Here's some pics - it's all work in progress of course.
This is an attempt to document our journey from a couple who have said, for what seems an age, that they would move to New Zealand, in to a couple that actually move to and settle in New Zealand. Now that we're here we plan to keep the blog updated with anything we feel might be interesting about New Zealand life, or make one or two of you laugh... James & Jody
-Laughed a lot at these videos! Quite possibly one of the funniest thigs I've ever seen. Time to get a dog me thinks!!
Suitably nerdy head gear for a couple of extreme nerds!
Iain, doing his thing
Now, for those of you who don’t know, Rotorua is a highly thermal area as the earths crust is relatively thin there. We therefore had the option of pitching our tent on a ‘warm’ section of the site, which we obviously did! We also partook in the complimentary hot pools on site, giving Iain the opportunity to parade his skimpy bathing trunks (which turned slightly transparent when wetted!). We walked in to town, passing on the way some thermal ponds which allowed for some cool photos to be taken with the setting sun as backdrop. The faint smell of sulphur is never far away in thermal areas such as these. So the temptation to ask 'have you farted' every few minutes never grows tiresome, well not for me and Iain anyway!
You can stick them 'Gorillas In The Mist' comments right up your jacksy!
"Have you farted?"
A steamy thermal pond in Rotorua, and the sun
Upon waking the next morning we realized our air bed had decided to lose most of its air, placing me and Jody on the hot ground, slowly baking us in our sleep. A pretty strange start to the day. So, it was onwards to Napier, via Taupo for breakfast by the lake, for the next stage. We’d arranged to do a cycling winery tour in Napier that afternoon, so were quite excited at the prospect of getting some free wine. On getting to the cycle hire place we were offered tandems, which we obviously accepted, again! The tour itself was brilliant, using a map provided by the hire place we navigated our way to three vineyards and one chocolate makers. We could have done more, but we’d arrived late and the vineyards closed at 5:30pm for tasting (booo!). The scenery and the wineries were amazing, like something out of Tuscany, and the wines we even better (we returned the next morning to buy several bottles from two of the vineyards).
Stopped off at Huka Falls (http://www.hukafalls.com/), just outside Taupo, for the view of the bottom of the falls (over my shoulder)
Leaving one winery, ready for the next one!
Extreme wine tasting!!
Another interesting fact for those not in the know, Napier was flatten by and earthquake and the resultant fires in 1931. The rebuilding of the city was undertaken during the international Art Deco movement, and many of the architects and town planners used this influence to design the new city (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napier,_New_Zealand). So, we spent the warm evening wandering around the centre, and eating burgers at an American surf style restaurant.
Walking from our campsite to Napier centre, in search of food and fine beverages, along the palm tree lined road
A fine example of the art deco buildings - is it better than the Wakefield Express Building? Only just!
A cool colourful, colour changing, fountain
Even the pharmacy got in on the act
The next day was the long leg to Wellington (about a 4 hour drive). The drive itself was very picturesque and we passed several sites where they filmed Lord of the Rings (Isenard, Rivendale, etc) (http://asni.net/lotr_map.html). Once we arrived in Wellington we pitched our tent, again, then caught the bus in to the city as we all fancied a drink. We’d been recommended a good bar called the ‘Tasting Room’ for good grub and beer. We weren’t disappointed. It was a Montieths (our new favourite brewers - http://www.monteiths.com/nz/siteFiles/index.html) establishment, and we sampled their ales to our delight. We also had one of the best starter platters any of us have ever had, followed up by good hearty food. The bar had a nice location in a vibrant yet relaxed area of town. Basically, if any of you find yourself in Wellington, get yourselves to this place. Afterwards we had a walk around the Wellington harbour front (which has some nice buildings and the national museum, Te Papa), and tried the climbing wall.
Yes, I was the only one to reach the top, of course
I'm gonna touch it, just watch me!
She had to look didn't she?!
I liked this hotel on the harbour front, another art deco piece
The next day (Xmas eve) we woke to rain, the first time it had rained in about 10 days. We then remembered why camping in England is rubbish most of the time. Today was Iain and Donna’s flight to Melbourne, and also our 7 hour drive to Cambridge back to Kieran’s. So, we dropped I and D at Te Papa to pass the time before their flight to Melbourne, and set off on the 7 hour drive to Cambridge.
Jody's going to write the next bit, see if you can tell the difference!?
Two days after Christmas I skyped home, when Mum and Dad were holding a Birthday party for my Grandad and they all passed me round on the laptop and I got to speak to all my aunt's, uncle's and cousins as well as my parents and grandparents. Being passed around and seeing the open fire and the Christmas tree, and with the darkness in the windows outside, I felt more Christmas spirit than before, and had that warm feeling inside that had been missing up until then, and I spent a lovely few hours with them.
All I can say I'm really glad that I have skype. It has made a big difference, the distance seems so much smaller and I'm sure I'm talking to my parents more than when I lived in England and we're 'seeing' each other more regulary. So anyone who hasn't got it yet - go on and get it.
Those poor dogs, like they get to choose to look like that!
Iain and Donna's return to NZ and New Year to come..................