Yay for visitors! Josh's bro and sister in law had left on 22March, and then we got to have Josh's mom and dad, Jan and Jon, come for about two weeks. They got into New Plymouth on Thursday 25March, and will be here till after Easter!
Pretty mountain on the way to work on Thursday. Or was it Friday? I don't remember. Anyway, we had planned on going down to Whanganui for the weekend, so once I was done on Friday we headed south.
We stopped in a small town called Waverly because I wanted to see the rock formations...it was a gorgeous evening, and an awesome ocean!
I told those lovely folks that this needs to be their Christmas card...aren't they cute? :)
We stayed the night in Whanganui at a great little hotel, and then headed out that morning to check out the market. This is a year round market, with food and crafty things and artsy things, and I liked it a lot!! Here's a guy working on his stone sculpture near the market.
And this super cute man making whitebait omelets. Whitebait is a delicacy here, and seems like it's kind of like smelt, except much smaller. The way to eat it is with just plain eggs.
We stopped an got coffee--this is Jon trying out his flat white...he'd much rather be sipping 'normal' coffee!! A flat white is sort of a cross between a cappuccino and a latte. At least that's what they tell me.
Then we headed up the River Road. Here's some good info from the interlink:
'The 79 km road leads to the Whanganui National Park, is intimate and adventurous and enables travellers to visit isolated communities and a pace of life which is in contrast to the rest of the country .Approximately half of its length remains unsealed, which requires a slower driving speed than usual.'
'There are stunning views of the river along much of the roads length, with many opportunities for picnic stops.' Awesome views! And of course the camera doesn't do this any justice, as you just can't get the really awesome depth to the scene...
Here are the 'Oyster Cliffs' which are seriously made of lots of oyster shells, as this entire area used to be under water.
Had to stop and get all these funny baaaas that are running around.
More from the interlink: 'Of particular interest are the many beautifully preserved Marae ,which are the family gathering places of local Maori,which are usually visible from the road. Visitors are welcome, although permission must always be obtained before entering.'
This marae actually had a little church on the grounds as well.
Stopped at the Kawana Mill, which used to be a working flour mill. Jon likes the big wheel. It's cool.
And then we made it to Jerusalem...
'The village of Jerusalem (Hiruharama) which was once part of a larger village called Patiarero, has been home to two famous figures from New Zealand history, Mother Mary Aubert, whose Catholic mission remains today, and highly recognised New Zealand poet James K Baxter, who established a retreat and commune in Jerusalem in the late 1960s.' A COMMUNE!!! I wish I could live in a commune, just for a bit.
This is for my mother.
There was a boar there. I thought he was super cute. He was in a little paddock, and if you called 'here, piggy piggy piggy' he actually comes over to where you're standing. Josh tried to pet him. His monkey arms weren't long enough.
This is the fabulous view from our little cottage that we stayed in on Sat night. Super cute place, made some yummy dinner, hung out with the sheep.
Sunday morning--the two little clouds that are sitting out on the front porch are really Jon and Jan.
View of Jerusalem from the south part of the River Road.
Back in Whanganui for lunch, went to a place called Stonze...I was a bit worried at first, as we were the only ones there for lunch, but the food was AMAZING. The chef is French trained, and makes everything in the place, even down to the mayo for the aioli. Anyway, the point is that you cook your meat on this 400 degree (Celsius!) rock. I asked him to make me up a veggie pasta, and it was an amazing peanut sauce thing with truffle oil and avocados and yumminess.
Then we stopped at a place called Bushy Park to wander around--they have great trails with nice little info bits on the trees and plants and things. Look at these super cute little orange shrooms!
Here's a big old rata. Northern Rata (Metrosideros robusta, for all you geeks out there) usually begins life as an epiphyte or plant perched on a host tree. Its roots grow down to the ground, finally enclosing the host tree and producing a huge tree up to 25 metres high with a trunk of 2.5 metres through. It is found throughout the North Island and in the South Island (where I believe they are called Southern Rata...) Bushy Park has the biggest Northern Rata.
Here's the big one--"Ratanui" (Big Rata). A sign near the tree says that it has a height of 43.1 metres, diameter of 3.77 metres and girth of 11.86 metres. The exact age of this tree is unknown, but the lady at the park said probably at least 800 years old. I think.
Then we went to a pretty beach, which was WINDY as all getout.
And then stopped at the Bason Botanical Gardens...the actual buildings were closed but the gardens were beautiful.
They even had a big ole succulent garden, which was the COOLEST thing EVER.
Josh and Jon sat on a bench, not at all excited about the gardens. I don't know why, since Josh has specifically said that he's in charge of all gardens in our future homes....