We seem to strike it pretty lucky on our journeys north through the centre of the island, and this trip was no different. With a cold snap only a few days behind us, there was an incredible amount of snow on the mountains for this time of year - it sure made for some good photo opportunities as we drove.
Most times, we avoid getting stuck in traffic in Taupo and skirt around it on the bypass. But today being a normal (non-holiday) weekend, we figured it would be safe to venture in - plus we needed to pick up a voucher for my brother's birthday and it was bang on time for lunch. We found ourselves a lovely little self-serve sushi place that wowed us all - so much so that we stopped in again on the way home! Love finding little spots like that!
The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful. But we had plenty of thrills and spills that night when Sam brought over a whole load of unsold fireworks from his shop and proceeded to get all crazy making sparkler bombs and fireworks cakes. Let's just say it's a good thing Mum and Dad's field was still pretty green during the spectacular otherwise I'm fairly sure we'd have set the paddock alight. Great fun though!
Sunday was a quiet day, our weary travellers who'd taken an overnight flight from Oz needed some time just to recover and rest, and the most exciting thing we did was take a bike ride over the new swing bridge a few roads over and then bike all the way home to Nana and Poppa's. Which sounds like it should be fun but it's a bit terrifying as a parent letting your child loose on the country roads where the speed limit is up to 100 km/hr. I breathed a big sigh of relief when we made it back onto their dead end road.
We'd struck lovely weather for the weekend, and so a trip to Hamilton Gardens is always high on the list of places to go when we're there. Hamilton Gardens has gained such a reputation over the past few years with its constant development of new themed gardens that it's even winning international awards these days! There are new gardens being developed all the time so visiting only a couple of times a year means there's a lot of progress to see.
Someone may have been having a 'moment' in the photo below! Love how he curls his feet over like his daddy though!
This photo is available for sale in the Beautiful NZ gallery on my website: Meghan Maloney Photography
And then there was the joy of hanging out with this little girl.
As you can see I also made up for lost time shooting loads of photos of our niece, she is such a gorgeous wee cherub and just recently turned one. She's growing so fast (it seems especially so when we don't live in the same country!) so I had to take advantage of the moments while they presented themselves. Missy Maia as I like to call her has quite possibly the sunniest, smiliest personality of any littlie I've ever met and I think this shines through in the photos!
On our last night, we settled in for a game of Settlers of Catan - which is a bit of a tradition, and always ends up being a little too competitive - I may or may not have been shooting daggers at Mark very early on in the game !
It's hard to believe the next time we will all be together is in Rarotonga next May for Sam and Alesha's wedding - it feels as if a week on a tropical island can't come soon enough right now!