15.03.2012 - 03.05.2012
What's the first thing every family does when they land in New Zealand? Go to the grocery store and walk up and down the isles drooling over all of the familiar food of course! We were in heaven - sometimes it doesn't take much.
Anyone who has been to New Zealand would surely agree that it is like all of Canada squished onto two small islands. Geographically speaking, it has everything: mountains, prairies, lakes, rivers, oceans, farmland, forests, volcanoes, .... it's beautiful. A lot like being at home in many ways.
We started our NZ holiday with a week at a resort on Lake Taupo, which is in the center of the North Island. It was a beautiful little town, and we all fell in love with it. We had a condo with a kitchen, and spent a lot of the week cooking and eating all the foods that we had been missing. We also spent a couple days visiting with some fellow Yukoners. Megan had been keeping in touch with a friend of hers from home, whose family had spent the winter touring New Zealand. As luck would have it, they were house-sitting in a town about an hour away from Taupo. We had a great time hanging out with Yolan, Richard, Claire, and Remie and sharing stories of our winters worth of adventures.
We spent time in Auckland at the beginning and end of our tour, with our brother-in-law Shane's family. They are unquestionably the best hosts in New Zealand. We completely took over their house, ate all their food, and managed to keep them all from work and school! They showed us around Auckland, took us to beaches, parks and mountain tops, arranged tours of a dairy farm and a winery, took the boys 'torpedo fishing' and quading, took the girls shopping....they just couldn't seem to do enough.
Mac and Jordan eel fishing
We then rented an old wreck of a motorhome, and went on tour. 5 weeks of camping, fishing, sightseeing, relaxing, hiking...
Meg and I did a "Great Walk" in Fiordland National Park. I'll tell ya, Kiwi's know how to hike. No tent? No problem. In NZ, they have heated huts with beds & mattresses, flush toilets, gas cook tops, and woodstoves! Sure you have to sleep with 30 or 40 other people, 8 of whom snore, but it sure keeps the pack light. The scenery was stunning, and we all enjoyed 4 days of having the kids separated
And at long last, the coup-de-gras - paragliding!
Followed by myself, and then Mac. The experience was right up there with SCUBA diving, and not nearly as scary as I thought it would be.
Our final drive up the East Coast of the South Island turned out to be rich with wildlife. We were thrilled to see....
Yellow Eyed penguins
Loads of Seals
And one day we were entertained by dozens of dolphins diving and doing back flips for us. (sadly no good pics, you'll just have to take my word for it)
And now, we're off to Hawaii for a two week holiday with Grandma and Grandpa. We leave tomorrow and arrive tonight - isn't the international date line cool!