We’ve spent the last few nights high in the mountains, first a night in historic Arrowtown, and the following two in bustling Queenstown. The roads continued to surpass our curvy, cliff winding expectations. Twice now, our fridge door has flown open scattering its contents from back to front, which although messy, does not compare to the day several weeks back when the loo water overflowed and ran from rear to dash.
Historically known for its gold rush, Arrowtown is a quaint and old fashioned place, and despite its overly touristy nature, is still worth an afternoon stroll at the least. Ry and I checked out the old Chinese settlers village, which consisted of some tiny huts built down near the river by the immigrant working miners that were “invited but not welcome” as the sign read, to live with the population of the village.
Panning for gold was on demonstration for those who were interested on the lawn of a nearby cafe. Ry and I jumped at the chance to see how its done, and following we went down to the river to test our new abilities using the stroller snack tray (because it had ridges in it just like the gold pans don’t you know?!)… minutes into the task I was informed by Ry that “we’re not looking for sparkles anymore mama, we’re just throwing rocks in the river” and just as I had expected, renting the real equipment would not have been worth her attention span.
Later that afternoon we tried our luck at another family bike ride, this time on a gravel up and down scenic route along the river and over a few bridges. Ry rode slingshot on Josh’s bike (which was a real struggle to pedal with knees apart), and Zo got a rear bucket seat with me, but unfortunately this time she wasn’t super pleased on the return trip. Between the flimsy strap that wasn’t close enough to her bum to prevent sliding forward and the helmet getting stuck on the seat and forcing her head forward she yelled with displeasure as I tried to expedite the journey back to the shop. Some of the downhills were a little speedy, and while Ry beamed with glee I can only imagine Zo’s face behind me. Crossing my fingers we didn’t jeopardize her love of biking. Poor little lady!
Our first glimpse of Queenstown was high on the mountain road after coming down through the pass from Wanaka. This busy town is set right on lake Wakatipu and gave first impressions of Banff, similarly having many tourists, and a vast array of sporting shops, restaurants and tourist booking centres. The nights and mornings were very chilly and required all of our clothing layers for at least a couple hours of wandering around. When the sun came it warmed you to the core just like a fall day at home. We chose not to do the gondola, luge or a scenic boat ride as we’d already done similar activities in other recent towns, and instead did a bit of shopping, had a nice lunch (yes the kids were great), and walked around the gardens and marine parade.
Tonight marks our 50th night in the campervan, so I’m going to treat you to some family van-life. When we picked up the van thinking about doing 68 nights seemed a tad overwhelming, but here we are, well into the trip. We do have some routine now, and the kids expect what’s coming. Often people comment on how impressed they are that we’ve travelling so far with two young ones, and we’ve yet to conclude why exactly that is. But, here are some of the challenges…
Firstly, 100% of the time your toddler will say “mama, I need to poop” at the most inopportune times. Nine of them will be while you are making, or eating dinner and standing in the camper kitchen holding the door to the toilet for them all at once, and the tenth time will be while driving, or at a store or playground with no toilet.
Secondly, being inside the little camper to eat, sleep, play, and poop (toddlers only), the size is starting to show. We are looking forward to finishing up the south island and moving onward to Australia for a bit more space, possibly our own bedrooms, and solid ground to hang out, relax, and flip on an episode of Paw Patrol. Things have been working out quite well, but tiny spaces do have their time limits.
Thirdly, although we still have to deal with the daily struggles of parenting, regardless of where we are, the real challenge is actually where you battle. Because those regular time outs, tantrums, or sharing issues usually occur either in a tiny camper, or involve public displays of screaming (oh to be three)… In return, they also require calm, cool, and collected appearing rebuttals (a work in progress).
However, the challenges are always worth it because we truly enjoy travelling and will do what it takes to make it fun and successful for everyone, and in turn we are hopefully raising budding globe trotters with an appreciation of culture and a healthier world outlook. The end.