Tutukaka – Auckland, NZ – Anchorage, AK: Travel Day

We let the kids play on the beach in their jammies this morning. They made castles, found beautiful shells, and played with a girl camping next to us. Ty and I finished packing and just enjoyed waking up at the beach for our final day.

We finally packed up and started the long drive to Auckland. Taking a brief break to check out one final waterfall, of course.

These kids have been such good travelers!!

We had to make a stop at Giapo, in Auckland. We read about it, and heard from a few people that their ice cream is amazing. So we tracked it down. They make really incredible sculptures cones. Like a giant octopus, seriously check out the link! But we knew we couldn’t eat that much so we went with the reasonable sized cups. It was SO yummy by SO rich!! I couldn’t even finish mine. Definitely worth checking out!

We had a bit of a scramble at the RV return. Just because I was unloading everything while Ty was trying to get a massive discount from them for all the issues we had. In the end, we got the discount and managed to catch the very last shuttle to the airport!

Security was a breeze. I’m bummed I didn’t take any pictures of the lounge we went to prior to our flight. It was maybe the nicest one yet! Nice and large so we don’t feel like we’re on top of other people. Good food, not just snacks. Wonderful drinks for grown ups and kids. It was a perfect recharge prior to starting our long journey home.

We made it on the plane and get settled into our Sky Couch!

The Sky Couch is perfect if you’re traveling with kids. But just know, if you can’t sleep sitting up right you’re probably not going to sleep. 😕 There’s definitely not enough room for three to lay down. But hey, I’m used to being up for several days when we travel. 🤪

Waiting to board in Seattle and Linc just couldn’t quite make it.

All in all, it was a very long journey home. But uneventful, which is how we like them. So very thankful we had another amazing adventure with my kiddos. They truly are the best travelers!

Tutukaka, NZ – Adventure Day

We had connected with a dive company yesterday. They agreed to take Ty diving, while the kids and I could snorkel and kayak. We met them at the marina at 8:15am. We packed our own lunch, and lots of extra clothes. Ty took his Dramamine and we hoped for the best. Unfortunately for him and R, though the seas were quite choppy. The sky was blue but the ride out was 50 minutes of being slammed about. R had her nausea bands on her wrists, which I think helped. However, Ty was in the back of the boat with a bucket. By the time we got to the dive site he was so pale and sickly looking.

I got R and L suited up. We’d brought their shorty wetsuits but they’re not very thick. So the dive company loaned us extra suits to put on top of theirs. As extra insulation against the cold water. But the moment L jumped in he was screaming from the cold. He especially had just two shortie wetsuits so his arms and legs were exposed. While us adults were provided with extra thick suits and even a head cap! So back he got on the boat after maybe 5 minutes in the water. 🙄 I got him dressed and entertained with some crafts I had brought just for this possibility. R, I finally convinced to go back in the water, for five more minutes. I also gave her my neoprene cap. Ty was finally able to get ready for diving now. R and I paddled around a bit but she didn’t want to put her face in the water. ☹️ She finally did and we were able to see Ty scuba diving below us. About 5 minutes and she was ready for the boat as well. So I got her dressed, warmed up, and with her craft before I could head out and snorkel by myself. Thankfully the captain said he’d watch the kiddos.

The fish were beautiful. I enjoyed watching entire schools move as one. The best we’re the jellyfish. Sometimes there were so many I could feel then across my face. Others looked like they were electric, with rainbow colors flashing. I lasted as long as I could, hanging out over top of Ty diving below me. But it got extremely cold so I warmed back up on the boat.

We toured a neat cave before heading to our next site.

It was a beautiful cove with fur seals at the beach. It was much harder to put that cold wetsuit back on. However, it was worth it! The kelp was flowing beautifully in the current. Colorful fish were everywhere and schools of baby fish were gathered all around the boat near the surface. I snorkeled until I was shivering nonstop.

Ty came up from his first dive feeling weak and miserable. He threw up a few times, had some snacks, then rallied enough to snorkel. But he wasn’t able to scuba again. We’d hoped to kayak with the kids but ran out of time. The crew showed us a few neat arches before heading back to the marina. We quickly spied a few dolphins, unfortunately they didn’t hang out long. Ty and R started feeling miserable on the return trip but both managed to hold out.

We ate at the Marina Pizza, while playing a dinosaur match game and Uno. The kids weren’t overly thrilled at New Zealand’s idea of pepperoni.

The kids built sandcastles till it got dark, while Ty and I started packing up. It’s just after 6pm and we’re putting the kids to bed. Everyone is totally exhausted, so an early night for us all. Tomorrow we drive to Auckland, return the camper, and our flight leaves at 7:30pm.