I wanted to share the New Zealand trip with you in pictures because words don’t do it justice. It was absolutely everything I had imagined and more; it was like a mix of Alaska, Florida, Colorado, Maine, and so many other gorgeous place I’ve visited all in one; yet it was a country all its own.
Here New Zealand is in all its glory.
It was springtime there so the flowers were stupendous.
The Hamilton Gardens (They had such a variety of gardens from Italian to English to Japanese)
Peanut Butter Icecream with PB chunks (Their dairy in New Zealand is to write home about more than once.)
A gorge we drove through on a scenic route down to Wellington to take the ferry the next day.
One of our first views of the ocean in NZ. This was north of Auckland.
Tongariro National Park – We went to what is known as the land of ‘Mount Doom.’ Much of the North Island is very green and lush, and then in the middle of the island, you come on this desolate (almost no trees) part of New Zealand. And in the middle of it is a few mountains, one of them being Mt. Ngauruhoe, (AKA: Mt. Doom).
And then there was International Hobbit Day in Matamata, New Zealand. – This was easily one of the highlights of our trip. September 22nd is ‘Bilbo’s birthday’, if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, and we got to be part of a giant feast, tour, dancing, and feeling like we were hobbits on the Hobbiton movie set.
My face when I discovered a hobbit hole. It was pretty surreal and such a blessing to be able to explore and hear fun facts about how the Hobbiton movie set was made and developed and carefully honed to create the Hobbiton we love so well.
For this I feel pictures don’t even do it justice, but pictures are such a good way of remembering what a wonderful time my sister and I had in New Zealand. The food that night felt like what it would’ve looked like at Bilbo’s birthday or the night that the dwarves and Bilbo had their first dinner together in Bag End.
(Totally geeking out here. If you don’t like LOTR, feel free to skip this part.)
The feast – Y’all the feast was AMAZING. It felt so freeing to be able to enjoy and eat all the foods. i was so full afterwards, and every ounce of food eaten was incredibly worth it.
Before we went down to the South Island, we went to Weta Workshop in Wellington to see the place where THOUSANDS of the props were made for the Lord of the Rings movies and so many other popular movies. It made me appreciate what goes into making a good film (and sadly, some trashy films that are not worth watching).
One of the most incredible non LOTR things we saw was the sobering Gallipoli exhibit in Wellington. The whole exhibit represented the story of the Gallipoli battle that included 15,000 New Zealanders and 50,000 Australians.
You need to go see it. I wished we had had more time to walk through it, but these sculptures were so big they each filled one whole room.
And then . . . we slowly made our way down to the South Island.
This is where the astounding views that so many movies like King Kong, Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and others are famed for; it was SO much more awesome in person. It kept making me think, ‘How could we ever think that there is not the God of the Universe?’
The views on the ferry to the South Island were astounding, breathtaking. When the south island rose up before you with the huge mountains, deeply forested thick green hills, it was just like a dream. But it was real.
The cool thing about New Zealand is this. You can go up to the mountains on one day and go snowboarding, and you could go to the beach (as you see here) and dip your toes in the water or go body surfing in a wetsuit.
we also saw the most sheep I’ve ever seen in my life. We stayed at a ‘farm Air Bnb’ stay, and we got to feed their cute llamas and fluffy alpacas.
I also got to travel with my youngest sister who is one of the most flexible, fun, funny, nurturing, gentle, kind people that I know. I have seen her grow so much in her Christian walk this past year, and I felt so privileged to go with her.
She was also the one who took the really good pictures.
Where We Stayed?
We stayed with 5 Christian families, and we also got to stay at 10-11 Air B&Bs. We loved most of them except for one, and I’ll share a few snapshots to entice you to hopefully want to go visit.
We got to stay at a sea-side apartment, two farm houses, with the sweetest older couple, in a home with an older lady who had the coziest most beautiful bedroom and bathroom, a tiny house, and an apartment in Queenstown.
My Favorite Things About New Zealand?
The Views. The People (Everybody was really friendly and welcoming, and it’s so multi-cultural). The Food (The icecream and the chocolate). The Rugged-ness of it and how untouched it feels by commercialization.
This trip was so glorious, a step away, refreshing, delightful, full of good good things, and I feel so overwhelmed by this dream come. true trip. It made me think about how KIND and GOOD my Heavenly Father is; He saw fit to give me and my sister this trip, and I’m thankful I can share snapshots with you.
Ending this with a Psalm of Praise.
Psalm 145, ‘
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man yourb] mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
[The Lord is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.]c]
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
Would you prefer pictures or a ‘words’ recap of a trip?