The Last of the North Island

Feb 10, 2018

Our first morning in Taupo felt like a vacation in Mexico. After breakfast we headed for the pool, where I sipped a latte as the rest of the family swam. 
I eventually joined them and was pleasantly surprised by how warm the water was. It was like a nice warm bath. The pool was amazing. It had a swim up bar, waterfalls and a cave that dropped to a depth of 4 metres.
We paused for a break to apply sunscreen and have a second breakfast. Nothing is better than a feast by the pool! 
With full bellies, the girls went for a nap on the lounge chairs while Ryan and I enjoyed the pool. This is what vacation dreams are made of.  We sipped drinks from the swim up bar and the girls woke up just in time to watch a movie on the big screen above the pool. 

Ryan and Shane had a boy’s day out and enjoyed a riverjet boat ride. In the meantime, Jay and I took the kids to the Huka Honey Hive, where we watched bees, sampled honey and ate ice cream.  
That evening Ryan, the girls and I went on a lake cruise. We ate pizza as we cruised through Lake Taupo. Aaralee especially loved the Maori rock carvings, as she thought that they were from the movie Moana. Briley slept for 80% of the journey, rocked to sleep by the gentle waves. 

When we got back to the campground we headed for the pool for one last time. The girls were living the dream as we ordered milkshakes from the swim up bar and stayed up far past bed time. The sunset was breathtaking, the girls were happy, and all in life was wonderful. 
We woke up the next morning to the sound of pouring rain, our cue to hit the road in search of sunshine. The forecast didn’t look promising for anywhere in the vicinity, but it was worth a shot. We headed west after a breakfast at McDonald’s. I’m not normally enthusiastic about McDonald’s breakfast, but this one had an actual DC3 plane that had been converted into seating. We had our breakfast in an airplane and it tasted far better than any plane breakfast I’ve had. 

After breakfast it was back to the highway, where we sadly parted ways with Jay, Shane, and Texas. They are now making their way back towards Auckland as we carry on towards the South Island.

Disclaimer: The rest of up day involved no plans, a complete lack of knowing where we’d sleep, and no final destination decided. It might be a stressful read for you if your an organized, planning type of person. 
We drove west, originally planning to stop after about 3 hours of driving. We stopped along the way at various viewpoints, and drove up a volcano just for fun. 
We eventually made it to our original planned stop, Foxton. We stopped for a pizza picnic and then proceeded down the coast to check out some of the nearby campgrounds. We were spoiled by a bright rainbow and a spectacular sunset as we carried on. The girls fell asleep as soon as we reached the motorway, so we changed our plans and decided to carry on towards Wellington. 

It was dark as we approached the suburbs and set out in search of a place to call home for the evening. Our options were limited, but with a bit of help from Google and a bit more driving we finally found a campground. We pulled into a spot, moved the girls from their car seats to their bed, and finally settled in for the night around 11 pm. Around 11:30, we were woken by the sound of banging on our van and a family claiming we’d stole their spot. As per the front office sign, any empty site was free for the taking, so we’d thought nothing of it. We reluctantly moved to what appeared to be the only other spot available in the campground. Ryan and I were tired and grumpy but the girls were super excited about the 30 seconds that we drove while they were still in their bunks. 
We packed up early the next day and drove to find a place to have breakfast. We tried to route to a spot with a playground, but our GPS failed us. The joke was on it, though, because we instead found ourselves at the top of a hill with stunning views.  We parked the van, and had a roadside picnic. 

After breakfast we drove to downtown Wellington, where we came across a park right along the waterfront. The girls played at the playground while I strolled the underground market. 
We came across a spot where they were renting out power wheels cars for kids to drive, so we let the girls cruise around as we tried to prevent them from running into things/people. We walked to a boardwalk over the water to see if we could see any fish, and just as we peered over, a stingray swam below us! 

Our next adventure of the day brought us to a quiet beach with yet another playground. The girls have been in their glory here, with so many parks to explore in such warm weather. After a bit of playing we went to the beach to search for shells. They were everywhere that we looked, and Aaralee was thrilled. If it were up to her, she’d bring them all home and save them forever. 

It started to rain, so we got back into the van and took the scenic route back to the city. We made it to Oriental Bay, where we stopped for a coffee while the girls played at another park. Whoever built a cafe beside a playground is my hero. They played in the water play area, mixing water with sand and getting mud everywhere. At home I might try to keep them clean, but this is their vacation too, so muddy kids it was. 
We’d actually planned ahead for once and booked a campground earlier that day, so we headed there to check in and freshen up before dinner.
Thanks to my former career, I’m fortunate enough to have friends from every corner of the globe. One of my batch mates from my days at Emirates calls Wellington home, so we met him for a delicious dinner. It was great to reunite after 7 years, and the girls loved him! We chatted about Dubai, New Zealand, and Canada before parting ways until we meet again somewhere in the world.
It was time to go back to the campsite to bathe my dirty children and get to bed in preparation for an early morning ferry ride. Today we are off to the South Island! 


Post a Comment

Comments really make my day... so stop and say hi!!