Showing some visitors to Welly a good time

When Sophie asked what we’d be doing after Kindi on Monday I told her, ‘We’re going to be showing some visitors to Wellington around.’ Sophie likes to know all the facts and was quick to ask,’Who?’. When I told her I’d never met the visitors before she practically gasped, ‘Strangers?!’ and then told all the teachers at Kindi that Mummy had met some friends ‘on the Internet’ and we were taking them out for lunch. Of course all sorts of weird ideas crop into ones head when the word ‘Strangers’ and ‘Internet’ appear in the same sentence, but Nicola and Rob are far from strange (at least they seemed relatively normal – apart from Rob’s beard growth – which instantly prompted the question, ‘Movember?’, but he admitted he did have a bit of a head start on his impressive crop).

Nic and Rob go around the world!‘ is the story of their travels. They set off in August 2010 from the UK and have headed West, to New Zealand, via Nepal and Thailand. Nic contacted me through the blog and after corresponding for a while we quickly concluded that one another was relatively ‘normal’ and agreed to meet up when they travelled through Wellington (you can read Nic and Rob’s first impression of Wellington here and about the day we shared together here).

I absolutely love showing people our little part of Wellington. It isn’t always easy with a baby in tow (I really pushed Alice past her nap and she wasn’t too happy with the car). However, we did have a wonderful time and Wellington put on a great show with the weather. The old saying, ‘You can’t beat Wellington on a good day’ really rang true.

Nic and Rob came round to the house in the morning (I thought it would be easier to have a chat before picking up little Miss Chatterbox from Kindi). They arrived just after I’d done an exploding nappy change, hung out the washing and got the poo stained clothes soaking (good timing guys!). After a much needed coffee (I’d been awake since at least 5am) we headed out to pick up Sophie from Kindi.

Nic asked, ‘Shall we wait in the car?’

‘No! Come on in!’ I said. Nic’s background is in education so I thought she’d find it interesting to see how our preschoolers go about their learning… it’s all about learning through play in New Zealand (check out the wonderful NZ Kindergarten website for more information). Water troughs were out for pouring and mixing of coloured water, children climbing in trees and swinging from the boughs on ropes, Rascal the rabbit chomping happily on some lettuce by the sand-pit (where some boys had happily turned a section into a mud-pit), the work-bench wasn’t out – but usually children can be found with real hammers, nails and saws practicing their D.I.Y. skills. It’s always a wonderful atmosphere.

Sophie was surprisingly bashful at meeting Nic and Rob. She buried her head in my side and she opted to sit in ‘the boot’ seats of the car. However, she was soon back to her usual full energy, motor-mouth self.

We headed to the wonderful Maranui Surf Cafe for lunch.

After lunch we let Sophie loose for a run on the beach at Lyall Bay.

Rob tried to ‘catch’ Sophie with the camera. He did amazingly well to get Sophie in action and in focus, as she was doing some serious camera dodging!

Love this photo of her spinning round madly at the playground:

Sophie at Lyall Bay playground - Photo by Rob

Meanwhile Nic and I enjoyed a chat, with Alice listening in and flapping her arms at the seagulls.

Chatting with Nicola on Lyall Bay Beach - photo by Rob

Rob is really keen on ‘Kite Surfing’ (check out Phil in NZ via PBase for AWESOME Kite Surfing photos taken at Lyall Bay) and Lyall Bay is a fabulous spot for advanced level kite surfers. Unfortunately I could only offer him a turn with Sophie’s pocket kite, whilst he enviously watched a kite surfer head out to make the most of a perfect, steady, onshore breeze.

Another fabulous photo by Rob…

Sophie's pocket kite - photo by Rob

I would have loved to have had more time to show Nic and Rob more of the many bays and beaches around Wellington but time was pressing on and Alice was tired. We drove on to Miramar, via Seatoun and the scenic drive past Breaker Bay (clothing optional here!). I was hoping Alice would nod off so I could drive round the peninsula, past Scorching Bay. Unfortunately she was too strong willed for napping without a feed and cuddle with Mama, so I took a shortcut, turning toward Miramar from Worser Bay, and dropping down the other side to visit Peter Jackon’s ‘Weta Cave‘.

Nic and Rob enjoyed a look around (with Sophie bravely saying she wasn’t scared of anything – including a rather large and scary looking Orc!). Alice had a quick feed and ten minute tide over nap; just enough to keep her going so we could make a visit to the wonderful Chocolate Fish in Shelly Bay (great review and information here).

Frances picked Charlotte up from school and brought her round to meet up. The girls had a great time playing on the ride-ons, jumping in the bean bags and climbing on the model of the Interislander ferry.

Chocolate Fish with Nic & Rob

Sophie persuaded Nic and Rob to try on the various hats the cafe provides for its patrons! They were such great sports and will make the most wonderful parents one day (Sorry! No embarrassment intended!).

Rob & Nic at Chocolate Fish

It was wonderful to meet a couple at such an exciting time in their lives. They talked of their hope to maybe live in Wellington one day and it would be awesome if they did! I love showing off ‘my place’. It really is kind of special and I often feel like I am on holiday living here. The fresh sea air (and wind) keep me fresh, that’s for sure!