Reminiscing on the second half of 2019 and our summer highlights

Autumn is fully upon us here in New Zealand. The temperatures are still warm and the days mostly sunny, just noticeably shorter. Like most of the world our country is currently ‘in lockdown’ as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our surf boards and other wet play gear is all laying redundant in the garage, despite the weather still being beautiful for surfing.

Island Bay, December 2019

The mountain bikes are missing the trails and our daily exercise is kept local and often done from home via online workouts. Thankfully our local area is beautiful, with hills, coastal scenery and bush trails – but it’s strange to have to give everyone such a wide berth and not linger on benches to take in the views.

Breaker Bay walkway on the Miramar Peninsula

So, whilst I have this enforced ‘down time’ I’m going to enjoy looking back on some of our summer highlights and hope that my UK friends and family get to see their own ‘lockdown’ lifted in time for them to enjoy their summer.

Walkway on Mount Victoria, Wellington

Our lighter evenings started in September and we enjoyed a mild spring, leading up to the long summer school holidays and Christmas.

Christmas in Wellington


Christmas Day fun in Wellington, New Zealand

The school year came to a close at the end of November, with our oldest daughter having had a very successful year 12 and been awarded first in her year in Materials Design, Photography and Art, as well as achieving in the top 10 in English, Statistics and Physics. 

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – November 23: QMC Prizegiving November 23, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Elias Rodriguez/

She headed off to New York for a 10-day trip with her Dad, on the 30th November, watching half a dozen Broadway Musicals! What a way to finish the year and belatedly celebrate her 16th Birthday! Lucky duck! 

Central Park, New York, in the snow!

She really had a fantastic year academically and personally, spending hours singing, performing with her school choir and orchestra, and in her school musical, so the reward was well earned.

Whilst she was enjoying the highlights of Broadway with her Dad, we were back in Wellington enjoying the warmer days. Our younger two daughters continue to be home educated.

Living the dream! Lunch at Scorchorama in Scorching Bay, Wellington


Mountain biking at Makara Mountain Bike Park, Wellington


Kaitoke Regional Park, swimming in the river.


Cooling down in the river at Kaitoke Regional Park.

The older of the two – aged 13 – had a great year of activity, getting into surfing and mountain biking, along with ‘free running’ (like Parkour, but with more style!). She attends a local gym twice a week, as well as helping the coaches for two hours on Monday with younger students. She loves her weekly drama classes too, performing in three different Shakespeare events in 2019. She always has her nose in a book and happily home educates herself in maths and physics (her level is beyond mine – I’m just so thankful to be living in a time with so many excellent on-line learning resources!)!

Surfing in Lyall Bay, Wellington

Our youngest daughter, who turned 9 early in 2019, is a creative dreamer, always drawing, playing imaginary games with friends and loves her weekly drama classes too, appearing in a Shakespeare production ‘Twelfth Night’ as Malvolio, in a fun scene where she had to wear yellow tights and totally rocked them! She loves to listen to music and memorises songs from musicals with ease.

Fun on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu, September 2019

Both of our home educated daughters participate in a weekly ‘STEM’ class (Science, technology, engineering and maths) which they love very much. I’m forever having to buy odd items from stores to facilitate their creative and engineering ideas!

Weekly STEM class

Hubby had a change in work toward the end of 2019 year, deciding to go out on his own again – embarking on a new start up with a couple of former colleagues. After a few months off – mountain biking, snow-boarding and enjoying time with our girls, he got his mind into gear to put ideas into action! Watch this space! He took our 13 year old for a long weekend of snowboarding fun in Wanaka, as well as taking the younger two daughters on a trip to Mt Ruapehu for a week of snow fun, whilst I was visiting my family in England in September. Our oldest was busy studying for her NCEA L2 exams.

Chairlift chilling in the mountains of Wanaka


Fun on the slopes at Mt Ruapehu, in the north island of New Zealand

We spend a heap of time enjoying the beautiful outdoors of the greater Wellington area, as well as in our own backyard, throughout the summer months. We love to walk in the native bush.

Walking in the Polhill reserve, Wellington.


Enjoying the colourful view of Wellington from the Botanical Garden, Wellington


Fun on a tree swing


Walking near Moa Point, Wellington

And play at the beach.

Kapiti coast


Island Bay, swimming out to the swimming pontoon


Running on the sand, near the airport at Lyall Bay

Summer is always one filled with time in nature. There’s always something on in the city of Wellington and the regional towns, from free concerts in the Botanical Gardens to dragon boat races on the harbour and summer sports.

Botanical Garden, Wellington


Summer concerts in the Botanical gardens.

I’m often happiest outdoors, walking the dog or running the hilly trails of Wellington – keeps me sane! I ran the Queenstown Marathon in November 2019 and the Tarawera Ultra Marathon in February 2020 – so spring and summer involved a lot of running for me!

Hubby and I on the Kapiti coast

We spent some time in the rural bliss of Martinborough, in the Wairarapa, over New Year and January.

Sunset in the Wairarapa


Vineyard bliss


Sunset glow in the countryside, Martinborough


Vineyard light

And around our home, on the south coast of Wellington, we were treated to the sighting of Orca one evening!

Orca on the south coast of Wellington


Orca on the coast of Wellington

It was magical to watch them swimming so close to the shore.

So, there’s a quick round up of some of our high lights to the second half of 2019 and start of summer here in New Zealand. We’re now in April and full swing into Autumn – so plenty more hours to enjoy the night sky! The photo below was taken by my hubby one summer evening in Martinborough.

Milky way from the quiet tranquility of Martinborough

Take care everyone and see you on the other side of this ‘new normal’… when the new airport control tower in Wellington may be of use once more (it’s so eerie for there to be no planes flying overhead – but also kind of blissful!).

Wellington airport’s control tower, Lyall Bay.