For years I have wanted to emigrate to New Zealand. Just ask my kiwi friend Claire Romanos of "Can You Dig It?" fame. I was all talk but unable to take any action......UNTIL NOW. The universe has spoken, planets have aligned and in March 2019 we made it over for the holiday of a lifetime with a view to make contact with other Osteopaths and Model Makers in New Zealand.
We landed in Auckland, picked up the awesome van that I had secured through Your Drive for just under $1000 for nearly 4 weeks and proceeded to bomb about the North Island meeting other awesome Osteopaths.
We stayed our first night in an Air BnB in Auckland which was fabulous, Michelle was lovely and welcoming and we could really relax after the long flight. The next day, without drawing breath, we drove to meet with lovely Johanna of Rotorua Osteopaths then on to our next nights stay in Taupo DeBretts spa resort Taupo. So lovely. John and the children played, I slept.
Leaving Te Mata, we headed to the Wairarapa - OMG beautiful - and met with the lovely Jane of Wairarapa Osteopath and then, still not finished driving for the day - onto Lower Hutt, where we rested for the night at a gorgeous HomeAway by bookabach - Iain and Glenna have a beautiful place, loved the chooks! The next morning we made for the Bluebridge Ferry but first stopped for breakfast at the iconic Maranui Cafe.
John never swears yet here he is flicking the "V", but it's the only pic I got of this amazing place.... I can only imagine it's because I woke them so early to get there, even Monkey looks pooped. After breakfast there was still time to meet with the Lovely Melanie of City Osteopaths who took us for a gorgeous walk around Breaker Bay with her family and their very cute dog. Bliss.
And then off to meet my Kiwi bestie Claire (mucho excitement! - had not seen for 5 years), her lovely fella Mark (first time meeting, he's awesome) and catching the ferry to the South Island - our ultimate holiday destination and we're also hoping; our future home.
The South Island
We have still only been in NZ for 3 days but we have been to so many different places in the North Island and met so many lovely people already! Time to chill. Oh no sorry, I meant walk the Abel Tasman Coast Track! OMG! One nights rest with Claire and Mark at their gorgeous "Million Dollar View" gaff in Mapua and then four days and three nights of awesome Tramping. Claire dropped us at Marahau and we walked to Anchorage (12.4km) where we stayed for our first night. We pre-booked our huts through the Department of Conservation and had a water taxi ferry bags to each spot, we would collect them and then return them to the same spot in the morning for collection. It was here we met our first Weka: such tame, tiny dinosaurs. We would come to love them over our holiday.
The next morning we set off from Anchorage and walked to Bark Bay (11.5 km). I have too many gorgeous pictures; as you can well imagine. I am trying to pick just a few and its hard! Too much gorgeousness.
The next morning we left Bark Bay in the wet weather and headed to Awaroa (13.5 km). Other folk, all adults, decided to wait out the weather at the Bark Bay hut but we have three children to keep occupied and wanted to keep moving. Any how, a good soaking is cleansing for the soul and we've found over the years that our skin is perfectly waterproof.
Gorgeous Claire joined us at Awaroa bringing our bags (after I had sent John walking miles in search of them. Oooops - my bad!). Claire also bought some home baked yummies with her which got us all excited. We rose the next day in time for low tide to cross the Awaroa Inlet. Low tide information is found easily and is available at the hut.
We all made it to the end of our walk in one gloriously happy but stinky piece.
From Totaranui, we made our way to Tata Beach where Claire and Mark plus Marks two gorgeous girlies would be joining us for a few days. En route we stopped at the mose amazing cafe in the hills, on the Totaranui Rd - Totos Cafe & Pizzeria. BEAUTIFUL! COFFEE!
Here, Claire and Mark left us and went back to the world of jobs and responsibility whilst we continued on our merry way down the West Coast to THE MOST EPIC CAMP GROUND EVER. Gentle Annie. Still talked about to this day. We stayed in the Rimu House for five days and enjoyed the local area. Scenary/Beach/Tramping. There are no words EPIC enough. Loved it.
We walked the Charming Creek Walkway and hung out with the mighty Mokinui where it flows into the Tasman Sea.
We were sad to leave Gentle Annies and vowed that if we were lucky enough to make it back, we would definitely stay here again. We meandered our way back to Claire and Marks where they had the cutest caravan for us to sleep in for the remainder of our stay. I had my "Interview" with Osteopathy Nelson and the rest is history..... Well, a long drive back to Auckland airport, via Hastings and Taupo again and the beginning of a rather arduous visa application but that is a story for another time.