Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Zealand Part 3 {Coromandel Town}

After we left Rotorua we drove to my brother in law, Billy's, home town. Coromandel Town is on the Coromandel Peninsula, and is about a 3 hour drive or a 2 hour ferry ride from Auckland.

Billy's parents and brother still live in Coromandel Town, in a house that has been in the family for generations. They own a farm and Billy's brother, Evan, is a fisherman. They are such nice, wonderful people and they were so hospitable!

We loved Coromandel Town. It has one main street with adorable shops and restaurants. The buildings reminded me of those from my hometown in Hailey, Idaho.

Other than walking around the quaint down town, Billy took the boys out fishing and Riley caught a few fish! We also went on a small railway tour of the countryside. Here are some pictures from Coromandel Town and our railway adventure.

 Heading out fishing

 On the railway with Carrie, Chase and Billy

 The railway

Adorable building in Coromandel Town

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Zealand- Part 2 { Rotorua }

Rotorua was definitely the most adventurous part of our New Zealand vacation!

After a 4 hour drive from Auckland, where to my dismay I saw more cows than sheep, we were just getting into Rotorua when we saw a sign for the Zorb Adventure! We had to stop! Ryan wanted to do the Zorb, a big bubble that you sit in and it rolls down a hill. We found out that Riley was old enough to do it too, and he was game, so we signed him up and off they went to the top of the hill. It was fun to watch them roll and slosh around (the put water inside the Zorb so it is basically like being on a waterslide) down the hill. They both really enjoyed it and of course, Riley wanted to go again!!

Our hotel was a bit outside of Rotorua on the shores of one of the many beautiful lakes in the area. Rotorua is known for their geo thermal activity, their Maori cultural heritage and their adventurous activities. We wanted to take advantage of it all and were off to a good start!

We toured some of the geo thermal geysers for part of an afternoon, soaked in a thermal pool for a few relaxing hours and also went to the Rotorua Luge tracks. We took the gondola to the top of a mountain, where we had a great view of Lake Rotorua and the surrounding area and then did the luge ride down to the bottom. It was a blast! We were each able to go a few times and we all loved it!

One night we also went to a Maori cultural show. We were taken to a traditional Maori "village" and shown how ancient Maori people used to live. We also ate a Maori feast cooked in a traditional underground oven. Ryan was chosen to be chief of the visiting tribe and was given special privileges throughout the night, including learning how to perform the famous Haka! It was a really neat experience.

On our last day in Rotorua, we actually drove an hour away to Lake Taupo for the biggest adventure, Ryan's bungy jump!! I was surprised that he did it but it is something he has been wanting to do for awhile. He actually didn't stand at the edge of the jump platform for very long. He just got to the edge, looked out, and off he went! He came back up with the biggest smile on his face! It was a fantastic experience for him and one he will never forget!

Next, off to The Coromandel Peninsula!

The Zorb!

Riley and Ryan before their Zorb adventure

Coming down the hill

Riley and Ryan after their Zorb adventure

Bella and Riley on the gondola up to the Luge track

Ryan, Bella and Riley with a view of Lake Rotorua

Bella and I on the luge

Riley luging it up


Go boys go!

Riley with the Maori warriors

The kiddos

"Chief" Ryan with the Maori chief
Riley with his cousin Chase

View from our hotel room

Ryan befor his bungy  jump- can you say nervous??!!

There he goes!

There he dangles!

The bungy platform over the river

The after shot. I think he is still in shock!

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Zealand- Part 1 {Auckland}

New Zealand!
We spent a glorious 2 weeks in New Zealand this this past January and February.

After travelling door to door for 23 hours we arrived at my sister's house in Auckland. We freshened up and went down to the Viaduct in Auckland for the Seafood Festival. It was great fun and a good introduction to the city! Ryan was able to try some of the local seafood, which he really enjoyed. The boys and Bella went for a dip in the ocean after that before we had a nice dinner and then all crashed that night.

The next morning we explored a craft fair at Mission Beach before catching the ferry over to Waiheke Island to do some wine tasting. It was a windy day but we still really enjoyed the island. It actually really reminded me of driving around Kaua'i. The houses were somewhat older but there were some nice beaches and it was very quaint and charming. We stopped for some "tip top" ice cream and got to try Billy's favorite flavor, which had honey comb/toffee pieces in it. It was very good.

Over our next few days in Auckland we took the kids to an aquarium, which was a bit underwhelming, spent some nice time at the beach, went swimming in the ocean, and had some yummy BBQs at Carrie and Billy's adorable house. We really enjoyed our mellow time in Auckland.

Next, off to Rotorua!

 The car all packed and ready for our journey

 The Auckland skyline

Enjoying the ocean after a loooong flight!

 Ryan on the ferry

 My hair going crazy in the wind

 The four of us on the ferry

 Riley and Bella in Waiheke

 Ryan, Billy and I wine tasting in Waiheke

 The kids and I at Cable Bay Vineyards

 The kids being goofy

A beautiful day in Auckland