Pub on Wharf, Queenstown. By Toby (age 9).

Pub On Wharf is a pub in Queenstown. It’s name serves a purpose, because, guess what? It is a pub, on a wharf! There is a kid’s menu, but who would order from the kid’s menu when there is AMAZING Beef Wellington for only $20. It’s a complete bargain! Perfectly, cooked medium fillet steak meat (delicious!) wrapped in bacon and perfectly crisp pastry. Mash potato lies underneath the Beef Wellington, with green beans on the side. To make things EVEN better, there is deliciously rich gravy! We have been to Pub On Wharf 4 times and each time I make sure I order Beef Wellington.

img_1220 If you want a run around or want to burn off some energy, Pub On Wharf is the perfect place to go because of the massive lawned area right next to the pub while Mum and Dad enjoy their drinks from an outdoor table with a superb view of Queenstown!

Moeraki Boulders (by Toby, age 9)

img_1011I hope you enjoy my recount!

Chapter 1

I had a long sleep but my brother started tickling me so that woke me up. After that, we got dressed and had breakfast. We also did other stuff like brushing our teeth etc. Then we set off. It was about 3km to the boulders. We got to one point where we asked a lady where the boulders were.

Chapter 2

To make a long story short, she told us where the boulders were and yeah..

Chapter 3

There was a hill but it was down so it was easy to get down. My dad spotted a seal which was sadly dead. So we walked to the actual boulders and we climbed up them because they were mostly underground… After that, we went to the cafe and we had to wipe our feet on a fancy broom thing.

img_1012Chapter 4

I ordered a pie (obviously) and an ice cream. My brother had a pie and a hot chocolate and an ice cream. My brother offered me a marshmallow and so I quickly took it before he could get it back. (You gotta do what you gotta do!).

Chapter 5

So, we started walking back and you know that seal that dad spotted? Well someone nicely put a cross next to it. He must have had a peg on his nose because it STANK! We were at our camper van and we were packing our stuff away going to the next campsite, when people started talking to us!

Chapter 6

There was a young, cute, fluffy dog that came up to me and I started stroking the dog. When I smelled my hands, they smelt like the ocean. The end.

 

How to keep the kids from going crazy on long campervan trips!

 

We’ve covered 1929kms over the last 9 days of our trip- that’s a lot of hours on the road! For our kids, that’s a lot of hours raised to the power of 10! So how have we kept them from going crazy?

  • Make sure you have plenty of fuel on board and take brief refuelling stops – fuel for their stomachs that is! We have clearly brought a couple of hobbits along with us. Although we feed them hearty breakfast and lunch, they seem to need second breakfast, elevenses, morning tea and afternoon tea!
  • For trips of 3-4 hours+, plan a stop or two for them to break up the journey and run off some energy. A decent playground, a beach, a picnic spot.
  • Have decent music playing. It’s harder for them to moan when they’re singing along to their favourite tracks.
  • If it keeps them sane, it keeps you sane. On previous trips we’ve taken a DVD player so that the kids can watch movies on the long journeys. This time it’s iPads. It’s the only time that they have unlimited access to their iPads, but it works.
  • We weren’t expecting this, but since I’ve been blogging about our trip, the boys have decided that they should too. Who’d have thought they’d have wanted to write during their trip?! We’d tried encouraging the boys to keep journals on previous trips but their interest soon evaporated. Although a blog is similar to a diary/journal writing, – blogging potentially has an audience and therefore a more tangible purpose. This purpose, it seems, has unlocked their enthusiasm to write, edit and publish!
  • Finally, if all of these tips are starting to wear thin, draw the curtain between the front cab and them and turn the music up loud.  See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil!

Harbar, Akaroa (by Oli, age 11)

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“Harbar” waterfront bar

Harbar’s special name comes from its position on the harbour and the fact it is a bar! This  tiny seafront bar in Akaroa has a stunning view with beautiful flowers at the entrance in the shape of an arch.  It has a wide variety of drinks such as spirits, beers and red or white wine. Mum and Dad enjoyed a couple of glasses of Tokyo Dry and my brother and I had a cold glass of coke each. I was amused to find that even on the loo you could continue to take in a stunning sea view. Overall it is a very cool bar and I highly recommend it.

Fleurs Place, Moeraki (by Toby, age 9)

Fleurs Place is a VERY good restaurant. This restaurant is in Moeraki. All we can say is WOW! My pasta was perfect- you can get the pasta with fresh tomato sauce (no ketchup here thank you very much!) or with cheese. Mum’s mushroom and pine nut risotto was sensational.  But what most people come here for, is the SEAFOOD. My Dad’s fish literally swam in from the sea and melted in his mouth! He had steamed blue cod wrapped in smoked bacon with steamed cockles in a  white wine and herb cream sauce.

The fish are so fresh, we saw the chef filleting the day’s catch. My brother agreed- “the fish is amazing!”  

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Fish don’t get much fresher than this!

Fleurs Place is  mainly based on seafood and so it appropriately resembles an old fisherman shack on the waterfront and has an amazing views from both the inside and outside tables.  

Amazingly, Rick Stein, a famous foodie and chef,  had a choice of going to any restaurant in the WORLD and he picked Fleurs Place! If Rick Stein picked Fleurs Place, so should you!

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools

There’s something for everyone here.  A variety of naturally heated mineral pools to soak in, hydroslides and children’s water play areas, a lazy river, a large freshwater swimming pool and private sauna, steam room and thermal pools to hire.  At $100 for a 2-day pass for a family of 4 (same price for family of 5 too), they are reasonably priced with the hydroslides and SuperBowl ride an additional $10 pp each day.  The pools are set against a stunning alpine backdrop and are beautifully landscaped and maintained.  The Tea Kiosk Cafe has a good selection of snacks and drinks which are no more expensive than outside the complex.

Top tip: if you’re not a fan of unavoidable footsie playing or rubbing shoulders with near- naked strangers, avoid the public holidays!  Our best time here was late autumn when the snow started to fall around us whilst we soaked in the pools!

The Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest

 

We’ve been to Rotorua countless times and yet somehow never heard of, let alone visited this place.  Even as you drive into the area you feel a sense of calm that this place exudes.  The visitor area is beautifully laid out and the visitor centre helps you to decide what walk, cycle trail or experience is for you.  Even the toilets are sympathetically designed to blend in with the environment.

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Walks range from 2km to a whole day 34km tramp.  We only did the smallest walk- Redwood Memorial Grove track- an easy 2km forest walk but we’ll be back to experience the cycle trails for sure.

For a unique perspective of the native undergrowth, visitors can walk the Redwoods 553 metre long Treewalk reaching up to 12 metres above ground via its 21 suspension bridges traversing the forest. At night, the forest walk is transformed into a magical, lantern-lit wonderland. Illuminated by infinite colour spots, feature lights and 30 bespoke lanterns, courtesy of world-acclaimed designer David Trubridge, the Redwoods Nightlights is a beautifully unique nocturnal experience.

Blue Lake TOP 10 Holiday Park

If you love camping grounds with full facilities this may be for you but at $91 for 2 x adults and 2 x children it’s not for us.  We chose it because it is directly across from the beautiful Blue Lake (Lake Tikitapu) in Rotorua so thought it would be an idyllic spot.  It’s certainly handy for accessing the lake and the walking/mountain biking trails, it has not 1 but 2 children’s play areas both with spring-free trampolines plus a jumping pillow, the kitchen area is spacious and spotless and the bathrooms are also spotlessly clean.  There is a cafe on site and the reception people are friendly and informative.  However, the fact that apart from price, it was otherwise faultless, helped us to realise that commercial camping was not for us… freedom camping here we come!!

Stress-free morning dressing!

Having become quickly frustrated with the morning madness of getting dressed in the camper I devised some simple tricks to making waking up with a family less stressful!

  • Have changes of undies, socks and PJs easily accessible for the kids so that they can can manage this themselves without wailing “Muuuum, where are my undies?” “Muuum I’ve worn these PJs for 3 (OK sometimes more like 7!)  nights now I need clean ones!!”
  • Organise the kids clothes into 1 x shorts/2 x t-shirts and roll them up together.  This means that 1) if you’re like me, you’ll be pleased that they co-ordinate!, 2) they are easy to access and 3) rolling them up both eliminates creasing and maximises use of storage.
  • If your camper hasn’t got them already, consider putting 2 x clothes pegs (his n’ hers) within arm-reach of your own bed.  Get your “wake-up” clothes ready the night before so that you’re not fumbling around first-thing trying to find something to wear.

Okurukuru Winery, New Plymouth

We were recommended this place and were so glad we we took the advice.  For self-contained vehicles it is completely free to park overnight providing you dine here and wine-tasting is optional… don’t mind if we do!!  The meal was sensational- if you’re spoilt for choice (as I was) I recommend the “Coastal Prime Beef Cheek, Free Range Pork Belly and Te Popo Lamb Rump served with Kaitake Vegetables, Oven Baked Potatoes and Jus” – in other words, trying it all!  The wine tasting of  Okurukuru Pinotage and Rosé (on-site crafted) plus  a selection of wines crafted at the winery’s other property situated in Marlborough are generously poured for $10 for 4 tastings.

The restaurant has stunning wide ocean views.  The outside area is perfect for sitting outside on a sunny day and even better for children to run around and enjoy the the play area.  Even better, you get to continue appreciating the views from the comfort of your camper and there’s even a cute picnic table and benches to use.  We’ll definitely be back!

https://www.okurukuru.co.nz/

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