Our last day in New Zealand and we had to get the caravan back about 10 hours before our flight. Michael made arrangements for us to have dinner with the family of one of his old coworkers. But first we had a few hours to kill so we headed to the beach.
After an afternoon at the beach we went for dinner. We had a lovely dinner and a great visit. I’m sad that I didn’t think to take one picture. After dinner we were off to the airport and on our way to America – by way of Singapore, Bangkok, and Tokyo.
High on Michael’s list of things to see in New Zealand were the glow worm caves. Not being able to take the main highway caused this to be a bit of a challenge. But we weren’t going to be deterred from our task and set out to cover some ground. Some really, really, beautiful ground.
We made it to the glow worms late. Too late to go into the caves. Michael had read about a smaller area to see glow worms. A more secluded place. A drive down a long dark road and a walk down a long dark path and over some long dark bridges and into a very dark cave. We used some flashlights to find it. And found ourselves disappointed because there were no glow worms. Luckily, someone suggested that we might want to turn off our flash lights. When we did there were glow worms! Glowing in the dark. Very cool. I don’t have any pictures of it, because we don’t have the kind of camera that lets you take night time pictures of glow worms.
Our fourth day found us in Wellington and getting a little bit of a late start. We had a scheduled time for our tour of the Weta Workshop and it had been arranged weeks in advance and missing out on it wasn’t an option. You might notice how focused Michael is on the driving. In the zone.
We were so focused on getting out of the motor park and on the high way that we might have skipped a step or two in the proper putting away the camper related stuff before you depart.
We accidentally got on the highway heading away from Weta Caves. While we were correcting our course we noticed a guy waving us down. Michael pulled over, rolled down the window, and was told that we were dragging our power cord. Dragging it down the highway behind us like a tail. Michael had to get out of the caravan, on a busy service road, gather up the cord, and stow it away. He was pleased. (Photos are a reenactment. He kindly posed for me. I knew I’d eventually blog this.)
The drive to Weta was beautiful. Our first real view of the ocean.
We made it and we were late. They were able to switch our time to a little later in the day so we spent some time looking around the gift shop. Posing with props and wandering out to find some coffee. Michael was paid the highest of compliments by one of the staff – “I mean this in the best way possible, you would make an awesome dwarf.”
After we finished at Weta it was time to hit the road again. We were of off in search of glow worms.
Chan graduated in 2013 and to celebrate we took a family vacation to Tokyo. Chan’s choice and very conveniently someplace the whole family was keen to see. This year Aly graduated and we celebrated with a trip to New Zealand. Her choice and, again, somewhere the entire family wanted to see.
I did a much better job of documenting Tokyo, but I’m going to try to make up for it now.
We flew Chiang Mai to Bangkok and Bangkok to Auckland. The picture below was taken right before Sam happened to check his inflight entertainment screen and noticed how long we were going to be in this plane. For some reason we never thought to check how long the flight was and were surprised (and not pleasantly) to discover that Bangkok to Auckland takes 11+ hours. Our smiles quickly faded.
11 hours later we arrived in Auckland and immediately started breaking the rules.
And found the first bit of middle earth.
We were picked up at the airport. Given an introduction to the Caravan that we would be our home for the week and we were off.