We love visitors!

Yes, yes, I know. It’s been ages.

Sorry about that. Thing is, I’ve started writing a book, so every time I feel like writing, I’ve been doing that instead. But Mr S keeps whinging at me about doing another blog post, and I’ve missed it – so here I am!

The biggest thing that happened since I last wrote was a visit from my Mum πŸ™‚ It had been exactly a year since we had last seen each other, the longest by far that we had ever gone without hugging. Skype had made it easier to be apart, but not seeing loved ones is still the most difficult thing about living in NZ.

We had the most wonderful adventures whilst she was here – it was fantastic to be able to show her around the city we love and call home.

Although, making her do an 8 mile walk on her first day here to ‘get rid of her jetlag’ might not have been the best idea. Mental note for next time – ease them in gently.

We had lots of fun exploring Zealandia, trying to get the perfect jumping-in-the-air photo on a swingbridge (we didn’t manage it) and daring each other to go into a cave covered in weta insects (Mum won, I’m a wuss).

We took her to The Roxy Cinema to meet Gandalf, the Maranui for the best brunch in Welly and the Library for cocktails.

Then we left Welly behind for a week and went on a fantastic whistlestop tour of the North Island. I made Mum do far more walking than she was comfortable with, but she threw herself into it with no fuss (most of the time). The most challenging part of the trip for Mum was camping for the first ever time!

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But she embraced the outdoors lifestyle and I think secretly enjoyed it by the end of the trip. We went to Taupo, Rotorua, made a stop off at Hobbiton, then to the Coromandel, Whakatane, Gisborne and Napier.

We explored the Huka Falls in Taupo and made use of the thermal pools at our campsite, then did the pool thing again in Rotorua. Camping in NZ is more luxurious bro!

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I took A LOT of photos at Hobbiton. Seriously, I can’t believe how much I enjoyed this place. I do enjoy the LOTR films, but I wouldn’t say I was a massive fan, so I was really surprised by how much I loved Hobbiton, I could have spent hours longer there!

Highlights were having a beer in the Green Dragon and having the mickey mercilessly ripped out of me for being the only one that could pass for a hobbit in the height department.

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From there we made our way to Whitianga in the Coromandel and stayed at a lovely cabin right near the beach. It was an awesome town with amazing beaches nearby. And we had an incredible boat trip out to Cathedral Cove – probably the best day of the whole holiday!

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Whakatane delivered the best pancakes ever and a possible All Black sighting.

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Gisborne was slightly disappointing, but Napier more than made up for it. I was so blown away by the incredible art deco architecture that I forgot to take any photos. Idiot.

We took photos at our amazing campsite though – right on the beach! Falling asleep and listening to the waves was magical.

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And then back home to Wellington, with time for a few more micro adventures before Mum had to leave. We spent time exploring the botanical gardens, complete with the obligatory ride on the cable car.

We had a ridiculously fun afternoon bodyboarding in Lyall Bay and managed to squeeze in about 60 more flat whites and as much brunch as possible.

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Saying goodbye to Mum at the airport was heart-breaking. I cried for hours afterwards and I think she alarmed some of the security staff by sobbing onto them as they checked her bag.

It’s wonderful having visitors, but so difficult to say farewell when they leave! Any strategies for sobbing prevention are gratefully received…

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