Musings, New Zealand, Weekend Update

Weekend Update: Untethered in New Zealand

November 18, 2012

Time for another semi-random Weekend Update!

Since 2004, I’ve been scheming about one particular thing.

The plan? “Some way, some how, get back to New Zealand.”

On October 31st, 2012, we touched down at Auckland International Airport, and for the past nearly-three weeks we’ve been in a wonderland of sorts, starting in the city, then disappeared into the rolling green hills….


Waitakere Ranges Regional Park

Week one: My friend Nessa and her terrific flat-mates Jade, Julie, and Peter hosted us for the first stretch of days in Auckland. Nessa’s dog, Rogan, took an instant liking to Ted, and I daresay Ted took a pretty quick liking to Rogan, to Kiwis, and to New Zealand in general.


Beach walk in Piha, on Auckland’s west coast
Nessa, Rogan, Jade, me and Ted at Kitekite Falls (pronounced “kitty-kitty!”) on the Hillary Trail
Invited to join Peter’s 30th birthday celebration, complete with a giant banana cake.

We stayed here at Nessa, Peter, Jade, and Julie’s house (pictured in the film) – and got the chance to admire the fine banana craft built by Peter and his friends. Absolutely a kick!

Week Two & Three: The Daily Travel Journal went on complete hiatus.

Posts ceased.

twoOregonians went off the radar.

And life was never better.

Thanks to my dear friend CJ’s recommendation that we connect with her aunt and uncle in the Waikaretu Valley, we ended up at Nikau Cave and Cafe for a week and a half, volunteering for room and board and learning the family lore and farming way of life of the Woodward Clan.




The Sheep-Shearing-World-History-Making story of Philip and Anne’s daughter, Emily…


Caves and coffees and concerts. The makings of “Caving and Craft Brew” Number Two.
Ted and I with Philip, Pauline, Anne, Margaux, Kay, Jess, and David…a rag-tag bunch, we Oregonians, Brits, German, Dutch, and Kiwis! The Woodwards and their ever-revolving door welcome in fascinating people from around the world, and we thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the entire bunch.



Picnics and weed-pulling.

Bamboo harvest and bonfires.

Guy Fawkes fireworks and on-site coffee roasting*.

Sunset over the Tasman Sea.

Absolutely no better way to experience the finest of rural New Zealand living…

*And absolutely no better way to convince Ted that New Zealand is truly this close to Heaven on earth!



Pauline, Margaux, and me…at the end of another happy day.

Ted and I have five weeks left in New Zealand; five weeks left in our trip around the world.

We’re motoring around the island in our little red “Cherry-ot” thanks to CarRentals.co.uk, and gathering the final (I don’t like that word – it sounds too definite) – gathering the yet-undiscovered blessings and experiences of this season.

And so, with tales from Asia in the blog pipeline and adventures in New Zealand unfolding daily, I’m here this weekend with the notice that “no news is good news” when we’re silent on the web. (Though news is good news, too. See our finally-posted updates in the Daily Travel Journal!)

The stories keep stacking up…and I’m learning to let them.

This chapter will soon be over.

Best to savor every real-life moment.


Writing today* from the Garrison Public House in Auckland, New Zealand where Ted and my cousin Sam and I are rooting for our Oregon Ducks university football team. My local friend Nessa helped us find a spot to watch the broadcast. They’ve got wifi, beer, and pizza, and I’m working like mad to catch up on trip planning, post writing, picture sorting, and team-rooting.

*Finishing writing tonight from a sweet little room in Hahei on the Coromandel Peninsula. This afternoon’s trip planning, post writing, and picture sorting went well. The team-rooting was a bit rubbish. Still nursing wounded pride and dashed hopes as our team falls from number one in the nation… On the bright side: my cousin and Ted and I have a future of hot-pool soaking on the beach, hiking in the bush, hunting down a Zorbing adventure, and returning to Nikau Cave and Cafe for at least another coffee or two. Even an Oregon Ducks loss can’t spoil this paradise.

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9 Comments

  • Reply Sue Renich November 19, 2012 at 3:49 am

    Wonderful photos and experience-sharing! I don’t think Philip should read this post or he’ll be booking the first flight back to NZ!! Enjoy your final weeks!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians November 27, 2012 at 2:41 am

      Thanks, Sue! I don’t know what exactly it is that so quickly captured my heart, but I love knowing that Phil loves NZ, too. We had so much fun on that 2004 road trip : ) It’s music to my ears to hear Ted talk about returning again someday… This place is working its magic!

  • Reply Andrew Buck November 19, 2012 at 9:19 am

    As you talk about the end of your trip coming up I can’t even imagine how you must be feeling. I can’t tell if it feels like you’ve been gone forever or if you just left the other day. I am so excited to see you at Christmas and I’m loving your pictures of New Zealand. Enjoy your reunion with your favorite country and our cousin! : )

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians November 27, 2012 at 2:42 am

      Hey Drew, thank you : ) Do you think you’ll try to go back to South Korea anytime soon?? I’m loving it here, and I’m loving the idea of seeing you and everyone at home in not-too-long. We had a great time with Sam…we need to scheme a brothers/cousins trip!

  • Reply Amanda November 20, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Sigh, I wish I was currently traveling around New Zealand!

    Though I’ve visited many other countries in the world, New Zealand is still up there as my favorite, and very very dear to my heart.

    Enjoy the rest of your time in Aotearoa!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians November 27, 2012 at 2:46 am

      Amanda, I love that you love NZ! After so many years away, I’m just soaking it all up… The generous people, the good natured friends, the accents, the scenery, the Vegemite. Okay, kidding on the last one. Give me a pavlova over Vegemite any day. ; )

      Do you have any plans to return in the next few years?

  • Reply Paul November 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Great pictures, you two. Hard to believe your year is wrapping up.

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians November 27, 2012 at 2:48 am

      Hey good sir, thanks! It’s almost surreal. We’re in that final, funny stage where we’re grateful and thinking of all the memories, loving the present moment, and so, so ready to see familiar faces and crash on our very own mattress. A New Zealand end to the year and an Oregon Christmas will be a pretty unbeatable gift. : )

  • Reply Alex Procter November 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Ted & Bethany!

    Thought I’d check in to see how NZ went for ya, and it seems like you’ve been doing all the right adventures to make the most of it!

    All the best for the last few weeks of your trip!

    -Alex

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