we've done so much since I last logged in ... my poor little camera died while we were in the middle of the beautiful Doubtful Sound but we managed to get a new one and I've taken an awful lot of photos since then. This country is outrageously picturesque!

We keep on finding more and more stunning vistas around every corner ... after our time in Dunedin we stayed in a little cabin right on the edge of Lake Manapouri and took a day trip out on the lake, then deep into Doubtful Sound. It was unbelievably beautiful - we were awe-struck by the scenery. A pod of dolphins swam around our boat at one stage, sparkling in the brilliant green water.

From Lake Manapouri we drove to Arrowtown, a picturesque historical village in Fiordland. Again, the scenery was spectacular, and we hiked for a few hours up in the hills, taking in the views of the mountains and grasslands around us. Wildflowers spilled along streamsides and sunlight streamed through the sycamore trees, and we vowed to do a lot more hiking in future.

After two nights in Arrowtown, we travelled up to Franz Joseph Glacier ... again, really beautiful and fascinating. Hokitika is a bit of a nothing town, and our motel here is the crummiest we've had so far, but it's only for one night.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Going green!

We came to NZ on Tuesday and absolutely love its beautiful landscapes. I haven't seen so much greenery and so many stunning European and antipodean trees and plants in as long as I can remember.

Christchurch is an extraordinarily pretty town, and the road to Dunedin is lined with all sorts of wildflowers. The fields are bordered by well-trimmed hedgerows and windbreaks, and the sea views and inlets around Dunedin reflect the emerald green of the surrounding rolling hills. We really got a sense of driving in Scotland as we made our way up through the mist to see the gardens at Larnach castle, having spent a spectacular afternoon trudging in the sand dunes and watching sea lions up close at Sandfly Bay.

Our first three days were rather cool and drizzly but the sun is now shining brilliantly. People here have been very friendly so far and I'm really looking forward to the next stage of our trip. Onward now to Lake Manapouri and then Arrowtown.....

Monday, January 08, 2007


Gus has been very quiet over the past few days ... I wonder if he's worked out that when we pack our bags, we're going away again?

Sunday, January 07, 2007


I saw this guy in Southbank - he was celebrating the purchase of a second-hand duffle coat (despite the heat).

O' Frabjous Day!

On a hot and sunny Thursday afternoon this week, Lisa & Bryan got married ...

I couldn't imagine a better match, or a sweeter couple!

This is Lisa's cheesy dreamy bride pose:

(she did look lovely)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Another year begins

We spent a quiet NYE at home, with a candle-lit dinner (delicious crispy-roasted lemon chicken and cranberry & pistachio cous cous), and lots of champagne.

We also looked after Mavis from next door - what a cutie! She explored the garden this morning .... it's not very tidy at the moment but it's great to have everything growing so well with very little water.

... also ...

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