Playing Catch-up

Oh hey, look at that! I have a blog. A rather neglected blog. Let’s see if I can remedy the situation and bring you up to speed. Or at least closer to speed. 

We’re coming to the tail end of Spring and I couldn’t be happier that the sun is shining more, the days are getting longer, and the weather is warming up. Truth be told, Winter was really boring. It rained nearly every day, which was great for our water tank but not so great for getting outside and being active. We did our best to stay entertained and took advantage of every opportunity to get off the island and have some fun.

There was also a lull in visitors over the winter but that’s changing. Mark’s parents are here and about to wrap up a 3-week visit. Then we have friends coming nearly every month until we bid adieu (for now) to NZ in March. So if you want to visit us, you better make plans fast!

But first a little rewind…In May my cousin Alison came to visit for two weeks. We spent the first half of her trip on the North Island and the second half on the South Island. I think we crammed a whole lot into two short weeks.

This post will be short on words and long on pictures. Enjoy!

Week 1: North Island

We kayaked down the Waikato River at sunset to see glowworms. Amazing!
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Took in a rugby match – the Waikato Chiefs vs. the Highlanders
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Toured Hobbiton. What an incredible setting! It’s super commercialized but so worth the time and money.

img_1426img_1422img_1400img_1420img_1379img_1416img_1398Went Zorbing in Rotorua

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One of us is inside that giant, clear hamster ball rolling down the grassy hill. So fun!

Week 2: South Island

Once on the South Island we hopped in our sweet home-on-wheels and headed out. Let me tell you, 3 adults + luggage + 1 van = close quarters. It’s a good thing I really like both of them.

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We went on a walk coastal walk near Kaikoura where I saw wild seals for the first time! It’s heartbreaking and surreal that last week’s earthquake destroyed this part of the coastal walk, including the seals’ breeding ground.

(Side note: we live on the North Island near Auckland but happened to be on the South Island when the earthquake struck. Fortunately, we were on the far southwest corner so about as far away as one could be. The earthquake struck just after midnight and I first learned about it when I woke up to a slew of texts and emails asking if we were okay. So thank you to everyone for your concerned texts and emails. I’m happy and grateful to report that all is well with us.)

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Went to the Church of the Good Shepherd in Tekapo

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Don’t be fooled. This landmark was teeming with people.

Were awed by the beauty of Lake Tekapo’s bright blue water

Cruised around my favorite place on earth, Milford Sound. That’s not an exaggeration. My heart and soul belong in Milford Sound. I’ve been 3 times already and will probably go at least 2 more. Maybe we’ll name our first child Milford.

13782063_10100132613299243_8174023897863573929_n13697128_10100132613264313_4475759183938958534_n

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I want his job

13770276_10100132613064713_5754389958754244973_nStumbled upon the coolest, most unexpected rock formation – the Clay Cliffs of Omarama. These are on someone’s private property and there was a sign on the gate asking you to pay $5 (into the unattended box) and be sure to shut the gate on your way in/out. New Zealand is the best.

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Clay Cliffs in Omarama from afar. They look like a mini Bryce Canyon.
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Meandering between the cliffs

13150842_226571701053649_1791832522_n1And spent some time in both Wanaka and Queenstown

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Overlooking Queenstown 
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Sitting in art

13776041_10100132613653533_7403289857112541197_nThank you for traveling to the bottom of the world and going on a whirlwind tour, Ali Butt! I’m so grateful to have been able to share this magical country with you.

Next post will be less travel-related and more life update-related. I have some exciting news to share! (No, we’re not engaged. No, I’m not pregnant.)

 

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