|All SLC Carnival's start with a procession of the kids marching in a big square holding their club flag.|
The first weekend they were here started off with a bang as the kids had their first SLC Carnival. It was held at Fitzroy Beach, which is a popular surf beach in New Plymouth. The weather was not what we were hoping for but we all put on an extra layer and off we went. I was very proud of my kids as we had never participated in the competitions before, and were not sure what to expect. They all did their best, and had fun at the same time. Lindsey made a name for herself as she came in first in the running races. Sprinting in sand is NOT easy, but she does it with ease. She was recruited by our club to be a member of Oceans 13, which means she will have extra training next summer, and learn how to use the knee boards.
We wanted to take Mom and Dad on a road trip in NZ. There is no better way to experience the kiwi culture and see the country side than by car. We took them to Lake Taupo, which is a North Island city famous for it's adventure sports and stinky geothermal activity. Lake Taupo is the country's largest lake and probably most know for it's rainbow trout fishing. They say it is the rainbow trout capital of the universe. Dad was quite disappointed when we learned that trout is not served at any restaurants, nor can it be bought at any fish market. The region is a true wild fishery, and trout is not farmed or harvested. In order to eat some trout, we would have to go fishing ourselves, and then take it to a restaurant where they would of cooked it up for us. Sounded like a lot of work for us so we decided to go check out some adventure activities instead.
These next two pictures are of the Aratiatia Dam. The river below the dam is virtually dry most of the time, but 3 times a day the dam gates are opened and the gorge is dramatically changed into a raging torrent. They are the same picture, just one shows the river bed dry and the other is a raging class 5 rapid. The whole process took about 15 minutes for the water to be released from the dam, the river to fill up, and then for the river bed to be dry again. It was fascinating to watch the transformation of the river.
We then headed off to Orakei Korako, which is a thermal valley of bubbling pools, fuming craters, and hissing Geyser-fed streams.
|This is was once used by Maori women as their beauty parlor, which is where the name Orakei Korako (a place of adorning) got it's name.|
The next started off with a bang, especially if your an energetic 6 year old who enjoys high speed thrills!! Huka Falls is a amazing display of Mother nature. The Waikato river thunders through a narrow chasm and over a 35ft. rock ledge. The falls then drop into seething milky-white pool 200 ft across. This fast-flowing river produces almost %50 of North Island's required power. But just viewing the falls from above was not enough excitement for us, we decided to do the Huka Falls jet boat ride and get closer to the action. The jet boat ride spins and skips it's way between the Aratiatia Dam and Huka Falls. It was an exhilarating 30 minutes of high speed twists and turns. A Jet Boat Ride was on my husband's long list of things to do in New Zealand. So we were happy to be able to check it off our list, and the best part was sharing the experience with Grandpa and Grandma. I think Owen thought he had died and gone to heaven, he had so much fun on the ride. I think he and Skyler were either giggling or screaming the whole time.
The Book a Bach we rented had great views of the River, as well as the lake. And the night we arrived we were looking out the window admiring the view, and noticed some kids swinging on a rope swing. Well, those kids were having so much fun, that the next day we decided to go have some fun of our own. Of course, it was blast as we all acted like Tarzan swinging on the rope and flinging ourselves into the cold river. My Dad could not resist the temptation and went off a few times as well, which Owen thought was way cool that his PaPa did the rope swing!
Our Bach is in the background, the 3rd one from the right.
|Owen doing a cannonball off the boat.|
|Because it was such a warm day the water felt good even though it was a chilly 58 degrees.|
|First Mate Owen|
|Helping Hoist the Sails|
On the way back home we wanted to stop and show Mom and Dad Mt. Ruapehu, which is where the ski resort Whakapapa is and where we went skiing last winter. It is also a Volcano, and looked quite erie and desolate during the summer month without any white snow to brighten up the place. And then we also stopped at the 3 sisters, to show them the beautiful rock formations.
|Sugar Loaf Islands|
|Mom enjoyed going up and watching Lindsey do her riding lessons, and Lindsey enjoyed having Grandma there to watch her ride her horse "Buddy"|
|Mom loves to go walking on the beach and collect seashells or whatever other treasures she might find. Skyler and I took her one day to a beach down the coast known for it's Paua Shells. We did not find very many but we had fun looking.|
|This is the Chicken coop|
Mom and I discovered this house just up the road from us that sells fresh eggs. I had noticed her sign before on my runs, but had always forgot about it by the time I got home. Mom and I drove by and we noticed the sign and went to check out the fresh eggs. We loved it and went there once a week for our fresh eggs!! I have yet to go back though as it reminds me of Mom too much.....
|The eggs come in this brown bag tied up with colored string. How cute is this???|
|The kids playing with the chicks!!|
The month went by too quickly and we found ourselves having to say goodbye sooner than we wanted. Mom had to get back to her booming Jewelry Business, and get their dog out of the doggie hotel, and pick up KD girl from my girlfriend's house. I was going to miss them but I also knew that we would get to see them again in July, as we plan on coming back to the states for a few weeks. As sad as I was having to say our goodbye's, I also felt lucky that I have such amazing parents that love me and my family and will travel to the other side of the world to come and see us. And so I am thankful to love and to be loved like we do even if it makes the goodbye's harder.