Tuesday, 28 September 2010

A problem is just a solution waiting to be solved

I've been meaning to post an update for weeks, especially about our second trip to Auckland, but things have been quite busy around the place that I've been slack about gathering my thoughts together. But oh well, I've started now, so that problem's solved - check!

Okay, here we go ....
This is where we stayed. We give it a big thumb's up. It was exactly as advertised - clean, tidy, simple - yet tasteful - decor, priced within our budget and best of all - it's only 5kms from the airport. For some people it would be like, "What? Why on earth do you want to be near the airport and not be in the centre of Auckland itself?" Not us, no siree. I'm fairly sure regular readers would be aware of the affinity our kids have with aeroplanes. We love 'em, so it made sense for us to find accommodation near the airport because of course, we went there as part of our weekend away. [ But just so you know, we did search lots of areas from Manukau through to the city - and beyond - without success. ]

And here's the reason why we chose Kiwi International Hotel:-
A simple little line on their website is all it took!!!

I can vouch that myself, whaiāipo and Craig spent HOURS on end ... DAYS on end ... trying to find the right accommodation for our crew.

It's so annoying, just because we are a family of eight we suddenly cross the limit of "maximum" for one room. Aargh!! So much for "family" rooms. Let's face it, there are a lot of families out there with more children than us.

And then, just as I felt like chucking it all in, I fell upon Kiwi International Hotel. Thank goodness!!

Their website is maximum user friendly. I got the shock of my life to see they have check boxes for adjacent room, cot and non-smoking. Considering we'd emailed -- and phoned -- probably a dozen motels asking the same questions over and over, it was a pleasure to finally have a website with forethought.

There is only one place (Craig found) that would take the eight of us. However, after reading some of the comments and even phoning them, we are not likely to ever consider them in the future. We only phoned because they were the one place advertising a family room accommodating our number.

To be fair, we found places that accommodate ten people -- but they're beach properties and apartments. So, long story short, it's jolly hard work to find accommodation for a family of eight!! Yes, we do have extended family in Auckland we could possibly stay with, but by the time our lot walk in the door, we kinda take up the family room in one breathe.

Okay, so that's the problem of accommodation for our upcoming weekend sorted - check!

With that side taken care of it was time to confirm our touristy plans. First things first, I asked Uncle Craig to confirm our bookings for Friday night's Stardome show.
I chose this show in particular as I knew tama 1 would relate well with it. Although the show is suited for 8+ I was confident tamāhine 1 and tama 2 would enjoy themselves ... which of course, they did. Apparently our kids had the rest of the audience giggling as they sat mesmerised by it all, with lots of loud oohs and aahs and wows.

I stayed back at the hotel with the three little ones, to have them settled and sleeping by the time everyone came back.

Upon their return I sat back to enjoy the stories from the big night out. Apparently tama 1 impressed his big cousin Lizzie with his knowledge; tama 1 was mentioning things well in advance of the presenter!

Anyway, here's a few more things Craig and whaiāipo relayed from the night out:-

The presenter said, "there are polar ice caps on Mars but it's not frozen water. Does anyone know what it is?" Tama 1 pipes up, "it's frozen carbon dioxide."

Another thing the presenter said about Mars is that it has the largest mountain in the solar system. Tama 1 again pipes up, "yes, it's Olympus Mons and it's nearly three times higher than Mt Everest." The presenter was very impressed ... "who said that?" he asked and tama 1 acknowledges it was himself.

Then they looked at a storm on Jupiter (which has been going for 300 years) and the presenter said, "it doesn't look that big because Jupiter's so large. Does anyone know how big the storm is?" Tama 1 said, "it's about three times larger than Earth." Again, the presenter was impressed with tama 1's response.

Wow! What a moment of pride. Our first born/our first homeschooler, without acting as a show-off was able to impress an adult with such knowledge. As whaiāipo explained to me though, the presenter didn't know that tama 1 was mentioning a lot of facts to his guardians well before the presenter said the same thing(s). Seriously!

The kids were buzzing from their night out. I should mention that tama 2 rang me on their way home. Not only was he impressed with the night out, but it was like they had a second show on their way back to the hotel. There was a huge electrical storm and the kids were just in awe of seeing the lightning being thrown around in the night sky. They felt like junior storm chasers. His running commentary was hilarious.

A pretty neat way to end the night eh?!

Visit Stardome Observatory & Planetarium - check!
Next on our list of things to do ... Auckland International Airport. Saturday morning.

We had an absolute blast parking the car, racing across the road in the rain and then seeing the kids eyes widen as they looked at the sheer expanse of the airport. In comparison to our little ol' Rotorua Airport, this was like waaaaayyyy exciting!! The kids found the crowd rather intimidating as we kept trying to shuffle them through the maze of tall people. Making our way to the escalator the kids thought this "thing" was just wickedly exciting. I think they'd have been happy to just go up and down the escalator a few times if that's all we went there for. However, we pushed on and headed upstairs to the duty free and foodcourt areas. The look on the kids faces was just priceless. Following our instructions to go this way, go that way, watch out for ...

We finally made it to an area overlooking the check-in counters. And hanging right there before us was none other than Rotorua-born Jean Batten's Percival Gull.
After great discussion about the plane, ie in 1936 Percival Gull is the plane Jean Batten flew solo from England to New Zealand in etc, we manoeuvred our way back through the crowds, reaching the elevator to take us up to the Observation deck. Again, this was major excitement for our kids -- as for me, I didn't realise how claustrophobic I was!!! So then we scootered this way and that, completely by-passing the games arcade (I'm so grateful our kids aren't interested in that sort of thing) and with noses pressed against the huge glass windows, we all settled down to watch the arrivals and departures of lots and lots of planes.

As expected the kids were quick to fire the names of each plane and country of origin. A320's, 737's, 747's, Bombardiers, 777's and 767's, ATR72's and the good ol Beech. (In Rotorua we get the A320, Bombardier, ATR72, and Beech. We used to get the 737 but not anymore.)

After nearly three hours, we adults were feeling parched and decided to shout the kids to a bite to eat at one of the cafés before making our way out to the car and heading to our next destination.

That's another activity we can tick off our list now - Auckland International Airport - check!

Next up --

Well, I'll leave it for the next episode, hee hee. Be sure to tune back soon ...

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

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