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 “Paraparam” (Pair-ah-pah-ram). Wha–what?!! Oooooooooh…we realized…it’s that *thing* New Zealander’s do…you know…where they have nicknames for everything?!!! Sooo….off we went.

We ended up finding an affordable Beach House rental at Otaki Beach, just north of “Paraparam”. The weather was overcast when we arrived—and it was actually the only day we even looked at the beach in Otaki, which was basically just up the street from our house. Oh well—you can’t do it all!

We appreciated the fact that the beach wasn’t clogged with houses taking up all of the views. Instead–there was a vast stretch of beach, some meadows next to those, and then houses.

I really love these kids!  And they were HAPPY to get out of the car!

Ella must leap wherever she goes…

We wanted some down-time, and so the following days we simply vegged and only took trips to the simple playground in Otaki.

It may have been “simple”…but how cool is this equipment?!!

The next day we met up with our friends, the Pearce’s, and went to one of the most amazing playgrounds we’ve EVER been to in Levin, New Zealand.

Adventure Park has some fantastic, unique equipment—including a free mini train (when running) and courts for various sports.

Kids busied themselves, and we had some time to catch up with the Pearce family!

Have you ever tried a hamster wheel?

Next, we went to an “Unschooling Conference” next to Foxton Beach. It was a bit of a disappointment, as their “Conference” was not much more than a very loosely-organized get-together with unschoolers from around the island. Nevertheless, we met a few fun families living “outside of the box” in New Zealand!

Pole Tennis. It’s. the. thing. We saw it in people’s front yards with little toddlers and kids playing with it. A brilliant, less-demanding version of tetherball, right?!!  I think we need to bring this to the US!

The kids mostly played in the woods and and created a “store” to sell their pinecone-wares.

Around sunset we decided to head home, but not before catching a beautiful sunset at Foxton Beach.

I love the speed limit signs on the beach 🙂

(Original visit January 24th-28th, 2016)

My name is Alisa, and I love traveling the world with my adventurous husband and rambunctious 5 small children. I am passionate about gorgeous scenery, meeting new people, and I’m a certified salad nut. Most of all, I love making memories with my family, and I enjoy sharing our travels with others!

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