|Countryside on the road to Gisborne|
Ok gang, here is another photo-heavy post of our recent explorations. Also, for everyone who said they wanted to visit - please do! We have plenty of space and would be glad to put you up. Our guest rooms are booked around Christmas, but otherwise the door is open!
The weekend before last we drove to Gisborne to explore and do a bit of shopping. The drive is through a prehistoric looking gorge and extremely curvy. Let's just say the rental car has been christened.
The weather for our day in Gisborne was not great, so we ended up skipping the botanical gardens that I wanted to see. We mostly walked around the downtown and did a little shopping. We stopped into a noodle place for lunch. Because of the aforementioned christening, we were in need of baby wipes, so we stopped into Pak'N Save, which we were happy to discover is essentially Costco. So we did a Costco-level of shopping with only a stroller to carry away our loot. Woops.
|Benjamin modeling our new double stroller.|
This past weekend, I attempted to make friends. The city council had posted about a volunteer dune grass planting so I had planned to participate. Saturday morning the kids and I walked to the farm supply store to buy a spade and some gloves. Then we got in the car and tried to go to the work site. But I never found the damn work site. We drove through some very pretty countryside and found some more lovely beach, but failed to locate the meeting spot for the volunteers.
I was pretty upset about this - to a level I now recognize maaaaay have been unreasonable. But I was so excited to make friends. Volunteering, nature-loving people are my people. I had already fantasized about striking up a conversation with someone and inviting them for coffee afterwards. (Kiwis are pretty friendly, this might not have been totally weird.) Anyway, no friends were made, no physical labor accomplished, and I was left to wonder why it is that my navigational skills are so utterly abysmal.
On the plus side, I did see a flock of pukekos, which may be my favorite New Zealand bird so far.
|Pax seriously considering crawling.|
|We were trying to play peek a boo, but she was weirdly content to sit around with this towel over her head.|
|In the distance you can see Whkaari, our active volcano.|
|Beach selfie. I love the reflection of both my arm and my shadow in my sunglasses.|
On Sunday I got up and went for a run. Ok, a jog. Ok, mostly a walk. Anyway, it was good for my mental and physical health. I took Bear in the stroller. He may be skinny but he is dense. On the way back we stopped at one of my favorite cafes.
|Sunrise over the Otara river at the Motu trail bridge.|
|I just love the color of this house.|
|Hot Bread Shop - one of my favorites.|
We got on the road to Tauranga, the fifth largest city in New Zealand (pop 130,800). We found ourselves my favorite thing: a waterfront park and walk! The playground was excellent.
We had lunch at a lovely Thai restaurant where Bear and Pax actually both consumed food!
After lunch we went to a holiday park where they had thermal pools. I only took one picture because I don't like to mix phones and water - but it was really lovely. There were a bunch of other kids there, and another playground.
We passed through Whakatane on our way back and stopped at that well-known kiwi dining establishment...McDonalds. The food is actually much better than American McDonalds but the PlayPlace is just as filthy.
|Gorgeous rainbow on the drive there - the same day many of my Northern hemisphere friends posted pictures of rainbows, too.|
|Dramatic clouds. Bear 2016.|
|Pax enjoys her toy peacock, George.|
|Random body positivity in a mall bathroom in Tauranga - love it!|
|Bear demanded that we visit this Christmas tree in the lobby of a bank - they were having some sort of Christmas in July promotion.|
|It is winter here, but winter is citrus and kiwifruit season and mandarins are abundant.|
|"The wind is too windy."|
|Bear sharing curry puffs with his sister.|
|Pax refuses to let her lack of teeth get in the way of her love of chicken.|
|Mmmm, chicken. |
While she was eating, she kept shooting me dirty looks like, "why have you kept chicken from me this whole time?"
|Thermal mineral pools. The air was cool but the water was nice and warm.|
|I have nothing to add.|
|Apparently this marketing scheme was famous on the internet. Not in a good way.|