Each year we make our pilgrimage to the Hamilton Gardens and the Pukekura Festival of Lights. They are both very photo worthy locations, so it's hard not to go trigger happy on the photos.
This year, we took Nana and Kim along for the ride to the Gardens. Nana is well versed in these trips as she has often come with us. For Kim, it was only her 2nd time here and the last time was a flying visit as the gardens were closing.
It was a warm and sticky day.
So we were all quite relieved by the time we made it to the American Modernist garden so we could have a paddle.
Although the boys would find water anywhere they went methinks.
I think the Italian garden is still my favourite though. Italy being up there with my favourite place on the planet.
Despite the threatening clouds, we made it all the way around and home again before the heavens really opened. Which turned out to be the story of our holiday. We'd set off on a little adventure, not sure if the weather would hold and Providence made sure we got home again just as the first drips were falling on what would turn out to be quite heavy downpours.
As our time in Hamilton drew to a close, we farewelled the family, although knowing we'd be seeing Nic and Kim again in New Plymouth and then in Wellington in the New Year.
With only two nights planned in New Plymouth this year (so I could get home to see the doctor on New Years Eve), we had to take pot luck with the weather and go to the Festival of the Lights the night we arrived. No trip to the park would be complete without a ride on the model trains first. Although I nearly missed out, when one of my tummy episodes meant I had to make a quick dash to find the nearest toilet (which was quite a few minutes walk away in the end...eek...hate that hot/cold flush you get when you know you need to find the loo and you just HAVE to hold on). Anyway I made it safely there and back again, just in time to catch the last ride on the trains with the boys.
We thought the displays this year were definitely more impressive than last year's, with a new company having had the contract (from Wellington no less, although I think that put a few people's noses in the Naki out of joint).
We made our way all the way to the other end of the park, just in time for the lights to be switched on at 8.30pm, and to hear the giant up in the trees doing his very loud Z-ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!
The jellyfish hanging over the water were new this year, softly changing colour.
And this display on the island on the centre of the lake was like something out of the Lorax. Very cool.
By far my favourite were the beautiful hanging lanterns on the main bridge. So ethereal and graceful.
And then we wound our way back to the garish, loud lighting of the waterfall and light couch. In this pic, Noah is pleading with us to go and get one of the glowing toys that were for sale.
This year we caved. And got them a glowing wand stick each. At $8 a pop they are a bit overpriced. Having said that, the batteries have lasted very well, and can actually be replaced rather than it being a one-hit wonder.
The boys had all manner of fun waving them around and shouting 'Winguardium Leviosa' (Noah recently watched the 1st Harry Potter and has gone a bit Harry Potter crazy).
This year, the ultraviolet light section was particularly cool. A little bit of self-portraiture was called for.
As a kid I remember going to the lights and trying to dress up in the most white or fluorescent clothing so we glowed when we were under the lights. This year, my white hoodie kinda did the trick (even if it wasn't deliberately).
The glowing rocks really did make me feel as if I was on the moon!
And once again we managed to stay dry throughout the night!