BootsnAll Travel Network



Farewell to New Zealand

Nov 9-15

It was finally time to leave the South Island and head back to Auckland to catch our flight to Australia. After a rocky ferry crossing with high winds and rough seas we were a little green around the gills and settled in for the night in a bitty little cottage in Paikakariki (I love the names here!) overlooking Marlborough Sound just north of Wellington.

From New Zealand (…

The next morning, as we made our way north, we again drove through Wanganui – remember, home of the “world’s best park.” As we drove by the park, the kids howled, “Look, Mom, there’s another one!” You’d think it was Disneyland! Of course, we had to stop and spend another half hour there while they played, but they were so excited to see their favourite park again, it was worth it.

Finally, we made it back to Tongariro National Park where Claude was determined to complete the Tongariro Crossing, rain or shine. Despite dicey weather reports, he persevered and bought long underwear and gloves so he wouldn’t freeze to death. The next morning dawned wet and windy but it was supposed to clear up later in the day so he waited as long as possible before setting out. Meanwhile, I took the kids on a two hour tramp to Taranaki Falls and to a local indoor rock-climbing gym where Alexa proved to be a little monkey and managed to ring the bell on the ceiling twice. Simon, on the other hand, seems to have inherited my fear of heights and didn’t make it any higher than 10 feet before chickening out. Finally, it was time to retrieve Claude at the far end of the Crossing. Imagine our surprise when we showed up a half an hour before our agreed upon rendezvous time to find him walking up the road a mile from the trailhead. Apparently, although he had been the last hiker to start the Crossing, he was the first one to finish it, passing about fifty people along the way. He said that the weather had been miserable for the first few hours and he had been almost knee deep in snow with very poor visibility. However, as the day progressed, the weather had improved and the sun had even peeked through a few times, enabling him to enjoy the beautiful lakes and extraordinary mountain vistas.

From New Zealand (…
From New Zealand (…

We were now in the last few days of our stay in New Zealand and it was time to head for Auckland. We took our friends, Linda and Robert (remember the Cook Islands), up on their offer and bunked in their spare room for a few nights. The timing was perfect because we arrived on Bridie’s birthday and the kids were able to go to an honest to goodness birthday party.

From New Zealand (…
From New Zealand (…

It was so nice to see them playing with other kids and doing normal kid things. Alexa and Bridie were joined at the hip for the entire time we were there. They screeched joyfully when they discovered a giant weta in the back garden.

From New Zealand (…

We even had to leave Alexa home with Linda and Bridie when we went shopping for souvenirs in Auckland. Simon enjoyed the extra attention, though, and we had fun exploring Auckland together.

From New Zealand (…
From New Zealand (…

Linda and Rob told us that we had inspired them to take a leap of faith of their own and had decided to move back to Brisbane, where they were from originally. They said we made them realize that money isn’t everything and that you have to follow your heart and theirs was telling them to go home.

In the end, we were sad to say goodbye to our new friends and the country that had welcomed us with open arms. We felt like we had barely scratched the surface of this amazing corner of the world that seems to have gotten everything right (except maybe the weather). This is a place that we will gladly return too on future trips.

To see the rest of our New Zealand photos, visit our web album.



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