From the Cormomandel Peninsula we headed back over to Waiuku (south of Auckland) to visit Andrew, Sam, Edward and Spencer again. We had already been for two short visits, but we had such a good time with them that we changed our ferry back to the South Island so that we could spend the Waitangi weekend with them.
Our visit got off to a memorable start when Andy and Sam received a letter confirming that their New Zealand residency application had been accepted. They were absolutely delighted and we all headed out to Pukekohe for a celebratory dinner!
Once the kids were in bed Andy took me for a spin on his new motorbike. What an experience, I loved it...although not sure I would like to be the driver, but riding pillion was fantastic...like cycling really fast without the effort! After taking me out Andy took David for a ride...he was less impressed, but I think he was just a bit scared!!
On Waitangi Day we continued on a motorsport theme and headed to a nearby beach with the kids quad bike. Edward, Spencer and Peter all got a couple of turns of getting all the gear on and driving around the beach on their own (which was keeping the dads fit as they chased around after them). Joseph and Luke also got to have a go, but obviously they were too small to do it on their own, so David went on the quad with them. They had a great time and photos are here.
In the afternoon we had been invited to a BBQ by friends of Andy and Sam's. We headed over to their house and went for a quick dip in the sea, before heading back for food. It was lovely to meet Bronwyn and Jonathon (aka Bronny and Jonny) and their kids and we again experienced excellent Kiwi hospitality...a great way to spend Waitangi Day.
On Saturday David and Andy stayed at home and cleaned our campervan with the kids. while Sam and I headed into Botany to do some shopping. The boys did an excellent job and the van was sparkling when we got back, but I think that it was pretty hard work as David and Andy were sitting exhausted on the couch watching a film.
On Sunday we had planned an early start...but eventually got out the house around 10.30...I blame the kids!! First stop was Cromwell Park where we all scrambled up to the top of One Tree Hill to see the amazing 360 degree views over Auckland. A quick refueling/playing stop at the Golden Arches of McDonald's kept everyone happy before we headed to Mission Beach for the afternoon. It was a scorching hot day and we sat in the shade until late afternoon when we headed into the sea for a cool down. We all had a great day and Luke was so exhausted by all the excitement that he fell asleep on the way home and didn't wake up till Monday morning!!
Andy and Sam were back to work on Monday so we spent the day in Pukekohe browsing the shops. On Tuesday we got a train into Auckland and spent the day in the city, David and I liked the city, but for the kids the train was the highlight of the day!!
We had a fantastic time with Andy and Sam, they made us feel very welcome and we had a really fun weekend...much helped by Andy and David sharing the same ridiculous sense of humor! Peter, Joseph and Luke absolutely loved spending time with Edward and Spencer and the similarities between Peter and Edward and Joe and Spencer were uncanny. We were very sad to leave them today and we will definitely be back to visit again...even if it is not for a few years!!