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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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Tamaki Maori Village with Kids

Tamaki Maori Village with Kids

While spending time in Rotorua, we determined that we’d bite the bullet and purchase tickets for our family of 7 to visit the Tamaki Maori Village. With prices for adults at $120 and kids ranging from $25-$99, it was a spendy treat for our family to commit to this tour at full price! The tour price includes pickup downtown and transportation to the village outside of town (about 20+ minutes), however, since we had our transportation...

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8 Must-Do Activities for Children in Rotorua, New Zealand

8 Must-Do Activities for Children in Rotorua, New Zealand

Rotorua is a hotspot for tourists exploring New Zealand. While there’s no shortage of high adventure activities for young 20-somethings, it’s sometimes hard to know what to do with the younger crowd. On our recent visit in February 2016, we found the activities for children to be plentiful! Here are some of our favorites:: 1. Kuirau Park  Kuirau Park is an eclectic public park in the middle of town—featuring both a...

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Hamurana Springs Trail with Kids in Rotorua, New Zealand

Hamurana Springs Trail with Kids in Rotorua, New Zealand

About 15-20 minutes North of Rotorua Central is a stunning walk along the crystal-clear water of Hamurana Springs and the Redwoods Memorial Grove. The easy loop trail takes about a 1/2 hour to walk, or in our case it can be much longer (especially if you likewise want to stop and admire the stunning colors and take a lot of photos)! We entered the stroller-friendly trail by first heading into the Redwood Grove. The...

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Totara Walk in Pureora Forest Park, New Zealand

Totara Walk in Pureora Forest Park, New Zealand

When we departed Waitomo, New Zealand, we set out on Highway 30 for our next stop–Rotorua (2 hrs 15 minutes away). We chose this Southern Route because we thought it was would be more scenic than tracking back up North from the way we had come. Going along Highway 30 also allowed us to swing right past Pureora Forest Park–offering a beautiful spot to take a lunch break and get out and hike! We found a great online brochure on...

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Marakopa Falls, New Zealand

Marakopa Falls, New Zealand

On Te Anga Road, beyond Waitomo Village, you will run into an easy walk to “Marakopa Falls”. The trail is well-marked, and has a sign indicating that it is a 10 minute hike. Between our two-family traveling crew (with a total of 8 kids from 7 months to 12 years), a “10 min” walk means 30-60 minutes. Sooo…the perfect trail length!! The easy trail is beautiful and green beyond...

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Mangapohue Natural Bridge with Kids

Mangapohue Natural Bridge with Kids

Waitomo, New Zealand, has no lack of activities for kids. Of course, there are some excellent paid activities, such as the Spellbound Glowworm Caves tour that we absolutely loved, but there are also many fantastic hikes that are not only free, but of reasonable lengths to hike with children! We had already done the Ruakuri Hike, so this time we decided to check out the trails to the Mangapohue Natural Bridge and Marokopa Falls(about 25...

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Visiting Rocket Ropes and Butterfly Creek in Auckland

Visiting Rocket Ropes and Butterfly Creek in Auckland

When you drive away from the Auckland/New Zealand Airport, chances are you’re going to drive right past the eye-catching entrances to  Rocket Ropes and Butterfly Creek! Our interest was piqued in January, and the kids were thrilled when we surprised them with a visit here (in April) our last day in New Zealand before our outgoing flight! Rocket Ropes is a fun Ropes Course with various challenges for children and adults (ages 2...

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