New Zealand 17 – Back in Aotearoa

I am back in New Zealand after a brief “vacation” back in the DC office. I was able to enjoy seeing my colleagues, family and friends and soak up three precious weeks of summer–I will forever remember 2012 as the coldest year of my life!

I was told that the second time around (coming back to New Zealand) isn’t as pleasant as the initial visit. I didn’t really believe that until I said goodbye to all my friends, family, & husband for the second time and sat down on the 1st of 3 long plane flights. It makes sense that there was this lurking, gloomy feeling while going back to a place 10,000 miles away that is no longer new & exciting. Luckily, once I picked up my left-sided rental car, settled into the hotel, showered, and drove back to the office, I realized how nice it was to be back with my New Zealand colleagues and finish up the work that I started here. It also isn’t too bad starting off my countdown to a Hawaii vacation after my New Zealand escapades are over (86 days & counting).

After a week in the office filled with scheduling new project site visits, finishing up some reports, starting some reports, and a bit of field work I was able to start crossing off my New Zealand bucket list. I have three (short) months left, which realistically doesn’t give me a lot of weekends to see all there is to see in Australasia. Somehow I managed to schedule a trip to Queenstown, book a flight to Sydney, start looking into plans for our corporate relay race in the north island, & start thinking about the Milford Trek within my first week back on NZ soil. That still leaves space for scheduling a trip to Pancake Rocks, wine trail in Blenheim, a trip back to Auckland & more. We’ll see how this all works out while still managing to work overtime every week!

Lets get to the past weekend. My original plan was to crash & catch up on sleep. Instead I ended up helping organize another Friday dinner & a movie night (Chariots of Fire – we’re keeping everything Olympic themed lately), and decided to hop in the car with three other coworkers Saturday morning and drive to Queenstown for the night. Queenstown is a 5-6 hour from Christchurch. Therefore, it is not the quickest trip in the world; however, we made it work and even managed a pit stop at Lake Tekapo along the way.

Lake Tekapo in Winter

Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world. Here you can bungee jump, skydive, jet down the river, or throw yourself off a cliff while paragliding. Whatever your adventuresome self desires. It is also the largest tourist town–primarily during the winter months (June-August) for skiers & snowboarders. Once again, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves…

Tori & I at the waterfront upon arrival into Queenstown

Sunday morning view (gondola lookout)

View to the South (luge track in the bottom of the photo–the one “adventurous” activity we participated in)

I may have been scolded since I cast a shadow on my coworkers…


iPhone photo in a 100km/hr moving car. Impossible to take a bad photo during the car ride back to Christchurch.

Made for a very quick, yet perfect weekend back in the Southern Hemisphere. Now time for some sleep to get ready for the work week ahead. Cheers!


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