My dream holiday – New Zealand – last part

My review of this amazing holiday has gone on far longer than I planned, but hey, I have the photos, and it was a truly awesome trip, so why not?

Anyway, this will be the last, but not the least, instalment.

For our final week, we based with a good friend, Julia, many moons ago one of my trainee grooms, who now lives in the beautiful South Island coastal resort of Kaikoura. Even approaching the town is a photo op you can’t ignore, with a massive seal colony and stunning coast line.

First, we stopped at this magical waterfall

IMGA0003 This is a well known baby seal nursery, but sadly it was empty that day. Still beautiful anyway.

Crossing the road then put us right on the coast, and no shortage of seals (and boy, could you smell them!)

And then on to Kaikoura’s stunning coastline, just around the headland.

Driving  up to Julia’s about half a mile inland, couldn’t help but stop and take these pics of agapanthus, which grow everywhere.


a pic of one of Julia’s many pets:



and neighbours

CIMG2773  CIMG2789

Kuna kuna pig, meaning 'great fat pig' - you'll spot these in the village of Bree, near Hobbiton in the Shire

Kuna kuna pig, meaning ‘great fat pig’ – you’ll spot these in the village of Bree, near Hobbiton in the Shire

We took a few day trips out while based there, including going to see Peter Jackson’s incredible air museum, with stunning mock ups of WW1 war scenes as well as artefacts


Real story about a pilot who jumped from his crashing plane and survived

Real story about a pilot who jumped from his crashing plane and survived


We took a little walk just down the road from Julia’s house

That's Julia's youngest playing in the river - now I totally see why they want to live there!

That’s Julia’s youngest playing in the river – now I totally see why they want to live there!

And for the finale, we went swimming with dolphins 🙂

This entailed a 5 am start – the earlier in the day you go, the fresher the dolphins, and the more likely they are to be interested in you – and make no mistake, tourists are there for the dolphin’s amusement, not the other way around.

Sadly I failed to take photos on the trip out, so, so silly, as we were treated to the glorious sight of young albatross skimming the wake of our boat as the sun rose. Sigh. Not something to forget in a hurry.

It was flippin’ cold as we motored out, and I wrapped up in a blanket, worrying how frozen we would be when we got into the water despite the full wet suits and flippers provided, but when it came time, and we sat on the rear shelf of the small boat with our feet in the water, it was a truly pleasant surprise, not cold at all.

We had snorkels, which I’ve never used before, and that made me a bit anxious. I’ve been a life guard in a previous job so I’m a strong swimmer, but never tried snorkling, and it definitely wasn’t my thing! I ended up clinging to a float, all the better to use my nifty water-proof camera.

Now you won’t see too much in these short vids – there is no warning when these gorgeous beasites will show up, and they go as fast as they come, but you’ll get a tiny idea of what it was like

Please excuse the silly noises – that’s what draws the dolphins to you. I’m sure it entertains them! And if you listen, you’ll hear the odd squee back from them too.

I’m not too thrilled with the quality of the videos when uploaded to youtube – they look far better on my home screen, sorry about that.

You might just spot an albatross at the start of this one…

And then it was time to go 😦

Here is the professional video – or what it should look like!

The day of our departure happened to be Julia’s birthday, so by way of a present I gave her a lesson on one of her horses – she’d asked if I wanted to work while out there, but for once I’d decided to have a work-free holiday. This didn’t feel like work though, it was so lovely to help her again after so many years.

So we set off from Kaikoura – reluctantly – to head to Christchurch, where we were catching a plane back to Auckland for our flight home to the UK. Christchurch is still recovering from the devastating earthquake of a couple of years ago





But you have to admire the spirit of these New Zealanders – although at least 25000 people have had to move out of the city (no jobs anymore) new opportunities are opening up all the time, like this innovative shopping centre, created totally out of ships’ containers:




Isn’t that grand?

And so we finally waved goodbye to a fabulous country, taking home so many amazing memories – and plans for another visit some unspecified time in the future – when we can:

  1. afford it
  2. face the thought of 24 hours in a plane again!

And just to prove we aren’t totally Lord of the Rings biased, how about this scenic view?


Picture a little farmhouse in the middle of this field, a motorcycle – and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine…



  1. Lovely photos–so glad you’ve enjoyed your vacation!


    1. Thanks Connie – It truly was a fantastic holiday 😀


  2. magic ❤ I have a tear in my eye now – missing you and so looking forward to seeing you guys soon! Was awesome to have you staying with us!!


    1. Hey Julia, lovely of you to drop in! I’m itching to come back – if only it wasn’t so far…


  3. Once again you create a yearning for New Zealand, Debby.
    And I can certainly relate to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in the last photo. 😀


    1. 😀 We rode (horseback) across the bridge you see him ride his motorcycle over in the film and our guide pointed out the faux pas the film editors made – as it is NZ, they drive on the left, with appropriate arrows painted on the road. The one on the bridge got left in the film, even though he was on the RHS as it was supposed to be in the US.


  4. […] (if you’ve missed the posts you can find them here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), which is, of course, where Xena was filmed, I was thrilled to come across, quite by accident, a […]


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