I feel like life is happening faster than I can blog. But that's not a bad thing. The drive from Wellington to Lake Taupo was beautiful. I mean, every drive here is beautiful, but I loved the sun setting over the rolling green hills, the silhoutte of a looming volcano and the full moon reflecting off the calm lake as we drove. All in complete darkness. All in complete silence. The silence was the best part. We got a cute rental house right on the lake, and first thing in the morning the little guys were itching to explore. We've seen these huge black geese a lot here, usually in the ocean, and never this friendly. I don't know who was more curious, the birds or the boys as they sat there sizing each other up.
They also climbed trees. That's what we do.
Our first outing was to Huka falls, apparently NZ's most visited natural attraction. It really is a site to behold as the water from the wide river is forced into a narrow gorge creating, as they describe it "nature's large-scale equivalent of a fire hose feeding into a very fine nozzle", blasting 220,000 litres of water per second. The force of the water was incredible, and that turquoise color just never gets old.
We'll call this next series: "thoughtfully gazing into the water". See also: "bored at looking at water"
Except Ryder, who was too busy making friends and climbing mountains. Carry on.
Then we stopped at the Aratiatia Dam. A couple times a day they open the dam and within 10 minutes this virtually empty gorge is filled to capacity with a roaring river. Then it is completely drained and returned to a small trickle of water about a half hour after the dam is closed. Water can be so fascinating, powerful, scary and intriguing all at the same time. Gettin' my nerd on.
A quick stop at the Huka Honey Hive to brush up on our bee trivia, sample some honey and take obnoxious pictures in the fun house mirrors. As one does.
They had an awesome park with these cool swings that all meet in the middle. It's all fun and games until someone gets a flip flop flung at their eye. I found a nice shady tree and accidentally fell asleep. The kind of nap where you wake up delirious wondering where you are, wondering where your kids are and wondering if anyone noticed the stream of drool trickling down your chin. It felt good.
The sun was too nice to ignore, so the boys jumped in the waves while Kylie and I stayed on shore people watching. I'm just putting this out there, but it just doesn't look right for a 15 year old girl to swim with her dad while wearing a g-string. At least I hope that was her dad? Sorry, no pictures to illustrate my point.
Then this was my favorite part of the day. The spa thermal park where part of the river is geothermically (I felt so smart writing that long word, not sure if it is actually a real word) heated. It is such a hot spot (literally and figuratively) that it is always overrun with tourists and locals. We accidentally came right before the gates to the park were closing which ended up being awesome because we just parked outside the gates and only had to share it with a handful of people. A handful of drunk half naked people, but at least it was only a handful. The steam coming off the water was illuminated by a brilliant orange sunset and I sat there once again in complete awe and overwhelmed with gratitude that we could be there sharing that moment together. That seems to happen a lot here.