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January 3rd 2011
Published: January 3rd 2011
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Chris's Section

A lot has happened since we last blogged. Xmas on the beach was cool. Very different to what we're used to and I couldn't really get my head around it. Many thanks to the Suttons for making us so welcome.

Just after Xmas Lou, Paul, Nisi and I set of for a road-trip to explore the far north of New Zealand. We had some great laughs – most of which were alcohol fueled! Lou seems to be better at remembering the names of the places we visited. I struggle as they all sound similar to me (e.g. hihi, mihi, hohou, paihou type names). It was an action packed trip.

First we went to surf some sand dunes. Imagine a sand dune about 90 metres high. Then imagine laying on a body board and riding it all the way down. Such great fun! Climbing to the top of the dune, slightly less fun – knackering in fact. We stayed at a fabulous site at Spirit Bay. Absolutely beautiful. Paul took me Body Boarding (essentially surfing for people who can't stand up – still very popular here). I had to squeeze into a wetsuit that was a little tight and literally jump into the deep end. The surf wasn't that big when we got in, but it quickly started to get bigger. I got smashed up! It looks so easy – just lay on the board and catch a wave. In reality it's really exhausting. You get battered by the waves and it's harder to stay on the board than you'd think. I went arse over tit many many times. Paul found all of this hilarious, but he did say how impressed he was by my determination. He thought I'd last 10 mins in the big surf, but I was out for well over an hour. It was great fun though.

A few days later Paul, Nisi and I went Body Surfing. Essentially you use your body as a surf board. You wait for a wave, swim like a nutter, then do a superman pose. Amazingly the waves carried us between 5 and 25 metres. It's really exhilarating. We had such a blast and only got out of the surf when we got too cold. The water here is so crystal clear and the beaches spotlessly clean. You can see why Kiwi's are obsessed by the ocean.

We spent New Years Eve in Piahia, a very popular beach resort in the Bay of Islands. We got ourselves a lovely hotel room and started drinking. We went into the Jacuzzi and had some fizz, then onto the red wine. We were pretty pissed by the time we set off into town. We had mega giggles. We ended up on the beach watching the fireworks as the clock struck midnight, which was really special. So special that I decided it was the perfect time to pop the question to Lou. I'd been waiting for the right moment for some time. Lou seemed pretty chuffed and we think we might get hitched in Vegas. Result!

We're now off to explore the South Island for 3 weeks. Should be great. Then just a week left in NZ before we head to the USA.

Louise's Section

Happy New Year to everybody.

I can start by saying I am starting 2011 with a Fiance, yep Chris popped the question to me on New Years Eve on the beach during the fireworks in Paihia, so I am a very happy girl.

For the past couple of weeks we have been hanging around Papamoa again and watching the Ashes (Well done boys for spanking the Aussies) and preparing for Christmas.

We finally left Paul and Nisi alone and sodded off to Pukehina to spend Christmas with my family friends in a lovely beach cottage (thanks again for having us). It may be odd not having cold weather and snow outside at Christmas for me but the view of the beach was amazing and the weather fantastic. We had some lovely paddles in the sea on Christmas day and we nearly ventured further in on Boxing Day until wait for it...two six foot sharks appeared in the surf about 6 feet in from the beach. It was really exciting but quite scary. We later found out that there had been a shark attack back in Mount Maunganui near Paul's house. I reckon they're the same sharks. Someone told us that they were either Sand or Thrasher sharks. We had a lovely chilled out time there and then returned to Papamoa to collect Paul and Nisi to go camping up to the North of the island.

The north of the island is beautiful but for a couple of days we couldn't see anything for rain and mist, then the sun arrived hurrah. We spent some a lovely day on Spirit Bay (with a carton of red wine and pics of us trying to do a Haka war face). We Played Woboaba in Hihi for hours and tried some more fishing but still no luck.

We had a funny night out in Piahia (Bay of Islands) out in the main town for New Years Eve, stayed at a beautiful hotel called Heartland Hotel, got it for a bargain despite Paul nearly ruining it on his drunken return, it was fab.

The proposal was funny. Chris was hugging me and asked me during the firework display if I'd marry him, I broke down in tears and before I could get an answer out I was jumped by Paul and put into a headlock (he had no idea Chris had just proposed), after 5 minutes and several winded coughing fits I managed to answer yes. So that will be a New Years Eve I won't ever forget.

We crept back down towards Auckland staying at a site near Waipu which was lovely despite the old nudists on the beach.

We are finally heading down South tomorrow towards Wellington as we catch the ferry to Picton on Thursday. We are looking forward to exploring the South Island and seeing all the wonderful scenery we have read about in books.

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3rd January 2011

Hey there! Just thought to congratulate you on the new engagement. Best wishes to both of you! Kathie & Jordan

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