So, we left England on Sunday 29th November and arrived in New Zealand on Tuesday 2nd December. We lost a day on the way somewhere due to the time difference but it really didn’t matter. We were both pretty tired by the time we landed in Auckland but luckily our lovely friends April and Pete picked us up from the airport and immediately made us feel welcome. We managed to stay awake until the afternoon and even managed a trip to the city after our hosts had gone off to work. Surprisingly we went to the pub!
Think we went out for a meal in the evening but can’t honestly remember!
The next day we travelled to the beautiful Waiheke Island and forced ourselves to do a number of wine tastings – tough times!
Back to Auckland for another night and a final meal with our friends – one of the nicest couples I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Picked up a lovely hire car (old banger) and we were on our way to Rotorua. Here the highlight was a trip out to a Maori village where they showed us traditional Maori stuff, including the haka – I had a go and yes I was s@@t at it! It’s harder than it looks! Only other thing to mention was the hot natural spas, which unfortunately stank of rotten eggs!
Next stop was the ‘Art Deco’ town of Napier which was quite pretty but also rather small! Highlights were the ice cream and managing to watch Ronnie O’Sullivan win the UK Open Snooker championship!
It was then on to Wellington and after some interesting and somewhat challenging driving we arrived at our own little cottage in the hills on the outskirts of town. Unfortunately by this point Greer was rather ill with a hacking cough that kept us both awake at night. It somewhat limited our activities but the weather was pretty crap at the time so it didn’t really matter too much. We did manage a trip to the museum in the city which I have to say was very impressive, and entry was free so even better!
Next was a 3 and a half hour ferry trip to Picton in the South Island. Some beautiful scenery here and I even took a few photos I think! This also saw the start of our Trivial Pursuit challenge which will be continuing throughout our 6 month trip – currently 4-4 after Greer took a 3-0 lead!
Arrived in Picton which is quite a small town in a beautiful setting (there’s a lot of those in NZ). Only stayed one night here in a hostel where we learnt that Greer doesn’t like sharing a kitchen with other people!
Off to West Melton on the outskirts of Christchurch where we stayed in a lovely B&B for 3 nights. Ventured into the city and we were both quite surprised by the devastation that was still evident caused by the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Most of the Central Business District was like a building site – quite sad to be honest.
Finally took Greer to the emergency Doctor as she wasn’t getting any better and unbelievably she was seen by a doctor from Tunbridge Wells who used to live in Camden road ( about 5 mins from our flat!). It is indeed a small world! They apologised for us being there an hour and a half but I said that was good compared to some of my waits in UK hospitals!
Next stop was Dunedin which we both really liked although we only stayed one night.
Next day off to Te Anau and the glowworm caves which was definitely one of the highlights of the trip so far in spite of Greer’s slightly irrational fear of bridges/walkways in caves!
Then on to Queenstown which was probably the place we both liked the most in NZ. Had a result as we got a free upgrade on our room so had an amazing view of the lake. Buzzing town with lots to do and see and we went in the cable car to experience even more amazing views – and yes it was very high!
Next stop was Alexandra where we stayed with our amazing friends Lana and Jason and their 2 beautiful children Maddy and Esther. Lovely little town with friendly people. Another trip to the doctor to get some more antibiotics for Greer as she hadn’t really got any better by this point. Fortunately they worked and she is fine now! Had some good food here and saw a few local sights. Personal highlight was getting up early on the day we left and watching the Arsenal v Liverpool game with Jason! (2-2 for the record books, although we (Liv) should have won about 6-2!
Off back to Christchurch which was a long but picturesque drive and a final night in NZ before heading off to OZ!
In summary we both liked NZ a lot, although we perhaps would have done more if we both hadn’t been ill (I had man flu). It’s an amazingly beautiful country with extremely friendly and helpful people. Think we learned that we are essentially both townies though!