We headed off on a tropical adventure for the wedding of family, travelling with kids was definitely an adventure, especially when one of the kids is a 2 year old toddler. I had time on my hands to read, more time than I realised I would; I had forgotten how quickly I can get through a book when I have the time, which in real life I don’t normally have. I also had plenty of time to write so this blog post may be more of a short novel, so sorry in advance.
We started off driving by car to Palmerston North to catch our flight to Auckland. This flight was a first for Alex and Rylee who had never been in plane before. Jason was a baby when he had his first plane ride so didn’t remember that adventure.
Once we arrived in Auckland we had to walk from the Domestic Terminal to International Terminal, when we arrived at the International Terminal we checked our luggage in and grapped something to eat. We also met up with some of the Aussie and Auckland Family.
It felt like the flight to Rarotonga took ages to even take off. Fortunately for the boys at least there were movies on the plane they could watch, Rylee wasn’t really interested in the screen and did not like the headphones.
Midway through the flight to Rarotonga, Dinner arrived and the kids were happy with their meals. I had the Lamb curry and it was actually quite nice. It’s funny how I had expected Plane food to be on the same level as Hospital food but was definitely nowhere near as bad.
The boys travelled very well especially with having screentime available. As Alex was sitting next to window by his grandparents and we were in the middle aisle I actually did not know much of what he was doing. Jason was between his Dad and Rylee and I noticed he would either watch a movie on the plane screen or he would be playing games on his tablet.
Rylee did not like takeoff or landing at all, when she was at her best – behavior wise was – it was when she was asleep or eating. Other times she was extremely noisy, squealing a lot and taking off her seatbelt. I did watch Moana on this flight because it didn’t matter to me if I did have to pause the movie at times to deal with Rylee.
We finally arrived in Rarotonga, again it felt like eternity before we actually got through customs, when we finally did Alex decided he needed to go toilet and Jason decided to go off with some of our group while Rob, Rylee and I waited for Alex for finish his business. When Alex had finished and we got out of the airport I was so relieved to see my Mother-In-Law waiting for us. The first transfer bus had already gone with Jason and other family. The next bus arrived and as it drove along I wondered sometimes if we would even make it to the resort; after a while I noticed that the smells of Rarotonga are definitely different to New Zealand. It was night when we arrived and so I was unable to actually see much on the bus ride.
We settled into our Villa at the Edgewater resort. The boys had their own room and Rylee had a bed in our room, we also shared the villa with my brother-in-law, his fiancee and their little girl.
A tropical breakfast was provided at the Resort restaurant and this consisted of choices of cereal, toast, fruit, muffins, juice and coffee. I stuck to what I knew and kept to muesli and toast – with a coffee as well. The boys had muesli and toast and Rylee had coco pops. Hubby had a lot of fruit with yoghurt and a coffee. The kids also drank a lot of juice, which was good as bottled water was expensive, and you needed to stay hydrated as it was hot.
We spent a lot of time swiming in the pool or at the beach. Jason loved the beach, Alex loved the pool and Rylee wasn’t too keen on either. The sea water was so clear that I actually tried my hand at snorkling and saw a few schools of fish.
Dinner this night was at the restaurant at the resort which had kids meals for under $10 and the proper meals were decent sized, I decided to go with the pork ribs which were very tender and I think they import New Zealand meat. The restaurant is also near the beach and the boys loved climbing the rocks, Rylee enjoyed exploring the restaurant and did a disappearing act on me – that girl is very quick for someone so little.
Another Tropical breakfast and then we spent a lot of time swimming or in our villa where as Rylee had not had much sleep the night before I stayed while she napped and the boys went swimming with their Aunty, Uncle and cousins. Rylee slept for a few hours and when she woke I took her to the pool for a swim but she wasn’t very keen, the water was very cold in the pool and I guess she wasn’t used to the cold water so whenever I had her in the pool we didn’t stay in for long.
Dinner was homemade burgers at other family’s villa which was just across the way from us and the boys loved trying to climb the coconut tree – there are so many coconut trees at the resort. The boys’ uncle opened a coconut which was the entertainment for the evening and when we tried the coconut it was unlike anything I’ve had in New Zealand. The fact that I liked it – and to be honest, I’m not normally a huge fruit fan – says how tasty it was. Though maybe its more correct to classify coconut as a nut and not a fruit, maybe.
Another tropical breakfast and I again did not try anything different from what I knew. This day was also spent swimming and snorkeling and this time the tide was not as strong and I wanted to go out further however because I was with the boys and Alex wanted my attention I had to come back to shore. We again split our time between the pool and the beach.
The evening was a very laid back evening as we just had pizza from another restaurant at the resort, this restaurant is also along the main road near the resort. The pizzas were massive and the taste I found a bit unusual though still a bit tasty, it was probably the cheese which I didn’t really like, though still ate the pizza which is more than I can say about Alex who definitely did not like the pizza’s and Jason would have had more if we’d let him, he has such a big appetite.
The kids finally went to bed at a decent hour with hardly any arguments, even Miss Rylee went down quietly. I think she was tired enough to actually sleep but not over-tired that she fought sleep.
Our villa was not far from the beach and at night we could hear the crashing of the waves which some may find relaxing though I wasn’t too keen on the noise. I love the sound of rain on the roof and it did rain most nights we were there, it didn’t rain much during the day though there was often a nice breeze blowing.
Today was the wedding of my husband’s cousin. We had a pretty cruisy morning and after lunch we all got ready for the wedding, the boys had wanted to wear the clothes for the wedding earlier in the day but I knew they wouldn’t keep them clean. While I was getting ready I had Rylee with me and trying to get ready with a toddler underfoot is not easy, she even was able to grab my NEW foundation and put some of it on. The ceremony was near the beach under coconut trees and the kids loved playing in the sand, it was a beautiful and simple wedding with such a gorgeous backdrop.
After the ceremony, Rylee and I came back to the villa with my Mother-in-Law and future sister-in-law with the 2 little girls and we had a couple glasses of wine while the boys were with their Dad, Uncles and Grandfather.
The wedding reception was in an Umu and was very casual, the tables were beautifully laid out and had available on the tables a container of Cook Island Lager, which was not too sweet and though different very nice. After those glasses of wine I’d had and a glass of lager, I knew I had passed my limit and was reminded why I don’t really drink. I’m not a big fan of being out of control and try to be composed, alcohol takes that away, or tries to anyway. I don’t think I was truly out of control but I knew I was in no state to take the boys over to the kids coconut club so Rob had to do it. My mother-in-law was sitting next to me and helped with Rylee and she was the one that took Rylee back to the villa to get her into her pyjamas and into bed.
I didn’t eat much of the main meal though I really liked the potatoes and sour cream. I had 2 servings of dessert though didn’t quite finish the 2nd serving and once I felt a bit composed was able to collect the boys and take them back to the villa and make sure they got ready for bed.
Recovering from the night before didn’t need much more than a couple cups of coffee and a decent breakfast – which again was muesli. After breakfast the boys went to the kids club and Rylee and I went for a walk along the road which as she was in an umbrella stroller was not a smooth walk. The side of the road is not exactly paved and there were many rocks or holes that we had to go over. It was along this walk that I really felt the heat. While at the resort we had an ocean breeze that for the most part made the heat bearable. I cut our walk short because the heat was unbearable and returned to our air-conditioned villa to cool down and because Rylee had fallen asleep on our walk.
I finally got to go for a swim by myself as Rob took charge of Rylee and the boys were at the pool with their grandfather. It was at this time I realised that the idea of alone time was not as fun as I expected, I couldn’t really enjoy my swim as I wanted someone to talk to.
The day before we flew back to New Zealand, I was sitting on the bed in our villa while Rylee had a much needed nap and a lot of my thoughts were turned towards the fact we were leaving early the next morning and I needed to make sure that everything was packed and ready to go by the evening. I thought about keeping Rylee in her pyjamas and not to bother changing her; I ended up getting her dressed as she was awake early enough for me to dress her.
Its amusing how even on a tropical island my mind was still not relaxed and even though the people of Rarotonga may operate on “Island Time” that’s not my cup o’ tea. I need to have a plan, even if the plan doesn’t end up working out as expected.
Dinner on the last night was getting takeaway from the resort restaurant, the kids and I had exactly what we’d had for lunch earlier however I didn’t have to wait for our food for as long as I did when we had it at the restaurant. Rylee went to bed pretty early but I let the boys stay to watch some of a Harry Potter movie as they were with their Uncle who lives in Christchurch and so don’t get to see often.
Departure day; awake early to finish packing and make sure everyone is ready to meet our transfer bus at the resort lobby. There was less of a line to check in at the Raro airport and less time to get through customs. I got in a bit of shopping at the airport shops and eventually boarded the plane. Even though some of the kids had had breakfast early, I was glad for the breakfast that was served on the flight. This flight was a lot more stressful than the flight to Rarotonga as Rylee spent a lot of the flight squealing, she did sleep a little at the beginning and end of the flight. The cabin crew were pretty cool and let me know I could take her to the back of the plane and look out the window, they also gave her an activity pack and interacted with her. Rylee made the flight feel a lot longer than it actually was and I would have been glad when we arrived however we still had to get through customs and the walk to the domestic terminal and check in our luggage there.
Trying to getting the umbrella stroller back felt stressful as it hadn’t come off with everything else and we had to talk to airport staff to work out where it was, we finally got it and I was able to put Rylee in the stroller instead of carrying her.
Between flights we did get McDonalds for lunch which all the kids ate, and it was something familiar so didn’t have to think too much about what to order..
The flight from Auckland to Palmerston North felt very quick and the cabin crew friendly, this plane was smaller than the International and less passengers, as it was also during the day we could look out the window and see the country below us; I hadn’t realised how rectangle the fields on New Zealand are and it looks like they were just rolled out.
We arrived in Palmerston North without a hitch and it was quite windy when we got outside the airport it made me miss Rarotonga already. I finally felt able to breathe when we were in the car on the way home.
I was so exhausted and relieved when we finally got home that I just used the Pizza Hut app to order dinner as I was too tired to even talk to anybody. It was an early bedtime for the kids and I, though I think Rob stayed up.
I loved the beauty of Rarotonga, it is a refreshing place to be and the people are friendly. Rarotonga is nice as a holiday destination but there is no place like home, and I was keen to get back to New Zealand and back to real life.