Slice of Heaven – Part III

A final snapshot of New Zealand…….

In a patchwork of weather patterns which saw me peeling off layers often down to a t-shirt and other days of cold and fog, New Zealand, with its history, stretches of coast-line and spectacular mountain ranges, is a lovely part of the world to find yourself in.


One is continually stunned by a beauty which seems is made for large expensive lenses and slow shutter speeds.  It is those photographers who can capture the scale and beauty of the landscape.  They catch the perfect light, the lift of the land, the panorama of the sounds and an incredibleness of a country which somehow seems too captivating for words.

551.JPGNow it is no secret I love a city.  I really am a city girl at heart and sometimes, I just like the feel of concrete beneath my feet.  And of course, cities are made to be walked.

Even when the streets (like some folk) show their very disagreeable side, even when overcrowded with tourists, even when the weather is miserably inclement and even when I get hopelessly lost I am still smitten by a city.


I walked a lot through the bigger cities of New Zealand.  Some days I was driven with a purpose to see something in particular and other times my wanderings led me to a cocktail bar or bakery……… which I swear was coincidence!  Sometimes its nice to walk without purpose or a plan.  Just filling my skin with that moment of solitude.  If tired, I occasionally hopped on public transport but for the most part, I saw everything on foot.

I liked Wellington a lot.  It reminded me so very much of San Francisco with its steep winding streets, its fog covered bay, the hill set houses and its lovely architecture.Lean+Timms+Welly+Like+a+Local++(44+of+110)[1]007366140

Located right in the westerly belt known as the Roaring Forties, the city did indeed live up to its name The Windy City.  Howling winds can whip through at up to 160kmh with average daily gusts of 30kmh so its probably not the best place to hang out if you want to practice your skill as a sabre juggler!

The wind in Wellington became difficult toward the end of one day.  It was that sort of icy wind that will always find that tiny gap between your coat and the bare nape of your neck and as most know, I am not a fan of windy weather.  Gusty winds tend to make me irritable yet although I was having possibly the worst bad-hair day ever, it just didn’t seem to matter.


The harbour-side city Auckland hit the mark too with its ferries, super-yachts, galleries, restaurants, bars, cafes and the very iconic sky-tower.


And then, there were all of the little towns and places in between.  Those places where my heart felt so glad for just being there.


And as quickly as the New Zealand trip began, it ended.  I guess that’s just how travel goes sometimes…….x

Slice of Heaven Part II – Eat Drink New Zealand…….

For the most part during the trip I did two things – ate and indulged in my own private wanderings of sea, art deco architecture, rain-slicked back streets, record shops and stunning scenery.   There were places I could have stayed forever and my leaving was with a heavy heart.  Other times, I was ready to move on with barely a backward glance.


Some of my other favourite moments were found fossicking around a little curiosity shop, eating tartare (one of my favourite things at present), sitting up on a hard wood stool devouring oysters, watching my husband engrossed in reading ‘tap’ and ‘tasting’ notes, ordering and sharing plates and looking for huge bumble bees on flower spikes.

Eat New Zealand

There is something quite nostalgic and humble about that most quintessential of all NZ cuisine, fish and chips.  When I was growing up, every Friday night was fish and chip night.  Never ever take-away, but always home-made by my Nana of fresh fish daubed in plain flour with hand-cut potatoes.  I can’t say I remember how it tasted but I remember it was always covered in table salt.

The fish and chips in New Zealand I remember.  They were piping hot and perfectly seasoned, the locally caught fresh fish encased in a golden batter served right up alongside crispy chips.  Just perfection!


If fish and chips aren’t the official national dish of New Zealand then holy cats, they should be…….

The seafood on offer in New Zealand is not only incredibly fresh but it also comes from some of the most pristine waters of anywhere in the world.


There was an undeniable charm to be found when hunkered down in a small windswept coastal village, a harbour or even a big city while tucking into the freshest of seafood, the best fish and chips or shoveling freshly shucked oysters straight into our mouths.




It doesn’t get much better than this – freshly shucked oysters, smoked mackerel pate and a fabulous New Zealand Sav Blanc.  Definitely a slice of heaven.


On the whole, the fish and chips were to die for and the deep fried paua we tried, well that was a whole other story.  It looked really tempting even with its odd blue/grey-green colouring but to the bite, it was gritty and had the taste and texture of a huge prawn poo-shoot which had been compressed!



The paua shell however, is lovely when polished.


Hello my lovelies……..I’m talking to the pav’s 😉

Created in honour of the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, this long favoured and often contentious dessert – both Australia and NZ claim to have created it – never failed to impress.  Each lovely pav I devoured (and lordy, there were many!!) had that very beautiful marshmallowy meringue centre encased in a crisp, snowy white shell.  Bliss…….

The humble pie has been consistently voted New Zealands’ number one comfort food ahead of its popular Hokey Pokey ice-cream and chocolate.  And for very good reason!  After having one (okay, once again it was more than one) they get a colossal tick of approval.  The pies, due in part to the rich buttery golden pastry used, are amazing.   I’m a traditionalist when it comes to a pie.  I love steak and kidney or a simple mince pie but I do appreciate the flavours on offer in NZ such as satay, butter chicken, venison with cab sav, pork, bacon and cheese, lamb and mint and curried chicken.  The unofficial hangover cure when washed down with a Harpoon Cold Brew Coffee!


We also tried lamb, green lipped mussels, venison, scallops and a traditional hangi while in the thermal region of Rotorua.


A Kiwi microwave


Getting beach bod ready

Drink New Zealand

Wine:  ‘only the first bottle is expensive’……..

  • Sav Blanc:  a pungent and almost grassy wine produced in the sunniest and driest part of the land.  Most view it as a bit of a ‘have with anything, goes with anything’ kind of wine.
  • Riesling:  wow!  This style of wine continues to cement NZ’s reputation as a world class wine producer.
  • Pinot Gris:  swung between pear and honeysuckle notes and oftentimes, pleasantly intense.

We tended to favour the whites on this trip but all the New Zealand wines we had were equally lovely.


Coffee:  another hotly contested debate between Australia and those across the ditch as to who created the Flat White, but I care little a dot when the coffee is good.  Most coffee is made with locally roasted, organic or fair trade coffee beans.

flat white

Craft beer aka Liquid Gold!:  craft beer is a huge industry in NZ with just over 160 boutique breweries cropping up across the land.  We tried some of the best on offer from aromatic hop driven Pale Ales, punchy sours, big malty reds to the richly roasted coffee stouts.  The beers went well with all food including the pavs.  Happy days indeed……. 🙂




Mulled Wine and Cider:  a great boozy winter warmer laced with cinnamon and cloves available in just about every pub and bar.  Choice.

Part III coming soon……x

Slice of Heaven – Part I…….

This is not the first time I have been to New Zealand yet each time I go, I seem to see it all in such a different light.  There was no way I did not want to once again explore those cities and their streets, nor find an equal richness in the heart of a small community just as I could not have but wanted to find that little piece of coastline whose rugged beauty stabs me right in the heart.


There was still a feel of winter chill left in the November air.  The temps at times were low and there was the occasional downpour of cold sporadic rain but nothing could dampen my enthusiasm upon seeing that lush green hobbit like landscape running right down to the sea.  When the sun came out, and it always did, it made for sapphire blue skies and the warmth of a love affair with this country began all over again so fickle is this heart.


I saw the Southern Cross as clear as a bell in those big inky skies, the almost soft golden light of sunsets over the Sounds, the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean and the long expanses of foggy beaches.  There were boat rides, whales always in the distance, forests, lovely wildflowers and weeds that seemed to even burst with their own kind of beauty.


It was wooly sheep in the greenest of pastures and fat happy cows who seemed to graze their days away.  It was the roar of the geysers, the stench of sulphur and the bubbling pools of mud.  It was a haka, the thunderous ferocity of which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I haven’t even mentioned the craft beer and regional wines.


I walked for miles over the New Zealand landscape.  My feet, so very mistreated yet so irrepressible, never fail me.  There are some wonderful walks upon trails and tracks where the sense of isolation, the tall forest trees and the occasional glimpse of the city or ocean below was all I needed.


You really are spoilt for choice in the big cities of both islands but for me, the little coastal towns with their sandy beaches, stunning Sounds, boats and rocky inlets were perfection.  These were places where I felt a deep connection and happiness ……


The Maori language is beautiful.  They actually have 35 words for dung which is pretty darn impressive when you think about it.



New Zealand is a country of infinite beauty which just keeps on giving with an incomparable and unexpected charm.



Watched the running of the Melbourne Cup while in NZ…….pretend I do this everyday 🙂



Travel is always what you make of it and for me, it gives a gentle nod to appreciate even the tiniest of moments and although a homebody, any trip is never quite long enough…….x

Part II – Eat drink New Zealand coming soon