From New Zealand To The Scottish Highlands

From New Zealand To The Scottish Highlands

When I was 24 I spent a year living in Queenstown, New Zealand.

I was originally going for a month over Christmas as a friend who I used to work with had settled there with a New Zealander she’d met whilst she was travelling. At the time I was working for a small holiday booking company and I was finding it no longer challenging as I had gone as far as I could. So instead of taking a month’s leave I resigned and flew out of Heathrow on 4th December 1994.

Looking back now in my 40’s I think my 24 year old self was very brave as I’m not sure I could or would do it now but when you’re in your 20’s everything is such an adventure!

It was a long journey with only a fuel stop in LA and a change of flight when I arrived in Auckland but as soon as I stepped off the plane at Queenstown Airport I felt a great sense of peace like I’d come home.

My year in New Zealand was one of the greatest periods of my life and I made some lifelong friends who I’m still in contact with 18 years later!

Unfortunately the downside of having such a great time was that my year flew by and before I knew it I was back at Queenstown Airport saying my goodbyes.

New Zealand had a profound effect on me and years later I still missed it and would feel really homesick. I used to tell people that I wasn’t born into the wrong body but into the wrong country as my heart firmly belonged to NZ.

The southern alps in New Zealand

The southern alps in New Zealand

I did manage to get back to New Zealand and spend a week in Queenstown five years later and even though the place was a lot more commercial and all the people I knew had moved on I still loved it.

When Ali and I got together we said we would go one day but we just couldn’t see how it would work as we both hated flying (a bad experience we shared flying on our first (and last) holiday abroad) and did not have £20k to cruise there.

New Zealand was never off the table and we spoke about it from time to time but never made any definite plans.

Fast forward to last year and our first trip to the Scottish Highlands. Wow, the Highlands are stunning and I realised I was having the same reaction as I’d had all those years ago when I was in New Zealand. Both Ali and I fell instantly in love with the place and knew by just looking at each other that this was the place we wanted to spend the rest of our lives in.

Loch Ewe, Highlands

Loch Ewe, Highlands

Since our first trip we have been back once more and are due to spend a fortnight up there at the end of this month.

We drive up there and split the journey over two days with a overnight stop in Kendal, Cumbria (another place we love) as it’s almost exactly halfway between our home town and the Cairngorms National Park (where we have a traditional Highland cottage that we stay at).

My urge/itch or whatever you want to call it for New Zealand has completely gone and has been replaced with our desperate need to relocate to the Highlands as soon as we physically can.

Until we get up there permanently we will have to make do with our bi-annual visits.

Until next time,



  1. Sarah Ellis
    28 Oct 2015

    Wow, both places look beautiful! I would have to choose the Highlands thought as I hate flying and there is no way I could handle being on a plane for 20 odd hours.

    Really enjoyed reading this post and I will take a look at some of your other posts as well.

    • Kate_H
      28 Oct 2015

      Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment as it is lovely to get feedback from readers.

      Yes they are both very beautiful places and even though I’ve flown to New Zealand twice and Australia once I hate flying and until they invent teleport pods I will be staying closer to home in the Highlands. 🙂

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