Tuesday 05 April 2016 – Auckland, New Zealand.
Last day in New Zealand – it has all gone so fast, 12 days is such a short time. Even though it is our last day I was looking forward to it as we were going to take Mason to the zoo. I love the zoo. Auckland Zoo do this cool thing where you can buy an annual pass for a named child and get a free un-named pass for an adult to go with it. This means any adult can take the child to the zoo for free. I think it is a wonderful scheme.
El and I did a fair amount of packing and organising before we left for the zoo with mum, we picked up my grandson Mason on the way and arrived at the zoo late morning. It was a glorious day, it will be good to leave Auckland on a good weather day – means the flight departure will not be too bad either !
The kids pass seemed to be well liked as there were loads of mums with prams making use of the lovely day. Mason seemed intrigued by what was going on.
There was not a lot to see for the first hour we were at the zoo, it was a warm day and the midday sun seemed to force a lot of the animals into wisely slumbering in the shade. Mason was sort of interested in what was going on, but there was not a whole lot of it. The zoo has had a real make-over over the past couple of decades, no longer do you see listless animals pacing in small boxes, there are far less animals but in much bigger and more appropriate enclosures. We did stop for a look at the lemurs.
I wanted to visit the Kiwi House, so I could show El what the kiwi bird looks like. They are nocturnal creatures, small, brown, flightless and defenceless. They are an endangered species, but I do not think they are on an immediate concern list. We did see a couple walking around behind their glass shields, though it was very dark, and impossible to take photos in.
We stopped outside so Mason could have a drink and a snack, he only stayed in his stroller for a few minutes and had been walking around for a while. He only has little legs. He also has a very cheeky grin.
After looking at the elephants we stopped for an ice cream, and in my case a much needed coffee. Mason and mum seemed to be very happy with their ice cream.
After watching some other kids playing, Mason wanted to go and walk around in the little fountain, so like a true kiwi kid, it was shoes off for a splash.
Mason finally found his happy place in the zoo, not with any of the animals, he found a bike. Mason loves bikes, cars and trucks, and these are some of the few words he has. He was very happy to be able to sit on the old scooter on display in the African section.
Then joy of joys, there was another bike!
The highlight for Mason, and for us watching him, was a small looped tunnel that led to a viewing window in the middle of the meerkat enclosure. He spent quite a bit of time running in and out of the tunnels with two other children his height – just short enough to stand up. It took us a while to tear him, and the other kids away, it was great listening to them laughing out of sight in the tunnel.
He also quite liked the meerkats, as did I.
That was pretty much the end of our loop of the zoo, a couple of hours had disappeared really quickly. Mason was knackered (I know how he felt) and he was asleep in the car before we even left the car park.
We dropped him off at home, and I got to have one last cuddle before he went inside. I won’t see him again for a while, hopefully I will be back in New Zealand before the end of year.
In the evening we had dinner with Mum, my sister, Mel and Dickie and Aiden in a Sri Lankan restaurant not far from Mel’s place. It was great to have kotu roti again, the food was excellent, and very good value. After dinner we said goodbye to Aiden, mum and my sister and Mel and Dickie took us to the airport for our flight to Hong Kong at midnight.
And that was it. Our time in New Zealand was over, all too soon once again. We had a really good time, we both enjoyed our road trip up north, and it was fabulous seeing family and friends again. It was especially good to be able to spend some time with Mason and take a few photos that will come back to London with me. El liked Auckland a lot more than she did last time, so the possibility of buying a property there is on the ‘maybe, one day’ list. We will have to see.
Thanks to mum and my sister for letting us stay, for looking after us. Mel, Aiden, Dickie, it was great seeing you and Mason again. Love you all and looking forward to seeing you on Skype and hopefully in the flesh November(ish). xx