Jude is back from her NZ trip and Tui is still working hard, now on his regular roster. We are still camped at George & Vicky’s and they looked after Tui very well in Jude’s absence. Thanks guys. Tui had a 3am start the day Jude left so we were up at 2.30. Vicky took Jude to the train at 6.30 and so the big trip began.
The Prospector, a high speed, state-of-the-art train, departs at least once a day from both Kalgoorlie & East Perth. The 653km journey takes approximately 7 hours however we were a little late getting in. The option was taken to disembark at the Midland Station as it was a bit closer to the Airport saving on the Taxi fare. It is fully air-conditioned with large, well-cushioned seats. Some of the features include:
- An on-demand entertainment system with personal music channels and new release movies
- Power points for laptop computers
- Full buffet service (cash only)
- Toilet facilities
- Special facilities to cater for people with mobility difficulties.
Some quite nice scenery on the way.
Had to wait a little while for a Taxi, arriving at the airport just after Hayden & Tania (Jude’s son & Fiancee). The plane was delayed but fortunately the Pilot got us there on time, 6.05 am NZ time. A wet & windy day greeted us, with Jeff (Jude’s other son) picking us up from the airport. Straight out to see the Grandkids, so cool to see them again. Jeff, Amie & their 3 children live in the country on a few acres in Pukekawa which is about 55 kms south of the Airport. The area’s fertile soils are used to grow a range of vegetables, including onions, potatoes and carrots although Jeff runs a few sheep and calves.
After lunch it was off to Brian & Trish’s to pick up the car that they had kindly let Hayden & Tania borrow whilst in NZ. After a catch up with Brian, Trish Bob & Janine (Jude’s sister) it was pick up Pizza for tea and back out to Pukekawa. After approximately 30 hrs with no sleep it was time for bed.
It was the annual Tuakau Kindergarten Duck Race the next day and Nana Jude would have loved to go but was too exhausted so just had a chill out day.
Jeff headed off to Rotorua next day to spend a couple of days with his brother and dropped Nana Jude off at Mercer to meet up with Janine & Bob in their Motor Home. It was off to their daughter’s place to help her move house. Annette & Paul live on the shores of Lake Taupo at a place called Kinloch. Originally a sheep station, Kinloch later developed as a holiday destination with baches being built next to the lake, it now has a mixture of permanent residents and holiday makers. The lake is used for trout fishing, water skiing & wake boarding.
After a couple of days it was off to Rotorua with Hayden & Tania to stay at the Resort at the edge of the Lake A bit of a bypass to see the Huka Falls.
Located just a few minutes drive north Taupo, this thundering 11-metre high waterfall is the most visited and photographed natural attraction in New Zealand.
The sheer volume of water flowing over the falls amounts to 220,000 litres per second – enough to fill one Olympic sized swimming pool in 11 seconds!
The Waikato River, normally up to 100-metres wide, abruptly narrows to just 15 metres as it crosses a hard volcanic ledge north of Lake Taupo. This causes a huge volume of water to collide and funnel through the rocky gorge, forming the spectacularly powerful falls and rapids.
Onto Sandra’s (niece) in Matamata for a Barbie. On the way we drove through Tirau. Tirau is a vibrant little town set in the South Waikato amongst some of New Zealand’s most fertile farmland. The Tirau community has claimed corrugated iron art as it’s own and now Steven Clothier’s works line the streets.
Lesley called around for a catch up. So good to see you girls. Next day Hayden & Tania set off to Tauranga to see friends while Jude had a rest day. Pity no Bathers in the bag as there was a Spa pool.
Friday it was time to head back to Pukekawa to get organised for Jeff’s 40th Birthday. Hayden & Tania stayed in Tuakau with Carmel (a friend) while Jeff dropped Jude off at Janine & Bob’s. They live in their Motor Home but have a little flat on the end of Bob’s shed and have been busy doing some additional work so now have a spare bedroom.
The Birthday Party was a blast. It was fantastic to see almost all of our Brother’s family, who past away last year, celebrating with us. In fact there were only a couple of cousins that couldn’t make it. The live band was great and most of us had sore feet the next day. Food awesome, can’t beat home killed mutton!
Jude & her boys hadn’t been together for 10 years so it was great to get a photo, even though Jude could have looked better. Lol!
The following week was pretty much catching up with Janine & Bob except being picked up on Thursday afternoon by Robyn (friend) and taken out to her place for the night. We had a lovely Barbie with Kay (Robyn’s sister) & her husband joining us. Been a few years Kay! Robyn & Murray have a farm in between Mercer & Mangatawhiri. They grow Maize and graze cattle.
The next day it was a drive to Pauanui, approx an hour and a half away as they have a beach place there and Robyn wanted to take some things down for Christmas and mow the lawns. The town of Pauanui meaning Big Paua (abalone) in Maori is on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. The area is a popular holiday destination, with an estimated summer holiday maker population of over 15,000, and is popularly imagined as a resort enclave for Auckland’s upper classes – properties with views of the ocean are regularly sold for over NZ$1 million.
Back to Janine’s, then next day was Ella’s (Granddaughter) 4th Birthday. Janine & Jude drove out to Pukekawa to a fairy tale scene. Set among the trees at the back of the block were tree stumps painted red with white dots to represent toadstools. Pictures of fairies hung in the trees and everyone was given a magic wand. I am sure all of the children had a blast.
A few more days of catch up with Janine then out to lunch with Robyn & Kay on Wednesday. Great food , great company.
At that Tuakau Kindergarten each Thursday they have a Nature Discovery Day. A group of the children go out and explore what Nature has to offer. Hand feeding eels, climbing up banks with the aid of ropes and finding all sorts of interesting objects. Jeff had the day off work to take Max & Ella and invited Jude to join them. Everyone took along a sandwich to be toasted and they lit a fire, put a hot plate on top when the embers had died down a bit, cooked them for lunch. Delicious! Nothing like eating outdoors. Max had the job of making the children their Milo and the adults tea or coffee. Good job Max.
As you can see it was a little wet so borrowed leggings and coat were the order of the day. A fun day but Nana Jude was pretty tired at the end of it. Off for tea at the Papakura RSA that night with Janine & Bob and their Motor Home mates. Great to see you Ray & Sue.
We were now the day before departure back to Perth. Off to Pukekohe to do a spot of Christmas shopping while Janine & Bob stayed at home working on their project. Not an easy task, couldn’t find a thing for Tui, so duty free Bourbon it was, and didn’t really get what I wanted for others. We had an impromptu family pot luck dinner that night for those who lived close by in Janine & Bob’s shed. Sandra came up from Matamata with her boys and stayed the night. Always a good time with that lot.
Jeff, Amie & kids, Janine & Bob all came to the airport to see us off next day. All in all a good trip however Nana Jude would have liked to spend more time with Max, Ella & Sam.
Will really miss you guys!
It was after 11pm Perth time by the time we arrived at Hayden & Tania’s. Not a very good nights sleep, then was dropped off at East Perth Train Station 3hrs early as Hayden & Tania had to work. Got as far as Toodyay & the train was stopped because of a bush fire.
Steam train at East Perth.
Finally arrived an hour and a half late. So good to be greeted by Tui.
Christmas is fast approaching and Tui has started his 2nd night shift roster. Unfortunately he will be working night shift for Christmas so it will be a pretty quiet one for us.
We would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas & trust that 2017 will be a great one for all of you. Catch ya in the New Year. Until then “Laugh more, live longer!