[Tuesday, March 21] Brandon and I went on a date to the Shotover Jet (more details later) and then we headed back to the hotel to pack up, get our kids and drive to the airport. Our flight took us from Queenstown to Auckland, then a 3 hour layover, and then an hour flight to Napier. Sometimes the cheaper flights are the longer ones, but at least it saved us a day of driving back to Christchurch.
We got into Napier late that night and were greeted by Brandon’s business partner, Joseph Turley. His family was so kind to stay up late to pick us up with both of their cars. Our children adored their children and were so happy to have some friends besides each other for a few days.
Our first day there, we took it easy and just a relaxing day at their house and yard. As soon as the girls and Evan got home from school, Blake and Evelyn enjoyed going out and picking berries and grapes.
Te Ana Falls
The next day we were anxious to get out and explore a bit. And guess how we got to do it? In this awesome IMAX! NZ cars are so tiny and even after ordering a family size sedan, all 3 carseats wouldn’t fit, so they upgraded us free 2x to this amazing van. Seriously, we fell in love with it. And wish we could buy here in the USA. It was spacious, but smooth. And the children loved the sliding doors.
On our way to our original hike, we saw this cute bridge to the side of the road. And so we decided to stop and found we could hike it. So we did!
Lesson learned: Flexibility goes a long way. We don’t know what we missed out on, but this hike was so beautiful and amazing.
Everyone was happy to get out and run!
The trail was gorgeous and green. And even though was a slow, constant drizzle the entire time, we had fun anyway.
Lesson learned: Don’t let rain stop you!
After about 40 minutes, we reached Te Ana Falls!
And shoot! I was there, too but forgot to get a photo with me in it!
We saw a sign for another waterfall and decided why not! Let’s go for it! It turned out to be a lot longer than 15 minutes since the trail was muddy and very steep, but our children did it!
In the evening after the Turleys were home, we enjoyed delicious homecooked meals ( a first in a while!) and many great late night conversations. I really loved getting to know them and our conversations were deep and meaningful. Plus they introduced us to Cavati ice cream– so yummy! They were gracious hosts letting us stay in their 3 bedroom apartment.
Lesson learned: Focus on relationships that will provide deep and real conversations. Those are the most meaningful. And don’t just do something because of tradition. Be intentional.
We had a great stay and ended up staying an extra night. But there were still a few things left to see before we headed home, so we left on Friday and drove towards Rotarua.
Along the way, I made Brandon pull over to look at these hills full of roaming sheep. So lovely!
Next stop: Taupo, but not without a nap first in the car on the side of the road!