New Zealand Adventures Together


Our adventures, now together, through the northern part of the North Island of New Zealand were endless. I first arrived in New Zealand on my own, unsure of exactly what was going to unfold between us when distance was in place and not a mere thought that we could optimistically conquer. I filled my time with my new job and some adventuring out on my own.

On my own I succumbed to the cover charge and explored Hobbiton, one of the few locations in New Zealand where Lord of the Rings was filmed. We were in a large group as we toured, which isn’t my favorite, but it was still quite fun and the scenery absolutely majestic. With tiny little hobbit houses and gardens that would make any green thumb drool, it was well worth the day and cover.

Though I had plenty to do to pass time, I felt relieved when my new love finally arrived. Now it was my turn to get off by two in the afternoon and take him around to explore of one of my favorite places on earth. We explored every part of Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty as we could, and stayed in a cute cottage on and avocado farm set up in the hills, overlooking the city and bay. We had dinners with dear friends and hiked Mount Manganui multiple times. We squeezed in as much quality fun as we could.

Together we explored daily and weekends were even better, as we could escape for a few days to explore even further away. New Zealand possesses a countless number of pristine lakes and many of them completely swimmable. We endlessly explored waterfalls and trails that led to lakes just waiting for us to jump into.

One of the most worth it weekend trips in this part of New Zealand is the Coromandel peninsula. With hikes leading to several cove beaches and shores home to small towns, it is an ideal trek for a few days. We were finally back together, and in a beautiful waterfall garden just outside Auckland, he got down on one knee. Hand in hand we were now headed out to adventure together.

My Welcome to New Zealand Begins in the South Island’s Otago Peninsula

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It is true; there are more sheep than people. If you can’t sleep, you will never run out of sheep to count and these sheep don’t have to be purely a figment of your imagination. They are on every hillside I laid eyes on. If my excitement was bound into a bubble that bubble would’ve burst as I flew over rolling green hills that didn’t end until they either dropped into the crisp blue sea or turned into snow-capped mountains. I could taste the clean crisp air through my small oval airplane window. The greens were true greens and all the blues were rich, true blues. To say New Zealand is clean and beautiful wouldn’t do justice to these majestic pieces of land so small in comparison to its giant land mass neighbor Australia.

The Otago peninsula is home to cooler weather beaches, penguins, fur seals, albatross, sheep of course, Larnach Castle, and eye catching beauty in every direction you look. Cold or warm temps, I am a lover and enjoyer of the beach so along the coast is where I spent the majority of my time. I was able to stay in a home that overlooked the sound in Port Chalmers. A five-minute walk down the steep hill my home was perched on led to a running/bike path along water. It was my motivation to jog every day. Of course, I was there in the winter so they were jogs that only lasted as long as my frozen nose and cheeks could take. The air in the winter has an Arctic bite. I woke up early enough most mornings to see the lavender to violet beauty the sunrise was and most nights watched the sunset with the same level of astonishment. Only God himself could create a beauty of this magnitude.

One of my favorite beaches was Anderson’s beach with waves that broke clean and very few people. I searched and searched this beach for the penguins that come up from the sea and nest in the hillside bushes at night but it was to no avail. This was one of my goals while visiting all the beaches, to see a penguin in its natural habitat. It was one of my cold weather travel encouragements, and as those who have traveled for longer periods of time know you need some encouraging moments of astonishment that leave you in remembrance that this is the very reason for embarking on this venture. I was having several moments of things not falling into place and missing my friends and family. I was near the beach searching for penguins once again on a crisp sunny day and talking to God about my life and what to do next. My frustration was pretty high and I just told God, “Look, I just need to know that you are still here with me, that You still want me to go forward with this. It’s been weeks and the single thing I wanted to see in this cold climate and have been searching for daily was a penguin. I haven’t even been given that. If You are still in this with me if You are still here, please show me a penguin. I walked about ten steps forward and it was within three minutes, if that, there, right before my eyes was a penguin. My eyes welled with tears. God answered. This penguin looked at me with the same peace-filled gaze I was giving him. As I walked closer he wasn’t jarred in the least. He widened his belly, sat on his feet and got ready for his nap under a bush. I just stood there and watched for about fifteen minutes thanking God for His presence and just hearing me. This moment was such a comfort I won’t even attempt to put into words.

Otago peninsula, you are glorious.

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