© 2017 mikeandbrynne

Secret Spot

Trouble in Paradise

We woke up to an absolute perfect day. (To give you an idea: tomorrow is the last day of New Zealand’s summer and our guide today told us that it was only the 6th day all summer that he had worn shorts). Clear. Windless. Glassy. Sunny. Glorious. Our retreat was fancier than our typical holiday hideaway and the kids basked in the robes, the heated towel racks and the endless views. It was too perfect to want to go anywhere or do anything. Too perfect. With nothing structured to do and no planned meals the kids regressed to arguing over the last packages of ramen noodles and microwave popcorn. Really??  Even after 4 weeks of incredible family time we still have to fight off selfishness, pride and irritation. I told the kids we were doubling our scripture study time. They patronized me–not the reaction I was looking for. 

Time for some adventure. 

Adventure #1- Paddleboarding and Kayaking from the dock.

Adventure #2- Allens Beach- cold body boarding and a giant pale sea lion. We thought something was wrong with it as we thought sea lions were always brown or black. We didn’t even bother to take a picture.  Later we found that we had seen one of the 40 rare female sea lions in all of New Zealand. Ignorant. 

Adventure #3-Wild Elm Tour-On strong recommendation from the owners of our home I had booked a local wildlife tour in advance. My younger kids were so bent on seeing penguins that I had wanted to make sure that we actually DID SEE penguins. When I was booking back in the states I didn’t know that we would great success in seeing penguins on our own. I’m glad I didn’t know. I wouldn’t have booked the tour and we would have missed out on the magical locations we visited this evening. 

Our first stop was The Royal Albatross Center where we watched giant albatrosses sail right over our heads. Tiaroa Head is the only place on a mainland worldwide where albatrosses can be seen. They are amazing birds: mating for life, traveling over 100 km an hour and coming back to the same breeding area with an inborn gps router. 10 feet across we held our breath as they sailed by.

My kids love kingfishers-

From one side of the Otago Pennisula we traveled to the other passing our home and entering into an incredible private property. We spent a few hours here with the naturalists walking, talking, learning and viewing. Our favorites were the yellow eyed penguins, the arguing Sea Lions and the fur seal “kindergartens” with dozens upon dozens of baby fur seals. What a beautiful perfect evening topped off with unencombered star gazing. We love this place!!