NZ 2016: Home Again

July to December 2016 (Hamilton, Taranaki, Christchurch, Castle Hill, Wainui Beach):

After arriving in Auckland, New Zealand, we headed to Hamilton to catch up with the McElligotts.  Ron and Mary were house sitting for the Hamilton McElligotts, so we spent a week catching up and exploring Hamilton with them.  It was nice to sit still and relax after traveling for five days from Indo to NZ.  

We then decided to visit Taranaki on our way south.  The area was gorgeous, and the surf cooperated — a 180 degree swell window and the ability to always find off-shore winds helped.

A rather rough ferry crossing returned us to the South Island.  Unfortunately, winter was slow to arrive so skiing wasn’t an option.  After a week of bouldering and some trail running, we headed to Christchurch and explored the Banks Peninsula for the first time.

Like all good Kiwis (and Kiwi wannabes like us), we didn’t let the sleet and rain stop us from getting outdoors.

NZ traffic

We even got a visit from our favorite Australian for a fun-filled but snow-less weekend:

Finally, the snow arrived and it was back into the mountains for us:

Alas, the snow did not stick around so it was more surf for me, while V took her mom and stepdad on a tour to photograph the South Island.

Mt. Cook (Aoraki)
More NZ traffic

Overnight boat trip in Doubtful Sound


lunch stop with cheeky Kea overhead

As Spring approached, we headed back to Wainui beach near Gisborne to enjoy the sun and surf.  The Hamilton McElligotts, V’s mom and stepdad, and the original Kiwi Mark all visited. 


We made our annual trip to the terrier races, which raise money for a breast cancer charity, and are always loads of fun.


We finally got out to visit Farmer Sam on his, well, farm outside of Gisborne and had fun sliding down the Rere rock fall:


All too soon, our time in NZ was over and it was time to pack up and head back to Japan for ski season.