Sunday, March 26, 2017

Taranaki to a Very Special Airbnb in Whanganui

Our drive today took us from Taranaki to Whanganui, where, as I write, it's a glorious 70 degrees F on a summer-scented Sunday evening.  Look to the bottom of the North Island to find Wellington, NZ's capital and the departure point for the ferry that will take us to the South Island.

When you speak the same language, sort of 
I turn often
Please don't overtake
when I indicate

We've been using airbnb to good effect. Many details are apparent from the listings, and yet every time we arrive at a new place there are surprises. Today's booking is in Whanganui, just a couple of hours south of Taranaki, and the surprise is the generous and welcoming spirit of Jillian and David, retired educators who rent a small apartment that's attached to their gorgeous old villa.

We're shown through their beautiful home and into the kitchen, where good coffee and chocolate biscuits seal the deal. That and their important work illuminating for New Zealanders the Treaty of Waitangi.
The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s founding document. It takes its name from the place in the Bay of Islands where it was first signed, on 6 February 1840. This day is now a public holiday in New Zealand. The Treaty is an agreement, in Māori and English, that was made between the British Crown and about 540 Māori rangatira (chiefs)...
The Treaty is a broad statement of principles on which the British and Māori made a political compact to found a nation state and build a government in New Zealand.
Their home feels like home. It has soaring, 12-foot ceilings and gleaming wide-planked floors made of kauri.

Inside are 28 years of good books, art, mementos, and life.

They insisted on making a picture of us, here on the front porch.

A tour of the garden is next, clearly loved and tended with care.

Jillian shows us her vegetable beds, compost, and native trees. Of course I feel right at home.

This swan bush is covered in monarch butterfly caterpillars. The shrub is related to our milkweed, US monarch's favorite food.

Eating their fill, soon to burst into flight.

Our airbnb apartment is connected to their home but completely separate. David's parents lived here until their deaths.Here, the dining table and what looks like a fine reading nook.

The tidy kitchen has everything we need.

Bedroom. This is an enormous rental, with a TV room also and a door to the fresh air of the front porch.

Here's the start of our lunch, straight from their garden. Cos lettuce, late tomatoes and, basil. They vibrate with the flavors of summer.

Plus a ripe passionfruit (from a garden tree), explosively perfumed.

With sauteed, onions, mushrooms, and kale, plus some cheese, it looks like lunch.


  1. You both just met your NZ doppelgänger !
    Those greens are divine !

  2. What a gorgeous place! You and Art are having such a good time!