Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Unfinished Business

We have been in New Zealand for almost three weeks now and I am committed to finishing this post today!  I have made many attempts at a post, but none of them have made the cut to a finished product.  My editor is quite picky, very hard to please and difficult to nail down for feedback and direction.  He is often too busy snapping off selfie photos of breathtaking backdrops, planning routes, comparatively pricing attractions and confirming bookings. Today, he is wearing his editor cap and has gently reminded me of my responsibilities on our tour.  Although I have written a great deal about New Zealand, nothing has appeared on the blog and the readers anxiously await.  (Jeesh... the pressures of being a full-time traveller with a writing job on the side for friends and family.  It is really tough!)

Now, the reason for such a hiatus in posts about New Zealand is not because it isn't worthy of writing about.  New Zealand is quite the opposite actually.  Every time I started a post, we would see something new that I wanted to tell you about.  The cities were exciting, the lakes serene and the landscapes absolutely breathtaking.  As we travelled, the views just kept getting better and what I thought was stunning yesterday and worthy of sharing today, would only be topped by something else new and beautiful.  And so my yesterdays became todays and my tomorrows quickly followed with nothing ever getting finished!

I started a post about our time in Auckland, where we met and stayed with relatives on Mark's side of the family.  Valerie is a retired university librarian and Dan is a 'working on cutting back, preparing for semi-retirement' plant scientist.  Their home was beautiful and perched on the side of a volcano overlooking the city.  The views were stunning and their gardens, bountiful.  Dining on fresh fruits and vegetables, picked straight from the vine, was a treat.  They even had an avocado tree!  We toured the area visiting a Gannet colony, and took in the Chinese Lantern festival.  We were even treated to a fireworks display from the front balcony.  We couldn't have asked for more. What could be better than this, really?  Everything was beautiful and then tomorrow came.

Valerie and Dan showing us the sites!

A Gannet Colony, so neat but oh so smelly!

The girls in the garden.

The view from Valerie and Dan's balcony - the fireworks were set off from the tower, it was amazing!

From Auckland we headed south to Rotorua where we spent a week on Lake Rotoiti.  There, we met Geraldine and Mike, two retired pharmacists who had turned their cottage property into a full time home and it certainly wasn't hard to see why.  The lake was crystal clear and had hot spring rivers leading into it.  I started to write a post about how we filled our days with morning runs, mid-day paddles and evening swims, but instead of finishing my writing, I chose to finish another novel instead. We were sad to leave our oasis, which reminded us so much of home, but we did manage to climb a mountain and check out a kiwi orchard.  Still, so much of New Zealand awaited, and we headed further south to explore some more.  Again, another post was abandoned as the days just kept getting better and the views more stunning. 

Kiwi…welcome to New Zealand!

One of our hikes….beautiful!

Fun on the water.
From Lake Rotoiti we ventured to Napier and Hastings, where we were reminded of how small the world is.  Our hosts, Mike and Kay, were enjoying their retirement, spending most of their time travelling or planning their next trip.  Like us, they travel on a budget, so many hours were spent sharing stories. Their son-in-law grew up in Owen Sound and attended the rival high-school to mine.  It turned out they had travelled to my hometown several times, what a small world!  We took in the Art Deco capital of the world and I thought of how Barb and Hilary would absolutely love this place!  We ventured to the top of Mount Te Mata that was lined in mountain bike trails, Adam and his gang would have a heyday here.  Mark even ran into Keith, a Scottish garment supplier for McCallum bagpipes, who noticed the McCallum t-shirt he was wearing. The world was proving to be very small and the two exchanged goods to remember the unusual meeting of the Mitchell and Mackie Clans.  The people continued to wow us, the views continued to stun us, and still nothing appeared on the blog.

Mike and us at the top of Mount Te Mata.

Art Deco capital.

Another selfie!

It's a small world after all…. 
Just when we thought things couldn't get better, we headed for Wellington.  We stayed with friends, Stephen and Caroline.  They had nicely moved in to a beautiful new home on the water.  We explored Wellington and hiked out to the lighthouse.  Again the views were spectacular.  There was so much more to write about again today and yesterday's post was abandoned yet again.

The view from the front deck.

A little photo shoot on the way to the lighthouse!

Silly business at the Te Papa Museum.
Lake Wanaka is where I write to you from now, and I couldn't image a prettier place, yet everyone keeps saying, wait until Milford Sound!  As I mentioned earlier, my editor is on my case, so I must finish this post, before tomorrow!  So Milford Sound will have to wait.  Our days have consisted of running, hiking, and mountain biking.  Everyone here, is outside enjoying the fresh air, which is far cooler than typical temperatures.  I don't dare  complain though, as many of you at home are living through record lows.  We have just returned from a four hour mountain bike trip and I am proud to report that I was the only one to stay on my bike the whole time.  Mark, Meg and Ally are eating Arnica pellets and nursing their wounds.  We will all be hitting the hot tub soon.  Another one of our luxury weeks as a result of exchanging our Florida timeshare unit for resorts around the world.  There is a television above the jacuzzi tub in our ensuite, if you can believe it. I told you our days just keep getting better.  I really can't imagine anything topping this.  Yet, as days come and go there is always another tomorrow, and it promises to be something to write about.

Roughing it again!

The most photographed tree in New Zealand!

Told you it just gets better and better!

…and better!

I'm not sitting on the bench because my behind hurt too much!


  1. Yeah. I love it Lisa. I think you guys should stop now. We'll liquidate and move to NZ to join you. Botanical paradise for Barb, mountain bike trails and world class pipe bands for me. The kids will live the adventurous ethic. NZ - it just doesn't get any better.

    1. Sounds good John, we will wait right here! Isn't it March Break there now....come on make it happen, we love visitors. Enjoy the break, we know you deserve it and send our love to Barb and the kids.

  2. I'm sure every country is better than the one before but also doesn't even compare to the others.
    I seem to remember that New Zealand has some of the best hiking, skiing, surfing, hot springs, beer (yeah Invercargill!), rain forests, glaciers, fiords, beaches, sheep? all within 1 hour of any location and much of it was "discovered" by Scottish explorers. It looks like you're taking advantage of every opportunity.

  3. Tom you are so right! We have done it all except the beer in Invercargill, but Mark isn't missing out on too much. Have a great break and thanks for following our journey. We can't believe we only have four more months left, it has flown by!


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