New Zealand Surf and Turf Christmas


In order to avoid the South Pacific cyclone season (and therefore hopefully avoid all cyclones) we will have a total of 6 months in New Zealand, the longest we have spent in any one country on the trip so far. Such a solid amount of time gives us an excellent opportunity to have a break from sailing and explore inland. It also provides us the opportunity to catch up with friends Amy and Scott who moved to New Zealand 3 years ago. After so long away from home, it is really refreshing to spend time with old friends. The kind of old friends who are so good that within minutes of seeing them, it feels you have never been apart.


Amy and Scott opened their NZ home to us; our first experience of staying in a solid, non-floating home in a year and a half. Being off of the boat really made us think about all those little luxuries we used to take for granted:

  1. A non-moving square bed with no night watch to wake for, or need to check the anchor in the middle of the night.
  2. A washing machine, plus the ability to hang out your washing without the risk of losing it forever into the deep blue.
  3. Internet fast enough to Skype and actually open web pages.
  4. Boiling water at the flick of a switch, more tea anyone?
  5. A front opening fridge, no need to clear your work surface and empty the entire contents of your fridge just to access one item.
  6. Walking further than 37ft on a whim, whenever we liked, often just to open the fridge door or flick the switch on the kettle.

Amy and Scott are keen surfers and mountain bikers and as we were staying with them over Christmas it was clear what we would be doing. A visit to Piha beach for a few days surfing followed by a trip to the world class mountain biking trails at Rotorua. We didn’t take many pictures as all our time and energy was taken up having fun. Scott and Amy showed us their silky surfing skills whilst we just managed not to drown in the 5-7ft waves. Although Amy had a close encounter with the life guards when a rip current swept her out to the rocks and Matt ended up with a bruise and sandpapered forehead when a wave pummeled him into the sandy bottom. We had a great time though and being in the water at 7am for a surf with friends was the best way to start our Christmas day.


After a BBQ Christmas dinner we headed town to Rotorua, the site of some of the best mountain bike trails in the world.  We only planned to hire hard-tail mountain bikes (front suspension only) but due to a problem with the only budget bike available in Matt’s size, we ended up on a pair of VERY NICE full suspension bikes. After the first run down we were very glad of the full suspension (and the shuttle bus to take us back up again). Matt was determined to take it easy and avoid injury but whilst following Scott down the trails his competitive spirit prevailed and the red mist came down. Somehow we all avoided injury, probably because we arrived at the bottom of the hill on our last day, just too late to catch the bus up for that fateful ‘last run down’. (Note: last time Matt went for a ‘last run down’ at Nevis range in Scotland he ended up with cracked ribs!)


We rounded out our time in Rotorua with a few runs down the luge. This was a hilarious experience, Super Mario karting in real life. Amy was laughing so much at the super competitive Scott and Matt bashing each other into the corners that she forgot she was supposed to be overtaking them! This will be the first time in our lives we feel that we have come out of Christmas feeling fitter than we were before Christmas.

We will all be back on board Florence (having missed her very much) to welcome in the New Year, so we wish you all a very healthy, successful and happy 2018.


3 thoughts on “New Zealand Surf and Turf Christmas”

    1. Not for a little while we’re afraid Peter. We are busy having fun touring NZ and less fun working on Florence for a while. We hope to get up to date with the videos in April. They do take about 2 days per video to edit!
      Matt and Amy


      1. I will be looking forward to your next video! I don think those of us who watch your adventures on YouTube had any idea how much time and effort goes into putting them out. I know I didn’t. Quality takes time.


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