It’s been awhile since our last post, but sometimes “no news, is good news.” This has been the case for us. We have been so busy and blessed with family time in December and January that we just haven’t had a moment to catch up. But, the time has come.
You can read about our past 2 months below, or check out our highlight video reel:
On my last day of school, I managed to say farewell to my students and make a flight at 4:30 that afternoon! I flew home to spend a week in Atlanta with my family, and to watch my brother walk down the aisle. What a stud! The wedding was beautiful and I was so thankful to be part of it. My only regret was that Evan and his parents couldn’t make it (they were all in New Zealand starting the grand tour).
So, once returning from the wedding (yes, we jumped on a plane the MORNING after), my parents and I met Evan and his parents in New Zealand. Then the adventures began! Without going into too much detail, I’ll give you the highlights from each day.
Our tour consisted of two parts-one leg of the journey around the South Island, and the other around the North Island. Evan and I were quite excited to see the North Island, as this was our first time.
Days 1-2: Kaikoura Seal Swim
While waiting for the McClure’s to arrive, Evan and the Foresters swam with wild seals. That’s right, after riding a boat out into the middle of the ocean, you just find where the marine life is, and JUMP!
Christchurch (McClure’s arrive on Christmas Eve!)
I arrived with my parents early on December 24th. We spent the day touring the city CBD, walking the Port Hills, and attending a small Christmas Eve service at our church.
Day 4: Christmas Day
We drove to Queenstown, stopping in Lake Tekapo along the way.
Day 5: Boxing Day in Queenstown
We hit all the main highlights in Queenstown: Kauwarau Bridge Bungy, Shotover Jet, Botanical Gardens, icecream on the Lakefront, and the Queenstown Hill hike. Evan had already done this bungy in 2008, so it was up to me and both dads to muster the courage to jump this time.
Day 6: Doubtful Sound
We were so lucky to have an absolutely GORGEOUS day in Fiordland. If you know anything about this region, you know how rare and wonderful that is! After a ferry transport and bus transport, we made it to the very remote Doubtful Sound. And what an exquisite gem it was!
Day 7: Routeburn Track
Well, we warned our parents to be in shape when they came.
Now the moment had finally come to put their training to the test. We proceeded to hike to the Routeburn Falls Hut and back in one day. The views were spectacular! Our parents managed 12 total miles, and Evan and I stumbled back to the car after about 15 miles. Not too shabby considering we hiked about 700 meters of elevation change!
Day 8: Wanaka & Fox Glacier
After a short stop in Wanaka, we wound our way along the West Coast towards Fox Glacier. Our adventurous parents took a helicopter up to the top of the glacier. Since we had already done this pricy (albeit amazing) adventure last Christmas, we decided to pass this time.
Day 9: Arthur’s Pass
We drove from the West Coast via Arthur’s Pass to return home to Christchurch, ready to start the second leg of our journey.
Day 10: Rotorua
After arriving late back in Christchurch on Day 9, we hopped on a plane early the next day to fly to the North Island. We spent the day mountain biking through Redwood Forests, visiting villages buried by volcanic eruptions, and visiting geothermal areas in Wai-O-Tapu.
Day 11: Hobbiton & Tauranga
We enjoyed a day visiting the famous Hobbiton from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Even for non-avid fans, it was still pretty neat to see the movie set.
We also drove to Tauranga to spend an afternoon on the beach. Evan and I decided to climb Mount Maunganui.
Day 12: Taupo & Tongariro National Park
Both dads managed to skydive in Taupo-from 15,000 feet and back down to the ground safely!
We swam in a natural geothermal stream, visited Huka Falls, and hiked
alongside volcanoes Mt Doom (from Lord of the Rings) and Mt. Ruapehu to Taranaki Falls.
Day 13: Waitomo Caves
These well known caves are a highlight of the North Island! The glow worms in the caves create a “starry night” mosaic in the dark underground. After finally getting Mom to abseil down 100 feet underground, we tubed in the river while looking at glow worms, and rock climbed out into open day once more!
Days 14-17: Bay of Islands
After saying goodbye to Evan’s parents in Auckland, we continued north to the Bay of Islands. We finally had a chance to relax on the beach after a busy two weeks that my mother humorously called “bootcamp”.
We completed our holiday with sailing through the bays, snorkeling, sea kayaking, deep sea fishing, lounging on the wharf and beach, and eating a lot of ice cream! What a perfect way to end the trip. My parents spent the last remaining days in Christchurch before they also made the long journey home.
We are feeling so blessed to have hosted our families. Thanks for making the trip out here so memorable!
In other news, I have started a new job at a different school this year: Middleton Grange School. I am truly loving my year so far, and I am back in the 3rd grade age again, so I’m happy for the familiarity! We are happily filling in our weekends with more local adventures and Evan continues to enjoy his job in the Marketing Division for Tait Electronics. Recently, he has started also doing some free-lance writing. I start a photography course in March, so hopefully more exciting photos to come!