day 5 - long road home

We had a little more luck on the way home of getting Mt Ruapehu to cooperate :) The second mountain is actually what they used for "Mt. Doom" in the Lord of the Rings movies, just in case you wanted to know! (totally right?)


day 4 - lots o' rocks

We drove a little ways this morning to find a mystery beach! I was excited, Ryan wasn't so thrilled...but he is a good sport. We followed the instructions I had found online to a secret, unmarked, beach. And after hiking for about 30 minutes...we found it!

We weren't actually alone at this "secret" beach, but pretty close. It was a pretty big beach with about 6 people on it. It wasn't quite the sunny, "lay-out" kind of day, but it was still relaxing :)

Ha, did I forget to mention this is what we had to cross to get there? After the hiking mishaps from the previous days I was surprised I didn't roll an ankle or something. When you follow these rocks around the bend, you can find the beach!
Afterwards we went into the Coromandel town for a milkshake. Haha, exciting? And then we decided we wanted to climb to the top of this mountain. But unfortunately we couldn't find the trailhead! Big bummer. We drove around for about 30 minutes trying to find it, but by then it was starting to get dark. Probably not a good idea to head out into the wilderness?

So instead we watched the beautiful sunset...

On the way back home we also found this waterfall off the side of the road.

So we made little boats out of leaves and sent them over.

Another great day of exploration, and unfortunately we are headed home tomorrow!

day 3 - Hot Water Beach

Warning, there are quite a few pictures in this post! After stopping by a local donut shop to celebrate Ryan's birthday, we headed up to Cathedral Cove. Cathedral Cove is pretty "famous" in NZ, due to several movies filming there, such as the most recent (I think) Narnia movie.

Anyway, we started our hike nice and early :)

Once we arrived we saw this sign, which looks pretty serious! New Zealand loves their exclamation signs.
Well, here is the famous cove.

It was such a nice sunny day! We were so thankful after the previous day's rain.

We decided (or Ryan decided, and it was his birthday) that we would ignore the scary sign and go through the ropes to the beach on the other side. Ha, notice the kids fighting in the water in the background.

Another look back across the beach. I thought the blue water, green trees, white cliffs and rock were just stunning.
After soaking up as much Cathedral Cove as we could, we headed on to the next bay, Stingray Bay. Also beautiful.

After Stingray Bay, we jumped back in the car and drove off to the real highlight of the day. Hot Water Beach! HWB is a beach (duh) with thermal activity underneath, so at low tide hot water actually seeps up through the sand. Crazy! So, the popular tourist activity is to dig yourself a hot tub on the beach. It's funny, you kind of have to fight for a spot!

Can you see the steam?? Our first spot wasn't so great because the water was actually too hot. We couldn't even sit in it!

But then the couple next to us decided to leave and gave us their spa. Ryan, my model:

Fabulous, a hot tub on the beach...

And you can kind of see how busy it was. Lots and lots of people. There are even stands renting out shovels, but we toughed it out with a frisbee :)

Another busy day, but we ended it by going out to dinner to celebrate Ryan's birthday! Woohoo 26!


day 2 - The Pinnacles

We started the morning with some pancakes while deciding what we should do for the day. The Coromandel, so we've been told, is known for it's beaches, but there are also some amazing hikes in the middle of the peninsula that we thought we should check out. I thought there was no way Ryan would want to do a full day hike, but go figure, that's the one he wanted to do :) So...we looked outside, it was sunny, so we figured...let's go for it!

We spoke too soon. We hadn't really calculated the time it would take to get to the trailhead, so after almost an hour of driving through the back country it had started pouring down rain. Too late to turn around now! Luckily, I had left my rain coat in the car the night before so we headed off down the trail, thinking "it never rains ALL day, it must stop eventually"...

The hike did have these fun bridges across the river that we zigzagged across occasionally. The area we were hiking through was first discovered when logging companies hiked up here for the timber. The trail was created for mules that were carrying supplies up to the top.

La te da, just hiking in the rain :) I do have pants on by the way, I was just dressed for a little warmer weather.

A lot of pretty waterfalls, and well, just a lot of water in general.
Finally we saw a pinnacle! You are probably wondering what a pinnacle is? Well, a pinnacle forms when sediment builds up inside a volcano. Then, over time, the volcano falls away leaving the pointy looking sediment. That is my understanding anyway, I'm thinking maybe I should do some further reading. The view from the top is supposed to be spectacular, one of the must do's in NZ, but unfortunately the weather wasn't really we turned around and headed back.
More neat bridges and water. I believe it was right around this time that I slipped and fell, which left me with a huge bruise on the side of my leg and on both of my knees. Awesome :)

Here we are back down at the bottom after our adventurous (and treacherous) day to the Pinnacles. This was taken right before we found out our car wouldn't start... So apparently the adventure wasn't quite over.

I sort of freaked out at this time. There wasn't anyone around and most of the hikers make this hike in 2 days meaning they aren't coming down until tomorrow. We were 9kms from the ranger station with no cell phone coverage...and it was going to get dark soon. Yikes. I had my mind set that we were going to have to spend the night in our car until someone would come and be able to rescue us.

Ryan offered to start jogging to the ranger station while I stayed back in case anyone came along with jumper cables. About 15 minutes after he left two nice German guys came down and offered to give me a ride to the ranger station. I met Ryan there and a very nice ranger, Eric, was able to drive us back and get our car going. Woohoo!

On our way back to civilization we came across this sign. Apparently we were going to ford the river! Oregon Trail anyone?

From inside the car, it actually looks like we might be in the river...

On our way back to our "home", we stopped by another little beach to see the sunset. It was very pretty, and it made me excited for the beach the next day!

And then we crashed :)


Our mini trip - day 1

The road trip! We left Wellington pretty early in the morning after picking up our rental car. The skies weren't looking very nice over Kapiti Island when we drove along the coast...

But quickly the day cleared up. We drove through the countryside for a while, which is so green! And of course, full of sheep.

We came to Taihape, where they have an annual gumboot (rain boots) throwing contest. I think that would be so fun to watch, so I'll have to talk Ryan into going sometime. Ha, it's only 3 hours away...

We reached Mt Ruapehu, which is almost half way and took a picture with the mountain. We haven't had much luck driving through, it always seems to be hiding behind clouds. One of these days we will get it!

And I stopped taking pictures of our road trip here apparently. It was about a 9 hour drive up to the Coromandel, and we didnt' arrive until late. It was an adventure navigating with poor maps and very windy roads. Anyway, check back, I'll share more soon!


on the road

We are headed out of town for a bit to celebrate Ryan's birthday! We're actually renting a car and going to the Coromandel to explore some beaches and mountains. Yay!

In case you're interested...


Yes, the Easter Bunny.

For Easter, we thought we would try something a little different for an outreach on campus... You know how in the states people takes their kids to get pictures with the Easter Bunny? Well, apparently they definitely don't do that in New Zealand, so we thought...why not make a few people laugh and take their pictures with the Easter Bunny?

So we did...
Only our bunny costume we rented turned out to be pretty creepy. But, hey, even that works on a uni campus :) You can see his tail is about to fall off...

And sometimes he looks like a puppy dog?

Doesn't he just look sad? After we took students' pictures we asked them to fill out a quick survey to see what students had to say about Easter and why we celebrate it. We had some good conversations and actually met a few Christians on campus that are looking to get involved in bible studies. Fellowship in Uni is so important, so we were encouraged to meet some of these students!

Just hanging out...
Adam is big on showing off his guns these days. So when the bunny was busy running around campus to drum up business, you could get your photo with Adam!

And then the bunny joined us at our weekly meeting and participated in discussion! He was quite the celebrity for a day :)

Our hope is to be able to follow up with several of the students we met this week while taking pictures. We would love to get to chat about what we do with Student Life as well as why we celebrate Easter. Hopefully this creepy bunny will lead to some good spiritual conversations!


Calling all Ladies

We had a ladies craft night this past weekend! Best night ever. Amazing women and crafts? Sign me up!
We had some snacks, and Sarah made a pumpkin pie! Pumpkin pies are sort of a luxury because canned pumpkin does not exist here. So you actually have to make it from scratch, boiling pumpkin and all. Very impressive! You also have to make the pie crust from scratch, pre-made pie crusts aren't easy to come by, and they are usually square...which is weird. Anyway, just wanted you to appreciate the joy we all found in having pumpkin pie :)

We worked on making necklaces this evening.

You can see us with our necklaces!

We're trying to have more of these "events" like this so we can invite other women into community in a very non-threatening way. We want our students to be challenged to bring friends along and start to build some intentional relationships. Of course, we have a lot of fun, but we also want to be building relationships with each other and women that are curious about Jesus or new to Student Life.