The trip

I bought the cheap air tickets and only paid for one check in bag. Kids and I carried a backpack as hand luggage and we checked in our camping gear and rented the surf/ski gear.

Breakfast:Each morning the kids took turns to make breakfast. Toast with butter and jam.
Each of them made extra special toasts. Yaya made toast with smiley faces ( and a smiley face with two horns for me), my son’s toast was with extra jam and baby made sure hers were overloaded with pure unsalted NZ butter!
Lunch: Fish and chips, pies, pastries ( anything that caught our fancy!)
Dinner: Sometimes I cooked, if I really was missing eating something spicy. I made butter chicken ( using store bought sauce) dhal, kichri etc. We packed the leftovers for the next day lunch. Sometimes we bought Chinese takeaway. ( which by the way is 1/4 the price in Australia)
We also consumed tons of V8 to ensure adequate fiber intake.
The best part of the journey was finding pineapple fritters in every fish and chips store. The nameless fish and chip shop on the other side of Napier isite had the best pineapple fritters.
We also bought a lot of expensive strawberries ( not in season)  incredibly sweet and juicy, made more juicy by adding more sugar.
Wash the strawberries, put them in a ziplock bag, add more sugar, close the ziplock, shake it, keep it after 20 minutes…It was soooooo good.

Every time I take the kids out for long trips, I am hoping to teach them something that they wouldn’t have learned from text books.
This trip, we learned a lot of things.
Captain cook and his journey. Them saying Hi to ‘Young nick’ was really funny.
Watching the sun rise from the eastern tip and the setting sun from the western tip. I think they understood the sun’s journey, we also talked about equinox and solstice.
We saw the geo thermal power plants and a hydro electric stations. So we discussed the energy requirements of a growing population and the safest source of energy.
Yaya had a project to submit about Isotopes and we talked about the Japanese nuclear plants and effect of tsunami.
We learned about pacific rim of fire, geysers etc. My children loved the buried village ( after volcanic eruption)
We went to the glowworm cave.
Also visited the museum.

Tauranga Jazz festival was awesome.
We watched the Taranaki Surf festival

We went to one of the Geyser attractions and I was looking at the family ticket. 120$. Yaya and toothless told me “mom, please don’t pay, it is a natural attraction and there is no reason to charge such an extreme rate. It isn’t like someone is sitting there and switching on the geyser!” For me, it is little things like this that makes it worth the while to take such long trips with my children. For their ability to think, to rationalize, to be able to say No and most importantly to understand the value of money. We did find a spot two blocks from the place where some smart/kind soul had kept wooden logs, you can stand on and see the geyser ( over the shrubs!)

For me the best part of the journey was visiting the Durie hill elevator and tunnel
We went there in the evening and the lift operator was a wonderful lady. She spend a lot of time explaining about the tunnel etc and my kids adored her. Kids also loved the pedestrian tunnel and created a racket singing all the songs they knew and creating echos..One stranger told me that I am an awesome mother  and another stranger admonished us when we were at the glow worm caves because my kids were talking  while waiting for the guide outside the cave, not even inside the cave,which by the way made my kids talk even more and the stranger muttered loud enough for us to hear ‘bloody indians’ and my son promptly gave a rendition of O Canada in full throttle much to the surprise of the stranger and he left us alone. (I so wished I had taught my kids to sing Negaraku!)

The roads were well designed, there were no cops hiding anywhere to catch you making that silly mistake of going 10% above the speed limit, people were extremely friendly and we had a great holiday.

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