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. I’m not jealous either. Beautiful scenery, black fine sand beaches, yellow kiwis, those magnificent Pohutukawa trees …. nope, not jealous. Much. 🙂

    1. I am loving the golden kiwis. Apparently they are only available for a short period so I am glad I am here at the right time.

  2. Jude it looks absolutely fantastic! Have a wonderful stay and when you walk on the beach think of me for a moment and send me some of the warmth. Your photos make me yearn for the ocean.

    1. The more time I spend near the ocean the more I know I want to live near the coast. But I won’ be able to afford to live as close as this in the UK!

  3. I can see NZ has captured your heart Jude, it is a glorious country and you are doing it justice with your lovely photos. You are in the best place for when the pohutukawa trees are in full bloom, usually about mid to late December, they are stunning along that coast line.

    1. Stunning indeed! I think I shall miss the best of them though as we leave on Friday and the weather forecast for the rest of the week is rather wet!

  4. Interesting and tasty report, Jude. Now, why can’t the kiwis here be like this??
    Happy chilling with your new grandson, enjoy! 🙂

  5. The first sea and sky shot is stunning Jude, all that blue, even the cliffs. Do you venture into the sea? The little sparrow should make you feel at home. There is a fruit shop near me that used to get golden kiwis but I haven’t seen them for several years, they are so much sweeter, I really miss them. Enjoy your grandson 🙂

    1. I haven’t been in the sea for years Gilly, other than paddling along the shoreline 🙂 I have seen loads of sparrowhawks, but not close enough to photograph.

  6. happy indeed. What I love is staying with friends/family that takes us to places off the tourist trail and all the better for it. Evocative pics, Mrs.

  7. That looks like a place that can make someone swim, surf, etc even for someone like me who is afraid of water. That is really a beautiful place.

    1. Thank you for your visit, the water can be deceptive though because it is very cold and there are some serious riptides, but it is stunning to look at and walk along the shoreline 🙂

  8. A lovely post Jude – looks quite beautiful. Have a wonderful visit and especially enjoy your new grandson! They grow up SO fast it’s hard to believe!

    1. Sadly back home now Tina, but I had a great time and lots of grandson cuddles – he’s such a little fighter (only 1.2 kg at birth) – and has such a cheeky smile!

      1. Wow Jude, he MUST be a fighter. Even more loveable after a rough start! Tell them to take lots of photos for you. I’m a big fan of FaceTime live chats. Have a Happy!

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