It’s the morning after the night before as I begin drafting this week’s wrap-up post – and what a week it was…(and what a night before it was).
The night before was a joint celebration in honour of a 60th birthday (not mine) and a 30th wedding anniversary (also not mine) – and the ultimate reason for this trip to NZ…but more on that later.
The elephant in the room is, of course, the heart-breakingly sad events that occurred in Christchurch on Friday – but I have no words for that. Instead here’s what made me smile last week – my birthday week.
1.No day job work for a week. Yay!
2. The kiwifruit groves in the Bay of Plenty. I hadn’t really thought too much about how kiwifruit is grown, but up here the vines are protected by super-high almost maze-like hedges. You can see the hedges in the pic below.
3. The lemonade popsicle at the end of the Cathedral Cove walk.
4. My birthday dinner at Salt in Whitianga. A marina, fairy lights, good food and a warm Kiwi evening – what’s not to like?
5. The murals in Katikati on the way to Rotorua. Katikati has 3 claims to fame:
- It’s the first planned Irish community in NZ
- It’s the avocado capital of NZ
- It’s full of murals – and a town full of murals is always a good thing
Plus the bakery here won the first place in the NZ pie competitions for their vegetarian pie. It had bok choy, kumara (sweet potato), carrot and parsnip in it. We didn’t try it, but we did sample their butter chicken spring roll – which was, to be honest, a tad weird.
6. The roses in Rotorua – I’ll tell you more about Rotorua on Thursday, but it’s fair to say it’s not one of my favourite places in this fabulous country. The roses in Government Gardens were, however, gorgeous.
7. The random puffs of gas and bubbles of springs that are literally all through Rotorua. The smell didn’t make me smile quite so much, but more on that on Thursday.
8. The line-up of retro Kiwi slices in bakeries. I think there are a few that I haven’t yet made at home.
9. The colour of the water at Huka Falls.
10. A swim in the lake at Taupo.
11. The sign for National Gumboot Day in Taihape. Yes, this town is the self-proclaimed gumboot capital of New Zealand – and we saw plenty of people wearing gumboots in a completely non-ironic way.
12. The bleak landscape of the Desert Road
13. The rolling hills as we got closer to the Wairarapa
14. An impromptu picnic in the grounds of a Martinborough winery with local wine and local cheese. We had no plates, borrowed glasses from the winery and used the swiss army knife to cut the cheese. Sometimes the simplest things really are the best.
15. A fabulous party with fabulous friends. Because the party was a joint celebration – J’s 60th birthday and H&J’s 30th wedding anniversary – the theme was the 60s and 80s. I channelled my 60s flower child and Grant donned a wig and was 80s bogan rocker.
The food was retro – think devils on horseback, vol-au-vents and asparagus toast canapes, prawn cocktails and deep fried camembert – and the music was also old-school. As for the venue? Tirohana Estate – a winery in Martinborough.
16. A visit to the seal colony at Cape Palliser – more on that next week
17. Best seafood chowder and great fish and chips at Lake Ferry Hotel – in the middle of pretty much nowhere.
18. Catching up with the best of friends – just priceless.
19. A birthday selfie. This is me at 52 – no makeup and sunburned but not really caring about any of that!
Okay, that was my week – how was yours?
You wear the 60’s well. There is nothing better than a lemonade ice block on a hot walk. When I was doing Coast trek, that was my favourite moment – getting the ice block!! Sweet , cool induglence. #lifethisweek
Awww thanks. I thought I channelled my flower power well. Such a fun party – my friends always throw a great party!
It all looks totally awesome and makes me really want to go to NZ – especially when you said about the old skool slices! Hope your birthday was full of fabulous. I loved your party get up!
My birthday was indeed full of fabulous and you’d love NZ’s old skool slices.
Happy belated birthday, Jo! Your birthday week looks fabulous. Gorgeous scenery, and the colour of the water at Huka Falls is just wow. You wear the 60s well. #lifethisweek
Thanks Natalie – I had the best birthday in years. With the highlight being I got to share in the celebrations for my friend’s 60th too – and man, do they throw a good party!
Happy Birthday, Jo! I LOVE the 60’s and 80’s theme!! Fun photos!!
My friends throw the BEST parties and always have fun themes.
What a fabulous wrap up Jo! I just love that shot of you in the daisy glasses. Your pics remind me of our visit a few years ago, we really mist return. Aren’t the Huka Falls amazing?? #lifethisweek
Those falls are remarkable. I did the jet last time I was there so didn’t bother this time. It’s a place that you can just keep coming back to though isn’t it?
Hi Jo, what a fabulous week and such a beautiful place NZ is. I love the roses and you do look very 60s Flower Child in your daisy glasses. I loved the Huka Falls and actually I just love everything about NZ. Thanks for a great way to start my week. #lifethisweek
It certainly is a lovely country and it was so fun to dress up.
Jo it looks like you’ve had the BEST time over there. I’ve enjoyed seeing bits and pieces popping up in my FB feed, but it’s even better seeing them all here in chronological order. Your party looked AMAZING and so did you. Congrats on reaching the Big 6-0 and for your anniversary too. I still find it hard to believe that it’s been 40 years since we were all teenagers!
Oh lol, it wasn’t my 60th we were celebrating – I just happened to have a birthday the day before Saturday’s guest of honour…I celebrated 52.
I was transported back to NZ with your photos Jo! I love the north island and can’t wait to head back there (hopefully sometime soon). Happy birthday and yay for no work for a week!!!
Thanks, Kirsty – it’s such a beautiful country to be sure. Although I come to Wellington most years I hadn’t spent a huge amount of time driving around the North Island.
What a beautiful celebration of New Zealand in these dark times for the country.
For it to happen anywhere was heartbreaking, but for it to happen here especially was unthinkable. It was quite surreal driving through the peaceful NZ countryside listening to it on the radio as it all unfolded.
Well thank goodness you do the travel to these great places so I get to enjoy the views and words too. My Head and Neck cancer FB group is NZ based and I feel almost guilty not knowing where many places are. I shall refer to your NZ posts I think. To have been in NZ when the awful event unfolded in Christchurch must have felt surreal. Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week’s optional prompt is 12/51 Memories I’d Like To Re-Capture. Denyse
It was very surreal last Friday – and something I’ll remember for the wrong reasons. We were driving down to Martinborough from Taupo when they started reporting the incident – and it was full on from there. Devastating.
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