Saturday, 13-09-2014: Day 24.
Giant Carrots and Sports Fans.
The night before, right as we were sitting down to dinner, we'd gotten an interesting email from a gent named Jon who lived in Wellington. He and his wife, along with their two daughters (who were about the same ages as our daughters) invited us to visit with them on Sunday. We had planned to be in Wellington Sunday night anyway in order to catch the Interislander to the South Island on Monday afternoon, so we happily took them up on their offer.
That left us with a free day, and since we'd been on the road a lot the past month, we decided to chill out at the holiday park and explore Ohakune for the day.
Ohakune, which sits at the base of the active volcano Mount Ruapehu is known for its carrots. In case there's any doubt about the importance of carrots here, there's a giant carrot on the edge of town to let you know how much carrots mean to the community.
It's also a springboard for ski trips up to the mountain, so many of the shops catered to ski-oriented tourists. We weren't prepared for a ski adventure, so we got some ice cream, visited the Merino Outlet (great prices on factory-second wool clothing) where Jackie and Samantha got wool shirts (Jackie had neglected to pack any long-sleeve shirts), and stopped in at a local clothing store where Frankie got a new hat.
We walked back to the campsite and relaxed a bit. The campsite had a playground with a trampoline, so the kids spent some time there before Frankie and I decided to throw the Aerobie Superdisc (one of the best flying discs ever, invented by the Aero Press guy) around. It was a windy sort of day, and the Aerobie is vulnerable to strong gusts, so it wasn't too long before a strong wind caught the disc and blew right into the river adjacent to the campsite.
We feared it lost—but weren't going to give it up that easily. We ran along the bank, in and out of trees, trying to find a way to reach the disc in the stream (without getting wet). Then we saw a narrow trail ... we followed that down to a sandbar where we grabbed a long stick and dragged the disc to the bank. Saved!
Jackie still wanted to play, so we retired the Aerobie for the moment and tried using our heavier, more standard flying disc instead. (You see where this is going, I'm sure). Despite our best efforts, the other flying disc ended up in the drink as well. So after we retrieved it, wee reluctantly called off frisbee for the day.
Later, we walked back into town for some dinner in a warm restaurant. There was a big rugby game coming up, New Zealand's All Blacks against the South Africa Springboks, and the pre-game show started an hour before kickoff (if kickoff is even a thing in rugby; hopefully you know what I mean).
This country loves its All Blacks. I grew up in Green Bay, a town of 100,000 that loves its team (the Packers, just in case), and the enthusiasm for the All Blacks feels a lot like that, except instead of a town it's a country of 4.5 million.
The whole build up to this match was very exciting, and we walked back to the campsite with the intention of watching the game, but our in-camper TV provider doesn't include the All Blacks channel. An oversight, no doubt.
- Kilometers driven: 0
- Flying discs almost lost: 2
- Hats purchased: 1
- Wool shirts purchased: 2
- Ruby matches watched: 0