New Zealand - the way life should be!

Trip Start Oct 26, 2007
Trip End Oct 26, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Friday, February 1, 2008

New Zealand is a beautiful country made up of a north and south island located thousands of miles and hours south of Australia.  It's a country on its own, in the middle of the ocean.  And what a beautiful country.. imagine endless beaches, lovely coves and inlets.  It's geologically incredible, environmentally progressive, wildlife cherishing, neat, clean, pretty, uncrowded, provides gorgeous views, has fresh and plentiful fruit and vegetables, has reasonable if not cheap prices, very friendly people.  What more could you ask for in a country!? 

For the BBC New Zealand country page, click here

My journey from SriLanka started with a flight from Colombo that took me to Mumbai, then from Mumbai/Bombay I flew to Sydney, and arrived late in the evening.  I had an early morning flight to Christchurch, New Zealand the next morning.  Never has a shower felt so good as the one at the airport's Holiday Inn.  PS those Holiday Inn's used to be cheap and cheerful options when I was young, they seem to have upped their game, and become 5-star hotels.. (no doubt my three months in minus-3-star places has influenced that view!)  Regardless, my night in Sydney will forever remain in my memory for the bliss of a power shower, and a crisp-clean-sheeted bed.

The master plan for New Zealand included meeting my London-based friend Camilla and her Cork-based brother Patrick, who were in NZ for a cousin's wedding.  The prospect of meeting friends was so exciting for me, and the fact we were meeting in another new country, the first time Camilla and Patrick visited NZ too, made it even more so.

It was great meeting with Camilla and Patrick, and hearing about their recent family wedding, and their New Zealand adventures thus far.  We went out to dinner that night at a restaurant I had discovered the day before.. and it was such a memorable evening.  The host was so personable (I'm finding many NZ's are) and his cat was a guest at our table.. a very nice, cool cat that didn't make a move when our food came, so we were happy to have him stay.  See the photo! 

The Hallinans and I explored Christchurch before flying to Wellington (south side of the north island) to meet a friend of Camilla's, Anne.  The 7's rugby was on in Wellington and there was no accommodation to be found, so Anne kindly put us all up in her lovely home that she shares with Bertie, a big black lab. Bertie, like my friend Claudia's cat Grey Cat, has a thing for plastic bags, and makes a beeline for them when he can.  Camilla found that out, when I inadvertently left a room door closed but not clicked close!  oops. 

Wellington is a hilly, lovely city.  Funniest airport I've ever seen, it's tiny, and located right in the middle of the town.. I've discovered New Zealand is small, and easily navigable.  Anne showed us around Wellington, and I feel like I know the town, which is the capital of NZ, by the way!  We went to the highest point where we saw one wind turbine spinning.  Considering how windy it is in Wellington all the time, we were surprised there weren't more turbines.

Being back in an English speaking country was a wonderful change.  And the food here in NZ is nothing short of gorgeous.  Everything is so fresh and plentiful.  I'll have to watch myself with the coffee and scones and danishes.. things I'd missed in the last months.  Those who know my love of bread will believe me when I say I have been feasting.. and I need to calm down!

After Wellington we rented a car, and drove from the bottom of the north island up to the middle east (so to speak!) a holiday town called Mount Maunganui

We met another of Camilla's friends there, Claire, who was staying at the home of other friends who had just left for a few days' trip, so again we landed on our feet in lovely accommodations.  The mother of Claire's friend, Bea, and her great grandson Tarquine, also were lodging there, so we became great friends, and enjoyed meals and exploring the pretty beaches and local area together.  

Tarquine and I especially struck up a friendship, and he initiated me in the art of PlayStation. When I invariably got around to the question "Aren't there any games without guns.. ?" we'd then switch to PopStar, and sing songs!  Patrick joined in the singing, and we giggled a lot when we played the recorded songs back.  Tarquine was a lovely kid who really enjoyed having playmates.  The memory I won't forget is of him calling me a "girl" - that girl who played with me..haha.  His great grandmother - granny - reminded him that girl had a name, but I have to admit it was a hoot to be called a girl again.  I'm turning 45 in March folks!  haha, so I'll not mind being referred to as a girl.  Next stop, Auckland...
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