Sometimes in writing these travel logs, I get lost for words. It’s a big undertaking to take your family abroad for a few months, but I’m learning it’s an even bigger undertaking to blog about it afterwards. Because life has kept moving and I want to stop time and relish in these moments a bit longer before the full force of life hits us.
But that’s really not quite possible at the moment, darn it! I know that these records will be meaningful in the years to come, so I’ll continue to document. Although I really wish I could just transport every one of you with us and have you live it for yourselves.
Well, I digress. Let’s see, where did we leave off? Oh, yeah, New Zealand, Hamilton to be exact.
We finished up Hobbiton Saturday afternoon and sped to Hamilton (without any tickets this time!) We pulled up at 18 Foster Road, the home of cousin Anne (who is really my cousin’s husband’s cousin). When I contacted her back in November about some NZ questions, she kindly and generously requested we stay with her a few days. And so we did. Our children adored her and she adored them. She bought us NZ style fish and chips for dinner on our first night and watched our 3 amigos while Brandon and I went to the Hamilton LDS Temple for the evening. We were too late for a session, but it was still wonderful being in the temple again.
Evelyn really took a liking to Anne. They developed a sweet little friendship through reading books and just talking.
We attended church on Sunday, which was right across the street from her house and then after naps, we took a Sunday stroll through the Hamilton Gardens. Hamilton Gardens received the “2014 Best Park in the World” award and we could totally see why.
Every inch was well planned out and each corner was themed in a different way. We would walk into the Indian garden and have no idea the Chinese garden existed across the wall.
Nature up close: saw caterpillars and a chrysalis in action.
Brandon taught Blake and Evelyn the art of squirting water from the fountain and we all got a bit wet!
I especially loved this English garden.
And the Indian Garden! All those pops of color against the white was almost my favorite. My favorite was watching my children chase each other around happily.
Brandon knows me so well after almost 9 years of marriage. He saw this wall adorned in red leaves before I did and waited for me to walk through. And then he grabbed the camera and told me to pose for some photos. I always prefer being behind the camera, but I couldn’t pass up this chance to see bold fall leaves in NZ
Before driving out Monday morning, we went up to the Temple one last time.
We stocked up on some groceries for our last few days in NZ before leaving Hamilton and saw this sign on our way out.
This is How We Road Trip
And then we drove a few hours to Paunaui where we would stay the last few days. But before I end this post, I have to include this photo because 1. See those containers? They are Sistema brand and I fell in love with them and may have brought a few back with us. They became the perfect road trip lunch trays.
2 .Many a days driving around we would eat on the go. And I was so proud of my children for doing so well in the car. And they didn’t even have screens! We talked a lot, sang songs, listened to Piano Guys over and over and over, and had many fun snacks and treats. With landscape like we saw, driving around was half the fun.
3. NZ didn’t have many great restaurant options (or cheap for that matter) but Hamilton was home to a Wendy’s! We grabbed lunch and it was pretty tasty. During our trip we ate fast food only a few times at KFC, McDonalds, and Dominos. But Wendy’s was the only place that tasted similar to the food in the US.