One thing we really fell in love with in New Zealand was Auckland city - it is just beautiful! We spent a few days walking the streets and lapping up the peaceful atmosphere. It felt so calm and serene and situated right on the beautiful ocean.. We had a quiet New Years Eve at home, but as midnight neared we decided to drive into the city and watch the fireworks with hundreds of others. Unfortunately it was a really misty, overcast night and the fireworks were hardly visible, but it was still lots of fun!
From the beach near Grandie and Nana's house we could see a big island in the ocean so decided to head out on a ferry one day and hike it! The island is called Rangitoto Island and was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions. The hike was just what we needed after slackening off from our usual exercise routines! The kids did pretty well (actually, Lil was piggy-backed most of the way!) and the pram only made it half-way up and Grandie stayed with sleeping Tommy while we made it to the peak.
Another one of the "must do" things from Jaron's childhood was a trip to Parakai Springs. This place was awesome! The day was yucky and raining, but the pools were so warm that it didn't matter. And the waterslides were soooo much fun - even Oscar and Lil became waterslide experts and loved every minute...except when it was time to go home - going home is never fun for poor little Lilsy!
On another rainy day (yep, there were HEAPS!) we drove into the city and spent a few hours at the Auckland Museum. So beautifully set out and in a gorgeous grand old building on the hill. Lots of interactive things for the kids to do and we got to learn lots about Maori culture and especially loved reading and looking at things from world wars.
We all loved spending the day at The Skyline Luge - riding on the gondolas and racing our luges around the tracks. Oscar managed to drive a luge buggy all by himself and loved every minute! Poor Lil had to drive with me and I couldn't go fast enough to satisfy her inner thrill-seeker!
But our VERY favourite part of our whole trip to Rotorua was visiting the Polynesian Spa. I so wish we had something like this where we live, I'd definitley be getting a yearly pass! We treated ourselves and went into the most luxurious spas they had on offer, there were four big thermal rock pools ranging from 36-42 degrees. We had the most amazing time and stayed for over 5 hours, lounging around in the hot water in the rain!
And that, my friends, wraps up my very brief summary of our trip to New Zealand! For the last two days of our holiday, Jaron and I spent a night in the Penthouse suite of a hotel in Auckland to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. It was such a treat and was the perfect way to end our holiday! On the way home from NZ we stopped into Melbourne for a few days for a very special wedding...more on that in the next post!