I recently had to travel for work – it was the first time I had left my little family for an extended amount of time, so I was anxious about leaving them as well as travelling overseas for the first time for work. Luckily, the travel was to New Zealand which is an English speaking country and not too far way! I wanted to share the few photos I did manage to take of such a beautiful country in my short stay. It was also my first trip to New Zealand and will definitely have to return with my family for a holiday.
I stayed in New Plymouth which is on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. My first impression of New Plymouth was breathtaking! As the plane landed in the early evening, I was confronted by a snow covered mountain bathed in pink and orange reflecting the colours of the setting sun! As it was unexpected, it was such a nice sight to behold after a weary days’ travelling! I tried to take a photo of it through the taxi window but because we were in motion, it turned out quite blurred so have not been able to share it. Although, on the next day, I was able to capture a couple of lovely photos and have shared them below. The mountain is called Mt. Taranaki, I was lucky that it was still quite clear and it could be seen in the distance. I was told that some people who visit never get to see the mountain! I guess it was beginner’s luck – it was my first time visiting New Zealand and also to that region. I was very grateful that the mountain decided to come out in all it’s glory for that day! For the next couple of days, it was shrouded by the clouds as the rain rolled in.
I was also lucky enough to be able to fit in a quick walk to the Coastal Walkway which was only 5 mins from where I was staying. What a gorgeous place to be, with mountains on one side and the sea on the other! Although it was around 8.00am when I took these photos, the morning light was just beginning so it seems like much earlier in the day. The hours of daylight are quite short during winter in New Zealand and I was lucky enough to be able to do the walk on a clear day. With the clouds rolling in by that afternoon, along with wind and rain – I was unable to go for another walk for the duration I was there which was disappointing as I would have loved to walked to see the Te Rewa Rewa bridge.
My first visit to the North Island of New Zealand, even though short and not for leisure – did not disappoint. I was amazed at how lush and green the countryside was and how clear the air was. It was cold but not any colder than the winter we were experiencing in Australia. The top temperature was 14 degrees Celsius during the day which is not very warm but not as cold as I was expecting. I came prepared by layering my clothing and was spending most of my days indoors in the office so didn’t feel the cold quite as much.
I stayed in the State Hotel which was only two minutes walk to the office and was quite convenient. The State hotel is a quaint boutique hotel, with some eclectic interior design. I found myself taking photos of the reception area, sitting room and the room which would be my temporary home for the next few days. There were some choice pieces of furniture and decorative features which I found quite charming, I hope you enjoy them too.
I also took a few photos of the main street, cafes and eateries I was able to visit for breakfast and dinner nearby. The hotel is situated above an Irish pub called the Black Harp and an eatery called Joe’s Garage. I didn’t visit the pub because it had an open dining area and I craved a warm enclosed area to enjoy my meals – especially as the nights were quite cold. I did frequent Joe’s Garage for breakfast each day and also had dinner there on the first night since it was conveniently located just underneath the hotel and right next to the hotel entrance!
I visited a cafe which was 2 minutes away down the main street called Elixir cafe, there was great service and they serve locally sourced, sustainable food. I had battered market fish with chips and tartare sauce. For dessert, I had a small fruit salad with passionfruit syrup which is an item on the kids’ menu but I had a craving for fresh fruit and it proved a lovely choice. I found their decor interesting as they had plates that had been signed by guests on their walls.
I was also fortunate to be able to visit a Mediterranean restaurant called Kassaba, which was next to the Irish pub. The food and service there was also very nice for a cold, wet and rainy night! I enjoyed humus with warm pita bread, calamari and baklava with ice cream and fresh cream for dessert – very decadent!
The other photos I happened to take were through the aeroplane window when I was leaving Sydney and arriving in Auckland, then again arriving in New Plymouth. There are also photos from Auckland airport where the sky was clearing from the rain and dark skies on the morning I left New Plymouth – where at 7.00am, the sky was as black as midnight! I find airports a fascinating place – watching planes arrive and depart, wondering where they are coming from and where they might be heading, as well as observing the many passengers in transit or on their way to a new destination.
All in all, it was an enjoyable experience and a place I plan on visiting again with my family. I’ve been told the south island of New Zealand is even more beautiful and the scenery is spectacular! I’ve also been informed that you could compare the south island to European landscapes, especially Sweden! It was a great place to Laugh, love, live and will definitely be visiting to do it again soon! Even though the time difference is only 2 hours, after waking up at 3.45am Sydney time on the final day to travel to the airport, I was exhausted and in bed by 7.45pm that night! I find it is nice to travel and experience new places, but it is always nice to be home!