I could have agonised over this selection for much longer, but I’ve given myself the length of the train journey from Newcastle to Grantham to choose my ten favourite photos from our year away.
There were a few points where I wondered whether we should have bought a fancy camera but our pocket Kodak served us pretty well.
Our stops in China and the (rainy, rainy) Cook islands did not make the cut, but NZ, USA and Oz are represented.
So, in no particular order (but with some logic applied)…
1. The Robs by the Lake
A couple of our friends came over from the UK to tour around the south island with us. Halfway through our time away it was lovely to see some familiar faces and we had a fantastic time together.
This was taken at one of many scenic photo stops, I think around the lakes in Otago. It’s one of the most stunning parts of NZ, with its combination of mountains and light blue water. Right after this we were attacked by vicious sand flies.
2. Kawarau Bridge
Also on that part of the trip, Rob did a bungy jump in Queenstown. It was at the original site where professional bungy jumping began. It was a rare time when we bought the professional photos; this one and the moment it captures really stand out for me. Very brave.
3. A one horse town
Greymouth was our second stop in the south island after flying into Christchurch. On the west coast where 1% of the country’s population live, it was like stepping into a time machine.
The shops, office and court looked like they were from a frontier town in the wild west. We did stay in a brilliant hostel and visited a brewery, so I found it a fascinating and worthwhile stop.
4. A change of seasons
This one is a bit of a cheat, but I hope you’ll forgive for the comparison. Wanaka, again in Otago, is a town that shows its beautythrough the change in seasons. We first visited in summer (left) and returned again in winter (right) and unintentionally took photos from a similar spot by the lake.
5. Wine-fuelled delight
A shot that is shamelessly copied from a magazine article, this is Martinborough. The town is in the wine-growing region of the Wairarpapa. We took a trip there from Wellington for our birthdays and had a blissful weekend.
6. Wellington, my love
This is taken overlooking the harbour in the NZ capital. When I look at it, it makes me think about the wonderful four months we lived there. Before I left, I knew it’d be one of the places I’d miss most.
7. Are you looking at me?
Another cheat from our trip to Melbourne, but I couldn’t choose between the kangaroo and the emu. These were taken at a wildlife park we visited. The animals and sunshine were just like what you expect from Australia.
8.Pair of suckers
We are a couple who never dress up if we can get away with it. However, ahead of the premier of the vampire mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows, I persuaded Rob to get into the spirit. This was taken by someone at the premier and I found it on Twitter. We didn’t dare approach the filmmakers, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waiti in the bar afterwards, but we hope that they appreciated our effort. The UK release of the film has just been announced – see it, see it, see it!
9. Beautiful Lake Havasu
This was the most beautiful campsite that we stayed at on our US tour. I love this shot because it appears to be such a peaceful landscape, without a hint of the wild night that preceded it. Without revealing the details, one of our tour group exclaimed to our guide in the morning – ‘you warned us about night in Vegas but you never mentioned nights in Lake Havasu!’
10. Looking ahead
We cringed when an American guy offered to take our photo and instructed this pose. As cheesy as it is, I’m really glad that I have it now. Following the night of our engagement at the Grand Canyon, it feels appropriate that we are looking ahead together to whatever comes next.