Well, Christmas time with spring like weather is a bit odd to say the least.  People in this part of the world don’t go as bananas as we do back home, or at least that is how we perceived it.  So, we tried to inject as much Christmas cheer into our lives and the lives of others as the holiday season passed through.

During my Christmas shopping in Rotarura in our Christmas-mobile, I had Christmas Carols performed by a choir blasting from our radio, yelling “Merry Christmas” to anyone who remotely looked at me or the car.

Anyways, we had a great Christmas, and hope you have the same.  This is a bit out of order as we are still working on our Australia posts, but we thought we would share this with you as it just seems right…

So, enjoy out attempt at poetry!


Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the Park (our hotel),
People were milling around and prepping for a big walk (Tongariro Alpine Crossing),

The Tongariro Crossing goes over the mountain range on the left side just above the trees. The peak at the right side of the trees under the dark cloud is the famed Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings movies.


We woke up super early, hoping to finish before the rain,
But it was already teeming down, like Mother Nature opened the drain.

We decided to go as we had our shuttle all booked,
But the weather got worse the more we all looked.

Here we are on the bus headed to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing at 6am

…and here we are returning at 630am

Lulu started to cry, saying “I don’t want to go”,
So we all agreed that the weather was as bad as a blizzard of snow.

Lulu was a bit happy that she didn’t have to do the crossing today!

We wouldn’t have seen anything on the 19.8km hike,
So we decided to not go, a decision we all liked.

We waved everyone off who dared to hike up and over,
A volcano, hoping that they wouldn’t experience a hot lava shower.

Hiking to Taranki Falls

We went for a short hike to see an amazing waterfall,
Despite the wind and rain, we finished it all.

Wilson and I went off road to take a peek over the edge of the falls.

After the hike, we found another fun Christmas thing,
Climbing a rock wall, making the bell at the top ring!

Deb had to put all of her weight behind her to keep me from plummeting down to the ground.

Wilson learned the fine art of belaying for Lulu!


Our muscles were tired, we just wanted to chill,
Christmas specials were on TV, which for the kids was a big thrill.

Lulu climbed the wall like a monkey!

Me, more like an ape.

The hot tub beckoned us to come and enjoy,
While the kids took turns wrapping each others presents and toys,

The kids built a pillow and garbage can tree,
With hopes that Santa would find it and leave things underneath,

Off to bed we all went after we watched a Christmas show,
And we all fell asleep quickly, dreaming of Santa and snow,

Writing out her last minute letter to Santa…

Wilson was up first, and came downstairs with a bound,
To find stockings stuffed full and presents on the ground.

He shouted with glee, and woke Lulu up grand cheers,
She was so happy Santa came, her eyes filled with tears.

“I have always believed, but now believe more,
He found us with our home stockings, not bought from a store!”

Golden Candy Sparkles stayed around for just one more day,
So Santa could locate us, as she helped him find his way.

Toys, books, and candy were there for the kiddos,
While we got woolies, mags, beer and a wee bit of vino.

No matter where you are, there is still a mess of stuff after the opening ceremonies..

Then there were all of the presents to see,
That were neatly placed under the “tree”.

Lulu and Wil bought each other climbing poles so that they could have fun with each other on the hikes…or to have another way to poke at each other…not sure which.

Ripping and tearing to see what they got,
Lots of clothes, jewelry, and stuff to keep Deb hot.

Deb got some down filled booties, gloves, vests, shirts….no reason to be cold now!

Then off to have breakfast, and pack up our gear,
So we could hit the road, singing carols with cheer.

At a playground en route to River Valley…

We arrived at River Valley Lodge, and found we no one around,
>Which was a wee bit strange as it is in the middle of nowhere, not even a town.

Lulu made ginger molasses cookies with me in the kitchen…

“Who cares, at least we all have each other!”,
We all merrily said, as that is all that truly matters.

The TT Sous Chefs at work getting dinner ready…

So we set to work baking, playing, and drinking some cheer,
Then we made a roast chicken dinner, since no turkeys live here.

Putting the final touches on the Christmas chicken.

Mashed potatoes for Lu, Deb got her gravy,
Apple crumble for Wil, and green beans for me.

What a wonderful day we all had as a gang,
It was so simple without all the usual craze, glitter and bang.

We are so blessed to have each other, a great family,
Travelling the world, making life long memories.

A beautiful Christmas card from Grandma and Grandpa was waiting for us when we arrived at River Valley Lodge.

So to all of our friends, who are buried in snow,
We wish you all a Merry Christmas, and soon we will be home!

The closest thing to a real tree we could find in New Zealand!!!