New Plymouth when it Rains

It’s an early start for us as two little heads pop in through our bedroom door checking to see if Auntie and Uncle are awake. Looks like sleep ins are off the table on this holiday.

The sky is grey and moody today but it’s still warm, so I pop down to the beach after breakfast for a quick stroll and splash in the the waves. I don’t let the light rain stop me from getting outdoors.

The beach is lovely. We pretty much have it to ourselves. The water is warm and I enjoy splashing about in a very uncoordinated manner with one of my nephews. Thinking back to my last year of travel, some of the best moments have been the carefree, childlike play in the waves. Such a simple activity (and as a bonus, completely free) but oh so delightful!

But then the rain gets heavier and thicker. The sun umbrella my father-in-law brought down ain’t going to keep us dry in this weather. We arrive back at the house, soaking wet, but honesty, I feel so alive and invigorated.

The rain looks like it’s here to stay, at least the weather forecast is telling us so – heavy rain and potential thunder storms. So, if like us, you find yourself on holiday in New Plymouth in relentless wet weather, here are a couple of activities to entertain young and old.

Todd Energy Aquatic Centre. I’ll admit, it’s been a long time since I have been to a swimming pool and I had my doubts about enjoying this, but it actually turned out to be a pretty great morning. (Except for forgetting to pack Daniels togs and having to buy a pair at the pool) This place has indoor and outdoor pools with a ton of different inflatables, water features and pool toys to use.

The main pool has a wave machine that seemed to go off every hour which created challenging conditions for my uncoordinated self to get up onto an inflatable boat our family was using. There is an inflatable pool obstacle course where you try to get from the pool edge to the end of the inflatable. I only got over the first hurdle on my first attempt but 2 more goes and I managed to make it all the way to the end. Further than anyone else in the family – pretty proud of myself with that one!

And then there was the hydroslide. There were 2 actually. A family friendly one and a turbo slide. It’s been a very long time since I have been on a hyrdoslide, probably not since my youth, but I am keen to give it a go. I line up with my husband, mother in law and 8 year old niece to give the family friendly one a try. Not too bad. A section of the slide is pitch black which I wasn’t expecting and initially gave me a bit of a shock, but otherwise not too scary. So then we all decide to give the turbo slide a go. While waiting in the queue I look outside to the slides twisting and turning and notice that the turboslide has a rather steep gradient at the start. It makes me feel a little nervous, but kids are lining up to do it so it can’t be that bad.

Famous last words. It was TERRIFYING!!! That steep gradient near the start created a falling sensation, in the pitch black. I couldn’t see anything. I was falling and I couldn’t feel anything around me supporting my body. The shock of it all caused me to struggle breathing as water splashed all around me. After what felt like forever (but probably only a couple of seconds) I can feel the sides of the slide around me again as I begin slipping and sliding up the walls. All I can do is try to focus on my breathing. I exit the slide in chaotic mess and look up to see my mother in law standing there. I exclaim ‘that was awful’!! She replied with ‘I know, it was horrible!’ My niece loved it!

I decided that I couldn’t let that slide defeat me. I can be brave. I know what to expect this time. I line up again. But last minute I chicken out and jump into the line for the family hydro slide. It felt pretty tame after the last one. I finally build up the courage to do the turbo slide again. Not quite so terrifying but I certainly wont be lining up to do it again.

After all that fun and terrifying excitement, I ease my tense muscles by soaking in the spa for a bit.

Naki Nitro Indoor Karting. As a kid, I had a rather traumatic experience when I couldn’t get the gokart to stop (I had my foot on the accelerator and brake) and ended up crashing into the shop and almost taking out the owner. I have never been a fan of them ever since. I was also exhausted from all the swimming so decided to sit this one out, but everyone else loved it. Especially the kids. Seeing their little faces light up as they drive around the course was pretty awesome. Even thought they were only going about 2km per hour, they loved it! Especially Vincent. He was too young to drive his own gokart so he went in a 2 seater with my husband as he specifically requested Uncle Daniel as his driver. They went flying around the course lapping everyone multiple times with Vincent wearing the biggest grin.

Mini Putt. But not just any old mini putt, this is black light mini putt! This 18 hole course is fairly easy but rather unique. With a pirate/ underwater theme, you make your way around the glowing course. I came first equal with my father-in-law. Maybe that’s why I loved it so much! There is also a bowling alley and video arcade at the same venue, so lots to keep you entertained with.

The Beach. Yes, I know this a list of suggestions of things to do when it’s raining. But when was the last time you walked in the rain? It can be so magical. Put on your raincoat (or not) and head out for a walk. Feel the rain on your skin. Smell the damp earthiness of the forest and don’t worry about getting wet. There is always a hot shower waiting for you back at home.

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