Road trip – The End!

Are you bored yet?! Hopefully the girls will appreciate all my efforts one day when they’re old enough to read! Here’s the final part of our holiday… phew it really was a whistle stop tour. When we arrived in Napier we were ready to chill out. As we drove into the Hawkes Bay we felt the warmer, calm air. Summer has arrived early to the Hawkes Bay and if time allowed we would have chilled out there for a week. We found the best family friendly place to stay – Kennedy Park Top 10 Resort – we’ll be back!

Both the girls had taken a nap after the visit to the thermal pool at Tarawera, leaving us with a rare opportunity to enjoy the rest of the drive to Napier like the old days. Playing our favourite music, enjoying the view and stopping a scenic stop for a little couple time (come on… we don’t get the chance often!). Whenever we kiss these days Sophie announces, ‘You’re going to have to get married again!’ – very cute!

We drove into Napier through Ahuriri, past West Quay, where there are some gorgeous bars positioned to catch the evening sun (and we’ve plenty of happy memories spent there in BC days – in particular dining at Shed 2).

There’s also a really safe spot for windsurfing – which we’ve done a few times in Napier and I used to enjoy the sport a lot in the UK at Poole, as well as Horseshoe Lake in Sandhurst, near my home town of Fleet in Hampshire. I remember spending summer days in the office looking out at the wind direction and hoping for the right conditions to spend an evening on the lake. Whilst I was at the University of Southampton my Dad used to surprise me by rocking up at my Halls of Residence with the windsurf board on top of the car for a venture out on the water (Dad, you are the best!). It was my Dad that really got me into windsurfing. He taught himself when I was around twelve and we’d often take the gear over to France where he’d patiently teach me – and often swim out into the middle of a lake to rescue me!

Here I go… off on a tangent again! Back in Napier and our arrival was greeted with glorious sunshine as we drove along the waterfront admiring the beautiful gardens and range of activities from the National Aquarium to playgrounds, skate parks and Ocean Spa. We enjoyed all of these delights on day seven of our holiday.

Arriving at our marvellous accommodation we were greeted with the sound of laughter from adults and children alike. There was a huge playground, jumping pillow, pool and children biking safely around the camp in freedom whilst adults gathered for a beer and BBQ! The girls couldn’t get out of the car quick enough! Unloading the suit cases was a peace of cake with the girls so easily entertained!

In the evening we dined at the Hogs Breath Cafe on Marine Parade – knowing that this is an extremely family friendly restaurant. Dan and I broke our detox with one beer and it felt so good to relax over a big steak and enjoy the view of the setting sun over the ocean. On arrival the girls were handed a colouring sheet and pot of felts each and the service was excellent. The Hogs Breath always make children a priority and bring their food out first. The girls quickly got to work with colouring in whilst Dan and I chilled and had one of those ‘proud parent moments’ – which are always so important to soak up when they happen! I have to admit the following night, at a Mongolian BBQ restaurant, we couldn’t escape fast enough due to two very tired and grumpy girls!

But the first night in Napier, with the girls energized from their nap, was magic. After our meal we played out on Marine Parade, running along by the beach and playing at the playground, until the sun had well and truly set around 8.30pm.

Day seven of our holiday was so relaxed. We didn’t take many photographs as we were just enjoying our time so much. The National Aquarium was great, but we had the most fun at Ocean Spa soaking in the warm water for nearly two hour’s. Dan was spotted by a soccer friend from Wellington (small world) and there was a very jovial atmosphere in the pool with many people on school holidays.

Our last day, day eight, we left Napier at 10pm for the looooong drive to Wellington. Without children this drive is an easy, scenic doodle of four hour’s. With two very active children (that had enjoyed a very good sleep the previous night) it took us ten hour’s! We arrived home at 8pm with Sophie asleep in the car and Charli still full of beans and eager to write thank you cards to the neighbours for looking after our pets. We stopped at Hastings, Dannevirke, Masterton in the Wairarapa and numerous little other towns for food, toilet stops and a good run-around. It actually worked out really well.

The girls enjoyed some retail therapy at Pumpkin Patch outlet store in Hastings, a play on the Viking ship in Dannevirke (European settlement began on 15 October 1872 with the arrival of 13 Danish and eight Norwegian families brought out under the Vogel Immigration Scheme) and an awesome two-hour play at Masterton’s wonderful adventure playground and mini-golf.

Leaving you with a few photographs… it really was a good break, but I have to say returning to Wellington always feels good to. It’s wonderful to live in a place that we’re always happy to come home to. The weather since we’ve been back has got better and better. The past few days have been almost summery and the girls have delighted in picking out dresses from the wardrobe and donning their jandals (sandals). We’ve had our first BBQ of the season, watered the garden for the first time in many months, laughed at the girls running through the sprinkler in their Birthday suits and enjoyed the simple pleasures of life.