The next adventure…..

We are off, it’s been a year! We have officially been in NZ for a year and it’s time for us to say goodbye and embark on the next adventure which we are so excited for!

We have loved every second of our NZ experience there have been many highs and some lows but we wouldn’t change it for the world. I am so happy that we can say we made the most of every experience and seen so many amazing things whilst here.

We have been made to feel so welcomed by everyone and were overwhelmed by everybody’s kindness to help when we arrived. We have made some brilliant memories and some even better friends who know they are welcome to visit the UK whenever they wish. I want to say thank you to each and everyone one of you – especially my colleagues who have become good friends at Opus.

It was a major highlight for both of us to have both our families and Stacey and Zach came to visit – you guys made our time here and we are so grateful you got to see the country we have called home for a year.

We always talked about living abroad but I don’t think deep down I ever thought we actually would but I am so glad we did! I am so grateful the opportunity came along when it did, which was 100% the right time for us, and the whirlwind that followed didn’t leave me much time to worry about actually moving here (a great advantage for a born worrier).

NZ we love you but it’s time for us to move onto the next adventure…. A 7 week trip home which includes;

  • Australia
  • Indonesia
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Poland

I hope to blog on the way and keep you undated in real time like I did for our South Island trip. A rough trip route is shown in the picture below (obviously minus Poland) where we meet my family !!!!

trip

Thank you to everyone and thank you for everyone who has read my blog for the year I have been a way. This is getting a bit soppy now so I am off- first stop SYDNEY!

Love you all,

Lucy

P.s I am keeping the name Northerner in NZ, I couldn’t bring myself to change it now 🙂

Pangea Seeds – Sea Walls Murals

Napier was host to this year’s Pangea Seeds Foundation – Sea Walls Murals for the Ocean, this is their public art project that brings the oceans to the streets around the world. They collaborate with some amazing street artists to create massive street murals to raise awareness for ocean conservation, and the artists do it all for free. They came to Napier and it was so cool, and it will also be taking place in Toronto this year!

The artists had 5 days to paint amazing murals all over Napier and they were fantastic! We got a map from the visitors’ information and walked the whole thing. It was such a great day. I will leave you with photos which don’t do them justice but show you how great they are better than I can. We had so much fun interpreting them…

Lucy 🙂

New Plymouth

Hello there everyone,

I thought it was about time I got my bum in gear and started blogging to all you lovely people again. So basically after a bit of a bad patch plus no motivation (I won’t go into detail) I stopped blogging for a while! But I’m fine now and back 😀

This blog is about our trip to New Plymouth and a bit of an update on a few other exciting things we have done. We went to New Plymouth back in April now (I know I’m sorry I am very behind).

There isn’t loads to tell about our trip there its very seasidey and a lot like Napier but on the west of the north island. We got there on Friday night it was a pretty long drive about 5 hours so we didn’t do a lot on arrival! On Saturday we wandered along the sea front taking pictures hand in hand (how romantic). I was taking a picture of Chris and a massive wave hit him (lol before and after below).

We went to the museum which was pretty cool and took some standard stuffed animal pictures. I was pretty upset as my favourite team off the Block NZ were there and we missed them by 15 minutes (hi if you are reading Cat and Jeremy). We drove to mount Taranaki which was covered in cloud (not very successful).  We did a bit of a lonely planet bar crawl which is standard for Lucy and Chris, so it was a pretty chilled day really. This is why I shouldn’t leave my blogs until 3 months later because I can’t remember anything.

The one thing I do remember is Chris’ surf lesson the next morning. It was two hours long and the poor boy was shattered afterwards (after standing up a grand total of once). Fair play to him though as I didn’t even give the lesson a try.

Our route home took us along the Forgotten highway which is a gravel road full of cool places to explore, waterfalls, tunnels and ‘ghost towns’. It added a lot onto the journey but was definitely worth it! I am sorry for the short but sweet blog but I just wanted to tell you a brief of New Plymouth and say sorry for being off the radar! I am back now I promise.

So other things we have been doing;

  • Pangea Seeds Foundation Art work in Napier (blog to follow)
  • We went to Rotorua to see a kiwi and Chris went mountain biking.
  • We are currently gearing up for the big trip home (blog to follow)

So we currently have 1 WEEK left in NZ.

Crazy.

Until next time

Lucy

Tongariro Crossing

Finally on the 4th try we got to do the Tongariro crossing. On the 3rd March, the weather was looking perfect so we took the day off work and headed over on the Wednesday night. Hugh the car camper came in handy again and we arrived at 8.30 reclined the chairs and watched The Night Manager on my ipad – great night.

If you don’t know, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is described as one of NZ’s greatest day walks and it climbs over the volcanos in the centre of the North Island.

It was an early start the next day for the shuttle bus that drops you off at the start and picks you up later, our bus was at 7am. We got to the start of the crossing both equipped with everything we needed – you are told to be well prepared due to the weather changing quickly on the mountain (we weren’t too sure about the two Chinese girls in jeans with only a carton of milk). The walk is around 20k and the first 10 are all uphill, the first part of the walk starts very gently but as you start to climb the main volcano – it is tough! Climbing steeply over lava fields for 10k it was very tiring. It was that tiring (I will admit I am a bit unfit at the moment) that I asked Chris to call me a helicopter at one point (dramatic). I had to get confirmation off my friends Stacey that did it in January that she found it hard too!

When you get to the top though it is worth it, the views are amazing. We walked past Ngauruhoe (When spoken Narahoey) which is Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings. It is enormous and a 3 hour extra trip up steep shingle which you are advised not to do as it’s quite dangerous (we saw the two Chinese girls with the milk climb up there!) We ate lunch at the bottom of Mount Doom it was pretty cool. The next feature is the Red Crater which is an enormous volcanic crater that you can look right into, you can feel the heat coming through the ground all around it. The whole walk was crazy it was like being on the moon (I think anyway I have never been)!

My favourite part has to be when for a start we started going downhill and we saw the iconic Emerald Lakes they were beautiful. Three bright green lakes sat together in a desolate environment it was special. The walk down to them was a challenge it was steep sand and people were just sliding down. After this it was onto the blue lake and then the decent down the mountain.

There were three buses one at 2.30pm, 4.00pm and 5.30pm, we were just on track to make the 2.30pm and we didn’t want to miss it. We set of down the mountain which was a windy gravel track for the first park and it slowly descended into jungle. This was probably the longest and most tiring part for us. As we were having to keep a fast pace to make the bus the downhill walking juts killed your legs! We made it with 10 minutes to spare and it was brilliant.

I am so glad we did it and all the effort was worth it and the weather was perfect! We were very tired we had to stop in a scenic lookout on the way home for a sleep. What an amazing walk it was though 🙂

Lucy

Art Deco Weekend

Well firstly I would like to apologise for my lack of blogging recently I know my die-hard fans (Hi Alan) will be missing me. Reading my friend Fran’s blogs (thosetwoinoz) this morning (she is currently blogging her way around Australia) made me get back into the blogging swing of things. I have been busy with work, travel, illness etc. (boohoo) but I’m back (its only been 4 weeks)! So what have we been up too? We finally got to do the Tongariro Crossing – later blog to come and we are off to Fiji on Monday –even later blog to come! So it’s all go as usual!

In February now we went to the Napier Art Deco Weekend – all I can say is what an amazing weekend it was! I felt like I had gone back in time or been transported to a movie set- everyone was dressed up and in the spirit of things. On the Friday night I dressed up in a glitzy number with feathers in my hair and Chris dressed as a pilot and we headed out to the Emporium (the famous Art Deco Restaurant in town) for a meal with our friends Bev and Pete. It was a great evening we sat by the window watching the costumes go by and everyone having fun outside as we ate and drank 🙂 At 7.30 the planes flew over giving an spectacular display!

On Saturday we headed out again – this time I was in a daytime deco outfit! We watched the vintage car parade which was fantastic I have never seen so many old cars. They had the brass band playing and so many different activities going on. We walked up to the main parade by the ocean and people were dancing to 30’s music and generally having a great time. We stopped for some lunch and had a nosey again at people passing by in their amazing costumes (met an Australian guy we met in Coromandel – small world!). Everywhere you turned there were costumes and something different going on. We were exhausted – but that didn’t stop us going back on Sunday.

There was a soap box race where kids could build karts with their dads (or mums – equality and all that) and race down the main street it was a fun event to watch with a few scary moments – kids have no fear! We headed to the airport to look at the old planes there was so much going on we didn’t want to miss it all. Another highlight was the Gatsby Picnic where hundreds of people set up picnic tents and are judged on creativity, we had a lovely afternoon walking around with a Hendricks gin looking at all the tents.

I really don’t feel that it does the weekend justice just talking about it so I will let the photos do the talking in this instance.

Lucy ❤

8 things nobody tells you when you move abroad

  1. The TV is crap, it is never the same as TV at home. I have only found one NZ program I loved (The Block NZ) and the ones you do love from home Corrie etc. are two years behind. So you will definitely need to invest in a Netflix account and a Chrome cast to survive. Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars have become my lifelines (sad but true).
  1. It takes forever to get used to the currency, after 6 months I still convert to pounds. I have a mini heart attack every time I pay for something as the NZ dollar is roughly double to the pound – so when I see $50 I see 50 pounds not 25 pounds. Complicated stuff.
  1. How bad the homesickness can be. It’s a real struggle, as we are having the time of our lives out here and wouldn’t change it from the world. For people at home battling floods and winds who see us having an amazing time think it’s silly to miss home when its 30 degrees here. It’s something that unless you have done it you never realise how it feels to just want a cuddle from your dog, a pint with your mates or a Saturday night chill with your family.
  1. Adapting to new supermarkets and brands is hard and you will always miss things like bacon and tea. That’s why when we see Yorkshire tea we go mental. Expat shops are genius.
  1. You come to appreciate how great your home country really is. Being so far away and talking to a lot of people makes you realise that you really haven’t made the most of you home country and how close you actually are to Europe. This is something we have vowed to change when we get home.
  1. How amazing it really is. I feel so lucky that we got this opportunity when we did before getting a house or anything else. It came with perfect if not a little rushed timing, and everything just fell into place for us. We have seen and are still to see some great places and I am so glad we made the leap to come here, because trust me it was bloody scary for both of us.
  1. You do things you never thought you would dare do (especially me as a chicken) like caving, jet boating, swimming with dolphins, because why the hell not? I might never be here again. If someone asked me to go caving in the UK I would propose a pub lunch instead.
  1. You will settle in quickly. We had no choice we had a flat and a car within 3 weeks and its surprising how quickly you settle into a job when you are away from home and only have a 12 month contract.

Lucy 🙂

White Island

Whakatane is famous for its White Island tours – a trip out on a boat to see NZ’s only active marine volcano. An old sulphur mine sits on the volcano used up until the 30s where workers would move to this harsh environment for 3 months at a time (the longest stayed for 8 years).

I was so excited about this trip it’s not every day you get to go inside a volcanic crater and as a keen geographer I was in geek mode bad style. We went with a tour company called White Island Tours and it was $200 each for the trip, so it isn’t cheap but it is 100% worth it. I guess with all the permits and insurance the company must be required to have to take tourists onto a live volcano, would set them back a bit. The boat was lovely and spacious with lovely soft sofa seats downstairs, the journey out to the island is 80 minutes so we opted for an inside seat.

To actually get onto the volcano we had to get a rib boat across, climb some metal ladders and then clamber across some boulders to get ashore (I felt like Lara Croft). The volcano was breath-taking, it was a harsh landscape, emitting steam everywhere and bright yellow sulphur chimneys steaming from the ground. We had stepped directly into the crater! The gases being produced weren’t harmful but they made you cough really badly so we had to wear gas masks – teamed with our hard hats we looked pretty snazzy (think Heisenberg from Breaking Bad). Chris found his Darth Vader impression pretty hilarious as we were walking around.

We got to walk right up to the main crater, which had a bright green bubbling volcanic lake inside with a huge plum of steam from the main vent. It was amazing. There were bubbling pools of mud around us and volcanic streams which were really hot running across the landscape. It was a very special trip for me as since uni I have always been fascinated by volcanoes.

We went into the old abandoned sulphur factory which had an eerie feel to it, a lot of the machinery was still there and all badly corroded due to the gases. The guide told us that their t-shirts only last 6 months due to the gases disintegrating the cotton stitching. It must have been such a strange place to be for long periods at a time for the sulphur miners.

I really can’t stress how much I enjoyed this trip and I would recommend to anyone who was a little dubious about spending the money on a trip.

Once back on the boat we were provided with a lovely lunch (cheese sandwiches, cake, oat bar, apple and a crunchy!) and then made the 1.5 hour journey back. We both fell asleep Chris the nodding dog and me with my mouth wide open!

Our Waitangi weekend at Coromandel and White Island is something we will never forget and it probably tuned out to be one of my favourite weekends we have had so far.

Lucy