This Christmas the Jones family did something different: we went camping! Some scoffed at the wisdom of camping with a soon-to-be-two-year-old; others wondered at the fortitude of the wife for such activities (especially in her "condition"). But the pioneering spirit of the Jones forebears won through and a great time was had by all...
We headed north to Matauri Bay on the east coast, north of Keri Keri, on 29 December 2006. The trip wasn't too bad despite holiday delays around the small towns on the way up - the sooner the new highway is finished the better.
We arrived at the turnoff and began the descent to the coast - its a beautiful view with the Cavalli Islands in the background.
Its here you'll find the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior - the final resting place of the Greenpeace boat bombed by terrorists authorised by the French government.
Our campsite was right at the foot of this hill - on top is the Rainbow Warrior memorial with a map directing you out into the Cavalli Islands.
As you can see, the weather was idyllic and our 2 tent complex was nice and cosy in the summer heat. We had 2 tents: one for sleeping; the other for food and essential equipment like large blow-up dolphins.
Rhys did so well in his new environment. He loved the beach - building sandcastles and enjoying wave jumping with Daddy! Now when we go near a beach he yells "beach" or something close to it. Pretty much it was business as usual for the little man (and his Mama).
Rhys was a little hard to keep track of! He loved playing with the kids in nearby tents who were all a bit big for him. Often he'd be spotted heading off to the other side of the camp - when asked for his destination he'd say "Hannah" or words to that effect. Yes he was keen to spend time with his friends Isabella and Hannah Dunn. It has to be said his parents were also quite content spending time with the Dunns (Reuben and Vania) as well (using their BBQ and sharing illicit contraband smuggled north). Old friends Gary and Charmayne Johnstone were also there (Vania's parents). A highlight was the Tuatua sandwiches cooked straight off the beach! Here's Isabella feeding her aged grandfather who seems to have lost the power of feeding himself:
All in all, a wonderful time away - a very refreshing 5 days of sun, sea, sandcastles, shellfish, friends and learning to be a family.