Archive for August, 2011


Whakapapa is a big mountain in the middle of NZ.  Remember your Maori pronunciation?  Wh is pronounced as an ‘f’ and in this word the ‘a’ sounds are lengthened to an ‘ah’ sound in English.  I’ll just leave you to roll that around your mouth for a while…

Ok, back again?  Great!  Well, that’s where we headed for a mid-winter Christmas meal with the lovely Gamble family a few weeks ago.  We hit the snow fields of Whakapapa on the first day of the break (a Friday) and spent a few hours using the sledges.  Emily absolutely loved it.

She was very quickly throwing herself down the fast sledge run and coming back for more.  She didn’t seem to notice the climb back up the hill; she was having so much fun.

Lucy was much more reserved than I thought she’d be and didn’t go quite as crazy for the sledging as Emily did…  maybe a couple more years!  The next day we went back to the hill, but the other side at the Turoa ski fields.  Being a Saturday it was packed.  We got some sledging in , but the most exciting thing was that Josie and Emily got on some skis!  Emily for the first time and she loved it.  She wasn’t that good at it, but she moved it nonetheless.

The afternoon and evening were spent preparing and eating our mid-winter Christmas dinner.  It hink if anything mid-winter Christmas is better than real Christmas.  None of the build-up, none of the come-down just one intense Christmassy blast.  🙂

On Sunday we decided to find somewhere nice for coffee before going our separate ways.  We found a fab cafe at a station on the the railway line that runs the length of the country.  Apparently the train between Auckland and Wellington stops there and everyone gets out to have lunch (including the driver).

From there we split and we headed back towards Auckland going via Waitomo and the Woodlyn Park Motel.  Famous for it’s non-conventional rooms… there are Hobbit Caves, a train carriage, an old war plane from Vietnam and a huge boat.  Well we stayed in the  boat and it was brilliant.  The door to our cabin was a proper hatch with brass levers for shutting it tight.  Little port-holes added to the feel of boatiness.

Whilst in Waitomo we did a short cave walk to see some glow-worms.  These amazing little creatures spend about nine months in heir larval stage which is when they glow.  They hang lines of silk, beaded with moisture to catch passing insects carried by the essential water courses running through the caves they live in.  After gorging themselves for nine months and growing bigger and brighter, they turn into a fly.  The fly stage of their life however hasa no way of feeding.  It has no mouth.  So it goes on a three day sex-a-thon then dies.  Hopefully some of it’s eggs will hatch and become glowing larvae for another nine months.  Weird huh?

Our last leg of the journey took us west to check out Raglan.  A surfy location for it’s amazing waves; we really liked the feel of the place.  We played on the beach for a while – still enjoyable in winter wrapped in many layers – before heading home to Auckland.

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Winter Walk

A few weeks back we strolled up Rangitoto, our handy local Volcano.  It’s a short ferry ride acros the harbour to get to the island and about 1h30 to the top with little legs.  So proud of the girls; all the way up and down without a carry!

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