Carol & Gary's NZ adventure travel blog

Gary meeting Dexter for the first time

Me meeting Dexter for the first time

Lucy playing with one of her Christmas presents

Tea parties with Lucy (she is the hostess with the mostess!)

Lucy and grandma (GG) hanging in Lucy's pool

Ashleigh and Dexter

Five generations, Ash, Dexter, Gary, Pat and Nana

Me with Julie (my sister in law) and our nieces Liana and...

Gary and his sister Julie

Baby Riley Newman

Lorikeets in mum's mango tree

Monday is a sunny but cool day. We lazed around in bed until after 9am before getting out and having breakfast. We have a heap of running around to do so we leave Logan and Poppy in the van and get going. We went to the Jayco Caravan Dealer here as the van is getting its first service and they are storing it for us while we are away. We ended up chatting to the owner for a while and we had a look through some of the vans he is selling. Prices in Australia are so much cheaper than over here. Next we went into Riccarton to Westfield to sort out insurance, Telecom and to get a few last minute things. Everything goes really smoothly so we head back home for some lunch. Later in the day Gary and I drove into the City for a look around. There must be a cruise ship in town as there are signs everywhere welcoming people from the cruise ship and the market stalls are set up in the square. We had a look at the stalls and some of the stall holders are the same people from the markets on Sunday. We walked through the Cathedral. It is such a gorgeous old building. When we got home I started to sort out some of the stuff we are taking back with us. I crumbed some Red Cod for tea and it was delicious. All is going to plan and our fridge and freezer are almost empty.

Tuesday is overcast and cool. I have put on jeans and a jumper today. We have a bit of a lay in then get up and start to pack our bags, clean up the van and pack everything up. We have asked the van park for a late check out and they have agreed to it, so we will head off after lunch. We end up walking around to Westpac to say gidday to Richie our NZ Bank Manager. We had a bit of a chat and we will drop in and see him again when we return to Christchurch. We went back to the van and made our lunch. We hooked up the van and towed it to the Jayco dealership and left it there. We drove around to the Airport and checked out where we have to leave our car for the car storage mob to come and collect it. Next we dropped in to see Ray at Team Logistics. Ray helped us with our car and van and the port logistics when we first arrived in Christchurch. Ray is happy to see us and we had a bit of a chat and got some more information from him about the logistics of taking our car and van back to Australia. We then checked into our motel and took Logan and Poppy for a walk the Botanic Gardens. It is such a nice walk around there and you can see why they call Christchurch the “garden city”. We take Logan and Poppy out to Bunny Lodge Boarding Kennels. It is very sad to be leaving them behind. Poppy is not taking it very well and I have to catch her and hand her to the owner. We are sure they will settle into a routine and mainly sleep during the day and night as this is what they do when they are with us. Logan will be stoked to be staying at Bunny Lodge as they have a shallow swimming pool. He was in his element when we left him he was running around peeing, flicking and wallowing in the water. Lucky Poppy has Logan to hang with her. We worked it out that during the last seven months we have spent five days apart from them. We head back to our motel to freshen up and walk up to the Christchurch Casino for tea and a bet. Tea was Ok and the betting was dismal. Off to bed for an early night.

On Wednesday we are woken at 4am by my mobile then a wake up phone call. I had been awake from 1am anyway, but I must have just drifted back to sleep before the wake up alarms. Gary slept OK, but I never sleep well when I know we have an early flight to catch. We are at the Airport around 4.45am and leave our car in the designated parking area and go in to check in. Unfortunately we are carrying too much weight in our check in luggage so we either have to pay $60 or re-distribute the excess weight into our carry on bags. It really doesn’t make much sense, I suggested that to the lady that all up we were under the weight allocation could we just leave it like that but no, the check in luggage must be under the “allowed” limits. So over to one side of the airport we go and with the help of scales we re-distribute the luggage around to we come in right on mark. We then leave our car key in the secure box for the car storage mob to collect and pay our $25 each departure tax and head through to the departure lounge. We decide to buy some grog and get a pretty good deal. Now we are overloaded to the max and have a lot of gear to be lugging around. Our flight is brilliant, very scenic and calm. In only 15 minutes after leaving Christshurch we have started to cross the Tasman sea. We only get a nap in so we can see it is going to be a very long day. We left Christchurch at 7am and arrive in Brisbane at 7.30am. After our arrival us and hundreds (and I am not joking) and hundreds of others collect their luggage and head off to pass through Customs. After one hour we are finally cleared to leave and hoof it over to the domestic terminal to check in for our 10am flight to Mackay. I was starting to get a bit concerned about the time frame but thanks to the train being on time and a quick check in and a slight delay in the flight we get there with enough time to buy some Red Rooster and consider that breakfast. Mmmm Red Rooster, it has been about five months since we have had a “classic quarter”. I am starting to think that I must have something about my demeanor or personal appearance that says “I look like someone who uses fertilizer and may have an interest in bomb making”. Considering we were running a bit late and extremely overtired I can almost forgive myself for snapping at the woman who requested I undertake the bomb detection test. Lady just doing her job “Have you ever had this test done before”? “ Overtired, cranky red head “Every frigging time I come to the airport, I don’t have time for this. Well it seems I did have time for it and once again I proved that I am not a terrorist or interested in playing with lime. We board a new Virgin Embraer E190 and have a really smooth flight into Mackay. Once we land we can see Mum, Julie and Lucy waiting for us. Lucy is holding a purple balloon with a photo of us and a welcome home message. Lucy sat down on the floor and just looked up at us and smiled. It was so great to see everybody. We went straight over to meet Dexter and see Ashleigh. It is so good to see Ash and Dexter, while we were there Richard came home so we caught up with him as well. Mum took us for a quick lap through town so we could see what is going on. We spent the afternoon resting, making some phone calls and watching the tennis. I seriously had forgotten how humid Mackay is. I love the heat, but after almost a year of not feeling it, I am feeling it. Julie and Lucy came over for tea and finally after being awake for almost 24 hours we hit the hay and sleep in air conditioning.

On Thursday morning we wake up and walk out of the bedroom and into a wall of solid humidity, my god, it is 6am, there must be some storms coming soon. Gary has taken mum to work and we have her car. Since we are up and atom early at 7am we take a drive out to the Northern Beaches and drive around looking at the new road work, houses and subdivisions. We ended up at Andergrove and saw Kym and Gina who lease our taxi in their front yard so we pulled in to say hello. We will go back on Saturday and spend some more time with Kym and Gina. We had a doctors appointment just before nine then we headed over to see Lucy and Julie. I dropped Gary at mums and Wayne picked him up for golf. Julie, Lucy and I went for a bit of a look at Mt Pleasant but found all the shops except for Kmart and the supermarkets were closed as a transformer had blown. We bumped into Pat, my mum in law and Julie, Gary’s sister and Emily and Riley, our niece and nephew. It was great to see them all. I ended up spending the afternoon at Julie’s house and just hanging out with Lucy. Lucy is now my little shadow and is making us laugh with her funny sayings. The best one is when she is asked a question, most times the answer is “I don’t know”. Lucy and I had a swim in her small wading pool. It was really good fun and she practiced “surfing” on her little boogey board. Mum turned up so she spent some time in the pool with Lucy too. My little shadow came back to mums place and we played together for the rest of the day. Gary and Wayne had a really good day out at golf and Gary got to catch up with other golfing buddies. They decided to get a buggy rather than walk the course. Julie and Lucy stayed for tea, they left early as Luke was home from the mines.

On Friday morning Pat picked us up and we went to collect Nana from St Francis of Assisi. Pat drove us out to Gary’s sister Julie’s place at Marian. Julie and Kevin bought the house after we left Mackay so we cant wait to see it. It is such a lovely house and a credit to Julie, Kevin and the kids for their decorative style. We caught up with Ashleigh, Richard, Dexter, Rae, our nephew Riley and nieces Liana and Emily. Julie put on a great morning tea for us. We all got to have our five generation photographs taken. We had a fantastic morning with everyone and there were plenty of laughs. We dropped Nana back at the home and drove Pat out to her place. Pat has loaned us her car for the weekend which is great for us. My brother Wayne flew in at lunch time from Melbourne, we didn’t get to the airport to meet him, but we catch up in the afternoon. We had to head out for a couple of doctors appointments for Gary and ended up back at Luke and Julie’s place where we had fish and chips for tea. Greg and Joan came over to say hello so it was great to catch up with them as well. We headed back to mums place and as we do every night in late January we stayed up watching the tennis.

We are up early on Saturday and it is a stinker. It is so humid and hot. We went around to Kym and Gina’s place to catch up and stayed for a few hours. Gary and I went up and did a bit of shopping at Northpoint Retail. I ended up getting a new pair of Nikes which were on a great special. My other one’s served me well for three years but they finally clapped out just before we came home. We went over to spend some time with Ashleigh and Dexter. It was nice just to sit and catch up with all the birthing and baby news. We took a drive into town and grabbed some sushi for lunch and ended up wandering around looking at the deteriorating city heart. There are quite a few vacant buildings and shops that have closed down since we left Mackay (7 months ago). The city heart is looking pretty shabby and neglected. We drove around looking at houses before we headed out to Walkerston to collect Charlie. Our old neighbours are taking care of our parrot and by the sounds of the stories they told us I don’t think Charlie will be too keen to return to us full time when we get back to Mackay. Charlie has Russell and Julie well and truly wrapped around his little claw. Charlie is being spoilt rotten. It is great for us to know that he is being cared for so well. We checked out our old house which is looking great. We drove back through a thunderstorm and pretty heavy rain. Thankfully the rain has broken the humidity and cooled things down. We got to Julie and Luke’s place to catch up with Susan and Marc. Susie and Marc welcomed Riley into their world in November. We got to meet him and he is such a cutie, such a heavy boy at 6kg and only 11 weeks old. We spent the rest of the afternoon chatting with them. Julie and Lucy came over to Mum’s place for dinner. To say we have been busy has been an understatement! Little Lucy is running on fumes and missing her daily nap. Wayne has been hanging with Mum, Julie, Luke and Lucy. We haven’t seen much of him today. Once again with the air conditioning cranked up we watched the tennis. Luckily Gary and I are sleeping in the spare room that has the air conditioning fitted so we are sleeping in luxury!

We awoke to an overcast morning on Sunday. Gary and I have to get our information ready for our Accountant, so we spend the best part of the morning gathering paper work and getting our figures together. About mid morning it started raining cats and dogs. Wayne and Gary were outside running around and playing in it and having a great time. It has really cooled things down. Gary and I took a drive around Glenella and went up to visit Francey. We spent a good few hours with Francey. It was really nice to catch up with her. We fueled up Pat’s car and headed back home to get ready for our party. Julie straightened my hair for me however with high humidity and curly hair it didn’t go totally to plan. I straightened Julie’s hair that she cant get to at the back and unfortunately I dropped the hot straightener on her shoulder blade. Sorry Julie! We drove out and picked up Pat and headed to Harrup Park. We are having our combined birthday party out on the Deck. Gary’s 40th, Julie’s 34th and my 40th. We had a really awesome night. It was so good to catch up with our family and friends that we haven’t seen for so long. Thanks everyone for coming, it was great. We got home in time to see Dokic fight back and win her match and advance through to quarter finals.

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