The Giblings in New Zealand 2013 - 2014 Home ....
This will be our 11th year (we think) and it's all just as beautiful as everHere is a précis of what we are discovering this year!  
RoamNZ Our great friends Grant and Smillie collected us from the airport and took us to the RV Centre at Paeroa where we keep our motorhome.     After cooking us a lovely dinner, they set off to cross to South Island for the summer. 
Left: Here they go ... motorhome, car and bikes.

Gray at Truck & Engineering in Paeroa had perfectly prepped our 'van and we were all ready to go.
We travelled north to the Coromandel, stopping for a night at Omokoroa.  The playground was being well used.  Kiwi kids have a great love of the outdoors and all things physical.  Just look at these kids all learning their strengths and capabilities and not a pair of shoes between them!

An overnight in John and Wendy Hallen's avocado orchard was nice and peaceful after a laughter filled 'happy hour' with John at the house.  Wendy was away tramping somewhere but arrived home in the evening.  We didn't come across Ruby, the pig, who once had a scratching session on our step and we thought it was an earthquake.

Next day it was northward to Hot Water Beach

Here we met up with Jan and Kev at
Hot Water Beach campground and soon discovered just exactly where is this magical hot water? Yup, it's there all right and not just hot, it's very hot! 

Jan and John moved quite sharply moments after this shot was taken!
Jan and John at Hot Water Beach

Rent a tent that looks like a campervan or a hobbit house, now with verandah (built after this pic was taken!).
We shared the beach with the local school, I'm not sure what this lesson is called but it all looks like huge fun along with very useful life skills
While at HWB, along with Jan and Kev we went to Go Vino at Cooks Beach.  Their tasting menu is just fantastic, and at $38 per person, amazing value.  I completely forgot to take any photos because the food just kept rolling out, all 11 courses of it!!
At Waihi, the Lions were organising a Garden Ramble so poor John got dragged round 14 gardens over a very hot weekend.  He didn't actually growl at all but made a few little unhappy noises occasionally.  All was forgiven later over a glass or three of wine at the Waihi Beach RSA
All the gardens had been meticulously prepared for the weekend and all the owners were very welcoming.  Fabulous colour co-ordination, exotic plants and great ideas.  My thanks to you all.

These are mosaics by Con Kiernan who has won many awards and has pieces in many prestigious locations.  His own garden was one of those open.

Next, time to visit our family in North Shore, Auckland.  The long awaited Sunnynook School Fair included all the entertainment any child could wish for.  Lots of white elephants and I definitely saw a pink unicorn.  Crockery smashing, coconut shy, dancing displays, huge dogs pulling carts full of children.  Lots of food stalls indicative of the great mix of cultures here, Chinese, Indian, dim sum, hot dogs and cake.  The headmaster took an extended turn in the ducking booth; what a great sport he is.


I took this photo of these sparrows in the middle of the school fair with all the noise and activity all around them.  What do you think they were saying to each other?  I believe they were hopping mad about all those people on their crumb patch though hopefully, they found a few nibbles at the end of the day.

Left:  Here is something we don't see in the UK.  It's quite common to see cars here with paintwork like this.  The sun is so strong , this is what happens if you don't keep your car undercover.

It's no wonder children always use sunscreen and wear a hat.  I didn't at the school fair because it was a bit windy.  I caught the sun but hopefully didn't look as bad as this car.

This is our grandson Dan.  He is Star Wars mad.  He has been saving his pocket money and any other cash he could accumulate for ages.  I gave him $5 to spend at the school fair but he kept it.  So today, he finally had enough saved to go out and buy this lego set.  He was so proud of himself and of course, we are too.
He's 6 by the way.

The following week we left the family for a little travel.  Our first stop shared with a travelling gypsy fair, here is one of the motorhomes in their group ...

Inside seemed to be full of curiosities and beautiful carvings.
Family friend, Barry Ross Smith paints and some of his pictures are available as prints.  I would dearly love to buy a few and I hope to take at least one home this trip.  Here are a few...  Firstly, a controversial concept.  Of course, our Queen is also Queen of the Maori people and is entitled to have a Tā moko tattoo.  It's a great honour.

'Heritage' by Barry Ross Smith

This is my favourite 'Oilskin armour', and below 'Sitting pretty'

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