In the spirit of the year abroad I decided to pack in Spanish speaking countries for a while, and headed to Nrew Zealand. I spent 3 weeks in the land of Speight's, sheep and bungee jumping with my wonderful family. I spent time in Queenstown, Dunedin and Auckland, walked a bit, climbed Ben Lomond, ate nice food, and avoided tapas for the duration of the trip.
Whilst the rest of the family were relegated to China Southern Air, I managed to get cheap tickets with Emirates, going via Dubai and Melbourne. Although this resulted in a rather long journey, it was all quite pleasant. They give you menus instead of announcing the meal choices over the tannoy, and have fake stars on the cabin roof at night. Classy.
I spent a few days in Auckland with the Taylor family, including of course Rex, my favourite dog in the Southern Hemisphere. We visited MOTAT, went for a nice Indian, ate a lot of meat, and played Call of Duty. All in all, a very productive trip.
I met Penny and Martha off the plane from Guangzhou, and we raced over to domestic for our flight down to Dunedin, making sure we had enough time to take waving pictures in the air bridge. Once in DUD we only had a few days there before heading off to Queenstown, time to wander round the town a bit and pack the car for the trip.
Once in Queenstown, and successfully reunited with Alice, we set about doing Kiwi stuff like climbing up mountains and sliding down them. Me and Penny climbed Ben Lomond (974m) in a very respectable time. We all went up to the Skyline Luge and raced down a few times. We played mini-golf, and the adults tied in first place. The children (Martha and Alice) lost.
Greg arrived and Martha managed to persuade everyone that going kayaking on Lake Wakitapu where thousands of people die every year was a good idea. It was actually quite fun, and Greg turned into Ray Mears for an hour.
When Auntie Susan arrived from Auckland the incomplete group was complete, and we went for an incredible lunch at the Tiger Woods favoured Amisfield Winery. The salad was very nice. We also ate rabbits, sheep and fish. Then we played Petanque - I lost.
Not feeling enough like Southern Men, and reeling after yet another Highlanders defeat, we headed out onto the Routeburn Track for a day walk up to the Flat's Hut. It was very pleasant. Then, after saying goodbye to the Auckland contingent we headed back to Dunedin, making sure there was time for a Jimmy's Pie en route.
Back in Dunedin we carried on the Southern Man theme and went round the Speight's Brewery for a tour, which was a lot more interesting than either of us thought it would be. Turns out they make cider too. That day, Greg left for London, and the trip was nearly over. After a few last minute excursions (MacAndrew Bay, Gardens, Sushi, Thai Hanoi) we headed up to Auckland one more time.
Seeing as I didn't fancy 6 hours waiting in the airport (again) we headed into town and went for lunch in the Wynyard Quarter, on the harbourfront after dropping off our stuff. Then we parted ways, and I resigned myself to another 400 hours of flying. Yet again, Emirates didn't fail to deliver and I had a very pleasant flight complete with menus and fake stars on the ceiling. Fast forward a few days and I'm back in Lugo, where I appear to have brought the sun back with me. Nice.