New Zealand

Air New Zealand is super comfy. Thicker blankets a whole sized pillow AND deep reclining chair that lifts your legs up. Winner. I was quite alarmed as a toddler escaped the restraints and was dancing on her chair as the plane was pelting down the runway on takeoff. A toddler on the loose does not invoke calm. I had a flashback to Romania where donkeys, trucks and tuk-tuks played dare on tight winding mountains without speed limits as kids were unrestrained and hanging out of windows with giant smiles all round. (also referred to as 12 hours of nails dug into palms). After a rapid burst of Chinese from the air stewards the child was at least restrained in the arms of her father as there was no time to buckle up. See I told you take offs are scary.

Prior to the flight, my Matt handed me a beautiful jade rabbit that melted my heart, and we had an excellent chat with Geoff from Wellington who should have been on a flight the day before. In the queue for boarding he shared his love of New Zealand and I now know to look for a seal colony creche between Pictain and Blenheim (both of which I am sure I have spelt wrong), and that the highest mountain is now 12 meters shorter following a rock fall. He advised us to pick up a burner phone (which sounds wickedly nefarious) and never to leave anything in the car.

The flight was filled with Ted Talks and Documentaries. Slept a few hours too.

The sights of New Zealand as we approached was breathtakingly beautiful. Blue green seas, beaches, dotted islands and mountains to the south.

We picked up the car and pointed it in the direction of sheep. I liked the guide reference to Shaky Isles, “New Zealand is perched on the Pacific Ring of Fire", a collision zone between two gigantic chunks of the earth’s crust. Here, the plates grind against each other to create new landscapes. Aotearea is the land of the long white cloud and Maori is taught in schools.

Our first night is spent at Ramarama and its like Yorkshire on steriods. The home we are staying at has Emus! and baby Emus (they are a world apart from the big ones - for a start they can’t kill you with a kick). Sheep, a horse that no longer gets ridden, chicks, turkeys and lambs. Yup - I have arrived at a zoo and I am in heaven.

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A quick stop to get coffee, milk, eggs and cheese for dinner and we settled to catch up on the blogs. I will come back add photos but we are sharing the ‘puter and Matt’s photos are way more compelling. Fell asleep at 4pm and woke at 10pm to chat until 1. The farm animals woke us at dawn and we ready to now eat the dinner from last night.