Au revoir New Zealand (Day 127)
What a country! We have both fallen in love with New Zealand and and now it's time to move on. We should have stayed here longer - we will be back!
We were feeling a bit glum, sad to be leaving New Zealand as we have had such an amazing time. However we had a wonderful send off. Jules and Bruce took us to Mudbrick Vineyard and we had a great brunch sitting outside, with views of Auckland in the background and the fabulous gardens in the foreground of lavender and topiary. The owners, Robyn and Nicholas Jones purchased Mudbrick in 1992. Robyn decided to plant some Sunflower seeds. She says “I forgot about them from then on, but they took root, and they flowered, popping their jolly heads up, bobbing along the path as the guests arrived. That was the beginning of the realisation that gardens bring joy to people.” How wonderful. They now have a full-time gardener Jill Clinton who does a fabulous job. We chatted, laughed eating delicious food. Two vineyards visited and as Jules said “You need to come back – there’s 23 more to do”. Jules and Bruce have been so kind to us – they even gave up their bed and slept in the garage on a blow-up mattress! Tim thought Bruce was making it up, he does have a wicked sense of humour, but no – he wasn’t and was very dismissive about it – as if it wasn’t anything special. It was time for us to catch our Ferry and cab to Auckland Airport. It was 10 minutes to boarding gate opening and I suddenly remembered that there was something we hadn’t done. How many times have we purchased Post Cards and Stamps and then brought them home? Well, we nearly did this again! Phew – glad I remembered and there was a post box just before the Boarding Gates. Flight was good, we relaxed and had a game of squiggle. [each person has a piece of blank paper, draws or folds into 8 boxes and then squiggles in them, swaps over and then you have to draw a picture using the squiggle]. It was great fun, I found it more challenging than I thought it would be – need to get those creative juices flowing. Tim did a great picture of a curvy loveseat from one squiggle. In the queue for Passport controls, we got chatting to a lady in front of us. She had a British passport, but I noticed that she had a Kiwi accent. We shared how amazingly generous everyone has been to us and she said that’s the Kiwi way. One time when she flew all the way to the UK, she called her Aunt to visit and got the response “Oh, today is not possible, I have my bowls club. How about tomorrow. Come at 2pm and have tea with me”. She said it was very formal, unlike in NZ where it’s “Great, pop over now” and you just fit in with whatever is happening. A lesson that we can learn. So what is it that we love about New Zealand? • The scenery is spectacular and so varied, I was going through some of my photos to reduce the number, and it was a hard job, so many amazing sights with incredible mountains, golden or black beaches, stunning coloured lakes. • The people are so warm and hospitable with great sense of humours. We are so grateful for our friends Serety and Ian, Robin and Jenny, Marcus and Sue, Anna and Jules and Bruce for all taking care of us and inviting us into their homes. And for all the wonderful Airbnb hosts, some who are like our friends now, Debora, Helen, Alicja, to name just a few • The food – apparently it used to be a bit like the UK in the old days; a lump of meat and some soggy veg – we have had amazing food. In fact one of the best meals Tim has ever had was in Mister D Dining in Napier. I thought he was going to have….no, I won’t write it here! • The coffee – New Zealand certainly know how to make great flat whites and I must say that at Serety and Ian’s Café Scott's Epicurean in Hamilton, Dave does THE best flat white. I am not being bias. • NZ's Department of Conservation (DOC) do a fabulous job conserving New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage for all to enjoy now and in the future. We very much benefited from all their hard work, tramping on the great tracks they have built. • Weather – it’s been very kind to us We still have a few places to visit – We’d both love to walk the Abel Tasman trail, go up to the top of the North Island to Cape Reinga, visit a few more islands in The Bay of Islands and of course visit the 23 other vineyards on Waiheke Island and see our wonderful friends again. And now we are in the Gold Coast of Australia, Miami to be precise and I wonder what adventures this country will bring. Plus hoping to catch up with a few buddies and meet many more. The journey continues.