Well, I guess the big news this month is our move to New Zealand.
All our stuff was packed up and taken away in the last (and very hot) days of November and went we to spend our last few nights in the hospitality of Chris & Judy's home. On December 4th - the day before Andy's birthday - we bid farewell to Sydney and boarded a plane to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. Our new home city put on a great show of fine weather to welcome us, which we took as a good omen. It was the last decent weather we would see before Christmas.
We had a little surprise for Andy on her birthday. I took her to a café for lunch and who should walk in but Andy's father, Bobby, and sister, Lynda, all the way from Ireland and England, respectively. She was quite overwhelmed! Our two visitors spent the next ten days in Wellington and we spent several of them exploring the surrounds of the city: the Martinborough wine region, Featherston, the Rimatuka ranges, and the Kapiti Coast, to name a few. Bob & Lynda also helped us to do all the mundane stuff like house hunting. We couldn't find anything we liked despite a concentrated effort and were beginning to get a bit panicked (we wanted to be set up with a house in time for the arrival of our belongings the day after we got back from our Christmas trip to Christchurch). Finally we were driven out to the harbour-side suburb of Seatoun and shown a cute little 3-bedroom number within sound of the sea. We'd found our new home! With that major task out of the way we packed Andy off to Australia for work and I joined Bobby & Lynda on the first leg of their tour of the South Island.
Collingwood, Tasman, New Zealand
Bobby, Lynda & I caught the Interislander Ferry from Wellington to Picton and then drove West, all the way round to Collingwood (incidentally the starting point for the Heaphy Hiking Track). We set up digs in a cabin at the Collingwood Camp Ground and then slipped down to the pub for dinner and a few pints. I do believe Lynda and I played the longest game of pool in history, too!
The next few days were fairly relaxed. Bob and I would drop Lynda at the beach and then go off exploring. We took in Pu Pu Springs (my second visit to this wondrous place) and Farewell Spit and did some general exploring. Each evening we would return to the cabin for beer and food and cards (Kalookie). On the third day I left Bob & Lynda to continue their South Island tour whilst I returned to Wellington by bus and plane. I spent the rest of the week doing 'new city admin'. It was nice to have Andy back from Oz at the end of that week, I can tell you!
Christmas 2004 - Christchurch, New Zealand
On December 22nd we boarded a plane down to Christchurch to spend the Festive Season in my parent's house. For the next ten days, or so, we feasted and relaxed and did very little. Bobby & Lynda joined us after their rain-drenched tour (I'm not sure Lynda will ever come back to NZ, the weather was that bad) and Bex & Pete arrived down from Auckland, so the house was pleasantly full of noise and people. Activities included an inspiring afternoon on the property of an owner-builder friend of Mum's and a few days in Akaroa (which included a great morning's outing on the harbour onboard the historic 'Fox II'). We did New Year's Eve at home with copious quantities of Margarita and a fine view of the fireworks over the city. Welcome to 2005!
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