When we last left my 2014 stroll down Memory Lane, we were contemplating whether or not to cancel our trip to Australia and New Zealand.
Chris was recovering from emergency surgery and an 11-day hospital stay in September. Then, a week before we were to fly out, I was coping with a sinus infection and an abscessed tooth.
|Poppy and her gorgeous Mum, Hayley|
We’d been to Sydney before in 2011 for son Sam’s wedding. Now, part of the reason for the journey was to meet little Miss Poppy Hunt, age 1.
We stayed in a flat overlooking the Sydney Harbour, which meant all the pleasures of the city and surrounding areas were just a ferry ride or stroll away.
|Crepuscule (Noisette) at the Royal Botanic Gardens|
One weekend we took a side trip to Kiama where I judged the New South Wales Rose Show in Jamberoo. There I met fellow judge Mark McGuire who invited us to visit his magnificent rose garden in downtown Sydney.
|A rose called 'Glorious' took top honors|
|You can see the Sydney Harbour from this amazing city garden|
Alas the time with Sam, Hayley and Poppy flew by, and soon we were back on a plane bound for Auckland, New Zealand.
One of the joys of our visit there was getting together with old friends (new ones for me) Mike and Carolyn from Chris’ days living in Hambledon, England.
During our week on the North Island we visited Waiheke Island, the Bay of Islands and of course, more beautiful rose gardens.
|Tui birds can become drunk and disorderly after too much Kowhai nectar|
|Captain Cook counted 89 islands here (there are 144)|
|Me and Syd the cat at the Waterfront Cafe, Paihia|
|Nancy Steen Heritage Garden in Auckland|
Back on the plane, to Christchurch and the South Island. We were shocked and saddened by the devastation that still lingers after the 2011 earthquake.
|Francois Juranville (Rambler) at the Christchurch Botanical Gardens|
|Gorgeous rhododendrons dotted the trails at the gardens|
From there we took the TranzAlpine train to Greymouth, then drove to Franz Joseph (home of the glaciers) for the night.
|Took these photos hanging off the observation car|
The trip to Queenstown was beautiful and scary. Chris failed to tell me a British couple had been swept away crossing the Haast Pass and have yet to be found.
|Lake Wakatipu at Queenstown and the Remarkables mountains|
|There was a heritage rose trail at Arrowtown|
If you have not been to Queenstown, you likely will feel like you’ve visited there. The mountain range,The Remarkables have hosted numerous movies, including Lord of the Rings.
You pass a variety of scenic vistas on the drive back to Christchurch, then turn a corner and there is Mount Cook.
Fact is New Zealand is so amazingly gorgeous it is difficult for the brain to take it all in.
Was it real or was it a dream?
And how can we top it in 2015?
Oh, one last thing. We also celebrated our 25th anniversary a few days after returning home!