After our Queenstown “on holiday” week (no work… well, not much work, baths every single day, going to the loo inside. LUXURY!), we upped sticks and drove to Wanaka. For whatever reason, this little town seems to sit in the eye of whatever nasty weather pattern is currently hitting the region, so we’ve enjoyed beautiful, sunny weather since being here.
The first two nights were spent in the campsite closest to town, but we moved 3km out to Aspiring Holiday Park, and were greeted by FREE SAUNA AND SPAS! Also FREE HOT CHOCOLATE EVERY MORNING! And FREE WIFI! And not pretending free either – we actually paid less to stay here than the other place, which only gives a discount if you stay for more than a month. Weird. Service oriented businesses will win me over every single time.
Incidentally, if you’re ever camping in NZ, it’s always worth asking for discounts. Often if you’re staying multiple nights they will do you some deal – for example, they won’t charge for the children, or will do 10% off or something. Our NZMCA membership also helps us save on fees, and gives us access to lots of free or low-cost options. You need to own a self-contained camper/ caravan to be a member though.
We’ve done a couple of touristy things since being here – Puzzling World, and the National Toy and Transport Museum (on the same premises as the local brewery, Beerworks). Both are ok, and maybe even great for slightly older kids, but for our age children, I don’t know if it’s even really worth doing stuff like this. At the T & T museum, another child ran over to a swing set, and his father scolded, “Get off it, we didn’t come all the way to New Zealand to play on a swing set”.
It pretty much summed up the antithesis of my attitude towards parenting. In my opinion, the less we (as parents) do and organise, the better. And not just because I’m lazy. Mucking around is the place where focus is developed, and real, engaged, self-initiated learning happens. The more “hands off”, the better!
So for the last few days we’ve just been parked up at the lakefront, Otis working on his “trick biking” at the skate park and harpooning whales in the lake, and Elliott working on running onto the road and into the water. Obviously, we’re a little more “hands on” at some times than others.
We haven’t really ventured out to make connections with the place on a personal level yet. Despite the stunning days, when the sun goes it really is chilly, and it’s definitely cold and flu season, so it feels like we’ve retreated into domesticity and family life a bit. In the trenches in a constant battle against snot (I don’t know how to say that less graphically), I made some seed milk for our morning porridge. This stuff tastes good, is great for you, doesn’t build mucous like its animal counterpart, and you can use the leftover pulp as a base for the most amazing little truffles.
1 C seeds (I used pumpkin, sesame and sunflower)
3 C filtered water
Blend for a couple of minutes, then strain through a cheesecloth (I used a serviette – not ideal). Use as you would cow’s milk. Kept in the fridge it will last 3-4 days (I’m guessing).
Chocolate Seed Truffles (No photo, sorry!)
3/4 C (or however much you have) seed pulp. The least moisture in the pulp the better – because of my lack of cheesecloth, I had to heat it in a pan for a bit to dry it out.
1/2 C dates
1-2 T Cocoa powder
Chopped nuts/ dried fruit/ coconut/ whatever your heart desires
Soak half a cup or more of dates for half an hour. Drain and blend.
Mix dates, cocoa and seed pulp together. This is the base that sticks all your other chunky bits together.
Add your goodies – I used walnuts because we’d collected some the day before, but use whatever you have on hand.
Roll into balls.
Roll balls in sesame seeds to stop them sticking, and pop into the fridge for later. Or your mouth for now.