Fridayish figments and photos: the New Zealand Edition

First things first, I have an apology to make – the #holidayspam got a little intense on instagram whilst I was away in New Zealand. It was just so addicting, and easy whilst on the road! Now, for more spam muhahaha. *ahem*.

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
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 New Zealand
Lyttleton Harbour, Christchurch
Christchurch Botanic Gardens Silver Fern, New Zealand
Christchurch Botanic Gardens Silver Fern

We decided to stop over in Los Angeles for a swift 3 day break in jetlag, then continue onto the land of the long white cloud, my tiny islands on the other side of the globe. 15 days, 50 hours of longhaul airplane time and several packets of Kiwi treats later and we’re back, exhausted and thrilled. Our quickly roughed up itinerary featured a few days in Auckland, several days exploring the South Island and a couple of days visiting family in Tauranga.

Christchurch Earthquake Repairs New Zealand
Christchurch Earthquake Repairs New Zealand – we display our stereotypes with pride…
Christchurch Earthquake Repairs New Zealand – the Anglican Cathedral

My heart broke in Christchurch to see the devastation still evident 4 years after the earthquake, and then lifted to see the wonderful spirit – fantastic artwork on every corner, cranes everywhere and a can-do spirit evident in the shipping container shopping mall.

Picton New Zealand
Picton from the air, New Zealand
Mount Ruapahu Crater Lakes, 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
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.