Our son Michael, and his girlfriend Leah, have been working with WWOOF in New Zealand since September 2013.
Before they ever left home, John and I booked a trip to see them for Thanksgiving.
It had been almost three months since we were all face-to-face so the plan for the week was simple: be together and catch up.
We rented a house through BachCare called Treetops in the small town of Omori.
The home offered incredible views of Lake Taupo from every room in the house.
The night we arrived, Mike and Leah had dinner waiting for us: Roasted Pumpkin and Kumera Soup with a side salad and fresh bread.
They learned to make it at one of the farms they worked at.
It was perfect.
The next morning we walked down to explore the lake before breakfast.
There are no words to describe how excited John and I were to be there with them.
Skype is good, but this time together was priceless.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is touted as the best one-day hike available in New Zealand.
So we decided to spend the day hiking it.
The track spans the length of Mount Tongariro, covering about 12 miles.
We found a lovely spot by a waterfall to have a picnic lunch.
Hiking fuel: pork, bread, cheese, fruit.
After lunch, the trail led us to this sign:
STOP! Are you really prepared?
We decided to keep going anyway:
And made it to the top!
Well, not the TOP top because all of a sudden people started running down from the top?!
We finally asked someone what everyone was running from. A man explained that the weather on the other side of the mountain had changed for the worse, and the conditions were unsafe for us to go any further.
We headed back to the house where we watched the storms quickly roll in over the lake.
The next day was a rainy Thanksgiving Day:
So we stayed in our pajamas and played cards and dice most of the day.
It was one of my favorite days from our week together.
Turkey is the traditional choice for an American Thanksgiving, but we chose New Zealand lamb chops.
They marinated all day in olive oil, garlic, and mint.
Eventually we showered, put on real clothes, and started dinner.
Since it was still raining, John and Michael pulled the grill as close to the house as they could:
Not ideal, but it worked!
We served the lamb chops with roasted pumpkin and kumara mash:
And roasted cauliflower.
Happy Thanksgiving to us!
We woke up the next day to clear blue skies and a rainbow!
Our next stop was Rings Beach in the Coromandel Peninsula where we spent the rest of the week.
The drive from Omori to Rings Beach is about 4.5 hours through beautiful terrain.
We stopped for another picnic lunch along the way.
This time: banana, peanut butter, and honey sandwiches.
Next stop . . .
Read about our time on The Coromandel Peninsula HERE.
And for more on New Zealand, read about our time in Aukland, Queenstown, Wanaka, Tekapo, and Christchurch HERE.