Around and about and back again

So much for my good intentions of blogging lots… 🙁

We’ve been away again… doing the big tour of the North Island. It was really fun – started out with the long-promised (to Aidan) visit to the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua – we hired a private pool, and went in the early evening – even the kids were awestruck by the sheer loveliness of the surroundings – being outside in a hot pool, on a cold starry night 🙂 .

From there we drove to Wellington – via a visit to Huka Falls (the volume of water flowing through here was greater than either K or I had ever seen before), and an exciting drive over the Desert Road (near Mount Ruapehu) – we stopped for a picnic lunch up there and the weather closed in… didn’t quite expect to be throwing snowballs, but there we were!

Wellington, for the first time, displayed its true colours to me (every other time we’ve been the weather has been near perfect!). This time we had horizontal rain the entire time we were there! Still, we managed to catch up with Bevan; and Heather, Jack, Becca and Maggie (at Te Papa – the Musuem of New Zealand – well worth a visit); and Louise, Barry, little Alec, and Anna too! We also went out to Eastbourne to show the kids K’s grandma’s old house, and went paua shell hunting on the beach too.

From there we drove to New Plymouth to meet some long-lost relatives of K’s – I think we were all about as nervous as each other beforehand, but we had a lovely time! We managed to go through the “Goblin Forest” up on Mount Taranaki; seal-watch from an old English Lifeboat around the Sugarloaf Islands, and have a lovely afternoon in Pukekura Park while we were there.

Next on our whirlwind tour was Wanganui – to stay with Auntie Elspeth, visit with Garth, Brydie, Rachel and Alex, and Karlene… And to spend some time with Steve and Varya, Benji and Toby. It was wonderful to see them so happy and settled in their lovely new home – but very sad when we realised that we now won’t see them again until the next time we come to NZ. We had a fun afternoon with them cruising down the Whanganui river on the Waimarie Paddle Steamer.

On our way home we had another flying visit with Josh and Mel and kids – this time to visit them in their new home in Pirongia. They have a huge section – complete with pond, paddock containing three sheep, and wetland area! The kids had a fab time running around!

And now we’re in AK again. And starting to realise that there are only a few short weeks left before we go home… and I still haven’t told you about the fun walk that K, M and I did along the sandbar at Tahuna Torea (during which we were followed by a pukeko for much of the walk) on the day I went into hospital all those weeks ago; or about climbing Rangitoto on Saturday, or the walk to Kitekite Falls, at Piha in the Waitakeres on Sunday…