Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kia Ora!

We arrived home from our holiday to Melbourne and New Zealand just over a week ago. I find that when on holiday I cannot stop myself from taking pictures of just about everything, so we always end up with hundreds of photos. I have finally finished sorting and uploading a selection of photos from our travels in New Zealand, which I share with you now. For some reason, I didn't take all that many of Melbourne, and as the weather was a bit grey they all look kind of the same, so I've not bothered to share any this time. Perhaps our next trip to Melbourne will be more fruitful, picture-wise.

I really did like Melbourne. It reminded me so much of Adelaide: Perhaps it's just the trams and the slate pavements, or perhaps the fact that they're both grid-cities, but whatever it was I found the feeling these cities give is almost identitical. It made getting around Melbourne uncomplicated as it felt familiar, even though neither SJ or myself had actually been there before.

I got to attend the King Tutankhamen: Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition; finally took a tour of Old Melbourne Gaol (something I've been wanting to do for years); won some money at the Casino; and got to spend some time with my sister on her birthday before we left for New Zealand.


Yes, New Zealand: A stunningly beautiful country! We took a self-driving tour of both islands, starting in Auckland on the north island and finishing at Oamaru on the south. Our adventure took us through awe-inspiring mountain ranges and forests; to pristine beaches and national parks; up glaciers and off bridges; past lakes, rivers, waterfalls and an endless spanse of ocean.

New Zealand never failed to impress: It blessed us with perfectly sunny autumn days, wintery rain, and a blanket of snow. I got to make (and throw!) snowballs for the first time! We saw kiwi birds, possums, deer, plenty of sheep and even more cattle. We experienced huge, awkward cities as well as the pleasant, relaxed tiny town.

No matter where you venture in New Zealand there is always something to amaze, inspire and entertain. I now understand why it is so many Aussies choose to live and work there: It's relatively uncomplicated to get around, the people are friendly, the food is fresh and tasty, and the cost of living is significantly lower than in Australia. I won't be surprised if we decide to return to New Zealand at some point in the future: Afterall, it's only a 3 hour flight from Melbourne - closer than Perth! I cannot believe we didn't get there sooner!

These days we are fitting back into our normal routine and enjoying the unseasonally warm weather. I've already spent a substantial amount of my spare time in the garden weeding, pruning, raking, and transplanting even more bulbs that have appeared all over the yard (agapanthus, iris, lily). Tomorrow I am hoping to plant tulips, carnations and cornflowers.

It is good to be home. Adventures are fun every now and then, but it's always nice to know there is a cozy little house waiting for you to return: I'm almost certain I heard it sigh with relief when we walked through the door.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A small hiatus...

I've been somewhat busy-busy this past week and a half: SJ and I leave tomorrow for a two week holiday to Melbourne and New Zealand. Bailey-dog, in turn, is having sleepovers at SJ's parents' house for the fortnight we'll be away. I'm nervous and excited and completely...distracted!

I am unsure if I will have the opportunity to update whilst we are away from home, but either way I will be sure to update again once we return.

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - St. Augustine