Thank you Thank you THANK YOU to everyone who has taken time out of their life to read my blog! It means the world to me to feel all this love from everyone!
WOW this blog celebrated its first birthday! To me –what is even more amazing is that I have lived in beautiful New Zealand for almost a full year. In 3 days, I will have been a resident for one year! While the time HAS flown by, I have shared in many joyous memories with my Kiwi families and Canadian friends! AND Sumzie 2012-2013 was amazing!
I had always planned, hoped and dreamed of one day moving to THAILAND. I am so happy to share with all of you that MY DREAMS ARE COMING TRUE>>>> I have booked my flight and only have 2 more days left before I fly back to the homeland. Ecstatic doesn’t even begin to explain my emotional state. I am beyond H.A.P.P.Y. I am busily trying to update the blog so that all my NZ posts are online before I leave the country. I will admit to falling MONTHS BEHIND but I have always had the intention of posting as much (if not all) of my travels with you all.
Thank you for the continued support. I bask in the love and support from all those that care for me! Looking forward to celebrating the blog’s 2nd anniversary with everyone 🙂
Stay happy and never stop dreaming!
xoxo Love you all,
Ana was excited to have Emma over so that someone was up in the morning with her while Kaik and I had a nice little sleep in. They enjoyed their morning tea. When I got up Ana treated me to a delicious breakfast sandwich with egg, avocado and tomato! We started our day adventure off in the direction of One Tree Hill but had a little difficulty getting there without using the GPS (since we could not remember the proper name for the park). Cromwell Park is what the GPS prefers we call it. The top had extreme winds as we were trying to not get blown over and keep the hair out of our faces while taking pictures. We spent the majority of our time chasing sheep trying to pet them. Though Kaik got close a few times, no one actually touched a sheep. Next we headed to downtown to check out some neat shops along Queen Street and do last minute souvenir shopping, as it would be the girls’ last time downtown shopping before their departure.
Emma was delighted to see a guy dressed up as the ‘Mad Hatter’ and excitedly sat down and had tea with him, on the sidewalk, with a huge smile on her face as she loves Alice in Wonderland. I found his voice to be very creepy but give him credit for putting in all the time to do the full face of makeup and dress himself in quite the elaborate outfit.
The evening was spent indulging in Grey Goose Momma Whitley so generously bought us from the duty free shop. We loved our joint Christmas present. Even with all the public transit confusion we were able to get ourselves on the right bus and rode it for about an hour until we arrived at downtown Auckland.
We went to a bar which was half inside and had an outside portion which was pretty neat since it was a nice night. Over time the bar did seem to get a little crowded and Ana (during her kiwi-style dancing) ended up stepping on some glass. Emzie’s handy dandy band aid really came in handy. Even though the bar wasn’t closed a yet we ventured to find yummy food, the best thing after a night out.
“This seems like a dark alley…” “It’s a shortcut!” “Lane -Fu@k it – just take it. YOLO” [I was scared but we survived :)]
We just missed our bus and would have to wait at least 45 minutes for the next one so we chose to take a taxi home. After asking around we decided to go with the taxi that could offer us the best estimated rate. The ladies had a fun night and could finally say they had experienced the downtown night life.
Only one more day before Ana and Kaik depart for Australia 😦
I am saddened that their adventures with us are coming to an end.
One more group beach day before things get back into our daily routine.
The weather was pretty overcast when we woke up but we chose to stay in a positive frame of mind. THE SUN would come out for us! We enjoyed a bit of a sleep in before packing a picnic lunch and heading over to Takapuna Beach. We were going to spend the afternoon lounging around the beach before going SAILING. When I moved in with my Kiwi family I excitedly told Ana my family owned a sailboat. Ana expressed to me that she had never been on a sailboat and that was one of the things on her bucket list. I have been a few times before and loved it so I told her of course we would try to make a dream of hers come true. My family was MORE THAN willing to take me out whenever it fit into my schedule and to accommodate my friends coming aboard too. Both parents are on sailing leagues and those nights I babysit the boys. In the summer the family quite often goes away for a week during school holidays. On weekends they take the boat out frequently to go fishing and to enjoy overnight excursions.
My Kiwi-dad had pre-warned us that all three of us probably wouldn’t be able to get on the same boat. On Thursday night rum nights people can sign up to go out on boats that aren’t theirs. People tend to use their regular crew but there can also be spectators who just want to go out on the boats. Luckily Ana and Kaik were able to ride the Princesses together. The boat was docked right beside “our boat” the Panacea so we were able to see each other and somewhat communicate before the race. We arrived at the marina early so we would have time to change and snack. At this time the weather was so stormy that the waves were HUGE and there were a large amount of whitecaps. I was excited but felt silly wearing my jeans knowing full well they would get wet and heavy.
The race was amazing. It was hard to tell who was winning because boats took different routes and the boats had different handicaps. As a competitive person – I always got nervous when a sailboat passed us but I knew our boat was in good hands. We had 4 crew on our boat and then myself and another person spectating. Kiwi-dad’s goal is always to WIN so I was happy I was on his boat. The 6 of us started in the back of the boat and once we were out of the harbor and in open water the non crew sat near the front of the boat. I told Kiwi-dad I didn’t want ANY RESPONSIBILITY given to me during race time. I wasn’t checking wind or doing any of the sails. He laughed and said that was completely fine he would try to make it as smooth a ride as possible. It was a windy day and the waves were sooo choppy by the time the race started. I got so soaked and had the time of my life. Sailing was WAY MORE physical than I ever thought it would be. The one thing I learned is when you hear, “TUCK” yelled out it means watch your head, usually duck from the boom, and once it’s swung over you quickly AS FAST AS YOU CAN get to the other side of the sailboat. You can slide under the boom or walk around the back but do NOT stay on the same time or your feet and maybe whole body could be in the water. Kiwi-dad assured me most races aren’t that physical it was just because it was so choppy out there. The rules of the weekly competition are that the top 3 boats get free rum. The thing is — everyone usually brings rum and drinks beer after the races and it’s a very social time for all the sailors so no one is really “left out” of celebrating. You have a celebratory drink on your boat. Then you visit your neighbour’s boats. Then there is usually a rum boat (the loudest most overcrowded one) and everyone just chats and the night gets louder and longer and longer. There have been instances where people have decided to sleep on their boat after the races…Needless to say the girls and I had a fantastic time and laughed our butts off the whole time. I took some pictures on my iphone but had to tuck it away in my bra for most of the race. I was a little paranoid that it would fall out or get splashed and have water damage forever! I can’t wait to go again. I usually decline the overnight rides with the family but I look forward to racing with the parents again.
After the race we went to pick up Emzie and bring her back to my place for the evening. The only minor issue was how to exit the marina?!!? The GPS does lie sometimes…don’t worry we figured it out 🙂
We went home and went to bed pretty early to get ready for our next day of fun!
It’s holiday time for Me AGAIN!!!! My original plan was to have 3 weeks off work while Ana and Kaik were in town. Later, my Kiwi-Mom and I decided to I would work Monday and Tues of this week and then still have Wed-Fri off. It worked well for all of us because the girls and boys were able to be entertained at the same time 🙂
When I was woken up (Ana let me have a decently nice sleep in) the weather wasn’t amazing so we decided it would be a good day for an indoor activity. The girls had never been to Sylvia Park Mall (the 2 floor mall that has some of its stores outside). Ana wanted me to be adventurous and drive without the gps. I had been before but Emzie drove so I wasn’t sure if I was up for the challenge. The drive was pretty straight forward once we knew what turnoff we needed to take. The girls and I had a pretty productive time at the mall. We tried not to stray from buying anything we didn’t need!
In the evening we picked Em up and headed towards Mission Bay. We were all missing Victoria’s Qoola (a frozen yogurt bar where you get to choose your own toppings and your payment is by weight) so we treated ourselves to New Zealand’s Kiwiyo. I wish you all could have been there. Ana always has a big smile on her face but while she was making her selections she was BEAMING from ear to ear. Our verdict being it wasn’t the equal or better to Qoola but it was yummy. We took our creations by the beach to eat.
Emzie wasn’t too amused by all the birds that were closely watching us. We took advantage of the opportunity to practice our action shots and photo poses before calling it a night. We dropped Em off at home and promised we would pick her up again tomorrow. She gets Fridays off work so we ladies would all be bunking at my house for Friday – Sunday until we had to drive the girls to the airport Sunday morning.
Thanks for reading and a special thank you to Ana for her active participation in the blog!
There will definitely be a blog for tomorrows sailing adventures!! 🙂
xox Amanda and Ana
We had a pretty lazy morning today. We had breakfast and hung around the house until after morning tea. We packed lunch and then headed over to Albany Mall. I took the boys to Whitcoulls (it is very similar to Chapters; but also sells craft kits and toys). The store is two floors with the top floor being the kids’s section. They have a huge colouring section and play area for guardians to take children. During the summer, the store hosts free activity times to sample their products. While the boys took part in the colouring segment, Ana and Kaik visiteda few shops. We all met up to eat our packed lunch and shop around to a few more shops around Albany mall. We headed back to Whitcoulls so we could colour large Disney colouring sheets. The boys had a great time having 3 girls to colour with them.
Once dinner and dishes were done the girls and I excitedly headed to downtown Auckland. We went back to Queen Street to poke our heads into the souvenir shops. Once it got dark we finally got to go on the Sky Screamer!! We were all very nervous while being strapped in as it looked a lot scarier than the Sky Swing in Rotorua. When I lived in the hostel I watched numerous people on the ride being flung INTO THE AIR then flipped around all screaming their heads off. I couldn’t wait to do it myself and my high expectations were NOT LET DOWN. My favourite carnival ride has always been THE ZIPPER where you go around on a “ferris wheel” and as you are going around your individual carts flip in circles! . The Sky Screamer was 10x better than any Zipper ride!! Highly recommend the ride to anyone who likes that belly flopping feeling. WE felt like we were falling and flying at the same time. I would have done it over and over again if we didn’t have to pay. We refused to pay 10$ for a single picture of us, or 40$ for the video so I made my own…thank you iphone 🙂 I made a video of our ride and posted it on my facebook account. It doesn’t have any sound but it’s pretty funny watching our facial expressions!
After our exhilarating ride we decided to each treat ourselves to some delightful McDonalds before heading home.
I am back on holidays tomorrow 🙂 Life is good!!!
xox Buddha Blessings everyone,
Amanda, Ana & Kaik
The boys are still on summer break so I had them from 7:30am – 4:30pm today.
3 adults to 2 children was a welcomed ratio for me! I let Ana and Kaik sleep in a little bit while I hung out with the boys in the morning. The weather wasn’t very sunny but we decided to still head towards the North Shore to Devonport. It took us just over 3o minutes to drive to the harbourside suburb of Auckland. We walked around to all the shops and located the one the boys were eager to revisit. There are lots of beautiful trees to look at. The boys had fun climbing in and out of them. After our walk around we had a picnic lunch by the water. It was pretty cloudy after lunch but the boys begged us to let them go swimming. They were fairly convincing in sharing that their day would be ruined if they couldn’t go for a dip.
This was beyond adorable xo
Beach bottom cuteness xo
After watching them swim for a short period we all hopped back into the car and headed to North Head. The boys got a kick out of sliding down the steep grassy hills on cardboard boxes. It was funny to see that there were other little kids doing it too! The boys bought their flashlights and we ventured through the old war bunkers. The abandoned underground was pretty creepy. My six year old loved yelling and hearing his echo but the ten year old was getting uncomfortable with the dark hallways.
The top had a nice view of the Auckland skyline where we stopped to take a few photos.
After dinner, the girls and I took the girls to Countdown to check out the wine prices 🙂 After a quick grocery shop, we headed to Long Bay Beach to check out the parks and a wee beach walk.
Today was such a GREAT WORK DAY. Fun with friends and the boys!
Tomorrow is another workday – Buddha Blessings to you all,
xox Amanda, Ana and Kaik
We all set our alarms so we would be up bright and early for 7am. We quickly finished packing and ate breakfast. Homemade lunches (we made amazing homemade sandwiches again!) were prepared before we said goodbye to The Pickled Parrot hostel and were on our way to Goat Island. We aimed to be back in Auckland in the late afternoon so we wanted to get an early start on the day.
We arrived at Leigh just after 11:30. It’s a coastal village just an hour north of Auckland. We found a place to rent snorkel, fins, and a mask just before heading to the beach. The beach was a short 10 minute drive away. We ate our delicious lunches in the car before squeezing into our wet-suits We headed out into the water looking hilarious with all of our gear on. My goggles were too big, Ana’s fins were too tight, Kaik’s goggles pinched and Em’s fins were wonky. We were lucky enough to have Emma’s underwater camera to capture pictures of the fish we saw and some action shots of us snorkeling. None of us had any proof of the time but it kept feeling like we were swimming forever. The sun wasn’t really out but the water didn’t feel cold with our wet-suits on. We swam out to Goat Island but only sat on the rocks. Once you’re up close it doesn’t really seem like there is much to see but a huge rock. We were in the water just over an hour swimming around and enjoying all the underwater sights around the side of the island. We were all a little disappointed because we were hoping to see a lot of different kinds of fish. We saw a few big fish (snappers) and lots of pale pink and white fish but we didn’t really see a huge range of fish. It was pretty neat how close I was able to swim up to the fish. All the underwater pictures are on Emzie’s camera so I will try to post a few once she has them organized.
We had a small crisis when Kaik misplaced her wet-suit at the end of the day but the lady at the rental place seemed very chill. We suspect that while Kaik was changing someone might have swiped her wet-suit OR that we left it on the roof of the car when we drove off. We were nervous that we wouldn’t get our deposit back on our rental equipment but the lady was pretty confident that it would show up and that we could leave without paying any money for it. *There are still some good people in the world!! Crisis averted. There was no way we wanted to pay $115 for a wet-suit we didn’t have!
We were all pretty tuckered out after snorkeling and had a quiet drive back to Auckland. We were able to dropp Emzie off at her house around 2pm and drove the rest of the way home for our well deserved rest. We unpacked the car and were able to get some laundry done before the rest of my family returned home.
We enjoyed a family dinner outside on the patio and caught up with the boys. We easily shared stories and laughed our way through the meal. It was a great way to end off our unforgettable road trip.
I would say the trip was a success. We were able to not go too far over our budget and made really smart purchases. It helped knowing that we were all basically living out of backpacks and would have to carry whatever we bought! We are thankful for the GPS and all the sunshine!!!
It was our last full day in the Bay of Islands and we were all hit with the feelings of sadness that our trip was nearing an end. Emzie and Ana are morning people where as Kaik and I prefer a sleep in. The four of us made sure to promise each other we would be up early each morning to make the most of our time! Another reason for being up between the hours of 7-9am was so we could enjoy the benefits of our complimentary breakfast. The basics of coffee, tea, toast and cereal were provided. I disappointingly found out the hard way; the later you got up in the morning the less selection of cereal!
After buying a few gifts and trinkets in the shops we headed off to find Coopers Beach. Another sunny day another search for a beach! While pulling over at a random gas station for a quick bathroom break we came across a unique Jandal fence and took a few minutes to admire it. While heading towards Coopers Beach signs advertising for a market caught our eye. We detoured in hopes of discovering a great big shopping market. The market we came across didn’t quite live up to our expectations. Luckily the detour led us to a great view of Doubtless Bay.
The drive was around an hour and half after having to stop in and ask for directions. We were so close to it (but again we found) the signage for the place to be so minimal that we weren’t able to spot it from the roads. The beach was gorgeous and lined with beautiful trees. We spent the afternoon lounging and reading on the beach before heading back to our hostel.
The girls cooked up an awesome BBQ dinner before we began indulging in yummy adult beverages. We engaged in another great round of Jenga. We wanted to hit the town on our last night in Paihai. We ventured out to a pub which we thought looked promising but ended up to be pretty quiet with a small showing of people. So we had to start the dance floor ourselves before leaving that bar to head to another one with more dancers in attendance. A nice stroll along the beach and some greasy burgers (for some) was a lovely way to cap off our final evening of the roadtrip.
Thanks Ana for your undying commitment too the blog 🙂 You are an exceptional co-writer!
First tour around Bay of Islands on a backpackers budget today. We decided to check out the town KeriKeri and the little shops within. Of course Emma bought something on my list of “to buys” and I didn’t (this isn’t the first time) but I am glad she found a new wallet that is lovely!! On another note, Ana finally found the fedora she had been searching days for. We picked up some lunch at the Bakery. The prices surprised us because they were actually decently priced. While I was at the bank Emzie told me they would be at the Deli, so I was taken on a little DETOUR trying to meet up with them. After I found them we all enjoyed delicious sandwiches before heading off to the beach.
Then we headed up to Rainbow Falls, a wonderous large waterfall that some backpackers told us was a must see. The waterfall was different from the other one we visited. Both striking in their own way. The first waterfall (Kitekite) was very narrow but was unique in its three tiers. The Rainbow waterfall was one tier but very wide and much larger. It appeared as if we were in a large hole surrounded by trees on three sides and the waterfall on the fourth. You could venture behind the waterfall if you swam through the pool to the falls. It was neat behind the falls but very slippery as all the rocks were covered in mud. Emma secretly was gripping for dear life as we ventured behind to the other side of the falls. The mud was so slippery and thick but we both survived the adventure. We were able to capture some pictures before her waterproof camera’s battery died.
After the waterfall we drove to Matauri Bay. The water was a light teal green and clear. We thought we seen a flock of seagulls possibly gnawing at carcass’s but it turned out to be a flock of seagulls hanging around some chunks of seaweed. Ana and Emma did some sea shell searching while Kaik read her murder mystery book and I had a well deserved nap. We had a lovely afternoon at this beach except for Emzie constant fear of birds of attacking her. “They are going to attack me they are OUT to get me” -Emzie Doodle Doo
We went to a little café down the road for dinner. I ordered your standard cheeseburger and Ana, Kaik and Em ordered a bacon and cheeseburger. They were shocked when they found one missing key ingredient…the burger patty. Another slightly small sidenote is Emzie chocolate milkshake that she eager waited for with high hopes was a bust. At first she suspected that it was strawberry flavoured but after some sampling by others we came to the conclusion that it was a fluffed shake that used minimal powdered cocoa. A “different little café” that Emzie insisted on calling everything “cute”.
We headed back to our hostel to check into our new room (we had to pack our bags and store them for the day as we were reassigned rooms today so we could all still bunk together) and then finished off the evening with a stroll down to the water’s edge to fill our bellies with ice cream-a treat well deserved. Our bunkmate works at a restaurant and has his alarm set for 3am so we will have all gone to bed early to try and get some rest and enjoy a long day of beaching and shopping before we begin our trek back to Auckland on Sunday.
~~I have really been enjoying the extra hands in the making of these blogs. The extra insights have been splendid and I believe it’s giving the blog a much needed boost of freshness 🙂 !!
Buddha Blessings and hope everyone in Canada is enjoying the snow while it’s a muggy 25 degrees here!
Amanda and Kaik (also known by many as Kristy Aikman)
We left Pukenui around 10am. We all had an earlier than usual morning as members of our hostel were super LOUD for a long time in the kitchen this morning. The large family did not realize it might be courteous of them to whisper if they were planning to cook and eat around 7 in the morning! Even though we started the morning off a little grumpy our moods all picked up when we realized it would be another gorgeously sunny day! We arrived in the Bay of Island after a fairly quick 2 hour drive. We drove straight here with no stops as we didn’t eye any Thrift Stores or souvenir type stores along the way. The Pickled Parrot Backpackers hostel is a very cute and quirky place that we are finding to be very cozy. We did find it very hard to spot from the roads as the signage was pretty small and minimal. We are in a 3 bunk bed room and only 1 of the beds is vacant.
We unpacked the car then went for a walk around the town lots of touristy stops. We saw the (noisy early birds) family that was at the hostel we were last at and had joked about running into. We all secretly hoped they weren’t perchin’ at the parrot like us! We dined on yummy fish and chips on an outdoor patio then walked back home. We were able to grab some cold drinks en-route to the hostel before jumping into our beach gear and heading straight to the beach. We had fun tossing a frisbee around and enjoying some drinks on the beach. It was pretty evident that we weren’t the only ones who had the idea to have a refreshing drink on the beach. The evening menu is any college students staple meal of: noodles, crackers, cheese and left over sandwich meat.
We were easily entertained by Jenga and throwing in little rules and playing “never have I ever during rounds”. I have never played a more entertaining round of Jenga before playing with Kristy and Ana! Kristy was also christened with the new nickname of Kaik, which is pronounced cake. We went to 2 bars and really got to see there was not much of a nightlife on a Thursday night here. We played pool and tried to teach Emzie how to handle the cue. She wasn’t haven’ any of it and preferred to watch the 3 of us struggle through a game.
During our first night on the town we can say we were fortunate enough to meet an Irish lad and unfortunate enough to meet 2 Aussie’s one of whom claims to have been a contemporary dancer…years ago. Without getting into too many details I can say we left the bar after receiving a “phone call” from another friend who wanted to meet up with us. After drinks, cowboy shots and 2 rounds of tequila shots we all got home safely. We were able to get into out beds and get somewhat of a good night’s sleep. The heat is so hot and is pretty harsh on the people who are stuck on the top bunks but we are managing. We DO keep the windows open at night but all the moths and flies love to LAND on our bodies. NOT fun.
Complimentary breakfast is offered from 7-9 daily so we all plan on taking full of advantage of the free food. Tomorrow we have another beach day planned out. It’s a hard life sometimes 🙂 I forgot to mention that Ana did an excellent job of taking Myrtle for a quick spin yesterday. She did a wonderful job of staying left and working the indicator lights! Proud of her.
Thanks for reading – and I hope the snow isn’t too much of a nuisance for those who are getting lots of it right now.
Lots of warm thoughts to you all,