As I mentioned in my Snapshots of Wellington my main purpose for visiting New Zealand last month was to reunite with friends not to tour the country and although I left with most of the country left unseen the part of the country that I did see I feel I got to know really well.
I spent the majority of my trip with my friends and their 3 daughters down on the idyllic Pauatahanui Inlet, about 10 minutes from Porirua City and after five and a half years apart it was so special to see what life in New Zealand is like for them.
I got to go on the school run and collect groceries, to potter in the garden, visit their family and attend church with them. All very simply things, but very special things when done with friends.
I also got to stroll past many familiar sights that I had only seen in photographs; the beautiful beach huts of Paremata, the sweet church of St. Albans at Pauatahanui and the sea shell shore of Bottle Creek.
I even managed to squeeze in an exhibition at the Pataka Museum in Porirua, a movie at the most gorgeous art house cinema in Petone, as well as a drive up the coast to the Nga Manu Nature Reserve where I was delighted to get up close with a beautiful New Zealand parrot called the Kaka and see the famous nocturnal kiwi bird.
It feels somewhat unreal that I went all the way to the other side of the world – on my own! – to be with them. This trip was not something I had planned it was something that just kind of happened unexpectedly and I’m so grateful for it. The solo travel was good for me and I left New Zealand full of inspiration and conversations that will carry me through until we meet again.