We have fallen in love with New Zealand. It is so peaceful, clean and friendly. It seems like the place that time and corruption forgot. Perhaps everyone is so happy and friendly because here, one can purchase an endless supply of Cadbury’s chocolate and South African biltong! We have been learning the local terminology, and if you were here and heard the sentence, “Im going to grab my togs and jangles and head to the beach after morning tea.” You’d probably respond with, “Good on you!” Or maybe, “That’s choice!” And if you saw their togs and jangles and really liked them you may comment, “Sweet as!!!”, then head out for some nibbles before you drive off on the left side of the road.On the twins birthday while we were in Wellington waiting for our visas, Clare baked the them a delicious birthday cake and Mycah decorated it. She decided to go with a New Zealand theme…
the cake was a green hillside with a few rocks and many fluffy sheep! She’s so creative and the twins loved it.
We all sang to Aidan and Emma,
and together they successfully blew all the candles out! I have no doubt they are in for a wonderful and exciting year as 15 year olds. After all….how many 15 year olds can say they’ve been shipwrecked?!
The morning we left Wellington with visas in hand, our goofy creatures said their goodbyes to our wonderful friends, the Smith family.
We love Bruce, Clare, Lucy, Molly and Scoobie the dog so much and are grateful for their amazing generosity. We have no doubt that we will be friends forever.
We were quickly swept up into the gorgeous New Zealand scenery. As always, the ocean called to us so we spent a few minutes standing quietly, watching the waves and breathing in the peace we feel there.
Just around the corner as we headed North, we were surrounded by endless green fields with beautiful flocks of fluffy white sheep on them.
The creatures tried to approach them because Jude and Mycah REALLY wanted to give one a hug, but they just weren’t very keen on the idea and scattered.
We passed by beautiful lakes and the area called ‘Mordor’ in Lord of the Rings.
One minute, we were surrounded by large stands of trees that were covered in moss,
the next minute, dense forests covered the hillsides and the air was filled with that clean scent of pine.
We drove down roads framed in tropical trees and vines and set up camp for the night. The creatures played hide and seek until I called them in for a warm dinner I’d just prepared for them in the RV’s quaint little kitchen.
We climbed down tiny gaps in the earth that lead into a smorgasbord of tunnels which branched off from a raging river with New Zealand long finned eels living in them, all passing below us.
The Okupata Caves are beautiful, and when flashlights are turned off and ones eyes adjust to the darkness, glow worms cover the ceiling like a constellation. I thought I even saw the Southern Cross. We shined a light on some of the glow worms, and noticed their silk threads hanging from the ceiling of the cave. They produce the silk like ‘string’ that hangs down and place a sticky acid mucus like substance on it in several places which attracts insects for them to climb down and devour. The adult glow worm is about the size of a mosquito and their entire life cycle can be completed in the cave.
When we exited the cave and climbed a ladder back up to the trail, Danny stopped midway up the ladder, turned to me and said, “this could be called stairs or a ladder, but I tend to choose the ladder.” He’s so punny!
There are many thermal hot spots in New Zealand, and as the hot steam rising from the pools mixed with the cool air above, a brilliant rainbow formed – arching across the sky in a thick colorful banner.
The green of the country side is so breathtaking, and never ends.
Even though it is winter time and many trees are leafless, everything remains so picturesque.
Every corner we turned we were faced with more green, more hills, more places to run barefoot over and into the horizon.
One of the places we camped was across from a beautiful hike through the forest, so we saw it as a great opportunity for an adventure. We crossed over several small bridges,
and immersed ourselves in nature. Trees reaching for the heavens,
tiny vines growing up trunks,
and thick carpets of moss covering every fallen log.
We also learned how kiwi vines are grown. They look like vineyards,
and are protected by tall hedges which line the roads for many kilometers.
We stopped by Skyline Rotorua, where we took the gondola up the mountain,
wearing spiffy helmets that smelled like a locker room,
then rode the luge back down the mountain. We reached pretty high speeds and Danny was quite the maniac because no speed is fast enough for him.
Danny and the creatures had a race on one of the trips down, and when they reached a traffic jam, Danny grabbed his cart, picked it up, ran ahead of everyone and jumped back on. Until then, Jude had been in the lead and was cussing his name when he cheated! He came down with a thumbs up like he’d won,
Jude followed and when they reached the final traffic jam a few meters from the end, Jude picked up her cart and ran to the end, winning the race!!!
Aidan came next saying he had to stop and rescue Mycah because she ran off the track and crashed.
Next came Emma who was all smiles and loving life.
Mycah finally arrived with a couple new wounds to add to her shipwreck wounds, and said she wanted to win and gave it all she had, took a corner too fast and ate dirt with her car ontop of her! We had a good laugh.
We passed through so many beautiful little towns, like Tauranga, where we looked at a college Jude is interested in, and Matamata also known as Hobbiton. The visitors center there is so beautiful.
We didn’t actually go through the movie sets of Hobbiton because it’s about $89 a person, but we’ll catch it another time.
The sun began to set as we neared Aukland, and I fell asleep for a little while. We love this place, and have enjoyed every second here. WE have loved staying in Aukland with my childhood friend, Teri, and her sweet husband, Conrad, and their children.
Tomorrow we fly to Bali and begin our adventures there. If ever you find yourself in New Zealand, make sure you take a long drive, eat some Jaffa and Pineapple lumps, and let me know what you think of this gorgeous place. I have no doubt my response will be, “Good on you!”