Jump...losing your spring with age
It worked out that mum and dad had about 10 days total in New Zealand and we therefore decided to get the longest leg of the driving out of the way (Auckland to Wellington) on the first day; giving mum and dad an opportunity to catch up on some sleep in the car.
The journey took about 10 hours... Yes, it was a VERY long day! We stopped off for a picnic lunch to break the travel up a little bit...
We also took a slight detour around a scenic driving route to make the journey a little more interesting. The Whanganuni River Road winds its way through beautiful forested hills and small iwi villages where we took advantage of the lookout opportunities dotted along the road.
It gave mum and dad a chance to master the 'jump mid photo' pose...haha! Apparently you lose your spring as you get older.
Finally, after a heck of a long drive we arrived at our beautiful accommodation, Green Olive Cottage. It's surrounded by olive trees and loads of other fruit trees, which if they were ready for picking you could take whatever you wanted (we managed to get passion fruits and fejoas). There was also a natural pond in the garden that you could swim in but unfortunately the weather was awful when we were there, plus I don't think we'd have had time anyway. We arrived at nighttime and the boys got straight on with a BBQ, which we enjoyed with a bottle of bubbly and even a bottle of wine...we were in holiday mode after all.
The weather couldn't have been any worse, torrential rain! Luckily we were planning on visiting Wellington's museum anyway; Te Papa is free and has some amazing modern and interactive exhibitions about New Zealand.
My favourite part was the colossal squid. It had been donated to New Zealand by the Antarctic fisherman that had caught it by mistake when it was trying to eat a tuna that was being pulled in. They are incredibly rare to see because they survive in the deepest blue waters, so once it had reached the surface it was unable to survive. It was donated to the research teams and then preserved in jelly in the museum so that everyone can see it.
There was an interesting Maori exhibition where I particularly enjoyed learning about the haka I now understand the history and meaning behind the warrior dance that you see the All Black rugby team display before a match. Also, the importance of Maori tattooing, living arrangements and the Treaty of Waitangi. You really need to spend a couple of days there to see everything.
Not to let the weather put us off we went for a walk around the city centre and called in for a spot of lunch at a nice cafe. Then took the cable car to the top of the botanical gardens, where on a clear day you have spectacular views of Wellington and its bay (as you can see, we only managed to get a view of heavy cloud and rain... nevermind). We walked around the botanical gardens, which mum seemed to love as she took photographs at every opportunity.
There was time for one last look around the museum before we left Wellington to cosy in at Green Olive Cottage for the evening. We had a chilled evening, taking advantage of being in a proper house with snuggly sofas and of course... a bath! Bliss! It's nice to spend time with mum and dad, just chatting about the 'goings on' at home and what everyone is up to.