My first week in New Zealand
I’ve now been in Middle Earth… sorry I mean New Zealand for just over a week now and although I am away from my family again at Christmas time I am having the most wonderful time.
I’ve made new friends, hung out with old friends, seen loads of Lord of the Rings stuff (the dream), seen beautiful mountains, paddled in the clear blue sea and seen first hand why everyone who visits this country falls completely in love it. I have done all this and I haven’t even see the legendary South Island yet.
On Tuesday Ruth and I headed up to a place called Rotorua in the north. Sadly Ruth had a funeral to go to so I went with her to keep her company and to share the driving.
Whilst we were there we saw a little bit of Rotorua which is next to a beautiful and huge Volcanic crater lake and sits on the geothermal hot spot of New Zealand. The smell of sulphur (rotten eggs) sweeps across the town and steam rises from the ground to the extent that people have pipes fitted in their gardens to allow the steam to escape.
The place is amazing and so beautiful. Just down the road is the geothermal wonderland of Wai-O-Tapu which is a scenic reserve of a huge area of surface thermal activity. Magma left over from earlier eruptions runs beneath the ground.
This place is so beautiful with bright green lakes, sulphur and spurting mud pools. Nature in all it’s amazing glory. I’ll probably be heading back through here after I visit the South Island.
On Sunday I met with my Raleigh international friend Kirsty who I volunteered with in Costa Rica and now lives in Wellington. It was so great to see her.
I later went for dinner at Ruth’s mum’s house who lives in the most amazing location on the side of a hill facing the ocean. Ruth and her mum Joanne are actually related to Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and Joanne’s house is actually Peter’s childhood home. It was quite surreal to see family photos of Peter everywhere. Joanne was so lovely and made the best lamb I have ever tasted. Fingers crossed I’ll be invited around again!
Ruth treated me to a tour around the incredible WETA studios where she works where films like The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Avatar were made. Ruth actually helped make most of those films.
This tour was something I’ve been dreaming of doing for years and it was even better than I expected. I got to see actual props and costumes used in the films as well as a tour around the Weta Cave. I was in heaven. I also bumped into a lovely couple called Tom and Barbara who I met in Western Australia a few months ago. It was so lovely to see them.
I have been made to feel so welcome since arriving here in NZ. Even the crazy Wellington weather has been good to me. This is my second Christmas in a row away from my family but I am so lucky to have Lisa and Ruth who are doing everything to make me feel like I am at home. Ruth even bought a Christmas tree especially for me coming here. It’s just amazing and as my mum and dad always say….I am a very lucky boy.
This post is dedicated to the families of those who were killed or injured in the extremely sad and heartbreaking accident that happened in Glasgow.
Wishing you all a very safe and Merry Christmas