2 Hours before...
Wid and Wiz went up the hill,
to slide in a ball of water,
Wid rolled down made a lot of sound,
and wiz came tumbling together.
Abzorbed, anointed but a little bit giddy, Wid, Wiz and the Zobornaut family adjourned their way to the next stop of this tour. The piercing sun failed to lend the much needed warmth to this glorious day, only the bright rays managed to keep them company.
Rotorua left us contented with all our to-do-list boxes ticked and noted! The two night stay occupied us completely right from the gondola ride up to the luge to the Maori village visit. The bulk of our memory card had Rotorua file stamped on it. If a picture is worth more than a thousand words, imagine how much does a thousand pictures in our camera worth?
The following activity was something we looked forward to with mixed emotions. It was our second last day and the thought of leaving this beautiful country the next day placed us in a sweet sour mood. The two hour drive to Te Puke where Kiwi360 was located, had the whole entourage in a pensive gear. We tried to capture every sight, sound and olfactory which came available to us in our rented van. The clicks of our four cameras managed to capture all the scenic views, even the ordinary looking trees and bushes didn't escape our fancy.
Upon arrival, the friendly guide mentioned of how lucky we were to have the sun shining brightly in the sky. Days like these were much appreciated especially when the tour involved an outdoor itinerary. The guide invited us to hop on the KiwiKart to see first hand what Kiwi360 had to offer. Rows and rows of diffrent varieties of fruit plantations laid before our very eyes. This havenly garden, had fruit trees such as persimmon, apricot, oranges, fejoa, and of course the kiwis, green and gold versions on their sprawling land. The very first fruit tree that had us scattered onto the ground was the orange. We plucked and grabbed as many oranges we could carry and dropped them in our bags.if only we knew how sour they were! We have never come close to an orange tree before and to be present in between tens of them got us pretty excited.
"Common guys, pick as many oranges you can!" Tamak was speaking on behalf of wiz.
The guide called us back to the kart reminding us that we were primarily there for the Kiwi fruit and not the oranges. We hopped back and slowly karted to the kiwi orchard in a jiff. We were briefed on the facts and history of the kiwi fruit which interestingly triggered many questions from the floor. Questions regarding the planting, harvesting and right up to "...can we bring back some of the kiwis here back home" were answered amicably. Just in case you are wondering, the answer to the last question was a "yes" and the retort to it was followed by a thunderous "yay!"
"Ada dua jenis buah kiwi disini, iaitu kiwi hijau yang biasa tu dan kiwi gold. Anda bolehla memetik seberapa byk kiwi hijau, tapi kiwi gold tak boleh ye, sebab itu jenis yang mahal. Silakan"
The last stretch of road on the kiwikart brought us to a spectacle of persimmon fruit garden. There was even a giant slide which go through a persimmon fruit structure amidst the many persimmon fruit trees. Persimmon or "Pisang Kaki" in malay has always been a favourite of mine. Chancing the fruits on the leafless trees here made me spring from the kart and bury myself in the juicy fruity persimonic flesh. One sweet fruit was savoured after another, in between the subconcious plucking and rolling them into my handbag,he he he I was like a child in a candy mall!
The Kiwi360 offers a wholesome experience for everyone in the family. Other than the Kiwi tour and fruit picking, the one stop centre also houses a cafe and a souvenir shop. Since this was probably the last shop we would step our foot in, we indulged the remaining time left in last minute shopping for all the aunties and relatives back home. Kiwi themed products were pricey here but we still bagged a few especially the fruit preserves and other souvenir items.
Bay of Plenty
As the day was drawing to a close, we mounted our van and decided to take a detour to catch a glimpe of the seaside. Yeop drove us to this scenic beach called "Bay of Plenty" and we seized the remnants of time by inhaling the sea breeze as well as performing our jamak. It was a very spiritual experience for us all to perform our prayers by the seaside before the setting sun, bearing witness to the beauty of Allah's creations in every aspect of our presence here in New Zealand. Our prayer practice attracted many onlookers who had thought we were worshipping the sun, as our kiblat was facing the ball of fire in the horizon.
While the adults were surrendering the few minutes to perform the compulsory, the kids submerged themselves in the powdery sand. Many sea shells and beach pebbles found their way to the kids' pockets, shoes and even undies that day, neglecting their desire to take a dip in the ocean after learning it was freezing cold unlike the waters of our shores.
We love NZ!
It was lead heavy to step back into our vans to continue the journey back to Auckland that evening. The realization of how much we had enjoyed our trip here made it even worse to pack up and leave the very next day. Another awakening that hit us hard was the mounting office work that awaited us when we get back, the reality of it all was just about to sink in, pulling us hard at the very core of our existence. Before "Bay of Plenty" dissapeared under the night sky, we clambered up on a this friendly looking tree to capture the last view of the seaside. All of us big and small made it to the highest branch of the tree, happy, blessed and gratified of what we have achieved in our journey cum our lives thus far.
And t'was at that point onwards...we managed to move on...
Thanks for joining me in this journey of ours Folks! It has been a pleasure. Till next time...