We’ve just passed the six month mark of our Kiwi adventures, which seems like as good a time as any to reflect on the highs and the lows of life on this isolated little island.
1. Celestial wonderment: So I finally made it to the South Island last month for a casual spot of skiing (my new favourite hobby). Landing in Christchurch was pretty unremarkable but it only took about 20 minutes in the car journeying towards Methven before I was totally blown away by the place. We pulled the car over and starred up at the Milky Way galaxy in all its majesty. The last time I had seen skies this magnificent was the night sky in the Azores.
We foolishly didn’t bring the tripod and camera on our trip but here’s some of the awesome topography up the mountain!
Needless to say I am BEYOND excited about our summer vacation to Queenstown in December where I’m told the stargazing is heavenly!
In other news, I also saw the rings of Saturn through the observatory’s telescope on Friday night, which was SO fucking cool! I’m trying to persuade Matt to get matching Saturn tattoos to mark the occasion but he’s not so keen (Zzz).
2. Creeping out my comfort zone: So I’ve learnt to ski (more on that here), which I initially detested but its actually really growing on me. I can do the shoop-shoop turns and control my speed and stop when I need to (most of the time). And that’s pretty much all there is to it.
One of the best parts of the ski season is all the random chair lift friends you make, from old Māori ladies with awesome face tattoos (officially called ‘moko’) to seven year old kids who tell you their life story.
There’s this magical crystal blue lake that sits on Mt Ruapehu, which I spent quite a lot of time staring at willing a narwhal to pop up pointing its exquisite horn. And this was all before the frozen margaritas. Mountains are just the stuff of mythical fantasies.
We’ve been to Ruapehu a few times this winter and have been fortunate enough to stay in the members-only lodges up the mountain thanks to our awesome ski buddies! There is nothing quite like an après drink outside in the snow overlooking the mountain ranges as the fading sun goes down.
Spot the foreigners…
I’ve also tried my hand at surfing which requires a substantial more amount of practice than skiing but I will persevere! Matt was a total babe and came home one day with this for me…
We spent the day at Tawharanui which is a lot what I imagine heaven would look like if such a place ever existed.
My first go of surfing felt like a spin cycle in a washing machine and I consumed a whole bunch of sea water whilst narrowly avoiding being battered on the head by my board.
Matt was clearly unimpressed with my efforts as he sold my surfboard the next day! I still plan to smash it in the summer, putting in the hours in the evenings after work so I can get wiped out by tsunami style waves (kidding – that shit be terrifying). As long as I can stand up on it I’ll be happy!
3. Living in the the most beautiful place in the world: New Zealand is by far the most ridiculously, naturally stunning place I have ever laid eyes on. I still have moments where I cannot believe this is the place I call home now.
Auckland is so-so, I don’t really get excited about anything in the city anymore. But as soon as you hit the road and head for the coast or the mountains its like going into another world. And a lot of the time you have these special places all to yourself which kind of adds to the marvel. I’ve been over to Piha countless times in the past six months and each time we have to pull over and appreciate that view before snaking down the windy road.
1. Overpriced furniture / homewares shopping. Blah.
2. Not being able to have a dog called Peanuts.
3. It’s wet. As Brit’s we should be used to this but when it rains the heavens open. But on the flip side its green and lush so I can’t complain. But after a double winter I’m counting down the days till summer…
It’s been an awesome six months in Aotearoa. Ups and downs, but zero regrets. I can’t wait for the trip back to the UK in November but I’m also equally excited about getting back home to New Zealand for the start of summer 🙂
Shout out to our international crew for providing LOLs along the way…xxx