STW Roundup: Months 18 and 19

September means we have been travelling for over a year and a half in total!

How time flies when you’re having fun. September also means that winter is over in New Zealand (technically). Winter in Wellington seemed to last about three weeks – we had some really cold days with more wind and rain than is usual for Welly, and the days got a lot shorter with the sun going down while you’re still at work. But, it’s nothing like winter in the UK which seems to last about three months! We’ve had some beautifully clear winter days here, as well as some horribly grey ones, so it hasn’t all been bad.

Succulent in the Botanic Gardens Wellington New Zealand spinthewindrose.com
Succulents in Wellington’s Botanical Gardens

Where we’ve been this month:

Wellington, New Zealand (and around).

Pencarrow Lighthouse, Wellington New Zealand - spinthewindrose.com
Pencarrow Lighthouse

Highlights:

Our weekends have been filled with walking when it hasn’t been raining. There are a fair amount of good walking tracks around Welly, so we are working our way through all of them!

  • Walks & tramps

We’re trying to get out at the weekends as much as possible to experience Welly’s walking scene. There are a surprising amount of walks around the Wellington region, though you do need your own transport to get to them – annoying for us as we don’t have our own car. Our favourites have included: Butterfly Creek in Eastbourne, the Stairway to Heaven walk from Paekakariki to Pukeura Bay, and the walk to Pencarrow Lighthouse in Eastbourne. We also FINALLY went for a decent walk around the Botanical Gardens – which we live only a 10 minute walk from!

  • Nga Manu Nature Reserve

A few weekends ago we went out to Nga Manu Nature Reserve in Waikanae. It costs $18 entry but it’s worth it! The reserve works for the conservation of New Zealand’s birds, and does this through rescuing and rehabilitating them. In the reserve you have the chance to see all sorts of native birds, such as pukeko, diving ducks,  ruru (morepork), kākāriki (parakeet), and kea (NZ’s alpine parrot) – PLUS the famous Kiwi birds! We managed to spot one in the nocturnal house; we could only just see him through the leaves but it was a pretty cool moment! You can also see geckos, tuatara lizards (which must have been sleeping when we were there) and the ponds house both short and long finned eels – you can watch the eels being fed at 2pm every day for free.

There is a short bush walk where you can hear the cluck of the tuis, the cheep of the fantails and the swoosh of the kereru’s wings. It leads to a lookout with a view of the Tararua Ranges. Since I’ve been in New Zealand I have developed a slight obsession with birds, so this was an ideal day out for me!

Pukekos at Nga Manu New Zealand - spinthewindrose.com
Pukeko at Nga Manu
  • Yoga

I’ve started yoga classes at work during lunch times, which is a wonderful way to break up my day and get me away from my desk. I haven’t ever tried yoga before (aside from following along with YouTube videos) and now I realise it’s much harder than it looks! I must admit, my favourite part of the class is when we do the Corpse Pose at the end and just relax…

  • On the blog

Spin the Windrose is now working with two affiliate programs. This basically means that if you click on certain links on my blog, and then purchase something from the company’s website, I’ll earn a teensy commission at no extra cost to you. Yay! So if you want to support the blog, you know what to do! Note that I will always disclose when these links are used.

  • We booked our flights home for Christmas!

That’s one thing set in stone: we are definitely going to be in the UK with our respective families for Christmas this year! We are flying home on 23rd December so will land in London on Christmas Eve. I can’t wait for Christmas in England; we went to Golden Bay for Christmas 2015 and whilst it was fun to sunbathe on Christmas Day, it just didn’t feel quite right!

  • I’ve now been working at Council for over 6 months!

This is the longest job position I’ve held since I worked as an English language assistant on my year abroad in France (three years ago!). I usually get bored of things quite quickly but I’m enjoying my role and am actually even a little gutted I’ll have to hand over my responsibilities to someone else in December… but I want to travel again more than I want to work, so that’s that settled!

Wellington, New Zealand - spinthewindrose.com
By Pencarrow Lighthouse

Lowlights:

  • James’ job situation

James has been jumping from one temporary job contract to another since we arrived back in New Zealand after our short trip home in June. It’s a bit disheartening for him understandably, particularly because we both found jobs very quickly when we first arrived in both Auckland and Wellington, and because he has a really strong CV. Unfortunately most agencies seem only to require temps for a week or a year at the moment! We are keeping our fingers crossed something steady will come up soon.

  • Not going skiing or seeing the mountains this winter

We are really trying to save our money ready for next years’ adventures at the moment, and James doesn’t have a constant job to go to – this means we basically feel guilty every time we spend money. I really wanted to go skiing this winter, or at least to visit New Zealand’s South Island to see the mountains covered in snow. This is going to have to go on our bucketlist for the future. We did manage to take a trip to Taranaki in early June though, which was the perfect weekend away for my birthday!

  • The Dreaded Dentist

James went for a long overdue check-up while we were back in the UK in June, and it turns out he needs a bit of work done! Unfortunately he couldn’t have it done before he flew back to NZ, so has had it here in Wellington (he would like to put in a good word for Gentle Dental on Dixon Street!) We reckon it’s cost a similar amount to what it would have done in the UK.

Sunset at Paekakariki beach New Zealand - spinthewindrose.com
Sunset at Paekakariki Beach

Spending & Saving

Besides booking our flights and James’ dental work, we haven’t really spent very much the past couple of months. Aside from a couple of meals out, our only expenses have been our grocery shop and rent. It’s good to finally see our savings going up after we flew home to the UK (and me to visit my sister in Spain!) as that was a big expense!

Mount Victoria Wellington New Zealand - spinthewindrose.com
Atop Mount Victoria

And that’s it! Its been a pretty quiet couple of months for us, but enjoyable nonetheless. I’m looking forward to warmer temperatures and longer days!

How have you been in July & August?

Thanks for reading and happy travels!

abbi-signature-spinthewindrose

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6 Comments

  1. Hey guys! Just saw you followed us on Pinterest, thought we’d check out where you are in the world 🙂 We have been in Oz for a year and a half so we must have both left the UK around the same time!

    Where do you plan to go after NZ? We leave Oz in March and are headed to Asia for a bit before coming to NZ for 2 years haha!

    1. Heey Taran thanks for the comment! Man that sounds exciting! You’ll love NZ, it’s incredible. Our plans aren’t set in stone yet – we’re hoping to do a few weeks of travel in Eastern Europe and will then be onto the next place… I’ll let you know when we know!

      1. Haha! We are quite excited 🙂 Nice, we havnt seen much of Europe at all.. Add us on twitter or something if you have accounts, I tried looking for links on your site but didnt have any luck 🙁

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