Family Reunion

It’s Gonna be a Good One

The second week of November brought with it two sets of parents from the other side of the world. Joel and I ventured Auckland-way to fetch our newest Canadian arrivals, and began to introduce them to ‘our’ New Zealand.

We had spent the night before their planes touched down at a hotel near the airport, to be as fresh as possible for our 5 am wakeup call. We were particularly grateful to be close for this early morning, since our previous nights sleep was interrupted by a tsunami threat and a 2am evacuation (thanks again to our friends who woke us up and rushed us to higher ground for the night).

The Lindoff’s were the first to arrive and after a little refresher, we were back at the airport to retrieve the Klettke’s.

Knowing we’d return to Auckland for several days, we decided to start towards the Bay of Plenty. As we travelled, we made a number of stops.

Maccas for coffee (we figured we’d have lots of opportunities yet to enjoy some of NZ’s quaint cafes, and found it more important to be quickly caffeinated), Paeroa for some monkey business and Katikati for our beloved, Busy Baker to stock up on all the gluten-freedom treats.

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We had a quiet, rainy afternoon in Papamoa and tried to keep everyone awake long enough to fight their jet lag… but that didn’t last too long. After a quick supper, the crew was mostly out by 8pm! Recharging for the busy days ahead.


Welcome to the Bay

Wednesday morning started with a barbecued breakfast to fuel our days activities.

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Despite the grey weather, Joel and I were determined to show off the things we love about our area. A natural place to start was walking around the Mount. We chanced the rain and were pleased to have a break enough to explore – stretching the legs and taking in the ocean air.

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We think they liked it!

Once we’d toured the crew around downtown a little bit, we headed for Fashion Island for all our bargain shopper moms, and came away with a load of Cotton On clothes (those sales tags, though).

We came back for a light lunch on the patio in the sunshine before piling in the car once more. #selfiequeen


Rockin’ Rotorua

We didn’t have too much planned for Rotorua, but thought it would be a fun stop for the parents. We were able to get to Te Puia geothermal valley with a couple hours before closing, and were content to wander.

The parents dropped in with a guided tour (my dad seemed to find a couple he was interested in joining, really) and we wandered around for a couple hours taking in the sights and trying not to be annoyed by the other tourists 😛 (we’re still getting used to the increasing crowds as the weather warms).

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Once we’d had our fill of thermal wonders, we headed for supper at a Thai spot that’s impressed me with it’s amazing lamb curry in the past and it didn’t disappoint on a second trip! We feasted and then headed towards the Polynesian Spa to enjoy the therapeutic spring water for the first time in the daylight.


Having walked, eaten and warmed ourselves… folks were feeling pretty cozy and it didn’t take long after we’d arrived home to have everyone in dreamland once again.

The Third Day

Thursday was supposed to be the day my dad and I had our White Island tour, but it was cancelled due to weather and sea conditions.  It took a little wiggling to figure out an alternate day, but we got it sorted. SO instead of being awed by volcanoes, we enjoyed indulgent Southern Hemisphere coffees and celebrated Papa Chuck.

Our day started slow and grey, chilling out around the house and catching up on our electronics.

By lunch time, we were ready for something more stimulating. We grabbed a cafe lunch at Tay Street where the eggs Benedict made a lasting impression on the birthday Charles.


From there, we drove out a little ways to bask in the beauty of McLaren Falls. The parents seems quite impressed, and we enjoyed some time rock jumping and strolling along the stream-side pathways.

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With our walk done, we headed back to town for some birthday joy – Charles chose a Swanndri for himself and we got some lamb to BBQ for supper. Another quick stop for coffee at Pacifica brought us back home to rest up and have some food before an evening out.

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Joel was hoping to share his love of BBQ lamb leg steak, and we were able to give Charles a pretty reasonable birthday dinner in the end 🙂


Even though the birthday boy continued to insist it wasn’t really his birthday, and the following day, his Canadian birthday, would be the more acceptable time to celebrate…we got him out of the house for some dessert.

We were especially pleased to have Britt and Aaron join us at the Mount. We bundled up to check out Moturiki Island. Even though we didn’t see any little blue penguins like I was hoping, we spotted a Tui and were able to again enjoy a little more of the great NZ outdoors.

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We wandered a little ways before treating ourselves to dessert at Dixie Browns and finally heading home for some R&R.


We had just one full day left before our great exodus, and the weather seemed to cooperate. The morning was used to do laundry, basking in the sun, catch up on work for Joel and for everyone to start setting their minds on the road ahead.

Joel and I had some packing and downsizing to do, and we had some decisions to make about what items go where, so it was nice to have some down time to figure that out.


The first time we met Aaron, he mentioned he worked in kiwifruit and anytime we’d like to come tour an orchard, he’d be happy to have us! For a fresh group of Canadians, we really thought that would be a cool experience. Sadly, Brandon and Stacey had to leave before we were able to coordinate a time for the 4 of us, so thought we should try to fit this in for the parents.

We set a time with Aaron, and while we waited, we had some mean burgers at James St.

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We love kiwifruit.

Aaron was very sweet to take us all around a couple different orchards and our parents Loved. It. We found it really interesting to hear about the growing process, and especially fun listening to such a passionate tour guide!

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Our last evening at the beach house was bitter sweet, and still quite busy as we continued to get ourselves packed and sorted. I am so grateful that Joel slowed us down a little bit to enjoy the sunset and to just be in our place for the last time.

Our beach house was the perfect spot for our first seven months, and it really ticked all the boxes. We couldn’t have asked for a more lovely home to recharge in every evening, and it provided just what we needed for our kiwi adventure.

We ended up living in our beach bach for as long as we’ve lived in our Calgary house, which is crazy to consider. It will certainly hold a special place in our hearts!

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Saturday morning brought with it a boatload of chores and last minute errands. Our friends were so helpful to not only house our largest bags for us while we’re on the move, but also to help us use up the last bits from our fridge.
Our parents were simply wonderful to help us do a final clean of our house, and they’ve volunteered to take back random bits of baggage that we’ve had trouble fitting in our luggage – which is sweet as. The rest of Saturday morning was spent signing papers, doing a walk through with our realtor, dropping stuff by Aaron and Britt’s and making a final run to the transfer station to be rid of our last bag of garbage and bits of recycling.

After packing a couple of vehicles full, we left Papamoa with mixed emotions. Saddened to be closing such a powerful chapter in our lives, but excited to see what’s ahead on the journey.

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