Category Archives: Travel

Lake Taupo

We briefly visited Lake Taupo last month.

Lake Taupo is 380 km from where we live in Wellington and it took us about five and a half hours to drive there. It was the first stop on our tour of the North Island with my in-laws. It is the largest freshwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere and totally breathtaking.

Oreti Apartment

We stayed on the bottom floor of the apartment

We stayed at Oreti Village, which are lakefront rental apartments on the southern side of Lake Taupo. We arrived late so we didn’t get to enjoy the place as much as I would have liked but the unit had a full kitchen, roomy lounge and two bathrooms. This two bedroom unit was great for two couples or families and without a doubt, I would have happily stayed there for a week if given the chance. The beds were comfortable, there was a large deck area and the view was just spectacular.

Lake Taupo

Early morning Lake Taupo from the balcony

It was quite cloudy and cold in the morning but it made for quite an amazing sunrise. Sadly, I was too busy staring at the lake to take many photos but I did take some. I ended up with some favorites from this day and I’m super happy to be sharing them here.


The lake was so pretty first thing in the morning

Lauren's favorite were the visiting quail

Since our visit was so brief, we didn’t fully explore the area on this trip. We absolutely will on the next one. Some of the things we’re thinking about doing next time:

* Maori Rock carving cruise and if we make it in the summertime, we’d love to take the one offered at twilight. Unless Lauren is older when we go. If that’s the case we’ll…

* take a guided kayak tour of Taupo. I love kayaking and I suspect that this would be knock-my-socks-off gorgeous.

* checkin’ out the hot springs

* walking (or biking, if possible) the Great Lake Walkway


Home Sweet … Hotel(s)

When we first arrived in Wellington, we didn’t have a place to live. We were going to be staying in the City Life hotel while looking for a place to settle in. We had two weeks paid for by my husbands employer and hoped that that would be all we needed before we could move in to our new place.

Here is a photo tour of our room at the City Life Hotel:

View from the entryway

Our super cozy yet comfy living area. We had a TV with 8 channels for our viewing pleasure and a DVD player. The hotel rooms are essentially underground so we didn’t really have a view but it shields the rooms from the crazy wind that is so common in Wellington.

The bathroom was awesome. There was a huge tub/shower, heated towel racks, washer/dryer and really nice smelling soaps.

The bathroom was huge.

We even had a kitchen that had a 2 burner cook top, microwave, toaster, water kettle and an oven. I didn’t really take advantage of it the way I should have. I pretty much cooked tater tots, made toast and drank a lot of tea.


The bedroom in our suite was great. The bed was comfortable and the room was big enough for us to store all of our luggage (5 good sized bags) and hold a portacot without looking messy. Speaking of the portacot – I would love to find one that looks just like it and buy it. I think it’s the cutest portable bed I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I have not yet found one. I have a hunch by the time I do find one I won’t need one anymore.


I love this portacot and think it's adorable. I would like to buy one but can't find one for sale.

Pretty, huh?

We found the house we wanted to rent fairly quickly but it wasn’t going to be ready by the time we were scheduled to leave. We needed to find somewhere to stay for an additional 10 days. We stayed the one place there was vacancy for 10 days in a row because we didn’t want to shuffle Lauren around too much. We got a 1 room “apartment style” room. They called it a 1 room apartment style but they’re insane. The entire place was smaller than the bedroom at the City Life. No joke.

I thought I had some photos of that room but I can’t seem to find any now. Maybe I didn’t take any. Maybe my camera ate them. I honestly could not say. The only good thing about that place was Lauren started happily putting things on her head. All the time. Like the time she pulled off her pants and her diaper. Then put her pants on her head and settled down to watch TV while I was making toast for our breakfast.



The second hotel we stayed at we hated. Pretty much every single thing about it. We paid out the nose to park, get unreliable internet and had to endure a horrible mixture of strong, stale spices mixed with the foulest body odor you could imagine in the hallway. Needless to say we were thrilled when the 10 days there were up and we got to move into our rental house.

Leaving On A Jet Plane

I was terrified to fly halfway across the world with my husband and baby. TERRIFIED. Not only was I worried about my plane falling out of the sky, I didn’t know how my usually good tempered daughter would do on the plane. I know I shouldn’t, but I DO care about what other people think. I try to keep Lauren from screaming and crying in restaurants and markets because I HATE those looks. You know the ones. The sideways glances from people who most likely don’t have children. They roll their eyes. They comment to their companions about how that mother can’t control her kid. It makes me mad. SO, I try my hardest to keep my baby in a good mood.

The plane we'll be riding on

But who the heck am I kidding? 3 airports, 2 airplanes and 24 hours of travel time. There was NO way I was going to make that trip without upsetting some people.

I learned:

1 – That airport staff is helpful! It’s true. Even better was I didn’t have to ask for the help. I guess if you look lost and freaked out they just sort of help you so you don’t scare the others.

2 – To declare the foods and drinks I was taking on board or into the country for my kid. I was honest about everything I had and I had A LOT. I took so much food on board, I looked nuts. And I don’t care. It came in handy both on the flights and during the first week we were here. Yes, there ARE bully airport workers out there but I was lucky. I didn’t run into any of them. Well, I ran into one but it was in the gift shop. That doesn’t really count.

3 – Not to panic. I had a moment at SFO that I freaked and then baby freaked out. Have less than 2 hours to catch a connecting flight when you still have to get through customs, immigration and re-check bags for a domestic flight? Smile. Be cool and calm. This is where #1 saved our asses, btw. We never would have made it to our connecting flight without the help of a lady that worked at the Auckland airport.

4 – Lauren does NOT like it when I wear headphones.

5 – To drink lots and lots of fluids. My ankles swelled up horribly and I drank a cup of water every single chance I got I was still totally thirsty.

6 – To get up and walk around from time to time. Now I know this one is tricky. I was seated at the window seat in economy class, had the lady in front of me reclined all the way so she was hovering 4 inches from my lap, was snuggling with a restless toddler and had a passed out guy in the aisle seat (err, my husband) of my row and I had to pass on this one more often than I would have liked.

The Plane, view from the gate

In hindsight I realize that our flight went well even though it didn’t feel like it was going well at the time. Lauren was exhausted and she fell asleep nursing during takeoff. She woke up after a bit and was having issues settling down but as long as she was in my arms she seemed to deal with everything OK. This made it so I didn’t get much but to be quite honest I didn’t expect to get much rest anyway. I got to watch the flight data on my little TV screen and obsessively watched the KM traveled number get larger and larger. Landing was hard on Lauren because she didn’t want to nurse. So she screamed but people weren’t nearly as nasty about it as I had thought they would be. Maybe it was because the previous 12 hours she was really, really good but it also could have been because by that time the flight was nearly over so it was no big deal ::shrug:: The second short flight was awesome. I gave her an fruit pouch as were were waiting to board and her run around a play gate area to get some wiggles out. She passed out as we were taxiing and she woke up right after we landed. I got to sleep for a bit on that flight too which made that flight go by SUPER quickly.

Goodbye, Southern California

All of our boxes have been packed and loaded onto trucks.  The floors and walls have been scrubbed and the condo we have been living in for just three months is officially cleaner now than it was when we moved in.  This is our second move since my daughter was born in August of 2009 and I’ve got mixed feelings about it.  I am sad to be moving away from the small handful of friends that I have either made or reconnected with since moving here in 2006.

Pretty sunset from our balcony

However, I am excited.  In about three weeks my little family will be moving to Wellington, New Zealand.  I know next to nothing about Wellington.  I know there is a library, lots of coffee shops (thank goodness for that) and a zoo.  Little L and I are going to have a lot to explore, that’s for sure.