Monday, February 28, 2011

Slides, Blisters, and Dino's

We have decided that at the end of this trip we will be able to write a book about the top playgrounds in NZ. One of Josiah's current loves is to play on any sort of slide or swing. Any time he spots a play area he quickly asks, "out, play, swide, weeeeeeeee," in that order. He generally throws a please in too and so we are forced to stop. It has been fun watching him interact with kids his age and sometimes kids who don't even speak English. He mangers on to them in his own language and they jabber back in theirs.

In the third day of our trip Peter had decided to do a fairly grueling hike that was not my cup of tea, so we decided to split up for the afternoon. I will admit it felt funny leaving the only other person I knew in the country at the end of a long mountain road, but i knew we would both have stories to tell at the end of the day.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a 18.5 km thru hike. Because we were not heading the direction of the hikes end, I decided to hike the 8 km to the emerald lakes and red crater. The hike was a lot harder then I had planned.... and it didn't help that I had told Molly to pick me up in a few hours. However, the hike was awesome... A small storm came in as I was climbing next to "Mt. Doom" with clouds skimming the volcanic surface. I wish Sam was there to carry me up the mountain, cause I could've used the help. I did make it up and back, only 20 minutes late, but I am sore! And I have a blister the size of Mt. Doom itself!

While Peter hiked, Josiah and I went to National Park, NZ where we visited the Tongariro Chalet and a ski area above the chalet. The chalet was built by the government in a hopes of inviting more people to visit the national park. We also went to the visitors center where Josiah pet every stuffed animal he could and tried to feed each one bread (see our first post for explanation). The ski area above the chalet was built into the volcano and it was fun to imagine the hills with snow. It was especially funny to imagine the ski seasons starting in the middle of July.

When we met back up we headed to the Ruatiti Domain where Peter wanted to fly fish and camp for the night. We ended up spending s few hours on the river fishing, throwing rocks, exploring and then headed back into town for the night.

The next morning we headed south to the NZ capitol, Wellington. What a beautiful city. It reminds us a lot of Seattle and we had fun walking along the streets and exploring the Mount Victoria lookout. For all you LOTR buffs, this was one of the filming sites for the first movie.

We then tried to squeeze in the national museum called Te Papa before Josiah's nap. It was well worth the trip. This was one of the most amazing museums we have ever been to. The layout, exhibits, technology where state of the art and interesting for every age. Josiah especially loved the dinos exhibit and the skeleton of the great blue whale. Soon after the exhibit, he was asleep.

After nap time we walked along the waterfront so we could put our toes in the water, chase seagulls and find something to eat for dinner. We really enjoyed the beauty and feeling of Wellington, we only wish we had another day here. But, we have reservations for the ferry to the south island in the morning.

The Olsen's <><

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