Around Wanaka

So we decided on Wanaka for the final week of our big New Zealand trip. We knew we liked it as a place, and feeling pretty exhausted by this point, a place we could relax. Whilst we were here the first snows arrived on the tops!

We got an Air B&B house with a garden and set about having a few easier days.

The Bike

There are some great bike tracks that run along the lakeside, and some mountain bike tracks that connect up with them.

Evie has taken to bringing her helmet to me to indicate that she wants to go out on the bike, and if she can’t go on the bike, she also loves riding the washing basket!

We went off a few times along these lovely paths with great views and even had a go at one of the tracks but we had to go super slow so she wasn’t bouncing all over the place.

On one track we came across this little hedgehog that was collapsing. We fed it some of Evie’s milk which it stood on its hind legs and caught the drops, and left it some food in the hope it survives (to later discover they are considered pests in New Zealand).

Rob Roy Glacier

Up over 30km of gravel road and through a couple of fords, you arrive at the car park for the Rob Roy glacier track and the Mt Hutt track.

With beautiful views even driving to the car park, it’s a walk that remains spectacular throughout.

Over a swing bridge and up through forest. There are a couple of impressive rock overhangs that you wouldn’t want to walk underneath at the wrong moment.

A river with massive boulders.

An impressively high waterfall

And then the beautiful glacier. Here Evie demonstrates her new mountaineering skills clambering over rocks and along footpaths, showing utter determination at ever stumble!

Back down, noting the geology of the mountainsides, more lovely scenery.

It’s clearly exhausting!

Swimming

Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea are beautiful lakes to swim in. Absolutely crystal clear, a refreshing dip in these is a must if you love swimming.

The Blue Pools

An hours drive from Wanaka, these were not (in our opinion) worth driving to. Stopping at if you are headed along this road up the west coast then definitely yes.

They are about a 10 minute walk from the road, but the are stunning – the water clarity is something else again.

To make matters worse for our long drive out, this is one of the only, and the worst places, where we have terrorised by sandflies! Enough that all you wanted to do was get back to the safety of the car.

Mt Iron

A short walk just on the edge of Wanaka up a small hill. However, although the hill is small, the 360 degrees panorama is big with great views all around.

Wanaka town

A small and touristy town sitting at the end of the lake, with a gorgeous backdrop, some nice cafes to sit and enjoy the view from and lots of outdoor shops. There were also parks and a great skateboard park – this was Evie’s favourite place to hang out in town!

Bay of Islands

Basing ourselves in Opua, with the nearest town being Paihia, our first day was spent locally chilling out, doing a little organising and heading to Paihia beach.

And enjoying some scrumptious pizza!

Paihia

A popular beach fronting a touristy town that sees regular cruise ship visitors, although busy it definitely wasn’t our favourite of beaches. It had fun toilets though!

The next day was an early start to get me into Paihia to go diving whilst Evie and Tim had a daddy & daughter day breakfasting out and hanging out at the park. It allowed me to see a bit of the Bay of Islands by boat as well, something we didn’t plan on doing as a family.

Doing a Bean swap, we hung out in the evening and Evie had a fun outdoor bath and walked up the road from the house, whilst Tim played at the local golf club.

It was then Tims turn for a day of fun as he was excited to be able to go and play at the exclusive Kauri Cliffs golf club.

Biking – The Twin Coast Cycle Trail

Evie and me got the bike out and set off from Opua through mangroves and farmland, past a crazy toilet mobile!

cycling along a short section of the Twin Coast Cycle Trail (apparently a 4 day trail).

We however just followed the old railway track to Kawakawa, along which the Bay of Islands vintage train runs, had a picnic and played at the playground, before heading back and retreating to the ranch from the sweltering heat for another outdoor bath!

Oke Bay

We finally found a little bit of paradise in the Bay of Islands. Getting the car ferry across from Opua to Okiato we stopped for a drink at Russell.

A more up market cruise ship tourist town based around a marina, with a much more inviting beach than Paihia.

However we were moving on for our swim as the ferry guy recommended Oke Bay.

A half hour drive away, partly on gravel road, it was worth the drive! The view from the top of the steps were what we had been expecting from the Bay of Islands.

Some lovely swimming, even Evie had a proper dip. And she enjoyed lots of paddling and walking along the beach.

Sadly time to leave this beautiful bay and head back across the tiny stretch of water on the ferry.

Haruru Falls

Packing up to leave, we finished our time here with a walk from the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi to Haruru Falls. Took about 1&1/2 hours each way with a little picnic at the falls.

Through beautiful forest again, the only trouble being fitting through the bike prevention gates at each end of the walk with a child carrier!

Getting there was exciting as the high tide was so high that shoes off was required through the mangrove swamps

The falls were nice to see, shame no jumping in allowed!

Seeing some nice birds nesting and sunning themselves on the return

Back through the now emptier mangroves

Having had a good walk it really was time to leave. In truth a little underwhelmed with the Bay of Islands (would advise the Coromandel if you had to pick between them) we head off to Auckland.

A glorious October day

We woke to a beautiful sunrise and a forecasted amazing day.

How to make the most of it (apart from drying 3 loads of washing?!).

I decided to get out the bike and Chariot and cycle us to Penrith to get the food shopping and, most importantly, take Evie to Rattle and Drum, a session she seems to love.

Even better, whilst I was enjoying the biking and the colours, she had two good morning sleeps!

Then (after more washing), I met up with Jess and her Osh, and we walked along Haweswater to the Forces.

We had a nice picnic and I believe the bubas enjoy each other’s company, Evie slightly frustrated that she can’t yet walk to chase Osh around. A great place to enjoy the autumn colours and listen to the deer rutting.

Then onwards, we said bye to Jess & Osh and Tim came and met us at Pooley Bridge for an amazing sunset.

He and Evie chilled

I swam (brrrrr – getting cold in there)

And then after a lot of excitement in one day, it was time for home, bath and tea!

Foraging the hedgerows

It’s all about timing!

I did well on timing the foraging outing on the bike with Evie’s sleep. I did badly (by at least two weeks) of timing the fruit picking. The rosehips are softening and I only found a handful of blackberries.

We started out and took every opportunity to pick fruit, meaning that Evie could help with the rosehips and elderberries!

Then with the eye rubbing, it was time to tuck her up and do some cycling to get her to sleep

Continuing along the way, the bushes were abundant in elderberries and crab apples

The Chariot was useful for carrying the jam pan to collect the fruit in, in the ‘boot’ with the nappy change bag!

Though the wind was strong, the views were gorgeous. Definitely feeling autumnal

Quite tired when I got home, well timed as Evie woke up!! Ready to make the hedgerow jelly jam when I get a spare moment!

A tag-a-long with a difference

I am writing this as a reminder to myself in the future, when Evie has grown into a little girl. In the hope she will being riding her own bike some of the time, but maybe get tired and need some help along the way.

I saw this contraption in Germany and have seen a few variations along the Danube cycling trip, and they seem to make it possible to allow kids to have independence when they have energy, and help when tired. Therefore allowing families to cover reasonable distances!

I’m not even exactly sure how it works, except that when not in use it live on the parents bike. More weight = greater fitness training!!!