In Which We Traverse Curvy Roads

With our second round of visitors, we decided to take them to our second favorite location, Cape Foulwind. (Our top favorite spot was Castle Hill.) The roads here can be very curvy when you need to climb over mountain passes and such and after only walking or biking for a couple weeks at a time, riding in a vehicle again can give some folks a bit of carsick feelings. Maria and I weren’t feeling that great, but we finally arrived.  It was definitely warmer this second visit, but I tell you, that place is quite appropriately named because the wind can be very breezy.

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This time we decided to hike a little further than last time and we went all the way to the lighthouse and back. The sign says it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to walk one way, but on our return trip, we tried to hurry along without stopping a ton of times and it only took us 45 minutes. But we really were scurrying.

This picture does not accurately illustrate the height of where I was standing. It was windy and a little worrisome to stay too long…

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Can you see this sign? It says, “Please keep children by you at all times.” So it was very handy that I had a child to keep near me for my own safety. :)
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This is not meant to look like a worn out group of trekkers, truly. We were attempting a serious look. It might not have worked…

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Following Cape Foulwind, Logan drove us to Pancake Rocks. It was another quick visit, but the rocks were still just as amazing.

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Third and Final Time

One last climb up the hill to the Centre of New Zealand. This time, Natasha did it all by herself. In her own imaginary world, pausing quite often to pick flowers, sing a song, talk to herself and eventually we made it to the top.

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At the bottom, there is a nice grassy field for playing games and throwing frisbees and letting your dog run. It is the location of the first Rugby game played in New Zealand and nearby is a small playground and some swings. After swinging briefly, Natasha scampered off to the slide, but left her shoes behind. We all had started to follow Natasha, but Logan noticed the forgotten ballet flats and calmly picked them up saying, “I assume she wants her shoes…” I had to capture the moment since it always makes me smile to see a guy holding little girl’s shoes. :)

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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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