So, it was with interest that I saw that there is a new bus route running fairly close to our house, running from Karori, through Johnsonville, to the heart of the Hutt.
I mentioned this to the children, who, while watching buses in town yesterday, expressed a desire to go to the mysterious and exotic place called "Queensgate", which they had seen on the destination boards of a couple of buses on Lambton Quay. So the plans were laid....
I took the car to the bus stop - yes, yes, I know, but try walking all the way back up that hill almost 33 weeks pregnant with three tired children. It all went smoothly. Inspired by Alan, I asked the first bus driver to snapper Isabelle and I on my one snapper card. She waved Isabelle through. Hooray!
The children were very excited, especially as the new bus had one of those raised back seats which meant they sat up higher than anyone else on the bus. (Not that there were many others, but you expect that with a new service I guess). The route was fairly direct, except for a bit of a meander through Khandallah. The highlight was the motorway. Both older ones were particularly impressed when we passed a slower bus, and jubilant when we overtook a touring coach in Petone which had overtaken us earlier on.
Once at Queensgate, we did exciting things like ride the escalators (a particular highlight for Orla), and rode on the Andy Pandy ride ($2 for about a minute). Orla was so taken with the ride that she wouldn't get off, then once off, had a sit-down strike for a couple of minutes. As you do when you are two.
We went to one shop, where I bought Isabelle some glow-in-the-dark-dolphins, Aidan a slingshot propelled rocket (not as bad as it sounds!) and Orla a rhino stamp for a total cost of $9. Finally the children had fluffies and gingerbread men in one of the chain cafes (although I picked the one that did nice chocolates, and took care to buy a small takeaway package of adult treats).
The return bus came on time - this time the driver very compentently tapped on his console so that I could do the dual-snapper thing.
And all done by lunchtime!