Nicky Jurd

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Archive for December 10th, 2009

Auckland for a Day

  • Filed under: Travel
Thursday
Dec 10,2009

Today is our only full day in Auckland, so we picked up some of those ‘Auckland in 24 hours‘ style publications and weeded out most of the options as self-promotion advertisements.

IMG_9329We’re staying on Auckland’s North Shore, which is an historic and architecturally quaint, in a gorgeous bed and breakfast Stafford Villa. Our hostess Chris is a superb decorator, and our room is just divine. It features lots of antique things, but doesn’t feel old and dusty as some heritage buildings can. We have a huge four poster bed which is every bit as romantic as it sounds.

Chris is also a great cook with similar food ethics to myself. As much as possible the produce is local and organic, and she only buys free range eggs and bacon, and looks for little local manufacturers. I absolutely love her attention to detail and all the effort she puts into her fare.

She spoiled us with a luscious breakfast unlike I’ve ever had in a bed and breakfast before! We had local strawberries and blueberries, kiwifruit, star anise cooked apricots, toasted granola, home made yoghurt and freshly baked muffins. If this isn’t enough, she then cooked us a full kiwi breakfast of free range bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs and baked tomato. Everything was served with decadent silverware. See the pic of our breakfast table!

IMG_9367We decided we would catch a ferry across the harbour to the CBD, and just walk around the city. It is incredibly humid here today, and people are blaming me for bringing it with us. The harbour ride was beautiful, but purchasing a local SIM proved to be a lot of drama. For future reference the Telecom NZ phone operators are as useless as the Telstra ones.

We are headed to a very popular restaurant The Engine Room this evening, who have a crummy website but amazing food. They’ve won lots of awards, and I’ve even heard of them from at home. The restaurant is always booked out completely, so it’s lucky we booked 4 months ago. In the last week The Engine Room staff have called 3 times to confirm our booking!

First day was fantastic, Kaj is pleased with the overall plans, which is a huge relief. Hope everything is smooth back home.

Destination Revealed: New Zealand

  • Filed under: Travel
Thursday
Dec 10,2009
I’ve discovered a secret is hard to keep once you’ve told several hundred people. Even though they too know it’s a secret, it’s easier for them to slip up than it is for oneself.
For Kaj who rarely pays attention, he missed all 7 people who told him directly the secret holiday destination
I have allowed him to believe some red herrings, and I’ve even slipped a few deliberate ones myself.
Kaj became privvy to the destination on the plane en route to Auckland. I gave him the 32 page holiday itinerary which I’d meticulously. He thought Auckland was just a stopover, and I’m delighted he’s pleased with my planning.
We’re mostly touring the South Island of New Zealand. Arriving in Auckland and staying for just 2 days, we will then fly to Christchurch and circumnavigate arriving back in Christchurch.
Why I’ve chosen New Zealand
First and foremost, it’s the weather. I yearn for a cold Christmas. Whilst New Zealand will be celebrating Summer, just like us, they celebrate it with blistering winds, single digit night time temperatures and glorious sub-twenty days. It will not be dissimilar to a Cairns winter, but it will certainly last for longer.
Because this is Nicky, you must know it’s mostly about the food. New Zealand is a haven for the foodie calorie unconscious, like myself, and I can’t wait to dig into the copious summerfruit, exquisite local produce and amazing lamb.
Wine needs a category of its own, wouldn’t you say? My two favourite varieties; Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are championed in New Zealand. We will go to the winemaking hubs of Marlborough and Central Otago and seek out the best.
We don’t take enough photos, and so I’ve asked the kind Kiwis to please put on some nice weather so we can photograph their spectacular scenery. This possibly means being a photographers widow, which I detest, but Kaj has promised to take photos of me too with his new flash.
And of course we don’t go anywhere without seeing wildlife in its most triumphant environment, in the wild. The assortment of critters will indeed be amazing, and they’ll be many we’ve not seen before.

I’ve discovered a secret is hard to keep once you’ve told several hundred people. Even though they too know it’s a secret, it’s easier for them to slip up than it is for oneself.

For Kaj who rarely pays attention, he missed all 7 people who told him directly the secret holiday destination. I have allowed him to believe some red herrings, and I’ve even slipped a few deliberate ones myself.

Kaj became privvy to the destination on the plane en route to Auckland. I gave him the 32 page holiday itinerary which I’d meticulously planned over the last 6 months. He thought Auckland was just a stopover, and I’m delighted he’s pleased with my planning.

We’re mostly touring the South Island of New Zealand. Arriving in Auckland and staying for just 2 days, we will then fly to Christchurch and circumnavigate arriving back in Christchurch.

Why I’ve chosen New Zealand

First and foremost, it’s the weather. I yearn for a cold Christmas. Whilst New Zealand will be celebrating Summer, just like us, they celebrate it with blistering winds, single digit night time temperatures and glorious sub-twenty days. It will not be dissimilar to a Cairns winter, but it will certainly last for longer.

Because this is Nicky, you must know it’s mostly about the food. New Zealand is a haven for the foodie calorie unconscious, like myself, and I can’t wait to dig into the copious summerfruit, exquisite local produce and amazing lamb.

Wine needs a category of its own, wouldn’t you say? My two favourite varieties; Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are championed in New Zealand. We will go to the winemaking hubs of Marlborough and Central Otago and seek out the best.

We don’t take enough photos, and so I’ve asked the kind Kiwis to please put on some nice weather so we can photograph their spectacular scenery. This possibly means being a photographers widow, which I detest, but Kaj has promised to take photos of me too with his new flash.

And of course we don’t go anywhere without seeing wildlife in its most triumphant environment, in the wild. The assortment of critters will indeed be amazing, and they’ll be many we’ve not seen before.

Holiday Highlights

  • Strawberry festival in Waitmate celebrating strawberries.
  • Seeing the world’s tiniest penguin in the wild, the Blue Penguin.
  • Drinking amazing Pinot Noir.
  • Visiting Middle Earth: where Lord of the Rings was filmed.
  • Watching the sun rise on the highest mountain over Auckland.
  • Eating Bluff oysters, considered the best in the world.
  • Seeing a glacier and touching snow.
  • Swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura.
  • Perhaps spotting the elusive kiwi. The bird.
  • Hearing sea lions roar on the shore.
  • Picking Sauvignon grapes in Marlborough.

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