Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Farewell New Zealand

Tomorrow we leave New Zealand and head back home. The last few months have been very special. We have seen many wonders. Every time I have felt sad to be leaving a place the next place has been equally as good but in a different way. This is a beautiful country with friendly people and a common sense and relaxed approach to life.
Our thanks to all who have made our adventures happy and easy. Those we have met, who have rented out their homes to us. Those with whom we have enjoyed hospitality, stayed and enjoyed meals, especially our cousins.
We will miss the glorious warm and sunny weather, the seasonality and freshness of the local fruit, vegetables and fish; the uncrowdedness and the long sandy beaches and hidden bays.
My thanks to everyone who has emailed me and kept me in touch with reality and to all who have been reading the blog and encouraged me to keep going. It has been a learning experience!

Throughout the last few months the words of this hymn have often been in my mind:
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hand hath made.
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

Our thanks to God who has provided for us and looked after us on our travels, and without whom none of this would be possible.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Back to North Island

We crossed from South Island to North Island early on the morning of 2nd March, a lovely crossing in the morning light, which begins by travelling through the Marlborough Sounds then heads out into the Cook Strait.

Having explored the eastern coast of North Island earlier on our trip we headed up the west coast, breaking our journey for a few days in the Mount Taranaki area.
Mount Taranaki is a dormant volcano and stands strangely tall and alone in an otherwise flat landscape of pasture land. In fine weather you can't miss it! It last erupted in 1775 and scientists say another eruption is overdue. Simon managed the stiff climb to the summit with a lot of determination. no mean feat at 2518 metres.

Now we are north of Auckland at the tiny coastal resort of Langs Beach. There isn't a shop for several miles in either direction, but this was the view one evening! We have spent the last few days bringing the trip to a close. We have sold the car and been to the charity shop with things we can't bring home. And still we have too much to bring!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Christchurch and Akaroa

Arriving in Christchurch after weeks in rural New Zealand took a bit of adjustment and it came as rather a surprise and slightly annoying when we found ourselves stuck in a traffic jam - a gentle reminder of things to come when we get back to England!
Christchurch is the largest city on South Island and very English. It was founded as an outpost of Anglicanism and named after Christchurch College, Oxford. The road names take on English towns like Gloucester Street, Hereford Street, Oxford Terrace and Lichfield Street. And there's even the River Avon where we watched punters happily punting. We could have been back in the home country!

From Christchurch we enjoyed a very scenic drive to Akaroa. If Christchurch is English then Akaroa is New Zealand's French settlement. Many of the street names are French and there are lots of French visitors. Being here feels like a dream. It is picture-postcard perfect and attracts many artists. There's not a great deal to do except enjoy it! As we've had a heat-wave this week we haven't wanted to do much! The temperature has been in the upper 20's low 30's. Glorious but hot!
Artist at work, Akaroa