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Saying our goodbyes to Craig and Sarah in Tawa, we drove north to the Top 10 Campsite at Whanganui on our way to Oakura. It was sad to say goodbye to such great hosts as we had really enjoyed our time there. Once we arrived at Whanganui though, the kids were so happy since there was a bouncy castle, a bouncy pillow, a heated swimming pool and go karts to play with. They were off playing and making friends before we knew it and left us to pitch the tent. We had a two-night stay at the campsite and in that time, we just relaxed, let the kids make new friends and play and just soaked up the calm atmosphere. As we left we visited the fantastic Kowhai Park where the kids had great fun playing on the nursery rhymed park equipment and the great zip-line!
Out next stop on our road trip was Oakura. Having an AirBnB for a few nights over New Years was the plan and we were greeted by our hosts Kate and Paul who showed us around the apartment and let us know how to get to the beach. We had a day of relaxing once we arrived. The next day was New Year’s Eve and we planned to keep the kids up until midnight. It was a lovely sunny day so we all took a ten-minute walk to Okura beach. The sandy beach stretched for a long way down the coast, however the water was still cold so no-one really went in further than knee depth. We all played in the sand before crossing the road to a local park.
Once the kids had finished in the park we crossed back over the road to a restaurant where we had lunch with a view over the ocean. Back on the beach we walked across the sand as we headed back to our apartment. To keep the kids awake until midnight we put Star Wars Episode Two on the TV and gave them a sugar boost with sweets every now and then. We also attempted to play Pictionary which resulted in hysterical laughter. Just before midnight we took them outside. There was a pub directly opposite the house, so we could hear the countdown from the many people out and partying. So, it was that we saw in 2017 as a family, on the roadside in the tiny town of Oakura in New Zealand! We took the kids back in and headed off to bed.
Having stayed up so late to see in the New Year, the following day was spent relaxing. The rainy weather helped, we didn’t feel guilty for not going out all day in it. Instead we watched movies and caught up with some of the kids learning. In the evening, we packed our bags as we would be saying ‘Goodbye’ to Kate and Paul and heading towards Waitomo…