Thursday, July 26, 2018

Action packed holiday in Rotorua

Hey friends, I'm finally getting a chance to sit down at my computer after a busy holiday in Rotorua and then a busy week of post-holiday washing.

Rotorua was fantastic.

The trip was an all-expenses paid week of fun times with the development team from Paul's work, and their families. Since Paul's brother works for the same company, it meant we had family on the holiday with us too, which was really special.

We all stayed together in the same house, which was behemoth.
Above is a photo of my bedroom that I took when we first arrived. It stayed that tidy for approximately 3.7 seconds. After the first night, J couldn't hack it sleeping with the cousins in the kids' room, so he joined us on a makeshift bed of pillows on our bedroom floor.

The house came equipped with a spa pool, which we made good use of. The spa had beautiful views out to Lake Rotorua, which, of course don't show up as well in this photo as they did in real life.

We dedicated one lounge of the house to the development team, and they set up their desks and computers in there so they could code away at any time of day or night. Paul enjoyed the easy commute to work that week. It wasn't all about work for the guys, however, as they did get to join their families on several touristy activities.

Me and my sister-in-law on the gondola. 
Our first group activity was a sedate ride up Rotorua's gondolas and then an adrenaline-pumping ride back down on the luge tracks.

Our second activity was a mums and kids trip to Rainbow Springs, so the development team could get a full day of uninterrupted work in back at the house.

While at Rainbow Springs, we took advantage of the guided Kiwi tour and the bird show, as well as the Big Splash log flume ride and the adventure playground.  The kids also loved feeding the trout and playing on the various little playgrounds that have popped up around the grounds.

The third activity of the week was a Mums' only afternoon out at Polynesian Spa. We got to soak in the amazing mineral pools and then luxuriated in one-hour full-body massages.

After our massages, we spent half an hour unwinding in a relaxation room, drinking plenty of water and herbal tea, before heading to the cafe for a complementary fresh juice. I had a mixture of beetroot, carrot, ginger, orange and apple juice, which was heavenly and felt very cleansing. The whole afternoon was complete bliss, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Our fourth activity was a trip out to Waiotapu to see some of Rotorua's natural geothermal wonders.

Despite being a winter holiday, we enjoyed really good weather all week. Walking around Waiotapu was particularly enjoyable, especially with such unusual nature to behold. On our way out of Waiotapu, we stopped our cars again to see the bubbling mud pools, which are free to visit. I think they were the kids' highlight of the day, as they were so fun to watch pop and explode.

Technically the fifth activity of the week was when the development team went out for a movie night together, but since that didn't include me or the kids, I'll move onto our final group activity of the week, which was a visit to Whakarewarewa Maori Village.

Thermal cooking pool - constantly 90-100 degrees C.

A guide took us on a tour of the village, and it was fascinating to see how the villagers makes use of their geothermal waters to cook and bathe. It only takes 30 seconds to soft boil an egg in their large thermal cooking pool. I'm seriously jealous and am wishing I could somehow tap into geothermal in my own backyard.

While touring the village, we stopped and watched the geysers erupt for a while, took in a Maori cultural performance and then ate a thermally-prepared lunch / hangi in the cafe.

My sister-in-law and I bought matching hats in one of the cute gift shops at Whakarewarewa.  Actually, my sister-in-law bought her hat first, then I saw her wearing it and had to get one too. The colour is to-die for and I don't mind being twinsies.

As if the week in Rotorua hadn't been fabulous enough, Paul and I also got to celebrate our eleventh wedding anniversary while we were there. Since we had an Aunty and Uncle on tap to babysit, we went out for dinner at a gorgeous little Italian restaurant, and then wandered across the carpark to a new entertainment complex where we played a 3D motion-master-type shooting game and then a round of mini golf. It was a really fun night out - completely spontaneous and perfect, even if Paul did win everything.

As far as homeschooling on holiday went, I didn't sit down and do any bookwork with the kids, but I'm sure they were absorbing more from their real experiences of Rotorua than they could have from a book anyway.

Now that we're back into a new school term at home, I've been printing out photos of our trip and getting the kids to journal about their holiday to help cement some of those memories for them.

The whole week was wonderful, and it was a genius team building/ loyalty-building exercise for the company. All the families are 100% behind the company now. Well played!

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