Sunday, February 5, 2012


Even though the weather has not been cooperating this summer we have still managed to get out and enjoy the scenery. We have learned to take advantage of the sunshine while it is shining and head outdoors as soon as possible. The weather in Taranaki is constantly changing, if you don't like the weather just wait 10 minutes and it will change.  I guess I was a little naive when moving here because I thought we would have warmer summers with lots of sunshine, but that has NOT been the case.  The locals are saying this is one of the worst summer's they can remember. We have heard from many Kiwi's that the best months are Feb. and March, so we are looking forward to some blue sky days. The average temp. has been in the high 60's windy and overcast. Great for running, biking and hiking but a little chilly for boogie boarding, swimming and surfing. The wind is not your friend if your are a beginner stand up paddle boarder!! It makes for choppy water, large waves and good carnage. 
   There is a list of Taranaki's Must Do Experiences and my goal was to get through all 50 adventures and attractions ASAP. I am proud to say we have conquered all but 5 of the items. This list was voted on by the locals and ranges from a helicopter flight over Jurassic Falls to coffee at a coastal cafe. One we have not done and hope to when we get a stretch of nice weather is to trek to a hut on Mt. Taranaki and stay the night, and our favorite one was well........too hard to say, we have had fun trying them all!! Ironically one of the activities is to drive scenic World Forgotten Highway, so funny that we did that drive by accident and did not even know it was on Taranaki's Must do list. 
The kids played with friends, we went the movies, and they even got to be Zoo Keeper's for a day @ the Pouakai Zoo. It was not much different than our summer's back home except we had a few more available options to choose from like hanging at the beach and/or playing up on Mt. Taranaki. We have really limited their TV time, and TV has become more of a treat than a normal activity in the house, and this has forced the kids to "play" together more than they ever did at home. By "play" I mean filling their time imaginatively and physically making use of whatever is around them. We do not have very many young kids that live within walking distance of our house and so my kids have relied on each other as their playmates. They have become the best of friends, especially Skyler and Owen. Lindsey loves to get lost in a book, but will join in sometimes. The kids were actually excited about going back to school and seeing their friends and meeting their new teachers. They will be swimming at school every day as swimming is part of the NZ curriculum. 

Owen watching his Daddy surfing. 

Skyler trying SUP

This river is right next to our house. On windy days we will head to the river because the wind usually blows from the N or S and the the river runs E to W. So we are protected from the wind.
This is the Goblin Forrest where there are moss-covered gnarled trees and trailing ferns. This trail leads to the  Wilkies Pools. 

Wilkies Pools

Dawson Falls

Lindsey was the only one brave enough to go swimming. The water was FREEZING, it was snow 24 hrs. ago. We were all very impressed she went for it!!

This was an awesome hike that took us to the Whitecliffs. The hike took us through open farmland where we walked past cows, some dramatic coastal forest to experience some spectacular mtn. and sea views. At the end of the hike there are 702 stairs that descend from the bush to the sea. Our legs were shaking from going down so many stairs, we were very thankful we did not have to walk up the stairs!!


Mike's Organic Brewery, a great place for a beverage and they had a huge lawn for the kids to play on.

Beer in a 2L bottle, looks good to me!!

Playing Rugby at the Brewery

Ending the day at the Pukekura Park after a great hike and beer at the Brewery. That is Brad and the kids in the rowboat going around the pond. 
This was a Surf Lifesaving Carnival (which means competition) at out beach in Oakura. I walked down to take some pictures and watch these young fit kids race. Those boats they are about to race in are called Surf Ski's, they are long and skinny and weigh hardly nothing. They race them out past the surf about 20yards past a buoy and head back to shore. 

Surf Ski's

Our kids do Surf Lifesaving on Sunday mornings. This is Owen's group. 
This is Skyler's Group getting ready to do a running race. They have to get up as quickly as possible and run about 10 yards to try and retrieve a stick. There are not enough sticks for everyone  so the race gets smaller and smaller every time until there is only 1 person and 1 stick left. 

This race they were using tennis balls instead of sticks. Linsdey's group is in the rear about to go into the water. The surf was quite large that day, but they had the older kids go in and swim in the waves. The goal of SLC is to get the kids to respect the the sea, and prevent drownings by teaching the kids to help themselves. 

Skyler and a team mate competing for the last stick.