Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016.  We got up, had breakfast, packed the car and headed to the Bay of Islands for a few days.  First stop Parry's Kauri Park.  Sally Bryce and Jane leaning against the McKinney Kauri Tree that is 800 years old.  You cannot believe how big it is until you actually see it and walk up to it.

Bryce, Jane, Nada and Sally trying to reach around the tree.  We are not quite half way with all four of us.
We walked through the beautiful park with all the Fern Trees, Kauri's and other native trees.  We came out by The Simpson Kaori that is 600 years old.  You can tell it is huge but not as big as the McKinney Tree.

We then got back in the car and headed to Paihia in the Bay of Islands for the next couple of days.

We arrived in Paihia just in time to catch our bay cruise at 1:15 p.m.  We saw a few dolphins but not as many as we have on our other trips up here.  Jane, Reed and Sally were at the front of the boat and Jane loved watching them.
The water was pretty calm until we got farther out into the sea.  Beautiful light house and light house keepers house on the hillside. 
We made it out to Hole in the Rock.  We thought we were going to get to go through it but the water around the hole was too rough.  The captain said it was just not safe.  We were very disappointed.  We have taken this cruise three times and still not been through the hole.
Reed and Nada doing a selfie.  We really enjoyed being out on the water.
 Jane had a great time.
We got off at Russell Island and walked around.  We came to this Restaurant and Café called Sallys so we had to take a picture of our Sally under the sign.
We bought a treat while we were waiting for the ferry to go back over to Paihia.  Bryce and Jane are very sunburned and not very happy about it.  We forgot to take the sunscreen on the boat with us.    We had a very nice day all except for the sunburn.  Our motel room was like a small apartment.  We had separate rooms, a living room, kitchen and nice bathroom.  It cooled off nicely and we had a good nights sleep.
Friday morning February 12, 2016 we had to get up early.  We caught the tour bus at 7:15 a.m. right in front of the Dolphin Motel where we are staying.  We had a female driver and she was the tour guide as well.  She did a great job and was a lot of fun.  We had to ride at the back of the bus because we were some of the last people picked up.
The bus stopped after about two hours by a little shop to have morning tea.  Jane saw a beach and water and headed write down there.  Jane and Reed walked along the beach and got their feet wet and found sea shells.
 Jane loving the beach.
We drove on 90 Mile beach for about 30 minutes.  We could not go for very long because it was approaching high tide and she did not want to get stuck in the tide.  We stopped and played in the water for a few minutes.
Nada, Sally, Jane and Bryce getting feet wet.  Jane kept going in until she got soaked and we had to change her clothes.  She loved it.  It is a very nice beach and the tide would go way far out and then come in very high.
Sally and Jane trying to out run the waves.

We got back in the bus and headed to Cape Reiga.  We hiked up the hill to look down on the lighthouse and where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet.
Nada and Reed with the Cape Reiga Lighthouse and the meeting of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean.  The line is not quite as distinct as when we were there in December of 2014 but you can still see where the Tasman is a lighter blue than the Pacific.
Jane, Sally and Bryce with the lighthouse behind them and the meeting of the two oceans.  Beautiful sight.
Cape Reiga Lighthouse.  It is sure a beautiful setting.
We got back in the bus and headed to the sand dunes.  We were the only bus there so we had the hill to ourselves.  We all had to hike up the hill that is the hardest part, carrying the boards up the sandy hill.
Nada helping Jane get onto her own boogie board.  She was fearless.  Some older people decided if this little three year old could do it they could too.  She was so cute. Jane and I went up about 2/3 of the way so we went down three times and the others went to the top of the hill so they only went twice. 
 So cute and brave.
Taking our boards back to the bus.  We had so much fun.
We stopped at this big barn like building for fish and chips then headed to Manginangina Kauri Tree Reserve.  We saw more very large Kauri Trees here than we have seen any place else.  They are pretty magnificent.  This walkway was built for a visit from Queen Elizabeth.  It cost around 1 million dollars.  She got out of her car, walked a few steps, said very nice then got back in her car.  It was a very nice walkway.
This reserve was full of Kauri Trees this big all through it.  Some bigger, some smaller.  It was very nice.  We really enjoyed it.  Truly worth the stop. 

Sally, Bryce and Jane back on the bus on the ride home.  We arrived back in front of the motel at 7:00 p.m.

We had a great day.  We were tired but had a lot of fun experiences.  We walked down the street and had pizza and ice cream for dinner, walked along the beach and then went back to the motel and had a quiet evening.

Saturday, February 13, 2016 we got up had some breakfast, packed the car and headed back to Takapuna.  On the way home the first stop was Kawiti Glow Worm Cave.  We just did not have time to go to Waitomo Caves so this was a chance to see some Glow Worms.

We got there as they were gathering a big group.  The boy said hurry and I will take you on your own tour so it was just the five of us.  We saw a lot of Glow Worms and were satisfied.  This cave is family owned and run.  It is nice.
The hike out is very beautiful.  There are some very interesting rocks and trees on the hike back to the parking area.
We then drove to the Matakana Market.  We got there about noon and ate some food and looked around.  It closes at 1:00 p.m. so some of the booths were already closing when we got there.  We did buy Jane her birthday gift and Sally bought the kids some gifts.  They bought Jane this dress and hat which she loved. 

Next stop Muriwai Beach.  We never get sick of this view and visiting this beach.
The Gannetts are still here but it appears that some of them have started to migrate to Australia.
The black and white birds are the babies.  They are as large as the parents now and not as pretty.
Sally and Jane posing with the Tasman Sea and Gannett Colony behind them.  Jane loves to pose.  She is so cute and we had so much fun with her. 
Reed, Sally and Jane changed and decided to play in the water.  I did not want to get wet and Bryce did not want to be in the sun and get anymore sunburned.
Reed decided he was going into the cave no matter what.  You can see how deep the water is in the mouth of the cave.  Once they got in it was not that deep.
Sally and Reed both made it into the cave.  I was nervous because the tide was coming in and the waves were crashing into the cave.  They finally came out and I was relieved.
Enjoying the water, the beach, the beautiful scenery and each other.  It doesn't get much better than this.
There were a lot of surfers out today.  We hiked back up to the car park and headed home about 6:00 p.m.  Another fabulous day.

Sunday, February 14, 2016, Happy Valentine's Day! We walked over to Milford Lake and fed the ducks and swans.  We went to Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill on the way to church.  We did not take our camera so I have no pictures.

We only went to Sacrament Meeting because Reed really wanted them to see the New Zealand Temple so we got in the car and drove 1 hour and 45 minutes to see the Temple.  They took some pictures with their cell phone and we just enjoyed the beautiful surrounds.  Then we drove back home.  We got back about 8:00 p.m. and had dinner and packed a few things since they leave tomorrow.

Monday, February 15, 2016.  We got up and finished packing.  We walked over to our office where we work.  We had them meet all the people in our office and had them meet some of our missionary friends.  We wanted them to be able to put names to faces.  It helps our children feel more a part of our mission.  It helps the people we work with know our children and grandchildren a little bit.  We then walked down to Takapuna Beach so they could see where we like to go walking and see the beautiful beach so close to our home.  Again no camera.  I know, we usually always have the camera what a day to not have the camera for pictures.

Then we went back to our flat, packed up the car and headed to the airport at 11:00 a.m.  We arrived and got them all checked in.  Everything went smoothly.  We had some lunch then hugged and kissed and said good bye.  Oh my, how we hated to see them go.  We loved every minute of having them here with us.  There were a few tears shed but we feel so blessed they were able to come and we could show them this beautiful country that we love. 

We went back to the office and worked then went home to a very quiet house.  We will miss them so much but are so grateful they were able to come.  We feel so blessed to have had Christy, Devree, Trevor, Nichole, Sally, Bryce and Jane come and spend time with us.  It gave us something to look forward to and let us feel of their love.  It is nice to Skype or Facetime but nothing like being able to hug and kiss your wonderful children and grandchildren.

We love our mission and are grateful to serve the people here in the Pacific Area.  We are trying to listen to the Holy Ghost and do what our Father-in-Heaven wants us to do.  We are seeing the work moving forward and are grateful to be a part of something so good.  We know the church is true and are grateful to know families are forever.

Until next time, love Elder and Sister Spencer (aka Reed and Nada)



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