So for the 2nd part of our land-tour we set off for NZ South Island; we were due to fly in to Queenstown but there was a bad storm and after 2 aborted landing attempts we ended up in Christchurch which meant a 5 hour night time cross country road trip! Our 2 week tour included a 4 day walk along the famous Milford Track with the lovely Ken and Lisa (one of the great walks of the world), then a stay in Queenstown and finally Wanaka. Each of them equally spectacular – soaring mountains, dramatic waterfalls, serene glacial blue lakes and views to die for. The guide books don’t lie NZ is truly a visual feast. While in Wanaka we also celebrated a major milestone...Hugh’s 60th.
From South Island NZ to the South Island of Aus, Tasmania, and an incredible 10 day tour with Oyster buddies Sea Flute and Altair and of course our tour organisers, Tiggy and James. In our tour transit we made our way North from Hobart to Barnbougle, staying with the Tiggies very warm-hearted and generous friends. En route we stopped off to do the Bay of Fires walk, hiking along pure white beaches with fiery orange, lichen-laden rocks set against the crystalline blue water...pure magic.
Our next leg – a week in Marlborough exploring the Sounds and the wineries. While in the beautiful Bay of Many Coves we hiked over to Mahana Lodge along the Queen Charlotte Track to meet up with the lovely Leanne ( a former Meteorite) – so amazing to catch up with her and Rhys in such a remote and unlikely place!
For our final trip we headed to Melbourne. Staying in a beautiful converted church with Nicky and Charles (Calliope) we did what everyone in Melbourne does...combined eating (amazing breakfasts) and drinking (lots of great coffee) with sport (the Grand Prix and The AFL Dees Game ).
So now we’re back in Auckland and definitely ready to unpack our suitcases one last time and settle back in to boat life. But we’ve had an amazing 5 months – the people we’ve met have been so warm and friendly and the places we’ve been so eye-wateringly beautiful. Finally a huge, huge thank you to Fiona and Andy Nugent...we are truly indebted to them for their hospitality and generosity and for helping us make the most of our time down under
Following a rather prolonged blog black out here's a round-up of we’ve been up to during our 5 'land-bound' months waiting for the cyclone season to pass.
While Meteorite under went her 10,000 mile FULL service (thank you Mike and Charlie), the 4 of us took a 6 week trip to the UK then set about a 4 month land tour of NZ, Aus and Tasmania.
First up was a lovely Xmas with all the kids, staying in Omaha (NZ North Island) and being royally entertained by our wonderful friends Andy and Fiona. From there we travelled to Lake Taupo and threw ourselves into some traditional adrenalin-filled NZ adventures..whitewater rafting, jet boating, bungy jumping (...Matt, Ellie, Jake!), mountain biking, trekking...and of course a 7 hour pilgrimage to worship NZ demi-God and Hugh's hero Peter Jackson in “the Shires” aka Hobbiton.
Then it was a tearful goodbye to the kids and off to Australia we went....first stop Sydney; 25 years since we were there last and it was even more vibrant, interesting and iconic than we remembered. We lived like locals in Woolloomoolloo and Surry Hills and literally ticked off all the sights. We loved every minute of it – climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge (Hugh/Janice not so much!), seeing an opera at the Opera House, watching a Riot at the Sydney Festival and a film at the most amazing outdoor cinema EVER (see photos!), sipping cocktails at The Iceberg Cafe on Bondi Beach and taking the Manly Ferry to Balmoral...oh and a trek to see the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains (invisible last time we went). Phew..!!!
All a bit exhausting so next up we headed along the coast to Byron Bay for some chillin’ with the local surfer dudes on the beautiful Belongil Beach ( a 2 minute walk from our Airbnb Beach Hut). Suitably relaxed it was off to Brisbane to watch England v the Aussies at the Gabba in the one dayer..a little tense after the Ashes defeat but ultimately a fine victory, albeit a little disappointing for our hosts The Tiggies!! Our final stop of Part 1 was the fashionable beach resort of Noosa where as well as some seriously good eating, drinking and sunbathing we went on a very cool 4WD excursion along a 40km beach! Then it was back to Fiona and Andy’s Auckland apartment to re-pack for Part 2...what would we have done without them!
The Meteorite Crew
Debbie, Hugh, Janice and Andy