The biggest thing that strikes me about my journal entry from New Zealand below is how I fail to mention at Punakoiki and Paparoa National Park about the words the bar man said to us, that we have lived by ever since. If I remember it right, we were sat discussing our options for the last of our travel plans, where we should venture when back in Australia, and feeling torn over how best to spend the last of our budget; blow it on the sights listed in our Lonely Planet guide, or save it until next time because we’d need money to restart when we arrive back in the UK. ‘Life isn’t a dress rehearsal.’ These words, this phrase, it’s now our family motto. At the time they were said to us we could never have known how much they’d be a constant reminder in our future decision making. The words aren’t about always choosing extravagance, they are about knowing that whatever we decide, to keep going, because mistakes happen but the script is ours to be lived and rewritten however we choose. When my mum died I remember thinking about all the things she hadn’t been able to witness, life felt cruel, and if I’m honest I spent the rest of my twenties saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity and adventure that came my way, I wasn’t prepared to be anything other than carefree. Along comes my thirties and not one, but two beautiful children and life had to slow down. My focus has shifted, and over the last 8 years I have been reminded everyday how life’s simplest of pleasures can be seen through the eyes of my children, something I know my mum did regularly through mine and my sisters – for this I am forever grateful. As I think over our time in New Zealand I knew then that our experiences were so wholesome because of the time and support my family gave us. Auntie Pat is due to turn 70 this year; she was incredibly brave to travel to New Zealand as a ‘Ten Pound Pom’ and remains an inspiration to me. Despite the years in between seeing each other, of only really knowing each other through the stories mum would tell me, her openness and warmth is something I admire, an open door policy for adventure when the opportunities arise, her willingness to ensure Nathan and I made the most of our time exploring whilst ensuring we made the connections with my cousins, this is invaluable. We chose to blow the remaining of our budget on the last adventures in Australia and arrived back in the UK with £40 in our bank accounts. Our next chapter began living back with parents, our friends Andy and Kelly ‘gave’ us a car and bought us our first ‘big’ food shop, and within a couple of weeks we were both working; this generosity got us back on our feet and was the first time we openly used the words; ‘life isn’t a dress rehearsal.’
Last week Isabel and Zack returned to school after five and half months of being home due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, they embraced lockdown in a manner that showed resilience and strength. Together we captured this time in history each with a photo journal book, flicking back through the pages I can see months of adventure, adventure almost all in one place. To begin we were allowed only one daily form of exercise, in this time we discovered new local walks that have become firm favourites. Next we were allowed to venture further afield in our cars, we returned to the Peak District surrounded by rolling hills, rocky edges and a vastness that felt freeing not dissimilar to New Zealand. We were then allowed to meet others, socially distanced picnics began, and BBQ’s that had once been the four of us soon became abuzz with friends rejoining. Wild camping was achieved with endless dens under the kitchen table and in the back garden, imagination being used daily. Reservoirs became the swimming pools, rock stacking is still a thing, and then restrictions were lifted. We could move freely around, face masks are the new normal, we opened up the ‘wishes jar’ and could see first-hand that the things they missed were the things we take for granted in everyday life; seeing family, sleepovers with friends, playdates at the local park, a trip to the beach, all of these things were achievable, all of these things reminded me once again that life isn’t a dress rehearsal, we have to be able to adapt, to find joy in different ways, and for all the days I was sat crafting, building, being creative at home I was so grateful to have my own memories of days like this when I was a child. I wasn’t in lockdown then, yet these remain my favourite of times, and for Isabel and Zack, our aim was for lockdown to be a time that in their minds can be interpreted very differently to the facts and media coverage of reality, it was a period in time they were allowed to be children.
Of course, the reality of lockdown meant I became more than a mum, I was a teacher too. This took some adjusting to, time management went out of the window, school was often in pyjamas, but I am proud of how much we achieved together. I’m fairly confident I could actually tell you why Pancake Rocks are layered as they are now since we spent a few weeks researching this, and feel slightly embarrassed that I presume no one knows why. I am also well read on the Stone Age and can draw Stonehenge with my eyes shut, I am know fully recapped on the parts and functions of the human body, and although I am still no clearer on all the new phrases used within writing an English story – I did collaborate to produce in Isabel’s words ‘the best Comic Strip ever’ about a stretchy unicorn. Fractions took me back to some dark days at my kitchen table in Scunthorpe with tears rolling down my eyes as I tried yet again to grasp the relevance of needing this knowledge in my life, but together we refused to give in, excelled, and rewarded ourselves with movie nights for our patience. We joined in live YouTube lessons learning about subjects that weren’t on the curriculum scoring brownie points for the future because when it comes to WW2 ‘she’ now knows her stuff. We toured virtual zoos and museums. We kept fit doing indoor PE with Joe Wicks & Cosmic Yoga, we worked together writing and performing monologues, learning songs and sign language for an online choir and singing lessons, and when we reminisced about the Edinburgh Fringe festival we attended in 2016, I was reminded of the International Buskers Festival in New Zealand which led us to watching various comedians; being a ventriloquist is now high on Isabel’s ‘when I grow up’ list, as is generally clowning around for Zack. We laughed a lot. I drank a lot – not necessarily ‘Sheep Shagger’ as listed in my journal, that was definitely the start of my love for Pale Ale, despite Dad spending years trying to convince me, but I did grow partial to ending the day with a Farmers Blonde or equivalent supporting the local breweries in and around Sheffield – or at least that’s what I’d convinced myself for the first half of lockdown. I soon reduced this intake and switched to supporting local roasters and am feeling a mix of emotions to be sat here typing this today in an independent coffee shop knowing for now that lockdown is over, restrictions have eased but that the Coronavirus continues to cause chaos and has left its mark as we all adjust to the ‘new normal.’
Skydiving is where I am ending this. Not literally. It’s clear in the journal entry for New Zealand that our first Skydive in Queenstown was momentous. Not only the jump itself, but the questions it raised for our future together, this was the point in time I think we both saw the longevity of our relationship. Over a decade later, last year, Nathan skydived for the second time in Australia. It felt so poignant a moment, I desperately wanted to join Nathan as he headed off in the jump plane, but sat next to me, eagle eyed in awe and aspirations were our two beautiful children, too young to be left on their own, and a moment I wouldn’t have missed watching them run over to Nathan as they saw him land, something a decade ago I could have never have imagined. One of the women we skydived with the first time around, Lillian aged 62; I recently out of the blue received an email from. She’d found mail we’d sent her in 2007 and decided she’d email to find out what happened to us, she was delighted to hear we were married with children. Lillian is recovering from a stroke but after being reminded of her skydive she has made it her mission to skydive once more before her days are over. The travellers in their 40’s and 50’s who had given up everything to explore, when we were just mid 20’s, felt life affirming to talk to then, that we somehow had beaten them to it seeing the world in our youth, yet over the years that have followed we have met many other people who still do just this; a couple of summers ago we met a couple who checked us in at a campsite in the New Forest. They’d sold their house, bought a large motorhome and spent six months of the year working campsites in the UK, and six months touring Europe, in between they stayed with their adult children for a couple of weeks. As we waved Nathan off in the jump plane I remember a pang of worry; what if something happens. We’d irresponsibly ticked the ‘we don’t need life insurance’ box, for goodness sake we are parents, yet in that moment we were backpackers once again. For a split second I was reminded of all the travellers in generations older than us, whose age we are inevitably moving towards, but not with dread, with questions and wanderlust for just what nomadic adventures we will have together in a couple of decades time, I needed him to land safely not only because he is a father and a husband, but because I want there to be a next skydive, and when this happens I want be able to in that moment think of all the long term patience we’ve had in between as temporarily grounded parents raising Isabel and Zack to be confident individuals who understand that if the world throws a pandemic their way, they don’t need to panic, that they have all the tools to slow down, reevaluate, and ride the roller-coaster of changes with optimism and a smile.
Dear Isabel and Zack – It appears from my writing that you’re Dad and I may one day sell everything we own and travel around the world, we have history of doing this as you know reading this, and Grandad Todd will have handed over all details of his amazing travels for us to recreate by this time. Please don’t panic if this happens, we promise to only stay with each of you for a couple of weeks at a time, I know how important having your own space is. As a side note; I’ll buy the food shop for the duration.
Dear Mum – I could have never known how much our visit to New Zealand would become part of who we are today. The scenery taught us to love the great outdoors no matter the weather, and the kindness showed by your sister and her family taught us to live with an open door, ready to welcome and offer support to those who need it no matter the time in between. We’d have probably have skipped this flight if it wasn’t for you encouraging us to go, so I wanted to say thank you, our lives have been richer for these connections and memories.
New Zealand- The South Island January – February 2007
Firstly apologies for keeping you waiting on our antics, I won't keep you any longer. The trip started by nearly missing the ferry, after assuring Pat we are always up when we know we have to be somewhere sure enough we weren't, a knock on the door made us physically wake and got us moving as quick as lightening to make it in time for our early morning Blue Bridge ferry, although I’m not sure I was mentally awake as the simple things like fastening bags proved all too challenging! As we left Wellington the weather was not too good, which worked in our favour as we sat outside for the whole trip allowing the harsh winds to wake us up in the most brutal of ways. As the South Island appeared in the distance the weather changed for the better, allowing us to strip out of our rain macs and jumpers and see the fresh delights on the South Island ahead now all set in our sunny attire. We arrived into Picton and were collected by our representative of 'About New Zealand' car rentals. The car was not as promised, the Mazda6 but was of course a Ford Telstar, only just a tad newer than Stanley but what the hell, no time to waste, we'll take it, and off we go down the East Coast.
The first thing we noticed about the car was how much petrol it uses so we vowed to keep an eye on this after asking for a fuel economy car, anything to save money. We pass many small towns, all quaint, cute, and uninhabited. In fact so far we seem to have not passed very few souls and we must admit it is a very strange feeling as we know there are more people here somewhere. The green hills surround us for miles and it is bringing back vivid memories of my two week trip to the Lake District with mum and dad, not so fond. We stop at Blenheim for a spot of dinner, strangely MacDonald's it seems is the happening place, and soon head on to our first stop Kaikoura. Kaikoura is famous for the foot hills of the seawards Kaikoura's (snowcapped mountains), but due to the fog is the distance we couldn't actually see them. We didn't let this spoil our day though; we ventured to Point Kean seal Colony and waded through the sea to the rocks where they all sat (talk about smelly). Feeling fit we walked along the promenade shoreline which was pretty rugged but had more seals to view as we walked on, good job you bought us a monocular Pat and Ali, this was very handy, or at least it was when I was looking through the right end! Already we were starting to see the Canterbury region in a new light, but getting quite late we decided to stop and have a pint at the "Strawberry Tree". The Lonely Planet quotes this as the liveliest pub in Kaikoura; it had three people in it. Two of whom were watching the NZ V GB cricket, and one reading in the corner, we now made it five watching the cricket (including the bar man) and added to the sales by ordering a couple of pints of 'Sheep Shagger'.
We'd bought supplies earlier, so after a quick snack we head in search of our first night’s sleep, and what a bargain it was. After realising we weren't going to have any luck finding a campsite in the dark with a distinctive lack of petrol and not knowing of where we were to find the next pump station we found ourselves in a small town called Rotherham. Rotherham equally consisted of one pub that after enquiring in allowed us to camp on its back lawn for free. Perfect.
We woke the next morning, and decided to head over the Lewis Pass which is 907m high and surrounded with amazing scenery looking over to Hamner Spring, the famous thermal reserve. As tempting as it was to spend the day submerged in the warm salt water outdoor pools we declined as there was a distinct sound of waling school children who obviously hadn't quite made it back to school yet, instead we headed on to Christchurch stopping only to view some extreme activity action on the way.
As we headed on it was becoming apparent why films such as The Lord of the Rings and King Kong had chosen NZ as their destination, the scenery changes often and never ceasing to amaze us. Having said this though it was around this point in the journey that we spoke to Jed and said we weren't exactly sure what all the fuss about the South Island is about, sure enough the scenery is great there was no argument here, but there is only so much you can look at before you start to lose your mind wondering if you’ll ever see the normality of a decent pub and people again, something there seemed to be a lack of in the small towns which had very little to offer; boy are we about to eat our words. We arrived into the 'Garden City' named because it is surrounded by the beautiful botanic gardens of Hagley Park. A quick walk around the very arty, Capital of the South Island proved all too much excitement for us to desert straight away and we decided on our first splurge. A motel room with a spa at $105 (which when we finally got the bank statement turned out that this was only £37 even better!). After Jed's car, and the new hire car not being as comfy as Stanley we rested and relaxed, feeling energized a little later we headed out to the International Buskers Festival. At a cost of only $2 each we ended up staying the whole night. Then a thought entered our heads, we'd arrived at around 8pm expecting the biggest event in the Capital to be full but not only managed to get a seat in good viewing distance, we managed to get hot food in a reasonable queue, and actually laughed so much we nearly pee'd ourselves, and for only $2. Where in the UK can we do this? The South Island is starting to be seen in a whole new light.
From here we headed to Lake Tekapo via Geraldine, green fields taking over again, followed by huge snow capped mountains, followed by other traveller’s appreciations of rock creations on the side of the road (not wanting to miss out of course Nathan made one of his own). The river gorges of Waihi and Orari were tempting to paddle in, but the cold winds of the Mackenzie districts soon stopped us stepping foot out of the car, which is still eating petrol! From over a mile away we could see Lake Tekapo. You can’t miss it; the water is bright turquoise and the calmest you've ever seen. We read that the intenseness of the colour is due to the 'rock flour' in the water created by glacier movement across the surface that reflects from the sunlight. Either way it was awesome. The one single church built in 1935 overlooks the lake 710m above sea level and really does make the view picture perfect, closely followed by the monument of the collie dog as a tribute to all sheep dogs; fair enough.
We headed via Twizel, sharing the driving, although not for very long, I was going at a snail’s space (very unlike me) but if you could see the sheer drops below you'd understand. We stopped at roaring Meg hydro pump of all places to change over, and stopped again at AJ Hackett’s first ever bungee jump started in 1988 at Kawarau River. Nathan decided this one looked tame so we'll investigate the Skippers Canyon tomorrow; Nathan's Birthday present. We drove through bustling Arrow town and straight through Queenstown in search of a night’s sleep. Tonight we will stay in a DOC camping ground 15km past Queenstown, with a fantastic spot overlooking Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by majestic mountains. With just enough daylight for Nathan to have a fresh water shave and back to the basics of brushing our teeth we settled down to sleep listening to the water, it was all very romantic until a camper van pulled up right next to us, seriously there was miles of free space! The camp ranger never showed though so we’ll happily take this as another free camp.
Queenstown was bustling, lively and energetic, a really enjoyable town to walk around with a small harbour, it was here that we phone Jed to say that we've made a terrible mistake, it appears that the South Island just takes a little time to adjust to, and we’ve adjusted!
After finding out that Skippers Canyon was closed and feeling disappointed with no details over when it may open we were unsure what to do for Nathan's birthday, wait for a high wire bungee jump or pay for a skydive at double the price? As Nathan went back to the car I made a rash decision and booked him on the 15,000 feet tandem skydive. It’s his birthday, and I just thought there are some things that are totally worth a splurge on; you can skydive anywhere, but how unique to be doing it somewhere so special overlooking the perfect views of Mount Cook. Of course Nathan was pretty pleased with my splurge, so with little time left we decided to fix the car problem before we head off for a very quick viewing of Milford Sounds. The car as we said earlier was eating petrol and we'd sussed the reason why; it was a 4x4! Any other time we would have loved this car but on a budget this is not so good, after phoning the car company and speaking to a very few lame people we finally an hour later had a new car just as we'd ordered in the first place, much better on fuel, feeling chuffed we were on our way.
Milford Sounds is one of the most visited places in New Zealand and the South Island in general. The Southland Fiords are 122km long surrounded by sheer cliffs and peaks, all of which are snowcapped. The highest peak being 1695m and most of which have water cascading down, a wondrous sight, you often have to really focus and just when you think there is nothing more to see you spot the most beautiful cascade of water hidden behind more overgrowth. We drove through the Hamer Tunnel (1207m) that emerges into the Cleddau Canyon; very steep! Stopping at most of the scenic lookouts we camped at Cascade Creek, the park ranger arrived this time but it was only $41 in total so who are we to complain. The main lake at Milford sounds was quite breezy so didn't have the desired effect of the promised picture clear waters, we weren't so sure it was all it was cracked up to be until we arrived at Lake Gunn. Again we were soon eating our own words, you are just going to have to see the photo for yourselves, although not even this does it justice; it’s hard to imagine how anywhere else could ever be as reflective as the water here.
Early next morning we set off back to Queenstown, we booked in at a campsite so we could have a fresh shower and soon were exploring the delights of Queenstown. Nathan was itching to go, and unable to wait any longer we went to see if any of the earlier skydives had availability; they did. Here comes the next huge expense, as I sat in the preparation room with the other skydivers I was feeling nervous, nervous because I just knew I had to give this a go for myself, checking that Nathan wouldn't mind me gate crashing his birthday present we decided I’d have an extremely early birthday present also. As we handed over the credit card the nerves kicked in, I decided that I hadn't dressed properly and couldn't skydive n flip flops, none of which stopped the guys at the ticket office taking my money! Seeing as we'd spent a fortune we went all out and paid for a camera man each to film the whole experience, thankfully we haven't regretted this one bit, the nerves, excitement and awe all show on the DVD and help us relive it, something we’ll be sharing for years to come. The company we chose, NZone were so friendly it really did make the day feel more special, and the rush of actually diving (falling) out of the plane was indescribable, not discounting the fact that my tandem instructor had to force open my arms to soar through the sky to prove I wasn't going to die, after which I soon relaxed; it was amazing, Nathan took it all in his stride and is determined to go again.
On our skydive plane was Lillian, a 62 years old teacher, and having been banned from her husband to skydive, she decided on a school trip that if her students were jumping so was she, what did your husband think to the DVD Miriam? Also we met Irish Dave and Miriam who equally survived the 12,000 feet jump, so all feeling pretty chuffed with ourselves we ended the night with Mame (the bus driver) having a fair few drinks and a damned good meal together. Skydiving was the boost we needed, especially me, there comes a time when traveling can become hard work and you start to wonder what else lays ahead when all the travelling is done. How long can you actually spend experiencing the freedom of the open road and avoiding what inevitably we all have to do; find a job and settle down? Well I guess that becomes an individual choice, and after skydiving I felt ready to keep on travelling, but I think we both felt we'd fulfilled some ambitions we had. I’ve achieved what I wanted to do, I wanted to prove I could do it, travel, and I have done it, and so far it’s been amazing, full of highs and lows. So for now with this well needed boost we will continue, and as new questions pop into our head about what lies ahead in the future, we'll postpone them for a later date because here come the glaciers.
We made a slight mistake with the map and headed over a very steep, winding, single lane, unsealed road from Arrow Town, to Cardrona, to Wanaka, which resulted in a near collision with a car pulling a boat in the opposite direction that must've made the same mistake. Needless to say we both survived but paid better attention to the roads from now on. We passed lots of Pakihi (dried up swamp land), and noticed an instant change in the scenery from the green lush fields to rugged edges, and mountains on one side followed by the ocean and rocky beaches on the other; welcome to the West Coast, and hello rain!
The rain looked set to never end, and we aren't just talking the pitter patter of rain we are talking torrential down pours! As we arrived at the Fox Glacier in the nick of time we cleared the shop out of the last of their hot pies and looked set to be drenched; and we soon were. One thing we've noticed in NZ is how difficult it is to get hot food if you don't arrive at the right time; we are usually an hour too early or an hour too late. Kitted out in jumpers and cortex raincoats we headed for the glacier, quoted as an amazing natural wonder of the world, and it is, besides the fact it looks like it needs a good scrub! As we rounded a corner all we could see was one huge ice block nearing us with each footstep. Unable to get any closer and feeling we'd eyeballed it enough we set off in search of another free camp before we view the last glacier tomorrow. Wet and cold we found a free camp at Lake Mapourika, we woke up still wet and cold, and with the rain still really heavy thought we might as well view the Franz Joseph Glacier and continue wet and cold. A short 20 minute along the 'Sentinel Rock Viewpoint' led us to The Franz Joseph Glacier which descends from the top of the Southern Alps to the rainforest 300m above sea level. We are certain we will revisit here, we had an obligatory touch of the ice and decided whilst walking amongst the ice caves sounds amazing, the fact we are wet and cold ( did I mention this?), and watching our budget that it was time to move on.
We headed on through Hokitika stopping only for a catnap, and finally stopped at Punakoiki and Paparoa NP. We booked a motel at the back of a tavern, got clean, warm, and relaxed the night away watching old videos. We awoke to drizzle, an improvement to say the least so explored the underground caverns (well Nathan did, after my experience with cave weta's I was non to keen to venture into the darkness and stayed above ground). Moving on to explore the famous pancake rocks (layers of rocks that no-one knows how they have become like this?) and blowholes, very similar to the Great Ocean Road, but still fantastic to watch as the waves crashed against the rocks with such force. As we arrived at Westport the sun had made an appearance, we were amazed to find the town didn't have any branded fast food takeaways, not even a subway, delighted with this we settled for a slice of homemade pizza. Satisfied we crossed the longest swing bridge in NZ 'The Buller Gorge', thinking this would be the difficult bit we soon discovered it wasn't; following the track around on the other side after the rainfall proved more hazardous, and needless to say I fell flat on my arse again, not quite the bruise I had at The White Cockatoo all those months ago, but still pretty embarrassing having to go back across the bridge covered in mud. Of course Nathan finds this the funniest story and I’m sure will add in a few more details when he tells you in person.
Having changed out of my dirty clothes, next we passed Motueka to Abel Tasman National Park, one of our final destinations and a well known tramping area. Not that we did any, I told you after that last one with Jed I won’t tramp again! Having driven all the way to Totaranui NP to find it was closed we headed back to find a free camp at Tata Beach Boat Club where we had noted how golden the beaches were. The next morning we set off back over Takaka via the 'Ngarua Gold caves' to the opposite end of the NP, Marahau, and had our first full day on the beach. Surrounded by the beautiful backdrop of Abel Tasman NP, and almost secluded we relaxed and wound down to relive our 10 day trip on the South Island. Our final night’s camp was spent just past Mapua at McKee Memorial Reserve, a great spot which was again overlooking the sea. We spent the night away chatting with travellers of all ages, including a couple in their late 50's who'd decided to sell up in Auckland and bought a bus and now follow the harvest trail, to a 40 year old whose been traveling since he was 19 and had plenty of stories to tell, besides the damned sand flies it was a really relaxed night. The South Island certainly felt a safe place to be, we'd seen so many hitchhikers and like-minded people that it’s been a real eye opener to how many nice places there are in the world yet to explore.
With just one night to go and having already decided that we would spend it somewhere warm we booked into a standard cabin at Tahuna Beach Camp in Nelson. Nelson was again a quaint town, including another viewing of the buskers from Christchurch which helped to pass the drizzle that had re-appeared. By night the sun had ventured out into a glorious blaze so we had a short walk around and had a final meal at a very nice Mexican restaurant. By morning we stopped only to view the logging export docks, NZ's biggest export, and arrived with an hour spare to explore Picton before we handed the car back, grateful that we'd taken out windshield cover seen as a large rock just happened to crack ours! Not that Maria our representative from the car rental place was bothered; embarrassed by her previous mistake she couldn’t get us to the ferry quick enough. With a very peaceful crossing we arrived back in Wellington safely, greeted by Pat who took us for BBQ tea, what a great end to the day.
So we make it back to our final few days in Wellington, having seen as much as we want for now, and knowing there is plenty more to see and do we feel in a strange predicament; unsure whether we are excited to be heading back to Aus or not? The days are spent building cupboards for outdoor seating covers, our way of saying thank you for having us stay for so long and all the treats, and lazing in and around the pool at Pat and Ali’s house. We explored the opposite side of the bays to the ones we first explored when we arrived, caught up with the family again to share yet more stories (with some great ones coming back - good on you Nana and Jim for camping), we had fish and chips on the beach followed by viewing hundreds of glow worms at night in the botanical gardens which looked like clusters of stars you could reach out and touch. Wellington by night is amazing.
So there you have it, the 6th February 2007, 7.15am and we are boarding the flight back to Brisbane, with extra thanks to Alistair for helping us to actually depart the country in the first place as we’d totally spent up in NZ dollars and had forgotten about airport departure tax! After our internal flight from Brisbane we arrived back in Sydney at 1.30pm. We made it back to the Blue Mountains by tea time and yes you guessed it we were greeted by the O’Brien’s with a BBQ; just perfect. With the comfort of Stanley back in our possession the question lies, are we happy to be back in Australia? Yes, we'd honestly quite missed it.
Five weeks in New Zealand, North and South Islands; which did we prefer? To be honest we both preferred the hustle and bustle of the North Island, and feel very privileged to have had such willing family to show us the delights. However, Queenstown was truly a wonder, and although it took us a few days to adapt, the quietness of the South Island will be a pace of life we’ll always reflect on along with its undeniable beauty in every direction. So I guess when you venture to New Zealand, our advice would be not to compare the two islands in which one is better, but rather to enjoy them both for the differences that they offer. We will definitely be returning. But for now, back in Sydney, we have jobs and accommodation to find before the Todd clan makes it over and we begin the final stretch of our Australian journey before our visas expire. We'll be sure to keep you informed, keep us posted with your updates too, love Lindsay and Nathan xx
*Photos above; top is Franz Josef Glacier, middle is Auntie Pat and Ali, bottom is our Skydive in Queenstown with Lillian
I am a 'wannabe' Nomad who currently lives in Sheffield with my husband and two children. I genuinely love exploring new places but finding time to fit this in is tricky so more often than not I'm found in the closest independent coffee shop because nothing cheers me up better than a decent coffee.