Half a world away

Welcome to our first blog post from New Zealand! 11,654 miles, a whole other hemisphere and a new landscape to explore.

Half a world away

We landed in March, started two new jobs, kids started a new school, bought a new car and a new house. A big life change! However, some things will always stay the same. Maps have also been bought and excited circles mark all the places we want to explore. From beaches to mountains to native bush reserves, we want to see it all. And hopefully bring you with us.

Starting with trees. But not trees as we know them. These are New Zealand trees – same but different! Gone are the hazel and ash, in with the Totara, Matai and Rimu, wonderful new words to tangle our tongues around. Where we are living is a largely rural farming and so ‘woodlands’ are harder to find. Lots of pockets of trees, Aspen, oak and pine, but areas of natural, native bush are largely on reserve land.

Our closest reserve is just across the Tuki Tuki River (love that name!). So on a rare rainy day but a great excuse to get out the ever durable Spotty Otter jackets, in we plunged to experience our first New Zealand native bush.

Helpful signs gave us chance to wrap our tongues around naming and ID-ing the trees, and well-marked tracks ensured we didn’t get lost in the vines, thick bush and close canopy. The bird sounds were the biggest differences we felt: the Tui, in particular. A bird with a duel voice box and a great range of songs immediately made us feel as if we had stepped into a tropical jungle, a whole new world. It was such a foreign sound to our ears. Check out:

http://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/conservation/native-animals/birds/bird-song/tui-song-42.mp3 to listen to a Tui.

We scampered around soft needles, dangled from vines, knotted around branches and camouflaged ourselves in Cabbage Tree fronds. The big, old trees also left a Mirkwood Forest (The Hobbit) feel to the adventure, with spider webs draped from each bark crevasse. Viewing nests were set up to monitor insect life and we found a Weta in one and a whole lot of spiders in the others. Very brave explorers!

Cheeky little Fantail birds swooped and dived as we ambled around the trails, chirruping and having a nose in case we dispersed an insects in our wake.

Our first introduction to the native wildlife of N.Z. – so much to learn but many more adventures to come. Back to the map…where next?!

About the Author

Ruth Lively-Masters

Ruth Lively-Masters

About Me & Mine

Having lived in N. Devon for the last 12 years, we recently moved across to the other side of the world and now live in New Zealand on the North Island. Our adventurous family includes my husband Phil and 2 small cheeky children: Ramona 8½ and Eomer 5½. I have a wonderful day job as Lead teacher in the sensory unit of an SEN school and spend as much time as possible outside, exploring nature and environments both on our doorstep and further afield.

Favourite place in the world:

Hmm, that's really tough! I loved the west coast forests of British Columbia in Canada, such a humbling, incredible place - tall trees right down to the big ocean waves. There's a whole lot of other places I'd love to explore though...moving to New Zealand has opened up a whole world of new adventures and we’re slowly finding new favourites to add to the list.

Sea, mountains and forests in any combination please!

Favourite things to do outdoors:

Again, lots of favourites. Definitely a mix between walking, cycling, surfing, camping and exploring, combined with taking time to notice detail of a place, hear the sounds and absorb the changes over time and seasons. Active and quiet times are both invigorating for different reasons.

Comments (3)

  • Kylie


    19 July 2016 at 16:01 | #

    Eeeeee! It's all so exciting! I bet it's so much fun exploring a whole new country!


  • Jay Greengrass

    Jay Greengrass

    27 July 2016 at 10:38 | #

    Wow, what a change from British trees and woods! I guess the move's been exciting and scary and exciting and different and exciting! I'm really looking forward to seeing and reading all about your new adventures in New Zealand.


  • Ruth Lively-Masters

    Ruth Lively-Masters

    09 September 2016 at 02:06 | #

    It's all so bewildering with so many different native trees and birds! Awesome though and just those little moments when the Tui calls and it all sounds so exotic - we keep having "wow, this is really real!" moments!


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