Friday, December 29, 2017

Puzzling World
On our way out of Wanaka we stopped at Puzzling World--an amazing place of mind-blowing tricks.
Looking down on the Maze.  Didn't get a good shot of the intricate walkways surrounded by wooden walls that seemed to lead nowhere.  Finding the right path to each corner and then home seemed almost impossible.
Inside were illusions:
Seems like Sam is way taller than Maddie.
Max and Simon maxing out on dizzying patterns.
Is Simon really leaning forward?
Famous faces that followed you as you walked around the room. 
My favorite:  the decorated toilet seats!
and what not to do on them.
One kid holding up that tower.
Truly amazing!


On our way to Queenstown we passed a place where people were bungee jumping from a high bridge into a swift river.
We stopped to look--it was windy
and very breath-taking in the scary sense.  That's a person on the end of the line.
More calming were finding poppies blooming--reminding us of California. 
 We arrived at our very best B&B--modern, chic, great view of the mountains.
A trampoline for the kids
and reading places for us.
Ping pong too

and a deep oval bathtub for Simon.
Plenty of room to stretch out and draw cartoons

or do the dreaded, evil homework assignments the California kids hated.
We all loved this place.
Happy people.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Our first Air B&B was in the town of Wanaka with a great view of the mountains over Lake Wanaka.
--the first floor with two bunk beds and table hockey for delighted kids.
Rachel and Theo lolling in the hot tub. 

Got groceries in town where the girls were incredulous that they could go barefoot in the supermarket. 
The result...
and the water cure. 
Next day there was a major hike --4 to 5 hours up to the Rob Roy Glacier.
Theo stayed back due to knees.
Bridge over
 one of New Zealand's crystal clear, aqua blue rivers.
The gang reaching the top of the trail
and their view of the glacier.

Monday, December 25, 2017

On the Road
This is how we traveled:
in the huge white van David rented--and drove so skillfully--over long drives, in the rain, around steep and twisty roads, fording through water,  and braving young voices singing many, many, MANY rounds of "Narwhal, Narwhal swimming in the ocean......."
Our first stop was at the Elephant Rocks on our way to Wanaka.  
Huge rocks--
irresistible to climbers,
home to many cute sheep,
a charming picnic place to those who chance to find a spot amongst the sheep poop! 
 A fun spot to explore.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Exploring Dunedin
New Zealand:  Day 2
Waitati, Rachel and David's town, is perhaps 20 minutes from the bustling city of Dunedin (named by the Scots after Edinborough) 
This is the train station--amazing architecture!
Family photo with great back drop.
Walking downtown--on our way to explore the Cadbury Chocolate Factory.
Stopping on a bench in the public square, 

and on to the art museum which had a coloring room for the kids  

and where we made sure they knew we had been there.
Then back home: David on the porch with a setting sun  overlooking Blueskin Bay

and a delicious catered dinner featuring, guess what, roast lamb!
(there must be three million gazillion sheep in New Zealand)

Love the vases of flowers Rachel had all over the house.

New Zealand--at Last!!!
Sam and Jess, Maddie and Max and I made our (long) way to New Zealand on November 10th to see the beauty of NZ and finally, happily, reconnect with the Page/Bethel clan.
My NZ blogs will be a bit scattered, but to see a really good account of our trip check this out:
After more than a 12-hour trip and a good night's rest at Rachel and David's in Waitati (south on the South Island), we went to the Blueskin Nursery, a great little spot where Rachel often went for coffee and work on her computer--
 as it's also a cafe.

Love the tea cups here!
That afternoon everyone climber a small mountain called Mopanui.  Not me however--my knees were giving me trouble--but I got to explore a small wildlife area and have another wonderful cup of tea.
Here 's the summit. 
Then back to the cozy Waitati house for a delicious lamb stew dinner, 
settling in,
snuggling in,
hugs and smiles.
So good to be together.