The summer holidays are winding to a close as boredom and apprehension set in for the kids.
Mine have had a ball. Well, they take it all in their stride don't they? But one day, looking back, I think they will realise how lucky they were. They have spent a week camping at the picturesque Pataua where there was never a shortage of goings on.
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They spent the days sea biscuiting, fishing, surfing, bombing off the bridge and pontoon, collecting cockles, spotlight and getting up to a bit of general mischief with the other camp kids.
And in the downtime with no Wi-Fi, it forced them to create their own fun, just like the 'olden days'. My daughter and her friends even started a small enterprise of dog sitting at $5 for half an hour which mostly involved walking people's dogs.
"But what will you do if one of them does a poo?" I asked her, knowing full well she wouldn't want a bar of it.
"Well so far none of them have, only the miniature one," she added. "But that doesn't count because it's so tiny, you can just scoop it up in a pipi shell."
At the end of the week they are always ready to return home for some R&R from all the cuts, bruises, bee stings and lack of sleep that comes with all the fun and excitement.
We've tried to visit a range of beaches this summer, including Smuggler's Bay and Urquharts, Taurikura, Matapouri and the walk over to Whale Bay, Ngunguru and Wellington's (Whangaumu Bay).
We have also just returned from our annual visit to the Far North, a personal favourite. There, we had adventures galore crammed into only two days but these included fishing off the Mangonui wharf on the first day.
This is a bustling place where commercial fishing boats are docked and a fisherman even came off the boat to help out and fish with us. We put the net in to catch live bait and soon were reeling up the john dory and trevally, as well as a large octopus, much to the twins' delight.
The next day we took the 4WD down Tokerau and gathered pipis. This is never a calm experience but there's nothing like a good thrash in the surf for some hunting and gathering! Following that we headed over to Rangiputa, which is always an unexpected breath-taking, tropical sight as you catch view of the ultra-white sands and clear water.
We had lunch here and the kids jumped off and lounged on the pontoon. That evening we had our pipis for entrée with onion and vinegar. Then we walked down to Cable Bay, where we ordered hot chips and got the kids' trevally they had caught the evening before, cooked in batter, which we enjoyed on the golden sands beach.
There were more of my favourite beaches I wanted to visit – Whatuwhiwhi one of them, but alas, time had run out and my daughter and I always fit in a horse ride at my friend's hilltop arena and trekking farm overlooking Doubtless Bay.
So now we're facing the reality of a new school year, the uniforms have been purchased, as have the stationery and chrome books and the slight trepidation of starting an unfamiliar school is beginning to kick in.
More on this next time.