Ten favourite photos

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.

Continue reading


Wellington: Our Neat Places

Sorry Auckland, you are pretty fabulous but it’s Wellington that’s captured our imaginations and felt like a better fit during our year in NZ.

In our final week in this cracking little capital, and taking inspiration from Neat Places, here are a few of our fave spots…

For weekend brunch:

Fidel’s – it’s worth the wait at this cafe on Cuba Street, for their original breakfast menu, including baked spanish eggs, grilled halloumi and burritos. We stumbled across this local institution on our first weekend in Welly and have made many visits since.

Continue reading

Getting to know the Wairarapa

An hour north of Wellington you’ll find the good life of the Wairarapa. Farm and wine country punctuated by small towns with big character. We’ve just spent a whistle-stop weekend in the region celebrating our birthdays.


Our first stop was Greytown, which we’d stopped in briefly before and was worth a revisit. Its refined main street is lined with antiques and boutiques and beautiful Victorian buildings. We enjoyed brunch in Cahoots Cafe, who were proudly displaying their Dominion Post review from last week. For a pit stop, the cafe is a great place where the owners know all their locals.

Continue reading

Reblog: I left my heart in Wellington

Just found My Big Geek Adventure. Great post highlighting the best of Wellington. I’d also add the vibrant culinary scene. With only a month left in this cool capital, I know I’ll yearn to come back.

Harbour heart


My Big Geek Adventure

Sometimes you visit a place that steals your heart.  Sometimes you visit a place that creates memories that live with you forever.  Sometimes you visit a place that just…….fits.

View original post 618 more words

Walking above Wellington

Last weekend we wrapped ourselves up for the Skyline Ridge walk in Wellington’s hills.

We parked in Johnsonville and tackled Mount Kaukau at the start. The ascension took us above the suburban houses, which continued throughout the walk, on our left with rolling hills to our right. City on one side and country on the other. At the top we were rewarded with a 360 viewing platform, from which we could see across to the south island.

Continue reading

Vellington and 5 classically Kiwi films

This week, the ‘W’ in the Wellington’s Hollywood-esque sign became a ‘V’ in preparation for the release of What We Do in The Shadows.

After a positive festival reception, the ‘vampire mocumentary’ from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi promises to be a successful Kiwi movie export.

This has prompted me to think about other NZ films that we’ve seen recently, aside from those set in middle earth. By no means a definitive list, but a selection that capture elements of this country’s rich culture.

Continue reading

Boulcott Street Bistro: Review

Bar area

Boulcott Street Bistro caught our eye early on as somewhere to go for dinner in Wellington. Last Friday, after a very wet week, we rewarded ourselves with a visit.

Just a stone’s throw away from where we live, the quaint white house looks out-of-place and dwarfed against the office buildings that surround it. The website told us that ‘the charming inner-city Gothic cottage was originally built as a wedding gift by a local groom for his bride to be in the late 1870s’. Nice gift.

Continue reading

Weekend in Paekakariki

Just 45 minutes along the coast from Wellington is the small coastal retreat of Paekakariki. We spent the weekend camping there on a fantastic campsite on the beach. It was our first trip away since arriving in Wellington (only a few weeks ago) and it was great to get back on the road, even for a couple of days.

Continue reading

6 months away: lists of sixs

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.

Continue reading

First impressions of Wellington

We arrived in the NZ capital a week ago and these are some of my first impressions…

At the top of the cable car track

There are heaps of coffee shops, bars and restaurants to explore.

Tired, hungry and fresh from our flight, we stumbled upon Viva Mexico in Newtown. A taco shop with outdoor tables and great food. It was really busy for a Sunday and after we ate a band started up. They got the crowd dancing and a couple of the bravest joining in with freestyle vocals. Another early favourite is Fidel’s cafe on Cuba Street – we dropped in for coffee and came back the next day for brunch. They have an extensive menu and Rob had a great breakfast burrito.

Continue reading