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Chinese New Year in Rotorua, New Zealand

Chinese New Year in Rotorua, New Zealand

Since Chinese New Year is just around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to share our experience with Chinese New Year in Rotorua, New Zealand! Admittedly, New Zealand gets flooded with Asian tourists over the Chinese New Year. We found busloads of Chinese groups everywhere we went, and we sometimes found it humorous to watch what excited them the most. For example, in the evenings we saw buses drop off the busloads at the local...

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Visiting Taupo, New Zealand with Kids

Visiting Taupo, New Zealand with Kids

After leaving Rotorua, we drove to Taupo, which is located centrally on the North Island. Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand, and the town of Taupo, on its north end, has a population around 24,000 people. It’s known for being a center of volcanic and geothermal activity—but unlike Rotorua (which is stinky), Taupo is not stinky, and is well known known for hot springs! It’s not nearly as...

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Returning Home After Extended Travel

Returning Home After Extended Travel

This summer I had the opportunity to speak at the inaugural Family Adventure Summit, which was held in Penticton, BC (Canada) over Labor Day weekend in 2017. I was asked to speak on “Repatriation”…which is a fancy (albeit ugly) word that means “the return of someone to their own country.” We returned to the US four years ago after a very deliberate 180. We had sworn we’d never live in the US...

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Keeping Kids Entertained on the Edwin Fox in Picton, New Zealand

Keeping Kids Entertained on the Edwin Fox in Picton, New Zealand

After a 3 1/2 hour ferry crossing from the Southern Point of New Zealand’s North Island (Wellington) to the Northern tip of the South Island (Picton), we sought out a fun destination that would reward the kids for good behavior on the ferry, as well as fill some extra time before a long drive to Nelson. Picton is a small town with a population of only 4,000-ish residents, and although it gets a lot of through-traffic, it isn’t...

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Visiting Paraparaumu with Kids

Visiting Paraparaumu with Kids

Did you try do read that out loud? If not–I dare you to try!! Paraparaumu!!! Need some help? Here goes: Par-uh-par-uh-ooo-moo Simple, right? Kinda catchy, even! Well…we spotted it on the map, and decided we were headed to the Paraparaumu region after our visit to Taupo, and then Napier’s Art Deco Festival. When telling locals our plans, we were a bit confused when instead of saying Paraparaumu, they used the name...

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Hamilton New Zealand LDS Temple

Hamilton New Zealand LDS Temple

While driving through Hamilton, New Zealand, on the way South to Waitomo—we drove right past the LDS Hamilton New Zealand temple! It stands on a big hill on the outskirts of town…seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It overlooks 86 acres that it shares with the former Church College of New Zealand (a Church-operated school for 12-18 yr old students that permanently closed in 2009). The friends we were traveling with offered to...

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Enjoying Life on the Farm in Hastings, New Zealand

Enjoying Life on the Farm in Hastings, New Zealand

We were tickled pink when we were able to find a last-minute vacation/”bach” rental in Hastings, NZ become available during the nearby Napier Art Deco Festival that attracts visitors from all over to enjoy their 125+ events over a February weekend! It turned out to be a superb location–perched on the edge of a vineyard, and in a quiet location without traffic or noise. The host was amazing, and let our kids help feed her...

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If you give a kid a candy…

If you give a kid a candy…

…you just might have to give them some more…and more…and more. Am I right?!! While in the Hastings/Havelock North area, we were advised not to miss Birdwoods Gallery. Trip Advisor reviews confirmed this recommendation, and so we really couldn’t say no! We peaked inside the Birdwoods Gallery, which featured beautiful artwork and crafts from New Zealand, as well as Africa. The owners have spent a lot of time in Africa,...

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Have you ever been to a Soap Box Derby?!

Have you ever been to a Soap Box Derby?!

We enjoyed the Art Deco Car Parade and other events at the Art Deco Festival in Napier, New Zealand on Saturday, and knew we had one more event we couldn’t miss! After attending church on Sunday in Hawkes Bay, we returned to downtown Napier to watch the Soap Box Derby, where children and their fathers race their homemade boxcars down a hill! It is a VERY well-attended event, and we were lucky to get a even a tiny view at the very end...

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Swinging through the Art Deco Festival in Napier, New Zealand

Swinging through the Art Deco Festival in Napier, New Zealand

One can be quickly overwhelmed when looking at all the offerings of the Art Deco Festival schedule for their yearly February event in Napier, New Zealand. This festival brings in tourists from all over the country (and in our case, beyond), and truly has something for everyone! While we wish we had booked in time to get our kids in a street-tour of the earthquake history, we ended up instead just enjoying the free entertainment offered...

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Will kids enjoy the Art Deco Car Parade in Napier, New Zealand?

Will kids enjoy the Art Deco Car Parade in Napier, New Zealand?

One of our ABSOLUTE FAVORITE things about traveling is when we happen upon major celebrations or cultural events. Napier’s “Art Deco Festival” was one such event that we found out about simply by accident. When discussing our upcoming travel options with a landlord of one of our rentals in Central North Island, we mentioned that we’d likely head to the West Coast, rather than the East Coast next. He mentioned that...

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44 Signs that you’re in New Zealand

44 Signs that you’re in New Zealand

One of the fun things about travel is comparing all of the differences between your home country and your destination of travel. When recently spending 3 months in NZ, we compiled a list of some of some of the New Zealand idiosyncrasies that stood out to our American family. Enjoy! 1. New Zealanders shorten names for everything 2. Holiday Parks are all the rage! 3. You may have to Google translate their English 4. Every hike has a Swing...

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