10 May 2015

The First Big Post!

Though we only had two days in New Zealand, it feels like we were there for much longer.
Since leaving the the Victoria, we have travelled very far, and are currently on a plane
from Auckland to Cairns.

It has been a whirlwind of travelling. We went to Courtenay for a few days for a lovely
visit with my parents. We went up island line astern in our cars, all loaded down with the
last of our things. We posted a video of unloading them a little bit ago. In all we stored
about 14 apple boxes in the attic.

Thank for letting us keep our stuff there!!

We did a litle bit of poking around in town, and going out to some favorite spots of mine
for a last little visit. We went to Kye Bay and Angie saved a fish. I am sure she will
write about it.

We were there for three days but it felt like no time at all before we hopped in Angies car
and headed down island once again to catch the ferry out of Nanaimo for Vancouver. For me
that is when it felt like we were really starting our adventure, but for Angie it just felt
like we were heading home.

It was a beautiful day for a boat ride and once in Vancouver we had a quick, if long
overdue visit with my aunt, which was a very nice way to start off the drive. It is about
five hours from Vancouver to Vernon. First the highway goes through the lower mainland and
is quite flat and straint, but soon it winds its way up first on the Coquehalla then on the
Okanagan Connector. Both are spectacular roads, and a lot of fun to drive even in a heavy
full car.

We Spent an evening at Angies dads place, then spent the first two nights at her moms
place. As her dad had to leave on the second third day we were there, we stayed at his
place that night before heading back to her moms for the last night.

It was a great visit full of meeting grand parents, uncles, and friends, and we didnt
really have much downtime the whole three or four days. What free time we did have was
spent enjoying the view out over the valley from Angies moms house. It is spectacular.
It was eventually time to leave on wednesday morning. We stopped at Tim Hortons one last
time on the way down just to top off our Canadian-ness. At the airport we checked our one
bag and spent a while watching planes from the observation lounge with Angies mom.
Eventually it was time to say goodbye and head through security.

A nice short flight later, we were in Vancouver. Angies mom watched us take off and got a
picture of the plane leaving! The weather in Vancouver was very nice when we landed and as
we had a long seven hour layover we went into the city to use up my H+M gift card from
christmas (thanks mom!). I got a couple pairs of shorts that are quite nice.

We sat and people watched for a bit before a chilly wind came up and eventually pre-empted
rush hour and headed back to the airport. The Vancouver International Terminal has always
been one of my favorite, and there are lots of nice quiet places to relax for a few hours
as we did. This was our big bird before we boarded.

The flight was long. Quite long. It was all in darkness except the first half hour or so as
the sun set, giving us one last look at Vancouver Island and Victoria. It was a gorgeous

There was a while in the middle of the night when an almost full moon was up that lit up
the wide open Pacific and the clouds thousands of feet below. It was gorgeous. Other than
that it was a couple movies, supper and bed for us, before waking up for breakfast at about
3am nz time just a couple hours before landing.

Walking out into the light rain from the terminal was magical. The warm air and rain felt
so good after the plane. Even though it was dark and 5am, we felt refreshed. Angie was a
bit teary from all the joy and happiness of landing in a strange and wonderful place with
beautiful different smelling air. The car rental place we were using was a bit of a hike
away, and did not open until seven. That was no matter as it was a lovely walk with nice
drizzle and waking up birds.

We sat outside the car place for a bit until it opened, then jumped in the car as soon as
it opened. Let me tell you, getting into a car on the opposite side of the road, in the
rain, in a city you dont know, at the beginning of rush hour is quite the experience.
Luckily it was all fine, and where we needed to go was sort of skirting the city.
We were headed for the Waitakere Ranges and the scenic coastline around Piha. The first
attempt at parking was a parellel park, but that was not going to happen, so we found a
parking lot and shared some breaky in the Hardware Cafe. Ironically we had a bagel with
salmon and cream cheese...

The first stop along Scenic Drive was the visitor center. It has a viewpoint, but we could
really not see very far as it was very cloudy and rainy. We had a little walk thought the
bush, very different from anything we had ever seen (Can anyone say tree fern?).
It was nice that pretty quickly I could settle into driving even though it was raining the
road was nice and empty. We saw a roadkill we identified later as possum. It was
alternating pouring and drizzleing, and that kinda affected some of the viewpoints, but it
was great to have the whole place to ourselves.

Piha was a charming little place. We had a run around on the beach, and a coffee in the
cafe before heading down a narrow winding little road to the next community over called
Karekare. There we ate lunch...white bread with ham/chicken prepared lunch meat.
Surprisingly good.

It was really chucking it down by that point and after a quick run out as far as we could
towards the beach we retreated to the car for a change of clothes.

We went back to the visitor centre as we had not been able to go in before as it was not
yet open, and we leared a little about some of the things we had seen. The next stop was
One Tree Hill, close to the centre of Auckland. It is a park, and there are lots of
sheepies, though they were all huddled to avoid the once again pouring rain.

This is where the driving got stressful. We had the car for that night and the next day,
and we had a hostel booked downtown. Slowly and cautiously we made our way downtown, trying
to figure out weird traffic things on the fly. Auckland is not a nice place to drive around
in right downtown. Very stressy. We found the hostel with minimum of searching, and I ran
in to ask for a cheap place to park. After navigating to it, it was full...

After ending up going straight up a hill the car could barely manage, we pulled over and
re-assesed. We ended up deciding to return the car early, as we really didnt think we would
be using it much more.

Check in complete and after a shower, both of us felt more human, and we ended up going out
for a nice walk around the city a bit. It is quite a busy city with lots seeming to be
going on downtown. We were a bit pooped though, and we decided to go to bed pretty early as
we were planning on going to Rangitoto early the next morning.

I will let Angie do all the talking about that. But here we are now, a bit over halfway to
Cairns when I was writing this, on a plane again. It looks like it is going to be a beauty
of a day in Cairns when we arrive. More from there!


  1. You made it to No.1 Pancake! excellent! shame about the rain, but even still I'm quite envious.

  2. I thought I had something to say, but it did not seem to let me. Second try. Old and not too tech savy :(