New Zealand Air Force Museum

Last Sunday turned out rainy and cold so we decided to visit the Air Force Museum which is located on the outskirts of Christchurch.

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This museum is completely free of charge which is brilliant considering the high quality range of exhibitions on offer.

As expected, there were lots of aeroplanes to view, many of them having been fully restored and some still going through the process. In addition to this, there were a few cockpits to be sat in and even a flight simulator game to enjoy.

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Away from the larger show areas which housed the aeroplanes, there were a few other museum exhibitions which were fascinating to look at and read about. Many aspects were interactive or contained short video presentations, activities or games.

My favourite exhibition was the one called ‘Captured’ which followed the journey of prisoners of war held in Europe.

 

They also have visiting presentations and I’m looking forward to going back to explore the Anne Frank exhibition when it arrives from Amsterdam later this month.

 

After visiting the Air Force Museum, we went round the corner to Wigram Base, an historic building built in 1938 as an Air Force Base. It is now used as a venue for various events and has a rather nice bar which was perfect for a post-museum drink!

Taylors Mistake Hike

Despite being the middle of winter, today’s weather would rival any summer day, so we decided to make the most of the 20 degree heat and head out for a coastal hike.

We drove out to a place known as Taylors Mistake which is a small bay in the south-east of Christchurch. It was apparently named some 200 years ago after a ship’s captain (Mr Taylor) accidentally mistook it for Lyttelton Harbour.

The coastal walk leading up from the bay is beautifully scenic.

The hike leads out to the breathtaking Godley Head which was a coastal defence site during the second world war. The gun emplacements and military buildings are still in place and were very interesting to explore.

The circular route is an easy hike and took us about three hours to complete. A perfect hike on a gorgeous day!

More Exploring

We’ve now been living in Christchurch, New Zealand for approximately three weeks and are quickly falling in love with the place. The range of shops and food is excellent, we see the snow-capped alps in the distance on a daily basis and we can explore the lovely Port Hills really easily at the weekends as they’re so close.

Last weekend we hiked the Valley Track. This is a pretty track, running alongside a small stream, interspersed with little waterfalls along the way.

At the top we saw an attractive looking outcrop that looked perfect for a picnic so decided to hike up that as well. It was a place called Witch Hill Reserve and the views were stunning!

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On the way down we took a route known as the Farm Track which is a shared pathway for both walkers and bikers. It is another, lovely, grass-covered path which had wonderful views of Christchurch city in the distance.

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Tomorrow we plan to explore the far eastern section of the hills starting at a spot called Taylors Mistake.

In other news, my lovely kitty-cats are settling into their new home really well and are back to their old tricks already. Esme refuses to drink from her water bowl and will only drink from the tap whilst Bella has been enjoying sleeping with her teddy bear and watching TV.

As soon as they’re a little more settled we’ll be letting them out to explore the great outdoors!

One Week to Go!

Only one week left until we move to Christchurch, New Zealand!

This week has been the most stressful so far. The packers came today, which means we’ve spent the entire week washing and cleaning every item we own – and we had seriously underestimated how much time that would take. Climbing ropes, hiking bags, shoes, trekking poles, tools, yoga mats, mattress covers, BBQs, every single bolt and screw from the bikes; you name it – we’ve washed it!

 

In addition to that, every piece of untreated wood had to be painted before shipment so one evening was spent treating the posts that build up the bed. Adam was up until 3am this morning finishing it all off but the guys have been and it’s a huge relief to have it all sorted and gone.

Thankfully, it’s been half-term holiday week for me so I’ve been able to take daily breaks from all the cleaning to meet friends for final milkshakes, sunny picnics and pedicure treatments! Adam finished work yesterday and was treated to the mandatory, cheesy goodbye speech from his colleagues.

 

Our apartment is now looking very empty so we just need to sell our remaining items and give everything one last clean before we hand the keys back. Next week is our very last one so we’ll be saying goodbye to the kitties and sending them off on their own little flying adventure on Tuesday. I’m going to miss them so much whilst they’re in quarantine and can’t wait to have them back, safe and sound, with me in New Zealand.

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Four more days of work left for me next week. Adam’s turn to spend a week cleaning!

Two Weeks to Go!

Only two weeks to go until we move to Christchurch, New Zealand now!

At the weekend, we had our last visit to my favourite cat cafe in The Hague and my friend, Susan, was lucky enough to have a feline companion join her throughout lunch!

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We were also lucky to have a three day weekend but it was very much required as we had so many items to list on the freight inventory and so much to clean and sort out. I never realised how much climbing equipment we actually had until I was tasked with cleaning every speck of climbing dust off! These are just some of the piles we’ve been working our way through:

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Thankfully, the inventory is now complete, the test suitcase pack is done and the majority of our sports equipment is cleaned and ready to ship. To celebrate, we took a short break at a local food festival and enjoyed Indian, American and German dishes.

We finished off with a wonderful ice cream cookie – definitely the best thing I’ve ever eaten!

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On the housing front, everything is looking good. We’ve recently reached an agreement to rent this lovely property and can’t wait to move in.

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My wonderful colleagues and friends threw an excellent farewell borrel with an All Blacks theme yesterday. I was forced into an All Blacks shirt (I despise dressing up) and then decorated with a sheep and Māori jewellery for the event. I was treated to a touching (and rather comical) presentation from my friends and they had also created a video of messages from the children I work with. It was great fun, the food was super and I have lots of wonderful gifts to remember my time here!

My crazy cat friend and her husband also made this exquisite cat cake for the event:

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I’ve been well and truly spoiled and am feeling very grateful for the friends I’ve made here in Holland.

 

Three Weeks to Go!

Time is flying by so quickly and, unbelievably, there are only three short weeks left until we move to Christchurch, New Zealand!

This week we have been exploring the various running clubs on offer out there (as you can tell, we have our priorities right) and received a very welcoming message from Port Hills Athletics Club. They won the winter club of the year last year and also organise the epic Crater Rim Ultra run which Adam is keen to complete.

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I’m not so keen on the idea of this ultra run but definitely want to go and give the club a try. It will be amazing to run in such spectacular scenery.

The cats finally received their import permit this week which is a huge relief and we’ve also finalised the date for our belongings to be packed up and shipped off. We won’t get them for about three months so will be living ‘light’ for a while.

We’ve sold yet more excess furniture and our apartment is now looking very sparse. This weekend we have to create an inventory of every item we are shipping and we’re also going to do a test run of the clothes packing to see how many suitcases we need – fingers crossed we can do it in three because then we won’t need to buy any more cases or pay for extra luggage allowance!

This weekend, The Hague Pro Freestyle event is on so we’ll also make sure we take a break to go and watch the pros on their BMXs – bike heaven for Adam!

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At the moment we still don’t have a house to rent so that will be the main focus for next week. Busy, busy but it’s getting really exciting now!

Four Weeks to Go!

Friday marked the four week milestone for our upcoming move to Christchurch, New Zealand. In four weeks’ time we should be arriving just in time for the start of winter.

We saw the last of our visitors this week. Adam’s mum and her husband came for a visit which coincided with Dutch Mother’s Day as an added bonus.

We had a rather cultured day in The Hague, visiting umpteen cafes and taking a tour around the Mauritshuis art museum where we got to see the famous ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ painting by Vermeer.

We squeezed a day trip to Rotterdam in and enjoyed riding on the water taxis, visiting the amazing markthal (where we ate far too much Greek food) and took a tour around the famous cube houses.

Saturday was the hottest day of their visit so we enjoyed a long walk through forest, dunes and beach before treating ourselves to beers at a local food truck festival in the evening.

We said our goodbyes earlier today and have now gone back to our job list and started to panic a little. There’s so much to do and so little time now – it’s certainly going to be a busy few weeks!