Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Final Episode of our New Zealand Christmas Adventure

On Christmas morning, we did another opening of the stockings and one last Christmas gift for each person. Matt bought the only "Christmas" tree he could find at a local store to put up.

 Marie was the last to wake up around 7:45am. The boys woke up at 6am, so it was a long wait for them!

 Ready to go down the stairs...
 We didn't get much of a reaction from Marie on our "Christmas morning" the day before we left Wellington, but she was all smiles for this one!
 She received her one and only doll (so far) and she loves it!
 The boys got a bunch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures so they could play together.
 Matt got Ant-Man
 We got the boys a series of books called "Who Would Win?" about mock animal battles. It's pretty fun. I'm reading one of them in this picture:
 Bobby and me in our crowns from our first ever Christmas crackers. They have a prize and a crown and a joke inside each one. It has a tiny firecracker inside so they pop when you open them. Pretty fun. I don't remember purchasing them, and neither does Matt, so I am pretty sure we received them as a gift from the owner of the hotel! That was sweet of him!
We thought about going to a park or to the Antarctic Centre which was the only thing open on Christmas day, but since we had had very full days of touring, we just stayed "home" and rested and played and watched movies. It was a wonderful Christmas day.

The next morning, we went on our final tour in the South Island, the only Lord of the Rings tour leaving out of Christchurch. It was about a 2.5-hour bus ride out to Mount Sunday, where they filmed the Riders of Rohan and Edoras.

We stopped a few times to stretch our legs and have lunch with the tour group.

 We finally reached our destination after some crazy gravel roads...
Our view of Mount Sunday
Screenshot of Edoras
 Side view of Mount Sunday 
Side view of Edoras

 We took about a 40-minute hike up the mountain.
 The tour provided Lord of the Rings weapons for people to use in their photos.
 The boys loved it!
 They had pictures of Eowyn so we could line me up to look like the screenshot below.

 I'm pretty sure we used this as our family photo for something... pretty intimidating ;)

 Then we hiked down the mountain.

Shot of Scotty walking back to the bus
...which matched a screenshot of the front wall of Edoras!

Marie getting some space after her long walk in the baby carrier.
And she wanted her turn with the weapons. 
 Beautiful lavender field on the drive home.
We loved the South Island and couldn't wait to return! The North Island of New Zealand is made from volcanoes, and the South Island is made from tectonic plates colliding, so they really seem to have every geological feature within the country. It's truly incredible.

We drove back to the ferry the next morning and then home. It was an exhausting, but very fun family trip. We made lots of wonderful memories and took hundreds of photos!

(written January 2017)

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