Part 10 - Terrorism in Christchurch Since wrapping up part 9 of this series a lot has happened in our lives. We had arrived in New Zealand and were making our way, setting up our life. At that point, we were still in our first AirBNB. We arranged house viewings, purchased a car, and set off to find a place to live. It took about two weeks, but we finally found a place out in Rolleston.
Part 9 – There, and Back Again Upon arriving back in the USA, I was glad to see my wife, but anxious to get home before traffic became absolutely terrible. It had been 39 days since I had driven a car, and despite having more than 16 years of driving experience, it didn’t come back to me as quickly as I had thought. We made it home safely and I began to settle in.
Part 8 - Onward to the North Island The final day in Queenstown was filled with snow, and left me with a bit of anxiety not knowing whether or not my flight to Auckland would be cancelled. I bussed into town to hang out for a bit, and on the way back to Frankton once again encountered my Australian friends. It was quite a delight to see them marvel at snow, which they had never seen in in their lives.
Part 7 – Queenstown Adventures On Saturday I woke up early, excited for my first bungy jump. The Nevis Bungy is the highest in all of New Zealand at 134 meters high – a whopping 8.5 seconds of free fall. I wasn’t sure if I should eat before the bungy but ultimately hunger won out by about 9:30 in the morning, so I stopped by for some coffee with bacon and eggs.
Part 6 - Adventure Into The Mountains The weather forecast called for clouds and rain, so I wasn’t too bummed out. On arrival though, I learned a hard lesson: Alpine climates change quickly. The sky was crystal clear, without clouds to be seen. Despite my blisters, which had painfully persisted since Wellington despite the blister healing pads I bought, I set off to walk around the lake. After about 7 kilometers, I had to take my boots off.
Part 5 - Leaving Wellington, Continuing South The next day, I spent the morning in Picton, having stayed in the Picton Yacht Club Hotel for a single night. Picton itself consists of what amounts to three streets for the town center, with a number of bars, restaurants and tourist shops like jewelry stores. A cruise ship had come in unexpectedly and its passengers were arriving via water taxi. They had rerouted from elsewhere on the South Island because the weather was undesirable.
Part 4 - The Journey Begins – Wellington During my stay in Wellington, I stayed in Karori in an AirBnB with a host by the name of Ken. I also met Michael, who was a kiwi from Auckland in Wellington looking for work for just under a week. Ken was a paragon of his community, having been an employee of Zealandia, involved in local community activism, volunteering his time and giving of himself to make the community a better place for all.
Part 3 - A Plan Is Hatched We couldn’t do it. By this point it was only early September, and we simply couldn’t wait until our planned trip in late November. As we discussed our trip, we tried prioritizing activities and attractions. It quickly became apparent that if spending wasn’t carefully monitored, it would be easy to go broke with all the wonderful and exciting things the country had to offer.
Part 2 – A Bit Of Background In 2012, New Zealand Immigration ran a series of videos that popped up in my YouTube feed. It was incredibly intriguing and after discussing it, we were genuinely interested and researched quite a bit. It was, however, not the right time as we lacked the funds as well as having a rather small newborn on our hands. Despite our strong desire to want to make the move at that time, it faded from memory.
Part 1 – The Announcement Some of you reading this may have heard New Zealand either by Facebook post, word of mouth or in conversation, but may not know how serious we were… We have kept this close to our hearts. We have done so intentionally to avoid disappointment, temper expectations and to keep our sanity during what could be a drawn-out process. The process is complex and attention to detail is a must.