Aotearoa – The Land of the Long White Cloud…

Kiaora friends!,

Wow. You really don’t know what exhaustion is until you’ve travelled abroad with 2 kids under 2 years of age!

But don’t get me wrong, what an adventure – I think we’ve all gained so much from 3 weeks in beautiful New Zealand. It was just non-stop. We flew into Auckland, had a couple of days with our awesome Aunty Caryl, Uncle Wayne, cuzzies Jeremy, Dee Anne and cute baby Cora, Callum, Asher, Mary-anne and Carmillo.

Our awesome Auckland family!

Then came the nine hour drive to Mahia on the east coast. Surprisingly, the kids were amazing… slept and whinged minimally. Had 6 days in our favourite little red bach on the beach, Mokatahi. Joined briefly by Tanija, Manu, Katija and Mila we (Manu and I) spent the days between kids and scouring the many beaches for waves. The weather was perfect the waves were fun and it was very hard driving away – but school holidays were starting so our timing was right to leave the holiday destination. Our special thanks to cousin Winks for allowing us to stay in their bach.

Mum, Zeph and the view from Mokatahi...

Dad and Oceana. Sunset games.

Zephyr scopes the surf while Oceana is more interested in Hi-5 on her dvd player!

Mahia sunsets. Umm... whats the word for it..?

Back to Auckland via an overnight stop in Taupo to visit my 92 yr old Grandfather – sharp and witty as ever, then a stop in to see my other Grandfather on the Coromandel Peninsula.

A couple of recharge days back with the fam in Auckland then flew down to Queenstown as the other side of the family (Mums) all converged for a week of over indulgence…! Aunty George and Uncle Baz from Bali, Melo, Mark and baby Beau from Auckland, Trin, Rich, Harley and Meadow from Cromwell, Katrina down from Nelson, Lisa, Dean and Bailey from Christchurch and Alex and Deb spent 3 days over at Cecil Peak at a shearing station. The only way to access the station is by boat as there are no roads there, but as I discovered on arrival the station owners get to and from Q-town via chopper! Once upon a time it was available as a weekend getaway for tourists – to ‘get a feel’ for life on a shearing station in the rugged kiwi landscape. Now it’s been let go and the current caretakers don’t have the time (or patience!) to host the clueless city dwellers (like me!). But my Aunty George is a 20 year local of Queenstown and managed to get us all to stay there for free! Its who you know…! What an amazing place. Surrounded by green rolling hills, on the very edge of the lake staring at, what George and Baz affectionately refer to as, ‘The F**king Amazings’ (The Remarkables – with only a small spattering of snow at this time of year). The accommodation was rough, no heating for example, but the fact we had beautiful warm weather every day and were heavily intoxicated by bedtime, it really didn’t matter..! I will take this opportunity to make special mention of the Croqisloe Cup, the long running croquet rivalry between the Kiwis and the Aussies. There were some amazing skills on display, none better than Baz’s jump shot over Rich who was poison (ie: touch him and you die), through the final pin and hit the poison stick with next shot. Gold. For those of you who haven’t been subjected to the wonderful world of croquet, that all meant nothing to you, but get out there and discover your competitive edge..! And, I know you’re all bursting with anticipation to find out who won the esteemed Croqisloe Cup…well, yep, me the annoying sh*tdribbling flying Aussie cleaned the floor with those Kiwis on their home turf and retained the Croqisloe to add to my 3 straight Crystal Clear Club Croquet Cup Championship’s and my ever growing trophy collection… and, yes, the dribbling continues……!

Oceana points out the view of the F**king Amazings from Cecil Peak Station

Dad teaches the next generation of sh*tdribbling aussie's how it's done..!

Ahh the family....!

The water taxi - the only way in or out!

To recover from the craziness of Cecil Peak, we had a lovely couple days with cuzzie Trin, Rich, Harley and Meadow at their house in Cromwell – a sleepy little town just out of Queenstown. Then caught up with one of Seb’s best friends, Kate, who after a holiday to NZ a few years back from England, loved it so much that she’s moved there!

Thanks also to Mark’s folks Jan and Pete for letting us use their house as our base in Queenstown – especially for the foxtel with 5 sport channels – I got to see AFL for the first time in weeks! And the view..? well………

The view of Cecil Peak from Jan and Pete's place... The station is just around that point...

Then, after three weeks of perfection, on our last day we flew from Queenstown to Sydney en route back to Perth with a 3 hour lay over in Sydney, Oceana got sick. At 6pm she chundered in the terminal with our flight only an hour away. The duty manager came over and politely informed us that we weren’t allowed to fly as our daughter could pass something to the rest of the plane. We were exhausted and couldn’t believe it – so close! The duty manager was amazing. He put us up in the Mercure hotel, food and cab fares included. Oshe wasn’t well and slept most of the time. The next day we got a doctor’s clearance for Oshe and got on a 5pm flight home – with an upgrade to business class! It’s totally ruined flying for me as I never want to go back to economy…! Thanks a lot Qantas!

All in all, what a trip. It makes my realise how important family is in the scheme of life. It also makes me sad we live so far from them. I love the balance I get from my family – my Aunty Caryl and family have strong morals and family values and staying with them was such a delight as they welcomed us into their home. Oceana especially got so much out of the whole experience.

Just happy that our first family holiday was a success – Dad got waves, Mum got great photos (1285 to be exact! – of which you’ve seen only a few here) and the kids have grown up so much it’s unbelievable.

To EVERYONE that made our holiday such a memorable one – Thank you!

Stay tuned for some new artwork…




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7 Responses to Aotearoa – The Land of the Long White Cloud…

  1. ROb says:

    Great photos!

  2. Balls says:

    orsom pics, makes me dream of our time on the long white cloud(maybe next year). looks like you guys had brillant time and good break 🙂

  3. Sky says:

    Awesome, now we don’t have to ever talk as i know it all! xx Lovely Pics too

  4. Shanna says:

    Sounds like you had a fantastic trip – the pics are awesome!

  5. Daz says:

    Hey Bro, great pics, looks like an awesome trip!

  6. Asher says:

    Mate, just saw the photo book that you guys did for us…… Totally Awesome!! Some classic moment there. Particularly love the shot with ocie and waffle!

  7. Yvonne Noakes says:

    Hi I just want to Thankyou for a post that you wrote.
    The cross on the hill with RIP Bullfrog is in memory of my brother inlaw and yes he was a terrific bloke. Only two days before finding out from his son about this post my husband and I had been talking and wondering if the cross still stood strong.
    Thankyou for writing about it we will make a visit out there soon .

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