New Zealand means alot to me.
I lived there for a year. I got married there. Parnell Rose Gardens are GORGEOUS!!!!!. I lived in an apartment over looking the old Albion Hotel, the, at the time future casino and St Pauls/Peters Cathederal. You could walk 200m in any direction and fall over a bottle shop. Everywhere was uphill to our apartment. We had a different hire car EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Imagine going shopping and totally forgetting which car you drove into the carpark in EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Auckland was only place in the world where my husband left for work and the sun was shining. He got down to street level in our apartment block and it was bucketing down with rain, he walked to work in that rain...literally one block and by the time he got to work, the sun was shining again.
The BEST falafels and salad could be had at a cute little cafe in Devonport, just a ferry ride away. We were invited to spend Christmas with a family who had the most amazing decking set-up that overlooked the harbour with views of Auckland. This instilled a love of decking that has yet to be cured in me. Much to my husband´s dismay.
New Zealand is the home to the most amazing white wines in the world. Prior to living in EnZed, I was a red wine snob. No more. I can no longer say no to a lovingly crafted N.Z white wine. HH cannot understand it. I drink shiraz and New Zealand whites. Nothing else, there is no middle ground. New Zealand has corrupted me.
I have crawled all over Rangitoto Island, and cycled all around Waiheke island...now that is one place that I SHOULD have purchased real estate. I have survived driving around the Coromandel Peninsula and partaken of a variety of fruit wines. I have slid down Moirs Hill Walk on my ask-your-mother-for sixpence. I met so many people during our cycle tour of Auckland on electric bikes. People were more interested in our bikes than us. Funny that.
I fell in love with Christchurch and stayed at the same hotel as the New Zealand cricket team during the West Indies tour of New Zealand. They were very school-boyish in their Black with White stripe blazers. I spent hours walking through the Botanical gardens. Akaroa was a little piece of France with a lovely slice of New Zealand. Check it out if you are ever in the region. A friend with his pilots licence took us on a amazing aerial tour of the Canterbury region. Breathtaking!!!!
I have skiied Mount Ruapehu in November when the skiing season closed only due to a lack of patronage, not snow. I was way ahead of Zoolander, I had NO left turn, only a right. Maybe I should be discussing royalties....
Piha provided me with my first experience of a black sand beach ever, and for a girl coming from the white sand beaches of Perth, this was an eye-opener. I even took a photo of my foot against the black sand. It almost shone silver. The sand, not my foot...
We ate regularly at the Caravanserai (?) in Queen Street and held our wedding reception there. LOVED IT!!! Our local movie cinema was the St. James Theatre...has it really been closed to the public regarding public safety? NOOOOOO! We ate regularly at Tony´s Steak House and dare I say it, the basement dining area at the Albion Hotel. We survived!!!! Smith and Caughey´s was our department store, and when they had a sale....BOY, did they have a sale and that was before factoring in the exchange rates.
When we first arrived in NZ in 1994, red capsicums were $40 a kilo and fresh green lipped mussels were $1.99 a kilo....and I LOVE red capsicums. Apparently I caused a scene at the supermarket at St Lukes. There was much foul language and very large accompanying arm gestures. I caved at $16 a kilo for the cappies. Weak, I know.
I managed to board a plane home to Perth with 27kgs of hand luggage including a wok and a saucepan set. Try doing that these days!!!!
I lived in New Zealand for a year and came home with an English accent. Auckland was very anti-oz while we were there, so I affected a pommy accent that was so authentic that a freshly landed Pom asked me when ¨I had come out¨.... LOL!!!!! My sister spent one month with us and it took 18 months to rid herself of her ¨Kiwi¨ accent.
I love New Zealand. It is a very special place for me, and it saddens me that it has been beset by natural disaster again.