So there was an almighty CRASH! Needless to say I almost had a heart attack! I lay there listening, my heart hammering, but there were no torch lights and no one was talking. Spooky!!!!👻👻👻
Heart hammering I got up and went to investigate and also – because I had to! So scared… I shined my torch around on the lawn and front porch and I noticed that my son’s rugby ball was now lying on the grass. I had definitely put it on the seat on the porch before bed time. So that must’ve been what made the crashing noise! The ball thud, thud, thudding as it rolled down the porch steps. But why had it rolled down the steps??!! There was no wind.
And that’s when I heard it…the frightful call of a possum! Listen here because if you hear this noise in the bush and you don’t know what it is, no kidding you might justifiably think there is some psycho out there! Close your eyes and prepared to be spooked! 🤡Anyway I thankfully knew that sound and so to be honest was massively relieved! P.s If any hunters are reading this I see you shaking your heads and laughing! Anyway the mystery was solved!🤗 Phew, back to sleep for what was surprisingly not as long a night as I had anticipated.
We were awake by 5:45 am which is fairly normal for us, and was no doubt partly due to our early bedtime of 6 pm! So we got up had breakfast and left early. In that moment at least I was grateful for the empty hut. Also the kids had a great match of sleeping bag wrestling (as you do!) Everyone was happy again now that daylight was creeping back into the hut and with the knowledge of that we were going home.
You can do this walk as a loop and return a different way, which I usually love to do but due to the knowledge of late morning rain and the fact that the returning the same way was 30 minutes quicker, I chose that! We managed to shave 20 minutes off going down the hill, but it still took us 40 minutes to walk out along the farmland. I promised the kids they could stop by river to look for rocks when I knew we were pretty close to the car park. That’s when my youngest son fell half into the river! Home time!!!!😂
So would I do it again on my own? Hmmm… I’m thinking not for a few more years and then maybe to a more popular hut. Hopefully I haven’t scarred the children for life!
#yolo #crazymama #spookyhut #feelthefearanddoitanyway #whatdoesn’tkillyoumakesyoustronger #itwasapossum!
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Yes, I am that mad! Let me explain…it was the 2nd week of the school holiday’s and at this point I may have been going just a little stir crazy, so after weighing things up with my rational and irrational thoughts I bravely decided I would take the kids off to a hut… in the bush… by m-y-s-e-l-f! No iPad or Netflix to fight over out there! HAHA!
This is a tale of how sometimes SH#T HAPPENS!
So I should probably start by mentioning that it was mid-winter and I totally underestimated how muddy the track would be, it was pretty much Woodstock in the rain! *Mental note: make sure your children are wearing shoes that fit them properly. This is probably obvious! However, unbeknownst to me, my youngest son grabbed his favorite hand me downs that were actually 2 sizes too large. Let’s just say we spent an inordinate amount of time fishing his shoes out of the mud because they kept getting sucked off …. “Yay, who’s having fun”?
Ever the optimist, I was hoping to see smoke rising from the chimney when we were getting close to the hut, but there was no one there …. There was also NO fireplace!😲 Which probably also explains the why the car park and therefore the hut were empty!!! I don’t know how I missed that little fact!
We had about an hour before dark so the kids enjoyed mucking around, carving their walking sticks into sharp points and trying but failing to set alight the outdoor fire 🔥. Meanwhile I cooked our very basic fare of rice risotto, which we ate outside as the sky darkened. It was about this time that my 7-year-old fell to bits and wanted to go home (it was all too scary and unfamiliar). Too lighten the mood I pranked the boys by asking them to turn the lights on! That joke never gets old 😂. So with the kids feeling upset and to avoid getting cold I decided we should all go to go bed and snuggle up. That’s when the kids realized I hadn’t brought a book! More tears… I had to carry everything except the kids sleeping bags so I was being thrifty with my packing.
In all honesty being in the hut on our own in the middle of the bush was definitely out of our comfort zones. So… to try to distract the kids (and myself) we took turns making up the end to the book we were reading at home “Grandpas Great escape” by David Walliams. That was really fun and the kids eventually drifted off to sleep. I was almost asleep too when there was an almighty CRASH!..😲😳🙈🙉🙊
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So I had a great idea to check out a track close by home (<30minute drive) that I hadn’t been on yet. I don’t know about you but sometimes this can make me nervous especially with the kiddies 👧 👦 along – all those “what if’s” that I “like” to fret about. Also I sometimes get put off by track information e.g. 5 hour advanced walk, (advanced usually means there is a stream crossing).
Anyway on this day I chose to adventure along the Waitengaue track, which I selected from a print out I have of the Kaimai to Coast brochure off the DOC website. It stated that it was a 4 hour walk one way and after following a fence line it would meet a suspension bridge over the Wairoa stream, then further along there would be other stream crossings.
I thought 🤔 “the kids will love the suspension bridge and we’ll just walk as much or as little as suits”, who would have thought that you could take on a walk and it was ok not to do the whole thing 💡???? Though after 10-15 minutes of walking along the track, fence line on one side and the pretty Wairoa stream on the other, we got to the “suspension bridge” ……
No bridge – all that remained were the old support structures, hmmmm that wasn’t what I was expecting. The stream wasn’t too large but after some deliberation, the kids weren’t keen to cross or keep going so we headed back. Along the way back many pine cones were collected and used as “pooh sticks” in the stream back at the car park.
So the lesson here is that its ok to try something new and it not turn out how you thought it would. Letting go of my expectations and the limitations I sometimes put in place, enabled me to just relax, go with the flow and enjoy a cool, even if short, adventure. But it’s still me – organised and prepared with a map etc “just in case” 🤣.
I like to prime myself by saying “it’s just a walk” – Nutty✌
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Earlier this week Primary School teachers throughout New Zealand went on strike for better pay and conditions. I have some insight into the life of a teacher as my partner was one for a time and it’s a tough job! Over here the classroom sizes seem to be increasing and the demands on their time are huge. I’m with #NelsonMandela on this when he said “Children are the most important aspect in a country”. Therefore we need to acknowledge and value our the teachers for the great job they do. Anyway… the kids got a day off! So we got to go fishing on our friends boat 🐟🚤⚓Bonus for us! 😊 Enjoy the video.
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I love a good bike ride, though I don’t do it often and I am more of a cruiser. I like to take my time, look around and take it all in, I also generally have one or more child with me, so having to stop often is necessary.
Recently, I was back in the Waikato catching up with my whanau (family) and we decided to go for a bike ride along the Horotiu to Ngaruawahia section of the Te-awa river trail. There were 6 of us, 3 adults and 3 kids, we had bikes, a scooter, roller skates and a hover board! Has anyone else tried out a hover board? 😳 I have a very bruised behind and a scratched up swollen knee from my attempt 🤣 or shall I say attempts as I was determined to nail it …. #failedit.
Anyway so we got out on the track and the kids were having a great time on all their toys, they decided they would hang out on a flat area of the track to practice their skills. I went off on my own along the track to the Perry bridge (approximately 10-15 minutes from Horotiu car Bridge at my pace). It was a choice little ride, nice and peaceful on my own.
But here’s my bugbear … adult riders zooming past super fast in total disregard for any other track user’s “on your left they yell” as they scream past. I don’t mind too much when they zoom past me, when-I’m-on-my-own! But when there are kids out on the track – please slow down! 🛑Kids are unpredictable! They will go right instead of left when trying to get out of your way, they wobble, crash, turn uncontrollably and fall off (all of the above we have experienced by the way!) But guess what? They have just as much right to be on the track as anyone else.
We all teach our kids to share and to be considerate of others. I think we all need to remember those important social skills. Being considerate, thinking about our actions, sharing roads and pathways with some patience and cracking a friendly smile, while out enjoying the trails can all go a long way to creating a happy healthy community that everyone can enjoy.
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Be kind and have a great day 🤗 ✌️Nutty 🥜
In need of a quick bush (forest) fix? Not too far down the road from where I live, is an area of the Kaimai Mamuku Forest Park called Aongatete. There are a bunch of different walking tracks you can access from the car park + this is also the site of the Aongatete Outdoor Education Centre.
There is an amazing restoration programme happening here, called the Aongatete Forest Project. Their aim is to restore 500 hectares of native forest, by using pest control to kill the introduced predators such as ship rats, mice, possums, mustelids and feral cats all of which devastate our native bird 🕊🦇 populations. Watch this short video here to learn more on the impact possums are having on our native forests.
The short loop is really the perfect beginner #forestfamily walk as it takes ~1 hour with the kids and has a real adventurous almost “back country bush” feel to it.
Here is a short video taster of what you can expect. The kids are aged between 5 and 7 year old kids, but I have been walking this loop with my kids since they were a babies in the back pack.
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The walks near the Aratiatia Rapids offer a great little adventure for the young and old. The Aratiatia Dam is just north of Taupo 🇳🇿 and releases water 3-4 times a day, transforming the gorge from a calm trickling stream into a raging torrent 🌊. It really is spectacular to watch plus it’s entertaining for the kids and it is a nice easy stroll to the two lookout points 🔭. I would recommend going an hour before they release the water so you can take your time to explore the tracks, take in the scenery and choose a spot to enjoy the show.
Here’s a short video of our time there:
If you wanted to make a day of it you could take the 2 hour walking track from Huka falls which follows the river all the way to the Aratiatia Dam or alternately you can bike it (~45 minutes one way without kids). Why not enjoy a nice picnic along the way, you could even arrange for someone to pick you up at the other end!
What great little walks do you enjoy in your area? Leave a Reply below and be sure to click the follow button to keep up to date with our adventures.
So this is a pretty special spot “off the beaten track” and well, in truth a Spot X type of place. So shhh!🤫 I love this quote “blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures”. I’m all up for getting away from the crowds, and honestly sometimes that’s only a mere 5- 10 minute walk away to find your own little piece of paradise🏝. This walk is slightly longer at around ~45 minutes each way but so completely worth it! But only for the adventurous!😉⛱
I’ve been walking this track with my kids since they were 2 and 4 years old. The two year old is in the backpack (good old dad carrying surfboard and child!) When my youngest was around 3 he started to walk one way on his own, requiring carrying on the way home. From ~4 years old both my kids were able to walk there an back on their own-with a bit of bribery which has since become tradition #waihibeachhotel #gelato 🍦 yummy! There is a lovely stream that comes out of the bush further along the beach so that is usually where we take the kids and they happily splash about and build dams for hours. Kick back and enjoy a picnic under the overhanging pohutakawa trees.
Important note: This walk is tide dependent! You need to suss out the tides so you can A) access the track from Waihi beach to start and B) get home! Also there are NO lifeguards at Orakawa Bay. My partner surfs🏄♂️ at Orakawa and is pictured above teaching our son on a relatively calm day. The DOC website considers this beach unsafe to swim at due to the steep grade of the sea floor. Please be aware of this and know your limits. There is nothing out these ways except you and nature so please be prepared i.e. water, sunscreen, hats, snack or lunch, nappies, 1st aid kit, spare clothes or togs, towel etc.
NB: There is a long drop toilet about 5 minutes before you get to Orakawa beach, BYO toilet paper just in case.
+For more detailed information on this track click here
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Though it is nice to take the kids out bush walking, it is also fantastic to have a kid-free girls weekend tramp and every year since my 30th birthday I make that happen, here’s how it started ….
When thinking about what I wanted to do for the big 3-0, my thoughts went to my bucket list… what were the things I really wanted to do and what hadn’t I done yet? Having a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old at home 🤱 didn’t leave me much time to think about me.
I had always wanted to do an overnight hike, and I was feeling frustrated that at 30 I hadn’t yet made that happen 🤦♀️. Well that was about to change, even though I was feeling nervous leaving the kids for the first time overnight and hadn’t done many decent day hikes since having them, I had to get out there and lucky for me I had an awesome crew ready to celebrate on top of a mountain ⛰ with me.
We started early in the morning and went slowly, took our time, had plenty of stops to take in the constant views along the Mahaukura Track. We took the whole day and reached the summit after about 5 and a half hours, It was a glorious summers day ☀️, you could not have asked for clearer conditions, the 360 degree views of the Waikato were magnificent.
From the summit tower, the track to Puhautea Hut was approximately another 20-30 minutes, and once there we claimed our beds, had a feed and a rest on the deck. Since it was gonna be such a clear night we decided to take the 20-30 minute walk out along the Hihikiwi track to the lookout. WOW, we were stunned by the sunset 🌄 in the west and the moonrise 🌛 in the east – perfect!
In the morning we decided to get an early start and stop at the lookout tower for breakfast, (apologies to the others in the hut, we tried to be quiet)! Breakfast and a cuppa whilst watching the spectacular sunrise, there really was no better way to see in the first day of my 30’s.
We walked back along the Tahuanui Track and came out at the Kaniwhaniwha. We had dropped a car off there at the beginning so we could take a different track out, the stream at the end didn’t disappoint.
I now enjoy my birthday tradition every year 🥂 and can’t wait for the next adventure!
Looking for a walk that incorporates nature and the arts? Then put Te Puna Quarry Park, in the Bay of Plenty on your to do list + the kids will love this place too! Donations welcome as it is run by volunteers. There is an honesty box at the park entrance.
The kids highlight’s were the huge digger at the park entrance (good luck getting them off!), the monarch butterfly garden, the musical garden, the komodo dragon sculptures, the moving wind sculptures, any chimes you get to bang, searching for painted rocks, and the wonderful dragon playground under the cherry blossom trees.
My highlight’s were: sitting in the mediation/peace garden eating lemon cake (I love a good picnic spot) and the views over the Bay are awesome from there! Also getting to walk around the long loop without pushing a toddler in a buggy (it is steep!) These days I almost have to run to keep up with them (ah the irony!) If you are in the buggy pushing stage I’d just recommend a walk to the butterfly garden and perhaps some of the lower tracks definitely the musical garden.
A very brief history: Large quantities of low-grade rock were extracted from the quarry from the early 1900’s to 1979. After it closed the disused quarry, already an eyesore began to get over run by noxious weeds, when the local council suggested its sale in the late 1980’s they were met with opposition from the local residents who argued that the mine was not environmentally acceptable. In 1993 the Te Puna Quarry Park Society was formed largely thanks to a lady called Shirley Sparks. And after a serious amount of behind the scenes type work, the society got the status of the quarry changed to “Quarry Reserve Community Use”. Then the real work began transforming a scarred piece of land into a giant garden paradise🌵🌼🌴🌳🦋🕊🎨🌻🍁🌹.
Aren’t some people just awesome!😍👊🤗 Click here for their website.