Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Saturday, September 3, 2016

We got up and left the flat at 6:15 a.m. to drive to the temple.  On the first Saturday of each month the 8:30 a.m. session is officiated and staffed by the YSA.  Some of our YSA asked us to please be at the temple today and take pictures after so of course how could we refuse.  We asked Elder and Sister Henderson if they would like to attend with us and then we would do some exploring a little farther south.

It is so nice to see our young members officiating and working in the temple.  In Utah we just don't see that as much.  The YSA really look forward to it and love attending and serving in the temple.  It is a great experience for them and we really enjoy being there with them.

Bishop Akolotu and his wife Ofa were in the session this morning.  He is the bishop of the Saineha Ward we attended for the first six months of this mission.  It was very nice to see them again.

Oscar Utai was working in the temple this morning.  He was one of our YSA when we served in Samoa, has finished his mission which he served here in Auckland, and is now living in Auckland and engaged to be married in December.  It was so nice to see him and catch up on things.  The young lady is a friend named Alisi Maasi.  Chantel, in the green dress, works in the finance department in the Area Office.

Most all of these YSA attend our Auckland First YSA Ward.
Jordan, Nada,not sure, Loise, Christine, Amanda, Mele, Chantel, Stacy, Teresa, Sister Tauiliili, Sanna in the tan.
Back row, Reed, Winston, Lance, Brother Tauiliili, Dillon, Sione

Reed, Nada, Kathy and Jim Henderson

Dillon and Nada.  Dillon is one of our YSA members and was in one of our Temple Prep classes and is the ward photographer.  We will really  miss these young people.

We then changed our clothes and headed south about an hour.  First stop was Te Kuiti about 7 kilometres from the turn off to Waitomo Caves. We wanted to show Elder and Henderson the bar/restaurant where they hold the world champion sheep sheering contest and helped them find a motel to stay at when their family comes in December.

In the bar they have all these sheep shearing shirts hanging up all over.  During the contest they bring in a stand and sheer the sheep and have a hole in the ceiling where they have a big hose that sucks up all the wool.  You have to be there to really get the feel of it all.
We then drove up to Waitomo Caves to show them where it is and how to get there.  We drove past the caves for about 30 minutes and came to a place called Mangapohue Natural Land Bridge.

We stopped at a lookout.  So green and beautiful.

The trails and paths to different places are very well taken care of.  There was a nice little river running all along the path.

Nada crossing the bridge held up by cables.  A young couple came behind her and started bouncing up and down.  It really made the bridge swing and made her very nervous.

Reed crossing the bridge.

This was the natural bridge.  You could not walk over it but it was very interesting.

We decided to not take the same path back to the car park.  However, this trail was not very well marked.  there were some beautiful rock formations, hills, trees, etc. to look at.  We had to walk around a lot of cow manure but it was an adventure.

The bushes and trees are starting to blossom.  You can see the interesting rock formations.  They were just all over in this area and then we did not see them again.

The mud was very slippery, more like wet clay, so we had to be careful where we stepped.  We do not know why these big holes were all along this part of the path.

The people who own the sheep and cattle let you walk through their fields and they have these fences with turn styles you have to climb over to get in and out.  Sometimes the fences are electrified.  We saw some beautiful country, enjoyed the fresh air and the temperature was just right.
We got back into the care drove about five minutes and came to a car park for Piripiri Cave.  We stopped and went on another walk.  This time we stayed on the well marked path and it was only about a five minute walk to the cave.  Our phone was dead and we did not have a flashlight with us.  Not very Self-Reliant but another couple were in the cave and had a flashlight so we could see.

It took our eyes a few minutes to adjust to the dark so we could walk down the stairs.  You can see the couple with the flashlight at the bottom of the stairs.  Right here we are in the opening so we could still see okay.

Kathy, Nada and Jim standing at the bottom of the stairs.  We could not see very far into the big hole.  Amazing how the flash makes it look not so dark but it was totally dark inside the cave.

We could see stalagmites, stalactites and a few columns.  We wish we would have had a flashlight with us.

Looking from the bottom of the stairs back to the opening.  You could only walk about half way down into the cave and then the stairs stopped.  It was worth seeing.
We then drove to Marokopa Falls.  It was about 10 minutes from the cave.  It was only a five minute walk to the waterfall.  You could hear it long before you saw it.

If you look through the trees you can see the waterfall.  The sound was powerful.  There was so much water you could fill the mist and the ground on the viewing platform was wet.

This was a beautiful waterfall.  It looked like it had shelves.  There were different little pools and water falling from places all the way down.  This waterfall is the biggest and most different one we have seen here in New Zealand.

It's nice to have other people with us so Reed and I can be in the same picture.

The roots on this tree were very interesting.  On a lot of the paths you hike they have benches so you can sit down and rest or just enjoy nature.

Another beautiful hike in and out.  The trails are very well taken care of and here when they saw five minutes or half an hour walk or hike it really is.
We got back into the car and headed home. It took us almost three hours to get home.  Elder and Sister Henderson slept most of the way home.  Reed did a great job with all the driving.  Nada got very car sick even riding in the front seat.  It was a very windy road until we got back onto the main highway.  It rained a bit on the way home and we arrived back in Auckland at 7:00 p.m.  It was a full, fun day.  We started off with enjoying the spirit in the temple and our YSA and then enjoyed the beauties our Father-In-Heaven has created for us.  There is so much to see and do.  After 21 plus months we are still enjoying new adventures.  We feel so blessed.  We hoped you enjoy seeing the beauties and wonders of New Zealand with us.

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


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