Day 1: THE FLIGHT.
After being EARLY for a flight for the first time ever, it seemed that this trip was going to be as smooth as glass. That was until we tried to check in and found that Kerensa had booked the tickets under 'Eccles'. That was fine for Spencer, Mason and me but it looked like Kerensa was going to have to go home and catch another flight as her existing passport was in her maiden name. Although she had 427 other forms of ID, Emirates were having none of it until she could produce a marriage certificate - last seen in a filing cabinet under the stairs about 3 years ago. Thankfully the complex manager where we live has a spare set of keys to our place and a fax machine. 20 minutes later, we all had our tickets and were on our way. Well, on our way to passport control where I was expecting similar problems but that was smooth sailing, even though I must have been looking very suspicious being soaked in sweat after carrying three bags and Mason in the queue for close on half hour while Kerensa filled in all the appropriate paperwork.
The flight itself was fairly uneventful. The boys had a little TV screen and enough movies to choose from to entertain them for 2 and 3/4 hours. Sadly the flight went for 3! Mason got a little feral at the end but all said he was as good as could be expected not being able to move for that long.
Welcome to NZ!
Day 2: INTRODUCTION TO HEAVY MACHINERY.
Kind of strange hearing the boys wake up at close to 9am (as opposed to 6am). The down-side to having them still on Brisbane time is that they'll no-doubt still be wide awake at 9pm!
Yesterday was just a blur for me (can't imagine traveling long distance with kids - nightmare!) so today was about settling in and getting to know the area. Steve and Christine (Kerensa's friends with whom we are staying north of Auckland) have kindly let us have use of the little cottage next to their house. And what a property! The boys are going to just wear themselves out here (maybe they won't be up after 9pm after all). There's a tractor, a digger, sheep (of course!), a dog that Mason just loves and Spencer is scared of (no surprises there), a cat (who chases the dog!), a cow (there were TWO of them but the other is currently being used for dinner) and chickens a-plenty. They've had the best summer for 30 years here (still quite mild by Brisbane standards) so we expect to be making use of the pool soon enough.
Oh, and Steve has a rather nice boat which we're aiming to take for a run on the weekend - can't wait!
So, it didn't take long before Spencer and Mason were fighting over the single seat on the tractor. I told them to share it, Spencer having the side closest to the stearing wheel, Mason having the side closest to the horn. Why do I not think these things through properly? One headache later, Steve brings out the digger for Spencer 'to have a go' whilst Mason honks himself to death. Surely he means 'to have a sit on'?' No, he means 'to have a go'! Steve gives Spencer a run down of the controls (just to move the digging arm up and down and to swivel the whole thing through 360 degrees). All good. Spencer has a very serious face on. Full of concentration. Hardly looks like he's having fun at all. But he's having the time of his life (although I'm somewhat stressed at this whole event). After a few minutes, he becomes a little bored with going up and down and round and round so tries his luck pushing the two levers directly in front of him. Oh good, these actually DRIVE the thing. Now my headache is back as the digger lurches forward. The look of concentration has now been replaced by one of horror/shear delight. Mason looks on awaiting his turn. No, no and thrice NO!
For lunch, we took off in some random direction in the hope of finding quick and easy fish 'n'chips which we eventually bought and ate at a lovely little bay. Kerensa pointed out that the hill in the background was a volcanoe that's some 150 years overdue to explode and kill everyone in Auckland. Just as long as I get chance to finish my chips first....................
Spencer made the mistake of throwing a half-eaten chip to a seagull, unwittingly inviting every bird in the North Auckland area to our particluar spot. And they're quite aggressive with it too. One actually pinched Kerensa's piece of fish right out from under her nose. (now, now). By the end of it, I had them eating out of my hand. Literally perched on my arm, eating my lunch.
EDIT: somehow during this day, we managed to get to a new Westfields that they've built down the road to do some grocery shopping and, of far more interest, get the boys a haircut. While this is nothing new to Spencer, Mason had only ever had a trim of the fringe from Nanna so this was going to be something to see! I popped him in a booster seat but he was out of that in microseconds so he was going to have to sit on my lap. Much to my surprise he was fairly still during the whole process. I can't believe how different he looks - much more like a little boy. And it doesn't matter how short we cut Spencer's hair, the curls still remain!
Once home (and after a sleep), we gave the boys a closer look at some of the animals scattered around the place. The sheep weren't too interested in hanging around (again, the jokes are too obvious even for me) but the chickens looked like fun so Spencer, Mason and I tried to catch one. It looked fairly straight forward.......they're not overly smart creatures and they're never going to win any sprint contest (I know you are now weighing up the characteristics of the chickens vs me and are placing good money on the chook - there's no need for that!) but catching one proved a little tricky. Mason came up trumps though. Whilst chasing one particularly large bird (he does like to pick on things his own size!), he tripped over his own feet and went head over heels..........onto another chicken! The ensuing fight was great fun for one of them. Mason found it surprisingly easy to pull the feathers out while I waited for this thing to lay an egg out of sheer panic. Eventually, I had to pry his fat little fingers off and let the chicken go. Onto victim number two, he thought and gave chase again for around another 30 minutes (this time without success). He'll sleep early tonight!
Lamb for dinner. Although this would usually bring out some rather easy and obvious jibes at the expense of our hosts, it's quite surprising considering there's some 500kg of various cow parts in the fridge!
Oh, and Mason stayed awake until 10pm! I might give him an hour with the chickens tomorrow.
Day 3: DULL AND BORING.
For some reason Mason kept waking up during the night. It took us a while to figure out that he was probably cold. The little lad hasn't had too much experience with anything below 20 degrees and it does get a little cooler here even though it's the height of summer.
Dull and boring grocery shopping was first on the list of things to do - NZ shopping trolleys don't steer with all four wheels, just the front one's so they're not as easy to navigate (you can tell this is going to be a boring day, huh?). It's a strange thing to see in the home of extreme sports, really - something as silly as a two-wheel steering shopping trolley - when this is where you'd expect to have to bungee jump down to get your weetbix.
A quick trip to the beach and a play-park to get rid of some energy and, in Kerensa's case, a few layers of skin off her butt after misjudging how much flex there was in the cable supporting the flying fox. Funny to watch! There's always unbelievable scenery in the background - no airport of heavy industry to look at here, just extinct volcanoes and various other mountains. Although the natives consider them just hills. The REAL mountains are on the South Island.
After the boys went to bed, I decided to help myself to the espresso machine to make a coffee for Kerensa and I only for the water to run out of the properties tank. I only needed an extra half a glass of water to finish the coffees! I was tempted to use the toilet water and give that to the missus but if she ever found out.........
Once the boys woke up it was time to test out the pool. The thermometer indicated it was a pleasant 32 degrees. Lovely! Steve has some water jet thingy installed which effectively turns the deep end of the pool into a raging torrent of white water. So I got Spencer to dive in and he loved that he could 'swim' 3/4 of the pool without even trying. "again, again", he kept saying until he could hardly breath. Lack of breath didn't stop him from voicing his objections to getting out, though. He found plenty of breath for that!
Mason had another tilt at the chickens without any luck so turned his attention to the sheep. That attempt lasted 3.5 seconds. They're a damned site faster than chickens.............although you can tell they're just as stoopid.
Day 4: RAIN.
Althoug NZ has had their best summer for 30 years, we've had a solid day of rain today so we took the opportunity to drive around various spots in and around Auckland.
After visiting the house where Kerensa mis-spent her adolescence - 44 Onepoto Rd, no sorry, 42 Onepoto Rd, 38? How's 36 sound? No? Best call her Dad to find out. 32 Onepoto Rd it is!) and having a look around lovely Takapuna (renamed Take a Poo by Spencer) we headed through the gorgeous town of Devonport, up to North Head for a panoramic view of the city. And what a view! I'll post up some photos soon enough.
We only just got back to the car before the rain hit us again so back to Take-a-poo for a bite to eat before heading back to Christines and Steves. At this stage I'm gagging for a coffee (surprisingly, Auckland has heaps of places where you can not only buy different varieties of coffee bean, they actually roast it on site - heaven!) so I'll finish this later tonight.
Right then, back to it. Had a quick trip to the shops (Kerensa let me out for a couple of hours without the boys but it wasn't until later I realised why.........Valentines day, innit?). So half my time was spent looking at hi-fi shops, the other half looking for something girlie.
Both Spencer and Mason are starting to get themselves onto NZ time. Although at this rate, by the time they're fully adjusted, we'll be packing up to go home!
Day 5: KA MATE, KA MATE!
Yesterday's rain was still around just a little so we decided to go for a trip through Auckland city and into the Museum. I was surprised at how good it really was. Lots for the boys to see and do (and break)..........dinosaur bones, Spitfires and Zero's from WWII, lots of Maori artifacts and all the other stuff you expect to see at Museums.
The highlight, of course, and the one thing that kept Mason pretty much quiet for 30 minutes, was a Maori Cultural Show. We were presented with some very brief history mixed with traditional song and dance, ultimately ending in the awesome Haka as done by the NZ All Blacks. It was truly something to witness at close range. Once they got into full swing, the differences between our two boys were obvious. Spencer could be heard saying "I don't like that sound" whilst jumping onto Kerensa's lap. The lead Maori focused squarely on Mason, came ever closer and, with one hell of a ferocious look on his face, stuck his tongue out and let out a growl that half scared me! Mason, who was waving his arms around mimicing what was on display, just looked him in the eye, stuck HIS tongue out and growled right back! Bless.
Ka mate, Ka mate, Ka ora, Ka ora!
EDIT: I've just been going over this event again in my mind, now wondering how I, as a father, am going to have any hope of disciplining this boy if he's not in the least bit intimidated by a bloody big Maori warrior in full war-cry bearing down on him. Any suggestions to the "Comments" section, please!
Day 6: WOBBLY BITS.
The day started off with horrendous rain which was replaced by glorious sunshine, back to rain, sun, rain, etc and so on.
Luckily, every time we ventured outside, the rain was courteous enough to leave the area for a while. This gave Mason a chance to get into the chicken coop to cause some mayhem, Spencer a chance to grab some eggs and me a chance to photograph the whole thing.
After the chicken terrorising, it was onto the sheep but, again, they're way too fast.
Steve was getting the boat ready to motor down to the yacht club where we could board tomorrow but a broken fuel hose saw him dump 20 litres of diesel in the river and put our plans back until next weekend. Instead, Christine dragged out some boats of the smaller variety and we all had a chance to go canooing. Kerensa took Spencer up and down the river for a while, then it was my turn to give Mason his first go on the water. My first few minutes in this boat before taking Mason on board were somewhat unco-ordinated - my wobbly bits getting REALLY wobbly at first (I was all over the place like a mad womans dinner!) but a couple of broad circles got me sorted and ready for 'Thing 2' to climb on in. I thouhgt he'd be an absolute nightmare to handle in such an enclosed space but he sat still - dead still, completely emotionless - for about 10 minutes whilst I paddled around singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat".........then he screamed like a banshee when his time was up. He must have enjoyed it more than he was letting on.
Kerensa and I took the evening off and went into Auckland Harbour for dinner. What a fantastic spot! The marina is huge and full of some awesome boats. The meal, too, was fantastic and it's always nice to get away from the kids for a couple of hours.
As the boat has been incapacitated for tomorrow, it looks like we're off to 'Goat Island' for some snorkelling. Look forward to that!
Day 7: GOAT ISLAND.
A beach with grey volcanic ash-like sand and ducks that scare off the seagulls. Typical strange stuff from New Zealand.
We set up a little beach tent and the rest of the gear on this beach overlooking Goat Island and let the kids have a run around. Mason, typically, was the first to get drenched so we got him stripped down out of his clothes and put his swimmers on. The words 'Horse', 'Stable', 'Door' and 'Bolted' come to mind.
Good snorkelling, though (although it did get a little chilly after being in the water for more than 15 minutes). Kerensa wanted to snorkel out to Goat Island itself but got a little nervy when I told her she was surrounded by about 20 jellyfish. These things were just just soft, lifeless blobs that do no harm unlike their Australian cousins but Kerensa was sufficiently uncomfortable to swim back from whence she came and get back to her book.
I took Spencer out for a walk through the rock-pools. No nice smooth rocks here, just things that looked like they were made of lumps of gravel. It was like walking on glass! Spencer had his little beach-boots on so he was ok. I'll be walking like someone with Cerebral Palsy for the next couple of days. Spencer spotted three quite large 'Blue Mau Mau' fish which were this fantastic electric blue that was so easy to see (especially when the water was so crystal clear). After fighting with the ducks over who actually owned lunch (and a quick nap for Mason) we headed back through some (again typically) beautiful country-side, stopped to show 'Thing One' some Shetland Ponies and grabbed some dinner on the way home.
Just to put this on the record, once the boys had gone to bed, I beat Kerensa TWICE at Monopoly. Not just beat, SMASHED, SLAUGHTERED, ANIHILATED. Just to make that clear.
I'm off on my 'Drive of Freedom' on Tuesday so I suspect that tomorrow will be a quiet day of animal teasing.
Day 8: A relatively quiet day.
The boys had a morning keeping the chickens fit whilst Kerensa had a huge sleep in to build herself up for the next two days of dealing with the little terroristas without me. She was also probably ashamed to show her face after being humiliated at monopoly last night. Did I mention that already? Soundly beaten. Whipped!
Not much else to say about today, sadly (hard to believe that we're getting used to the animals around here). We did take Spencer and Mason to the local pet shop for a look-see (no doubt the chickens at home will be happy that someone else is being tormented). But other than that, not much to report.
Steve fired up the BBQ tonight so we had a taste of 'home-kill' (I'll describe this process in a few days - not something for the squeemish) and this beef was awesome. Truly unbelievable. I'm not bothered at all that my dinner was running around the top of the yard a couple of weeks ago. It was THAT good.
Anyway, I'll be off the interweb for 2 days on my drive-of-freedom, so I'll type up what happened on my return on Wednesday night.
Days 9 & 10 - THE TRIP AWAY.
Well I'm back from my two days of driving through the North Island countryside.
I'm glad I used a rental car as it's now basically a shell of what it was when we picked it up at the airport. If I'd gone for three days, it would have been a smouldering pile of rubble. Next time "Top Gear" do a 4WD test, they should let me enter into it with a Mazda 6 station wagon. Provided you don't care how it looks on return, it'll go anywhere!
I wrote down all the places I've been to but the notepad is packed so I'll provide more details later (like you really care anyway!) but I will say that NZ is lovely place. The people are nice, the scenery is fantastic and it's very clean. I can't wait to 'do' the South Island as everyone tells me it's 5 times better than anything I've seen so far.
Anyway, I visited lots of places, spoke to lots of people (including half a dozen maori kids that begged me to take photos of them jumping out of a tree into a lake), went to Waitangi where the Maori's basically admitted a crushing defeat against the mighty English (well, not quite but I'm biased!). I saw the oldest stone building in NZ. Why, I'm not sure but I did. Saw some awesome coastal scenery (especially at the Bay of Islands where I stayed for the night) and generally had a great little get-away. If you have the time I thoroughly recommend it.
While I was away, Mason dropped a rather large ceramic plant pot on his big toe (which is now black), saw - at close range - next months dinner in the top paddock, had a swim and generally continued to have a great holiday.
The weather is becoming a bit of a downer so I'm grateful that I'm pretty much done taking photos. Almost 10 gigs worth! It's gonna take me a while to sort the good from the bad and post them up!
Day 11: BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID.
The weather is funny around here. Although it can get warm and sunny, there's always clouds hanging around ready to put paid to any plans you have. To be honest, we don't have that many plans at the moment. The holiday is almost up and we've seen and done everything we wanted to see and do. Or so I thought........
In the afternoon, we were invited to go and watch young Katherine at her horse riding lessons so we loaded up the boys and headed off 10 mins down t' road. Not long after all of the riders had started their class, Steve tells Spencer that there's a spare horse* and asked if he'd like a go. No words, just a big cheesy smile that said it all. So, on went the riding helmet (it sat SO high on his head - must have some serious suspension in there), saddle thingy's were all adjusted for his little legs and off he went at a gallop. Well, a very slow walk at least but that didn't stop him from grinning ear-to-ear. Two laps of the driveway later and it was Mason's turn. All the saddle thingy's were already at the minimum so he'd just have to hold on as best he could. Predictably, the same grin was evident. Only one lap for Mason as he was a little too fidgety. Not that he minded having to jump off, though as the 'dressage' area was like the worlds biggest sand-pit so he was happy as Larry.
*As is turns out, "Sox" wasn't a horse at all but a pony. To be a horse (apparently), the animal has to be 14.2 hands and "Sox" was just shy of this at 14.1. Who made up that figure? What's wrong with an even 14? Country people. They're a strange lot.
Day 12: Over it.
"Aotearoa" - The Land of the Long White Cloud. When the Maori's named this place they were right on the money. I was hoping that it really meant "Land of the Long White Cloud that Disperses For a Couple of Weeks While You Enjoy Your Overseas Summer Holiday" but it just means "Land of the Long White Cloud".
I'm over the rain. Admittedly, we have squeezed a lot in when it's stopped and we've done pretty much everything we wanted to do but a week or two of warm weather isn't much to ask. Is it?
Maybe it's just because I woke up with a temperature and feeling generally awful. Maybe it's because I spent my formative years close enough to Birmingham that I feel I have the God-given right to moan. Either way, not a fantastic day for me.
To ease the aches, Steve powered up the Spa Pool and I plonked myself in there for a while. Spencer and Mason both joined me until they started looking like prunes then I just sat there on my own, starring up at the clouds. Go on, rain on me. I don't care! I'm wet anyway - and warm - so do you best!
Eventually I tired of the bubbles and shut them off and just lay there in 40 degree water. Heaven!
Maybe it was because I ate breakfast too fast but, before long, I was making a few fresh bubbles of my own. If I'm honest, they weren't all that fresh, so I jumped out quick and put the cover back on the Spa Pool to seal in the flavour for the next person.
Feeling sick or not, there's ALWAYS the need for a sense of humour!
Mason, once again, got his finger caught in a door. The nail that was dying from the first finger he jammed before we left Brisbane has now fallen off and is slowly growing back, his big toe is black and now ANOTHER finger is a mess. Hard work, this boy!
Oh, one other thing. A few days back, I gave Kerensa a chance for revenge at Monopoly. A chance at which she completely blew. So, with the game just about over, I donated all of my money to her.............and I STILL won. Pathetic really for someone in the property game. What makes it even more pathetic is, later that evening, under the influence of some of NZ's finest vino, she confessed to all that she's been cheating throughout. Not a couple of dollars here and there, not even a few hundred but THOUSANDS! And STILL she loses.
I just had to put that out there.
Day 13: BARKING.
Another day of solid rain.
I left my sneakers outside to dry from last weeks rain and they currently have 10mm of water in them. We also have clothes on the washing line so we might be up for excess baggage going home tomorrow.
I took advantage of the rain to pop down to the shops to get some basic things and on the way back noticed that the car park at the local beach was close to being full. Being curious, I drove in to see what could possibly be going on in this weather and was stunned to see countless windsurfers doing their thing at phenominal speed. Why they would do this, I can't figure out. I understand that a good stiff breeze is suitable for this type of activity but it was howling! These blokes wouldn't be seeing anything due to sheets of rain slicing into their eyes; wouldn't feel anything as it must have been freezing and they'd be tasting is gobfulls of salt-water that was being kicked up by the wind. What's the point?
What kind of person looks out of his window, sees the rain coming in horizontally thanks to gale force winds and thinks "Hmmmmmmmm, this is nice beach weather". I'll tell you who. New Zealanders. They're mentalists. Mad, I tell you. Absolutely barking!
Well, as I said, tomorrow is our last day. If you can't be bothered checking in, I'll tell you now what's going to happen:
Arguments over missing socks/undies/wet sneakers.
Kids not wanting to go home as we don't have a dog/cat/chickens/sheep/walking hamburgers, swimming pool or trampoline.
The same abovementioned kids ruining my meal on the flight home by asking me to run seven different in-flight movies simultaneously.
A cab driver that's an idiot.
Too tired to stay up and watch Villa beat Reading live.
I'll put good money on all that coming to fruition.
I'll let you know tomorrow.
Day 14: THEY THINK IT'S ALL OVER........IT IS NOW.
I'm posting this from the 25th as I was just too tired to be even close to bothered yesterday but let's have another look at my predictions:
Rain.......yep. But not as much as previous days.
Arguments over missing socks/undies/wet sneakers.....surprisingly not. Whcih was nice.
Kids not wanting to go home as we don't have a dog/cat/chickens/sheep/walking hamburgers, swimming pool or trampoline......check.
The same abovementioned kids ruining my meal on the flight home by asking me to run seven different in-flight movies simultaneously.....I had Mason on my lap for the flight to NZ so it was Kerensa's turn. Her meal was ruined, that's for sure. Mine was bloody nice though. Thai green chicken curry. Yum. I had to look after Spencer's movie needs though and he was painful. Not least becasue his headphones kept slipping off. I watched half of "Michael Clayton' with George Clooney. An excellent flick. At least the half the I got to watch.
A cab driver that's an idiot.........not sure as he didn't say a word. NOT ONE WORD!
Too tired to stay up and watch Villa beat Reading live.....Maosn, although so tired his eyes were dragging on the ground got a little unsettled in bed at around 11pm so I was SO tempted but sorted him out and stayed in bed. Good result though.
Anyway, back to NZ for a minute.
We were just about ready when I took the boys around to say goodbye to all of the animals. The sheep, for once, were pretty much cornerable (is that a word?) so Mason leaned over the fence and gave one a pat. He seemed quite surprised. Maybe he was happy to finally catch one or maybe he was just surprised by the feel of it. I didn't realise it at the time, but he doesn't get to wear a wooly jumper much (if ever?) so this may well be all very new to him. Donovan came over with a handful of chicken feed and jumped the fence to tempt one of them in for a hand feed. I didn't think he'd be able to get any of the sheep to be THAT brave but he did a top job and within a minute or two, Spencer had legged the fence too and was stuffing gobfulls into 'daisy'. Not something he would have been brave enough to do 2 weeks previous.
By this stage, we've slipped back into character and are now looking at being late for our flight. This may stress most people but we're veterans.
After goodbye's to our hosts, we headed to South Auckland and the aiport. Thankfully there was little traffic to slow us down but we DID have to stop for petrol.
Now, this is probably the one and only thing* I don't like about New Zealand. The price of fuel is just silly. Even with a quarter of a tank still remianing, it cost me $100. ONE. HUNDRED. DOLLARS. That converts to about $85 Aussie dollars - about twice as much as I've ever put in MY car at home.
Thankfully, check in was no trouble (Kerensa wasn't asked to produce a marriage certificate this time) and passport control about a quarter of the time it took in Brisbane as we were pretty much able to go straight to the front being a 'family'. YAY!
We had aisle seats which was really stupid. You'd think they'd let kids sit next to a window. Plus, some poor bloke had to put up with my lot for three hours. Not fair on him really. The airline seemed to have put all the families up the front and the children-haters immediately behind us. Mason was peering through the gaps in the seats with a gorgeous smile and was getting absolute daggers in return. Like he was bothered. He just kept on smiling at them.
Kerensa started to get my flu from the other day and wanted to offload Mason onto me. I thought about it for about 2 seconds before unpeeling a 'Do Not Disturb' sticker from one of the supplied packs, attaching to my shoulder that was facing Kerensa, smiled, put my headphones on and watched a movie. Sorry, love, but I'd done my hard yards on the way in and I wanted to taste this dinner rather than watch someone trying to juggle it for me.
However, after a couple of hours, I relented and took over like a loving husband and general top bloke does. He was HARD work. No wonder Kerensa had had enough.
On dry land, the boys approached a beagle that was on sniffing patrol and this dog quickly decided to take 'Peanut' off Spencer (his stinky, filthy little cloth dog) and, although I'm not entirely sure what happened as it was over in the blink of an eye, I'm pretty sure Spencer put his hand right in the beagles mouth and grabbed 'Peanut' back again. He loves that dog!
Mason, by this stage, had lost it. Our bags were just about the last off the plane (Murphy's law) and we still had Quarantine queues to deal with.
Once through all that, I hailed a cab whilst Kerensa got Mason's pyjamas on. Spencer decided he'd have his on, too and prompty stripped off naked right there at the taxi stand. I was too tired to care.
Well, that's about it, really nothing else to add except a HUUUUGE 'Thank You' to the Clemow Family for letting us completely take over their house and lives for two weeks. Christine and Steve were fantastic hosts letting us have free reign over anything we needed (I made the espresso machine my own), for staying up late and chatting with us when they had work the next day and for helping to get the kids involved with 'farm' life. Also thanks to Donovan for entertaining the boys and to Katherine for babysitting when Kerensa and I were hanging out in the main house. I'm sure they'd had enough of us at the end. I'm sure they'd had enough of us by the middle but if they did, they hid it well. Thanks again. Next time, it's campervans on the South Island so you can just drive off when you've had enough!
Now, to that * that I snuck in above.
I've been bagging NZ's weather a bit over the last few days, thinking how much it was like England but, as it turns out, we were all set for some glorious sunshine thanks to a high pressure system over the top half of the country. However, a low squeezed all this good weather out and replaced it with wet stuff. A low which, ironically, came fro mQueensland. Whilst we were gone, Brisbane and the Gold & Sunshine Coasts have been absolutley spanked by some wicked storms which just span out over the Tasman to Auckland.
So, it turns out, we were better off in NZ with the tail end of this strom than if we'd stayed at home.
That's all, folks. See you on the next trip.
I hope you enjoyed reading as much as we enjoyed 'doing'.