New Zealand Wrap-up #1

A new week, a new country and a totally new destination for me. For 10 days I will be in the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’, and several smaller rounder ones. Staying near my son’s partner’s parents in the Waikato home to some of New Zealand’s most stunning landscapes. I may get to explore a little further, but I’m actually quite content to soak in the views from where we are staying and chill out with my new grandson.

Home Sweet Home

We are staying high above Ngarunui (Ocean) Beach. Located 5km west of town this wide expanse of black sand beach lends itself to lazy beach walks and picnics in the sand. It’s also a popular spot for surfing, bodyboarding and swimming.


Views from the Barn

What transfixes me the most is the colour of the water – a cloudy, milky turquoise, possibly because of the black sand, which is the finest powder sand I have come across and glitters in the sun.


Raglan is a small surfer town on the coast and boasts the world-famous surf break Manu Bay. The long, peeling left-hand break, said to offer one of the longest rides in the world, featured in the 1966 surfing film Endless Summer. Situated on the West Coast of New Zealand’s North Island, just a 45-minute drive west of Hamilton or a two-hour drive south of Auckland, Raglan  offers stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, inspiring arts or simply a good old cup of coffee.




You may have eaten Kiwi fruit,  but these are golden kiwi fruit and taste SO much better. Sweeter and without that odd chemical reaction that I and many others have when eating the green fruit. I am becoming addicted!

Christmas Trees

Pohutukawa Tree
Pohutukawa Tree

The pohutukawa tree (Metrosideros excelsa) with its crimson flower has become an established part of the New Zealand Christmas tradition. This iconic Kiwi Christmas tree, which often features on greeting cards and in poems and songs, has become an important symbol for New Zealanders at home and abroad. It is just about to flower so I hope to capture some good shots of trees in full bloom before I leave.

 Happy Days…!

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

52 thoughts on “New Zealand Wrap-up #1”

  1. Looks like paradise, Jude. Enjoy your stay there and make the most of those delicious sounding yellow kiwi fruits. I’ve only ever had the green ones. The Pohutukawa tree is so pretty. 🙂

    1. I hope they come out more in flower before I leave here, they must look amazing in full bloom when there are alot of them together.

  2. This is amazing scenery Jude, and your words convey its essence and your pleasure. Being in one place for ten days is the way to do it – and time with your grandson as well. Enjoy it all, as you obviously are, until the return to winter.

    1. The scenery around here is beautiful. Rolling green hills,volcanic black sand, mountains, bush. I want to get out with my camera and walk! Definitely a country I want to return to.

  3. New Zealand is a scenery smorgasbord. Hope you’ve got plenty of memory cards!

    I love yellow kiwi fruit (not only sweeter but less hairy). I’m hoping they’ll turn up in my fruit and veg box before too long.

  4. Learning a lot from this Jude, as well as enjoying the photos. I didn’t know that they had black sand beaches, and had never heard of yellow kiwi fruit. Those houses intrigue me. (In the first shot) They look like Nissen Huts, the soldiers’ accommodation from WW2. Is it a holiday home, or do they live there? The noise of rain on that curved metal roof must be amazing to hear.
    Regards as always, Pete. x

    1. It’s all very volcanic Pete. The black sand is very fine and also gets very hot too! The barns are quite cool – the one on the left of the picture is a holiday home, the smaller one is lived in by the owner. Superb views over the Tasmin Sea. The ceiling is quite well insulated with curved plywood boards so you don’t really hear the rain and the acoustics inside are fairly strange!

  5. Jude, your photos look absolutely amazing, I hope you’re having a fantastic time, I’m not jealous in the slightest.

    1. Cheers Kev! Beats the Shires, that’s for sure – though actually “The Shire” aka Hobbiton is not that far away 🙂

      1. It didn’t click with me that you were on your travels again until I read this post, I haven’t had much time to look through your latest adventures, hopefully I will over Christmas. Are you staying there over Christmas. We’ll have to have a proper catch up when you get back.

        1. Back next week, so Christmas in the cold as usual, though actually I prefer it like that. Not that I DO Christmas any more, I think the older you get the less enjoyable it becomes.

  6. I can see you having no cause for complaint 🙂 That first shot of the view from your strangely shaped barn is my favourite. Is the roof rounded inside?

  7. I see what you mean about the water. A glorious color. All the photos are breathtaking. The barn, where you are staying looks quite a large accommodation. If that for a single family / couple or are there units?

  8. I’m going to be hunting down the golden kiwifruit, Jude – looks really yummy ! You give such good coverage to the places you visit; you should be writing for a travel mag.
    I have spoken.

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