Well, I love both!
( Gumboots = wellies)
I came back to live in Cumbria from New Zealand in June 2017, with my husband and our black and white Kiwi cat, Poppy, after nearly 9 years living in the South island of New Zealand.
Christchurch, the biggest city in the South Island, was our home for the first few years, and then in 2012, after our house had to be demolished after the earthquakes, we moved to Ohoka, a village in the country, half an hour north of Christchurch. I worked in the city and lived on a 5 1/2 acre lifestyle block, so heels and my Red Band gumboots were my world.
Living in New Zealand had been a bit of a dream of mine since I was little. Dad got an offer of a 2 year contract to work in Auckland with his company, and so mum and dad took my sister and I when I was 2 and my sister was 4. Two years later we came back to England and settled back into life in England. I’d never been back. All those family slide shows intrigued me and enticed me back there, as did quite a few ‘Wanted Down Under’ episodes!
Hubby and I had always wanted to experience life in a different country together and so we made our way from Cumbria to Christchurch in October 2008 with our 2 cats, mum and daughter, Lady and Daisy, We had quite a few adventures, so many wonderful experiences and quite a few unexpected ones. Lady and Daisy both lived to the grand old age of 17 and loved their lazy afternoons on the deck and hunting mice. They were pretty good at both of those things.
When I was made a Kiwi, a citizen of New Zealand, I started to think about what that meant and Heels and Gumboots started from there. I’m seeing the UK with fresh eyes now, and I’m very happy that I came back home.
Me with my NZ Citizenship certificate
Hanmer = massage + forest walks + beautiful light + hot springs + wineries
Just lovely, actually.
The thing about Hanmer Springs is it is always just a fantastic experience – the freshest air on tap, the jet boat whizzing down the river (I’ve been on it, and believe me ‘whizz’ is the word), the feel and look of a mountain village and a winery on the way or way home. I must have been there more than a dozen times now and I can’t think of a time when it wasn’t lovely. I always feel like I can cope with anything after I’ve been there, and do anything really.
The Ferry Bridge just outside Hanmer Springs
The 90 minute drive from home through the Waipara Valley treats me to rows and rows of vines that belong to wineries such as Waipara Hills, Pegasus Bay and a bit further on past the Hanmer turn off, there’s the smaller Waipara Springs. with its pretty garden and wonderful wine dogs.
The Spa at Hanmer Springs does a lot of things right:
- The smiling welcome at the front desk
- The heated beds in the treatment rooms
- The quiet treatment room and the fact that therapist doesn’t try and chat to you while they’re massaging you – not keen on chatting while I’m being massaged!
- The therapist waits for you outside the room after your treatment with a glass of water, a goodbye and thank you
- The hot pools are just next door so you can relax in 32 to 42 degree water before or after your treatment at the spa. Delish.
Hanmer Springs Spa
Marble Point Winery is one of those places where you feel that the owners are putting their heart and soul into their business. They sell their own chardonnay, sauvingon blanc, riesling, pinot noir and the other things they sell like honey, infused olive oil and organic goats’ milk soaps make the whole experience just so wholesome somehow, in a luxurious kind of way.