Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Road Trip to the Hamilton Temple, Huka Falls, and Lake Taupo

(I'm writing this in January of 2017, so the details are a bit fuzzy...)

Matt took a couple of days off for us to take a 7-hour drive up to Hamilton to go to the temple there. Our stake had gone up several weeks before, but we were unable to attend because of Matt's work schedule, so we had our own temple trip. We left Thursday, 19 November around 10am, at almost the exact moment that my sister-in-law went to the hospital to have her third child. That definitely added some excitement to the drive for me! And of course, there was very beautiful scenery along the way.

We passed Mt Doom from the Lord of the Rings along the way, which is actually Mt Ngauruhoe in Tongariro National Park.
We stopped to walk around and probably change a diaper...

 Matt doesn't like getting his picture taken...
We arrived in Hamilton late Thursday night and had dinner at the hotel.

Matt and I took turns going to the temple during the day on Friday.

The kids spent the whole day at an indoor playground called Chipmunks because it was raining most of the day. Then in the late afternoon, we dropped the kids off at a woman's house who is a member of the Church in the area. When we visited New Zealand in 2014, Jodi volunteered to watch our kids for us, so I found her phone number and asked if she could watch them for us again and she was willing! She has a son named Matt and a daughter named Becky which was pretty funny, and Becky loved helping out and asked to always be our babysitter when we went to the temple. The kids had a wonderful time and ate more dinner at their house than they usually do for me.

On Saturday we started driving back home. We stopped at Huka Falls, which was so beautiful! Huka is the Maori word for foam. The river is normally 100 meters wide and then has to go through this canyon which is 15 meters wide, so the water is flowing really fast.
 Scotty took this pictures of Matt and me:

There was a misunderstanding... Bobby thought we would be swimming in the waterfall. This may sound ridiculous, but we did actually swim in a waterfall in Laos several months before this, so it seemed like a legitimate possibility in his mind. We had also gone to China a while before this, where we did not swim, not even once in the 9 days we were there, so he kept saying through his sobs, "First we don't swim in China, now we don't swim in New Zealand..." Poor kid. But if we let him swim in this waterfall, he would have surely died, so...

Marie loved this rock. She spent a long time sitting on it and it took several minutes to convince her she could not live here, but needed to walk back to the van eventually.
Bobby being a good big brother
We also stopped in Taupo for lunch. Matt took the boys swimming at a pool there while I sat in the car with a napping Marie. I was starting to get a cold or something and didn't feel up to swimming. I drove around until Marie fell asleep and the parked at the shore of Lake Taupo and watched the waves gently hit the rocks. It was very peaceful.
We spent the night in Turangi, at the southern tip of Lake Taupo. Then we woke up early so we could go to church at the smallest branch I think I have ever attended, so they were very happy to have us, and we were exceptionally conscious of how loud our children are. We got home Sunday night and went to sleep and thus ends our first New Zealand road trip.

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