April has been an exciting month so far in New Zealand especially as we have flown south. Here are our top five highlights in no particular order:
1. Climbing the Hakarimata Steps
One of the best things about New Zealand is that all the best activities are outdoor. After a full working day (for my uncle, not me!) we casually popped over to a mountain to stretch our legs. The climb is 1,349 stairs and we joined plenty of lycra-clad locals to sweat it out to the top. The 360 summit views were worth in spite of the ridiculous motivational quotes on the way up (“sweat is fat crying”). My uncle is such an pro he did it twice!
2. Black boy Peaches
We were warmly welcomed to the South Island by our friends Juliette and Adam. They have a gorgeous property on the outskirts of Christchurch and their orchard is doing marvellously with apple, pear, peach, fig, apricot, walnut and olive trees flourishing. We collected bucket loads of the juicy black boy peaches feeding the holey ones to the steers who slobbered happily and spat each stone out carefully. The good peaches were frozen and I even tried my hand at peach and apple jam and dried fruit crisps! Juliette and Adam also took us for the best fish and chips ever at Sumner Bay – fresh gurnard, battered with chips and aiolli all wrapped in paper sitting on the beach. Heaven.
3. Moooving cows
James’ friends Becky and Ed live on a dairy farm on the Waitaki Plains with their three gorgeous kids. The farm is a casual couple of thousand acres and they milk around 1,500 cows every day. We helped move 250 cows down the road and the whole operation seemed to go more smoothly than moving my dad’s small herd of 4 or 5! But then again we did have three of us in a ute, two on motorbikes and one quad…
4. Steam Punk
Oamaru is probably the coolest town in New Zealand. Not only does it have a brewery serving the best IPA and pizza right on the seafront, it also hosts a Victorian arcade and Steam Punk playground. Steam Punk is a science fiction movement with an alternative edge – Victorian machinery. Think dolls riding penny farthings with exposed machinery faces and flying steam trains with rockets.
We are working on a lavender farm at the moment and it’s as dreamy as it sounds. It’s peaceful and soporific to the point that I am ready for bed after dinner (I do force myself to stay awake until a socially acceptable time to retire!) I never knew quite how many different types of lavender there are and how much it takes to make a small bottle of oil (about a tonne) or that lavender acts as a natural weed killer.
So before I fall asleep, thank you for reading this and until next time!