Sunday, April 28, 2013

Soccer Saturday in Mornington

Simon grew up playing soccer.  His mom knew a guy his age from her University course who also plays soccer.  This guy was looking for more players.  So, Simon and him got in touch.  His first game was on Saturday.  It happened to be at a park with a playground and the weather was fantastic so we decided to all go.  Bodie and I could go to the playground, Simon could play soccer... win-win!

The game was at Mornington Park.  It's a pretty decent playground.  It has cool play equipment, a bike track, a soccer field, a tennis court, toilets and a really amazing view.  Like most places in Dunedin, when you have a view you also have wind.  This particular Saturday was a beautiful Fall day (the day before the wind was ROARING and it was SOOOO COLD)!

The soccer team turned out to be a whole lot of 18 - 23 year old 'men'.  When Bodie and I decided to watch the game, it made it interesting to be sitting with a 3 year old whilst hearing a cocaphony of swear words being shouted all over the field CONSTANTLY and seeing testosterone filled 'men' getting in faces and just acting like idiots (if you ask me - thankfully Simon was not involved with the baboon acts!). 

Anyways, after about 2 minutes of sitting still Bodie got bored.  We were sitting up on a hill so Bodie had a lot of fun climbing up and down the hill, using my feet as ropes and ladders.  I then got Bodie to roll down the hill, which turned into me having to roll down a hill.  Now, I don't know about you, but when is the last time you laid down on the ground at the top of the hill, tucked your arms in and rolled down?  I have no idea when the last time it was for me but DANG if it won't FUN!  The pair of us laughed and laughed!  We took turns and i can't tell you how many times i rolled down the hill!

When you watch the next video, keep in mind that Bodie was doing the recording.


Here's some pictures.

These bushes look like they belong in the Lorax!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Autumn in Arrowtown

An American chick I work with told me about the Arrowtown Autumn Festival. She said it was a must see and that if i were ever missing a North American Autumn, with the beautiful colored trees, then we should go there. So, i got on the internet and looked up the Festival and it looked like loads of fun (! It was on from 12-21 April.  It so happened that Simon had a mate from Auckland going to Wanaka for the EPIC Mt Bike race around Lake Hawea on the 20th (, so we decided to go the second weekend of the festival so we could catch up with Brett at the same time.
Unfortunately I can't really blog about the festival b/c it was basically non-existant.  The weather was pretty crap on Saturday.  It was one of those wierd days where it rains occasionally but you aren't sure if it's heavy enough to put on a rain coat.  And it was pretty chilly.  So, the entertainment we were looking forward to was cancelled.  This was a performance by Craig Smith (who sings the Wonkey Donkey - see video below) and some dancers.  They were supposed to perform from 11a - 1p.  Since they were cancelled the only other thing on was a dog show from 1 - 3p.

So, that was a real big bummer.  A bonus is that we learned that the FIRST weekend is the weekend that is buzzing and full of things for kids (such as bouncy castles, face painting, street performers etc).  So, next year we will make another attempt on the right weekend! 

It wasn't a total loss of a weekend.  We spent a good while walking around the Chinese Settlement and Arrow River.  Then we drove about an hour to Lake Hawea to find Brett.  We stayed up in the Lake Hawea area for the rest of the day (at the pub to stay dry where the Mt Bike Event finish was) before heading back to Arrowtown to find something to eat.  One thing I will say is that the cafe/restaraunt/pub scene is really great in Arrowtown!  There is no shortage!  This is a HUGE change from 6 years ago when we visited with my parents. 

Lake Hawea. 

If you ever go to Arrowtown, Festival time or not, and need an affordable place to stay, we stayed at the Arrowtown Holiday Park.  We got the Autumn Special Studio Cabin and it was basic, but plenty of room for a family of three.  The hardest part was getting Bodie to bed and asleep without having a seperate room for him.  The second night we put him on the bottom bunk and put up towels and blankets on the sides of the bed to block out the light.  Took about an hour or so for him to go to sleep, but at least it seemed like we had some adult time!

I want to go back to the Arrowtown area in the summer b/c the Mt Biking tracks look really awesome!  They also have these heli tours you can do.  Where you go up in a Helicopter and enjoy an 18km downhill Mt bike ride!  Amazing part of the Otago Region, for sure!

On the way home on Sunday we stopped by the AJ Hacket Bungy jumping.  Not to bungy jump but to spectate.  Bodie giggled really loud watching the people jump from bridge, then asked if he could do it.  Guess in 7 years time we'll be watching him jump off?  But if you are a thrill seeker, this is the World's home of bungy jumping, the birthplace and is a 43 m drop (140 ft) over a gorge.  Beautiful gorge too!  They also have a zip line.  Maybe when Bodie is 10 we'll take part in some these thrilling activities!

I will leave you with some photographs of the weekend.



 This is an old out house from the late 1800s!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Dunedin Gynmastic Centre

Back up in Auckland I was working 4 days a week so that I could have Friday's off with Bodie.  The new job in Dunedin is a full time job, but I have managed to swing a 9 day fortnight.  This means I get every other Friday off to spend with Bodie.

This past Friday was my first Friday off work (that wasn't a holiday).  On Thursday night I was a little bit down b/c it would be my first Friday off work with Bodie and not being able to see my coffee group girls that i met up with every.single.friday.for.three.years!  What made it a bit sadder was when I was putting Bodie to bed Thursday night we were talking about how tomorrow he's not going to big boy kindy, but staying home with me.  Bodie then got all excited and said "And we're gonna see Johanna, Niamh, and Anna?!?".  I had to tell him "No", so then he asked if we were going to see Jody, Laura and Kat (the girls moms)?  This then snowballed into a story about the six of them and a song!

Luckily, Simon's mom had met a nice girl named Sarah through her work (Sarah was a client) and introduced us.  Sarah has two boys who are 2 and 4.  She said that on Friday's she takes her boys to the Dunedin Gymnastics Centre for their toddler play hour.  So, I decided to take Bodie and meet up with Sarah and one of her coffee group friends at this Gymnastics place.

The gym is located in the industrial area of Dunedin.  I'm talking there were more fork lifts on the streets than moving cars!  The building is a bit camouflaged, but looking close you'll see Dunedin Gymnastics Centre in blue.  The gym is up about 4 flights of stairs, so if you take a stroller you will have to leave it down at the bottom of the stairs. 

WOW!  Is all i got to say!  For $5 my kid got to go and do what he loves most.  He got to run, bounce, jump, climb, swing and he didn't get in trouble!  All the gymnastic gear was out but there were HEAPS of mattresses on the floor and big swiss balls and trampolines.  They had ropes on the bars so the kids could swing, balance beams. 

Man, i wish i could have recorded Bodie's face. Especially when i told him that YES he could run, jump and climb on EVERYTHING in there.  THEN, the lady put the music on and one of Bodie's favorite songs, Pukeko Stomp, came on!  He was like the energizer bunny literally bouncing all over the place with this silly little grin on his face and giggling away!

There is a lady named Jo who does try to add some structure to it.  But lots of kids (such as Bodie) didn't have the desire to sit still and walk around with a bean bag on his head, when he could climb up things and jump off!  However, when he parachute came out at the end, he was more than willing to participate!  (Note: Sarah went to this gymnastics centre when she was a little girl.  Jo was a coach then and is 86 years old!  I never would have guessed that!)

So, if you are ever in Dunedin on a Friday or Saturday morning.  Take your toddler to the Dunedin Gymnastics Centre from 10 - 11 am.  The cost is $5 and probably some of the best $5 spent!  Address is 41 Willis Street.  Toddler classes are not held during school holidays.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Dinosaur Park

A well known park in Dunedin (and one of Bodie's favorites) is Dinosaur Park.  The real name is Marlow park and it is located at the beach, behind the sand dunes in St Kilda.  Unfortuntely I cannot find any historical details about this park.  But based on the fact that most of the playground equipment looks similar to that of Kowhai Park in Wanganui, I assume it is of the same era as Kowhai Park (1960s).

The playground is huge.  Not only does it have a lot of grass, it has a lot of fun equipment for kids to play on with fun shapes.  It also has your standard climbing equipment and slides.  Bodie's favorite is the big dinosaur slide.  Bodie thinks it is funny to walk up a dinosaurs back, slide down it's throat and fall out it's mouth. 

Not only does the Dinosaur park have playground equipment but it also has a very cool bike riding space.  There are little jumps and ramps and the most awesome is a road for the bikes!  It is a bit of pavement, that is marked out like a road, has give way (yield) signs, intersections, round abouts, pedestrian crossings everything!  But the cars are the bikes!   Bodie has a ball on this and can ride his bike for hours on it!


While you may be thinking surely there can't be anything else at this park, think again!  There is also putt-putt/mini golf and a steam engine train that kids can ride in.  These activities cost money (not sure how much b/c we have not done it, yet).  Oh and the BEST thing is there is a cafe/coffee cart on weekends!!

Scroll up and look at the picture of the dinosaur slide.  In the background you see cars parked on the hill.  Down the hill behind the cars is the beach.  So, you can go down the beach as well.

One thing is that the wind can RIP though this playground and it is freakin' cold wind!  So, make sure you take coats and stuff just in case (not so bad for the kids but for us adults, wow, it can be COLD!)

So, definately an awesome place to kill a lot of time and run an active child!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Concretion Dragon Eggs

After finally moving into the house and getting some what settled, the extra long Easter Weekend rolled around.  The weather was amazing so we decided to get in the car and go for a day trip.  We headed North up SH 1 about an hour and a bit to take Bodie to see some 'big rocks and dragon eggs' on Koekohe Beach in a town called Moeraki.

The Moeraki Boulders are very large (up to 2.5 m in diameter - close to 7 feet in diameter) septarian concretions which started forming on the ocean floor some 60 million years ago.  These boulders formed within the sedimentary rock with help from a carbonate mineral called calcite, which concreted the clay/silt material.  As a result, the concreted material were/are more resistant to weathering.  And so as the years went by, the mudstone eroded away and the boulders were exposed and sit on the beach today!

Being a family of geologist and having a little boy who is obsessed with dragons, makes visiting this beach exciting.  Everytime I go there I am marveled at what I am seeing, climbing on, and climbing in!  This time it was really great to take Bodie there and see his face when he saw the big rocks and hearing him talk about dragon eggs.

If you want to read more about how the boulders were formed as well as see some very cool photographs, visit this link:

Afterwards we drove out along a dirt road to Katiki Point Lighthouse (built in 1878) and Wildlife Reserve.  Here you walk along a short path where pass by a seal colony on the rocks (smell them before you see them).  Carrying on a bit further you get to a DOC yellow-eyed penguin viewing station.  This is a little wooden hut built into a bank with binoculars.  Here you can view the most significant breeding site for yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho in North Otago (! 

Unfortunatly, we didn't see any penguins and Bodie was really disappointed we couldn't go up the lighthouse.  He was sure that Elliot was there and he wanted to go and see him (think Pete's Dragon).

Here are some photographs from the day:

Bodie found a "B" on the beach and wanted to sit and eat his ice block in it.

Bodie and Mom on a rock.

Bodie doing what he does best... climbing.

Simon is 6 feet tall!

Getting there:
Moeraki Boulders
Coming from the north - Oamuru to Moeraki
The boulders are about 40km (approx 30 minutes drive) south of Oamuru – along a stunning scenic road! Just follow State Highway 1 towards Hampden.

Coming from the south - Dunedin to Moreaki
The boulders are an approximately 1 hour drive (75km) north of Dunedin up State Highway 1.

Moeraki is signposted on State Highway 1 approximately 4 km south of Hampden. After turning off State Highway 1, turn right onto Tenby Street, then right onto Lighthouse Road, and follow to the end