While our visit with the Schmitts is drawing to an end, we can look back on the past 3.5 weeks and see that many fun times were had, and incredible memories made. Having already mentioned our trip up north to Opononi, other highlights of our time with the Schmitt Fam include:
1. Visiting Tane Mahuta, the largest Kauri tree in NZ. On our way back from up north, we drove through the Waipoua Forest, which is home to NZ’s largest Kauri tree. Tane Mahuta, whose name translates to “Lord of the Forest,” stands 51.2 meters tall with a girth of 13.77 meters. Its exact age is unknown, but it is estimated that Tane is between 1250 and 2500 years old.
2. Paying our first of many visits to Master Kebab, the new kebab shop that just opened behind our place. We were so stoked when we found out a kebab shop was going in… we couldn’t wait to try it out as soon as it opened, and were definitely not disappointed.
3. Taking in the splendor and ruggedness of the West Coast out at Piha. It wasn’t a sunny day, but we still had fun racing on the beach and admiring the powerful waves of the mighty Tasman.
4. Friday Night at Bethells. With our new favorite raggae band, Box Juice, pumping out the tunes that beautiful Friday night, and the light fading from the sky, a dance party was just getting underway. We joined in the fun, and got our raggae groove on.
5. Hiking the Tongariro Crossing. Brendon and Craig ventured south to hike the Tongariro Crossing, a stunning 19.4km track in the central part of the North Island. As you can see, the tramp takes you across a variety of stunning landscapes, passing over the volcanic terrain of the multi-cratered, active volcano, Mt. Tongariro. The boys also hiked up “Mt. Doom,” from Lord of the Rings.
6. Surfing at the Mount. Nicole and I took a surf lesson in Mt. Maunganui! Our German instructor, Hendrick, gave us some great pointers, and we both caught a few great waves.
A lot of great times were shared with Nicole, Craig, and the kids over the past three and a half weeks. Wyatt started walking while he was here, and it’s been neat seeing what good friends Luke and Naomi have become. We will certainly miss the Schmitt Fam when they head back to Red Deer!