With my parents away and a kind neighbour offering to milk the cow we decided to pack the car and head off for a few days to show my kids snow for the first time.
They had been looking forward to this part of the holiday ever since I told them of my sister doing something similar with her two kids just a few months previously.
I realised that our timing (middle of November) was not conducive to seeing great snow but figured we could catch a ski lift to the top of the mountain where a fair bit of snow must be remaining. I didn’t quite realise how bad my timing really was though until I called ahead and found out that it was the overlap between the winter and summer seasons and the lifts would be closed for maintenance. I decided not to tell the kids that but push on regardless as I was looking forward to the road trip whether we saw snow or not.
The mountain we had chosen was Mount Ruapehu and so early(ish) one morning we hit the road.
Ariyas teddy was wearing a special hat for the occasion. Yes that is a sick bag which thankfully was not needed although we did come close a few times.
Our first stop was
rottenrua Rotorua. This small city is quite famous for its geothermal activity, geysers and hot mud pools. It is this geothermal activity that gives some of the city a rather unfortunate odour of rotten eggs.
First up we visited the Rotorua Bath House where we had a walk around the lovely gardens and historic buildings before taking way too many family snaps amongst the hundereds of blooming rose bushes. It was a beautiful day but quite cold (14 degrees) so we rested up with some good coffee and cake at the museum cafe.
From there we drove down the hill a little bit towards the centre of town and had a walk around the park which was home to quite a few hot pools. The girls thought they were great to watch.
Until the smell hit them!
As Jacob needed a feed we had a break at the playground so the kids could play while Jacob drank his fill. Here he is on the picnic table digesting his lunch.
All that milk for Jacob and the strange smells for Marisah was just too much and they both slept all the way through to Taupo.
We had already booked a 2 bedroom unit in Taupo at a place called the Cottage Mews. It was perfect for what we required.
Taupo is located at the outlet of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake, in the northeast part of the lake where it discharges to the Waikato River. (Thanks Wiki.)
By the time we had checked in it was around 4pm and we were all starving so we made the 3km drive into town for some food. Across the road from the restaurant was an awesome park which the kids and I ran ourselves ragged while Seerung and Jacob went grocery shopping. A small snack for dinner and an early night was had by all.
The owner of the Cottage Mews had warned us when we checked in that heading to Mount Ruapehu the next day might not be a good idea due to some rough weather being forecast. They weren’t half wrong! The next morning dawned windy and by the time breakfast was over it was a small gale. We booked for a second night and decided to brave the weather and head off for a walk in the direction of town along the shore of Lake Taupo.
It was tough going but the girls were having a blast collecting all the feathers that seemed to be blowing clean of the ducks backs so we persevered. I was glad we did as we stumbled across a small creek running into the lake which was as warm as a spa bath so we stopped to dangle our feet for a while.
Seeing as we were now over half way to town we pressed on in search of a hot coffee. Eventually we found one and while indulging received a text message from my parents who were on their way home from their trip to the South Island and were only 30 minutes away and were hungry! Lunch was quickly organised and we all had a great catch up in the restaurant. The other bonus of running into them was that I was able to get a lift back to the hotel to pick up our car and return to collect the family.
The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing back at the hotel listening to the wind howl all around us. The girls also enjoyed their huge spa and bubble bath up stairs while poor Jacob had to settle for the sink down stairs!!
We all went to bed that night praying that the following morning would be a better day so that we could press on to the mountain.