26th March - 28th March
Today we left River Valley, but, before we did. We went to do a walk up the other side of the valley and were pointed in the direction of the "bridge". My arse, bridge. A swinging, pulley contraption suspended over the river which you had to pull towards you, swing out on, then hopefully manage to shimmy your way over to the otherside. Or..be left there, stranded until someone hears your cries. Hilarious. So, we didnt end up walking anywhere. We spent our morning playing on the swing bridge. Back and forth and forth and back. Easily amused.
After that super eventful morning. Left on the bus, which was able to drop us off in Paraparaumu to meet Tom and Sue, as it passed through there, ideal. On the bus they put on The Whale Rider, a multi award winning NZ born movie. I couldnt hear it well and the picture quality was crap so I gave up but it seemed like it would be great and noted it as a must watch. We stopped in a place called Bulls which had a fantastic sense of humour. A very small town but every amenity there is named as some kind of pun on Bull. For example Consta-bulls, the police station; Responsa-Bull, on all the bins; Socia-Bull, the town hall; Relive-a-Bull, toilets. Pretty funny, more so after an extended period on a coach. Got to Paraparaumu, Rhona was raging because the movie was still on and she was enjoying it muchly. Had no bother calling Tom. I was surprised and comforted to hear he still had his Scottish accent :D. Like a slice of back home. He came to pick us up and took us back to his beautiful home. Met Sue there, they were just great, so friendly and welcoming. Can´t thank them enough for their kind hospitalty. Sue served up a beautiful steak meal and then we went a little walk down to the beach, they are only 5mins away from the coast. Unbelievable location. The view was stunning as the sun just set. We could see venus and saturn!! Super bright. We could also see the top of the South Island and Kapiti Island which is used to breed Kiwis. Rhona fell on the rocks. Returned home and had a few glasses of wine and enjoyed the company before retiring to our OWN rooms. Weird. Double bed luxuary. Wasnt sure I would be able to sleep without Rhona in close proximity! Couldn´t be happier at this point in time as I look forward to an incredible nights sleep.
We stayed with Tom and Sue a few nights and were looked after spectacularly. We met their beautiful grand daughter Mikala. Sue took us out and showed us some sights. Up to Paekeriki Road to take in the views. Drove through Hutt and Petone to arrive at a cute little seaside town near Wellington called Eastbourne. Had a lovely lunch there with Sue and the little one before heading to Weta studios. That was really cool. They are the special effects company responsible for many movies, LOTR being their big break. Had a peek around, watched an amazing video and then Sue picked us up. Played in the garden in the sun back home, hula hooping with Mikala. Tom came home from work and fixed their bikes ready for Rhona and I to use. We then drove to Paraparaumu beach and took a beautiful stroll along the shore. Back home to a big roast dinner. CANNot complain :).
Rhona and I got up and done some exploring of the area. We took the bikes out early afternoon after messing around and dealing with a bit of a plumbing disaster. We had planned to cycle along the beach but the tide was too high so we headed into Queen Victoria Park instead. Rotorua flashback..hilly, wynding mountain bike tracks and we had forgotten to pick up the helmets. Ooops. Rhona was having some problems with her ear, pretty windy so she stayed on the beach. Wouldnt blame her about not wanting to repeat that experience anyway. I did a bit of the track along to Whareroa beach then about turned and collected her. Took the bikes home then left to walk along to Paraparaumu beach where we had driven to last night. Found a tipi and a swing. Collected some shells. Rhona gave me a piggy back over a river. On the way back I tried to jump it, with such confidence..but I got a wet foot. Fail. Back at Tom and Sues they had returned from work and we all went out to a lovely bar/restaurant called Montieths. They treated us to a beautiful meal. When we got home, Sue announced she had managed to track down Tha Whale Rider as Rhona had been sharing her rage at not seeing it all. Amazing. So, we cosied in for the night and all watched the movie. Good one. The perfect evening to round off our stay, will be very sad to leave and go back to hostels after such a treat!