Happy New Year and the adventure continues on the North Island in Wellington

2017 was a year filled with the best and the worst of times. I hope with all my heart that democracy makes a comeback in 2018 and we can set the US back on course for saving the planet, civil rights/justice and helping instead of hurting those who need help the most.

I’m falling behind on my trip down under with the holidays and prepping for Craft Napa, and this week I managed to succumb to the cold I’ve avoided catching from everyone in my family for the last month.

I’ll try and catch up on a few more posts before things get super busy.


Wellington, New Zealand

What’s not to love about Wellington?

It’s a hip and artsy city built on emerald green hills surrounding a gorgeous turquoise harbor.

Phil and I arrived by ferry in the early evening and took a free shuttle bus to the main bus station in the CBD (central business district). I pulled out google maps on my phone to find the best route to get to our airbnb. In the brief moment or two that we looked confusingly at my phone to get our bearings, a gentlemen stopped to ask if we needed help. That’s something that happened several times in New Zealand. Strangers would stop to ask if we needed assistance of some kind, and I don’t think it’s because we looked particularly distraught or lost, but because people are just incredibly friendly and helpful.

Of course, that brings up immediate comparisons to times in my life as a young mom in Los Angeles, struggling to push a grocery cart, hanging on to a toddler and holding a baby while trying to open a door and having people push right past me to get out to the parking lot, sigh… I’ve also lived in places in the US where people didn’t behave like that, but unfortunately it’s more common than it should be.

Phil and I spent the next day exploring the streets of Wellington, it was very easy to get around by bus or foot. I love the blend of old and new in Wellington, with modern structures built right up to historic ones, as well as the abundance of art; from sculpture and murals to brightly colored buildings.

Like the rest of New Zealand, Wellington is very clean, and has a wonderful vibrant culture with lots of interesting shops, cafes and parks.

Even the man hole covers are beautiful!

We went to the wonderful Te Papa museum of New Zealand, definitely make a visit if you’re there. The cloth above is a Maori tapa or bark cloth.

A few South Pacific treasures in an antique shop.


I love black and yellow painted buildings.  


And I have to also mention that Wellington is New Zealand’s Hollywood, the home of movie director Peter Jackson’s studios.

Palmerston North

The next morning Phil and I rented a car and started the driving portion of our adventure. Phil was very apprehensive about driving on the other side of the road, but I had more faith in him doing it than me. I limited our driving times to two to three hours a day so it wouldn’t be too stressful/tiring for Phil and that we would have at least a full afternoon to explore if we were only spending one night in a location. I only had to say “other side! other side!” two times on our whole trip. 🙂

We drove from Wellington to Palmerston North to visit my friend Erilyn McMillan and her daughter Sarah. Erilyn organized my first trip to New Zealand in April 2010 to be the featured speaker at her guilds Tote and Gloat quilt show. That was a difficult time for me personally, because it was not long after my marriage had broken up and the recession was taking its toll. Those 2 weeks in New Zealand were incredibly healing and I’ve wanted to return ever since.

Nature preserve, Kapiti island, off the west coast north of Wellington.


It was fantastic to see Erilyn again in such a different frame of mind, and introduce her to Phil. We throughly enjoyed every minute visiting Erilyn and Sarah.

Sarah has the most beautiful little lambs

and a gorgeous flock of sheep!


Sarah is also an avid bee keeper.


I know I have previously mentioned my fascination and love of lichen. New Zealand is loaded with it!


I love the deep pink Manuka or Tea Tree flowers against the dark green foliage of the bushes. New Zealand feels like it’s in technicolor to me.



I clearly left my heart in New Zealand. Next stop on the tour Napier.

Keep creating, Judy

Psst.. there are still a few spots in my Prayer Flags workshop Thursday, January 11 at Craft Napa!


IMG_5538Judy is an artist, explorer, image wrangler, knowledge seeker, instructor, speaker, creative alchemist, and purveyor of inspiration, helping others channel creativity on a daily basis.


8 Responses to “Happy New Year and the adventure continues on the North Island in Wellington”

  1. Mary T Salmon says:

    Judy: your posts really pick me up! New Zealand is gorgeous. Your posts make me stop whatever I’m doing (right now sitting by the fire in cold Texas) and read. This adventure transported me to a gentler place. It made me forget our nations turmoils even if for only a few minutes.
    I’m so happy you are happy! Thank you.
    Mary in Texas

    • Hi Mary,

      thanks so much for sharing that with me. It really does feel like a calmer, gentler place it also felt like it moved at a slower pace while we were there, maybe because we were living so much more in the moment experiencing new things and surrounded by so much beauty. It definitely a recharged of my batteries. There is so much stress in the US right now, it’s exhausting. Writing these posts on New Zealand temporarily bring me me back to that happy place.

      I lived in Austin 7 years, I know how oddly cold winter can be there sometimes. I hated the ice storms! Stay warm!!

  2. Leah says:

    Judy, your pictures and observations took me right back to this cool city on the water. Loved the public art and the hip vibe.

    Of course, I love you lichen shots!

    A sure sign of a great trip is falling behind with the blogging. Well done with the priorities, but thanks for slipping one in. Enjoy Napier!

    • thanks Leah! I have a big teaching gig coming up next week so I’m going to try to squeeze in my Napier post before that because it will take me a couple weeks to get back on track, lol.

  3. Joan M Wallrich says:

    Happy New Year Judy!
    Your photos are stunning. New Zealand looks like an amazing place. Beautiful flora and fauna and the buildings in Wellington are an architectural delight.
    Thanks for sharing your trip, it’s fun to see places that I can’t visit but I can visit through your eyes.

  4. Barbara Fox says:

    Happy New Year Judy! You photos of your trip to New Zealand are wonderful eye candy.

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