Sunday, December 22, 2013

New Zealand - Day 15

The day began with a great run around the hot springs.

Then more exciting yet - Caden lost his first tooth!  It had been loose for some time and we were hoping he'd lose it abroad, and he made it!  The very last morning.  Now we were left wondering if the tooth fairy would find him on an international flight across the date line?!?

We drove to Auckland, and as we drove, I increasingly felt worse and worse.  Our flight home was not until 8:30 PM, so we explored Auckland a bit and then looked up the closest beach (below).  To our dismay that were signs warning of quicksand!  So we hiked 'around' the beach, rather than on it, before heading to the airport for our 11 hour flight to LA.

Flight was flawless - despite my getting sick.  Caden and I sat by a really nice young man who let Caden put his feet right on his lap!  And the tooth fairy DID indeed find us in flight, although strangely, no one saw her!  Not even the flight attendants!  But Caden was thrilled to have chocolate gold coins in New Zealand currency in his air plane pillow :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

New Zealand - Day 14

The kids and I headed to an animal park to check out some of the NZ native animals and to get a chance to pet their baby tiger cubs.  The park did not disappoint!  
Wild boars
Feeding the trout - 28,000 spawn through this river each year
This was a favorite - feeding the reindeer

Gorgeous tree top walk

Attack of the birds!  Actually, just begging for food, which was a little disconcerting for the kids.

The begging goats

Enjoying the jacuzzi

These little happy meal toys were a staple of the trip '_'
We then headed into town for ice cream and to listen to some live music, before coming for a movie night with sick daddy.

New Zealand - Day 13

Our hotel in Lake Taupo was great!  Huge bathtub that the kids and I enjoyed while Corey continued to try and recover.  The kids and I set out early to find the pool and the hot tub.  We brought along our coffees and the paper :)

We then headed into town for breakfast...

Next stop was Rotorura, where we checked in to a two bedroom condo for two nights with an outdoor Jacuzzi tub.  Perfect place for Corey to recover before our flight home - despite the sulfur smell from the hot springs.

I took the kids in to town for a little picnic of Mackeys and a good play at a fantastic play ground.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Zealand - Day 12

Poor Corey is  STILL sick!  I was able to sneak out for an early run along the cliffs of the fjord.  Stunning!  Then we packed up to pick up a quick breakfast and coffees and head to the car ferry for our journey to Wellington and our start of the north island.

The ferry ride took 4 hours over some pretty significant swells.  The kids did some homework, played in the play area, and watched some cartoons.  Poor Corey slept.

We arrived and headed north a few hours to Lake Taupo.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Zealand - Day 11

We returned our camper van around noon, and I was delighted to find that there was not an additional charge for the bumper mishap.  We picked up our minivan, and headed north to Picton so we could take the car ferry to the north island the next morning.  Corey was still under the weather, so I was the DD.  Thankfully minivans are much shorter than 6 person camper vans, so the job was much easier!

We crossed through beautiful tunnels.

Once in Picton, the kids and I went out to explore.  We first visited a classic book shop and picked up a few books by Kiwis, including one on Nelson Mandela.  Then we went down to the waterfront to read them and run around a bit.  The fjords brought back many fond memories of my and Tamara's kayaking adventures here :)

Fun ship to play on

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Zealand - Day 10

I began the day with a beautiful run along the lake, balancing across logs, hopping over streams, and generally just having a great time.  I didn't see another soul.  It was very peaceful.

I returned back to the camper to find Corey not feeling well again.  He rallied to come down to the dock to feed the ducks - and the eels - including helping the eels nip at the ducks!  Caden was so fascinated by it.  We were all trying to get those ducks to be more careful!

Corey went to pack up the camper and the kids and I played at the waters edge a bit.

We worked for a good hour to create a bridge.  It took the whole team, but we finally pulled it off.

Not far down the road we stopped for gas and some muffins that we have decided to add to our Little Angst Bakery menu - mainly because there was the equivalent of 1/2 a chocolate bar on top.  They earned a thumbs up from the discerning Angst kids!

Corey turned over the reigns to me at this point, feeling worse by the minute.

Lily had hot springs on her New Zealand bucket list, so I pulled over, 1 hour into my driving, while Caden and Corey were fast asleep in the back.  They never would have known we had stopped, had I not backed into the hill with our unusually long camper and snapped the bumper!  Ugh!  Poor Corey fixed it up a bit, and then went back to bed.  Lily and Gia enjoyed a soak.  It was just us, and 10,000 of our favorite sand flies '_'

We made it into Christchurch right around dinner time for our last night in the camper.  Poor Corey was full on sick by this point.  The kids and I kept busy exploring the play areas, doing laundry, and visiting the arcade.  I let each kid play a game, and Caden was the only one to walk away with a trinket.  Lily was so upset, insisting that we should call the people that make those games to let them know that its not nice that not everyone wins - especially little kids!  It really made me smile.  Then in the second hour of the rant, I was ready to change topics.

The kids and I had a breakfast dinner and quiet night of Legos.