Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Our last week!

After 14,350kms, 192 days, 31 beds and countless amazing memories, it's time for us to go home!

We've been so blessed to have been hosted by a couple from church while we prepare to go home.  After 10 days of moving around everyday it was a quiet week.

We sold our trusty Serena...

Spent an afternoon at the pool...

Spent time playing games, reading and painting...

And enjoyed the views from the home we're in (when it wasn't raining).

 So long, New Zealand!  We are so thankful for the opportunity God gave us in this trip of a lifetime.  What a blessing to see His creation in this gorgeous country.  We're also so grateful for all the beautiful people we've met along the way!  Hard to believe it's over but we are super excited to be back in our own home and beds and with people we know and love.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Baylys Beach to Bombay

We woke up to a gorgeous sunrise on our last day of travel!  We didn't do too much sightseeing this day.  Our destination was the home of someone from the church about 1/2 south of Auckland.  After 10 days on the road we were all pretty tired and so thankful for a warm welcome!

The seasons are so mixed up here.  We saw lots of these trees with red flowers blooming as if it's spring but they're just a winter flowering tree while the trees in the front are barren and look like "winter trees" to us.

Awanui to Baylys Beach

Our second last day on the move.  We stopped to see Tane Mahuta - the largest Kaori tree in NZ.  It's 4.4m in diameter and estimated to be about 2000 years old.  Kaori trees were used and logged by both the Maori and Europeans until they were almost all gone.  They're very slow growing so are now protected.

It doesn't look very big in the pictures with the kids being way closer to the camera but when you walk up to it it's very impressive!

This one is taken from further back and you can just see Conrad at the bottom of the picture.

Two smaller Kaori on the edges of the road.  The road is just one lane through there.

We stopped at the Ancient Kaori Kingdom - a store that sells all things made of Kaori that's been found in swamps in northern NZ.

Old Father Time

The middle of the store had a staircase built cut out of the center of a tree.

More gorgeous ocean views!

Baylys Beach - another expansive beach which is actually longer than "90 mile beach" but not as famous.

So many layers of different rocks...

Friday, July 7, 2017

Cape Reinga, Sand Dunes and 90 Mile Beach

We had another gorgeous day when we went up to the far north.  It's not hard to be amazed at God's glory on days like these!

Cape Reinga.  Almost the most northern piece of land in NZ.

The furthest landmass you see in this picture is about 3 kms more north but can only be hiked to.

The churning of the water even on a calm day where Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet.

And, just like that, after almost 14,000kms of driving we've seen NZ from top to bottom!

Our next stop was the Te Paki sand dunes.  Way bigger and expansive than we expected - it felt like we were in the Sahara!
Our first glimpse of the dunes

Quite the workout climbing up sand!

The dunes seemed to go on forever!

Trying out the less steep dunes

Brave girls!  This was the steep one.  Seemed to go straight down at first!

The boys ditched their boards and had fun rolling down.

And then a stop at 90 mile beach (which is actually 90 kms not miles) before heading back to our "home" for the night.  We got to see the notorious wild horses.  Not quite on the beach but close enough.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Whangarei to Awanui

This was a very interesting day with the highlight being a tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

First a stop at the waterfalls right in Whangarei.  What a beautiful spot right in the city!

We went off the highway to check out the Hundertwasser Toilets and art in the town of Kawakawa.
I think this is the first time I've taken a picture in a bathroom :p

We went on a very informative tour of the grounds (you can read about it in the link above).

The flag pole with the New Zealand flag, the original New Zealand flag that the Maori adopted for Maritime use and the British flag.  

The biggest Maori Waka.  It's so big that once they got it to the water they decided to build a shed for it right at the edge of the water instead of trying to get it back up the hill when it was wet and weighing even more.

At the end of the tour we were able to go into the Marae for a cultural presentation.

We stayed in a country cottage for a couple nights.  Very quiet and scenic!