One day we drove a winding road to Otaki Forks, the western gateway to the Tararua Forest Park, where we hoped not to meet a passing car on the narrow, steep drive. The gorge descended sharply from the road and recent slips were evident on the landscape. We felt in awe of the scenery, and the depth of the varying shades of green in the bush, against the straw coloured agricultural land. We parked up at a lovely picnic spot by the river and walked ‘The Arcus Loop‘. Sophie really strode out and was such an enthusiastic leader on the walk. Poor Charlotte, suffering from hay-fever, was less than delighted with having a few fields of pollen loaded grasses at her head height to walk through. Alice was a happy participant (but then she was carried a large distance – only because she’d take all day if we had let her, what with foxglove finger puppets and all!). But when we did let Alice down she sure showed us how to move… especially down hill! She ran at quite a pace – dragging her Daddy and Granddad along with her, hee, hee! After a beautiful walk we enjoyed a while by the river skipping stones and making big splashes…The fresh air and exercise eventually drove us away from the scenic beauty to nourish ourselves with a late lunch at the superb ‘Brown Sugar Cafe‘; where it’s easy to enjoy a coffee and cake whilst the children run around the beautiful garden setting. Our girls made up their own languages on the chalk boards, played tag and fairies, and Alice role played stories with the toy dolls.