9.4.2017 Auckland suburbia

We awoke late, very late, thanks to a wonderfully comfy bed.  Fruit for breakfast in the garden admiring the avocado, manderin, lemon and lime trees growing all around us. Amazing.  I want to live on an extinct volcano, everything grows so well here.

Arvo already on a tree, won’t be ripe until November

We make a cup of green tea. Richard’s kettle is amazing. 

Just look at those tea settings

His toaster is just as impressive.

How many settings on this toaster

We walk to Kingsland which is another suburb of Auckland nearby.  It was nice, and had a bar serving Mac beer, which although it looked like a small brewer was actually owned by the massive Lion Beers whose owner had died the previous day. We toasted him with a small ale and a comfy seat.

Sunday’s were made for drinking

It was imperative that we moved on, a Sunday afternoon could quite easily have slipped by in that position. 

We walked into Ponsonby, where last time we enjoyed a Ponsonby Pie, the bakery was not to be found though, so we had 2 pies in the Ponsonby area anyway. 

Ponsonby steak and mushroom pie

We managed not to buy t-shirts from this area, at $85 each it wasn’t a difficult decision to make. In fact Guy even said that if there was a t-shirt with Stevie Bull on the front and Led Zepplin and Stone Roses in a big group selfie on the back he still wouldn’t pay that amount of money, thankfully this challenge wasn’t tested.

More up and down hill walking later and we were at the waterfront, drinking wine at The Conservatory, a Wither Hills Rarangi Sauvignon Blanc 2016 to be precise, and relaxing in comfy leather chairs with the wind and drizzle starting up outside the bar.

Kiwi sauvignon blanc

A quick dash along the waterfront and we were in Wynyard area, at an Irish pub. No, we didn’t have Guinness, not wanting to mix our drinks we had a Russian Jack Pinot Noir 2014 Martinborough. This means we have been in an Irish pub in each country we have stayed in. Result! Dedication and tenacity get results like that.

Kiwi Pinot Noir

We got the bus home, Guy threw together some nachos together in our kitchen, without looking too pissed, and we returned to our room, with its 42″ TV and watched Rogue One, I asked lots of questions throughout ūü§£. 

8.4.2017 Auckland

We are staying in Mt Eden, which as the name suggests has a slight incline to the area. Our host, Richard is full of NZ and Auckland facts and has told us that Auckland is built on 46 volcanos, not all of them‚Äč still active and not many of them still looking like volcanos. Mt Eden is dead as far as volcanic activity is concerned, but still a small hike uphill. 

Crater at top of Mt Eden

We had a short 15 minute, slightly breathless, walk up the Mount and were welcomed at the top by many Chinese tourists and stunning views over the city and bays of Auckland.

View of downtown Auckland

Having got our bearings at the summit, spotted about 10 volcanos still left around the area and viewed Eden Park, we had a walk down the other side of Mt Eden and onto Downtown Auckland. 

Eden park, home of Kiwi rugby

Fortunately we were passing through some dumpling restaurants, one was called Love Dumpling, and you can guess what happened next??? Pork and fennel dumplings, not the best we have had, but we still have to find a dumpling we don’t like.

Off centre dumplings on a plate

A wander down Queen Street and a few memories were coming back to us from 17 years ago, Real Groovy records was one of them.

Massive tower, and no, we didn’t go up it….vertigo!!!

Much more walking later, and a couple of magnums were devoured, red velvet and the ubiquitous hokey pokey flavour.

Soon we were in Newmarket and visiting a Countdown supermarket and getting a bus home laden with salad and dips. Dips are particularly good here, current ones we are sampling are Aubergine and cashew nut, also Kumara and coconut.  

Lisa knows her dips

Dinner was a healthy bacon and arvo salad, and an early night watching Force Awakens (Guy) & Kingpin (Al).

7.4.2017 Australia to New Zealand

So, second flight of the trip and we had a breakfast to line the stomachs. 

B.L.A.T. (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Tomato) for me, and I did actually say BLAT when ordering it, in a slightly English, ‘I feel a numpty saying this’ kinda way.

Guy’s usual of eggs, toast, arvo and bacon

A film crew were also filming in the tiny cafe, we kept out of the way.

Using up the last of our Aussie dollars we showed our age by buying boiled sweets to help with the ear pressure on planes, and to put in our car when we get home and have a Sunday drive out.

On checking into the flight we were told we needed to book flights out of New Zealand otherwise we can’t go there. We attempt to book flights home using my credit card, the only one we have left, which is declined before being approved. If nothing else, we need to get home to get our driving licences and new credit cards, Guy’s card having been cloned whilst in Australia and a new one sent to my Mum who is having a ball with it. 

Our panic bought flight is booked to leave on Star Wars Day (yes, Guy did tell me that) and arrive on 5th May which involves the longest flight you can take in the world…  17 hours. See Guardian article. Bring it on! 

We hope to see all our readers welcoming us back at Heathrow on the 5th May…..ūüėā (Blog will have intermittent service after this date as our lives will be dull and boring, again).

We are now able to check in and our flight to Auckland was short and noisy with families containing small kids all vying to see who could scream the loudest.   

Touchdown in NZ felt like home with the green fields covering the landscape but the stringent quarantine laws quickly confirmed it wasn’t when they needed to check the shells we had picked up in Hawks Nest. They passed, and we were allowed in. Our last visit had involved indepth questioning from quarentine officials over a box of Bisto gravy powder and whether it had BSE in it. Like a box of Bisto had seen any cow….. let alone a mad one?

Our Air BnB place was 2 min walk from the SkyBus, and it was 17 degrees outside….. what??? It felt cold, very cold.

Anyway soon we were in the loveliest home ever, chatting with Richard, our host, and eating excellent fish n chips from the local chippy he had recommended.

Kumara chips, delicious

UPDATE: For those of you wondering what we are doing on our return to Blighty, we are planning on renting a small flat in Birmingham, getting jobs and saving for our next adventure. We will of course be in touch with friends to sort out catch ups, but flat and jobs will be our focus to get us back into society again. We are also going to try and do without a car!!! Using public transport and bikes…… we will see how that dream goes though.

6.4.2017 Camperdown

Our last day in Sydney gave us blue skies and warm sunshine to encourage us to walk around and for Guy to take a lot more photos of this beautiful city. 

Blue skies make everything gorgeous

Coffee was courtesy of Runcible Spoon cafe around the corner from our home.


A bus ride later we were at Central station and having another coffee. Delicious.

Coffee turned upside down by Google who think it looks better that way

Caffeined up to the hilt we marched around the waters edge,  past Macquaries point and into the other side of the botanical gardens. They are stunning. We decide to forgo the $24 each to go to the deadliest spiders exhibition, really? As if this country isn’t scary enough, they charge you to be scared even more.

A ferry ride across the harbour and many, many photos later, and we were back at the fish market. 

Us posing on the ferry

Before you could say white wine, we had Barramundi, chippies, fish cocktail and white wine laid out for us. We also liberally scattered it with the chicken salt we had purchased. Love chicken salt.

Fish n chippies Aussie style

We made our way over to Newtown, via Glebe and a couple of bars. One of the bars, Deep Groove you can choose the vinyl to play so we choose Led Zeppelin and Bowie, you can probably guess who chose which?

Deep groove record collection

It was a lovely last day, reminiscing of our stays in Sydney and how much we love the Australian outdoors lifestyle. Also how we have learnt about strip shopping and Sydney Meetup Groups engaging in naked board games on a Saturday night (and nothing more involved, honest)……..who knew???

Dinner was dumplings. They were good.

Dumplings drizzled in chilli oil

It was accompanied  by VB 

Last drink was at Wayward brewery, 5 mins from our home, for craft ale.

5.4.2017 Camperdown 

We walk into town along the canal path towards Tramlines, a swanky converted warehouse with bars and coffee places looking out onto a car park! 

Beautiful architecture, crap car park view

We stop for a caffeine‚Äč shot, Guy has a cold brew, chilled and fruity.

Cold brew coffee, not as good as a hot coffee

We carried onto the waters edge and walked around Blackwattle Water, past the cement works.

Sydney cement works, stunning view

Onto the Sydney fish market which was full of tourists enjoying fresh seafood and the odd glass of white wine.  We join in with calamari, soft shell crab, seafood kebab and chips.

One of the many fresh fish counters at the fish market

Another walk into Sydney CBD and we are going through QVB (Queen Victoria Buikding) which is photogenic and full of expensive stores.

QVB stained glass window

We carry on through Hyde Park and onto the Botanical Gardens. 


It was getting late and feet were aching so we went home by bus and relaxed back at our apartment. 

Ummmmm wine……. 

Wines tasted:

Hunter Valley McGuigan shiraz cellar door 

Hunter Valley Tintilla shiraz 

4.4.2017 Waverley to Camperdown

We got up early to see the family get ready for school/work at a leisurely pace.  We said thank you and goodbye to our wonderful hosts.

Again, we went to Ruby’s diner for a healthy breakfast of Bircher muesli for me and brown rice pudding for Guy. 

Off across town we were smoothly into our next Air BnB apartment in Camperdown. It was proper city living, and we eyed up the washing machine for later!!!

We caught a bus into town, to St Martin’s place and had a final check at Post Restante to confirm that our driving licences are nowhere to be seen and we try to forget all about it, like a bad dream. Maybe they will be returned to the UK? 

Lunch was in an Asian food court, heaving with office workers, mainly Asian, looking for good grub. We had a lush Malaysian curry plate, followed by samosa and onion bhaji. 

We met up with Julia and her mates, on their way to a Cyndi Lauper / Blondie gig, for her to hand back some hair products I had left at her house (the horror, 2 days with no hair products!!!!) and a catch up in Hard Rock Cafe, a first for Guy. 

Guy popping his Hard Rock cherry

Light tea as we were still full from lunch, and breakfast!!!!

Darling Harbour at night

3.4.2017 Waverley 

Eventually we got up, made our way to a cafe we had spotted yesterday, full of Sunday brunchers, so we thought we would go on a Monday morning and avoid the crowds. Rubys diner is a lovely place, the menu is full of chia seeds, alternative grains,  sourdough and the like. It also has bulletproof coffee, so Guy had to try one. He loved it, like a high calorie, creamy filter coffee, coffee, butter and coconut oil……

Bulletproof coffee, no low calorie version available!
Guy’s usual, eggs on toast with extra bacon and arvo. Note the arvo is sliced; not smashed or shagged.
Gluten and dairy free banana bread, served with homemade honey ricotta, so not completely dairy free

There was torrential rain outside whilst we were enjoying brunch, which was slightly concerning as we were planning a few miles walk along the eastern beaches. We carried on regardless, we are British and waterproof, and we avoided too much rain.

What a stunning flower shop?

The walk was into Bondi, then along Bronte, Clovelly finally ending up at Coogee beach. It was stunning scenery even without the blue skies.

Bondi before the clouds gathered….
Swimming pool by the beach, just so the sharks don’t bite you. Health and safety gone mad!!!

We sat and watched the surfers enjoy riding the waves. 

Guys cool photos of dudes surfing

Then it was back Ness and Matt’s home for wonderful food, gin and wine!!!

Matt pouring us some of his home brew, it was actually pretty good!!!!

A pint in Matt’s local meant we were embroiled in a pub quiz which we came last, spectacularly. We blame the fact the questions were all Australian based…..Matt kept the ‘winning’ voucher.

2.4.2017 Woy Woy to Waverley

Jules celebrated her 42nd birthday by getting up and making us raisin toast and dropping us off at the station. What a fab person??? Thanks Jules ūü§£

We got the train from Woy Woy to Bondi, via Central then the bus to Waverley in about 2 hours and it cost about $3. 

We had a coffee on the way!!!

We were off to stay with my cousin (well, 2nd cousin if you are being pedantic) and his family in Waverley.  They had kindly offered us accommodation, food and a family vibe. We had a great afternoon meeting family members, being entertained by the kids, having a drink and some fantastic food cooked by Ness.  It was a fabulous evening that we really enjoyed. 

No photos taken.

1.4.2017 Hawks Nest to Woy Woy

Due to circumstances well beyond her control, the whirlwind known as Julia Caunt was unable to come up and meet us in Hawks Nest last night. She had promise to get up at sunrise and do the 2 hour journey up to Hawks Nest to see us this morning, we only just managed to get out of bed before she flew through the door.

We had a lovely morning having a cup of tea and catching up, reminiscing. 

We then had a coffee, another pie (in Guy’s case) at the bakery and a brisk, breezy and, in the end, damp walk along the beach.

We had lunch booked at the Boatshed, which was a lovely family affair with great, fresh good.

Family photo, Peter nearly smiling ūüėĀ

We then had hugs and farewells with Bette and Peter and we were driven to Woy Woy listening to film music theme tunes from the 80s and singing along to many songs we thought we had forgotten.

The evening was spent chatting with Jules and Peter, drinking fizz or beer and singing Five, Journey, Bon Jovi etc etc at loud volume. An absolute hoot!!!