Saturday, 24 May 2014

Autumn Update

Been meaning to do a post like this for a while but I just keep forgetting/run out of time to put it together. So it's just a random ramble about bits and pieces that have happened recently - the sort of stuff that doesn't warrant it's own blog post but deserves a little mention
 Golden Kiwis, I know I'm raved about them to mum, but the world needs to know about these golden treats, I'm pretty sure me and Anna are surviving off these as they're really hard (read impossible) to find in europe, but they are 1000x better than your average boring green kiwi. They're mainly grown here in New Zealand and they seem to be a bit of a New Zealand Secret - they're delicious!
 It also seems like all the fruit trees around Orchard Park are finally coming into fruit so every chance I get I've been pottering around the trees picking some fresh fruit. There's something weirdly satisfying about picking your own fruit!
 So far we've had feijoas a plenty, and now the oranges and lemons are ripening! We also have some lime bushes and some grapefruit trees that i can't wait to ripen!
 I took these photos a week or so ago when they cherry trees were in blossom, we've officially reached the golden leaf stage now though. Which is incredibly beautiful, everywhere you look there's a scattering of orange, red and gold leaves
 The other night me Anna and Hanne decided to have a taco night! It was super easy and delicious to make before watching the Spectacular Now which is one of hanne's favourite films
 Love these two girls!
And then last night us three and tiffany went to see the Fault in our Stars. I read the book in a day so I'd read it before I watched the film and it was very, very emotional! I defy anyone to watch it and now cry! Afterwards we were all feeling a little 'fragile' so we went to Hamilton Night market, which is almost exclusively food! I got some churros, which were yummy, Anna got some thai food, Hanne this crazy spud spinner, and tiffany form steamed pork buns.

While there we realised we would only be able to go once more together, since Anna and hanne are off to Tonga soon for a week -I have an exam so I can't go :'(. I'm definitely not a fan off all these 'lasts'!. I've had my LAST EVER lecture in New Zealand, my last ever Orchard Park meeting, and everything else seems to have an expiry, only 3 more weeks until I leave Waikato Uni!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

New Plymouth

So Friday evening I booked a bus ticket to head down to New Plymouth for the weekend! It was a bit of a whirlwind visit but I'm so glad I went, as despite the fact I had a test on Wednesday and a 3,000 word essay due Thursday the weekend away was the perfect get-away!

New Plymouth was beautiful, so once I got of the bus (it was a 4hour journey) I took a quick stroll along the eastern section of the Coastal Walkway to find a hostel - you couldn't book a hostel room online with less than 48hours notice so I just had to wing it and hope there would be room!
I visited St Mary's Church which is the oldest stone church in New Zealand! Visiting the 'old' building in New Zealand always reminds me just how young the country actually is!

There were also a couple of lovely little walks through woodlands, the one which ran alongside the stream for a couple of miles was one of my favourites
Although this was a little bit of a weird sign to stumble across on my walk!
I made sure to fit in the Coastal Walkway while in New Plymouth as it's a beautiful path that's been built to run right alongside the coast for 13ishkm (8miles) 
There's the Wind Wand, which is a pretty famous landmark for New Plymouth on the Coastal Walkway
The coastline was beautiful, with a great mix of expansive sandy beaches, and rough vibrant yellow cliffs. It was also the perfect time to take a walk as I set off as the sun was getting low in the sky, so by the time I was returning to town the sun was setting and I got amazing views
This was one of my favourite beaches - can you see how the clouds are reflected in the wet sand!!
Towards the end of the walk my shoes were hurting so I did the only possible thing I could, and took my shoes off to go paddling in the water!
I found a huge driftwood tree that served as the perfect bench and sat down to read while the sun set - incredibly tranquil and utterly perfect
This is looking back at New Plymouth, you can just see the two nature reserved islands out to see
The sunsets in New Plymouth were some of the best I've seen as it just went on for ages!
Leaving you with one of my favourite pictures from New Plymouth!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014


So after a lovely Friday evening I decided to join a trip some of my friends were taking to Gisborne! We hired an 8seater minivan so we could drive and set off Saturday morning. It was a really fun, relaxed drive down since we stopped off 4 or 5 times along the way since it's a 6 hour drive and there were lots of beautiful spots along the way!
Ash, Gurline, Me, Me'la, Alyssa, Yuka, Ariel and Winkay
We also decided we were hungry so stopped to have lunch at a Thai restaurant we drove past that looked good!
Just look at the size of our minivan compared to the cliff! You can also see some cows perched rather precariously on the very top of the cliff - we all had images of a cow landing on the car...
The triangular shaped island you cans see in the distance where the sun is setting in New Zealand's most active volcano! 
We couldn't resist wading into the sea, as despite it coming into winter here this last weekend has been lovely and warm and the cold water felt amazing after being crammed into a car for hours
Ash and Ariel 'may' have brought along some alcohol too!
North Eastern Waikato always reminds me the most of england, aside from Southern Otago in the South Island, as it's one of the very few places which is even slightly flat and as such has even more agricultural farming than the rest of New Zealand
The trees were the most beautiful colour - there's huge diversity in evergreens and coniferous trees so there were so many different hues as we drove - that's Ariel modelling a particularly pretty leaf!
So anyway we got to the hostel in the evening and we got the attic room all to ourselves, and it really was very cute, Alyssa got a double bed and we all got to sleep on normal, single beds apart from Gurline who slept on a top bunk (she liked sleeping on top bunks so it was all good)
We woke up bright and early to watch the SunRise. As Gisborne is the first place where you can see the sunrise so it was pretty special!
It was freezing and drizzling slightly but we hung in there and we were rewarding with a very pretty sunrise!
After checking out the hostel we walked up the Captain Cook Memorial to get some views out over poverty bay. There was also a tree planted by princess Diana that Ariel and Alyssa got pretty excited over!

Looking out over the bay with some mountains in the backdrop
And looking from the other side of the hill you got to see Grisborne city sprawled out
We definitely tried to make the most of the self timer on my camera to get some group shots!
From here the weather really picked up and we got some gorgeous sunshine!
We set out looking for Rere waterfall, taking the scenic road was much slower going since it was all unsealed and gravel but the views were so worth it!
At Rere waterfall - it was massive!
You can just see Mel'la and some picnic benches to the right of the waterfall for some idea of scale
After taking a few photos we dipped our toes into the icy crystal water before grabbing lunch

Possibly the best backdrop to lunch
From here we set off again for Rere Rock Slide and got some equally amazing views
This cutie was at the rock slide - he was so friendly!
None of us really knew what a rock slide was but it's basically a natural water slide! In summer lots of locals grab a raft or just something to sit on and slide down it! We weren't brave, or stupid, enough to do that, particularly since the water was freezing but nevertheless it was very cool!
We couldn't help ourselves and walked down the very steep slow, only two people slipped and we managed to catch them before the slipped all the way down!
we were all trying to get a good angle to take a photo to show the rock slide - Alyssa laid down to try and get a good one!
After dawdling longer than planned at the rock slide we finally headed back to Hamilton
The landscape was stunning.
This is definitely one of my favourite pictures as it really shows New Zealand!
We also couldn't resist a few brief stops on the way back including one at a little coffee/homemade cakes and local honey stall a woman had set up.
 We discovered a little walkway down to a riverbed half an hour down the road from the little coffee shop too which was really beautiful! You can see the tree right at the top had it's roots exposed we we didn't linger too long as it definitely looked precariously perched!
It was such a good weekend, and although it was a whirlwind visit to Gisborne I'm so glad I managed to go, as I'm starting to realise I actually don't have much time left here! In fact it's only 66 days until I fly and leave New Zealand for good. And 40 of those are while I'm at university! Time is going so quickly!!
Thought I'd leave you with this beautiful sunset