Having three year-old Ana and one year-old Rafa with their mother Sarah all here from the USA for two and a half weeks has been an experience in discovering just how much there is to do round here – and we have not needed to extend the mortgage to have all kinds of fun. In alphabetical order:
Biking in the back yard on a Trade Me purchase. (Already covered and also beginning with B were blowing bubbles and balloon watching.)
C is for climbing trees and D is for dressing up in an $8 tutu.
E is for Easter Bunny Sarah’s visit to the lettuce patch, in imitation of Peter Rabbit.
F is for flying lessons with Great Uncle Rob. Perhaps Ana will be allowed to leave the hangar and try some aerobatics next time.
H is for horsey rides on Iggy’s back. This activity, fortunately, did not cost us chiropracter’s bills.
P is for playing in the park – we found five within walking distance of Flagstaff…
…and P is also for playdough. The Playcentre recipe is beautifully pliable,keeps well in the refrigerator and costs a fraction of the price of shop-sold playdough. Would you like the recipe?
R is for running at Raglan Beach. (The play park there made a fantastic pirate ship, too.) R is also for raiding the pantry. Spice jars make great rattles.
S is for many activities. Steam train rides at Leamington, just out of Cambridge, are only $2 for big people and little ones who are accompanied by a big person are free. Aunty VJ came, too.
S is for strawberry picking in the back yard. Cousin Sid led Ana and Rafa on!
S is also for studying the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. In the time Ana and Rafa were with us, they could see the caterpillars growing fat as they stripped the swan plants. Ana watched a caterpillar form its chrysalis. We saw the newly emerged butterfly in the garden on the morning of the last day of our holiday. Perfect timing.
S is for the Sunday market – hot coffee and almond croissants for breakfast, live music, bumping into friends, and shopping for Rakaia smoked salmon and ginormous grapes for our family’s visit that evening.
V is for visiting the Hamilton Gardens. We saw about half the themed gardens (good to have new gardens to visit next time) then stopped for a coffee at the cafe newly taken over by Kerr and Ladbrook. Sarah said her long black was the best she tasted in New Zealand.
W is for watering the garden. Water restrictions meant that I did need Ana’s help with coping with the “hand held hose only” conditions that apply to Hamilton.
Z is for the zoo – excellent value, especially if you use the family voucher from the Entertainment Book.
Which brings us to the end of our story, with Sarah, Rafa and Ana queuing at Mangere for their flights back home. We have also come back to the beginning of the alphabet, with A for Au Revoir. We hope your long journey back to the USA has gone smoothly and you will join us again to discover even more adventures in our region.
Thank you, Sarah, for providing so many of these photos.