Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Round the Mountain Road Trip

Me and the kids at our first destination: Wilkie's Pools

Me and two characters (aka Violet and Abigail)

More theatrics, looking out over South Taranaki from Dawson Falls

Seen this before? Violet and Abigail on the swings at Opunake Beach

Sam (ditto)

Madeline (ditto)

Sam and Madeline exploring Opunake Beach together

Abigail with her birthday cake creation

Voila! The birthday cake creation masterpiece!

Heading up to the Cape Lighthouse

The Cape Lighthouse

Paul and the kids in front of the lighthouse (most disappointed that they couldn't go in).

The view of the Tasman from the Cape Lighthouse

Pigeons also enjoying the view.

Looks like we're pretending we're away on holidays: the children slept together in Sam's room last night, and with another beautiful day blossoming ahead of us, we hit the road. Our route was fairly well planned and relied on our first stop: Eltham cheese shop. Finally found it in a roundabout way and with the chilly bin loaded, we headed up the mountain, to Dawson Falls precisely. A quick bite of a muffin and we were off, not to the falls themselves but up the mountain to one of our favourite spots, Wilkie's Pools. Now, if you know Violet and that she starts whining after five steps, you'll see that it was a huge achievement that we actually got there. She's in training, working on her endurance at the moment. Not for Cross Country next year, oh no: Disneyland in January! We thoroughly enjoyed the tramp, especially the adventurous river crossing and the pools themselves were spectacular as always. An hour twenty round trip brought us back down for a homeade bread, cheese, butter and ham picnic. Accompanied by chocolate yoghurts and Coke for Paul and the kids. But no coffee for me: all thermosed up and left behind on the bench! Pity, that.

After a pit stop at the lookout (and the toilets, yes) we were off again and wound our way down to Opunake. Found a lovely playground and a must-re-visit campground on the beach for an afternoon of fun and relaxation. Nice little place, but no obvious coffee shop, except for the mainstreet "tea rooms." I'm too much of a coffee snob to try them out for the black stuff. Back in the van and the next stop was the Cape Lighthouse further along the coast. The children loved seeing a real live Lighthouse, but were so disappointed to discover they weren't actually allowed to go in it. I think they had visions of a tackling ghosts and hearing old sea stories all night, ala Berenstein Bears.

Back on the road and heading towards home, all feeling rather jaded. We took a wee jaunt up the road to see Lucy's Gully, knowing we'd have to go back another time for an actual walk. We also missed the Stony River, so that's on the list for next time too. Drove through Oakura at dinner time only to discover that our favourite Wunderbar is now generically named something like "Oakura Restaurant" and decided that was a no-go. With no hope of gourmet pizzas on the beach, we pressed on towards KFC. I know, I know, but I had a coupon in my pocket, and to be honest we all wanted to get home. Home indeed, for very fast fast-food on the patio and the exhausted children were quick-smarted off to bed. Feet up on the sofa, computer and memory card in hand, and wouldn't you know it, the coffee is still hot! What a great day.

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