Our arrival at Auckland Airport on Saturday was met by a hopeful rainbow in the sky. We’d left behind a week of wintery rain and wind and were hoping for slightly warmer temperatures in Auckland. We knew that rain was still likely, but rain is a lot more bearable when it’s not being blown horizontally into your face like a thousand water daggers.
The flight up from Wellington (only an hour) was a doddle, with the girls travelling like seasoned pros and Alice sleeping throughout the flight from take off to landing. However, Sophie did ask, more than once, if we were nearly in Auckland; which made me wonder how on earth she’d deal with a long-haul flight to the UK!
Dan and I were more full of ooos and ahhs about the clouds and little houses out of the window than the children. The lollipops and tray tables took up more of their attention. And they thought us all riding in a taxi to the airport was quite a novelty too. When we arrived at Auckland we had to get a van to the rental car place, which again they thought was most exciting. Alice thought it was great too – so good that she decided it would be perfectly timely to project the entire contents of her recent feed all over her Mummy and herself! Thankfully, there was a toilet at the car rental place – which was only a five minute drive away. After a complete wardrobe change Mummy and Alice felt brand new.
Practically adjacent to Auckland Airport is the wonderful ‘Butterfly Creek‘ (which has a lot more than butterflies). This, we had been told, was a ‘must do’ and with the weather being so grand we thought we’d make hay whilst the sun was smiling kindly on us.
Charlotte was at first hesitant about the butterflies, asking, ‘Mummy, do I have to go in there?’. I said I didn’t think there would be too many butterflies and I doubted they would land on her unless she stood quite still. Well, she surprised herself by finding the experience absolutely delightful and wanted to go through again and again. She, out of all of us, was most in raptures about the butterflies.
It was delightfully warm in the butterfly enclosure, with lots of seating to simply sit… and be landed upon. The butterflies really were amazing and enchanting. But there were some sad facts on the information boards that left quite a mark on me… in particular that, ‘Three recent surveys in Britain have revealed that declines in Britain’s butterflies have outstripped those of birds and plants. If butterflies are representative of other insects – which represents more than 50% of all species – the results strongly support the theory that the world is experiencing a mass extinction event of our own making.’ A somber thought indeed. But, aside from the doom and gloom, the experience of being surrounded by such remarkable creatures was breathtaking.
As well as butterflies, we saw giant crocodiles, bugs, weta, tarantulas and tropical fish. There was a little train ride and a petting farm, where both the girls delighted in the baby bunnies. The young goats were met with great joy by Sophie, but Charlotte was cautious and happier on Daddy’s shoulders – which wasn’t such a bad idea as those goats could really jump and chew! One goat decided a ladies skirt would make a tasty afternoon snack and another young goat jumped up on a bench and tried a taste of a little girl’s hair!
After eating our own late lunch we headed off to our holiday home in Brown’s Bay, which we found to be all that we’d hoped for – warm, comfortable and only a stone’s throw from the beach, a play ground and a good cafe or two.