Arriving at the atrium

Another ‘driving’ day – this time the destination made it all well worthwhile! We left Wellington and drove eight hours up to Mount Manganui, which is on the coast in the Bay of Plenty. It was a long drive, especially as New Zealand roads don’t go in straight lines like in Australia, but bend and twist around every tree stump and bump in the field. We stopped for lunch at Lake Taupo airport, watching backpackers take their first sky dive.

Around 6pm we got to the coast, and drove straight to The Atrium, an apartment block between two beaches 100 metres apart. We are officially now the happiest family in New Zealand.


For the six months we’ve been travelling we’ve been in hostels, campsites, motels, and campervans. In all that time we’ve shared one bedroom between all four of us except for 2 nights. And we’ve generally had to walk down the corridor/across the grounds to get to a shared bathroom (not so for our five weeks in the States, but then motels had lots of other drawbacks). But for the next few nights we’re in heaven. We’re in an apartment belonging to the parents of an ex-colleague at RM, and we’ve been given the use of it for a short while. After six months of travel, you cannot imagine how nice it is to have somewhere that feels a bit like home, and especially where the girls are sleeping in the lounge, while we get the bedroom. It means that tonight we can go the bed at a different time to them! And where we don’t have to share the bathroom – we can put all our wash bag things out on the side, and they’ll still be there in the morning. I guess these are the downsides of travelling like we are, which we’ve just got used to after a while, but which aren’t “normal” at home.

I can’t adequately describe the glory of sitting on the balcony of the 5th floor apartment overlooking the bay tonight now, so I’ll wait until I can show you a few more photo’s. For the minute, this photo says it all – how happy we’ll be for a little while!