Thursday 31st October

I woke to the sound of pouring rain.
Decided it was no point in getting up so I stayed in bed.
Got a text from Eiidh at 8:51am asking if I was awake.
Then a knock on the door and this was delivered 🙂

Azzan helped me eat some of it.IMG_4480
Such exhausting work making breakfast – Eilidh crashed out on the end of our bed and talked.IMG_4482

Finally managed to get myself moving.
I was last out of bed and through the shower.
Was feeling really rough actually.
Headachey, muscle knots in my shoulders and feeling somewhat sick 😦
Got the kids to unload some of the excess stuff so Eilidh could fit in the vehicle with us.
It was after midday when we loaded ourselves into the car and headed off to some undetermined location.
On the way a few ideas were thrown at me and I made the call to go to the Lower Hutt mall.
Starbucks was just across the road and I seriously needed a fix.
We wandered trough the mall.
Found this hairdresser looking like they had time to spare so Azzan hopped on board and had his haircut.
It was very overdue.
The hairdresser was very chatty and in discussion with Azzan about where he came from and what he had been doing etc, she commented that he/we should be on Country Calendar.
He replied that we had been and she looked over at Mahalia and said that she thought she looked familiar.
So then Eilidh decided she was most proud to be in the company of such famous celebrities 🙂
The hairdresser told Azzan that when he was famous she would be able to tell folk that she had cut his hair!!

Azzan wanted to go to Typo so we did, and got a few things in their sale.
We got the kids their frappes from Colombus, then rice balls from the sushi stand and walked over to Starbucks.
Eilidh got her food there and of course we got Salted Caramel Mochaccinos so felt slightly justified in eating and drinking the other food, but did tuck ourselves in a corner reasonably discreetly 😉
Then we drove up to Stokes Valley to see Aunty Janet & Uncle George.
Had a lovely visit while the rain pelted down outside.P1000791

Headed straight back to Eastbourne along the Eastern Hutt road so it was fairly quick and straight forward.
Eilidh thought Siri was great with her directions and her ability to reroute if I went a different route  to the originally planned one.
Azzan wanted to go to the playground so we swung down to the seafront and let the lions out.
I walked over the bank and down to the beach.
It was spectacularly wild, wet and windy.P1000802



The kids were having a wonderful time in the Mouse House treadmill.
I took so many photos of them tred-milling and getting spun out, and tipped over and generally having a ball 🙂
This is just a few of them!P1000794 P1000795 P1000796 P1000798P1000810 P1000811 P1000815 P1000819 P1000820 P1000821 P1000822 P1000824 P1000825 P1000826 P1000827

We eventually dragged them back to the car and came home.
I sorted out all the food and made ‘Open Door Pizza’ for dinner.
The recipe is simple.
You open the door of the fridge and use whatever is in there.
We had lots of foods to use up so the pizza had sauces, capsicum, roast potato, kumara & pumpkin, avocado, salmon, mushroom, tomato, cheese………..
I used wraps as the bases for three and Eilidh had some sourdough for the other two.
Before they went in the oven,
And after they were cooked, before they were devoured.P1000832

They were delicious 🙂 P1000833

We packed up all our bags and then Eilidh and I packed the car in the rain.
Managed to fit in all we needed to – the rest David will bring next week when he comes to collect Eilidh up.
Skyped with Jesika once we were all done.
Now it is time to hit the pillow as we have a very early start tomorrow.
Last leg of our holiday journey………

Wednesday 30th October

Awake at my normal early hour today.
Gorgeous day here in Masterton.
Packed up the car.
Kids took a while to get moving.
It is nearing the end of our months travels and we are fast running out of energy and enthusiasm to do much.
Can’t be staying on a dairy farm and not post a photo of the cuteness part of it eh?P1000758

Selwyn was trying to ellicit sympathies from me while making his own lunch – poor boy 😉
Needless to say, he didn’t get any 🙂P1000753

Jenny was heading off to a discussion group so we said our farewells – till next time, which hopefully won’t be as long as last next time was 😉P1000754

We headed up the road and then had to turn back for Azzan to claim his jandals that he did have on his feet for 2 minutes and then left at the back door :-/
Jenny found his juggling sticks later so we didn’t manage to do a clean sweep – darn it!
Drove into town to meet up with Jodie at Entice Cafe.
Must say, it is a very nice cafe, great food and a lovely atmosphere with good service.
Jodie changed out of uniform to come meet us – bit disappointing not to see her in her formal get up 😉
But we got over that and enjoyed a lovely time with her.
As an avid stalker on my blog she is now famously pictured here 🙂P1010350

Mahalia being young, gorgeous, trendy and cool!P1010357

Went for a walk downy the street to suss out some shops for Mahalia to get her required nail polish colors to paint minions.
The things we mothers do 😉
Passed this statue along the way.
A memorial to Joseph Masters – ‘A Working Man’.

We left Jodie to go back to work and we drove south.
As we headed over the hills a fierce wind struck.
It was pounding Wellington but we had been quite sheltered up in the Wairarapa.
We drove over the Rimutaka hills and then over the Haywards and made our way to the Mana Marina to visit with Cat.
We hung out on the yacht for a while.
Mahalia had lots of bonding time with Skip
Azzan entertained Cat – she looks stunned with excitement –  Rivetingly totes babe!  😉P1000770

Finally we needed to make tracks over to the other side of Wellington so braved the wind and said our goodbyes.
Not too sure if Cat was as cold as I was, or cringing from yet another photo, or actually sad we were leaving ??P1000778

Ah! That’s a tad more normal 🙂
Lovely to be able to spend some time with you Cat and kids enjoyed seeing where you park your home xxxxxxP1000779

The weather was pretty yuck, and by the time we got into the city it was beginning to rain.
I dived into New World and grabbed some salad stuff for dinner and then we circumnavigated the central streets a few times to get to Starbucks – I do actually know where it is but got in to the wrong lane a few times which took us on a bit of a wile tour of unnecessary streets and got us into some horridly banked up 5pm traffic.P1000783

We finally arrived at Eilidh’s house around 6:30pm.
She had dinner under way and Azzan helped posh up the table so we ate our meal with candle light.P1000790
David was working late so we never saw him.

Tuesday 29th October

For once I didn’t have to be anywhere for anything and was able to sleep in.
And I was so tired I did sleep late.
Until 8am when Azzan came knocking on my door that is :-/
Jenny was babysitting her granddaughters for the day and Selwyn was out working and we were happy to just chill.
We cruised into Masterton for a look see.
The kids were keen to try out the town swimming pool but on arrival in town I discovered that Mahalia had left her togs and towel back at the house – again!
So while Azzan and I had some brunch at Entice Cafe, Mahalia stayed in the car and chatted with Shoshannah on the phone.
Then we whizzed back to get her togs.
I dropped them off at the pool and then went to the library to use the internet for an hour.
I got a text from Mahalia asking me to come get them cuz they were bored.
The pool was crowded and there were only 2 lanes available to use.
They would not let the kids swim in the outside pool because it was too cold.
Telling this to my kids who swim anywhere at any time was not a good look really.
They were totally unimpressed.
We went for a wee drive through the town park.
It was really pretty.
Mahalia has discovered some editing programs on my new camera and took this photo using one of the filters.P1000742

We crashed out once we got back.
I lay on the window seat in the sun and went straight to sleep.
The kids stretched out on the sofas and watched tv.
I woke to find that Azzan had nicked my phone and shut the door – I must’ve been in a deep sleep.
Certainly needed it!
Lizzie got back from school and later she took the kids out to have a go in the buggy.
They had a ball.
Now they both want one at home!P1000743 P1000745 P1000746
Of course Azzan being the boy, he had to zoom through all the cow manure he could find and poor Lizzie got splattered in it.
But they had a great time which was the main thing.P1000747 P1000749

Selwyn came in from work and did what all guys are good at 😉P1000750While Jenny got busy and made dinner.
Selwyn & I had put the roast on earlier so we had that with roast veges.
It was delicious.
I love Jenny’s ‘new’ kitchen.
It is new since I was last here, just love how open and airy it is compared to what I remember.

After the kids showered we had dinner.
I put a load of washing through and hung it out overnight.
Later Anna & Matt brought their three girls two visit.
It was great to have time to catch up and to meet the rest of the family.
The kids had a ball.
Azzan did a great job of entertaining the girls
They all helped to devour a plate of TimTams and made a lot of noise in the next room while the adults talked.
It was a school night so they finally had to leave around 9pm.
Great seeing you guys – look forward to catching up again real soon xxx
Everyone headed off to bed and Jenny & I talked till far too late.
But we had a lot of time to catch up on 😉

Monday 28th October

We enjoyed our motel until the discharge time.
We packed up and while I packed the car the kids went swimming in the pool.
It was not heated and the manager thought they were nuts!!
But they enjoyed it and it woke them up 😉
We drove back to Napier to show the kids the Art Deco centre of NZ and the results of a post earthquake rebuild.
We drove along the beach road into the city and parked up near the gardens.
It was a glorious morning.
I wanted to introduce them to Pania.
She is still as beautiful as ever 🙂
Then we had to go out to the beach.
It is covered in small black smooth stones – no sand on this beach.
P1000693 P1000694 P1000695Back to the gardens.

This area is called  Veronica Sunbay.
It is a lovely area originally built in 1934 to commemorate the Hawke’s Bay earthquake – 3 Feb 1931.
It is named in honor of the ‘HMS Veronica’ whose crew gave so much help at the time of the disaster.
It was rebuilt and dedicated on the 60th anniversary of the earthquake – 3 Feb 1991.
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It was really interesting to see this info board with sea front photos of before and after the earthquake.
1888 saw the construction of the sea wall and Marine Parade roadway.
Just prior to the earthquake there was only the Municipal baths, paddling pool and sandpit constructed here.
After the quake the rubble was dumped out onto the beach and then lawns were laid over it.
From there the the rebuild of Marine Parade began and by the end of the 1930’s it was looking great.
Today it is a wonderful recreation area for city.
I commented to the kids how peaceful it feels.
You are only seconds from the city centre and yet it is so quiet & relaxing.


We wandered on along the waterfront and found this rather interesting Heritage Fountain outside the iSite.

Since I was last here there has been a major development in the tourism of the Art Deco rebuild.
The cute wee train will take you for a tour of the city for a fee.


As will this appropriately modified bus.


And across the street under the shadow of some of the Art Deco buildings are beautifully restored cars waiting to take tourists for a spin – if you have a spare $150 😉
I loved how the city has made so much more of the Art Deco theme in this area with road signs in the black & white theme with appropriate fonts, the street lights etc.
They really have done this well here.
They would do well to extend it to more of the city.




Loved this entrance to the Gatsby Room.


Starbucks was conveniently tucked in just around the corner so we popped in to get our morning refreshments.
Azzan was rather fascinated by this group of ladies in their purple clothing and red hats.
I explained to him the poem of  ‘When I am an old woman I shall wear purple’ and how it meant that when I am old enough to not care what people think I will actually have fun and enjoy life with carefree abandon.
‘How lame!’ was his response.
Obviously he is not old enough to appreciate this yet 😉

We moved the car into a parking building and then went for a wander.
Found this lovely young lady in the street.
Azzan thought she should be wearing a mink.
He is rather partial to the 1920’s at present and is obsessed with mink coats!P1000714

The train came chugging past us while we were looking for somewhere to eat lunch.


I was looking for a particular shop – and found it!
When I was here about 25 years ago with Jesika we found Jessica’s and she wondered recently if it was still here.
Well Jesika, it sure is and Mahalia wanted to point it out to you 🙂
It has been here since 1978, but unfortunately the landlord has sold the building and they have to leave so are relocating to Hastings.
They had a big sale on so we went in to investigate and found to my delight several things we needed!
I did a big spend up and then arranged to swing by later to collect everything.


We found ‘Ujazi Cafe‘ – a busy cafe with an interesting menu so stopped in there for lunch.
Of course Mahalia had the Eggs Benedict with bacon – she rated this one average as there was no greenery at all, but said the bread was the best part of the meal.
I also had Eggs Benedict with spinach and thought it was really good – loads of spinach 🙂
Then it was off to do some more shopping.
We found a wonderful baby shop and had heaps of fun choosing clothes for our littlest family members.
Then to Jeans West cuz I was seriously needing some shorts and had given up trying to end any that fit nicely.
Last ditch attempt to where I should have actually gone to start with – and I found several pairs and while I was busy trying them on Mahalia found herself a pretty summer dress.
Azzan sat in the corner and played games on my phone.
Then we headed around the corner to a Dollar Shop that Azzan had spotted earlier.
He was keen to get a lava lamp that was in the window.
While I investigated which one he wanted Mahalia found a rack of onsies and I caved in and let her get one ;-/
We were getting rather weary so finally trudged our way up to car.
I left the kids there and zipped downstair to pay the parking but a guy was fixing the machine.
So I wandered away to wait for a mo, went to text Mahalia to let her know but couldn’t find my phone.
I knew Azzan had it several shops back but hadn’t seen it since.
I did a major panic and tore back upstairs.
Found Azzan in the backseat playing games on it.
I was so relieved but so cross that he hadn’t returned it to my bag.
I took it and whizzed back downstairs only to find the fixit man was still fixing the machine.
So I walked across to TANK and got my self a smoothie with an extra energy boost.

Much needed!
We were finally away, picked up the shopping from Jessica’s and then drove out of town following my iPhone map directions to Jenny & David’s.
Thankfully she text me some landmarks to look for because their drive was a wee way from the co-ordinates and the iPhone map lady was trying to lead us up a steep hillside!!
They had just flown back from a weekend in Christchurch so were both very tired, as was I.
We had a very pleasant time catching up on the past years since we had seen each other in the flesh.
Unfortunately their youngest kids who are same age as mine were on their way home from camp and hadn’t yet arrived so the kids didn’t get to meet up.
We decided to hit the road soon after 4:30pm.
Took some photos of them with our pet zebra as we were leaving 😉

P1000718 P1000719

Perfect photo bombing!


We took Highway 50 south and enjoyed the scenery as we drove.
It was so green, very lush moderate hilly farmlands most of the way.
As we traveled further south into the evening the town names became more familiar to me.
We had to stop here for a quick photo shoot.


We were undecided as to where to stop the night and as we drove we were calculating distances and how far I could reasonably drive to.
We decided we could make it to Masterton so called up Jenny to see if we could crash at their place.
Yes, that was all good so we had a comfort stop in Woodville, got a small snack at the best fish’n’chip shop in town.
It was obviously a Chinese family operation and the parents were talking to their daughters very loudly and abrasively.
We could only imagine what was being said!
Azzan ordered a burger and I got wedges and asked if they supplied sour cream with them.
The lady was hard to understand but I got the drift that yes she could add sour cream.
When she finally was wrapping the wedges I just cracked up when I saw her take a large container of sour cream and a spoon and literally shovel lashings of cream straight onto the wedges before wrapping them.
Normally you are given a tiny pottle of cream. as an extra.
I hurried out to the car and unwrapped them before the sour cream melted all through.
We ate as we drove, with sour cream dripping off my fingers – delicious 🙂

The rain began again soon after and I was really having to concentrate.
Foreign territory, wet roads, tired self – recipe for disaster.
So told Azzan to shut up and stop burbling on with non-sensical conversations and let me concentrate.
Arrived safely in Opaki soon after 7:30pm.
It was lovely to be greeted by Jenny, Selwyn & Lizzie and welcomed into a warm family environment after several days on the road and motels.
We had a lovely tea around the table and time catching up.

Sunday 27th October – part 4

When we got to Aratiatia Dam we still had an hour to wait for the 2pm gate opening.
So we decided to stay there and have our lunch.
I was making sandwiches under the hatch in the back of the car when all of a sudden the heavens opened.
In spite of the hatch above us we were getting very wet so Mahalia and I made a run for the front seats and spread ourselves out there.
Using her knee and the dash to lay out the bread we made some very nourishing sandwiches.
By the time the gates were due to open there were a heap more cars arriving and the rain had eased back to nothing and the skies finally cleared.
This is the dam before the gate opened.
It is the dam where we came up to in the jet boat on Azzan’s birthday.
We were on the other side of this structure.
We stood and waited and enjoyed the scenery on the other side of the bridge.

We could see large trout swimming in the pools.

Then the whistles began blowing the countdown.
And at 2pm the gates opened and the water began to flow and fill up the gorge.
It is very spectacular to witness – the power of the water.
Wouldn’t like to be down there when it happened!P1000664 P1000667 P1000673 P1000676
It only took 8 minutes for the gorge to fill with water!P1000679
We drove off into Taupo.
It was a a cold grotty afternoon but I wanted to see the hot pools the kids had found last time.
Mahalia navigated me to this one.
It was right on the shore – piping hot there and cold lake waters on the other side of the rock.P1000683
It was too cold and miserable to hang about so we went to visit TANK and got drinks, fueled up the car and then headed off to Napier.
It was an interesting drive down there.
Steep unforgiving hills and roads so I was concentrating and not doing too much sightseeing.

We arrived at Franzi & Darren’s house and had a very enjoyable catch up over dinner with them and wee Lea.
It is close on 10 years since Franzi first came to NZ and wwooed for us.
Now she is a Kiwi with another baby on the way 🙂
Lovely to catch up with her.


We left them to put wee Lea to bed and drove to Hastings to our motel.
We had managed to secure a unit at Sylvan Motels.
It was a very nice set up and I was exhausted so ready to crash.
The only draw back was upstairs was a family with kids who rampaged late and began again early :-/

Sunday 27th October – part 3

We zipped back around the first track and headed to the second and third loops.
The look out gave a great view of where we were about to walk and beyond to the power station.P1000597  P1000628 P1000626 P1000624

Oyster PoolP1000622 P1000621
Despite signs like this all along the way we saw an Asian man deliberately step out in the middle of it to take photos.
He was called back by several of us telling him he was not allowed to.
To which I heard him reply ’There are no signs’!
Well, I guess there was none right in front of him at that very point……… duh!
P1000620 P1000619 P1000617
Feeling the water temperature – and yes she was on the path 😉P1000616
Frying Pan FlatP1000614P1000611P1000608

P1000609 P1000606
Bridal Veil Falls
Steps down – lots of them – they kids ran, I walked carefully!P1000600
P1000650Close up.
Such pretty patterns.P1000654P1000645

Lake Ngakoro Waterfall
On the brochure it says that the walk out to the waterfall and lake lookout will be payment for the exertion.
Well, I doubt that really.
It was a pretty sight but the waterfall was a bit on the small side to be pumped up like that – really!
There were many many steps down and then back up to the waterfall.
There were many many tourists queuing on the way down, then scrunched on the very small viewing platform and then a long line heading back up again after their compulsory photo taking!!
I was nursing my knee along during this step taking, thankfully it behaved – just!P1000641 Talking to sisters take precedent over sightseeing 😉P1000640



We were totally knackered by the time we had finished all this trekking around.
The whole route covered about 3km and we had done the first loop twice so add an extra 1.5kms and then the walking to the other places.

We decided against going to Orakei Korako today as we couldn’t give our best to enjoying it.
So we drove straight down to Taupo.
It was looking very black in the southern skies.


Sunday 27th October – part 2

The Lady Knox Geyser is reported to erupt every day at 10:15am.
I was flabbergasted at how touristy this place has become since I was last here with Tim & the kids.
We were ushered in tot he carpark, tickets had to be sighted.
Then we walked down to this arena and joined nearly 500 people to wait for the momentous occasion.
P1000475 P1000476
At 10:15am a man came and told us the story of how this area and especially the geyser and the area had been found and developed.
Then he tipped something similar to soap in through the vent and the chemicals reacted and she began to bubble.P1000480 P1000482 P1000490
And away she blew!
P1000491 P1000496 P1000502 P1000507 P1000510 P1000524
The tourists began thinning out very quickly after the initial novelty wore off.
As we left we saw late comers arriving.
Very clever actually because they didn’t have to pay and they got to see the rest of the eruption!!P1000526
JUst down the road a tad was a flattened grassy path which Tim & I had discovered when up here a few years ago.
We had gone skinny dipping in this waterfall pool with the 4 youngest children.
Azzan was only a toddler at that time.
Mahalia was pretty grossed out at the idea of skinny dipping and commented that she was glad she was too young to m=remember 😉P1000530 P1000534 P1000556
It is such a pretty spot.
But the kids were happy to just look and not bathe today.
Mahalia helped me back across as I was wary of falling.
My knees will just not allow me to jump as agilely as I used to.P1000583
From there we drove up the road to the mud pools – which are available for anyone to visit.
Nice to find something still free 🙂P1000587
It is a very large area – 45m across.
Rather spectacular, with constantly bubbling mud erupting, bubbling and spitting, creating cool patterns.P1000588 P1000590 P1000591 P1000592 P1000594
Then we drove back to tracks to finish our walks.