Friday, 29 November 2013

Visitors & Castlepoint

As the days are getting longer and the sun seems to be coming out a wee bit more, it's hard to think about sitting at home on the computer. This weekend, however, has proved to be the perfect day to stay indoors. 130km/h winds are definitely enough to entice me to curl up in a blanket with a hot cup of tea and go through all the photos that I've accumulated over the past few months (except for when it sounds like the roof is going to blow off...).

In early October, we were blessed with a visit by my favourite maternal aunt and uncle (okay, okay, I only have one maternal aunt and uncle, but that doesn't make them any less my favourite!). They were heading to Australia on a corporate cruise and decided to stop off in New Zealand along the way. Now that Kevin and I have established ourselves in Wellington, it is really nice to show people around the city we call home (for now).

Since it was middle of Spring in Wellington, the weather tends to be a bit unpredictable. Kevin and I spent a day driving with Alex and Shirley out to Castlepoint, a small beachside town just over 150km north-east of Wellington. It was a gray and cloudy day in the city but we were pleasantly surprised that the clouds stayed south of the Rimutaka hills.

The peak of the Rimutaka hills, looking towards Wellington.


Shirley, Alex, & myself

We parked the car, ate our picnic lunch, and took a stroll out onto the beach and up to see the infamous lighthouse. The view was spectacular! On the other side of the hill, there was a man propped up on the side of the cliff fishing--we saw him catch a small shark (and throw it back, obviously).

Kevin then got excited with the prospect that we could drive Sophia (our station wagon) onto the beach. We spent some time in the sun, observing a single surfer taking in a few waves. This is what I call paradise!

Little nooks and crannies like Castlepoint are what I love about New Zealand. We can drive out of the city for an hour or two and be in the middle of nowhere. It's days like this that make it so easy to stay here. For now.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Oh Canada (& America)! Part IV: Homeward Bound via Honolulu

Kevin and I said our final goodbyes to friends and family and needed to make our way "home" to New Zealand to get back into the daily grind. To break up a long flight, we decided to stop in Hawaii for two days before heading back to winter in the Southern Hemisphere. What a smart move, I'll tell you. Nothing beats spending 48 hours in paradise as opposed to a 13-hour non-stop flight.

So off we flew from Bellingham to Honolulu, greeted with complimentary mai-tais on the airplane before landing and feeling my hair grow as we stepped off the flight and into hot, humid bliss. We hunkered down in a hostel just outside of the hustle and bustle of Waikiki and spent our two days soaking up the sun. At night, we enjoyed a delicious meal and walked around town, taking in as much island paradise as we could.

Well, we both had a bit too much sun the first day, resulting in some pretty awkward sunburns and forcing us to spend the next morning outside the hostel in the shade. As it started to cloud, we covered our burns as best we could and made our way out to Diamond Head for what was supposed to be a 1.5-2 hour hike. Because we were so scared of getting more sunburnt, we rocked Diamond Head in a mere 35 minutes, including a stop for photos at the top! And let me tell you, what a magnificent view!

That evening, we packed our bags and took a red-eye flight back to New Zealand. We told stories to our Kiwi friends of how amazing it was to see the friends and family that we could and how much we loved going back to Canada. However, for both Kevin and I, we were both looking forward to coming back to Wellington. It was comforting to feel that we are where we are supposed to be.

On a final note, we have been up to heeps of adventures since returning at the end of August. So look for lots of pictures and updates in the near future!