New Zealand


We’ve been in the Far North for over four months now. I can honestly say I would not live anywhere else in New Zealand. I have travelled far and wide in this country – with my Dad when I was a teenager and since I’ve been living here (seven years now). The only part of NZ that I’m not familiar with is the Tauranga/Bay of Plenty area.

There is more rain up in the Far North but it comes and goes. One moment it’s sunny; then there’s a downpour; then it’s sunny again. There is no snow and, frankly, I don’t miss it. No horrid north-west gale force winds; just gentle warm breezes. The soil on our property is volcanic so the rain water drains quickly. Even with stock on the property (cows and sheep) there is no mud to slip and slide around.

Winter here has been very mild. A few cold days where I had to break out the fleecy-lined tops but, other than this, we survived with no heating. El Hubs does not miss chopping and stacking the wood or fuelling the fire.

The people here are friendly and you meet a lot of foreigners. Many are called swallows because they spend the summer in NZ and then return to their own country for their summer. I’ve met Dutch, Germans, Americans and Italians so far.

I love our property so much I rarely venture off it. When I do, there are plenty of shops in our area to get whatever we need including a boutique with great clothes and handbags. I’m afraid I succumbed. I saw this large black tote made in Florence. It’s not leather and I’m trying very hard to be more sustainable in my purchasing and eating habits. Needless to say, I bought it and now carry around the whole house with me LOL I like the gunmetal hardware; very on fleek as they say.

You can also get great coffee with some fun designs. I have to stay out of the fabulous chocolate cafe we have here. I’d love to go every day because I love my chocolate and the cafe has a great vibe. But I’ve cut out all processed sugar from my diet; all carbs; all meat. Been at this for two months now. I do not miss meat at all. Mind you, I rarely ate red meat as I preferred chicken, turkey and fish. I still eat the occasional carb (rice or bread) but not every day.

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At the top of our property is native bush. I’m still coming to grips with what the trees are but I think they are Totora. They’re very tall and are home to wood pigeon and harrier hawks.

In the bush (or forest as I call it) are these amazing rock formations. The Far North is volcanic so I’m sure these rocks have been formed by past eruptions. Only the North Island of New Zealand has volcanoes and there is a long history of eruptions. It’s said that Auckland is sitting on a super-volcano – let’s hope not!

I’ve been told that the previous owner of our property, when he was a kid, would play in this forest with his siblings and they built rock walls to play behind. Zeph and Zsa Zsa love to sniff around these walls because rabbits hide there. I’ll try and do a video soon – a walk-through of the forest.

Can you spot the dogs behind the wall?

 

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We’ve up to the North Island for a few days. I must say that the vegetation there is lush. You get giant ferns, stunning Kauri trees, Totora and beautiful Pohutukawa trees boasting crimson flowers.

We stayed in a lodge and our window looked over a small white church nestled amongst Winter foliage. You can just see the red roof of the church in the photo below.

IMG_8681What really caught my eye though is the tree in the middle of the photo. What a stunner.

We were up in the North Island last week, the Far North region to be exact. It really is very different from the South Island. Lots of large ferns and palm trees, as it’s sub-tropical. People were complaining of the heat and mugginess. Since I grew up in Sydney, I was more than able to handle it, although it made sleep a bit restless.

This was the view in the morning from the hotel balcony. As much as I like the snow-covered mountains of the South Island, I have to say I could get used to this view.

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Had to show you another photo of the glorious cherry blossom. Since it only blossoms once a year, I’m getting all the photos I can.

This year, it seems to be a soft pink and white combination. I’m sure it’s always been this way, but I’m noticing more pale pink this time around. Sadly, I think this could be the last week it blooms. Let’s enjoy!

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Only a few days ago, I told you that the cherry blossom in the front yard was waking up. Well, it’s now blooming and looking stunning in its pink and white glory. Such a shame it blossoms only once a year and for such a short time (about a week, maybe two).

So I’m rushing around taking photos and standing underneath it, so I can fully enjoy its beauty.

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We heard earlier this week that some sort of Polar blast was going to hit us. It was only two weeks ago that the last Polar freeze swooped on through. Local weather forecasts predicted snow to sea level. We are at around 250 metres (or 823ft) and so we were pretty sure we’d get the white stuff again.

We’re always prepared for being snowed in. We have large bottles of water and tinned food in the pantry and we needed to resort to that two weeks ago because there was a power outage for 24 hours.

Zeph and Zsa Zsa are more confident in the snow these days. Zsa Zsa seems to love running and leaping in the snow. Zeph isn’t so sure: sometimes he runs through it, other times he just sits. No idea why.

This polar blast is only supposed to hang around for a few days. Sure hoping so!

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Zeph decides it’s best to run and keep warm.

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For some odd reason, Zeph often sits in the snow.

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Zsa Zsa frolics!

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