New Zealand 2009-10

This page is basically our 'log' and collection of photos so that we don't email everyone big files.  You also get to choose whether to look at them or not!

This was our first departure from Heathrow in years and we do have to admit that it was extremely easy.  We arrived way too early but there was plenty to see.  The second leg of our journey was on the new Airbus 380.  Acres of plastic and a very odd configuration of seats, but a bar and nice champagne too.    

Our taxi was waiting and we were soon in Paeroa to collect the 'van, except it was still at the engineers.  Some-one got our time of arrival wrong.  No matter, within 10 minutes it had been delivered and we settled in.

the van at Paeroa yard

Hannah is invited to a birthday party at the Fairy House.  It was once a beautiful garden but is rapidly becoming a jungle.  The kids love it.



The first one here is a Canna and the third an Oak tree.  I'm stuck on the others though the leaves on no.2 are rather like a Verbena.

The playgrounds throughout New Zealand are just superb.  We really should send a fact-finding mission from the UK, our play areas are usually a disgrace compared to these.  Swimming lessons are great too.  OK, I grant you, this just would NOT work in the UK.

Hannah at the park   swimming lesson

We spent a night at Mangawhai where Deb's group of friends have bought a 'section'.  Nice and flat and quiet.


The other pics above were taken around the same area.  Sorry the birds are fuzzy, it was the best I managed!  Fantails are sweet and follow people through the bush to catch the bugs they disturb.  The parakeets are very timid but there are lots of them north of Auckland.

Matauri Bay had perfect weather and a good signal for the Vodem, which is Vodafonespeak for a dongle.  Anyway, for those of you not familiar with either, here's a pic.  It's the little white thing to the left of the keyboard.  If there's a mobile signal, it will bring broadband internet into my laptop.  Currently costing NZ$30 a month, that's less than £15.  The campsite is expensive though, NZ$40 a night.  Whatever would a hotel with this view charge?  The second pic is at Pahi where I couldn't get even a mobile signal but the cost was NZ$20 a night and included a couple of flounder (delicious) and some fresh veg!



On our way back towards Auckland we visited Kevin and Melissa's farm, and what a fabulous place it is too.  Sadly, it rained so we didn't walk as we'd planned.  A skylark sat on the fence right outside the van and sang.  Just magic.  A big thank you to them for making this a 'Winger's rest'.  (A Winger being a member of the New Zealand Motor Homer's Association)


Another night at Gulf Harbour before returning to Auckland.  There's always something to watch.



Back in Auckland on grandchildren sitting duties we discovered that a good way to keep them still for a few seconds is the 'body outline' game.  I like to think it might help with their art, as does letting them paint the camper ...  a bit of bumper painting is never wasted.  We'll introduce them to the polish next week. 

Reports of snow in England almost made us guilty about being here but actually, we tried not to feel too smug.  My thanks to June for these pics.


Christmas Day.  Snow from the sleigh runners and Santa's boots.  Fantastic weather.  Not a cloud and I measured 28 degrees in the afternoon.


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