New Zealand

A Whirlwind Visit to New Zealand

We recently spent two whirlwind weeks in New Zealand. If it seems like a long way to go for two weeks, it is. But it was worth it. This is a short post about our quick trip back to New Zealand. What we discovered we missed – and didn’t!

Our mission to New Zealand was filled with family and friends. Two weeks was bookended with a fabulous 21st birthday party and a wedding. So, we were able to loads of our nearest and dearest in one or two special occasions.

It has almost been two years since we left New Zealand, and in some ways, it feels like yesterday. In others, it feels like we have been gone so much longer – especially when new babies have arrived, friends have moved to new cities or changed jobs while we have been gone.

Shooting Range, Boomrock


Generosity may seem like a weird title to have here. But the generosity of family and friends, while we were in New Zealand, was astounding. So, this is in part, a thank you to them. For lending cars, taking time off work, sitting and talking (and solving the problems of the world), giving up spare bedrooms, organising catch-ups – and joining us in eating so much good New Zealand food.

There would have been a time when I would have approached these amazing offers of generosity with hesitation (even from my nearest and dearest) when I would have said ‘no’ even though I really meant ‘yes’ when I wouldn’t have wanted to ‘owe’ anyone anything. Now, now I see the spirit in which it is offered – kindness, friendship, deep relationships. With no strings attached. Generosity.


I didn’t realise until I was sitting on a friends couch, with jet lag nipping at the corners of my mind (and sanity?), how much I had missed just talking. Talking shit with people who have known me if not my whole life then for a very long time. Talking with people who understand what I am saying – where I don’t have to figure out what the English word for something is, or whether my turn of phrase is particularly NZ – and so no one understands what I am talking about. None of that shit was required.

Rambling conversations over two weeks – which traversed very important things like NZ Dancing with the Stars, to politics, to where to get amazing coffee/wine/chocolate/kombucha, to who looked wonderful at a recent wedding. The types of conversations where you look up and hours have passed, and we have oh so much more to talk about.

Those deep deep connections with people who have known you all your life (or theirs). They remember when you did embarrassing things as a child (or as an adult) – and remind you – and we laugh and note how we dodged the bullet of social media in our youth. They remember, and remind you, what it means to be family, to have each other’s backs, ask challenging questions, remind each other of who we are, our shared values and history. Needless to say, there was plenty of laughter – and now we have the next generation seeing and watching big love in action.

Those types of conversations and connections. So many of them. I returned to London full and replenished. And confident that when I return or when friends and family visit – the conversations will start up again.

Thistle Inn, Wellington; Family

What we loved

If you have been following us for a while, you may know we love food . While we didn’t go all out discovering new places in Wellington, we revisited some of our favs (they are still blooming good) and picked up a large stash of goodies to bring back to London.

Here are some of our favs (still) in Wellington, so if you are looking for somewhere to get something delicious or even try some yum kiwi produce – this list may be helpful.

  • excellent, big, fat NZ oysters and generally delicious food on all counts. Get there early for dinner – they only take bookings for groups of 8+ – Charley Noble
  • astoundingly delicious food created from a teeny tiny kitchen and cracking service – Capitol
  • fabulous coffee and food with sea views. Situated in the Lyall Bay Surf Club, this cafe is iconic and well worth a visit. Get in early to nab a table – and may the force be with you on weekends (!) – Maranui
  • Fish or Bacon Butties (sandwiches), doughnuts, sea views, fab menu and coffee – and pinball machines – you must not miss Seashore Cabaret in Petone. If you are lucky (and it isn’t blowing a gale) you could get a table on the deck – perfect. This place can get busy but it is worth the wait.
Very, very delicious Fish Butty – Seashore Cabaret, Petone

We also returned with a stash of kiwi goodies. If you are keen, venture into the supermarket and grab one or two of these – you won’t regret it.

So, it is a long way to go for two weeks. And it was so worth it. We keenly miss friends and family and regret not being able to catch up with everyone. But it is good to be back in London – hot, sticky and rainy London.

We are Cath & Andy, avid travellers who are either travelling or planning the next trip. Come along and join us for the ride as we house sit and explore new destinations. On Red Door Ponderings you will find destination guides, travel essentials we love, and information about long-term travel in your 40s and 50s with your significant other.

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