Just about to leave for the airport - Jack has found my work bag….
Can’t believe our entire life is in these two bags (well and 4 backpacks) for the next 3 months
3 months of shoes….
Just about to leave for the airport - Jack has found my work bag….
Can’t believe our entire life is in these two bags (well and 4 backpacks) for the next 3 months
3 months of shoes….
Hello Heathrow - possibly the coolest hotel room we’ve ever booked!
No trip is complete without a cheeky bit of emergency wheelchair maintenance 🚨
The Radisson Red was such a fab hotel with kids - I’m not comfortable with the kids being in a separate room and the pull out beds take up so much floor space.
This was the ideal solution and a great start to the trip.
Sally was amazing with the trolley
Jack enjoyed a ride through the shops
Cheeky breakfast before the flight
Insta kids 🤣
A wee bit of stress at the gate when they had to ‘de-board’ us as my hybrid handcycle hadn’t been labelled correctly but thankfully the plane didn’t leave without us!
See you in San Francisco!
Yeahy we made it with all our luggage!
Lovely sun and not too chilly
We went straight to pick up the campervan….all went well until we arrived at the RV park we intended to stay at at 1800 - just after the office closed with no option to stay 😬
. Cue a little stress as both our phones stopped working but our tariff said we could roam - thank goodness for free wifi at Burger King & Starbucks!
We slightly broke the kids by driving an hour down the road but managed to find a truck stop where we could spend the night - well until 3 am when Jack started bouncing off the walls!
We also encountered the slight problem of the fact the ‘bedding pack’ only contained one duvet……🥶 Fortunately the van has a heater so Jon & I just wore most of our clothes - we figured it looked a bit more salubrious than the business class cabin of the airplane so we shouldn’t complain.
Jack made us all laugh by doing laps of the car park. Sally did some cartwheels but I didn’t catch them.
Jon & Kids are now in Walmart hoping to solve the bedding situation & we’re only 3hrs from Yosemite so happy days.
The drive to Yosemite had some incredible scenery. It’s amazing how somewhere can be so flat then become very mountainous
We stopped off to rent some snow chains just in case as we’d read that the conditions can be changeable. The shop owner was super kind and gave the kids some balloons although they did just end up hitting each other with them!
Jack got a little bored by the end
But the opportunity to take a few cheeky selfies kept him distracted..
Yosemite is every bit as stunning as billed. There aren’t enough superlatives.
The view from our campsite pitch.
We were quite grateful for the good heater in the campervan. As most of the places we’re visiting are warm - we didn’t really pack any warm ones.
Jack was fascinated by the bear lockers - we managed to avoid Sally locking him in one!
The hunt for the biggest pine cone was won by Sally.
I was glad Jack’s wellies made the cut in packing terms as he found the biggest puddle in Yosemite and decided he was a speedboat…
The campervan was a perfect size - the kids love the crow’s nest
I was also quite thankful for the bedding disaster as it had ensured the kids has winter sleeping bags with were absolutely needed.
All the stress over my handbike was made absolutely worth it when we decided to walk off some of the jet lag with an evening stroll. The air temperature was quite cold so even though it was flat my hands would have frozen on my pushrims.
We walked to Curry Village which Jon was a bit disappointed to discover did not sell any actual curry.
A beer & a couple of hot chocolates made this better.
On the way back the rain turned to sleet then snow which wasn’t quite the weather we’d expected (winter coats/hats/gloves didn’t make the packing cut).
To Sally’s delight the snow started to lay on the ground.
We were nice and warm in the van thankfully.
(Yes mum that’s his airport book)
We woke to the most amazing winter scenes (at 4am!)
We left early as we’d hoped to get to Mariposa Grove to see the big trees.
The road to the Grove was over 5000 feet - the road conditions became quite tricky so we decided to abandon the trip as we had no winter clothing if we got stuck.
Dawn in Yosemite was spectacular.
We chose a nice spot for some pancakes & crispy bacon.
The view was mesmerising
A trip to the visitor centre provided some good geography education.
We learnt about how the valley and its mountains had been formed.
Jack went on a bear hunt but was a bit disappointed not to find one.
Jon bought some firewood from the shop & we went back to the campsite for some flame grilled hot dogs.
Sally made a snow creature- can you tell what kind (hint: Minecraft)
I was planning on a nice quiet cycle by myself but Jack didn’t want me to get lonely.
The views were insane.
I loved being able to get around independently without it being a huge endurance session.
Jack gave me a nice running commentary of the views on offer.
Flame grilled sausages are amazing
But we lost the sun at 1400 so retreated inside for a nap
We introduced Jack to UNO….
This is his losing face…..
This is his winning face.
The clear night meant some pretty epic stargazing. I’ve never seen so many shooting stars.
Another early start but as the dawns in Yosemite are so special this was a joy.
Sally & Jack enjoying some solitaire.
We then got on the road to the Lodi wine region.
No words just pictures
Wine!!! Thanks to my lovely sister in law we made a detour on our way back to Lodi which is a famous wine region. So many different varieties & not a sickly sweet Zinfandel in sight.
We definitely hit the jackpot when we found a winery with a kids play area!
We could have spent hours and a lot of dollars here.
The night was spent in a truck stop - wow the Americans sure know how to travel in style. The average size ‘RV’ was a coach so we felt very small in comparison. People were super friendly so whilst I can’t say it was the poshest place we stayed it was still nice. The heater for the swimming pool had broken but this didn’t stop our little water baby from taking a dip!
Jack & I did some laundry- he managed to get 6 pictures of the washing machine before I noticed what he was doing - no wonder my phone is full!
We also visited an oil mill but they also served more wine so we finished the day in style.
We were given the most amazing sunset for our last night in the the USA campervan
SAN FRANCISCO ❤️
What an incredible city! Even with fog covering the major landmarks it’s vibrant & funky. We found a hotel that has so much for the kids - games room, dart board in the room & open fires for S’mores 😋
Magnetic dart board thankfully
Fire pit S’mores
Refreshing dip in a friend’s pool.
Thankfully a little warmer than the one at the RV park.
Sally negotiated a pocket money rate, drafted a contract and ensured our solicitor friend Sam witnessed it #HomeSkool
Games room in the hotel - perfect for the kiddiwinks.
Incredible views from 42nd floor
Down is definitely better than up!
Loving that the trams are so accessible in San Francisco
Tram is from 1952 - same vintage as my parents.
We met up with our friend Sam who has just moved out here for work to take a trip to Alcatraz. The weather was beautifully sunny.
Jack was very excited about the boat trip.
Jack wanted to know who had turned the bubbles on and if he could do it next time.
We were so lucky we saw a pod of dolphins in the bay but I didn’t catch it on camera.
Jack wanted to take over the photography & thought this flower was particularly beautiful.
The hills were a little steep but I had some extra man power
Inside of Alcatraz - the cells were so small.
The audio tour was good although Jack did ask at one point why people kept hurting each other & why didn’t they just stop.
The island is now home to lots of birds - you’ll be glad there is no smellivsion in this picture.
Golden Gate Bridge
Lots of sugar/energy needed for climbing hills - some of the streets were dramatically steep.
Climb was worth it for the play park.
Watching the Uber arrive
We went to Sam’s for pancakes- what a view.
Perfect end to a fab day.
The best part of jet lag has been we’ve seen some epic sunrises. Today we set off on a bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. I was so happy to have my hybrid as it meant I could enjoy the views and not find the hills too taxing.
We found a hire tandem where Jack went on the front - it was absolutely perfect for him.
I think you can tell how much he enjoyed it.
No words needed for these 🤣
Views were spectacular. The weather was supposed to be rainy…..
Powering up the hills
The back dots are a pod of dolphins 🐬
Not sure it could have got any more sunny.
To top off the wildlife spotting a sea lion 🦭 popped up to say hi as we came back into the bay.
Day started with some mammoth packing - we’ve only be away for a week 🤯. Thankfully we had a good barista who kept spirits up
The weather was pretty ☔️ so we decided a bus tour was the only way forward.
Top deck for Sally & Jon
Jack & I remained in the wheelchair pen downstairs.
As you can see Jack was enthralled…
Fortunately it didn’t rain all day. We waited for the sun to come out for a lunch stop.
We were reminded of our South American travel with tapas & cerviche.
There was a beautiful park which we had to ourselves.
I think the park is filled with water in the summer but the kids found a good use for the rain ponchos from the bus.
A bit more bus touring with a trip over the Golden Gate Bridge which required a little less effort.
Back to the hotel to wait for the taxi to the airport.
Thank goodness for the games room - what happened next…
See you in Fiji 🇫🇯
Bula FIJI 🇫🇯
A bit of a nervous wait to see if my wheelchair had made it onto the plane but it came eventually! Sally was a absolute trouper - so helpful in all the usual chaos of getting off a plane. You never quite know what to expect even when being well travelled.
Traveling with the hybrid is quite a mission. We only have 2 suitcases for clothes yet it feels like we’re moving house with each flight. My hybrid goes in a kite surfing bag which fortunately has wheels.
Jack likes to travel in style 🤣🤴🏻
We were delighted to find the BeachHouse is just as we left it in 2005 - just a little bigger. The accessibility is unexpectedly fab - it’s something that never really registers when you’re able bodied. Even in bungalows you’d be amazed where stairs can be incorporated!
Kids couldn’t wait to get in the water - they just struggled to chose between the beach or the pool!
Beach came first
There was 30sec of hand holding before the bickering recommenced 🤣
The grass is so it’s amazing to roll across. Having the beach so close is perfect as I don’t need to get sandy to be able to watch the kiddiwinks.
Jacks getting better at UNO
The kids enjoyed watching some bags being weaved. They then went collecting flowers that had dropped to decorate them.
A cheeky bit of homeschooling after breakfast although I can’t say Jack was the most focussed
The pool is a perfect temperature and depth for me to stand \240
Jack’s swimming is really coming on.
Sallys enjoying the same swing we did in 2005 😍
We’re enjoying the same beer… 🍻
Not sure who Jack gets the showboating from…..
It’s so nice not to be cold anymore!
It’s been raining nearly all day but our two ducklings haven’t noticed!
It’s really nice to just spend time together with no big agenda or place to be.
Sally had a horse riding trip along the shore
Jack & Jon crab spotting
Sally found some beautiful coral washed up on the beach.
The bay here is beautiful and the reef ensures really calm waters
30 seconds of harmony before they started fighting again 😝
Enjoying some refreshing drinks
Sunsets have been pretty special.
Jack’s rapidly becoming UNO master
It’s been nice just relaxing with no real agenda. The weather has been quite wet with torrential rain - we’re in the first month of the rainy season.
Yesterday was super exciting as we met up with Granny & Grandad who are in a nearby hotel.
Unfortunately Sally came down with a tummy bug but she’s now fully recovered. Jack & Jon took it for the team enjoying the pool with Granny & Grandad.
Think he may have taken Sally’s portion of cake…
Finally the sun came out again after a few days of rain 🤩
Sally teaching Jack about number bonds using some shells we found.
Loopwheels & frontwheel making the sand a little more accessible.
We paddled out to the swimming platform for a snorkel - we saw a bright blue starfish and some beautiful fish & coral
Recreating the picture from 2005
It’s so beautiful here - after a few days of rain this sunset was worth the wait.
Wow what a week. Fiji is such a beautiful country with such welcoming people.
These pictures aren’t quite in chronological order but Sally decided to get her hair braided - she usually protests quite a lot with any kind of washing/brushing and her hair was suffering from the amount of time she spent in the water.
During: (Sally had to sit for 2 hrs)
Mummy and daddy did some waiting….while Jack did yet more tarmacing.
It’s quite hard to look elegant when your being photobombed by your little bro!
Let’s see how long they last!!
Earlier Jon had taken the two kids on a waterfall trip. To quote Sally it was ‘one of the best trips of her life’ although she’s said this a few times this month 🤣
They got to swim around the waterfall
Jack may have had a little helping hand/shoulder to get there.
It’s called a horsey in Fiji.
The cool thing was that we found out the trip organiser played in the game of Rugby we went to see in 2005! This is him in the red and black top on the wing.
Sunsets - did we mention they were nice?
After quite a few days of rain the sunset did not disappoint.
Chocolate milkshake time - rare moment of harmony.
Little miss snorkel
Granny and Grandad came to visit our hotel for some sundowner cocktails.
On our last day Sally and I went to an island to do some snorkelling.
We saw some fish but Sally preferred just to jump off the boat.
The island was so beautiful.
Sally thought her day could not get any better when she discovered Fanta pineapple
One of the Fijian guides was catching fish by hand with \240a harpoon.
When we got to the island Sally collected an impressive range of hermit crabs. They kept escaping even from my hat.
On the day back Sally stood at the front of the boat even though it went very fast.
We were so lucky to see a beautiful pod of dolphins.
They were so close to the boat - such a special end to the day.
Jack and daddy had fun at Granny & Gandad’s hotel
Our last morning was an early one - we had to leave by 4am for the plane.
Fortunately we had some cheeky company on the plane
Jack made sure the pilot went in the right direction.
We picked up Bertha the Brtitz van and started to drive.
Seems like a good van for some adventures.
Lake Tekapo is stunning. The weather wasn’t so kind but the colours were still vibrant. It’s strange to think it’s spring here so the lupins are out in force.
Fortunately there were some lovely hot springs that kept us entertained.
Playing whack a mole with the fountains much to the amusement of the local OAPs..
Sally practiced some diving in the deep pool.
Our campsite had a trampoline with quite a view!
View from our pitch - we went to the local free campsite but the view wasn’t as good so we came back to the paid one 😜
Queenstown was choca so we went to the quieter Kingston. Which was lovely.
There was a flood here in 1999 which was the height of most of the houses in the village.
Nice to dust off the cobwebs from my hybrid.
Sally found a small tree
Kingston is beautifully quiet compared to Queenstown.
We had stopped for lunch Cromwell - Sally showing the locals how to lunch.
Jack loved this slide.
So hard to get my head around the fact it’s the end of spring here - not just +12hrs!
Got on the bike again for a nice lakeside pedal.
We found the most amazing campsite after a few days of pretty soulless campervan car parks 😍.
Warrenz in the wild
Unfortunately the memory of this idyllic campsite was a little tarnished by the fact Jack came down with a vomiting bug. No details needed other than to say thankfully Milford Lodge the next campsite had the best washing machines we’ve encountered.
Milford sound is stunning but demonstrated its full rainforest credentials to us with horizontal rain that even our Cumbrian roots struggled with.
We saw some epic waterfalls & went out for a posh-ish dinner (Sally is sulking under the table).
I got up at 6am planning to kayak on the sound but sadly the trip was cancelled due to high winds. I was relieved to have been able to take the hybrid and not woken the family up for this!
Jon took the kids on the wettest walk of their lives which even Jacks wellies couldn’t stay dry in.
We took the kids on the cruise. Sally was loving the stormy weather and made the most of the borrowed rain jacket.
I tried unsuccessfully to recreate the cute picture we have of Sally from 2017… Jack wasn’t letting us stay outside near the waterfall.
Weather was a little better in 2017:
Sally’s still a big waterfall fan!
It was a beautiful campsite but the kids had had enough of being soaked so we bailed the second night and drove towards some blue sky.
Queenstown is amazing but sooooo hilly 🥵 We caught a cable car to a luge ride in the pouring rain although you’d never believe this from our photos as it blew through and we were rewarded with some epic scenery.
The luge ride was so cool. I was fully expecting not to be able to join the kids but I was wrong. To get to the top of the luge there was a chair lift - as you can see Jack wasn’t too sure on the first ride.
He did cheer up for the next two
The luge was so much fun. Jack and Daddy aced it.
Jack & Daddy were too quick for us to photograph
Unfortunately the access to the chair lift hadn’t been as well thought out as the accessibility of the luge. I think the gradient was the most extreme I’ve ever encountered.
But we got there in the end.
The view on the way down was beautiful
We then went to a bird sanctuary. Sally was delighted to see an actual kiwi bird.
Jon seems to have sprouted wings
We also met a Tuatara
Jack wasn’t so sure
Oh my goodness this place is amazing! I know everyone raves about Queenstown but Wanaka was by far my favourite place we’ve visited in New Zealand.
We hired some bikes and shock horror Sally actually enjoyed the bike ride (most usual rides involve a large proportion of complaints from little Miss Warren).
Everywhere you looked the scenery was amazing.
Couldn’t resist the puddles.
One or two cheeky hills but Sally kept smiling.
In the afternoon we went to a Puzzling World
The kids tried to lose Daddy in the maze
For this nights stop we decided to try out an ‘Okay 2 Stay’ location. Essentially you pay a subscription fee that gives you a list of local producers (Cheese, Wine, Farm & Crafts etc) that will let you stay on their property for free as long as you buy something from their shop.
We weren’t entirely sure about taking the kiddiwinks to a winery but decided to risk it for a buscuit!! OMG we weren’t disappointed. Lovely Atkin’s Folly is own and run by a Geordie Couple who were wonderful welcoming hosts. We need not have \240worried about the kids - on their winery they had a menagerie of animals including some newly hatched chicks 🐥 and two trampolines.
Jack feeding the sheep some apples
The views were amazing 360 degrees
Wine tasted extra nice surrounded by the vines that had produced it.
It was certainly the best campsite to date.
When we got up Sally & I went for a paddle. I wasn’t expecting quite so many waves as a flat water paddler so this was a bit of a shock to the system.
Sally chatted non stop 😝but great to share my love of paddling with her.
After our paddle we went for a nice lunch overlooking the lake.
Jack watched a lot of lobster 🦞 TV.
Jack seems to have found my phone 🤭 The kids aren’t appreciating the scenery as much as Jon & I although we have managed to cut down a litttle on the ‘are we nearly there yets’
Thankfully the campsite had a good play park.
We stopped Ship Creek for a bimble. I was too tired so didn’t join the family in the beach trip. I was a little surprised at how sandy the kids had got on a boardwalk until I saw Jon’s photos.😝
Our campsite has some pretty cool go karts. My afternoon was spent hearing Jack tooting his ‘fire horn’ and even persuaded Jon to take him out in the rain.
Topped off the afternoon with a nice soak in the hot tub.
Hoping for some good weather tomorrow for a trip up the glacier
Just got the benefit of those of you sat at home wishing you were here. It’s been the wettest start to summer on South Island & pretty cold most of the time. \240All 4 of us living on top of each other has produced the a few colourful arguements. A particular low point was when Jack managed to bite Sally in an arguement about a pomegranate 🤯
This has been our standard view a lot of the time. Rain is quite noisy at night.
Sallys definitely missing her friends and playing with somone who is not half her age but fortunately her school teacher has been amazing and we have regular communication.
We’ve managed to lose 2 credit cards, a kindle and somehow ‘Bourgass’ (Jack’s imaginary friend) set a new passcode on Sallys kindle locking us all out of it 😝.
We also nearly ran out of tea bags…
The weather gods did not deal in our favour unfortunately but hanging around in the rain did give the homeschool a good few hours.
The cloud/rain didn’t clear so we decided to just make tracks. We had an important appointment in Greymouth that we couldn’t be late for.
The weather was much better away from the mountains 🏔️ which made the kids very happy.
There is a nice accessible tree top walk that we visited. The path was not as steep as those in Queenstown but we were glad of a lift.
Being up amongst the trees was lovely. The bell birds were particularly lovely although we never saw one.
The only bit that I could get to was the tower but after climbing all the steps, Sally reported it was quite scary so I hadn’t missed much.
This was the cantilever that wobbled quite a bit 😵💫.
We abandoned the idea of wild camping as thought the kids could use a play park after quite a long day.
We picked up some lovely hitchhikers!!
Again we chose not to brave the sandflies at our intended campsite but found a beautiful place to try out 6 in a campervan….
This place was perfect
So glad we changed our plans.
Sally loved the signs.
Feeding the petting animals- the pigs were very hungry.
There were also some newly hatched chicks and turtles 🐢
And two different zip lines
Sally sent Jack down first to see if he arrived in one piece \240😂 (the first trip may have ended in tears..😬 but it was all smiles in the end).
We found some pretty cool ice creams on the way to Abel Tasman.
And some rather yummy cherries 🍒
The Abel Tasman is every bit as beautiful as the picures show.
Even if the weather wasn’t the best.
Didn’t stop the kiddiwinks from having some quality beach time.
We went on a water taxi tour where I got to sit with this cool dude.
Sally and Granny sat on the open air top deck for the whole trip. It was a little breezy!
I sat at the back - as you can see Jack was fascinated by the views 😴
We saw some seals 🦭
We found yet another zip line.
It’s nice how my mobility aids often moonlight as toys - this is his motor broomstick
Wow we’ve been away for a whole month! Feels like it’s gone quite quickly but looking back I can’t believe all we have packed in.
We stayed at Marahau for 3 nights which was lovely to stop the constant motion. Thanks Vin & Emily for the Abel Tasman recommendations!
6 in a van seems to we working out nicely. Even the weather seems to be cheering up.
We went on a family kayak trip - Jack had the best seat on the trip.
The trip back was a bit choppy but kids seemed to enjoy it.
Jack was a little jaded from several face on waves that he wasn’t sure if he enjoyed 😨.
George & Lena gave us a night off from the trip! Date night!
Time for Grandad to do some driving as we headed up to wine country- Marlborough 🍷
After a second stop at the bush camp.
Savvie - Sauvignon Blanc is my absolute favourite so this was heaven!
George and Lena gave us a second night off 🥂
Not sure we should be let out that often 😂
The sun finally came out in force! We had an absolutely beautiful day sampling Marlborough’s finest. This vineyard made us smile as Whitehaven is very close to where my parents live.
A cool sign for lunch.
We had a delicious lunch washed down with a little more vino 🤪
That evening we made use of another Okay2Stay and had a wonderful night on Nutt Ranch.
The kids loved helping sort the good hazelnuts from the bad ones.
We got shown how they crack and process the nuts.
Jack was very excited to see apples growing - he took this picture.
The evening was stunning.
Homeschooling washed down with a little YouTube.
More kayaking!! The Marlborough sound was absolutely stunning. We even saw a few stingrays.
Jack was chief pumper for this expedition but he took Granny & Grandad for a sneaky coffee while we paddled.
After the kayak Sally & I cycled while Jon ran back to the campsite (nearly 10km)
I had a cheeky tumble as the path was a bit rough for my chair but no harm done.
Sally loved the bike ride and the scenery was breathtaking.
Sally found a huge pine cone
For our last night in South Island Jon picked a stunner of a campsite.
Sally completed a ‘triathlon’ by paddling,cycling then swimming!
Some mega cute ducklings.
Jack is very helpful carrying a rubbish sack almost as big as him!
Skidding to a stop
Thank you South Island. We’re very sad to be leaving you but on our way with so many happy memories.
An early start and a super wiggly drive with more epic views
The ferry was more like a cruise - the views were stunning.
It was a bit windy for Jack outside
We had a brief stop in Wellington so George & Lena could pick up their hire car (they’re off to New Plymouth tomorrow).
Today was a traveling day so we made good progress up North Island.
The kids were rewarded with a dip in our private pool (not really private - no one else was nutty enough to go in it).
Jack’s swimming has really come on - he doesn’t really need the arm bands anymore.
Sun finally came out for a park trip.
Today was Grexit - Granny & Grandad were off in their hire care to New Plymouth. On paper 6 in a campervan should be a little snug but actually it was lovely. The kids loved having company in the back and we all enjoyed visiting some lovely sights.
Last pancake brekkie before they left. Jon has absolutely nailed the campervan pancake recipe!
We had so much fun together.
Another day, another bike ride.
Sally even managed a smile 🤪
We set off on the ‘Old Coach Road’ - supposedly a nice family track with just a few cobbles - I should have been more suspicious when they said it wasn’t suitable for a tag-along for Jack..
It was great to get a lift up to the top
Cheeky obstacle - Jack was the only one to nail it 😂.
There were some amazing views and the first section was fine.
The main issue is that when you’re going uphill the front wheel with power just spins out. Also going downhill you just slide rather than slow down.
The fun really started half way through when there was no going back 😬
I needed to use pretty much every working muscle & so did Jon to get us through.
Old loose cobbles with 3 wheels was nuts - Jon had to rescue me a few times on this section.
Narrow paths with steep drops gave me a few extra grey hairs, scratches & bruises. Sally was a pretty cute winglady & Jack didn’t seem to mind being left amongst the bushes whilst Jon conducted yet another rescue 🚨
We enjoyed the tunnel but it was pretty dark without lights.
The viaduct was so high
Sally & I didn’t want to hang around too long.
Jack sounding the alarm for yet another rescue. Fortunately the track was quite quiet.
We survived although I’m going to leave the grade 3 tracks until my skill level is a little higher in future.
Jon had found us a nice campsite with a view of two volcanoes.
No time to rest my aching bruises as we’d booked a family rafting trip the next day.
Seeing the kids really excited was beyond cute. It brought back happy memories of my childhood rafting down the Gorge Du Tarn. As the water was only 7 degrees we had a little more equipment!
Cheezy grins all round
No need to watch the entire film but the first rapid & Jacks face is super cute! (It’s a 360 degree video)
I think the rafting was my absolute favourite of the activities we have done. I wasn’t expecting Jack to enjoy it so much. It was so cool to be able to all enjoy it as a family.
After our paddle we headed on up to Lake Taupo. Jon and I had been to a cool place called Craters of the Moon - a geothermal park where the ground bubbles and steams.
Jack wasn’t so impressed with the sulphur smell. Thankfully the whole walk was a board walk so I could just about make it round with the kids.
Happy memories down the lane!
After a night in Taupo we met up with Granny & Grandad again for a thermal spa.
There was an adults area but the kids thought this was more fun. Thankfully the water was warm as the air temperature was quite cold 🥶
Sally made full use of the slides pass
We had a lovely meal together then went our separate ways for the final time 😢 and we headed off the Rotorua.
The weather was a bit grim but we had a great morning at Te Puia. It was nice to learn a bit more about Māori culture along side the geothermal wonders.
The geyser looked spectacular despite the mizzle.
The bubbling mud was our favourite.
Two trainee tuatara train drivers.
I’ve creams curtesy of granny & grandad.
This campsite was beautiful. Virtually no-one else there - I can’t begin to wonder why no-one else fancied the cold wet weather for a camping trip?!
I can report the ducks were very well fed & Jon even had to rescue a teeny duckling from an aggressive blue bird. The kids were a bit traumatised by this but thankfully after a bit of a rest it swam off with its family.
Sally & I went on an evening glow worm paddle. We thought this would be fairly straightforward as we booked a campsite of the same name as the meet point. Unfortunately things are never that straight forward and there were 3 massive hills between us and the meet point - after my mountain biking experience I knew I wouldn’t get up them never mind down!
We had a chat with one of the rangers and found a lakeside pitch that had a path which was fairly flat along the lake - fine but maybe not in the pitch black! We decided to give it a go after a recce.
It was so worth it!
Sally absolutely loved the paddling and as there were only 2 other people on the tour she had to do a fair bit.
The lake was so calm it was beautifu. It made a change from all the sea kayaking and rafting we’d been doing. l
I don’t have the glow worm pictures but they were spectacular. Sally absolutely loved it. I’m also pleased to report that we made it back to our campervan without falling into the lake, crashing into a tree or a ditch 🥳. It was VERY dark however- thank goodness for smartphones! \240
Our original plan had been to head up to Coromandel but the weather forecast was so wet that we couldn’t face a repeat of the Milford Sound experience. We decided to embrace being in a movable house with no firm bookings! We changed track and headed for some sun.
We didn’t find sun straight away but we did find some nice cycle paths in Hamilton.
Which had some nice cafes
And some small 😳milkshakes
We dabbled in the Okay2Stay directory and found another cracking place to stay. Reminded us a bit of Cathope’s Manor Farm!
As old as me 😜. They had a spectacular play park and cafe.
That night I finally persuaded Sally that her hair was looking very scruffy and it was time for the braids to go.
It’s probably good there was no-one within earshot 😂
One of the best brekkie’s of the trip!
New Zealand’s babychino- a fluffy! Complete with a chocolate covered marshmallow.
We decided to abandon all plans to go to Coromandel and headed for the West coast.
Well hello sun 🌞. Raglan you are amazing and just what we were looking for. These pictures don’t do the sand justice. It’s the sparkliest sand I’ve ever seen.
Building dams got a bit much.
We had an absolutely delicious tea made by the jolliest chef ever (some call him Bourgass).
We’ve learnt the prime pitches are by the play parks.
This is the ‘Sally & Jack Show’
A day to chill and just soak up some of the lovely Raglan vibe.
I got to have lunch with this cool dude.
Jon took the kids to the beach for a little evening sandcastling.
As Raglan was the surfing capital of 🇳🇿 Sally & I thought we’d give it a try.
It was unbelievably cool even if it was pouring with rain. I got a lift down with the local surf rescue so didn’t even have to worry about how I’d get to the water.
Jack was very jealous I got to wear a helmet!
Amazing Sally got the hang of it straight away
Jon & Jack came down to the water to cheer but left maybe a bit wetter than Sally & I! Didn’t seem to dampen his spirits though.
They then went back & prepared warm drinks for us when we’d finished.
Time to say goodbye to Bertha and New Zealand 🇳🇿. We did 3900kms in total.
Jack liked the airport viewing screen - especially as it had the runway at the back.
Goodbye 🇳🇿 G’Day 🇦🇺
The bell hop at the hotel had some interesting moves 😂
View from room is not too shabby either!
Nice fireworks display to calm the kids.
Jon & Sally are doing the bridge climb tmw.
Rooftop pool - shame it’s not very accessible. Jon & I are enjoying a trip down memory lane as we were here 20 years ago on our honeymoon in the same hotel.
Jacks pretty cute around music 🎵 even if it’s background style mu🥴sick!
Jon & I aren’t quite sure where he gets all his moves from!
It feel so weird not putting the kids up in the crows nest & just having them next to us.
Jon & Sally did the bridge climb - it brought back quite a few memories from our honeymoon
I was a bit worried incase Sally didn’t enjoy it but she came back buzzing. For once she loved both the scenery and the commentary.
Jack and I enjoyed a flatter sightseeing tour on wheels/foot - well mostly wheels - Jack loves to hitch a ride. I usually keen to work off the hotel brekkie!
It’s been so nice to spend so much time with the kiddiwinks. To just notice them interacting with their environment. Yes there have been some stormy times & Jack absolutely loves to wind up poor Sally to breaking point (Mixi - does that remind you of anyone?!). At home especially following covid and finishing training life had just become so hectic. I say yes to far too many things and that takes me away both physically & mentally. I can’t make up for that but this trip has definitely made me realise what I need to do more of.
Waving to the dots on the bridge hoping Sissy & Daddy will see us.
‘Mummy there’s a picture just like this at nursery’ It was so cute to explain to him that this is the actual opera house and the one he saw at nursery is a picture of this one.
While we were out and about an Australian Naval ship came home - complete with fly past and white uniforms on deck. It was nice to think this crew would get to spend Christmas with their families. Jack gave them a good wave.
After all that exertion Jack enjoyed a little treat - can you guess the flavour?!
The bridge summiteers returned.
We enjoyed a little cruise around the harbour but the conditions were very choppy.
Sitting at the back of the boat it was quite exciting to be thrown around. (Not)
This evening Sally had a very exciting call with her class. She’s been keeping her own blog so it was really nice to see her friends on the last day of term.
We did spend quite a bit of time setting up 🤣
And made full use of all available equipment 😂
The view from our hotel room was amazing but I’m glad I took so many pictures as this morning we woke to this
A bit of a stark contrast to this:
Just like that it’s goodbye Sydney! Jack loved it here.
We enjoyed some pancakes at pancakes on the rocks
And a bimble around the Christmas markets. Jon & I can’t get our heads around tinsel & Christmas trees in warm weather!
Jack was fascinated by the McDonald’s order delivery system.
Thankfully we fed the kids as we hadn’t realised that Virgin Australia is akin to Ryanair with no screens or food service so we were totally unprepared. We also hadn’t realised that you needed about 3 different apps to check in which made the whole experience pretty stressful but we got there in the end. I don’t want to travel on an airline that allows 23kg luggage per person but doesn’t allow 4 people to check in two bags of 25kg. With the hybrid any more bags would send us over the edge. Thank goodness I brought the triple wheel bag…
Salam from Bali!!!
It’s nuts to think that the most of our flight was just over Australia! Possibly one of the most challenging flights due to our lack of preparation & lively children without the usual headphones to down. Anyway job done & Bali is definitely worth it.
It’s so nice when the online pictures actually look like the place you’re staying.
Too cute not to share 😂
Sorry this stupid glitchy app hasn’t synced again 🙃. I was trying to have a Christmas break but will have to redo this post. I like being able to keep everyone updated but clearly chose the wrong app 🙄
Wow! Beautiful Bali ❤️
Too cute not to share!
Our villa is outstanding. We’re just on the edge of Ubud but it’s so peaceful. It’s hopeless in terms of accessibility but with a pool on our doorstep it’s not a showstopper.
Sophisticated Sally at brekkie
The kids loved the butterfly decorations on the drinks - there were days we had to order 2!!
Sally was absolutely delighted to discover that pineapple jam is served with the toast.
It’s just stunning here
My beautiful flower 🌸
The last outing of the armbands!!
The tree above our pool dropped beautiful flowers in at regular intervals.
Not entirely sure this was the intended use for the pool decoration but it was a lot of fun judging by the giggles.
And he’s off! Our little duckling.
@#andrew1lee Glad to see Jon's allowed to bring some running shoes