Having been home for Christmas for the first time in over four years, returning so quickly was a little surreal to say the least. I still can't understand how I won a return plane ticket to New Zealand with Air New Zealand's 75th birthday celebrations of the London-LA-Auckland route.
|Titirangi and Manukau Heads, Auckland, New Zealand|
Nope, I actually still can't believe it either - it cost me £75, yes, £75 to fly home and see my family. The only slight downside was a date restriction that we could fly on, so with a little sweet talking around annual leave we cancelled our planned May bank holiday trip to Switzerland, and began organising a lightening quick excursion to Aoteoroa. (I never, ever, ever win anything, so I'm planning a few several days of volunteering to top up my karma - it has to be empty right now, bone dry!)
|Lyttleton Harbour, Christchurch|
|Christchurch Botanic Gardens Silver Fern|
|Christchurch Earthquake Repairs New Zealand - we display our stereotypes with pride...|
|Christchurch Earthquake Repairs New Zealand - the Anglican Cathedral|
|Picton from the air, New Zealand|
|Mount Ruapahu Crater Lakes, New Zealand|
We lucked in with glorious Autumn/Winter cusp weather, meandered along beaches, hugged family, ate childhood treats, sipped many a coffee, snuggled in with movies, were involved in a train crash, made the New Zealand national news, lucked out, drank more coffee, made a few new friends, caught up with old ones and generally marveled that somehow were were on the other side of the world.
|Mount Maunganui Beach New Zealand|
I adore showing my country to Mr Kiwi, and the trip was more than worth it when we reached the volcanic black sand beaches of Piha, then popped up One Tree Hill for 360° degree views of the Auckland skyline. We also stocked up on a proper backup of Kiwi treats and souvenirs just in time for the travel linkup...
|Piha Beach, New Zealand|
Life has been superlatively good to this London Kiwi.