Reflecting on 2020

Happy New Year!! and Happy 1st birthday to my blog! A whole year of blogging, it’s hard to believe really. Thanks for coming on the journey with me.

2020 is a year that I’m sure no one will be forgetting anytime soon. As the year came to an end, I began reflecting on the year that has been. I am so proud of my country, for the massive effort we all put in, our commitment to sticking to lock downs and supporting one another. Because of this, life here in Aotearoa has looked quite different to the majority of the world.

I count myself very fortunate to be in the position I have been in. While international travel has been off the cards, I have been able to do a lot of travel around my own backyard this year. (And lets be honest, New Zealand is a pretty spectacular country to have as your travel playground)

I wanted to do a post on my top 5 experiences. Those WOW moments. The ones that stop you in your tracks, make time stand still and take your breath away.

It’s hard to choose, I have had many incredible experiences this last year, but I am making myself pick.

So here it is.

My top 5 WOW moments.

1 – Glamping on Waiheke Island. This was my first time glamping and I absolutely loved it. Falling asleep to the soft pitter patter sound of rain on the canopy of the tent and waking to the sounds of the birds, absolutely magical. Stripping back the busyness of life and getting back to nature, it certainly recharges the batteries. You can read about my full glamping experience here.

2 – The drive to Glenorchy. We did this road twice in 2020. Once on our motorbike, the second time in a hired Mercedes-Benz CLS 55 AMG. Maybe it’s because it was the first time, but I way preferred the trip on 2 wheels. We had bright blue skies, a dusting of snow on the mountains and instagramable moments around EVERY corner. Around every bend I would find myself gasping at the beauty before me. Not only does this rate in my top 5 moments of 2020, it also rates in my top 5 motorbike rides. Ever. The road to Glenorchy.

3 – Trust the Chef Meal at No. 5 Church Lane. It was a spontaneous dining decision. I found them on line, they had some good reviews, so we decided to give it a go. When we saw a 7 course, Trust the Chef option on the menu, well, we just had to try it. It surprised and delighted me far beyond what I was expecting. Every serving was creative, delicious and left me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would be next. This was a culinary journey that left me wanting more. Dining in Queenstown.

4 – Kayaking in Wanaka. Kayaking (and now also paddle boarding) will always end up as a top experience for me, I just love it so much. The stillness, the quiet and being surrounded by all that water, it’s so rejuvenating and refreshing. Throw in crystal clear water and views of mountain peaks covered in snow and you have one very happy kayaker. Lake Wanaka is the perfect place to get out on the lake and experience some stunning New Zealand scenery. Chillin’ in Wanaka.

5 – Playing in the waves at Waitarere with my 4 year old nephew. Sometimes, it is the simplest of things that bring us the most pleasure. This was one of those experiences. It had been so long since I walked bare foot in the sand and felt the waves tickle my ankles. My nephew’s delight in jumping over waves and playing in the sand, so carefree, was contagious. We spent ages having childish fun and it was brilliant. A weekend at the beach

So there you have it. What was your favorite travel moments of 2020? Drop me a message, I would love to hear from you.

My first time Glamping

Fossil Bay Lodge.

From the moment I arrived, I knew it was a place I was going to love.

Nature. Stillness. Tranquillity.

Perfect.

I was welcomed onto the property by doves and a sweet little chicken named Rosie.

I then met the owner and was lead past trees, reeds and a pond, then across a bridge to my generously sized canvas tent. The surrounding water was home to a Pukeko (a native New Zealand bird) and a mamma duck with her ducklings.

My room was beautifully presented; a super comfy looking bed covered with lots of pillows, a mirror and a couple of chairs. Freshly picked flowers sat in a vase on the table. Sometimes it’s the little details that make all the difference.

Camping with comfort. No foam mat on the floor for me.

There was a communal kitchen and a lovely dining room with a very homely feel to it. It looked like a converted glass house, light and bright, it let the outdoors in.

I had my own private outdoor bathroom fitted with a composting toilet, hand basin and hot water shower.  Tree stump stepping stones connected my tent to the bathroom. The child in me couldn’t resist hopping from one stump to the next. It had to be done.

While showing among the trees, I watched a Tui (another native NZ bird) dance around in a nearby eucalyptus tree.

No city noise, no traffic or hustle and bustle, just the sound of nature.

This is how you refuel your batteries.

As the day turned from dusk to night the sound of the birds was replaced with the chirping of insects.  Warm and snug in my bed, I feel asleep to the sound of nature, the soft pitter patter of rain on the tent canopy and then woke in the morning to dawn’s chorus.

It has been many years since I last went camping.

I had forgotten how much I love it.

The Details

Fossil Bay Lodge is a boutique accommodation providing cottages, glamping and a self contained apartment. Set amongst trees and surrounded with birds, it’s the perfect place to switch off and relax.

Located on the western side of Waiheke Island, it is in a great location, close to beaches, Oneroa village and walks. The standard tent like I stayed in will cost you $100 a night and sleeps 2 people.