Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Sunday, September 25, 2016, we slept in because we were all a little tired.  It poured rain all morning long.  We packed our bags and headed to church.  It was nice to introduce Justin and Lana to a lot of our ward members.  We left for Lake Taupo after Sacrament meeting because it is a long drive.  It was a beautiful drive, the rain let up but there was a lot of standing water in the pastures and the rivers were all running high and fast.  We had a quiet evening visiting and playing some games together.

Monday, September 26, 2016, we got up and headed to the harbor at Lake Taupo.  We had a sailing trip booked and the weather held out for us.  It was cool and overcast but never did more than a light sprinkle on us.  We sailed on the sailboat named Barbary on Lake Taupo for two and a half hours.  It was a full boat which surprised us a little because of the weather.  The water was very smooth and the sailboat did have a motor.  We did sail with the wind when it picked up and it was a fun experience.

Lana and Nada getting ready to board the sailboat named Barbary.  As we boarded the captain handed everyone these heavy, lined rain ponchos to keep us warm.

This is our captain.  I did not write down her name.  She did a great job and was a lot of fun.

Reed, Nada, Lana and Justin standing on the very front of the sailboat.  The captain did all the sailing but she allowed us to move around and take pictures.

It was very smooth sailing.  We came to the Maori Carvings.  They are not ancient.  Someone carved them in the 1980's.  They are very nice.  It would be cool if they were really old but they are still interesting.

The carvers did quite a few carvings on the rocks all in this little cove.  They all represent different things in Maori culture.

The captain pulled out this map of Lake Taupo and explained it all to us.  She talked about how wide, long and deep it is.  She talked about how the lake is so big the curve of the earth affects how much of it you can see.  She pointed out the little islands on it and where there has been volcanic activity.  It was very interesting.

We finished our cruise about 1:00 p.m. and head to Huka Falls.  With all the rain we have had the last couple of weeks the rivers and waterfalls were quite amazing.  The color of this water is so beautiful.  This is the only outlet for Lake Taupo.

Justin and Nada with Huka Falls behind them.

Justin and Lana on the bridge overlooking Huka Falls.  The sound of the water rushing through this area is very powerful.

We hurried over to Aratiatia Dam to watch the release of the water at 2:00 p.m. to recreate the rapids.  You can see how calm and shallow the pond is as the water is first being released.

Now you can see that it has turned into a raging river.  We have seen this five times now and never get tired of it.

We headed back to the Prawn Farm for lunch.  We did not catch our own just bought them.  They were delicious.  They had some kind of competition going on while we were eating.  Still no rain, we were very happy.

After lunch we headed to Rotorua for the evening Maori Experience.  We stayed at the Brylin Motel which is where we have stayed a few times before.  It is close to Te Puia which is where we go for the Maori hangi (dinner) and entertainment.

They did the welcome into their Marae.  We wanted Justin and Lana to have this experience.  It is not like anything they had ever been to before.

Reed and I have been here four times and some of the entertainers have been the same and some are different every time.  They actually did a few things differently this time.  Lana and Nada did the Poi dance and Reed and Justin did get up and do the Haka with them but none of the pictures turned out very well.

After we ate the Hangi (dinner) we hurried to see the mud pots and enjoy the geyser.  The geyser went off for quite a long time and shot very high into the air.
We had a very full day and went to bed tired.  We knew we had to get up and get hurrying to head to Hobbiton in the morning.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016, we got up early, checked out and headed to Hobbiton. Justin and Lana in Hobbiton.  We had tickets for the 9:00 a.m. tour.  On the bus ride from the Shire to the movie set they showed a video clip.  It was Peter Jackson, the director of the "Lord of the Rings" and the "Hobbit" movies talking about why he chose this particular place for filming.  Then it also had the owner of the land, Mr. Alexander, talking about why he let them use his property and how he asked them to make the set permanent the second time they came back to film.  Usually the tour guide or bus driver tells you all of this.  It was very informative and nice.   They said we were the very first tour to see this video.

Looking up through Hobbiton and at the top is Bag End where Frodo and Bilbo Baggins lived.

Because of all the rain and being spring time the flowers and gardens were beautiful.

Justin and Lana loved it.  We have visited Hobbiton six times and enjoyed seeing it through different peoples eyes each time.  Even though it is not cheap it is well worth it.  Make sure if you ever come to New Zealand you visit this magical place.

Looking down on the Party Tree, the pond, and the Green Dragon.  It is very beautiful.
We had a great time.  We took this picture when we returned to the Shire.
We hurried and drove over to Waitomo Glow Worm Caves.  It was an hour and a half drive and we got there in plenty of time for our 1:30 p.m. tour.  Justin and Lana really enjoyed it.  They do not allow any pictures but to see all of these glow worm's shining as you go through the cave on a boat in the dark is something like you have never seen anywhere else.  Well worth the drive.

We then drove to Hamilton which was an hour away and attended a Temple session.  What another wonderful day.  We saw so many beautiful things and enjoyed being together.  We stopped in Huntly for dinner at Subway and drove home in pouring rain.  It was so nice that the rain held off all day for us.  We have been blessed.  With all the rain it has not stopped us from doing anything we have scheduled so far.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016, we took Justin and Lana over to our office to meet all the people we work with and our missionary friends.  They enjoyed meeting everyone while Reed and I did some work that needed to be done.  We took them and all our office over to Bolliwood for lunch.  This is our favorite Indian restaurant to eat at.  We then took the bus into downtown Auckland and did some shopping and touring.  We went to the Sky City Tower and walked around but did not go up to eat.  We took them to Elliott Stables for dinner.  It really is a fun place to eat.  We walked down along the pier and just enjoyed a quiet calm day of sight seeing.  We took the bus back home and had a quiet evening.

We feel so blessed to have Justin and Lana here with us.  We have been having so much fun and it means so much to us to have them see all these beautiful places and meet our good friends.  It helps them feel more a part of our mission.  When we go home and talk about people and places they will be able to say oh I remember them or I remember going there.  It allows us to talk about our mission in ways we would not otherwise be able to.

Hope you have enjoyed visiting these places with us along with Justin and Lana.

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


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