Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Zealand Holiday

For the second year in a row Jason and I headed back to New Zealand during March. Last year it was for Jason's 30th birthday. This year it was for a wedding and a 60km running race (I will post about both these in the next couple of days so watch out for the updates). This blog is just a general blog about the holiday, the big things that we did will have their own updates.

We planned to be in New Zealand for 17 days which is a nice long break. Instead of heading back to Wellington we only went as far as Taupo. We hired a house and gave an open invitation to all our family and friends to head up to visit.

The journey started well after a hectic week (I worked 62 hours in the week leading up to the holiday) and we were lucky enough to have a ride to the airport with our friend Richard. This would be more of a blessing in disguise that what we originally thought as we missed a major storm in Perth and had our car been parked at the airport we would have come back to shattered windscreens from the tennis ball sized hail stones!!! There was some major damage! So you will understand what a relief it was to have our car parked nice and safely under the car port at the apartment.

Anyway, back to the blog at hand. Holiday time... so once we made it to the airport I breathed a sigh of relief. I had just finished a manic week and it was great to finally be on holiday. We started with some duty free shopping (new sunnies and books for both of us) and then waited around for the flight.

The flight was horrible as per usual. It leaves 5.50pm Perth time and we arrive in Auckland 6am NZ time (which is 1am Perth time)... I was lucky enough to sleep for about 4 hours, but Jason never does. This trip was going to be a bit harder as well as we were driving to Taupo (about 3.5 hours) instead of flying to Wellington (1 hour).

We picked up the hire car and were finally really on the way. It was a beautiful morning in NZ and NZ is so, so, so much prettier than Western Australia. It was somewhat colder though, we left Perth in 42 degrees and Auckland was 12 when we landed. Here Jason is with our hire car for the trip and having his first ciggy for the day. He was shivering by the end of the smoke!! It was nice to be cold again :-)

Check out my new sunnies... So after nearly 18 months in Aussie I have become used to long straight roads so I got a little car sick on the trip down to Taupo. Crazy!

It was a pretty uneventful drive to Taupo, but we were really pleased to get there. Here's Jason just hanging out on the deck of our new house for the next 2 weeks.
The first weekend was Jason, me, Ken and Rona and it was great to catch up over a few wines, beers and some great bbq's (including a great bbq'd/smoked pork loin). Jason and I don't have a bbq in Aussie so we wanted to make use of it while at the bach.

Unfortunately for me and my crazy hair brained ideas my real holiday wouldn't start for a week- after my running race. In the lead up days I still had to run every day. My first run was along the huka falls walkway. This is one of my favourite places to run in NZ... while I was running Jason, Ken and Rona walked to Huka Falls (Jason has kayaked these falls). Here's a couple of shots Jason took:
We also had lunch at the Prawn Farm. Great for me and Ken... not so much on the menu for Jason and Rona- although their hot chips did look nice.

Ken and I shared a platter of prawns for two (1kg of prawns). They were tossed in garlic butter and served with a garlic and sweet chilli sauce. On the side we had fresh bread and a prawn cocktail.... mmmmmmmm!!! Check it I am peeling the first of many prawns...
Yummo... these were great!
Apparently I eat faster than Ken... check out how many have disappeared from my side compared to Ken's hehehe...
The leftovers!
Here's Jason at lunch! I was allowed to try some of his chips but not with my prawn fingers.
This is the view that we had for our lunch.
On Monday morning Jason and Ken went fly fishing and I picked up Lorry from the airport. Ken and Rona went back to wellington after a thoroughly enjoyable weekend and it was just me, Jason and Lorry until Wednesday. During this time we played the first of many mini golf games for the holiday. I won by MILES! 52 shots to Jason's 60 and Lorry's 68 shots.

Here's Jason and Lorry cooking yet another BBQ dinner.
Close up on the steak and chips. Jason cooked every night on holiday and there was only one night where the BBQ wasn't used... and we were out for dinner that night.
After dinner I got some nice sunset shots, while Jason and Lorry caught up on the last 2 years.
On Wednesday Nicci and James (Jason's godson) arrived. Check out James, I think he liked the new digger we got him.
It was great to spend some time with James. He has grown up so much in the year since we have seen him. Here he is with his rabbit nose... followed closely by Jason.
How cute is this...
I hadn't been feeling well and was worried about my race. I didn't know whether it was just post flight tiredness or not so I went to the doctor. Unfortunately this visit left me feeling very unwelcome in NZ. I filled out the new patient form with my Aussie address but picking New Zealander as my ethnicity. Anyway, the receptionist said that I couldn't possibly state that I am of New Zealand ethnicity as I had an Australian postal address... SERIOUSLY! Anyway, she changed it to "ethnicity undefined"....I was gob smacked and unfortunately just got upset internally and never said anything!!!!!! I wish that I had of as changing someone's form is illegal!

Anyway the doctor was no better, she said that I was fine apart from the swollen glands and lymph nodes and for my sake she hoped that it wasn't glandular fever... great, what a way to make me feel better for my race!!!!!!!! Anyway, enough of that- back to the god parts of the holiday.

On Thursday Jason, me, Lorry, Nicci and James visited Orakei Korako (see recent blog post on this) and Leza arrived in Taupo. She had just finished competing at the NZ surf nationals in Ohope, picking up a few national titles in the process. Well done!!!

Before I knew it, it was Friday and the day before my BIG (and I mean big- 59.8km) race. Me, Jason and Leza drove to Rotorua on the Friday to do the race registration and some course familiarisation. I will blog about the actual race in the next day or so.

On the way to Rotorua we stopped in at my old primary school- Mihi Primary. Very fond memories of my time here.
I stayed the night in Rotorua with the Tickelpenny's and Jason and Leza went back to Taupo to a full house. While we were away for the day Rona, Ken, Melissa, Blossom, Carol and Martin Taylor all arrived in Taupo for the busy second weekend...

I won't talk about the race at all in this blog. SO will skip to post race (briefly)...after the race we all congregated back in Taupo and had another great BBQ. Great times were had by all- lots of good food, wine and laughs!!!! It was a stunning evening in Taupo- check out the photos below- and I made it to about 11pm (I think)... it was probably from all the caffeine I had during the race rather than any new magical staying up power (anyone that knows me, knows that I am usually asleep by 9pm).

This is the view of Lake Taupo from the deck in Taupo.
After an early morning Brunch with Megan Harrison (great to see you) I spent much on Sunday asleep and generally recovering. It was a pretty quite day all round. We said goodbye to Leza, the Taylors, and Lorry, Nicci and James.

Sunday night included the worlds best roast lamb, cooked on the BBQ. It was SOOOOOO good, cooked over 4 hours with Moroccan seasoning and smoked with bourban flavoured wood chips. It was my favorite meal of the WHOLE TRIP!!!!!!! Yummo!

On Monday morning, Jason and Ken went fly fishing again and after that Ken, Rona and Melissa were all gone. So from a very busy house, it was just Jason, Blossom and me left.

By this stage my pre race cold has reared its ugly head and I was fully sick by now... but it didn't hold me back. On Tuesday we did a 7 hour caving epic at Waitomo Caves (I will leave the detail on this trip to a post of its own). All I will say was that it was a WICKED day!!!

While we were waiting for Blossom's girlfriend Kate to arrive we visited Aratiatia Rapids. Every day the dam does 3 - 4 releases of water. The is the river pre-release.
Here's Blossom waiting for the release.
Jason looking cool in his new sunnies.
Finally- a signature shot of me and Jason!!!
Here is the river mid release. That big rock in the middle at the top was about 8 metres tall before the release and by the end of it, it was totally covered in water!
Kate arrived on the bus mid afternoon and we were off to the next mini golf challenge. Which Jason, Kate and Blossom made into a drinking game. It was couples against couples and Jason and I took it out. Kate and Blossom had to shout the next game as the result.

All I can say about the rest of the evening is that it degenerated into a very drunken night. We played numerous drinking games, which Blossom wasn't very good at. This is the only photographic evidence of the night.
It was a great night for all, but unfortunately (as with the best of them) the next day wasn't too pleasant for Blossom. The rest of us felt good though.

Jason and I were feeling a little cooped up so we visited Craters of the Moon. Apparently

in the 1950s a large area of land north of Taupo suddenly began to get hot and emit steam. Craters of boiling mud emerged, along with other geothermal phenomena. And so the Craters of the Moon was born.

The event was triggered by the lowering of underground water pressure by a nearby geothermal power station. Superheated water rose to the surface, escaping through any vent it could find.

Here's Jason checking out one of the craters.
Me and Jason with the steam behind us.
More of the craters...
Later in the day, when Blossom was feeling a little better Jason and I cashed in on the mini golf game that Kate and Bloss owed us. Unfortunately this time we were well beaten. My game was well off! any unfortunately Jason's good game wasn't enough to pull us through.

Jason and Blossom playing for par on one of the holes.
Blossom looking surprisingly chipper after his big night.
Jason in his new shirt which everyone loves on him!!!
Me trying to pull my game back together... it didn't work! Everyone got a hole in one but me.
Kate and Blossom shouted and me and Jason dinner and then it was time to say goodbye. Our holiday was fast coming to an end. We left Taupo and headed back to Rotorua for Sam's wedding. This will also be the subject of its own blog so I will just briefly chat about Rotorua.

We visited my Grandparent's grave, which was sad. I took a photo for my mum. Its been years since we lost them but the visit made me remember the great times we had growing up in both Rotorua and later on Waihi Beach.

After the visit we played another mini golf game but my heart wasn't really in it. Jason had a good game but I was ready to head to our new bach...

You'll have to wait a week or so to hear about the wedding but just to round out the holiday, Jason and I drove back to Auckland on the Sunday afternoon. Stayed a night in Auckland and then flew out to Perth on Monday afternoon. Our plane was delayed a couple of hours so we paid for a one off entry into the Koru lounge, which was a great decision in the end.

So after an action packed, family and friend filled holiday we were back in Perth. It was a great break, but as usual, its nice to be home.

Till next time.

No comments: