A Travellerspoint blog

Elvis, Chili Peppers and camping in Whangarei Heads.

A nice start to the new year!

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As usual Gerald and I have been keeping busy....

Whilst Gerald has been at work I have been keeping myself occupied mostly catching up with friends but I have done a bit of school work ready for my return next week.

We spent a very hot and sunny Sunday in West Auckland at Elvis in the Park. We met our friends the Hills there and spent several hours enjoying a variety of Elvises from every era singing all his greatest hits whilst we sat on our blankets eating our picnic.
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As we had introduced the Hills to the joys of geocaching last year we we took the opportunity to find some caches around the park with them and afterwards the kids enjoyed the amazing adventure playground in Tui Glen Reserve - without a doubt the best one I have ever seen.

On Monday we ventured over to Vector Arena once again - this time for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Neither of us can remember the last time we were in a crowd that cheered so loudly. It was an almost deafening roar at times! They put on a great show and played all their biggest hits. Considering they are now around 50 they have bags of energy and spent the whole night bouncing around the stage.

This weekend we headed north on a road trip to go camping with our friends Mike and Jordan. We found a cute little campsite by the sea called Blue Heron near the beautiful Whangarei Heads.
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Once we got our tents set up we went for a wander around the area and found some geocaches before heading back to cook dinner.
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The next morning we woke up to the most beautiful day and decided to drive to Ocean Beach. It was well worth seeking out! Ocean Beach is a picturesque white sand beach with a bit of surf. There were plenty of surfers catching the waves giving me something to watch as I lay on the sand enjoying the sunshine whilst the boys went for a swim. There were also plenty of caches in the area so we spent a bit of time hunting those out. We had to climb an enormous sand dune to retrieve one of them but it was completely worth it for the breathtaking view from the top.
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After such a beautiful day we headed back to the campsite and enjoyed the setting sun as we washed up after dinner.
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This morning we had to pack up the tent and hit the road again. We decided to search for some more caches around the area - always a good way to find pretty and interesting spots.
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As you can see from the photos, one of the caches today was closely guarded by a skull!

That concludes our adventures....for now.

Posted by bumblebum 00:14 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Rangitoto, Devonport, Wellington, Mission Bay....

Anita & Gerald got around this Xmas and New Year!!!

overcast 18 °C

Happy New Year!

The last couple of weeks of 2012 were fairly busy. Christmas was spent in Wellington which seemingly was a very good choice as it was the hottest Christmas Day in Wellington since 1934 at 29 degrees. Auckland on the other hand had rain, rain and more rain! Gerald could not resist the call of the sea, despite not having any swimming gear, and went in fully clothed! Luckily it was so hot he soon dried off.
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Wellington airport has been temporarily renamed ‘The Middle of Middle Earth’ due to the recent release of The Hobbit. The airport has been decorated to go along with the theme which has all the tourists getting their cameras out!
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Once we got back to Auckland the sales had started and as we both received vouchers for Christmas we decided to hit the shops. We successfully spent the lot and bagged ourselves some great bargains on items we had been wanting for a while.

The next day we headed into the city to use one of the ‘Big City Little City’ deals we grabbed off the internet – a 2 for 1 deal on the ‘Who Shot Rock n Roll’ exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery. We easily spent an hour checking out the photos of stars such as The Beatles, The Stones, Blondie and Madonna to name but a few.

Roxie has been entertaining us…the other night she was keeping Gerald awake so he put her out in the garage. About an hour later there was a thud that woke us both up and then Roxie was on the bed. We figured out that she had somehow worked her way up onto the roof of our house and jumped in through the bedroom window! She now does this on a nightly basis – she just can’t be without us!

After finding 300 geocaches we finally got round to hiding our own cache. We found a little spot in the wetlands by our house and completed the online form to get it published on the geocaching.com site. Within 45 minutes it had been released and once we realised this (just a short while later) we decided to pop down and see if anybody came to find it. As we approached we could see 2 people rushing towards to hiding place, we watched from a distance and once they had signed the log headed over to see if they were the first to find it. Turns out they were the fifth!!! You have to be quick round these parts to be the ‘First to Find’!!!

We saw the New Year in at Mission Bay with Gerald’s sister Jenni and friends Darren, Cheryl and Liz. It was a relaxed night of drinking and chatting. We headed across the road to the beach just before midnight and watched fireworks going off all around.

New Year’s Day was beautiful, hot and sunny so we jumped in the car and headed North to Devonport for lunch and a stroll by the sea.
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Of course we also combined it with some geocaching. Lots of them were hidden by the same person who is well known for his excellent camouflaging skills of each container – he did not let us down!
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Yesterday we got the ferry across to Rangitoto Island Reserve. Rangitoto is a 5.5km wide volcanic island in the Hauraki Gulf. It is the most recently formed volcano in Auckland at around 600 years old. Lots of the island still has large fields of big, black lava stones but in other parts there are huge pohutukawa trees, all looking stunning at this time of year with their bright red blooms.
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We got the 9.15am ferry and spent the next 7 ½ hours exploring the island, following the coastal path and then making our way up to the summit for views over the crater.
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Along the way we managed to find 14 geocaches but left some for future visits. The weather was amazing the whole day and the views were stunning. We also followed the path to the lava caves but decided not to venture down the 50m lava tube as we didn’t have torches with us.
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Speaking to others it gets pretty tight in there at times but you can follow it all the way through to come out at the other end, maybe another time…. We got the last ferry back to Auckland at 5pm feeling pretty exhausted and very thirsty having finished all our drinks. It was a great day and one that we will definitely repeat.

Posted by bumblebum 14:13 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

It was the month before Christmas......

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Life has been pretty busy recently and the spare rooms have been getting lots of use with visits from Gerald’s brother Michael from Sydney, his sister Jenni from Wellington and nephews Jonathon and Robin from Christchurch!

In the last month we have had a laughter filled night at Vector arena with Russell Brand, a getting to know our neighbours street BBQ on the first day of summer, a sugar infused first birthday party and a Blondie gig. On top of that we have had our work Christmas nights out - a nice meal for mine and a drink fuelled night for Gerald’s! We have also done a bit of geocaching and we should easily hit 300 finds before the year is out.
This weekend we had our friends Sarah and Steve over from Australia.
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They arrived late Friday night and we had a fun filled 2 days with them. Saturday consisted of a trip to Bethell’s Beach on the west coast for a beach picnic, followed by fish and chips on the beach at St Heliers and then a trip to the cinema to watch The Hobbit. The next day we had a BBQ for lunch before heading into the city to check out the giant advent calendar in Silo Park in the Wynyard Quarter and the angel wings walls....
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In the evening we went to a carol concert in vector arena called Glow – we were all given a glow stick to wave around as they sang! There were some super excited chilkdren there!
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The night ended with a drive along Franklin Road, infamous for its’ Christmas light displays on every house. A must do over the Christmas period!

It is now just a week until Christmas and I have finally broken up from school for the summer holidays – yippee! All our presents are bought and wrapped and now we can just enjoy the festive season.

So it just remains to be said, Merry Christmas to one and all and I hope 2013 brings amazing things for you all :-)

Posted by bumblebum 18:53 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

The latest news

Australian adventures, Art in the Dark, Coldplay concert and Kittens!

semi-overcast 18 °C

It seemed as though our feet had barely touched NZ ground and we were off to the airport once again! This time Australia for wedding number 3. We arrived in Melbourne on Friday night and headed over to our friends Sarah and James' place who kindly put us up for the night. They had moved to Oz a few months after we moved to NZ so it was so good to see some 'old friends' on this side of the world! We stayed up until the early hours of the morning catching up on all the gossip. We didn't get too much of a lie in as we had to do the two hour drive to Tatura for the wedding. We got there with enough time to eat lunch, get ready and do the short walk to the lake where the ceremony was going to take place. The weather was perfect for a lakeside wedding with blue skies and sunshine. Sarah had asked me to do a reading for her and be a witness so I felt like I was a big part of their special day.
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It was a lovely ceremony and we were really glad to have been able to see them tie the knot.
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The next morning we headed to Sarah and Steve's place for a BBQ breakfast and a good old catch up having not seen them for well over a year. Before long it was time to head back to Melbourne and fly back to NZ.

This weekend was super busy! On Friday night we headed to Western Park in Ponsonby for Art in the Dark - an annual light display that is on for just 2 nights. The park was full of interactive light artworks and we had a couple of fun filled hours checking them out. We got to plant real seeds in soil and then watch them 'grow' on a nearby wall....
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There were giant spirographs of lights....
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8000 lanterns each containing a LED light...
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and much more...
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Saturday night was Coldplay at Mt Smart. Another feast of colour and lights for the eyes. They did a great set list of all the tracks you would hope for all accompanied by light shows, lasers, confetti bombs, wristbands that lit up and flashed in time to the music, giant glowing inflatables, huge painted balloons for the audience to play around with and plenty of fireworks.
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Sunday ended up with a visit to our kittens' foster mum with our old neighbours. Mike and Jordan have decided to get a kitten and Nicola had just fostered 3 little kittens. It is hard to believe that Roxie and Rufus were that size earlier this year! After our kitten fix we headed back to the boys' place for a BBQ.
This week seems to be flying by and I only have 4 weeks left of school before we break for the summer hols so life is full of assessments and report writing right now. Fun - NOT.

Posted by bumblebum 00:03 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

A trip to the UK

for a wonderful wedding in the woods

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With just a little over a week at home after Wedding Number One we were back on a plane. This time we were on our way to the UK for Wedding Number Two, via Seoul.
We had a brief stopover in Seoul but our timing wasn't great.....by the time we got to our hotel is was quite late on the Saturday night. We made our way to the hotel through the hussle and bustle of the night markets. We were tempted to have a good old look around but were both so tired we headed to bed. The next day we headed out to a very quiet city - it was Thanksgiving so everything was closed and nobody was around! It was the perfect situation for a morning's geocaching though so we headed off seeing a few sights along the way...
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We arrived in the UK on Sunday night and battled with the heavy Heathrow traffic (we had forgotten just how awful it is!) to get back to mum and dads. Pretty much the whole of our trip involved hopping in the hire car and heading to the next destination! We had a trip to Wales to stay with my best friend Annette, my Godson Sam and his sister Imi. It was a brief but good visit with a fun dinner out watching Sam get higher and higher on sugar!
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Next stop was Devon to see Grandad. I was a little unprepared for how he had aged since I saw him just over a year ago. He wasn't having a very good day when we first went to visit so we decided to go back the next day. Next time we found him dressed and sitting in his chair ready for a good old chat. Amongst other things, Gerald asked him about his time in India and he told us all about finding a decapitated body in the jungle! After seeing Grandad we had a little explore around Dartmouth including a visit to the castle.
From Devon we headed to Dorset to stay with our friends Joe and Sharon and see their new house. We went out for a lovely pub dinner and spent the night catching up on the gossip.
Then it was back to Surrey to stay with friends Laura, Rich and their little boy Owen. Owen kept us entertained the whole time and had us in stitches as he plodded around in Gerald's trainers!
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Finally the day of the wedding arrived. We checked into our amazing B&B - The Bell (apparently) in the small village of Ticehurst. It has to be the quirkiest place either of us have ever stayed and we loved it!
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For an October wedding the weather was amazing and the setting for the wedding was just wonderful.
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Toyah looked beautiful and the wedding was a perfect reflection of the newlyweds with haybales for guests to sit on, a bouquet of wheat and birds of prey to entertain the guests.
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The next morning, after our amazing cooked breakfast, we set off once again for Surrey. We spent the day in Kingston by the river at Boaters Inn where we caught up with a steady stream of friends over about 9 hours or so!
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The final few days consisted of meeting up with a few more friends, spending time with mum and dad, shopping (oh how I wish Kingston could transport itself to Auckland!) and a trip into London. We jumped on a boat by the London Eye and headed to Greenwich, had a little look round the market and then got the new cable car across the river before heading back into the city for a wander round and a cheesy, touristy dinner at Planet Hollywood.
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Unfortunately in the early hours of Thursday Dad received a call to say that Grandad had passed away. Gerald and I kept ourselves busy with packing and such stuff as mum and dad made the necessary calls. It wasn't the ending to the trip we had anticipated but we were glad we had got to see Grandad just a few days before.
A big thank you to everyone that gave us a bed for the night, fed us and made the effort to meet up with us. It was lovely to see you all.

Posted by bumblebum 21:45 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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