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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Notes from New Zealand - Day 3 - Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

As the trip wears on, I am getting extremely tired as there has been a lot to do and explore but it's nothing that a nap by the fireplace hasn't been able to fix.  I didn't know I had this many muscles that could hurt.

Back to day three.  After a wonderful overnight stay at Peppers and a quick breakfast in town, we hit the road for our final destination and what would be home for the remainder of the trip.

From what we were told, it was rather unusual to get such a huge covering of fog, it was hard to see anything at all, including the Church of the Good Shepherd, which is one of the most photographed buildings in New Zealand.  The church is on the shores of the lakes, which was not visible due to the thick fog.

A frozen lake and fog surrounding Peppers Resort.

About 70km from Lake Tekapo is Lake Pukaki.  This lake usually has a distinctive blue colour created by the finely ground rock of the glaciers, but of course the fog continued so we didn't get to see much.  I did manage to score two bruises on my hike down (and then back up) the rocks, but all is forgiven.

The afternoon coffee pit stop was in the stunning town of Wanaka where we fed ducks and walked the shore of the lake in the rain.

The clouds were again hiding the mountains, which were huge.

Hooray, Queenstown is close!!!

And then onto Queenstown and our beautiful house, which I cannot wait to show you.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Notes from New Zealand - Day 2 - Methven to Lake Tekapo

After a much needed night sleep and a breakfast pit stop in town, we left Methven and headed for Lake Tekapo, which was where our second night's accommodation was booked and plan.   The 160km drive is relatively easy.  You are surrounded by rolling hills, snow capped mountains and 50 shades of red leaves.   Rosehip bushes remind me of my childhood.  And then there's sheep (New Zealand has 3 million people and 60 million sheep).  Every turn is worthy of a photo that is screaming to be a postcard.

New Zealand reminds me a lot of my childhood which is the happiest time of my life.  The best memories were those of travelling through mountains with my dad to spend weeks with my grandparents, climbing steep rock faces and chasing sheep with their dog Meri never find behind keeping an eye out on me.  The fresh air and the freedom back then is exactly what I'm loving here in New Zealand and I see myself taking more of these holidays in the future.  

Lake Tekapo is an idyllic, albeit huge lake and an untouched perfect place to star gaze.  It covers 83km square.  We spent the afternoon walking the banks, breathing in the fresh air, drinking tea and thanking our lucky stars that such places exist in the world.  I am in awe of how untouched a lot of New Zealand is, there are no barriers on observatory hills - we are trusted to keep ourselves safe.  Real life seems a million miles away.

One thing I must remark on are backpacks.  This tiny backpack contains a 1.5L bottle of water, a thermos flask, a book, snacks, camera and a whole lot more and feels like a feather.  I am a total convert now.

The stillness, calm and beauty of this lake is incredible.

Up a steep, unsealed road is Mt St John, which provides spectacular 360 degree views and a cafe which serves a pretty good chocolates which hits the spot.

Lake Tekapo is also a wonderful family destination with plenty of activities for children.  And you can't go past staying at Peppers.  

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Notes from New Zealand - Day 1

The night before departure I decided to do my tax return, so while stressing over my packing and cleaning the house, I was also finalising deductions.  Lunacy.  After falling asleep at an ungodly hour, the airport thing was an easy affair.  Except that the flight was around 3 hours late thanks to a closed runway (which was passed by lunch at Movida, no less-thank you brilliant international terminal).  Add to that a severe seizure by a passenger on the flight, which made me question whether this trip was a good idea.

Christchurch is in a sorry, empty and eery state, especially at 9 o'clock at night after a 12 hour ordeal.  The city centre is closed and people are leaving en masse due to the persistent earthquakes.  We wanted to start the road trip to Queenstown that night, but only made it as far as Methven before the fatigue and darkness stopped us in our track.

But waking up to this out the window the next morning certainly made up for the slow start.

Tales from my suitcase

I travel with a small, purple suitcase purchased in Target in 1997 for $39 before I went on my first trip to Sydney.  It's seen half the world and most of Australia.  I can't bear to let it go.  It's still in one piece so there's no need to replace it.  And what I love the most about that suitcase is that it cannot possibly fit more than 22 kg, so there's never any danger of being over the weight limit.

The New Zealand trip is completely glamour free, so the make up bag contains the following, as carried in a linen Aesop drawstring bag and a small make up bag.

tissues, antibactorial wipes, contact lenses, cotton balls, cotton tips, gloss, microfibre cloth, Rosebud Salve, Twizermann Tweezers, Bandaids, La Prairie SPF Day Cream, Eye of Horus Mascara, Giorgio Armani Lumious Silk Powder (just enough coverage and a bit of colour,) Bloom Cosmetics Illuminator, Natio Kabuki Brush, Mini Dove soap bar, hair ties, Sebastian Light shampoo & conditioner in Muji travel tubesKielh's Creme de CorpsAesop Ginger Flight TherapyAesop hand balm, Trilogy Rosehip oil to soothe my windburnt skin at night, La Prairie cream cleanser, Garnier BB cream, Schick Quattro - the best razor everrrrrr, Embryollise Lait Cream - a French pharmacy delight. The skin miracle worker. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


I have always carried a notebook in my bag.  It's full of scribbles and well, notes.  It contains lists that are written and rewritten almost daily.  It has quotes.  Shopping wishlists.  Outfit ideas.  Memories.  Quotes.  Restaurants I want to eat in.  Places I want to visit.  Hotels I want to stay in.  Right now, 48 hours before departure it's full of things I need to buy and clean at home and things I need to pack and iron.  I have a strange fear of leaving anything out of place before going away, as I like coming home to serenity and prefer my relaxed holiday mood to continue for at least a few hours.  So bring on the half loads of laundry and rearranging the kitchen cupboards at 1am... I'm a looper I tell ya!   

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

"Happiness is a place between too little and too much" - Finnish proverb

"A large part of getting organised is learning to act from a place of self-esteem:  knowing 
what we want and taking care of ourselves...."

I've surprisingly really enjoyed this year of figuring myself out and taking time out to repair.  I spent my early 20's hurrying along, doing everything but really not getting much of the important stuff done.  I was pretty much forced to stop and reassess this year.

Although I have my moments I do feel that I am finally growing into myself and not doubting any decisions that I make.  I trust myself almost completely.  There are no voids for shopping to fill.  I am warm.  And I am nice to people.  I make things work.  If life has taught me anything, it's to hang on.  Because things have a strange way of working out in the end.  Somehow.  

This year has gone much too fast though.  When I headed out to look for a new salad bowl on my nowadays rare trip to the shops last week, I was startled to see a sea of pastel tank tops and 3/4 neon jeans that I am not ready for.  But I guess a year taken to reflect and heal may just prove to be the most life changing yet.  I really hope so.

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