pre-Birthday Holiday

Saturday, July 04, 2015

About a month ago my parents told me that they had some sort of secret birthday surprise planned for me. Fast forward to the 24th of June and my family are all packed up in the car on the way up to Auckland, with me having no idea what was going on...

Our first stop was to the Botanical Gardens, where we set up a little picnic for our lunch. Now, in New Zealand this was the start of winter, so hardly anything was out in full bloom, but this gave off some kind of gothic, creepy feel to it. We wondered around for about an hour over the 64 hectares of land until it was "time to go".

We kept driving until we got into the center city, which was where I learnt that we were staying at a hotel for the night, but for the other two nights of our trip we were staying somewhere else. This had me very confused, we've driven three hours and we're staying at different places each night? Weird...

Once we got all settled in it was suddenly Louise's Present Time, where I got to unwrap my presents and finally learn about what was happening on this oh-so secretive trip.

At 5am the following morning (is that even a real time...?) we all had to rise and shine to pack up our bags and take them down to the train station to go on the Northern Explorer train down to Tongariro! This train was quite fancy; giant windows along the walls and up the roof, a café on one of the carts, and another cart had no walls at all! The train took around six hours to get to Tongariro, where the National Park and the ski mountains are, boy was it freezing!

This was where it sunk in that we were staying at the Chateau Tongariro Hotel! I've seen this place many times, for when I was younger we'd often drive over to Mt Ruapehu (pictured behind the hotel) to play in the snow during the Snow Season. This place was so fancy and so adorable, I felt really out of place but also in my zone while staying here! The hotel really reminds me of The Grand Budapest Hotel, so many pastel colours and everything was such high class.

Once we got settled in at the hotel we went downstairs in the lounge to have High Teas. Oh my gosh this was the cutest! We got a selection of sweet and savoury treats displayed on a set of tiered plates and a drink of our choosing. I got a glass of mulled wine (I felt it was fitting for staying at a chateau) and had heaps of cakes and scones and pudding. It was delicious!

That night we had an extra fancy dinner at the Ruapehu Restaurant, so fancy it is instructed to wear black tie sort of clothing. For dinner I had a Chicken and Orange Noodle Salad, fruit and chicken was never really something I thought would go well together but it was really nice, I was surprised that I liked the 'cold' noodles too! For dessert I got a Chocolate Slice and Crème de Menthe, which once it was brought out it had a cute Happy Birthday message written on the plate.

The following morning for breakfast, a big section of the dining room was turned into a big buffet with every kind of breakfast food your little heart did desire! The hot cakes was a huge hit for myself, but I also had a crissont, a mini chocolate muffin, a strawberry yoghurt, some sausages and hashbrowns. I don't think I've ever eaten so much in one sitting in my life! I also managed to take some food away to have for the train ride back hehe.

After breakfast we had a wonder around the complex and got ourselves ready for the train ride back into the city. Compared to our ride down the island where we saw the sun rise, this time we got to see the sun set. We got back to Auckland city and had a very relaxing night, getting takeout for dinner and nipping down to Topshop to check out their big sale.

This trip was so incredible and very fancy, very fitting for a 21st birthday! I'm glad that the mid-year holidays fall so close to my birthday and that I can spend a lot of time with my family and we get to have a chance to celebrate like this. Thank you Mum and Dad for not only considering to do something like this, but managing to pull it off without leaking any of the plans to me until the day-of!

I hope you enjoyed this little diary-entry type of post, I love sharing my days and holidays with you guys.

- Louise x

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