This year we had thought of a holiday in Australia, but got round to thinking that really we should show the kids more of NZ first, so the planning started John booked the ferry for a crossing, we asked to use M and Ds campervan, and waited for the dates to roll around. We took off on the 10th of January finding ourselves spending our first night at Parnassus due to a little fuel mis- calculation towards the end of the day...or was it a faulty fuel gauge...don't know bit of both I think...anyway made us think about the right amount of fuel and the distances we had to travel, for the rest of the trip.Next morning we travelled up to Oaro and had a morning tea stop at our dear friends Deana and co. Then off to Picton slowly as how can you not stop and look for beach treasures up the Kaikoura coast line. A spot of hand line fishing in Picton and a swim for Zoe and John..fun on the scooters at a skate park in the evening for the kids then a very excited sleep for the kids with a very early start to catch the ferry...Up at 5:30 to go to the ferry terminal... kids loved the sailing and we were lucky to have a smooth crossing, from Wellington we headed up to Napier knowing that we would spend some time in Wellington on the way back.... great 2nd hand shops on the drive up toNapier especially Woodville where every 2nd shop was a 2nd hand shop! Napier is a beautiful town, the drive up to Napier was a long one but knowing the time we had on our holiday we knew that some of the days we would have to drive quite a distance in order to have a couple of cruisier days.We stayed in a motor camp just out of the town went for a walk on the beach then settled in for a warm night in the camper... had to have the air con going a fair bit as the temperature doesn't seen to drop as low in the evenings as the South Island. Woke up and it was Zacs 8th birthday... did the pressies then Zoe set to and made a birthday cake... we had morning tea then headed into Napier to take Zac to miniature train world which he loved and would have stayed at all day... but we had to move on, went out to a nice cafe for a bite to eat thentook the kids for a swim at the lovely pools on the waterfront...we took off again just after lunch and started the drive up the east coast to Gisborne, stopped at the beautiful Morere natural hot pools for the kids and John to have a soak.Stayed in Gisborne for the night, had Zacs birthday BBQ tea.Considered driving around the cape but felt we didn't have enough time to see it all and decided to take a more inland route. John took us to the RERE rockslide( a natural 60 metre waterslide out the back of Gisborne. John had a tyre inner tube to go down on it which created much hilarilty for all of us... he liked it but would have preferred a boogy board.Drive through a back road and into the stunning Waioeka gorge travelling towards Opotiki. Pulled up at a domain and watched a large group of Maori kids barrel racing on their horses and ponies... what a laugh some of them must have been riding from a young age... no fear no helmets, gumboots and no pony club rules!