Tuen's Blog

Infrequent diary of a procrastinator

Visit to New Zealand – 2

Written By: Tuen - Dec• 03•07

We had a fabulous time in New Zealand.  The Lims had been excellent hosts.  On Monday, Jean brought us shopping, and then we went for a swim at an indoor pool, where Tim and Erica had their swimming lessons.


After that, we went to Robert and Priscilla’s home; which was a veritable art gallery of holy pictures and icons. Thank goodness I did not crack too many naughty jokes with Robert.  We ended the day with a very nice Thai dinner.


On Tuesday morning, the Lims took us for a two day holiday at Paihia, which was around 4 hours away from Auckland by car.  We stopped at Whangarei (pronounced ‘fung-er-rai’) for lunch and the kids had a good time playing at the playground.  We arrived at Paihia around 3pm and after settling into the lovely 3 room chalet, Merv and I brought the kids to the beach whilst the girls went to do a bit of grocery shopping. 



We finished off the day with a Barbie.

On Wednesday, we went for a half day cruise.  The weather was lovely (not as hot as Melbourne in summer, and apparently not as cold in winter either).  The waters surrounding Paihia are known as the bay of islands, because of the numerous islands in the bay.  The cruise took us past many of these islands in search of dolphins, which we spotted about an hour into the ride.  The dolphins were really magnificent creatures, and they swam so close to the boat it seemed as if they were enjoying our company.  Some of them swam right under the boat!  (See the video here (soon)).  It was one of the best short cruises I have taken. 




We got off the cruise at Russell island, which is a quaint tourist island.  We had lunch there and then visited the Pompallier musuem.  Bishop Pompallier was the first Catholic Bishop of New Zealand.  It was a guided tour and was most interesting as we learnt some historical background about the Bishop and the Europeans’ arrival in New Zealand. 


Back in Paihia, and after a visit to a chocolate factory and a waterfall, we finished the day off with a nice Italian dinner of pizza and pasta.



On Thursday, we left Paihia, but did not go back along the same route we had taken coming up.  Instead, we cut across the north island and came back via the west coast.  On the way, we stopped at Waipoua forest to see a 1800 year old Kauri tree, and we also stopped at the Kauri Museum at Matakohe. 


Dinner was in Auckland at a Chinese restaurant.

It was a really nice holiday and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and the kids did too.  Thanks Merv and Jean!

On Friday, our last full day in Auckland, Jean brought us to Kiwi farms, where the kids, including Ren, got to feed the animals and ride on horses.  Again, the kids and little Ren had a great time. 




After the farm visit, we went to Sky City, where at the top of this tall building, we could see the whole of Auckland from an observation deck.  Baby Ren showed absolutely no fear of heights, and was bouncing up and down on the glass floor panels.  He was bouncing and jumping where even adults feared to tread!


On our last day in New Zealand, the Lims took us to a shopping centre in the morning, and after lunch, we went home to pack.  The Lims saw us off at the airport, where we said our goodbyes (some of us slightly tearfully).  We had had such a good time that I did not have the usual feeling, at the end of a holiday, of being glad to be going home.  But of course, we did have to come home, as all good things must come to an end.

Gern picked us up from the airport, and we are more or less back to our usual routine today.

We hope to meet up with the Lims again in the not too distant future, hopefully in Melbourne this time, where we can try and reciprocate their hospitality and kindness in giving us such a good time!

(Full photoset here, taken mostly by Jean)