STW Roundup: Months 20 and 21

We are coming into our eighteenth month of living in New Zealand, and as always, we are falling in love with this country more and more each day. However, it is quickly becoming a reality that we are leaving New Zealand in just 6 weeks time, so we are trying to cram in as many things as possible before we fly home for Christmas. I’ll be posting about my thoughts on leaving New Zealand very soon. For now, here’s a roundup on what we’ve been up to in September and October.

Where we’ve been:

Aside from working in Wellington, we’ve had a few weekend trips out of the city. We went to Hatepe, which is near Lake Taupo, for a weekend with our flatmates and their friends – lots of fun! For the long weekend, we rented a car and went to Tongariro National Park, Lake Taupo and Hawkes Bay.

Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand - spinthewindrose.com
After a steep climb up part of Mount Ruapehu

Highlights:

We’ve had a lot of fun this month! Here are a few of the best bits:

James got a long-term job

After the long slog of the past couple of months temping at numerous places for a couple of weeks each time, James secured a role at Westpac Life Insurance which will see him through until the end of the year. YAY for having a regular income again!

I’m still going with my job at the Council and am finding it very hard to accept that I’m leaving. I’m taking on a few projects and hoping to provide a good handover for whoever will fill my position when I leave – though I will probably bawl like a baby on my last day!

James + chips = pure happiness
James + chips = pure happiness


Hatepe

Our flatmate’s parents have a bach (a kiwi holiday home) in Hatepe, a small village by Lake Taupo. When she suggested we should stay there for a weekend with friends we jumped at the chance! The bach is a bit like a DOC hut – small and simple, and all wooden and authentic, but a lot more comfortable! We really enjoyed the weekend – we went for a walk up to the powerstation, played lots of games, drank lots of beers and ate lots of good food.

Hatepe

Labour Weekend = more travels

We had a day off at the end of October for Labour Day, so we rented a car, borrowed our flatmates’ tent, and went camping for three nights! We spent our first night just north of Otaki (the drive from Wellington with rush hour traffic takes a while!), and then headed up to Tongariro National Park the following morning. We did lots of walking, saw some beautiful waterfalls. We were hoping to do a full day hike up Mount Ruapehu, but there was still too much snow – the Tongariro Alpine Crossing was open though we’ve already done that! When the weather turned, we headed south to Hawkes Bay, where we drove up Te Mata Peak in the fog, and stopped by the longest place name in the entire world: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu! Tuesday morning came round too quickly and before we knew it, we were back at our desks.

Te Mata Peak, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand - spinthewindrose.com
Te Mata Peak in the fog
waitonga falls, new zealand - spinthewindrose.com
Waitonga Falls, Tongariro National Park
James and I celebrated 3 years together

I can hardly believe we have been together for so long! James and I don’t normally do anything big or fancy for our anniversaries, however this year he surprised me by making me pancakes for breakfast and bought me a huge bunch of flowers! After work, we went for a drink at Basque, had dinner at Nicolini’s and finally had dessert at the Library. THEN to top it all off, we went to the Lighthouse cinema and watched a film called the Daughter – a very, very good film but I wouldn’t watch it again simply because it made me feel so much emotion!

me-and-james-3-years
Drinks at Basque
We bought a Go Pro!

We realised that we rarely take videos of our memories; we have loads of photos of places we have been, but the only videos I take are on snapchat (username: abbigail-rose). Videos are such a precious way to capture your memories, so on a bit of a whim, we decided to buy a GoPro! It’s a-mazing and there is something so satisfying about putting something so expensive into water. It’s lots of fun and I’m hoping to create videos to share on this blog soon (once I’ve figured out how to edit them!)

go pro

Red Rocks Walkway

Besides our weekends away, we haven’t done much walking in the past couple of months… We’ve actually had quite a few lazy weekends at home and I’ve really enjoyed them! In October we took the bus to Owhiro Bay and walked along the track to Sinclair Head, where we saw about five seals lazing on the rocks.

It always surprises me just how easy it is to get out of the city and feel a hundred miles away – how awesome is it that there are seals off the coast of the capital?!

Seal at Sinclair Head, Wellington, New Zealand - spinthewindrose.com
Sleepy seal in the sun
Red Rocks Walkway
Red Rocks Walkway
New flatties!

With a few of our flatmates moving out, we’ve had some new flatties join us! Conevieve (Conor and Genevieve) moved in earlier this week, and a third flatmate will be moving in later this month. It’s sad that things are changing, but it’s great to be meeting new people!

Halloween and Bonfire Night

OK, so Halloween is hardly even a thing in New Zealand… they don’t even have orange pumpkins here! Normally at home, we would have a huge party with decorations and costumes and themed food! So, I decided to recreate this at work; we had a Halloween-themed afternoon tea with a prize for the Best Dressed – it was great fun!

halloween - spinthewindrose.com
Halloween treats!

For Guy Fawkes night we went up to the top of Mount Victoria and watched a great fireworks display over the harbour. The view from up there is something else – just beautiful.

fireworks-wellington
Beautiful fireworks in Wellington (photo by Kevin Stent/ Fairfax NZ – click through to source)

Lowlights

Flatties moving out

With new flatmates moving in, others have moved out. We bid goodbye to one flatmate at the end of October who is off to be a Kayak Instructor in Kaikoura, and we’ll be saying goodbye to another flattie in a couple of weeks time. In this day and age with Facebook etc., I’m sure we’ll stay in touch!

We’re leaving NZ soon

James and I are feeling very sad that the end of our time in New Zealand is fast approaching, however this does mean that we are planning where to go next! I don’t want to share anything just yet because nothing is booked, but we have considered just about every country and continent. Let’s just say that it’s dependant on visas being accepted and on our funds, but whatever we do, it’s going to be amazing. 2017 is going to be another incredible year.

wellington, new zealand - spinthewindrose.com
We love you, Windy Welly

Spending and Saving

The last couple of months have been quite good money-wise; our biggest expenses have been on our rental car for the long weekend and on our GoPro. We’re trying to not go out for food/ drinks so much, but it’s difficult in a city that has such a good culinary scene!

Where to next?

Our plans for the next couple of months are looking good! We’ve got a couple of longer hikes planned while we are still working, and will finish up our jobs in mid-December. Then we will be travelling the South Island for our last week in New Zealand before flying home to the UK for Christmas. I’ll be seeing the New Year in with my best friends in Rotterdam in the Netherlands – I can’t wait!

tent selfies
Tent Selfie!

How have you been over the past couple of months? Did you celebrate Halloween or Guy Fawkes Night?

Thanks for reading & happy travels,

abbi-signature-spinthewindrose

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