Sorry for the insanely long delay in updates. It has been busy here in New Zealand! Between work and all of our great visitors, it has been tough to fit in the blogging. Mom and Erica (Mimi and EE to Liam) have come and gone. We had a great time and it was so great to have both of them here (and Liam loved it too--I think he may go into Mimi and EE withdrawal!)Now Dianne (Josh's mom and Liam's GiGi) is here and Dennis (PawPaw) will be joining us Thursday. Then, if you can believe it, we head back home Wednesday for Bryan's wedding. I can't believe it's already time to head back, it has gone by so fast. Liam and I will stay behind in Texas (probably much to the excitement of all of my work colleagues who are probably happy to have me back on normal time--I don't blame them)but Josh will head back to Auckland for another 5 weeks or so. We will miss him so much! Skype will definitely be getting used a lot! I should warn you in advance that this will have to be a picture-less post. Internet here can still be spotty and it seems to be particularly slow this evening. Tomorrow I promise to add pics from Queenstown (which I know I left off on Day 1!) as well as from Rotorua and the Coramandel Peninsula which I will update you on now!
So Mom, Liam, Erica and I decided to rent a car and take 4 days to head south to the Rotorua area for a long weekend. The day we left was beautiful so instead of going through Waitomo (home of blackwater rafting and the glowworm caves)we decided to spend the day above ground and head to the Coramandel Peninsula east of Auckland before heading to Rotorua. The drive proved to be unbelievable in both good ways and bad. In the good sense--it was absolutely stunning driving along the coast around the peninsula--every second was a kodak moment. We stopped in a town towards the top (when we were about to cross over to the other side of the peninsula) and had a nice lunch and shopped in the cute little shops there. While there--some woman who clearly was directionally challenged told mom and Erica that it would take us about 2 hours to get to Rotorua from there, so we prepared ourselves for a nice leisurely drive south. Ha--little did we know what we were getting into.
So it turns out that Hwy 25--the little road that heads around the peninsula must be the windiest road in the world. Seriously, I'm going to google it--it has to be on the list. Basically all of us with the exception of Mom (who we made drive) ended up green around the gills. Even poor Liam who looked like he had never felt like this in his short life. We would have made more stops along the east side but we were quickly running out of time--2 hours didn't even quite get us to the bottom of the peninsula! So we made one quick pit stop at the hot water beach (you can dig a hole at low tide and voila--your own personal hot tub) and that was it. Unfortunately low tide had been at 9 AM (make sure you check with the Hot Water Beach Store the day before you go!) so we weren't able to experience the "hot water" phenomenon--we may try that with Dennis and Dianne. We completely bypassed Cathedral Cove where some of Chronicles of Narnia was filmed--once again--a trip for another day.
Well--we thought the winding would stop once we were out of the peninsula--no such luck--we continued to wind around until about an hour from Rotorua. 5 hours from the time the lady told us it would be a 2 hour trip--we arrived at our destination: the Waikeke (I may need to correct this--I'm too lazy to look up the correct name right now!)Lodge B&B. There we weren't actually staying in the B&B but in the little bach (pronounced like batch not like Johann) that the owners also owned. It was a great tiny little 2 bedroom lake house built in 1934 (and still pretty much like it was then!) Only problem was that the heat hadn't been on (no central heat--just space heaters) so we were freezing our tushes off that first night. My room had an electric blanket on the bed (I still feel guilty about that) but Erica and Mom didn't, so they put to use the Kiwi art of the hot water bottle. I'll leave you to guess what that is (must have some suspense in this blog!) and will let you know about that as well as our other Rotorua adventures tomorrow! (pics included then I hope) Good night (or good morning to most of you!)