When September Ends…

Hey everyone!

This is what I’ve been doing pretty much every day this week. Maybe minus the chocolate. Even I would feel bad if I’d eaten that amount of chocolate every day. Maybe.

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Day five of the Autumnal Cold brought more breathlessness but added a hint of crackly chest just to keep my days from mashing together. Today is day six and I can finally get a proper breath. Some hearty food at a rugby club lunch and a walk on the beach made me feel awesome but definitely tired me out! Early bed tonight! The past few nights have been a tad sleepless; my anxiety ignites when I can’t breathe. Funny that.

In a desperate act to show that my week hasn’t been a completely wasted few days of Ally McBeal (anyone else used to watch that?!) and hot drinks, I thought I’d throw together a quick blog on September. Fergus and I took a wee family holiday to Turkey at the start of the month but I might dedicate a while blog to that….I haven’t decided yet. We did lots of history stuff and I took a f**k-ton of photos and long time readers of the blog know I love a wee history lesson! I loooove an information board!

So…because I am too tired to write a blog with history in it…here are some photos of beeeauutiful Fife. I love Autumn!

These two are from the West Braes in Pittenweem; first one over to St Monans and one over Pittenweem.

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St Monans Harbour
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St Monans Kirk

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Morning sun catching a spiderweb on the grounds of University of St Andrews

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I sometimes work in a couple of different places in a day so I get to stretch my legs between buildings and take some yummy photos!

This is my latest project…..

Christmas tags!!!! Starting on the cards tonight! Hoping to get them all ready to be sold for the start of November.

Quiet night in tonight with my mother-in-law’s dog, Tipzi, while Fergus is on a work night out. Planning more hot drinks, biscuits and Christmas card painting. And maybe some Disney. Surely with a Saturday night like that I’ll wake up feeling better?!?!

Speak soon, K xxx

The Joy of Soup.

I made courgette soup this evening with the abundance of courgette from our garden and chicken stock from dinner a couple of nights ago. I have a sneaking suspicion that it might taste better tomorrow.

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Is there really a better way to spend a Thursday evening than watching Planet Earth and having soup with bread and butter for supper? I’m also having night time tea that has lavender in it because I am a grown up that makes good decisions!

In all honesty, I would much prefer a cup of Scottish Blend but I’m trying to improve my night time routine to improve my sleep to improve my life! I feel like lavender, oatflower and limeflower tea might be a good direction. I don’t know what oatflowers or limeflowers are but I’m putting my trust in Pukka.

Tomorrow brings a creative afternoon with Lorri which makes me feel all sparkly inside! Much needed art time! Attempted some doodling while watching the Little Mermaid the other night…

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I don’t even know. But it was an enjoyable night while Fergus was at rugby training.

Sleep well, K xxx

Decisions…

We are stuck. Stuck between jacking it all in to go travelling again or starting to build our little plot of happiness here in Scotland. We know there is no right answer; I don’t think we’d look back five years down the road and think that we had made the wrong choice. But as I sit here in bed with a cup of tea, looking through my favourite photos of our time in New Zealand, I can’t help but think that a little over three years ago, we made the decision to go. And it was the best decision we ever made.

I think coming home has made us scared, has ebbed away at our recent brave outlook on life. Home is safe. Home has our friends and family. As I sit here in bed with a cup of tea, all I can think is “I want to go home.”

What is it? What is “home’? Where you feel safest? Where you feel most at peace? Where you are surrounded by loved ones who want the best for you and hate to be without you? For me, it’s where I feel the most…me. And I don’t know if this home is my home anymore. I feel as though we have had a taste of the life that is the best life we can lead but, in a way, it’s a life of uncertainty. But isn’t all life uncertain?

I feel like I’m getting a bit deep for a Monday night. Here are some of my favourite photos that I’ve been pondering over as I sit here in bed with a cup of tea.

London baby…and Harry Potter!

Hey everyone!

I have been neglecting my blog for the past few months for a couple of reasons. One is that I wasn’t too sure what to do with it now that we are home and the second was because I haven’t been feeling very creative.

Fergus and I have been home for over six months now and it has been a lot harder to adjust to life here in Scotland again than we thought it would be. We miss the freedom of the travelling life, we miss our little van, Mabel, and we miss New Zealand.

Being home has two of the best things though; our family and our friends who have been amazingly generous and kind and gentle with us in the last few months.

It is the weirdest feeling to be at home surrounded by the people we love but to feel so out of place. It has been hard, and it still is, but we are lucky enough to understand how the other is feeling and hopefully it will get us motivated to start planning our next trip!

So…what have we been up to since we surprised our loved ones by coming home for Christmas?? Well, I think I’ll split six months into two blogs and this one will be dedicated to creativity and our Harry Potter themed trip to London!

Let’s start with creativity! When my anxiety gets the better of me, the first thing is steals is my creativity. I’m not sure why this is. Despite being naturally creative, it does still take energy and focus and love to be so. It has slowly been returning and this is mainly due to a very good friend of mine, Lorri.

Lorri proposed that we start focussing on our own practice again, whether it’s just sharing space for separate projects or working together. Jumping back into your own creativity can be intimidating and isolating but by creating a friendly supportive space, we are remembering the sheer joy and happiness, thoughtfulness and inspiration that comes from working in a studio type environment with a good friend and endless cups of tea.

Lorri has this book…

It’s pretty cool. Each page has a different exploration or prompt and we have decided to set ourselves a week for each little project. We choose numbers at random so as not to stay in our comfort zones.

I’ve actually decided to use our first exploration as a starting point for my own continuing work.

Second week coincided with a trip to London for Fergus and me. Introducing project number two; Accidental Art.

“Look with all your eyes, look.”

London was kind of a continuation of my 30th birthday as, for my birthday, Fergus gave me tickets to see a live podcast; Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. Since we were all the way down there, I thought we could fit in a wee trip to the Harry Potter studios. I should maybe explain here what Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is.

About a year and a half ago, we were living with some very dear friends of ours just outside Takaka in Golden Bay, New Zealand. Our friends, John and Betsy, own a dairy farm and offered us a place to stay and work for a while. Fergus worked on the farm while I tried to make myself useful around the house. Some days could be lonely when everyone was out working or milking and I tried to paint or draw or walk, mostly unsuccessfully!

One day, Lorri sent me a link to a podcast called Harry Potter and the Sacred Text and one day, whilst making cake for the workers, I decided to give it a whirl.

Oh my goodness.

It was real adults! Real adults speaking about Harry Potter! Books I knew inside out that most dismiss as children’s books being analysed and poured over with love…but more than that….they were being read as a sacred text. Instead of trying (and probably failing miserably) to explain the awesomeness of this podcast and the hosts, I have lifted an explanation straight from the website.

“This podcast creates time in your week to think about life’s big questions. Because reading fiction doesn’t help us escape the world, it helps us live in it.

On this podcast, we ask: What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts?

Each week, we explore a central theme through which to explore the characters and context, always grounding ourselves in the text. We’ll engage in traditional forms of sacred reading to unearth the hidden gifts within even the most mundane sentences.”

This is the website; if you are a fan of Harry Potter, you MUST listen to this podcast! ⬇⬇⬇

http://www.harrypottersacredtext.com

This is me with with Casper ter Kuile and Vanessa Zoltan. Look at my actual face! That, for anyone who doesn’t know my photo smiles, is my ‘very excited and happy but might pee’ smile.

Anyways, I had a magical night and now we are besties….in my head.

Some photos of the Harry Potter Studios….it was magical! The artistry and attention to detail was just legendary!

Until the next post…speak soon, K xxx

So We Lied; Our Journey Home for Christmas!

Little late buuuut….Happy New Year, everyone!

We completely lied (okay, I completely lied!) on our last blog…and we came home for Christmas! It was a really hard surprise to keep from you all so we apologise for lying our butts off for months. But it was totally worth it just for my mum’s reaction alone! It was also nearly eight weeks ago so this blog is totally overdue!

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I wrote our last blog from Ngatea on our last night in New Zealand before flying out of Auckland the next night. We navigated Auckland (not a fun place to drive) to get the rental car back and bussed it out to the airport for a short seven hour wait for our 1am flight…

We had fluffy kiwis at the ready so all the kids would like us when we got home!

We flew out of Auckland at 1am on November 30th, had a quick stopover in Singapore and arrived back in Heathrow, London at 3pm on November 30th just in time for rush hour. After nearly 30 hours of travelling by bus, plane and tube, we made it to Fiona and Brian (friends of my parents) and an awesome dinner!

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Beautiful welcome home to the UK from Fiona and Brian

After a few nights catching up on sleep and Brian being very strict about not going to bed too early, we ventured on to see my cousin, Angharad, and her husband, Jason. We finally met little Bronwen who really isn’t so little and she can say ‘Auntie Katy’. Yes, there were tears…from me. Just a couple of nights with them before flying back home to Scotland and an awesome welcome at Edinburgh airport from Emma and Maisie. Well…eventually from Maisie after we gave her a fuzzy kiwi and she warmed up to us!

At this point, most of our families and friends still didn’t know we were home. We surprised Ferg’s mum the same night we got home but not before scoffing down a fish supper from Anstruther! I mean…it’s been nearly two years!

Wednesday was the day of the biggest surprise. My brother and I had been planning for mooooonths! Fergus and I started out our morning with a wander down to the harbour in St Monans to watch the sun come up on our first morning at home. Now, wandering around St Monans is not the way to keep things secret in the East Neuk so, just in case word got out, we headed off to surprise some more people. We started with Snoots who was in bed with a chest infection. Then along to Crail to surprise the fishermen; Ferg’s dad, Bill, and his brother, Steven, who were keeping warm by the fire in the shed.

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Doon the bench at St Monans harbour

In the afternoon, Emma and Maisie drove us over to Broughty Ferry to hide out at my Auntie Lynn and Uncle Grant’s and have some dinner before the biggest surprise!!We had bought Mum and Dad tickets to see Scrooge at the Rep in Dundee and a pre-theatre dinner. I dropped off a card earlier that afternoon and had arranged for a bottle of Prosecco for the table, you know, just to keep up the pretence!

Then Ferg, Ross and I waited….and it was so worth it! Dad looked like he was having a heart attack while Mum screamed from the corner. The best reaction by far!

The first basket was our welcome home present from Billy and Emma and the second was our Scottish themed Christmas from my brother, Ross.

We spent December catching up with friends and family and generally just having a wonderful time!

Some photos from out and about Pittenweem harbour and Newark Castle in St Monans. The fishing boats in the harbour had Christmas lights up the masts. It was so pretty!

Since coming home, we have been living with Billy, Emma and Maisie but have managed to line up a wee flat just a couple of streets down and we move in next month. I’ve just started a new job and we spent this afternoon updating Ferg’s CV. He’s been doing odd jobs here and there.

It has been a bit weird coming home but our friends and family have been pure awesome helping us re-adjust to life here. Thank you to you all for your support and love; you have all been truly amazing!

Just some quick ‘thank you’s before I crack into the leftover gluhwein…

Thank you to Billy and Emma for letting us stay in their spare room for all this time while we get back on our feet.

Thank you to Brigitta for being one of the bestest pals I’ve ever met. I miss you dreadfully.

Thank you to Graham and Estelle for bringing two complete strangers into your home and making it feel like our home, too. Can’t wait to do the same when you get to Scotland!

Thank you to John, Betsy, Robin and Dorothy. Where do we even start with you guys?! Thank you for welcoming us into your homes and treating us like family, for looking after us and making us feel at home in New Zealand and for generally just being awesome!

The biggest thank you goes to Nic. Without your friendship, we never would have packed it all in and followed our dream; you are the reason we made it to New Zealand. You have taught us so much about life and love in the few years we have been friends. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Final one….thank you to everyone for reading our blog. It started as a way of keeping our family and friends up to date on our travels but quickly turned into a visual diary and a creative outlet for me. It has sometimes been frustrating (ask Fergus!) and time consuming and technically demanding but what an amazing way to look back on our wonderful memories. Thank you for following our adventure!

Speak soon, K xxx

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Driving North with Mabel…

Kia ora, everyone!

When last I wrote, we were at the top of the South Island and today I wrote from the top of the North Island. Another month has passed in a flash and it is only now we have started to realise our adventure here in Aotearoa New Zealand is coming close to an end. I think selling Mabel has really brought it home. Our visas run out halfway through January so we expect to be home by the end of the month, maybe early February. No plans as yet because it’s much more exciting to not have a plan! We are thinking of travelling through Thailand or another part of Asia on the way home so any pointers are welcome!

We left Kimi Ora in Kaiterteri for the last time just over three weeks ago. Introducing Brigitta and the lovely Tilly. Tilly is the slightly evil looking one in the middle (and a dog) and Brigitta is the one of the left (and most definitely a person). She is, in fact, one of the best people I have met ever! Ours is a friendship that came entirely by chance but was so entirely welcome. It can be hard to make friends when you don’t stay in any one place for too long but we connected so instantly that I knew it was the beginning of a life time friendship! Plus, Brigitta is half Austrian so she’ll be in Europe at some point soon! Right, Geets?!

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This is us having some much needed beach days when we all finally got coinciding days off!

From Kaiteriteri, we drove back over the hill to spend some time with John and Betsy and their son, Hamish, his partner, Mon, and the newest addition to the family, little Georgia! And, of course, Hank!

John and Betsy have taken us in and looked after us like their own family; their kindness has been just awesome! Truly two in a million! Thank you, thank you, thank you, John and Betsy!!!

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Us on the farm meeting some of the new calves and me pretending to fit in to life on the farm! Rocking the overalls and gumboots!

After some sad goodbyes (mainly on my part), we left the farm to explore the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island before we took the ferry back to the North Island. We met a Scottish couple that I traded some Scottish Blend teabags with for some Irn Bru and we went swimming in the sea for the first in months!

Mabel’s first trip on the ferry…we think!

Only stayed a night in Wellington but we got to meet the cutest babies, Tom and Olive, who belong to Nic’s sister, Amy, and her husband, Glen. They had only just found out they were pregnant when we last stayed over near the start of our time here. After a night in a proper bed and a hot shower, we were ready for more exploring!

Cape Palliser at the bottom of the North Island gave us the Putangirua Pinnacles….guess where you’ve seen it before……………..

……………………..Lord of the Rings: Return of the Ring!

 

From there we started to head towards Gisborne on the east coast of the North Island, stopping over for  a night at a farm we had wwoofed at before and spent an awesome night with Craig catching up over beers and games.

This was the sad day we passed Mabel on to her new owners and the next day when we spent over nine hours on a bus from Gisborne to Auckland. We only spent two nights in the city but wandered around a little and saw the art gallery. By the second day, we had decided that carrying our backpacks and travelling by bus was not for us. We hired a car and headed north up to Northland to explore some more.

History Part! Ready…….

Waitangi Treaty Grounds; Aotearoa New Zealand’s most important historic site where a treaty was signed between the British Crown and the prominent chiefs of the indigenous Maori on 6th February 1840. The principle aims for the Crown were to protect Maori interest from the vast numbers of settlers arriving from Europe, to provide for British settlement and to establish a government therefore maintaining order. Each Maori iwi (tribe) had their own laws put in place by the rangatira (chief) so the notion of central governance employed by the British was confusing and caused much upset because the British often disregarded Maori law. The Maori and the British also had very different ideas of land law. The Maori believed the land to be theirs to live off and on and belonging to the iwi instead of an individual. The British viewed land as a commodity to be bought and sold under one owner. When the Treaty was translated from English into Maori, there were some discrepancies which are being disputed to this day.

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Traditional Maori marae (meeting house) Image courtesy of https://www.russelltop10.co.nz/bay-of-islands-holiday-giveaway/

The Treaty Grounds are home to two of the nation’s icons. The first is the marae (above), which is a carved Maori meeting house, built by the Ngapuhi tribe to represent all Maori iwi and to commemorate the centenary of the first signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. This one is named ‘Te Whare Runanga’ and is traditionally this would be where all social meetings take place. This was constructed facing the building that housed the first British resident and his family as a sign of friendship between the two peoples.

The second icon is the ceremonial waka taua (war canoe) named ‘Ngatokimatawhaorua’. It is one of the largest Maori waka at 37.5 metres long, 2 metres wide, weighing 12 tonnes. It requires a crew of 80 to take it out on the water safely and would still fit another 55 warriors in alongside those rowing. Probably a pretty terrifying sight at one time.

Carvings are how Maori tell their stories, history and geneology. A moko (face tattoo) tell of ancestry and lineage and, because the head was seen as the most sacred part of the body, face tattos were a symbol of rank, social status, power and prestige. If you are super intetested, here is one of the websites that I used when I was researching Maori history. It goes into great detail of the legends and history behind the Maori art of Ta Moko and well worth a read!⬇

http://www.zealandtattoo.co.nz/tattoo-styles/maori-tattoo/

Extra fact….

Aotearoa was said to have been discovered by Kupe but named by his wife, Hine-te-Aparangi. When out on the waka (boat) searching for the reason there were no fish o be caught around their island of Hawaiiki, Hine-te-Aparangi called out “He ao! He ao tea! He ao tea roa!” It translates “a long white cloud” which meant land was to be found behind. The land became known as Aotearoa.

The next day we went in search of nature and swimming after a day of history and learning! There are wo different waterfalls in the area we stayed; Rainbow Falls and Haruru Falls (bottom two photos). You just make out a rainbow in the second photo! It was too beautiful not to go for a swim at Rainbow Falls!

Up in the centre of Northland, we spent four nights in two of the coolest airbnb places we could find! The last two photos are of a studio hut in the bush with runs on solar electricity and I think the water comes from a nearby stream. The other three photos are of a house bus named Evie that relies on rainwater. Gathering lots of ideas just as we hope it will help us to be somewhat self-sufficent when we settle in our own little spot. At least we’d never run out of rain water in Scotland!

On Sunday just past, we booked onto a wee ferry over from Paihia on the east coast to Urupukapuka Island. The Bay of Islands have around 144 islands all together and Urupukapuka is one of the largest. The islands have no pests (rats, stoats, rabbits) so the bird life is abundant! The Department of Conservation is working really hard to eradicate invasive and introduced predators from New Zealand which were all brought here by Europeans; either on purpose for food or by accident on ships. Even without much sun, we swam in the sea and got sunburnt….first time in the whole time here!

Last night was maybe one of the most magical places we have stayed at in the whole of New Zealand! A tree house!!! It was childhood fantasy brought to life! Decided on a video (at the bottom) instead of a ton of photos. We were so sad to leave after only one night but what a magical night! We sat on the little deck watching the sun set through the trees with a glass of wine.

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Back at our home base for a couple of nights with Robin and Dorothy to figure out our next move. Not sure where the next couple of months will take us yet but it’s exciting! Spending Christmas with Nic, Keiran, Robin, Dorothy, Amy, Glen and the babies in Waihi so lots of swimming in the ocean and barbeques to come!

Apologies for any mistakes but it’s super late, I can hear snoring all around me as I type from the computer in the hallway and I just wanted to get to bed!

Speak soon, K xxx

 

Our Adventures from the Last Few Weeks…

Hi everyone! Finally getting my butt into gear to update our blog! We left Clyde in Central Otago a little over three weeks ago and have managed to pack quite a bit in.

First of all, we want to thank Graham and Estelle; two of the most awesome people ever!!! They made us feel so at home for four months and, sometimes, that is just what you need. And they are coming to our side of the world for next year’s holiday!

 

Secondly, a totally massive thank you to everyone at my work, Dunstan Hotel. What a crazy, awesome bunch! Hospo is a pretty hard industry to be in but a fab team like these guys certainly makes it easier. I definitely didn’t take enough photos since half the crazy, awesome bunch are missing! Thank you to Kat and Tracy for being such good friends and helping me through. Thank you to Nuno (Smirnoff) for keeping my banter on top form, ya prick! Thank you to Joey, Atrael and Jamie for being fab kitchen guys! Thank you to Brylie for just being cute. Thank you to Tash for coming in exactly when I needed you and being a legend! Thank you to Sarah for the laughs and chats and thank you to Robyn for giving me a shot in the first place after possibly the shortest interview ever! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

From Clyde, we travelled west to Te Anua. We have been there before but wanted to explore a little more without the constraints of a tour bus! I put the map in below just to show actual locations but mainly just to show off the fact that I have finally learned how to take a screenshot! Way hey!

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This is a small selection of the hundreds of photos taken of some places that we explored and camped along the way between Te Anua and Milford Sounds. The second image is a kea which Fegus was very excited about! They are about the size of a parrot and this one tried to eat the rubber from Mabel’s door frame. One night, we made brie and sweet chilli toasties and chocolate bananas…we eat pretty well for travellers.

 

Milford Sounds! It was so rainy and windy the last time we were here and this trip could not have been more different. It was so sunny and beautiful and we spent nearly the whole time up the top of the boat. And we saw seals and a dolphin!

Sciencey Part!

Milford Sound is not actually a sound, but a fiord hence the area’s name, Fiordland. A fiord is created by a glacier which washes away the bedrock of an area as it tumbles down and is then filled by the sea. The Norwegian word ‘fiord’ translates to ‘where one fares through’.

 

The Southern Alps (the mountain range that lies right up the middle of the South Island) are the result of the Indo-Australian plate plunging beneath the Pacific Plate. This meeting point between plates is known as the Alpine Fault.

The fiords here are made up of fresh water running from the mountains and salt water from the Tasman Sea. The sea water is crystal clear but is hidden by a layer of forest-dyed brown water on top and the two do not mix. The layer of dark water above means that loads of deep-sea species can be found just ten metres below the surface.

Next roadtrip and screenshot! Te Anau to Bluff, stopping at Lake Manapori and then with a friend of Graham and Estelle’s in Riverton for a couple of nights on the way down.

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From the very top of the North Island in the first photo, Cape Reinga, to the (almost) very bottom of the South Island in the second, Bluff. The southernmost point besides Stewart Island is Slope Point but Bluff is the prettier of the two and has the big yellow signpost!

 

Underneath are a couple from the Queens Park in Invercargill where we spent a few hours waiting on Mabel getting her warrant of fitness. Two new tyres and a window scoosher later, we were back on the road!

A very nice guy at a campsite gave us some paua that he had been diving for that very morning so we cooked it up with some cream and mushroom and had a picnic in the evening sun! I say “we cooked”, I obviously mean Fergus but I documented and tidied!

 

On to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of NZ and known for both Maori and Scottish heritage. We packed loooads in here!

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One of the most beautiful buildings in New Zealand, Dunedin Station and 18,869km away from Edinburgh!

 

On the first day we visited the Cadbury factory and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and stayed the night with Estelle’s mum. We were ready for a big day of sightseeing after a good night’s sleep and a massive breakfast so we started in the Octagon (Dunedin’s city centre) with St Paul’s Cathedral and First Church. Dunedin, the Gaelic name for Edinburgh, is definitely the most similar place to home with a huge number of the streets named after the streets of our capital. The Octagon even has a statue of Rabbie Burns!

The rest of the morning was spent at the Otago Settler’s Museum. We learnt about Kāi Tahu, the principal Māori iwi (tribe) of the southern part of New Zealand alongside the journeys, hardships and lives of the first Scottish settlers. The afternoon brought more learning at the Otago Museum where we learnt about the Pacific Islands and the people but the most time was spent in the Animal Attic looking at skulls, bones, stuffed animals and cabinets upon cabinets of insects! The museums themselves could have taken up two days so we were pretty done by 5pm and practically sprinted through the last few exhibitions!

 

Dunedin brought us to the end of the Southern Scenic Route and we began the journey back north and back to warmer climates!

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We came across these amazing rock fomations (below) on Arthur’s Pass (one of the main highways between the east and west coast) completely by accident. One of things we love most about having Mabel is that we can take our time and stop whenever we want; you can miss the coolest parts when you have to rely on public transport.

Kura Tāwhiti (named Castle Rock by early Europeans; not as exotic, right?!) is tertiary limestone, mudstone, sandstone and tuffs and was once under a large inland sea around 30 million years ago. The limestone rock was eroded by water into these distinctive sculptured landforms called a karst landscape. This area has special significance to Ngāi Tahu, with ties that stretch unbroken from distant ancestors to present generations.

Māori History!

Quick lesson: Kāi Tahu and Ngāi Tahu are same Māori iwi (tribe). ‘Ngāi’ is more commonly used in the north while ‘Kāi’ is affiliated with the southern iwi.

 

“Kura Tāwhiti literally means “the treasure from a distant land”, referring to the kumara that was once cultivated in this region. Kura Tāwhiti was claimed by the Ngāi Tahu ancestor Tane Tiki, son of celebrated chief Tuahuriri. The nearby mountains were famed for kakapo, and Tane Tiki wanted their soft skins and glowing green feathers for clothing to be worn by his daughter Hine Mihi.

Such stories link Ngāi Tahu to the landscape. The traditional knowledge of trails, rock shelters and rock drawings, and places for gathering kai (food) in the area known as Kura Tāwhiti form an integral part of past and present tribal identity.

Kura Tāwhiti has Tōpuni status, which is a legal recognition of the site’s importance to the Ngāi Tahu tribe. The term comes from the traditional custom of chiefs extending power and authority over areas or people by placing a cloak over them.

The existing status of the land as a conservation area is unchanged, but Tōpuni status ensures that Ngai Tahu values are recognised, acknowledged and respected and Ngai Tahu take an active role in management. It recognises Ngāi Tahu mana whenua and rangatiratanga and symbolises the tribe’s commitment to conservation.”

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/canterbury/places/kura-tawhiti-conservation-area/

At the very top of the West Coast is Karamea, a place we had originally missed out and we are so glad we didn’t pass it by this time! Despite it being less than 80km from Takaka, the Kahurangi National Park lies in the middle making it a 370km long journey around the park between the two towns. We visited the Oparara Basin which boasts limestone caves and arches 35 million years in the making. We made a couple of walking friends for the day. The guy with the ginger beard is Søren and the other we’ll just call Aussie because we didn’t actually get his name!

 

Nearly two years after we were given our camera for Christmas, we have only just discovered how to use the panoramic setting. So there are pure loads of panoramic photos! Totally lends itself to really tall limestone arches!

Photos above and below are of the Oparara Arch.

 

Below is the Moria Gate Arch, named after the ancient underground tunnels and chambers of Middle-earth in Lord of the Rings.

 

So…after a pretty long blog, that brings us up to date! Yay! And it only took me about five hours…if you made it to the end, well done!

Wwoofing back at one of our favourite places (Kimi Ora in Kaiteriteri) for a couple weeks before we head back over to the North Island to sell Mabel.

Speak soon, K xxx