Sorry for the loss of contact everyone, it has been a busy last few weeks!
This post is about the last weekend of March.
Kaytee, Carly and I decided we needed to complete our road trip from the previous weekend, with Mark there in spirit, so we rented a car and headed to Paihia. Carly drove us successfully all the way there (without even running out of gas). We stayed at a cute little hostel called "The Pickled Parrot" for the night, then were up early and into town the next morning. We went on an all day boat tour of the bay, and they day started out grey and bleak. It was cloudy, windy and cold. On top of this, we were wet from a dolphin swim. Part of our tour was swimming with the dolphins, so when we found a pod we jumped in the frigid water and swam with them! I got within a meter of one, but then they swam away. It was pretty exciting-but didn't help up get warmer. However, a couple hours into the tour the clouds burned off and the sun came out in full force, and it was absolutely gorgeous. We saw numerous beautiful islands, went through the hole in the rock, and were just overall amazed by the blue water. One of the highlights was our lunch break on a beautiful little island beach. It was wonderful to relax in the sun by the beautiful water.
Carly trying to get on the top bunk. She is miniature so it was a little difficult for her. Kaytee and I were quite entertained.
Incredible blue water
A cute seagull that was hovering with us on the boat for a while, and letting someone hand feed it out of the air!
After the ride we wandered around town for a little bit, and had some fish and chips at a little shop. We then headed out, with a few planned stops along the way. Our first was the treaty house, but once we got there we decided against it because it cost $20 to get in. Next was the glo worm caves, which had closed at 4:30 (it was about 6:30 by now). We even tried to stop at a dairy center of some sort... which was a bust. However, all these failures brought us to a beautiful waterfall before dark.
Here is the stream up to the waterfall.
The waterfall itself
Me falling off the edge
Overall it was a wonderful weekend with good friends and good memories. The week following wasn't quite so relaxing, but still good. I had to write 2 papers, so that consumed most of my time. However, the highlight of the week was Mark returning to New Zealand. He came back early on Wednesday morning, so Nicole and I woke up at 5 to go meet him at the airport. We got him safely home to us, and had a yummy pancake breakfast.
The next day officially marked the start of break. A group of 4 of us Americans, Kaytee, Matt, Mark (still jet lagged) and I headed on a plane to the South Island!
Story of our trip coming soon =)