I haven’t posted forever. Thank you for your patience. I am now going to proceed as though nothing ever happened and pick up where I left off.

The USA is a wonderful country. We saw a lot of breath-taking scenery, acquainted ourselves with a number of different and interesting cities, ate about 500 delicious hamburgers and generally had a lovely time. However there is only so much waking up to news of a mass shooting that one can take so it was with some relief that we left for New Zealand.

Aside from the murder and obesity, ignorance, religious zealotry, racism, bigotry and war-mongering, the main problem with America is its scale. It is so huge that between all the good looking bits lie an awful lot of boring, ugly bits. The same can not be said of New Zealand. It is a little country but one which wastes no space with anything other than majestic beauty. In New Zealand there are no bad views. In New Zealand every time you turn around there is a mountain or a lake or a rainforest or a beach or something else that you tell yourself was definitely used as a dramatic backdrop for a scene in Lord of the Rings because it looks so fantastical and unlike anywhere else that you ever thought could actually be real.

With all that beautiful nature waiting to be explored, we did what any self-respecting pair would do upon arrival in Auckland; we went to the cinema to watch The Hobbit.

In our defence, the whole country was going bat shit with Hobbit fever when we arrived and it just seemed like a far better deal to actually go and see the film rather than pay $200 for a Hobbit Experience Tour, even if they do let you dress up as a dwarf and swing an axe around some of the locations used in the picture.

With only 12 days to travel north to south, we were restricted to only a night or two in each of our stops so after finding some excellent kebabs for breakfast, we caught the bus from Auckland down to Rotorua.

Apparently this is one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations. Unfortunately nobody remembered to tell the tourists. The town was almost completely empty and whether it was the drizzle and fog or the smell of shit from the sulphurous hot springs that kept everyone away, we seemed to have the place to ourselves.

This was mostly a positive thing except that there was no crowd to follow through said hot springs and therefore we quite easily found ourselves on the wrong side of the signs that said ‘WARNING Death by volatile, boiling spring water is imminent if you stray from the path’ or words to that effect. The ground in these danger areas literally flexed beneath your feet as it was only centimetres thick, and while I shit myself knowing I was one heavy step away from a most unpleasant demise in bubbly egg-flavoured water, Lovisa got the camera out and took pictures of me being a terrified little girl.

After that taste of mortality I needed to unwind so, seeing as we could because as I’ve already tried to establish New Zealand is amazing, we took a walk through the local rainforest. Needless to say it was a very handsome forest indeed.

The following day we took off for Wellington, home of rubber boots and some very fine fish and chips.