Being a country girl, I have very fond memories of walking the lanes around my Cumbrian village in search of amazing wild flowers to press and from which to make myself a bookmark. Thankfully back then my mum was always there to help me identify what it was I'd actually picked. Here, in NZ, we were blessed to have a man called Bryce, who we found out was completely passionate about ferns!
I have to admit that I had never realised NZ had a third island - the very remote Stewart (sadly not Stuart!) Island. The crossing over here was anything but gentle and definitely challenged my tummy - I really had to use all my powers of concentration to focus on land and not on those passengers on board whose tummies really did not like the crossing! The crinckly sound of sick bags being opened is really not a good one. But, once we were here, we realised this was a very special place.
We opted to have a guided walk around some of the bays - and what a good decision that turned out to be as we would not have fully appreciated what we were seeing without our fabulous guide. One of the things I've really noticed about NZ is how passionate and knowledgeable all of the guides have been and how much they love where they live. A real privilege. I hope that when I next go back to my real home - the Lake District - that I learn from my time in NZ and make more effort and take more pride in sharing the beauty of the Eden Valley with those who come to visit.