Monthly Archives: July 2012

An environmental adventure!

We have booked to stay two nights at the wonderful ‘Little’ Greenie‘ at the Golden Beach Hideaway in Golden Bay during our stay on the South Island of New Zealand. This house was awarded the most energy efficient house in the whole of New Zealand! This house not only has stunning views and a beautiful location, but is incredibly energy efficient and good for the environment. If you are interested read more about how they constructed Little Greenie. Along with modern luxuries, this house also has interesting features like an outside bath and a composting toilet and it should provide a unique living experience – we cannot wait!

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Leaving it all behind . . .

I find myself thinking quite a lot everyday about our forthcoming year we will spend in New Zealand. One idea that resonates quite strongly is the idea of ‘leaving it all behind’. Of course this has many meanings, and I find myself thinking through both what we will be leaving behind but also what we have to look forward to.

For me, family is so important, and my family mean everything to me. I have spent some time over the last few days with my Mum (who, as a teacher, is on school holidays), which has been really lovely. Next week I am off to Wembley to watch an Olympic football game with my Dad. These times are really special to me. So leaving behind my parents, and not being near them or able to spend time with them will be really difficult. Although, my sister is in Australia and currently living in Sydney and so I will be nearer her and hopefully able to spend some time with her while we are away. And the fantastic invention of technology such as Viber and Skype will mean I can speak to and ‘see’ my parents whenever I wish!

As I am currently packing to move house shortly I reflect on material possessions I will leave behind – things that feel important when this is your whole world – such as our lovely comfy sofa, my clothes, my sentimental collection of cuddly toys, my photo/souvenir albums etc. I find though that de-cluttering can feel really good, and leaving behind things that are purely material possessions and do not actually make us who we are. I will still have the thoughts and memories connected with these items and so much more, and that is what matters.

I am reflecting on other things like how beautiful it is where I live – in the wonderful city of Bath in the UK – and how I will leave it all behind, along with my quaint home-town of Frome and its stunning surrounding countryside. But then I think how much New Zealand has to offer, how many places we have not yet seen, and how much fun me and my husband will have exploring together.

So I am leaving it all behind (at least for a year anyway!), but reflecting on this positively and looking forward to the exciting adventure to come.

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Penguins (yes more penguins!) in the wild

We are going to visit Catlins National Park whilst on our holiday in New Zealand. This is a lesser known beautiful part of New Zealand and not as often visited by tourists. Having read many forums and done lots of research interestingly many people say it was actually their favourite part of their whole trip to New Zealand. The Catlins tourist website states: “The Catlins – the name that conjures up images of a corner of New Zealand untainted by the modern world – a place where time has stood still and a visitor may enjoy forest, wildlife and the life-style of a bygone era. This image is a true reflection.” It simply sounds amazing!

And continuing our penguin theme, we are hoping to see lots of lovely wildlife whilst staying there – including the blue and yellow-eyed penguins in the wild! Apparently they are commonly spotted in Curio Bay (where we are staying for 2 nights) and Porpoise Bay.

 

 

 

Our accommodation in Curio Bay will be a wonderful Boutique Studio with Curio Bay Accommodation. The studio is right on the beach with wonderful views, and the reviews are brilliant – including mentions of night visits by penguins on their decking! It should be a part of the holiday to remember!

 

 

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Great Barrier Island is calling!

We have decided to spend 4 days of our month holiday on Great Barrier Island, a small island off the coast of Auckland. Only 800 people live on the island which is supposed to be one of the wildest and most unspoilt places in the world!

All we have read and heard about the island sounds amazing and we can’t wait to experience it. They don’t have modern luxuries like mains power, so use solar power instead. They also collect rainwater for their water supply! Apparently the BBC used the island to film the TV series Castaway.

We have booked to stay for 4 nights at a holiday lodge called Shoal Bay Lodge, where we are renting a wonderful private house with the below view from the living room and deck:

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65 days to go until the adventure begins!

This was initially sent to me by my sister (who has moved from the UK over to Australia and is currently living in Sydney and running her own business) – but I also wanted to share it here on my blog. The sentiments it contains can apply to everyone. I hope to be ‘living my dream” over the next year – just 65 short days to go until we board that plane destined for New Zealand!

 

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A new adventure, a new chapter . . .

I turn to a fresh page, pen in hand, ready to begin writing . . . 

Not only because I am an avid reader and lover of literature, but the book metaphor works very well to explain how I see our forthcoming adventure.

My life so far, much like the plot of a book, has had exciting events, interesting characters, unexpected turns, and even my very own love story! And I am sure the newest adventure on the horizon will be no different.

We are planning to leave our lives behind in the UK (for a year at least) to move over to New Zealand in September to live and travel for a year. At the moment I am feeling a whole range of emotions about this upcoming trip – excitement, happiness, but also a bit of fear and anxiety. I have made some interesting choices in my life (and anyone who knows me will know this) , but which have always felt right at the time. Both me and my husband have moved around the country a fair bit pursuing various things we want to do, along with saving money to pursue one of our real loves and enjoyments in life – travelling. We have been lucky enough to go on two round the world trips so far as well as being incredibly lucky to get married at the beautiful Lake Tahoe in California in 2010, and also visited destinations such as the wonderful Iceland.

Clearly though, living in another country, will be completely different.  Even though we have moved around a lot (living in 8 different homes in the past 10 years!) strangely I still really like the comforts of home, and also being close to my family. Only time will tell how well we will adapt to constantly being on the move, and being so far away from family and friends.

I think it is normal and natural to felt a bit apprehensive, but we both also know that it is 100% the right decision for us at this time in our lives, and this strong feeling is carrying us through everything. I trained to be an English teacher last year and it certainly was the most stressful year of my life – but also very interesting and rewarding. All of the teachers I worked with have been incredibly supportive and interestingly every single one of them when I asked their advice about New Zealand said “Go! Go!”. Taking a break from the crazy world of education will be good, and I know I can return to it when we return.

With regards to this new chapter in our life then, I end by saying I am filled with excitement, hope (and a sprinkling of nerves!) as to what will be written . . .

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Queenstown – here we come!

Last time we visited Queenstown in 2006 we had a wonderful time and it was one of the highlights of our South Island trip. We have decided to stay for 4 nights as part of our month holiday this time around, and have booked into the exquisite Villa Del Lago Luxury Apartments – rated number 1 on Trip Advisor (read their reviews here if you are interested!). Another great thing about Villa Del Lago is that we got a brilliant reduced rate because we are staying for 4 nights.

We have planned to do the Shotover Jet when in Queenstown – which should be really exciting! See the pic below for what we have got to look forward to! (p.s. we needed the highest level of insurance to cover us for this!!) 🙂

Queenstown has so much going on, that we also can’t wait to travel up to Bob’s Peak on the Skyline Gondola again and see John’s favourite animal – the kiwi – at the Kiwi Birdlife Park.

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Nothing beats a good holiday home!

For anyone planning a holiday/trip to New Zealand I would highly recommend staying in a holiday house/home (often called ‘bachs’). We have often found they can work out a fair bit cheaper than hotels/apartments, and you get all the comforts of home and can live like a New Zealander for a while!

The best website we have found and have used in the past is: Holiday Houses. The site is very easy to use, owners are usually very responsive, booking is easy and we stayed in an absolutely amazing place from this site as part of our honeymoon 2 years ago.

Other sites that may be of interest include:

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Live like a penguin …

I had to post this rather appropriate penguin-related gem from an awesome book called ‘Flipping Brilliant: A Penguin’s Guide to a Happy Life’:

‘Life is an adventure. Live accordingly.’

“On any given day, a penguin may enjoy a hearty meal – or become one. For a penguin, the sea is life, and there’s no way of knowing what’s just below the surface until breaking it. Such is life in the middle of the food chain. It’s often exhilarating, sometimes frightening, and ultimately (like it or not) fatal. So what’s a bird to do? Be fruitful and multiply, or be fearful and calcify? There’s only one answer for him as there is for us: Dive into life and fly” 🙂

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Links galore!

I have just added a new page to this blog very inventively titled ‘Links‘ 😉 This will of course list various useful links that will hopefully help others planning to travel or move to New Zealand.

One of my favs is newzealand.com who also have an awesome Facebook page. Any suggestions for additions are also very much appreciated! 🙂

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Whale watching

We have booked an exciting Whale watching boat trip in beautiful Kaikoura on the 28th of September. We used Whale Watch who are the only company in Kaikoura that offer Whale watching by boat. Hopefully it will be an unforgettable trip!

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A room with a view!

We have just booked to stay at the beautiful Hermitage Hotel based in the Mount Cook National Park. Our room will have views of Mount Cook and we are really looking forward to our stay.

We will also be going on an exciting glacier boat trip (only one of three like it in the world!) out onto Lake Tasman to see the Tasman glacier. It should be a magical trip!

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A traveller’s dream

I am sure many people reading this are already aware of the amazing travel advice website – Tripadvisor. It has proved invaluable to us since we started using it when planning our trips – we use it most for its extensive reviews of accommodation and trips/activities. We never stay anywhere without checking it first! It is also great for New Zealand – for example see this excellent page looking at the best things to do in South Island (p.s. despite being number one, no we are not going clay target shooting!!).

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Penguins, penguins, penguins!

We are planning to visit an amazing place in Oamaru called the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony where we will see about 100 blue penguins (the world’s smallest penguins!) come ashore in the evening. We can’t wait!

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A neverending voyage

I have followed this blog with fascination so thought it was worth a share: http://www.neverendingvoyage.com/. This couple, in their own words, “sold everything to travel the world indefinitely”! They left their lives in the UK in 2010 are currently travelling and working all over the world on their own ‘neverending voyage’. Their website also includes loads of really useful links such as this excellent comprehensive packing list – with wonderful tips on travelling with very little. Enjoy the read!

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A 30th birthday in style!

We have also booked the accommodation we will be staying at to celebrate my husband, John’s, 30th birthday. We are staying two nights at Ada’s Cottage, a beautiful peaceful holiday house in the lovely area of Marlborough Sounds. It has amazing views from the rooms and decking and is at an incredible price of £50 per night. It should be a birthday to remember!

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A house with a view!

We have booked our first three nights accommodation (for our month’s holiday we are planning before starting work) at a beautiful holiday house in a place called Hanmer Springs. The house is called 11 Oregon Heights and is set on the hillside with stunning views.  It’s brilliant off-peak special offer means it works out as £67 per night! We plan to visit the wonderful Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and cannot wait to relax and shake off our jet-lag while staying there.

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Visas approved

So New Zealand will officially allow us to enter their lovely country and live for a year – yay! 🙂 We applied online for the Working Holiday Visa on Sunday night and had it approved today. All we need to do is print our approval letter and the electronic working holiday visa and keep it with our passport for when we enter NZ. Various terms exist on this visa (mainly having enough money to live there for a year, which, thankfully we do!) but they didn’t ask for any supporting documentation and the process was very simple and easy.

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