Tuesday, November 13, 2012


We've just come back from our first family holiday, and it was awesome! Five days in a campervan traversing the south island of New Zealand, five days in Queenstown and five days in Sydney. I spent two weeks in New Zealand, on the north island, when I was 15, but this was the first time I saw it properly. The air was clean, the people were friendly, the food was amazing, and around every corner we encountered jaw-dropping, breathtaking, truly spectacular scenery. I fell in love, completely and deeply, with the place and hope to have many, many more opportunities to visit.

The campervan seemed like a crazy idea, with two kids, a truckload of baggage and no fixed destination at the end of every day, but it was definitely the best way to travel, and we had the loveliest time. It was tough being in it all day and then all night but there were plenty of stops on what we affectionately came to call "Our Tour of New Zealand's Best Playgrounds."

It was the first lot of leave my husband has had in a long time, and certainly the first lot in a very long time that we actually used for its intended purpose. After the year we have had (you know, having a baby in the carrenovating and trips to eye doctors) we REALLY needed a holiday. It was exhausting at times and we filled every minute of every day, not just with the holiday stuff, but with the mountains of washing and dishes and all the other every day stuff you do with small children that never stops no matter where you are in the world. The boys excelled at adaptation to life outside of their comfort zone. We were in some kind of parallel time zone and all of us went to sleep together every night (kind of unavoidable in a camper van...). Being together like that was quite simply delightful.

We had fresh crayfish by the side of the road in Kaikoura and saw fur seals on the beach. We met another Aussie expat family in Blenheim and shared stories of life in Asia and campervan adventures. We drove along the north coast through the Marlborough Sounds, in awe of the sheer beauty of the place. We took a helicopter ride over the Franz Josef Glacier, terrified and ecstatic at the same time to be doing something so different and exciting. We played in the snow on Coronet Peak and sailed on Lake Wakitipu. The boys surprised us again with their patience while we visited a winery and had a bbq with friends in Queenstown. Our trip ended with a sobering tour of Christchurch, a beautiful city whose broken heart is still beating loud and true beneath the rubble.

To say I enjoyed this trip is quite an understatement. Josh and Charlie both grew up so much and while we had our moments, we bonded, in the way I always imagined families should when they're on holidays. Since we got back home a few days ago the real world has been a bit of a shock. Dealing with post-reno issues, paying for the holiday, all the usual blah blah every day crap is always a bummer after a break but apart from that I'm still on a high. I've come back feeling rejuvenated. Not relaxed by any means, it wasn't that kind of holiday, but I feel ready for another big year, a new project, maybe a few changes - and definitely another holiday in the not-too-distant future.

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