Where does the time go? It doesn't seem that long ago that Christmas was just over and we were planning our trip to New Zealand. Now that's behind us and we are making new plans.
We had a great time in NZ, managing to get 2 house sits while we were there. We spent the first 4 weeks in a lovely little renovated cottage in Blenheim on the South Island and explored quite a bit of the surrounding areas. With a bus stop right outside we explored as much as we could this way and on foot for the first 2 weeks before hiring a car. We visited Havelock, Picton and Nelson. We went on a wine tour, attended the mussel festival and enjoyed the mailboat cruise around the beautiful Marlborough Sound.
After our Blenheim house sit we took the ferry to the North Island and spent 3 days in Wellington which lived up to it's reputation of being "Wet and Windy" We visited the "Te Papa" Museum and Parliament House, and took the steep train ride to the top of the city, walking back down in the drizzly rain through the botanical gardens and the cemetery.
From Wellington we took the train to Auckland, stopping off in Hamilton on the way for 2 days. There we hired a car and went out to Rotorua where we went on the sky rail and enjoyed our time wandering around the top, enjoying beautiful weather and people watched while having a lovely lunch.
Late afternoon we were picked up from our Airbnb and taken to Te Puia where we were to enjoy a Mouri cultural experience. We both thoroughly enjoyed this experience from the hot geysers to the mud pools, the kiwi enclosure, the carvings and flax weaving and best of all the Mouri show with dancing and the Haka followed by a very good and plentiful Hangi buffet. After the evenings entertainment, we were then bussed back down to where the geyser was and we enjoyed hot chocolate sitting on the very hot rocks watching the show that nature put on for us.This was well worth the money, a great local attraction!
Back on the train and up to Auckland where we checked into our next Airbnb for 4 nights before our Easter Housesit and then another Airbnb for 3 nights.
In Auckland we went up to the top of Sky City and enjoyed the magnificent city views. We visited Auckland War Memorial Museum and we drove around all the little bays and enjoyed local seafood. We walked up Mount Wellington and took the ferry across to Stanley Point and Birkenhead where Chris walked up Mount Victoria while I looked around the shops before lunching in an Italian restaurant. We enjoyed the company of Zed and Pixie, the dog and cat at the Housesit.
As we registered with Kiwi Housesitters to get these sits we were seen by so many other people who got in touch with us to Housesit for them. Unfortunately we were not able to because of our time plan but with 22 requests for us to Housesit, we realise this is something we can and will do again, preferably for longer next time!
As mentioned we stayed in Airbnb in some places. We hadn't used Airbnb or Uber taxis before and we have to say we were impressed with both services as we used them in NZ. The Uber taxi at the Gold Coast airport on the way home was not so good though but that's another story!
Now back in Tweed we have another couple of weeks at Boyd's Bay and we join in Dorothy's 90th birthday celebrations. Such a lovely lady and so special in our lives. The main party was a great success, with great company, beautiful setting and food. Currumbin Surf club did the family proud! It rained in the afternoon but as the sun was still shining there was a spectacular rainbow. I always think of my Dad when I see a rainbow and it made me smile thinking he was there with us on the day. I know if he was still about, like us, he wouldn't have missed this occasion for the world!
In true Bulcock style the birthday party continued on and we joined the family on several occasions over the next few days before people left to return to their various homes around the country and in some cases other countries.
Speaking to Dorothy and seeing pictures on Facebook, it's clear the celebrations are still going on some 3 weeks later.
As we left Tweed we headed to Noosa and spent a week with Simon, Kerry and the kids. We enjoyed a lunch at The Spirit House, using the gift voucher that Simon and Kerry had given us. It's a beautiful Thai restaurant in a gorgeous tropical setting with beautiful food and a special treat. Thank's Sam.
Now we are heading off on the road again, doing what we love best. The long road ahead and our little home on wheels behind us. We have changed our plans again (as you do!) Instead of going up to Cape York as mentioned in my last entry we are only going up as for as Seaforth for a few weeks for some warmer weather before heading back down to Coolah. Jo's neighbours are going to Europe for 2 months and were looking for Housesitters. Jo asked us did we want to do it? Well you can't knock back 2 months with the grandkids, can you? Cape York is going nowhere, but the grandchildren will grow up so quickly.
Emma and her family have moved again as Graham got a promotion and is now Deputy Head at Boorowa High School. Still in NSW but now about 5 hours away from Jo in Coolah. Boorowa is about 30 minutes from Young and 2 hours from Canberra, our country's capital. We are hoping to visit them during our time at Coolah and again afterwards before heading off to explore more of this beautiful country.