New Zealand part 1

Allison and Tom's house is quiet.  Warren is still in bed and no one else is home.  The kids are both at sleepovers.   I cannot sleep so I've finally found a window of time to catch up on the blog.   It's been pretty non-stop socializing and appointments - so, here I go.....  I'll use the window!   I started this while in New Zealand last week-

We are in New Zealand!!!!! (Posting late)   Warren and I have dreamed about this trip for a long, long time.   Before we even had children we talked about this country being our dream destination.  It’s hard to believe it’s taken us three years living in the Pacific to make it here.   It has been truly magnificent in every way – and we are only two days in! 

Saturday morning (feels like ages ago) we all woke up at 3:45 a.m. to catch the early plane from Suva to Nadi.   We all went to bed late the night before so needless to say, we are all sleep deprived.   The sun isn’t setting here until around 9:30 so everyone’s feeling a little off, but you wouldn’t even notice it because we are all in such awe by our surroundings.

Anyway, we flew from Suva to Nadi and then to Christchurch.  As soon as we landed and got into the airport, Andie said, “I love New Zealand! Look how nice this airport is!”  It’s funny how she notices the differences between fully developed nations and Fiji.   We caught a shuttle to the RV place and then got our awesome home on wheels for the week.   Thankfully, Warren is driving as he is way more comfortable in such a big vehicle, but I did sign paperwork saying I would too (haven’t yet, fine with that). The RV is pretty awesome.  It has everything you would ever need.  It has a shower, toilet, beds, oven, stove, microwave, toaster, fridge, etc.   It’s crazy how much it has actually.  We are living in style!  It’ great for the four of us.  

The whole reason the kids thought we were coming to New Zealand was only for one reason.  You may be thinking, the stunning scenery or the magnificent surroundings, but no, they only thought we were coming for Smiggle.  Smiggle is a stationary store VERY popular amongst the kids at their school and I gather popular with kids everywhere in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.  They are only located a few places in NZ, so…..we decided to go ahead and get it out of the way while we had some time in Christchurch.   Just what you want to be doing right?  On your first day in this amazing country, head straight to a mall in a huge RV?!?!    We had to park a few blocks away just to be able to park.   When we walked into the mall, Zoё asked, "Why are we in another airport?"  I love that she doesn't know malls!   Anyway, once we arrived at the mecca of all stationary stores, the kids never wanted to leave!   They went nuts!  We spent forever in the store and they were happy.  We then went grocery shopping and walked back the few blocks to the rv with all of bags. The kids were so happy to help- talking about Passin team work.   It made my heart melt.    

We then drove from Christchurch to Jackson's Retreat after Arthur's Pass.    OMG.   The drive was amazing.  We couldn't stop saying WOW the whole time.  Little did I know that the whole trip and all of the South Island would be full of us gasping in awe of the beauty.    I cannot believe this whole country is just so stunning!!!  My pictures don't do it justice.    Anyway, we had to get to campground before dark, so we couldn't stop too much for pictures.   It gets dark right now in NZ at 10:30 pm!!!!  It was bizzare!  It has pretty much set all of us up to go to bed very late and sleep in late in the morning.  

sleepy head on way to airport at 4am

They gave us our own umbrellas to board the plane

Warren feeling confident about driving the RV

Girls super excited for the RV and the trip


I was in shock about all of the stuff in the grocery store!!!!

the drive

Zoe said, "Lets all be really strong campers in this pic!"

I love this shot!!!!   Warren is telling off one of the girls for not listening and they caught it on camera.  LOL

Check out the super moon in this one!

We arrived at our campsite!

First of our many outdoor dinners surrounded by scenery

We all slept beautifully in the RV.  It's really pretty comfy.    We then headed to Hokatika- a beautiful little beach town.    On the way, we stopped at the Southern gorge and saw water like I've never seen before.    It was awesome!  We then had lunch in Hokatika, did  a little shopping at the book store, and took a long walk on the empty beach looking for pretty rocks.   We then drove two hours to a beautiful lake campground.   The whole drive was magnificent.   Again, just jaw dropping beauty.   We arrived at the campground and started our usual routine of making a yummy dinner and sitting outside playing cards.  We also took a walk along the lake and the kids learned to skip rocks.    The family time was so good!

Southern Gorge

Yum. We got a local dish at a little camper shop set up outside of gorge.

campsite night two

learning to skip rocks

Monday morning we awoke late at the beautiful lake so we didn't get a chance to swim in it.  It was surprisingly as warm as bath water!  We also noticed a beautiful mountain that we didn't even see in the evening light before.    We drove about 30 minutes to the stunning Franz Josef Glacier.  We hiked in 45 minutes to the edge of the glacier.    So cool.    Then we drove to Fox Glacier to repair the fridge that wasn't working in our RV.   We had lunch at Matheson's lake -yum and did another little hike around the lake.   We then drove about 2 hours to our next campground- in the middle of nowhere, Hasst Pass.   It was again a truly beautiful drive and a stunning place to camp.  The super moon was awesome!   Throughout the trip while we drove, the kids watched movies or read books or sang songs while Warren and I talked or just kept repeating how amazing the scenery was.    

The mountain we didn't even notice by the lake the night before!

Franz Josef Glacier

lunch spot

day 3 campsite

On Tuesday we woke up on the Hasst Pass and drove five minutes to a little waterfall hike.   Then we drove a bit more and did a 30 minute hike to these beautiful blue pools.    We then drove a couple of hours (again beyond stunning!) to Wanaka.  Wanaka is an awesome little town that reminds me of Asheville North Carolina.   We shopped around town (I got a beautiful wool pancho) and had a tasty lunch with delicious NZ beers.   We went back to our campsite on the lake and ate dinner, played cards, and watched the sunset at 10 pm.   

this guy jumped in right next to us

Only in NZ would they make coffee cups like this!

tractor at our campground

dinner set up

little town of Wanaka

On Wednesday morning we did a bike tour.   I was soooooooo proud of both girls as they did such a great job!  We don't have a lot of opportunities to bike in Fiji so this was a big thing for her to bike for over two hours on a gravel path up and down hills.   Zoё rode on a pull behind Warren since she is such a new bike rider, but she pedaled hard the whole way.   It was so much fun!   I loved it.    After our ride, we drove a few hours to Te Anau and set up camp.  We walked about 15 minutes into town around a beautiful lake and then did a glow worm cave tour.  It was awesome!  We took a thirty minute boat ride to these caves.  We got in a little boat in the caves and rode around in the pitch dark.  The ceiling of the caves (about two feet above us) were full of glow worms.  It was like looking at the starry night sky.  It was so beautiful and really really cool.    You had to stay completely quiet which just added to the awe of it all.    


Impressed that kids (and me) rode across this!

Really windy roads!

sunset at 10pm!

Ok- so I really hoped to finish at least the New Zealand portion of this blog, but I've got to get our day started.    Next blog I'll finish up NZ.