When I came back to New Zealand for the first time in five years, I did not realise how much I would appreciate being back. I had really been looking forward to seeing my family for a long time, but I’d never really missed New Zealand. From the moment we stepped out of the airport and drove out of Auckland, all I kept thinking was how beautiful everything was. And how nice it was to be home.
We started slowly because we were tired after travelling a lot, and it was Christmas time and so was a good time to take it easy. But we started doing small trips quite quickly – going around the Coromandel, going to Auckland, visiting Tauranga and Mt. Manganui all provided a nice gentle but tantalising taste of New Zealand which built into a crescendo as we started to journey farther afield. Upon reaching the South Island, things started to happen more quickly – we saw amazing sight after amazing sight, and things just seemed to be getting better all the time. For me, the highlight was getting to Milford Sound and going on the boat and seeing the amazing scenery, while for Mahmoud the highlight was the gentle and tranquil scenery of Lake Tekapo, and the beauty of the night sky at Mt John Observatory. Coming back to the North Island, we visited the far north of the country and we loved the rugged nature of it – and by contrast the friendliness of it’s people.
Closer to home, we stayed with my Mum for most of the rest of the time in New Zealand. We both enjoyed staying on the farm, and it was an eye opener for Mahmoud especially, as he’d not spent a lot of time around animals before. After a few weeks, Mahmoud and Chloe the Labrador were firm friends! I just enjoyed seeing everyone everyday. I tried to appreciate every day that I was home and with the people I’m close to.
But invariably, time never stops. Before we knew it, it was time to go. We left New Zealand to continue our travels across the Pacific and into South America. Easter Island was the next stop on the itinerary – Moai and the Rapanui people await us.