We’re off on Monday for seven night’s driving round the middle of the North Island. First stop is the carrot capital of New Zealand,Ohakune, where we’ll spend two night’s just outside the town. The weather forecast for Mt Ruapehu isn’t looking wonderful for Tuesday, but there’s sun forecast for Wednesday. With a bit of luck we’ll get on the slopes for a little taster of the white stuff.
After a couple of day’s chilling out at the foot of the magic mountain we’re driving on to Taupo. The last time we were in Taupo was with Grandma and Grandad in February. It’s a favourite holiday spot for us as it’s within relatively easy driving distance from Wellington (five to six hour’s) with plenty of indoor and outdoor activities. Rotorua is only a one hour drive away and there are dozens of geothermal wonders to delight in. We’re spending three night’s in Taupo on this occasion.
Our final stop on our little break is Napier, which was levelled by an earthquake and fire in 1931 and rebuilt in the depths of the great Depression with optimism and vitality in the styles of the thirties – Spanish Mission, Stripped Classical and above all Art Deco. There is an array of activities in Napier including walking the streets and enjoying the architecture, visiting the Hawke’s Bay Museum and Art Gallery, going on a Gannet Safari to Cape Kidnappers, visiting the New Zealand National Aquarium
We’ve enjoyed numerous weekends away to Napier in the distant past, including a fabulous New Year’s Eve way back in 2001 (we think?!). We spent the day on the Gannet Safari tour before enjoying some late night festivities with friends visiting from the UK.
There are numerous stretches of long deserted beaches surrounding Napier. They are generally deserted because to drive to each one will take you about half an hour along a windy, and invariably, gravel road! Nevertheless the drive is always worth it as once there the sight of rolling waves crashing upon vast beaches greets your eyes.
We certainly won’t be short of options and things to do! Though we don’t anticipate being our usual action-selves on this holiday, as none of us are ‘A1’ and are till taking it very easy. All of us had a nap Saturday afternoon – which is unheard of!
Even though we’ve been cooped up at home all week in a strange way it’s actually been quite nice. Sophie has loved having Dan and Charli home. Both the girls have loved seeing Mum and Dad lounging on the sofa and not whizzing about trying to fit in 101 things! We’ve read hundreds of books, doodled in colouring and puzzle books, played board games from underneath the duvet and watched Star Wars. The girls have been slightly more active than us and periodically entertained us with dancing and puppet shows. The weather on Thursday and Friday was beautiful so they both filled up their little suitcases and pretended to go off on holiday into the depths of the garden.
Today, I have the real job of squeezing an array of clothes for all conditions into the car, along with an assortment of toys, music, all important filming equipment and of course, food! It’s a sunny morning, with a slight breeze and with a bit of luck and organisation we might even manage a visit to the Botanical Gardens for Tulip Sunday. For now, I’m signing off for a week and look forward to returning with lots of photographs and hopefully some fun stories in a week or so…