Wow! What a month! I haven’t had internet access for most of this time, and that’s been very freeing!
We flew down to Queenstown on April 1st which, as the skies were cloud-free, was an incredible flight. We’d given the kids each a map of NZ before we left, and so most of our journey was spent pointing out the various landmarks on the map and in reality… Mount Taranaki, Wanganui, Farewell Spit and the Southern Alps… stunning! And the descent into Queenstown was every bit as good as I’d heard!
We had ten days on the South Island – mostly in a cottage near Wanaka, from which we did a lot of walking, even climbed Mount Iron (a whopping 300m, 45min climb), which afforded us some lovely views of the snow-capped mountains surrounding us!
Thanks to my lovely parents, Keith and I ran away to Te Anau for the night, and the next day saw us on a cruise to Doubtful Sound (a belated Christmas present from my family – thank you all very much!). It was a truly awe-inspiring place. My parents viewed it on a calm, blue-skied sunshiny day. It was in an entirely different mood when we saw it three days later – slightly overcast, and windy… waterfalls flowing upwards, and mini-tornados whipping up the water; and the sheer grandeur of the place! Wow! One of life’s highlights 🙂 .
The weather was very kind to us during our whole stay, and we had stunning views of a snow-capped Mount Cook en route to Timaru. From there, to Christchurch, and then a flight back to Auckland for Easter.
On the Tuesday following Easter, we headed up north of the Bay of Islands, to a lovely bach at Cooper’s Beach, which is situated on Doubtless Bay – another stunningly beautiful place. From there we did a daytrip to Paihia, and went on a boat trip to the Hole in the Rock, which included finding a pod of bottlenose dolphins – an amazing experience, having an entire pod of dolphins just playing and performing right beside our boat!
The other trip we did was to take Mum and Dad to Cape Reinga, thus completing their Landsend to John’O’Groats tour of New Zealand, as they’d visited Bluff on the South Island before coming up to Wanaka. Cape Reing was every bit as special as I remembered it being from nine years ago… I still didn’t see the line of breakers where the two oceans meet though 🙁 . Nine years ago, we stood at the lighthouse above the Cape, and looked down on a sea of cloud (which was pretty impressive in itself!). This time we could see the water, but no line of breakers. Ah well, there’s always the next time…!
From there, back to Auckland, for a few days of showing Mum and Dad around, and then a less happy trip to the airport to say goodbye…
They are safely home again, and we’ve been having a quiet few days recovering before school restarts on Monday.