Lovely New Zealand

Hi again!  I’ve had a little break.  A lovely holiday in gorgeous New Zealand, with husband, my mum and the kids!  We spent a couple of weeks traversing the North Island and experiencing some delightful parts of this breath-taking place.  The last time I visited New Zealand was on my honeymoon.  With the addition of two young children this was quite a different trip – riding in a slow, bumpy, motorhome…travelling only a couple of hours each day interspersed with nappy changes, breastfeeding, cleaning mess…ensuring everyone was donned with sunscreen, hat, socks, shoes and clean undies before exiting the motorhome (myself included)…general entertaining of kids and keeping the peace.  Yes…quite different.  I think I returned far more exhausted than on my honeymoon, despite the fact that I covered more ground and scaled more heights during the latter.

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But we had an amazing trip – well worth the effort.  Just like pushing your body to its limits to reach the mountain summit and be rewarded by an otherwise unobtainable view.  We did literally push our bodies to their full capacity of exertion too.  Not that we tackled any super treks…but each time we did a walk we had to carry the kids most of the way.  Luckily my 12kg baby was in a sling.  Our 16kg preschooler was not!  And she insisted on being carried quite a bit of the time….mostly by Daddy.  But when baby was asleep and having a free ride with Daddy one time guess who carried Miss L for an hour of ups and downs, twists and turns, through a New Zealand forest?!

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I’m not complaining though.  This was a perfect opportunity to teach our kids about respecting nature and a beautiful foreign land whilst experiencing it ourselves.  Here are some of the special places that we visited (all in the North Island):

Driving Creek Railway, Coramandel Town

View from the train

View from the railway lookout

Cathedral Cove, The Coramandels

Gemstone Bay, Cathedral Cove Walk

Cathedral Cove

Maungatautari Ecological Island, Waipa

Maungatautari Ecological Island - tree ferns

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Hobbiton, Mattamatta (I know …it’s not exactly wilderness…but a must see for LOTR/Hobbit fans and a living gallery of a wonderful way of life…with real and beautiful productive gardens)!

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Hobbiton - Bilbo's tree on horizon

Karangahake Gorge

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Te Puia, Rotorua

Pohutu Geyser

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You might notice in a few of the photos that the countryside is looking quite dry.  That’s because New Zealand’s north island is currently experiencing a severe drought – its worst in decades apparently.  You need to look at the bits of the pic’s that have no trees and mostly grass (and not the irrigated part of the Hobbiton photos)!  Compare the lush green of the Hobbiton garden to the non-Hobbiton dry paddocks in the background.  The weather was also unusually warm, which is typical since I’d packed loads of cold-weather clothes – thermals, beanies, scarves, woollen socks, Goretex jackets – all of which we had no use for!  Coupled with the absence of rain (this is New Zealand we’re talking) it was a little disconcerting.  Coupled with the fact that we’d just left Australia in pouring rain (with flooding occurring all over the place yet again) wearing winter clothes which were promptly removed on arrival in Aukland…it was rather worrying.

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Anyway, fortunately New Zealand was still beautiful with shades of brown blanketing the countryside and the lack of rain made sight-seeing with kids much easier.   Although very tired, I came home feeling mentally refreshed.

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I get a quiet thrill from immersing myself in nature, especially when it’s as amazing as the kiwi country.  And it reminds me of what we have to lose if we as a species take more than what we were allocated in the first place.  It reminds me that nature is incredibly powerful and will carry on, without humans.  It reminds me that if we want nature to continue to provide for us we need to give it some credit for its role in our world.

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