In Which We Take a Strenuous Shortcut

So Daniel has hiked Grampians Reserve, and I have hiked Grampians Reserve. Now, we ALL have hiked Grampians Reserve. But not without some huffing and puffing.

It started out easily enough; a grand spring day, with spring bursting out all over.07-028

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However, we didn’t start at the same place Daniel or I did when we did it alone on the more traveled pathway. Instead we began directly behind our house kind of in the middle and went…straight up the side. Kind of where no path was. It was an adventure for sure, and we’re all proud of ourselves for surviving the uphill climb. Daniel will forever be our hero for he carried Natasha on his shoulders the entire way.

Here we have Maria giving us a much more enthusiastic outlook on the whole ordeal than what was actually happening. But, truly, we didn’t complain too much.

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The top, as expected, was worth the climb.

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I probably should have taken into account that Daniel’s legs were already wobbling from the climb up before attempting this little stunt, but it all turned out fine. Logan’s help was truly needed, since I haven’t perfected the getting-up-alone-process.

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We’re always a little miffed when Natasha is on her own feet again and immediately says, “I’m hot!” She just rode up the entire side of what we call a mountain, and yet she still has the audacity to say she’s sweaty from the sun. But it just wouldn’t be the same without her along and we’re glad she adds such laughter to our conversations.

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The walk down, naturally, is much easier. It’s when you realize just how important your knees are to the whole process of walking.

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It’s All in Who You Know

We all know this, but I’m continually being reminded of it. Remember when I mentioned that I sat beside a pilot on the flight from Auckland to Nelson? We had planned on getting a taxi, but he offered to drive us to our holiday house that night, and we gratefully accepted. I’m very glad we exchanged numbers and all those numbers were exchanged and saved correctly, because that meeting was most serendipitous.

We had Greg and his family over to our house to share a meal when Wes and Lydia were here, and they introduced us to Pavlova. When here, Greg offered to take us out on his boat sometime. Once again, we took him up on his generous offer. Wes and Lyd have since gone home, but now our good friends Maria and Logan have come down to visit us (!) so they happily joined us out on the Tasman Sea last week.

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We liked going fast and hitting waves.

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Greg’s son Misha joined us and he patiently and kindly explained all the various lures to Natasha, and Daniel did try fishing, but the waves were too rough even when we were sitting still for very good fishing opportunities.

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The wee one sat a little too long in the bow and was feeling a little bit woozy…so we brought her out in the open, and gave her a ginger pill for motion sickness.

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The Boulder Bank Lighthouse has become somewhat of an inside joke, which I will now share with you so you won’t feel left out. When Wes and Lydia flew in, they noticed the long strip of land on the Nelson port, and a white lighthouse. Lydia was curious about it, so of course I looked it up and discovered that it is possible to walk to the Boulder Bank Lighthouse. The specific walking info from New Zealand’s Department of Conservation’s website says, (and I quote):

“A walk along the Nelson Boulder Bank is an opportunity not to be missed. The eight kilometre walk, from Boulder bank Drive to ‘The Cut’ takes 2-3 hours one way. The Boulder Bank is rough, dry and very exposed, so be prepared for all kinds of weather and wear strong shoes.”

Well, as you might imagine, we quickly decided it WAS an opportunity that we didn’t mind missing at all, and left it at that.

Fast forward then to explaining the story of the lighthouse to our second round of visitors, and Logan and Maria both agreed with our previous conclusion that it wasn’t imperative to visit this lighthouse. However, when Greg took us out on the boat, we mentioned our amusement at the “opportunity we were missing” and he said we could stop by when on the boat. Imagine that. Skipping the 3 hours one-way walk over rough rocks and treacherous weather conditions, to see the lighthouse that shouldn’t be missed in the first place!

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It was another happy circumstance that we would have missed, but didn’t have to since we knew someone who offered us a boat ride. And, we gratefully skipped the 3 hour rocky hike!

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Here’s the view from the lighthouse, looking back towards Nelson:
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Since the waves were too rough for lingering in to fish, we headed back to the port and some of us took turns driving the boat. Even the youngest of our party, who was feeling less seasick by now.

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The following evening, Greg’s wife Ros, invited us over to share some BBQ with them, so we were able to get to know them even more. It was a fun evening with more pavlova and introduced to us a Kiwi favorite candy: Pineapple Lumps.

Thank you so much Greg, Ros, Misha, Soren and Nathaniel, for sharing New Zealand with us!
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Kiwi Food and Playground Fun

After returning from our road trip, we basically stuck close to home and did some fun stuff in Nelson. One of those things was trying Hokey Pokey ice cream, which is a Kiwi classic. Lydia says it tastes like Lucky Charms, when in fact, it’s “gold nuggets” of honeycomb stirred into vanilla ice cream. Note the picture of Pancake Rocks on the front:02-033
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Wes specifically looked up which grocer might have a dairy-free option, and I simply loved the container of what he found. Plus, the contents were mighty tasty too.

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I had this funny hankering for peanut butter and I think it might have stemmed from us passing the Pic’s factory a few times coming in and out of Nelson. Indeed, this hit the spot. No need to only enjoy it here though, they ship to the USA!03-030

Another popular Kiwi thing is L & P carbonated beverage. It’s a lemon flavored pop, similar to Sprite or something, but I think it tastes more lemony and “real”. I like how the website describes it as, “World famous in New Zealand.” :) We paired it with some fish and chips at the Nelson beach, before heading to the playground for some playing.06-001
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It might look like Natasha is doing the sole job of holding Myah up, but Lydia was literally about a foot away with her arm out to grab Myah. Neither girl was very stable and specifically when slightly “attached” as in a hug, any secure feelings quickly leave.
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Daniel and Wes had some fun too…
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In Which We Climb Rocks

I must say I was pretty excited about Castle Hill. Daniel was too. It was a lot of fun to really explore and get up close to these amazing rocks. Milford Sound was fantastic, but it wasn’t something you can get up real close and touch. Where, the rocks of Castle Hill can be climbed on, jumped over, and thoroughly explored. This was where the famous battle in the movie, “Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” was filmed.

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So we did just that.

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We also attempted a better group picture, and not appear touristy. Everyone stayed fairly still except the youngest, who was in search of more rocks to chew on.25-097

These two girlies have had a lot of fun together. What stories they can tell when they’re older- of traveling through New Zealand together. Well, Myah probably won’t remember it, but I bet Natasha will fill her in on a few things.

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So following a couple more jumps and poses and push ups, we hit the road again and headed back to our home-away-from-home in Nelson. It really was like returning “home” as things became more familiar as we got closer. I hope that means we can really count our 3 months of living in New Zealand as really living here, rather than just visiting. :)

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Christchurch Isn’t a Church

Upon telling Natasha that today we were driving to Christchurch, she asked, “Is today Sunday?” “No” I replied, “Today is Tuesday.” She thought on this a moment then asked, “Then why is it called a church?” I hadn’t thought of it that way, since I already knew it was a town. But it was a very natural question from a 4 year old.

So when we got there, we soon realized this was a much larger town than any we’ve been in previously, and the traffic showed it. We made our way somewhat slowly, to the Botanical Gardens and got out to stretch our legs.

I had been wanting a picture with one of these gigantic trees, as they seem to be quite common back in Nelson and surrounding areas. It’s a Mountain Ash.

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There weren’t many flowers in bloom yet but I’m sure the Gardens are stunning in summer. We wandered around a bit though and still enjoyed the walk.

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Lydia and I did wish we were here when the roses were in bloom though. Can you imagine? A whole garden full of roses.14-052

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Natasha snapped this last pictures of the few flower beds that were in full bloom. Tulips in October folks!

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We stayed our final night of the road trip here in Christchurch, before heading out the next morning for Nelson. A total of 4 nights and 6 days of travel resulted in us seeing a fair amount of the South Island. The next post will feature one of our absolute favorite parts of the journey. I can’t wait to show you!

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