Over the years Craig and I had talked lots, to lots of different people, about going on Honeymoon to New Zealand, with me being self employed and Craig being a beef and sheep farmer it is quite difficult to get any time away. All our friends and family were beginning to think we would never get there. Thankfully, on Tuesday 23rd October (in a moment of madness!) I took the bold decision and booked our flights to New Zealand, we only had 10 days to prepare and I don't think it really sunk in that we were actually going until my Mother in Law dropped us off at the airport, waved us goodbye and we walked into the airport with all our suitcases.
We both definitely fall into the "Country Bumpkin" category so the thought of travelling across the world was quite daunting, but we had an agreement - if I looked after Craig and got him to New Zealand, he would look after me when we were there! I took control of all the paperwork and held on to the passports tightly. We boarded the plane at 8.30pm in Glasgow for an 8hr 30min flight to Dubai. We reached Dubai safely, although I nearly broke Craig's hand on landing - I HATE landing and squeezed a little too tight!
The airport in Dubai was certainly an experience, there was a real buzz in the air but we didn't have much time for exploring as our connecting flight would soon be departing for Auckland. (Top Tip: Toilets were horrendous - just go on the plane before you land or wait until you get back on the plane!) We found our departure gate and were soon boarding the Airbus A380 which is a Double Decker and definitely the largest plane I have ever seen. It started to reverse out... it was time for take off, I gripped Craig's hand (I am not a fan of take off either!), turned to speak to him and he was SOUND ASLEEP! He slept right through take off and the first 30 minutes of the flight, he also managed to sleep through very bad turbulence when I was on the verge of a panic attack and squeezing his hand VERY tightly again - MEN!
That is enough chat about travelling, lets just say I arrived in New Zealand and told Craig I was getting a boat home! Then he took me out on a tiny little boat (for someone who has only ever been on the Stena HSS!) in very rough seas... that soon changed my mind!
We arrived in Auckland and had completely forgotten my Dad telling us about the strict bio-security, Craig had to be truthful when asked "Have you been on a farm in the last 28 days?", when you write your Occupation as "Farmer" it kind of gives it away! After blasting my Dubarry's and Craig's trainers, they finally let us through Biosecurity.
After picking up our hire car and getting a decent meal (if you are flying to Auckland - Szimpla is highly recommended, less than 5 mins from Airport), we drove the three and a half hours to Paihia in the Bay of Islands. We eventually arrived at the Dolphin Motel at 10.30pm after a verrrrrry long journey. The room was perfect and we met our host, Paul, the next morning and he couldn't have been more helpful.
Paihia was definitely one of our favourite places, we originally booked for two nights but then booked another two, I think we would have both happily stayed there for another two weeks! We went to the Hole in the Rock, Cape Reinga, 90 Mile Beach and Craig swam with Dolphins and managed to persuade me to do the Highest Parasail in New Zealand - I do have a hilarious video which I have shared below... (cringing with embarrassment already!!! If you listen carefully you can hear my Piglet-like squeals!)
To be continued...