Sunday, 25 September 2011

Hello, people

We are back from our adventure in the Land of the Long White Cloud. It was a very busy time but we are all alive and well (tired though - I'm still tired a week later) so I think we can count our first ever overseas family holiday a success.
All up we spent 5 nights in Auckland and 4 in Taupo. We probably over scheduled ourselves, especially as Boy Child had 2 school assignments he was supposed to complete while we were away.

Here is a brief a wrap up of the things we did:

Attended 2 of the Rugby World Cup 2011 Matches - Australia vs Italy (Australia won) and Australia vs Ireland (Ireland won),
  • Went up Sky Tower in Auckland,
  • Drove from Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula - had lunch in a Pub in Thames,
  • Went Zorbing -Girl Child and I went twice in the water one and Boy Child went in the Zorb where you are strapped in and go upside down,
  • Visited Hobbiton (we had to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement so we can't show our photos until after The Hobbit movie is released,
  • Saw some geothermal stuff - Craters of the Moon and Silica Terraces,
  • Attended a Cultural show and Hangi,
  • Went to the Waitomo Gloworm and Ruakuri Caves
  • Went out on Lake Taupo and saw the rock carvings you can only see from the water,
  • Drove to Napier and did an Art Deco tour.
Rock Carving on Lake Taupo
Sky Tower
Girl Child and I Zorbing
I was surprised about the number of things that were different. First of all, how hilly and green everything was. It was stunning. Of course, it rained most days we were there so that explained the greenness. The hilliness meant that it seemed to take quite a while to drive fairly short distances. We did a fair amount of driving so it was quite noticeable. The truck drivers were very polite and some pulled off the road so other traffic could go past.

There were lots of gluten free options in the Countdown (Woolworth's equivalent) supermarket I went in to. There were 3 different brands of GF bread and 3 different GF cakes available. There were banana's for $2 or $3 a kilo. I wondered why they were so cheaper as bananas here have generally been over $9 and up to $13 per kilo since Cyclone Yasi earlier this year. The reason bananas are so much cheaper in New Zealand is because they come from South America. I think the ones we bought were from Ecquador.
If you ask for Lemonade in a shop or fast food place you are offered L&P which is a very popular New Zealand drink Lemon & Paeroa. We tried it and it has an aftertaste which wasn't that appealing, to me anyway.

Burger King sells mini doughnuts. In fact you could also buy mini doughnuts at the rugby games.

Boy Child was very impressed that some of the pedestrian crossing traffic lights had a moving green man who apparently looked like he was shuffling. So every time we crossed the road at those particular traffic signals he would sing "Every day, I'm shuffling." I still believe my version of "Everybody's shuffling" fits much better for the traffic lights but apparently I'm wrong.

Things that I wouldn't do if I travelled overseas again. Book early morning flights. We had to get up at 530am to catch our flight home. Because of the 2 hour time difference by the time we arrived home we had been awake for 12 hours and it was only mid afternoon here.

Get a Travelex Visa Debit Card. We were told there were no fees except when withdrawing money at an ATM or if there was money left on it that we wanted back in Australian dollars. We were fine with those. Not impressed with the exchange rate being about $0.11 less that the rate shown at the time. When we were converting most of our spending money, to me it was a significant amount. Oh well, it was a learning experience.

Expect children to complete school work. Despite us leavign time for his assignments, it was really silly to think that Boy Child would be able to do them while on holidays. So if there is a next time, he does them before we go or when we get back. It was too stressful for him and us to try to get them done while we were away.

It was lovely to be away but it is certainly nice to be home.


PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

Welcome back - sounds pretty amazing!

georgi said...

its cool to hear you describe my home from your own perspective! Can't believe how expensive bananas have been for you.. wow! and l & p, i love it.. im probably biased though :-) glad you had a nice time x georgi

Sarah Mac said...

Looks amazing, I'd love to go zorbing!

Holidays and homework, ain't NEVER going to happen :)

Suzi said...

Oh what a great trip! Its such a beautiful country, i want to take my family there oneday :) your brave, zorbing is so not up my ally!

E. said...

Thanks for the warm welcome back.
@PPMJ it was amazing
@georgi - New Zealand is beautiful. Boy Child has even thinking about moving there when he grows up.
@Sarah - Yeah, I should have realized that very little work would get done. Zorbing was great.
@Suzi - ooh take your family. Despite feeling ill just looking at merry go rounds etc, I was surprised that I didn't feel ill at all while Zorbing. The drive up was worse then actually rolling down the hill.

Leanne said...

WOW!!! What a holiday!! Welcome home. Time for a cuppa? Have you read Christine's other book - Spinning Out? I bought it if you'd like to borrow. Good excuse to have that cuppa :) :) :)


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