Thursday, May 24, 2007

At the Museum

Our friend Kimberley, oops we mean Lana or was it Tanya (that right, it was Tanya) took us on an adventure today. We all went to the Museum.

Auckland has the best museum that we have ever been too. It is like Scienceworks, the aquarium, the shrine, a dress up party, a theatre and a museum all in one huge building!

We went to a traditional Maori performance, saw sea creatures swimming about, read about the ANZACs and built ancient buildings. Then when we were done, we went for a run through the domain.

Thanks for a great day Tanya,
Love AJ and Milla

(if you want to see some more photos from our day with Tanya,
check out her blog - lost in smith street)

Studying Volcanos

I went to the Auckland Museum to study volcanos today. I found out that not only is the lava dangerous, but the ash from the volcano is dangerous too.
I saw a person who was buried in ash from a volcano errupting in Pompei a trillion years ago.

I think that when I explore volcanos, I will make sure I wear a vulcanologist suit like this one.
Love AJ Pickle

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My Old Nighbourhood

Today we explored the city and I showed Milla where I used to live.

This is the front door; unfortunately I didn’t have a key to get inside the building.

Since we couldn’t go inside my old building, I showed Milla the park I used to play in. It is called Albert Park and it is just over the road from my old house.

Albert Park is fun to play in. Here are lots of different sculptures to climb, paths to wander and gardens to explore.

It was a shame that is was raining, but luckily it wasn’t cold.
Love AJ Pickle

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sundaes on Tuesday

Today the mums wanted some chocolate. Instead of going to the dairy (that’s a little shop or milk bar to everyone else in the rest of the world), we went to Parnell to the Chocolate Boutique.

The mums shared a huge dessert with a giant piece of chocolate mud cake and a chocolate sundae that had chocolate ice cream, chocolate fudge, chocolate mousse, chocolate pieces, chocolate syrup and chocolate sprinkles. All the kids had was a little sundae with ice cream and whipped cream!

Luckily even the kid size ice cream sundaes at the Chocolate Boutique were delicious.
Love Princess George

The Viaduct

Just at the end of the street from our apartment is the Viaduct. Last time I was in Auckland we used to come here to see all the boats that were racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup, to get ready for the Americas Cup.

This time there is no major race to watch but there are still heaps of boats around and it is a great place to play and explore.

Love AJ Pickle

Monday, May 21, 2007

Jungles in the Park

We had a little bit of spare time today, before our apartment was ready, so I decided to show Milla some of the places I used to go to when I was little.

First we went to La Porchetta on Parnell Road for pizza and hot chocolates. (I had convinced the Kiwis 5 years ago that it was great pizza and they still believe me.) Then we went over the road to Heard Park for a swing so I could show her where I went to Playgroup.

After that we went to a secret park called Scarborough Reserve. I was only just a baby when I last went to Scarborough Reserve, so I had only been on the path, this time I was big enough to go exploring with Milla.

Just off the main path through the park, there were secret paths that took us through a jungle. It was amazing. The paths were twisty and overgrown. There were bridges over the streams and steep hills to climb. It was great fun.

I hope that I get to go back to Scarborough Reserve, it would be the best place to play hide and seek.
Love AJ Pickle

My New House

Well today we went to our new house. It is an apartment at the Viaduct in Auckland. It is really nice. It has 2 bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs and a kitchen, meals and family area downstairs, as well as another bathroom and laundry.

Outside we have our own courtyard and then outside the courtyard we have another big courtyard to explore. It is a great holiday house.

Love Princess George


We went to Kelly Tarlton’s today. Kelly Tarlton’s was like an aquarium, but it had penguins as well as stingrays, sharks, sea horses and Sponge Bob Squarepants.

Did you know that some penguins are as tall as Milla?
They are almost as tall as me, see!

It was amazing; we went on a ride on a snowmobile that took us through the snow and ice, just like we were in Antarctica. There were penguins swimming around and dancing on the ice. We even went exploring in a hut that was built just like the huts that the explorers lived in when they were in Antarctica.

I wonder if mum and dad will take me to Antarctica for a holiday one day?
Love AJ Pickle, the explorer

Sunday, May 20, 2007


As we were driving back to Auckland, we found a gypsy market. It looked really exciting, so we stopped to have a look. There were some amazing things to buy. I asked (read begged) for a go on the lucky dip and for a ride on a pony.

I had a great ride on Peter the Pony. Milla didn’t want to ride on the pony; she just wanted to pat Rosie instead.

I hope we find another gypsy market to explore.
Love AJ Pickle

Strange Beaches

We stopped at a beach in Orewa on the way home from the hot pools.

It was a really nice beach, but it was nothing like any other beach I have seen. The sand on the beach was really dark; it looked more like mud than sand. The sand was covered in shells. I have never seen so many shells. I used shells to decorate the people I drew in the sand.

Although the beach was strange, it was lots of fun.
Love Princess George

A Day at the Movies

After the hard climb to the top of Rangitoto yesterday, today was to be a relaxing day at the Waiwera Thermal Pools.

We set up our gear next to what looked to be the pool of choice – a natural pool warmed to 38 degrees, under cover in case it rained with a big screen were we could watch movies.

The other pools ranged in temperature from freezing – the kid’s adventure pool to the ridiculous 48 degree lava pool. I couldn’t quite bring myself to go into either one. I did have a go on a waterslide, if only to prove to Milla that it was safe. It may not have been a high slide but it was fast. Sean was a little more adventurous and went on lots of different slides.

Relaxing in a thermal pool is definitely the way to recover from volcano climbing.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Catastrophe on the Volcano

A trip to Rangitoto meant a ferry ride and a long, long walk to the top. It also meant hundreds (well almost hundreds) of photos…

  • the kids running across the lava fields
  • the kids being plastered with bandaids after falling on the lava fields
  • the views of the harbour from the walking track
  • the kids crawling through the caves
  • the kids crying after hitting their head on the roof of the lava cave
  • eventually the view from the summit
  • looking into the crater
  • even Sean and the kids standing on the roof of the hut at the summit

As I said, heaps of photos that were taken, then disaster struck.

I had been taking photos with both cameras for the entire walk, and managed to fill one SD card. I changed the card for the new card I had bought. I put the card in and it wouldn’t work – it kept saying card error, unable to read card. Help, what could I do, half of my photo storage wasn’t working. I thought something was wrong with my camera, so I swapped cards and put the card into the little camera. BIG mistake – it didn’t work in that camera either. Not only that, when I put the original card back in the little camera, it reported that it now had an error on it too!

Help – what was I to do, we were only half way through the day and I was camera-less! I had taken heaps of photos on the climb up that I could no longer access. Total disaster! The only photos I could rescue were the ones on the temporary card I used prior to the catastrophe, all 13 of them!

(this is one of my favourites)

Oh well, it looks like we will have to come back to Auckland, just to make another journey to Rangitoto! I don’t think the kids would cope with another 4 or so hours of walking up and down a volcano this trip.

Despite having very few photos of the day, it was fantastic. The walk was fun and all the kids came home with souvenirs – not only of lava rocks and leaves but of injuries. Tim had skin off his elbows from his few minutes out of the back pack, AJ had skin off both his knees and Milla was the champion with scratches to her cheek, stomach and her knees!


When we got up this morning, the grownups packed heaps of food and water into backpacks and we went into Auckland to catch a ferry to Rangitoto.

I was a little worried on the ferry, remembering my first boat ride in Sydney where a huge wave crashed through the window and nearly drowned me. Luckily this ferry was much bigger and there were no waves in the harbour.

It didn’t take long to get to Rangitoto and start climbing. The signs at the start of the track said that it would take 1 hour of walking to get to the top.

The first part of the walk was pretty easy. Luke and I could run ahead with Dad, and then explore the lava fields while we waited for the others to catch up. We spent a lot of time waiting – Milla doesn’t walk as fast as a 5 year old and she was happy stopping at every plant to see if it was prickly or soft, to smell every flower and to look for special lava rocks. Mum was almost as slow, she kept I was taking photos every step of the way.

About 1½ hours into the trek, we detoured to explore the caves. Dad borrowed someone’s head lamp and he followed Luke and me into the caves. The mums and the little kids went through the easy caves and Greg decided to relax for a few minutes (he had been carrying Timothy most of the way up and was pooped) and I think he needed the peace and quiet.

When we finished exploring the caves, we kept walking to the summit. Apparently only another 20 minutes to the top – that translates to at least 40 minutes walk at Milla speed. We started off pretty fast because mum gave Milla another piggy back.

Finally we made it to the top of the volcano and we could see for miles around, and into the volcano. It was pretty huge. It was filled with trees and plants. Although it was beautiful, I think that I would rather see real lava inside the volcano instead of plants. I wonder if they will let us climb up the volcano if the lava was boiling hot?

Climbing volcanos is fantastic; I hope I can climb another volcano soon.
Love AJ Pickle

Friday, May 18, 2007

Haven’t lost my touch!

Staying like the Fowlies with Luke, Timothy, Sheila and Greg is just like being at home. It was so much like being at home that when Sean got back from his meetings he decided to go for a walk (read ‘to look for a pub’).

First stop was the bottle shop just down the road where he asked the attendant if he knew where the pub was. The attendant apparently looked confused so Sean explained further…hotel, bar, place to drink beer with other beer drinkers. The attendant still looked confused yet a fellow customer was able to assist.

She was able not only to give directions to a couple of pubs and places of alcohol consumption, but she was able to describe the likely clientele. The first, and closer choice was a pokie venue and likely to be filled with boring people. The other choice, although further away was on the beach and much cooler.

Sean being Sean decided that the second pub was the place to go. Off he went on the trek to the ‘nice’ pub. He had barely left the bottle shop when a car pulls up along side him. He tells me that the conversation went something like this.

Unknown female, “Are you going to the pub now?”
Sean, “Yup.”

Unknown female, “I really shouldn’t be doing this but…do you want a lift?”
Sean, “Well I really shouldn’t get in but…why not!”

So Sean goes driving with a woman he has only just met. Along the drive she pointed out not only where she worked but where she lived. She also questioned what Sean was doing looking for a pub by himself. Sean explained that his friend had gone home to sleep as he had had a big night last night, so he had nothing to do. He forgot to mention that he could be back at home getting dinner for his wife and kids!

After a few drinks, and yet another invitation to come back to her house, Sean decided he had better try to work out how to get back to Sheila and Greg’s house! Apparently it was much further away from home than he expected, but it was worth the walk just to know that he ‘still had it’!

Old Friends

We have a new house to stay in for the weekend. Not only is it full of toys and books, there are kids to play with – Luke and Timothy.

Luke is 5 years old, just like me. In fact, we knew each other when we were tiny little kids. We used to go to swimming together, to the park and even to explore volcanos together!

I think that we are going to have some great adventures together.
Love AJ Pickle

SuperRelish in Aotearoa

The logic applied to flying at night was simple; we could all get flights using frequent flyer points, it would also give Sean time to get back from Sydney to fly with us. As well as that, the kids would be able sleep on the flight, then when we arrived we would go straight to a motel near the airport, have a great sleep and wake refreshed ready for our holiday.

The theory was great and it almost worked. AJ slept for the second half of the flight, so Sean slept too. Milla would yawn and then say ‘I never get tired!’ Each yawn would bring her closer to hyperactivity. Luckily it was only a 4 hour flight.

We had no hassles getting to the motel and collapsing into bed. Sean set his alarm so he would make it to his meeting in time. Unfortunately he forgot to change time zones and we woke before the alarm, but still an hour later than planned.

A quick shower and breakfast and it was time to go, our holiday in New Zealand was about to begin.