53 Days · 97 Moments · January 2019

New Zealand

27 February 2019

Goodbye beautiful New Zealand!

26 February 2019

Last full day in NZ before we fly to Melbourne tomorrow from Christchurch. I took Willow for a run up at the domain this morning which she loved. I would do a lap of the track and she would run with me and pause when she wanted her pine cone throwing which was quite cute. She also visited the local nursery. They opened the door to say hello so she ran in and started rolling around on the floor which they loved. Of course she is not my dog so I just awkwardly laughed and called her to come with me. After breakfast we went and chilled at Waikuku beach which is a 10 min drive from Todd's. Had our last bbq in NZ for dinner which was almost set on fire from the huge bits of beef that the boys cooked. We watched The Two Towers with James and Sarah before saying goodbye. Next time we see them their house will be finished which is cool. Packed my huge bag before bed and felt quite excited for our adventure awaiting us in Aus!

25 February 2019

Lazy morning which was nice because we have been so busy for the past few weeks/2 months. Kate and I took Willow for a walk around the domain which is an old running track. Willow was sadly abandoned when she was only 8 months old but James luckily found her on the side of the road. Her owner didn't want her back so they took care of her. She gets really anxious when we leave the house which is so sad but she is such a loved dog. She woke me up with a huge sloppy kiss this morning. We decided to watch a film since the weather was rubbish. Kate and I went to the shops to get popcorn in Todd's truck which was fun and we watched The Fellowship Of The Ring. It was cool to see parts of the film like the shire after visiting Hobbiton. Todd's mum and dad kindly cooked us roast for tea at their home in Rangoira which is a 10 min drive. Todd's mum also cut all of our hair and we had a laugh looking old photos of the boys from Todd's 18th birthday.

24 February 2019

Coffee and date scone with Kate and Nadia at Coffee Works whilst the boys mountain biked in the rain. I went through my Journi of the north island with Kate because her and Ross are spending the next 2 week's there. We picked up some ingredients to make a pasta bake for dinner and caught up on some Netflix because the weather was pants. It felt so cold today at 15 degrees. We cooked the boys dinner whilst they drank jugs of beer at the local pub and then had to watch them play Halo for the rest of the night! 😑

23 February 2019

Today Todd and Kevin took us 4 wheel driving which was epic. They basically break their trucks by getting stuck in huge holes and then spend lots of money repairing them again to do it all again. It is a very expensive hobby but it was good fun! They go in two trucks to ensure they can get back out of the ditch again. We got stuck within minutes and the boys had to keep getting out to move huge logs and trees out of the way. I was reluctant to have a go initially because I thought I would break the truck but Katie appeared to ace it so I had a go and loved it. In the afternoon the boys took the bike out whilst us girls got ready for the rugby and chilled. We went to Smokey T's for dinner which was of course more meat but was very yummy. We went to an Irish pub in Christchurch before the game. I couldn't believe how many buildings were still left abandoned since the earthquake. The Crusaders beat the Hurricanes which was cool to see as they are the local team.
Smokey T's for dinner before the rugby.

22 February 2019

Overnight due to 180mm of rain there was a massive land slip of trees, rocks and soil covering almost half a kilometre of the main trunk line to the West Coast's glaciers. The landslide was estimated to be around 400m long and cascaded down over State Highway 6 between Harihari and Whataroa. This meant that it was blocking the northen access to Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier and meant we had a 9 hour drive back to Sefton back the way we had come. To make things worse we waited for 4 hours to be told our heli hike was also cancelled. The weather looked ok where we were but maybe it was cloudy on the glaciers and we had not heard any helicopters all morning. Aidan wasn't able to do the same heli hike due to space so at least it means we can come back and experience it together in the winter. We started our 9 hour journey back and passed the blue pools we were going to do on our way to Franz which were pretty. We got back to Todd's at midnight.

21 February 2019

After check in to Punga Grove we decided to grab some stuff for dinner and head straight to the hot pools. Kate and Ross were staying in a hostel a 5 min walk from us because there was not enough rooms when they tried to book. It was really heavy rain by this point so it was so nice to soak our sore limbs in the hot pools. The pools ranged in temperature from 36 to 40 degrees centigrade, and were covered by giant sails and rainforest. Each pool was named after the local Maori tribe, Te Runanga o Makaawhio: Te Puna Mahaki: – The pool of calmness, Te Puna Makoha: – The pool of tranquillity, Te Puna Marino: – The pool of serenity. When you got too hot you could just sit on the edge and poke your head out of the sail to let the rain cool you down. After the pools we made fahjitas and the boys drank a lot of rum. We played cards and experienced a power cut. We booked to do the helicopter hike on the glaciers for the next day since the weather was supposed to be better.
Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools.
Puzzling world

20 February 2019

We drove straight from Rainbow reach to Wanaka after the walk and went straight to the pub! We were all hobbling and had prune like hands and feet with some savage blisters. After a few pints/jugs we ordered Dominoes because we felt like we deserved it. You can get a large pizza for €5 which is so much cheaper than UK Dominoes so of course the boys got two. We went back to our lovely accommodation which was essentially a huge converted garage in the owners garden. It was really nice to have the place to ourselves and have a lovely shower after our walk. The next day was beautiful sunshine so we spent the afternoon relaxing by the lake with beers and had a bbq for dinner. Ross, Kate and Alex did a sky dive that morning which they said was epic. I wanted to do one but want to do sky dive on mission beach in Aus.

19 February 2019

Last night after a wet wipe wash we had a talk from the ranger who updated us on weather and talked about the Kiwi and Kea native birds. He warned us to hang our boots up because the Kea would destroy them. We had smash, beans and sausages again for tea and got an early night. The room was so hot and smelt of wet dog. It was full of snoring men so I put my ear plugs in and took sleeping pill. Woke up to very loud rain which was very heavy! Kate and Ross camped but the ranger kindly let them in the hut to eat with us. The walk was luckily very flat but my feet were soaked in minutes. We saw some Kea close up on the rocks, a little robin and passed some beautiful waterfalls. The ferns in the forest looked huge as they soaked up the rain and the moss on the trees was very pretty. Most people do the walk in 3-4 days so I felt pretty chuffed with us for completing 60k in two days. The sun came out as we got to Rainbow reach which was typical but a nice way to finish.

18 February 2019

5.30am start to wolf down a banana and flapjack before piling into the car with all our extra bags for the walk ahead of us. We drove 10 min to The Kepler car park and Todd drove the other car to Rainbow reach where we would finish. The sky was a beautiful orange colour and looked like a fire in the sky . The first 5k was through a lovely flat forest but we all knew that a big ascend was ahead of us. 1000m ascend led us to the Luxemore hut where we had lunch. Just as we came out of the forest there was a huge rainbow which was beautiful to look at whilst catching our breath. At 1500m we were almost at the summit and I had a lump in my throat at how amazing the views were. I can see why it is categorised into a group called the great walks. It is just views of tussock covered ridgelines and spectacular alpine forests with lake Te Anau winding through the middle. The ascend was painfully long but after 11 hours of walking we finally reached Iris Burn Hut just as the heavy rain started.

17 February 2019

Mirror Lakes.
We stopped at The Chasm on our way back from Milford which was really cool to see. The Chasm is formed by the Cleddau River being forced through a narrow rocky valley on its course down from the Darran mountains. As the waters built up, they created huge waterfalls that carry small rocks and gravel downstream. The river’s powerful currents swirled the small rocks around in small nooks and crannies sculpting the surrounding rocks into amazing swirling patterns and smoothed out basins.
Another beautiful drive to Milford Sound today. Fiordland rain days exceed 200 a year so we expected it but were actually quite lucky and even saw a bit of sun. The cruise was 2 hours on the Milford Haven which took us the full length of the Milfound Sound to the Tasman Sea. The scenery was incredible with the cascading waterfalls which we got really close to. Some people got drenched taking photos when the boat basically went underneath the fall. We also saw some more seals on the rocks. Another night at the Barnyard Backpackers where I cooked everyone stir fry. Aidan made a huge batch of flapjack and we all made our sandwiches and packed our bags for our big walk. There was a lovely German girl staying at the hostel that Kate and I got talking to. She came in asking for help because she had locked the key in the boot of her hire car! I laughed a lot because I was so happy that I wasn't the only one who had made that mistake.

16 February 2019

48 hours pre Kepler track carb loading at Barnyard Backpackers in Te Anau.
Kate and I braved the Nevis swing today which was insane!!! It is the most famous swing in the world and used to be the biggest until recently. You are dropped from a platform that is at the end of a suspension bridge and fly through the valley completing a 300m arc. Getting off the edge was the hardest part and then they leave you hanging mid air for a good 20 seconds to take photos. It was all over very quickly but it was the most amazing rush and I couldn't believe how far we went. Ross did a bungee jump which was next to us and claims he was not nervous at all!

15 February 2019

This morning we went lugeing again which was a laugh. The views of Queenstown and the lake were amazing! After lugeing we got ready for our cruise across Wakatipu lake aboard the century old steamship, the TSS Earnslaw. It’s one of the best ways to see Queenstown’s surrounding landscape and is the only remaining commercial passenger carrying coal fired steamship in the southern hemisphere. It was really cool to go into the engine room and watch the man put the coal in the fire and see how it works. The cruise was 45 mins to a place called Walter Peak where we were welcomed by waving waitors and waitresses. The Colonels Homestead restaurant was so beautiful surrounded by flowers and mountains. We got to help ourselves to a gourmet BBQ dinner that was cooked infront of us. I think I tried 5 different meats and ate about 5 puddings! Aidan cleared 5 plates of food including 3 sticky toffee puddings! We were stuffed! We watched a sheep shearing show afterwards on the farm which was cute.

14 February 2019

World-renowned Fergburger is Queenstown's iconic burger joint. There is a constant queue down the street at all hours of the day so Kate and I committed to it for nearly an hour! The burgers were insane and worth the wait but eating at 22.00 was not ideal before a big night out drinking. The chain also has a few bakery's and cafes which the boys visited many times whilst we were there to sample each of the different pies. Aidan ate 3 pies and a burger in one day!
Today we drove from Twizel to Queenstown which was about a 3 hour drive. Kate, Ross, Nadia and I booked to do the Jet boat so once we had checked into the hostel we went straight to the pier. The hostel was great and had a lovely view of lake Wakatipu. We were surrounded by so many shops, bars and restaurants which of course means lots of tourists but it was kind of nice for a few days. Queenstown is renowned for all the adrenaline junky adventure sports and in winter there's skiing on the slopes of The Remarkables and Coronet Peak. Seeing pictures of the town covered in snow was cool. We were recommended not to do the Jet boat because the weather was rubbish but we were short on time and figured we would get wet anyway. There was only 6 of us in the boat which meant there was 100 horse power per person! They gave us a huge rain coat and bright orange goggles so we looked ridiculous. After the Jet boat we had a famous Ferg burger and had our biggest night out yet at the bars!

13 February 2019

High Country Lodge and BackPackers.
Today we drove from Sefton to Mount Cook which took about 4.5 hours along the number 72 scenic route. It was indeed a beautiful route to drive passing more amazing mountains and lakes. We stopped off at Lake Tekapo for lunch which was stunning! I have never seen water so blue. I remember Aidan telling me about this little church over looking the lake when he travelled there 10 years ago. Sadly he said it was far less touristy when he visited. After lunch we drove to the Hooker Valley track in Mount Cook national park. It said it was a 3 hour easy walk but it didn't take us that long to do the return trip. Todd did it in the winter and said the lake was completely frozen. The mountain in the back ground was breath taking! It felt so strange to be in shorts and a singlet surrounded by ice and snow. We drove back to Twizel for the night and cooked fajhits for tea. A weird and loud alarm went off at 1am which we thought was an earthquake warning but luckily it wasn't!
Lunch stop at Lake Tekapo :)

12 February 2019

Kate and I went for a run and did a workout in the garden before breakfast before we all headed back to Ashworth beach. The waves were really big and powerful but I wasn't going to let them scare me this time! My shoulder is nearly back to normal so I braved it and jumped under the wave and survived! After lunch we took Willow for a walk and got bbq food. Sarah and James are building their own house a 5 min drive from the place they currently rent so took us to see it. It was really cool to see and should be finished by May. They have 10 acres of land so James has lots of space for his trucks and they hope to get some farm animals to keep the grass short. Todd's gf Nadia made some amazing Terrys chocolate orange caramel shortbread and brownies which were quickly demolished after the bbq.

11 February 2019

Chilled one today after all our beautiful walks. Kate, Ross and I went to the nearest shopping mall in Christchurch because Ross needed to take his lap top back, Kate needed some gear for the Kepler track and I needed some sunglasses. Kate and I went to Ashworth beach in the afternoon because the boys had a day of playing Halo and the pub. We had the beach all to ourselves! When we got back It was like stepping into an arcade. Someone was on the pin ball machine, 6 lads were playing Halo across two huge screens with the sound of gun shots whilst heavy metal music played in the back ground. Kate and made our selves a strong drink and prepared the pizzas. The boys had made the dough that morning so we covered the kitchen in flour and produced 10 pizzas. Todd had fired up the pizza oven that afternoon and it had just reached the correct temp. The end product was delicious and everyone was very happy!

10 February 2019

Started the morning quad biking on the beach which was awesome! Todd got out an old motor bike which the boys raced on alongside us. We left Sandy and David's and started our 6 hour drive to Sefton where Todd lives with Sarah and James, Kevin, Rory and their lovely dog Willow. The drive was so beautiful with all the mountains. It is so different to the North Island, which is beach after beach compared to mountain range after mountain range. You don't know where to look first! Todd took us straight to the local pub where we all had a jug of beer and a steak sandwich which was so cheap! There was a live band who played some absolute bangers!

9 February 2019

Another beautiful hike today starting at Farewell Spit and ending at Wharakiki beach. It was fairly hot and very hilly but it is all good practice for Milford Sounds. The views were amazing and we saw seals again. You could hear them in the caves calling to each other. We had a swim at the beach and were surrounded by naked women which the boys were enjoying too much. We had another bbq for dinner and had a go on James quad bike which was fun. We all sat with a drink on the beach before bed.

8 February 2019

Te Waikoropupū Springs
We all spent the morning down on the local beach (Sandy and David's back garden) using the Kayaks and canoes. Kate and I started in the double inflateable boat. Todd and I looked like the doomers from cheaper by the dozen in our group photo! 🤣 We swapped with the boys and went in the canoes which were extremely wobbly. Both of us were finding it very difficult to not just go in circles. I took a while to get in because my shoulder was aching and the tide was really strong. We drove to the salmon farm for lunch. It felt a bit mean watching them all swim in the big pools before they were released into the pond where you can catch them. Kate and Ross were keen to catch one and they were both successful. We got them smoked at the farm and ate them there which was yum! There were some cute pigs at the farm who were loving life eating the salmon scraps. Sandy baked some awesome bread and made some lovely salad for tea so we brought some bbq food and played more cards.

7 February 2019

After some beans and sausages we set off on the next part of our trek. It was pretty hilly but was so worth it for the views. We saw some seals sunbathing at the separation point which was cool. By the time we reached Totaranui beach the tide was in so we ended up having to walk an extra few KM to get around to where the car was. We had walked 17.5km by the time we reached the car and were quite hot so all went for a dip. The walk in total over two days was about 28KM. We all had to squeeze into one car to get back to the other car in Wainui bay which was not ideal. We had only eaten snacks during the day so were all quite hungry by the time we got back. We had a big bbq when we got back and played some more card games before bed.

6 February 2019

After visiting the falls in Wainui we started our walk from Wanui bay to our hut for the night. It was 10k to the hut but that was including the walk we did to the falls. The hut was very basic with no electricity and just a mat on the floor but that was all we needed. Todd brought his little gas cooker which we quickly realised was very small for cooking dinner for 6 hungry walkers. We brought smash, beans and sausages! We had 2 plates and limitted cutlery so ended up taking turns to eat. I ate out of a little lid. It was hilarious! We all brought two cans of beer and on reflection maybe should have prioritised cooking utensills. Saying that we all had a hot dinner and beans for breakfast. Luckily we had all feasted on Todd's 8kg King fish for lunch that he caught the other day. It was so yummy smoked. This was all good practice for our big walk in a few weeks. We played cards that evening and used our torches on our phones for light. I didn't sleep well at all but that is just me!

5 February 2019

After lots of beer, nachos and sossy sausages Kate and I tried a NZ delicacy. Cicadas are those bugs that make that loud noise when they click their legs together which always reminds me of being on holiday. Katie ate one when it was still alive and I ate the shell that they shed. The locals told us it tasted like caramel. It did not!!
We had to say goodbye to the lovely Nick, Elo and Rufio this morning before we left the North Island and made our way to the South via the ferry. The trip from Wellington to Picton was 3.5 hours and initially choppy but was lovely when we got closer to land. Waiting at Picton was the lovely Kate and Ross who we were super excited to see! We had to squeeze 3 of us and all our bags including Ross and Kate's bags into their hire car! We then made our way to Collingwood stopping off at Nelson beach for a dip as it was a hot day. We noticed a huge cloud of smoke in the distance which was a huge bush fire and is still currently spreading. It was a 4 hour drive from Picton to Collingwood where the lovely Sandy and David live. Aidan's school mates Todd and James both moved to NZ 8 years ago. James girlfriend Sarah's family home is where we are staying this week. They live right on the beach which is beautiful. We went to the Mussel in for dinner as it was Sarah's birthday!
Dip at Nelson beach on our way to Collingwood.
8am ferry from Wellington to Picton.

4 February 2019

Today I got up and went for a 10k run along the bay which was good. It was very windy so at times I felt like I was not getting anywhere! Ancell arrived at 11am (Aidans mate from home) and we all went to the Te Papa museum which was really interesting. It probably wasn't the first thing Ancell wanted to do when he landed but it was very moving to see the Gallipoli exhibition. We grabbed some lunch in the city and went back to my fave supermarket to grab another gooey slice. We have named Monday's slab day where we are allowed to demolish an entire slice of our choice but they are so big that they are a slab! Aidan is making burgers tonight on the BBQ and we are watching a film in the cinema room! 😁

3 February 2019

Early start today as Aidan and I got up to watch the rugby England/Ireland in the cinema room. We won! After breakfast we walked up to Mount Victoria look out point which was cool to see all of Wellington from a 360 view. I really like the city because it has that buzzing feeling which is not too overwhelming. It is also cool that it has a beach if you want a swim and it a surf beach with some decent waves. There is lots of sailing and windsurfing because of how windy it is but today was rare according to Elo because there was minimal wind and clear sky's. We decided to chill on the beach because we have hardly done that at all believe it or not. We have had no longer than 30 mins at each beach because there has been so much to see. We met Aidans friend Katie from Camp America for a drink and then went and saw her pad which was really nice. Elo's parents always get fish and chips on a Sunday so we joined in and they were so much better than our ones from home! Of course we drank wine!

2 February 2019

This morning Aidan and I had a little jog along the front at Oriental Bay which was beautiful. It was quite windy because of where Wellington is positioned but the sun was shining and the city was buzzing. We went to a place called the chocolate fish cafe for brunch and had the famous scallop sandwich. Aidan had a muscle and bacon one which was also yum! After brunch we went to the Weta Cave because Aidan had not had enough of LOTR. It was where they made all of the costumes which was really cool to see. We dropped off our hire car Jaffa and and Nick and Elo drove us back. Elo had a wedding dress fitting that afternoon so Nick, Aidan and I went to a place called The Garage Project for a beer. We met Elo at St John's after for a drinky and then decided we should all go for a swim as it was super hot. They said Wellington is not known for fantastic weather so we have been so lucky. We decided Thai was a good option for dinner and went for cocktails in the city after.

1 February 2019

Had a little run along Napier sea front this morning followed by a dip in the sea. We headed off straight after breakfast and stopped off to get Aidan a mince and cheese pie because he had been craving one since Jamie had brought one. We also stopped off in Rivendell where the Elves lived in Lord Of The Rings. I got Aidan to pretend to be Orlando bloom and fire his arrow on the Mossy Hill because I was obsessed with him at the time he played the role of Legolass. We arrived a night earlier than planned at Elo's parents in Wellington but they were more than happy for us to stay in their palace with a cinema and billiard room over looking the bay! Aidan and I cooked them dinner and we had plenty of wine for the evening. We brought these monster size Oreo, fudge brownie slices for pud which were insane! The size of the cakes and scones in New World blew my mind!

31 January 2019

Had a lazy morning at Paul's and had a little run along the beach which has to be my fave. I am scared to go in the water because it nearly ripped my shoulder from my socket but I love how close it is to Jamies house and how long and secluded it is. We have done quite a bit of driving today but stopped off in Taupo for a dip in the lake which was very refreshing. Today is the day I ate a banana for the first time and didn't mind it! I feel very proud of myself 😂. We are currently sitting at an Irish bar in Napier with some live music. Aidan has tried his second Guinness of the trip and is not a fan! We made a vege tart last night at Paul's so are going to eat that on the beach tonight with another beer. We are staying in a hostel tonight right in the centre. Let's just say I am not a back packer! I have got used to home comforts and lovely air b&b's. The place is called Criterion Hotel and has a map with pins of where people live. Exeter has been pinned which is quite cool!

30 January 2019

Today we drove to the Hobbiton Movie set which was very cool! Peter Jackson’s team were searching for the iconic rolling hills and lush green pastures of Hobbiton and an aerial search led them to the Alexander family farm who were about to become very wealthy! It is a stunning 1,250 acre sheep farm in the heart of the Waikato. They noted the area’s striking similarity to the shire as described by JRR Tolkien, and decided this would be the ideal location for the Hobbiton village. It was interesting to learn about forced perception and how the doors are made to different scales to make the hobbits seem smaller and wizards taller. Our tour guide was such a nerd but I really enjoyed her enthusiasm! After the tour we got a complimentry drink. We spent the night back at the lovely Pauls pad in the coastlands. He was keen for my salad I made when we last stayed and called it his pommy friends salad because he couldn't remember nicoise. He made me a bowl of Milo and ice cream for pud! :)
Another morning hike to Orokawa bay which was a secluded beach that we had to ourselves. :)

29 January 2019

Lots of hikes to secluded beaches today! We started off with a 5k run into the Coromandle town which we didn't need to do considering the hikes that were ahead of us. After scrambled egg and avo on toast we headed to New Chums Beach which involved climbing over multiple rocks and a hilly forest path. It took us about 40 mins but it was worth it for the white sand and blue water at the end. Our next stop was Catherdral Cove which again involved a 40 min hike mostly uphill. You can't park close to the walking track in the summer so people turn their drives into mini car parks. We parked in this guys drive for $10 because it would have taken an extra 30 mins to just get to the start point of the hike. The cove was also beautiful but a bit touristy. Our last stop of the day was hot water beach. The tide was up but if you sunk your toes into the sand the water was very hot. People had started digging holes in preparation. Pasta for tea and scone for pud at Tanners point in our next shack.
Hot Water Beach
Cathedral Cove
New Chums beach

28 January 2019

Started off the morning plum picking at the b&b before we did the glow worm cave tour which was very interesting. You were not allowed to take pictures inside the caves but it was amazing! I got pooped on by a glow worm which is apparently good luck! We walked the first part and then got a boat that went through a pitch black cave. It was silent and was just like looking up to a sky full of stars! We stopped off at Big Azz for a real fruit ice cream which was delish and owned by the b&b chap. It was only 11am so we chose the yogurt ice cream instead. We visited the Hoffman pools and then drove a beautiful windy road along the coast. There were empty beaches all of the way. We arrived at our little shack owned by Dawn in the Coromandle town. We were welcomed by friendly dogs, a very fat cat called Puddy and a very lovely Dawn who was a nutter! She offered us a beer and we sat and heard her life story before bbq venison burgers for tea! We played monopoly deal before bed and I lost!
The beautiful glow worm caves!

27 January 2019

Today we left our boy Jamie which was sad because we have been the 3 musketeers for the last 3 week's. We had a nice chilled morning on the beach catching some rays and then made tracks to Hamilton. We visited the gardens which were beautiful. The butterflies were amazing and so big! After lunch by the pond we did a food shop in our fave Pak n Save food shop before heading to Raglan. Unfortunately by the time we got there it was raining and to make things worse our booking was not booked! 😂 we quickly booked an B&B in Waitamo because we knew we were doing the glow worm caves tomorrow anyway. We had a little walk through Raglan town and beach before we left which was nice. We massively lucked out because the holiday park in Raglan was full of bank holiday weekend chavs! Our B&B is so lovely and is called Waitomo Orchard Estate. We were welcomed by a friendly dog called Jack and cat who wanted to eat our sandwiches. We had a beer in the hot tub and Aidan got eaten alive by mosquitos!
Lunch in the gardens :)

26 January 2019

Aidan and I did a nice 5k run along the different bays this morning and had a dip in the sea. I was happy I was able to run with my shoulder. I also got to catch up with my friend Molly from uni who moved to Auckland 6 months ago with her boyfriend Hayden who is a Kiwi. We met for lunch down by the viaduct and went to this lovely restaurant called Saint Alice which over looked the harbour. We shared a bottle of wine and ordered the steak and chicken with cheesy chips which was all super yummy! After lunch we went to play crazy golf in Holey Moley which was a bit of fun! We went back to her flat for a few drinks before going back to Tristan and Gennas. We stopped off at a cheese cake shop on the way back because we had heard good things about it. We cooked Jamie a 3 course dinner and brought him a bottle of rum to say thank you for all he has done for us these past 3 weeks. We cooked a venison carbonara with the meat Hayden gave us from the 200kg deer he shot. Sadly it was really tasty!

25 January 2019

Today we pretended we were wine connoisseurs and had lots of money! We were reccommended by lots of people to visit Waiheke Island so we caught the ferry from Auckland which took about 40 mins. When we arrived we got on a hop on hop off bus which took you all around the island stopping at all of the finest vineyards. It was initially really sunny so we enjoyed a coffee on the beach before making our way to our first wine tasting at Stonyridge. We decided to walk through the vineyards rather than use the bus so we could watch them collect the grapes.We had a voucher to use at Batch vineyard which had amazing views across to Auckland and decided to sample their wine too! Our last drink stop was at Mudbrick which hosts lots of weddings and again has beautiful views. There was a huge black helicopter there when we arrived. We walked down to Cabel bay vineyard and decided water was a good option since the sunshine was with us again! Jamie cooked yummy McChicken burgers for tea.

24 January 2019

Today we sadly left Jamie's dad and made our way back to Auckland. He was the most wonderful host and has welcomed us back anytime. Aidan and I are heading back down south over the next few days so we might take him up on his offer because we love Paul! I would also like to brave the coastland waves again since my shoulder is starting to feel a bit better. So far we have only had to pay for 2 nights of accommodation which is amazing! Means we can spend more money on nice food and days out! Aidan and I picked up our hire car which we will be using over the next week and leaving in Wellington. We cooked dinner for Tristan, Genna and Jamie and brought them some wine to say thank you for letting us stay. We ended the night with a few round of graveyard and rum!

23 January 2019

Kate stayed at Nick and Elo's after the crossing so it was really nice to have a proper catch up with her and hear about her travels. I worked with her on Picu and she has been working/travelling since Sep 2017. After the crossing we had a dip in Lake Taupo and I started to feel more human again! We had a beautiful full moon and woke up to a sensational sun rise. We had breakfast together and made tracks back to Whakatane. We went straight to the dentist and three injections and £132 later I was all fixed. Aidan and I had a dip and it was nice and calm so I had a gentle swim. It was 32 degrees today so I really needed to cool off. Jamie's dad made us dinner and vanilla ice cream with milo (nesquick) for pud! The boys didn't have any because I have the sweet tooth! We are just chilling this evening drinking more rum and L&P which is a Kiwi lemonade.

22 January 2019

Alarm was set for 5.30am so we could start the walk early and miss lots of tourists. Nick drove us to the starting point which was a half an hour drive from their house but unfortunately it was the wrong end. You can walk it that way but it is extra hilly and my friend from London who was also walking it was at the other point. We met Kate at 7.15am and started straight away. I was feeling really spaced out, sick and drowsey before we had started and put it down to the Tramadol I took for my shoulder. As we started inclining I felt like I was going to pass out. I made it to the top and it was the most incredible view! The pools were so still and sparkling green and blue. Aidan had to hold onto me coming down because I was stumbling all over the place. People were taking pictures and eating lunch and I just vomited! I had one sip of beer at the top which didn't go down well! I carried on vomiting intermittently all day but managed to have a nice dinner cooked by Nick and Elo.

21 January 2019

After the pools we did a food shop in Taupo and the boys had a bit of retail therapy so they could buy some loud shirts to match Nick. Elo and Nick have been hero's again and let us stay at Elo's grandparents batch (Kiwi term for holiday home) just off Lake Taupo with another amazing view. The lake is huge and has a great lake relay every year which Jamie has also done! Nick is very kindly dropping us to the Tongariro crossing point for 6.30am tomorrow. I cooked the boys chicken pizza, home made wedges and salad. We made a big lunch for our walk tomorrow and have lots of snacks to keep us going. We are currently watching a film called Match Stick Men infront of the fire whilst snuggling Rufio who is very happy to be reunited with Kev!
Natural thermal spa pools. The water was very very warm! We didn't go in or stay long due to the amount of tourists but it was still cool to see.
Hukka Falls 💦
Lunch stop at the blue lake where Jamie takes part in a trail event each year in March. It involves a swim, mountain bike and then a run around the lake which I feel mum and dad should enter if they ever visit.
I dosed up on pain killers and decided to give lugeing a go and I am very glad I did! We arrived in Rotorua nick-named The Sulphur City for its rather unique pungent aroma. It smells distinctly like rotten eggs, and truth be told, it is indeed an oriferous city. We made our way up in the gondula to the most amazing view of the lake and were first to ride so it was super quiet. We started with the scenic route followed by the intermediate and finished with the advanced. The boys whizzed past me but I took it easy because it wouldn't have taken much to fly off the track. After lugeing the boys did a Zorb together which is essentially a giant transparent ball filled with water. I gave it a miss due to my injuries which I think the boys were secretly happy about. They both got into their toggs (Kiwi term for swim attire) and got pushed off a hill in the ball. They obviously slip around like wet fish and then have a dunk in the hot tub at the end. They loved it a bit too much!

20 January 2019

Aidan and I got up early today and watched the sun rise at Pukehina beach which was beautiful. We had some breakfast when we got back to Jamie's dad's and headed into town for a coffee to do some planning for the next week. Aidan' s mate Lucy came over in the afternoon and we took her to Ohope beacj for a drink and to play with the nerf. We came back and had homemade fish and chips with Paul because we have been so greedy with take away this week! Lots of salads inbetween and a different bar of Whittaker each night I may add 😄. Early night tonight as we are up early for Rotorura in the morning. We have booked lugeing for 9am so I am just going to see how my arm is doing in the morning.

19 January 2019

Pretty bad nights sleep again with my shoulder which was more bruised and swollen this morning. Aidan did a few exercises with me but It is still causing me quite a bit of pain so I am not able to do much of them. After a chilled morning we went to see Aidans friend Lucy who he met on his masters course. She lives on a Kiwi farm which was quite cool to see. We had a bbq and just drank beer in the sunshine. The boys put a slack line out as the sun was setting and one boy called Sam was able to walk the full length of it! I decided having a go wasn't the best idea so I played a bit of ping pong instead.

18 January 2019

Yesterday I got battered by the waves and really hurt my shoulder so didn't have the best nights sleep unfortunately. Woke up in quite a lot of pain this morning and my movement is quite limited. I have had to train Aidan to tie my hair up! It is also very handy having a boyfriend who is a rehab specialist! Needless to say I was a little nervous about getting on the back of the quad bikes today! It was so much fun though! We bombed up and down the beach and passed one person which is the beauty of this beach! The boys went for a swim but I decided to rest the arm! We went for lunch at an Irish pub in town with Jamixe's dad and his mates and then just chilled this afternoon. Jamie took us to a local berry farm for icecream which was delish. Chinese take away tonight because we are fat!

17 January 2019

Another day, another beautiful beach! The sun has come back out for us which is nice. Jamie took us on a 8k walk to Ohope beach which had some amazing views. We stopped off half way on this beach covered in shells for a beer and a sandwich before climbing the rest of the steps over the cliff. My legs are still on fire from the workout two days ago! When we arrived at Ohope beach a swim was well over due as we had worked up quite a sweat. We went to visit Jamie's friend Spencer for more rum and coke and the boys got a huge ice cream! The boys had another dip when we got back and we are currently chilling in Jamie's garden with a book, drink and nibbles. I am cooking dinner tonight!

16 January 2019

Arrived at Jamie's dads in Whakatane after a 3.5 hour journey from Auckland. Jamie was so lucky to grow up here in a lovely little neighbourhood and a 20 sec walk to the beach! Jamie's dad is a wonderful man and had cooked us a roast chicken and veg which was yum. Aidan gave Jamie a bottle of Red Leg rum for his bday 6 months ago and Jamie had saved it until our arrival.The boys nearly drank the entire bottle whilst I had some Australian red with Paul. After dinner we went for a swim which was so much fun! We were being chucked around like we were in a washing machine! We popped on a film after a shower and whilst I was munching on some popcorn my filling cracked! Typical of my rubbish teeth. I have booked an appointment and thankfully am not in any pain with it!

15 January 2019

Another big rain fall over night in the misty mountain hut but at least we woke up to some lovely sunshine. We were going to do yoga on the deck but it was very wet so we decided to go for a run on the beach. Unfortunately it became very over cast again so we headed to the cafe in Phia and talked about our plans for the next few days. We had lunch at the view point before we left to drive back to Auckland. Jamie took us to this workout class called Zuu which was insanely difficult and made us both feel sick. The birthday surprises didn't stop in Phia! Aidan took me to the 360 degree Orbit sky tower for a gormet dinner which was lovely. It took a while to get used to the rotating restaurant and the occasional person absailing down the tower. After a bottle of red it also became more confusing where the toilet was 😂. It took one hour for us to fully rotate with a lovely view of the city.

14 January 2019

A very good sleep in the misty mountain hut and woke up to the sound of rain. We opened the door and just lie in bed watching it fall through the trees. We both video called the fam and cooked some eggs on toast. Aidan loves having to grind his own coffee beans in the morning. By the time we had finished our coffees the sun had come out so we headed for the KiteKite falls which was only a 10 min drive. We had to disinfect our shoes before entering the forest because they are trying to prevent the spread of a disease that is killing their Kauri trees. It was a 25 min walk to the fall and all up hill of course. It was quite gloomy when we got to the top but I couldn't resist a dip. I pretty much got behind the fall but got a bit scared of the eels. We came back for some chicken salad and then headed to see the KareKare falls. We also stopped at the beach which was like a big black sparkly desert. Back to the hut for another bbq and fire tonight.
KiteKite falls 💦

13 January 2019

Happy Birthday to me! Feels so weird to have my birthday in the sunshine however just as we arrived at Phia the heavens opened! Piha is known to look awesome in a rain storm and it did look really cool with all the mist, rocks and black sand. The sunshine eventually came out so we climbed up Lion rock and had swim in the waves to cool off. It is a proper little surf village with one cafe and a life saver hut. There was a nice look out point so we had a beer and some crisps before heading back to our misty mountain hut. Aidan booked a beautiful little hut right in the middle of the forest with an outside shower, bath and toilet. It is so peaceful. Aidan cooked me steak on the bbq and I opened my cards in front of the fire and got all emotional at the lovely words people had written. I got some beautiful jewellery and some NZ and AUZ dollars to spend. Aidan ran me a bath with candles so I just relaxed and looked up at the stars.

12 January 2019

PStopped off at Matoupori mermaid pools on our way back to Auckland today. Another hike was involved to reach them and we cut it fine with the tide but I still got to be a mermaid in my own pool which made it worth it. Tristan made us his famous smash burgers for dinner that he invented when he was drunk! They were immense! I have enjoyed drinking some pure blonde beers tonight whilst playing some more graveyard. It is half an hour until my birthday! Yay!

11 January 2019

After a bbq breakfast we drove to Tapotupotu Beach where we began a 5k hike to Cape Reinga with limited water, fruit and a cereal bar. The walk said it was a 3 hour round trip which I was not a fan of. It was steep and when we were about 20 mins in I suggested we stop because we were yet to climb the GIANT sand dunes! I could tell the boys were not keen to continue but they acted all macho of course! Aidan decided it was a good idea to not wear pants as well. We had a quick swim before driving to the light house to cool off. It was pretty cool to be at the most northern point but it was unfortunately very touristy. We headed for the dunes next which were so fun but very exhausting! The boys were throwing themselves off the dunes but I dug my feet in to slow down and created a sand tsunami which all stuck to my face and went up my nose, mouth and ears! Looked like a bad fake tan! We had a chilled eve with a beer and pizza in the hammocks at the beautiful Endless Summer Lodge in Ahipara.
Te Paki Giant Sand Dunes
Tapotupotu Beach
Hendersons Bay - Squeeky Sand

10 January 2019

Our air b&b is delightful and is in the middle of no where surrounded by rolling hills and forest with free roaming chickens, outside cooking and cleaning facilities and fairy lights! Steve who owns the b&b is a lovely chap and strongly reccomened that we visit the peninsula which we didn't regret. We had an epic swim and did some body surfing which was so much fun! The boys did another marvellous bbq although the sausages were pretty rank! We didn't have much choice at the one shop we passed. We all just chilled and watched a film before a bit of star gazing. Busy day tomorrow so hopefully we should sleep well tonight.
Woke up to a peaceful misty bay which quickly turned into blue sky's. Aidan and I took the opportunity of the private beach and free use of a kayak and a SUP board. We passed some locals on their SUPS and one man with his dog just chilling on the front . Elio and Nick kindly cooked us breakfast and then we all headed down to Russell town for a pint before we continued on our road trip. Jamie took us to Paihai for a coffee and we stopped at some lovely waterfalls on route up to the Kari Kari Peninsula. We ended up passing a beautiful beach called Coopers bay where we stretched the legs before arriving at our cute little air b&b in Lake Ohia.
Rainbow Falls 🌈💧

9 January 2019

Got up at 7am for a workout on the beach with the boys this morning before starting our journey up north. Jamie took us via a gorgeous little beach called Langs beach where the boys tucked into a pie. We arrived at Jamie's friends (Nick and Elo) beautiful house which over looks Russell and reminds me of Salcombe. I tried my first oyster with a cold beer before we headed off to a secluded little beach called Oke Bay. It was soooooooo stunning! We were casually drinking a beer and playing with a nerf in the water when a little pod of dolphins came to join us. We swam out with them and I must have only been a few meters away which was truly magical! We came back to the house and had a yummy bbq and played graveyard (card game). There was a short power cut but luckily there were plenty of candles!
Cheeky pie stop at Langs beach!

8 January 2019

Surprisingly not feeling jet lagged this morning because of the times of our flights and arrival. After breakfast and a dip at Campbells bay Jamie drove us via a delightful little coffee shop in Milford and took us through the city centre up to Achillies look out point in Saint Heliers. After a beer in Mission Bay we drove to harbour bridge and had a little stroll before heading to Murry's bay. We jumped off the wharf at the bay to cool off before a burger at Fuel Burger which was delish! Aidan and I headed back down to the local beach when we got home for another dip. Back to the house for a G&T and a rumbo in the garden whilst planning for our road trip up north with Jamie. Cooking dinner tonight for Tristan and Jenna as a thank you for having us to stay.

7 January 2019

After a 56 hour journey door to door we arrived at Jamie's pals house in Auckland. Jamie took us for a little stroll along Campbells Bay which is a 1 min walk from their house. Tristan cooked us some yummy carbonara and the boys had their first rum and coke of the trip!

5 January 2019

The day has finally come! We are out of here! First an 11 hour flight to China where we have an 8 hour stop over before our connecting flight to Auckland.