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New Zealand (Day 8): Christmas in Tasman Bay, New Zealand

Summary: We spent Christmas in Tasman Bay, approximately 90 minutes from Nelson. We enjoyed a quiet day with a modest sightseeing itinerary, visiting Split Apple Rock, Kaiteriteri Beach, Kaka Point, and the Jane Seddon ship wreck.

Christmas Breakfast. On our first Christmas away from home, we enjoyed a lovely breakfast spread. Our usual travel breakfast is much more limited so we can quickly get out the door. On this special day, we slowed down and enjoyed the holiday together.

Split Apple Rock. After breakfast we headed out for some relaxed sightseeing, starting with a short hike to see Split Apple Rock, a geological rock formation just off the coast of Tasman Bay.

Kaiteriteri Beach and Kaka Point. Next, we drove down to Kaiteriteri Beach, where even on Christmas Day, the parking was tight and the beach was full of families. Coming from the Northern Hemisphere, this type of Christmas tradition was quite different than what we were accustomed to seeing! The beach itself is perfect for families as it has a protected cove with plenty of sand. From there we walked up to Kaka Point to view the beach from up above.

Motueka, Jane Seddon Shipwreck. The final stop for the day was along the shore in Motueka to see the Jane Seddon Shipwreck. This is allegedly the ship that shot the first shot in WWII. We don't know if there's any truth to that but nevertheless, it's a nice spot to sit on a bench and look out onto water.

Christmas Dinner and Cornhole. Back at the AirBnB, we made a make-shift Christmas dinner that we'd have to say, was pretty darn good all things considered. The previous evening, Christmas Eve, we had just arrived on a plan in Nelson and needed to very quickly stop at the grocery store before it closed. As we needed food for three days, including Christmas dinner, it was a bit of a frantic stop, not to mention the fact that we hadn't yet arrived at our accommodations to figure out what the kitchen capabilities were available to us. If you've stayed in AirBnB's, you'd understand the wide variety of what hosts consider a "fully stocked kitchen." So with this in mind, we opted for a menu that was as simple as possible and in the end, we were quite happy with the result, even if it wasn't anywhere near what we would make as a traditional dinner back at home. Afterwards, we played cornhole out on the back lawn - a super fun perk of this particular AirBnB. We also FaceTimed our family back home and wished them a Merry Christmas Eve since we were a whole day ahead of them.

Holidays Abroad. In the 40+ years on this planet, this was first Christmas we celebrated away from home. I said that planned this trip to accommodate our older son's college schedule, but in reality it was because it was the first Christmas without my mother and the first trip since she passed away. Taking ourselves out of the holiday routine helped get passed this difficult first year. I was also concerned about the long-term impact of the the unfortunate timing of her death which occurred while we were in Tanzania six months earlier. I did not want our family to feel guilt or anxiety about leaving again or associate our trips in some negative way because of our recent loss. Travel is not only an escape but it's how our family enjoys our time together; it's how we stay close as a family unit; and more broadly, it's how we stay connected to the world and other ways of life. Our Christmas Day in New Zealand will be rememberable for what it was - lovely quiet time as family. This year, it's back to the extended family chaos and fun that is Christmas, and our next trip? It's scheduled for December 26th.

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