Posted by: Vallere | February 13, 2011

A week of sightseeing

I’ve been slack. I know it! I keep telling folks “I’ll have another blog post up in a day or two” and now it’s turned into a week!  But we’ve just been so busy that by the time evening rolls around and I actually have time to do “me” things after the kids are in bed, I’m just too exhausted to do anything but head to bed myself.

So, since I’m so far behind, this post will be mostly in pictures. They tell a better story than I can, anyway.

I’ll start off with our trip to Kai Iwi beach last weekend. This beach is about a 20 minute ride from our house. Like most west coast beaches, the sand is black from the volcanos. There are pumice stones just laying around on the beach. Tons of driftwood (the high tide comes all the way in to the cliffs), rock pools, and only lapping waves, as they break far out on the coral. Even though the locals say we need to visit the pretty, east coast, white sand beaches, I honestly can’t imagine a beach better than this one!

The cliffs are made of really soft stone and people had carved stuff into them.

The boys playing in the rock pool. We had to DRAG them home.

Around on the other side of the rock pool...HUGE sections of the cliff had fallen and were just sitting on the beach.

We also made another trip to Kowhai Park this week. I got some pictures of the castle and pirate ship since those were missing in the first post. Also, a picture of one of the moa statues. There is a little forest area with about 8 or 9 of these hidden among the trees. You can’t tell from the picture, but he’s about 9ft tall – they are built to be actual size. So sad these huge birds aren’t still running around!

Can you see Ian up on the walkway over his daddy? That castle is HUGE!

Captail Zollie steers for shore!

A moa, hiding in the forest.

Fast forward to this weekend. On Saturday, we decided to make a trip down to Palmerston North to visit the Manawatu Gorge. Palmerston North is a city about 45min to an hour south of Wanganui and the Gorge is a further hour or so away. The road through the Gorge is narrow and hugs the edge of the cliff face in a way that would make the Ice Road Truckers – Most Dangerous Roads guys feel nervous. The drive was harrowing, but totally worth it!

This...for kilometers and kilometers...(and can you tell how close the edge of the road is to the cliff???)

Once we made it to the other side of the Gorge, we found a walking path going back into the fern forests. New Zealand has over 400 species of fern, and a LOT of them are fern trees. The forests here are just amazing! So we hopped out of the car and walked through what reminded us of Jurassic Park:

At the bottom of the loop, we came to a little stream. We took a break to let the boys play a bit.

The Doc ran into this stinging nettle. These are all over the place along the rivers! His finger was still hurting the next day…they must have some irritatnt on the thorns:

The boys kept throwing rocks into the water, and we told them to stop because some of the rocks had little creatures living under them. I said “Remember in Horton Hears a Who? A person’s a person no matter how small! Don’t drown the little creatures! Listen…I bet they are yelling for you to stop!” Zollie picked up a rock in each hand, held them up to his ears and said, “I no hear dem…” Then tossed them into the water. Thank goodness I had the camera ready!

This curled up frond is the inspiration for one of the widely used symbols in New Zealand. You’ll see a stylized version of it on signs, shirts, food products, etc.

After our walk, we went back through Palmerston North and visited with Craig and Barbara Smith, who are the heads of the home educators foundation in New Zealand. Funny enough, Craig is orriginally from Fresno! They were super sweet, had lots of great insights and information about things to do and places to visit in NZ, and their kids were graceous enough to let the boys share their toys. I’m also super jealous of their backyard garden, grape arbor, and chickens. Alas, one day I’ll have my farm!

This is getting long, and uploading this many photos is eating into my morning, so I’m going to leave our Sunday trip up to Mount Ruapahu for later. Hope you enjoyed the pictures! Please leave comments…I love to read them!



  1. Has Zollie already grown about 6 inches since you left?! He looks so big in these photos! Love reading all about NZ! What a beautiful place!

  2. I’d love to see if he’s grown, and I brought our growth chart, but it’s in inches and I can’t find a ruler with inches so I can get it the right distance from the floor (it starts at 2ft). Alas!

  3. I am loving your posts! Sounds like such an awesome adventure in an absolutely gorgeous place!

  4. Vallere I love reading about your adventure! What a huge blessing to have already made a homeschool connection! It is so beautiful there! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!
    Love, Kirsten Elks

  5. LOL….leave it to Zollie to do something like that he’s so literal LOL I love it and I LOVE that castle my kids would cry so hard if they ever had to leave

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