To the other side of the world and back…part 1

When it comes to your honeymoon, you imagine relaxation, beautiful beaches and clear waters. We had the same idea, but wanted to see more than one place…so we went as far as we possibly could and headed off to New Zealand. This is a country that lives by its own rules, relies on its own economy to survive and encourages people to live well and have fun.

We took three weeks out to travel to both islands (ambitious I know), but with such amazing natural beauty and man-made adventures, we couldn’t say no. We spent months planning and pre-booking our trip, arming ourselves with a campervan so we had full freedom to sleep where we pleased and live at our own pace. After all that planning, the day finally arrived and we set off for our early morning flight from Heathrow

Then mother nature hit, blasting the north part of New Zealand’s South Island with a high-grade earthquake (7.8 magnitude). The quake devastated the coastal region, leaving a trail of damaged ferries in its wake – all while we were still mid-air en route. After landing at Auckland, we found the islands in a state of panic, with emergency services working to salvage roads and rescue people trapped in the land slides.

Our first night was spent altering our well thought out trip, as we were now stuck on the North Island for the duration. But we took this as an opportunity to see the island in all its wonder – and grasped it with both hands.

The first night in Auckland was certainly an eye opener. We had a sumptuous dinner and the best bottle of local red wine (as it should have been for the price…) of our whole trip at Euro Bar. As we worked our way round the harbour, we ended up in an Irish pub till the wee hours. It set the tone and our expectations for the rest of our trip.

From Auckland, we headed north to the Bay of Islands. We stayed in an amazing campsite right by the waterside; it really was what dreams are made of. As we strolled round the bay, ferry trips to the town of Russell were well underway. Known historically as an island of debauchery, with public houses and brothels lining the street in colonial times, we were keen to see how Russell looks today – and it’s beautiful.

The island’s architecture echoes its colonial history, with the original British church still standing. Russell is a small but picturesque town with exquisite flowers. There are a few antique gift shops, a couple of bars and a gorgeous house where you can enjoy fine dining

It’s a stunning place that’s definitely worth a visit.