Tuesday, September 30, 2014

That wasn’t in the brochure…

In August I had an excellent holiday in New Zealand (I also attended the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference). As an Australian New Zealand is like some kind of haven from creatures that want to kill you (everything in Australia wants to kill you from the smallest tick to the largest croc). It’s spoken about in hallowed tones.

a bubbling mud pool
Imagine a place with no poisonous snakes or spiders where it rains gumdrops and snows marshmallows (maybe not the gumdrop and marshmallows…).

Then I went to Auckland zoo and read about the wasp problem.

So while you can research a place on the internet nothing beats going there in person. Here are a few things that also weren't in the brochures.

Rotorua smells. Famous for its hot springs and spas nowhere was the rotten egg smell mentioned. It seeped into the hotel room and clung to the car like day old fart even after we’d left. But the museum and history were fascinating and it is well worth a visit, but be prepared.

view from the bus window
(taken by hubby as I couldn't look)
Mt Hutt is known for its skiing (and the skiing was great—snowboarding is harder than it looks—the weather was perfect and by day three I wasn’t falling over all the time, I’d also switched to skiing) but the trip up the mountain is hair-raising at best. Cliff on one side and a sheer drop on the other. The road was much too narrow for my delicate tastes (I don’t like heights and had to psych myself up twice a day to get on the bus). A few days later I learned that in nor-westers the road up is closed as cars have been blown off the road…gulp.

I am the epitome of cool...err...
maybe not but at least I'm upright!
Glossy horse trekking brochure…err…let’s just say there was no gloss in reality. The horses behaved and the trek through the country side was very nice. When one doesn’t ride regularly it’s easy to forget how bouncy horses are and also how frequently they fart (to my kids’ delight).

GPS is random, and sometimes the shortest route is via the back roads right past a chocolate factory (of course I stopped! The GPS must have known ;) )

When writing it’s easy to ignore the gritty reality but sometimes it’s those extra details that make the place seem real.


  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful vaca, Shona. I know what you mean about Rotorua. Part of Yellowstone Park are just like that. Thermal features are fascinating, but prepare to have you sinuses seared!

  2. Gorgeous photos! Looks like fun. :-)

  3. How gorgeous! Glad you had a good time. For me, New Zealand=Bucket List. :)