We left the UK on 1 October 2013. Instead of a big state of the nations post, we’re going to reflect on our time away in list form.
6 fantastic places we’ve visited:
1. Russell in the Bay of Islands – The first capital of NZ; a beautiful coastal town with boat tours, great restaurants and a pebble beach.
2. Abel Tasman National Park – Spent two nights staying near the show-stealing beach of Kaiteriteri and an afternoon kayaking. Could have spent a week.
3. Marlborough – stayed on a vineyard and spend the day cycling around wineries and tasting their produce. Simply sublime.
4. Queenstown – only spent one night there (so far) but a great atmosphere in the town, beautiful scenery all around and exciting activities.
5. Kaikoura – even though we didn’t get to see any whales we had a great time in this little town, lovely food, beer and a great pebbly beach.
6. Monteith’s Brewery – lots of delicious beer – enough said.
6 things we miss about home (apart from family & friends):
1. Victoria Park and Queen’s Road in Leicester.
2. Leicester music scene – just being familiar with venues, bands and promoters. Going to some gigs in Wellington is high on the To Do list.
3. UK theatre – there is some great theatre and festivals in NZ and we’ve seen some brilliant shows while reviewing for Keeping Up with NZ but I miss British regional theatre and being able to pop down to London for a show.
4. Roast dinners – so far the weather just hasn’t felt right for it but we are heading into autumn/winter soon.
5. The BBC – news, comedy, drama and documentaries without adverts.
6. Lincolnshire sausages – in a sandwich on a Sunday morning.
6 brilliant books read whilst away:
1. The Sleeper by Emily Barr – A murder mystery from different characters’ perspectives. Think Strangers on a Train on the commuter service between Devon and London. I read most of this one but finished it by reading to Rob while we driving around the south island.
2. The Secrets of the Tides by Hannah Richell – An unraveling of a family’s secrets after a tragic event near their home on the Dorset coastline.
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larsson.
4. Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett – revisiting Discworld after many years. Always a pleasure.
5. The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson – finally got around to reading this study of psychopathy.
6. A Land of Two Halves by Joe Bennett – we’ve both read this one. After living in NZ for ten years Joe went on an ‘accidental’ hitchiking tour of the country, meeting colourful character along the way.
6 companies that have employed us and helped to fund this trip:
1. Madison Recruitment – two weeks working in their office on a project and then through them at…
2. Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development – helping to launch AucklandNZ.com and great for research!
3. Accor Hotels – digital marketing and daydreaming about trips to Fiji.
4. NZ Fire Service – currently trying my best to be organised for people doing great work.
5. Vodafone – 4 months doing all sorts in Auckland. Nice people with plenty of Friday beer and a beautiful commute.
6. Very short piece of work for a government department… hmm.
6 places we hope still to visit:
1. Hawke’s Bay – for more winetasting
2. New Plymouth
3. Kapiti Island – nature reserve
4. Queenstown – for a longer stay, maybe once the ski season starts
5. Melbourne – for a long weekend before it gets too cold
6. Rarotonga – in the Cook islands