I took my daughter out of school for the day. And not because she was sick.
But because a friend and I wanted to take our girls up to Auckland to go to Snow Planet, when there wasn't a holiday or weekend rush on.
Meredith has never tried skiing before. She's had plenty of snow in her lifetime, thanks to Central Otago and Canterbury, but never actually tried skiing.
So my friend D and I and the two girls sneaked out of Tauranga before 8.30am on a beautiful, sunny Friday morning and drove the two hours up to Auckland. We had a few moments of hillarity on the roads - just too many slowwwww drivers, and I won't mention the panic that happened when we came to the tunnel just before the harbour bridge. Ummmm...... when did they build that? It made us think we were on the wrong road. And tunnels... well, they kind of freak me out a bit - more so now, after the earthquakes.
But we safely made it. Here is a smudgy view of the skytower and Auckland city as we drove over.
The hardest part of the whole morning was getting the girls rugged up in their snow clothes. It was a warm, sunny morning in Auckland, so by the time they got their thermals on, their snow pants and jackets and gloves and hats, extra pair of socks and the awful ski boots, they were melting. Remember what it's like to get off an airplane in a hot country, like Singapore or Bangkok or Honolulu? Well, this is the reverse, as I kept telling them. Soon you will be stepping off the plane into Antarctica.
Here is my friend leading them into the snow area.
...while I grabbed a table by the window, in the cafetaria, with latte's on order...
It was a few hours of fun for the girls, and Meredith did so well on the skis. I think that must be the key to learning to ski - doing it when you're young.
On the way out, we spotted a group of lambs who had escaped their paddocks and had come to have a nosy around the car park.
Back over the harbour bridge, where we took the wrong turn and ended up taking a tour of Mt. Eden and admiring all the pretty houses, before finding our way back onto the motorway.
The girls wanted to go to Sylvia Park Mall to do some shopping before we headed home, so we spent the next half hour or so hanging out at Smiggle and Toyworld.
This is the carpark with the motorway overbridge. I seriously don't like such heavy contraptions over my head. But the mall was fun, but too big to see in one afternoon, so D and I have vowed to come back here later in the year with more girlfriends and make a weekend of it, which sounds like a lot of fun to me!
A lovely drive home in the dusk. It was dark by the time we reached Tauranga.
I love the New Zealand countryside. It's so pretty.