Day 44: Home, and thank you

The Baxters are home.Daniel’s mum Chrissy writes: We are home! And what a journey it has been.

We all are very grateful that Daniel stayed well and has been able to “eat, see and do” just as he wanted thanks to the generosity and big heartedness of New Zealand which is the Kiwi way.

This chapter of Daniel’s Taste Tour is closed but we plan to start the next once we have had some time at home.

We still have the top of the North Island and all the places in between to visit. This will be my last entry for now until the adventures begin again.

Thank you New Zealand for your continued support.  

Day 43: A feed from the family

Daniel and the Baxters are almost home.Daniel’s mum Chrissy writes: Daniel and I slept our last night in the camper. It’s hard to believe we have been on the road so long. We left Rotorua for Morrinsville this morning.

Daniel’s Gran-ma had a beautiful batch of hot scones and a cup of tea ready for us.

Tonight we are looking forward to eating Uncle Graeme’s venison sausages and Gran-ma’s home grown veges. Tomorrow we are going home!

Day 42: A sky-high seafood delight

The Baxters.Daniel’s mum Chrissy writes: Today we went up the Rotorua Skyline Gondola for lunch. Daniel’s Aunty and Uncle and two cousins came over from Te Puke to join us.

The food was really tasty with a wide selection. Daniel took his time eating his way through baby octopus, prawns, crab and other seafood delights while his brothers went out to the luge.

It was a really good day and Daniel enjoyed having his family around him.

Day 41: A moving experience

Daniel reflects on things at the buried village in Rotorua.Daniel’s mum Chrissy writes: We drove from Taupo to Rotorua this morning. Our first stop was at The Buried Village. Daniel found it really interesting.

You can’t help but feel moved when reading the stories about the people who died and seeing the small shoes and other children’s items.

One mother gathered her children around her and played the piano so they wouldn’t be scared by the noise.

Daniel requested Burger King for lunch so that was our next stop. Tonight we are staying with family.

Day 40: Hail on the trail

Daniel with his Cullenskink. Last night our friend Amanda’s mum, Violet, made a specialty dish called Cullenskink from her home town of Cullen in Scotland especially for us. It was divine and Daniel ate two bowls full.

We left Wellington this morning and after seeing the weather warnings for Hawkes Bay decided to give Napier a miss and return to Taupo and so we are back at the Taupo Top 10 in the same spot we were in 40 nights ago.

It was a harrowing drive with the wind pushing the van sideways along the Himatanga Straight and the Desert Road, the hail storm we encountered which caused me to pull over because I couldn’t see but despite all that we made it safely and that’s something to be thankful for.

This will be our last night in a camp ground. Between now and Tuesday we will be staying with family. Daniel is soaking in the hotpool here and tomorrow we drive to Rotorua.

Day 39: There and back again

Daniel ends his Hobbit tour with a visit to a famous spot.Daniel’s mum Chrissy writes: We all had a well deserved sleep-in this morning.

It was so good to sleep in a bed again, and so we were already to complete the LOTR tour we had started in December.

Our guide Rendall took us on to Mt Victoria to where the hobbits had to get off the road because they were being hunted by ringwraiths.

Daniel has now completed all the tours that are available and has really enjoyed them all. From there, our guide took us to the Embassy Theatre where the world premiere of the LOTR was held and where the Hobbit premiere will be shown.

Then, to the waterfront so Daniel could use the most expensive toilets in Wellington ($375,000).

Tomorrow we are driving to Napier.

Day 38: Return to the North Island

Daniel watches from the ferry as it approaches the North Island.Daniel’s mum Chrissy writes: We drove from Blenheim to Picton today and had lunch from the local bakery.

The ferry was delayed by an hour, but eventually we got under way.

The trip across the strait was smooth.

We arrived in Wellington at 5pm and headed to our friend’s place in Karori.

Tomorrow we are completing our LOTR tour.

Day 37: Whales’ majesty

Nobody obstructed Daniel's view of the whales.Daniel’s mum Chrissy writes: Here we are day 37 and our last night in the South Island  - but we will be leaving here on a high!

Today we saw not one, but five sperm whales. What a privilege to get within 50m of these majestic creatures.

Rex our captain made sure that the whales were on Daniel’s side of the boat so he didn’t even have to leave his seat, and Paaki made sure no-one got in his viewing space. We were out on the water for 2 ½ hours.

Tonight we are staying in Blenheim ready to cross the strait tomorrow.

Day 36: No floundering about

Daniel enjoyed his first full flounder.Daniel’s mum Chrissy writes: Today we left Hanmer Springs behind and drove to Kaikoura. Lunch was a mince and cheese pie from the local bakery.

We walked across the road to TuTi’s for dinner. The food was divine.

Daniel had his first whole flounder, followed by passion fruit cheesecake.

Tomorrow we are booked on the 9.30am cruise courtesy of the generous people at Whale Watch Kaikoura, so fingers crossed for fine weather.

Day 35: “Been there”

A lazy day for Daniel and the family.Daniel’s mum Chrissy writes: Today Daniel did nothing, unless you count eating!

It was a lazy day in camp.

We watched Return Of the King so we could say ”I’ve been there.”

We plan to go to the Hot Pools later and have lamb racks for dinner with our camp neighbours.