Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Storybook Kowhai

I started this blog ages ago and never did anything with it.  sigh.  Since it's creation our family has relocated from the big smoke of Auckland (approx 1.4 million people) located in the northern part of the north island, down to little ol' Dunedin (approx 126,000 people) located in the deep south of the south island.  My good friend Tam had suggested i start a blog about adventures we have in Dunedin, similiar to that which my good friend Mer does in Sydney (http://sydnerdia.wordpress.com). 

So, here goes.  When we relocated to Dunedin we went on a road trip.  We stopped in New Plymouth to see some friends.  Having two three year olds in the equation, we didn't get 'out' much in NP, but we did go to a skate park, playground and beach.  And my friend Karolina and I were able to ride bikes along Coastal Walkway, while the dad's drove the boys to the park.  The walkway is about 11 km in length  forms an expansive sea-edge promenade stretching from Port Taranaki all the way to Hickford Park in Bell Block with numerous pedestrian access points dotted along the way.  It's cool b/c if you live, say 3km out from the city/town centre, you can hop on your bike and ride (or walk or run) along the coastal walkway till you reach the city centre and then ride up to your office.  No traffic lights, no traffic, no petrol/gas spent and you get exercise!  Lots of playgrounds scattered along the length of it, as well as the skate park, and of course the beaches!  More info can be here: http://www.newplymouthnz.com/OurDistrict/Attractions/CoastalWalkway.htm

From New Plymouth our next destination was Wellington.  This was about a 6 hour drive, so we decided to split it up and stop in a little place called Wanganui.  We were told by my friend Sarah that we had to check out the playground there.  So we went to the i center (information) and asked for directions.  We got there and holy crap, my mouth dropped!  This was by far the biggest and coolest playground i have ever seen!  It was built in the 1960s and it had every storybook thing you can think of like a dinosaur slide, with Fred Flintstone, Hickory Dickory Dock Clock, a Whale, and an Old Lady who lived in a Shoe!  It had a water area, swings on an octopus, a train... it was nuts! It even had a wooden playground built up in the trees! I highly recommend that if you go on a road trip with kids you stop in Wanganui.  But give yourself 2-3 hours.  It takes that long to see everything and even then you are going to have to drag your kid away!  We took a lunch there and sat at one of the numerous mushroom tables to eat.  There was also a ice cream truck in the parking lot.  When we were driving out, we saw that it also had bumper boats, go carts, putt-putt/mini golf and a skate park as well!

Directions: right on State Highway 4 or if on SH3 head to Wanganui town centre go over the bridge and hang a left.  The park will be on your left.  For more information visit this link:  http://www.wanganuionline.com/directory/kowhai-park

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