When you finally settle in beautiful Hawke's Bay you quickly realise that it has everything and there's no need to leave.
However, sometimes the sunny skies and pleasant winter temps get a bit too much, and you decide to venture past Taupō to see what's on the other side. That's how in the middle weekend of the school holidays we found ourselves on our first joint family holiday with friends to Rotorua, a place I'd never been to!
Firstly going on holiday with another family has some great benefits and also some downsides.
The benefits include the kids running amok together so it's hard to blame any kid or any parenting style. The downsides include your parent friends hearing your yelly screamy voice, when to them you have always presented yourself as a cool calm and collected parent.
Your friends might also get to see you in your pjs in the morning, so make sure a brassiere is always close at hand! I actually had to buy some new jim jams just for the occasion.
Rotorua itself is a fantastic place for families. There are so many cool activities. Some are free and some will cost you an arm and a leg, be warned.
And just another word of caution, if you go up the Skyline Gondola and ride down the Luge, you have to somehow get back up the mountain and the only way up is on a chairlift with very little protection apart from an overhead bar.
Now full disclosure, this is completely safe, it's just that I have discovered something new as a parent and that is that riding on a chairlift with a three-year-old is the most terrifying thing I have encountered.
It was the longest five minutes of my life where I battled visions of us both falling off the chairlift and that being the end of us.
Thankfully it wasn't the end of us; it was just the end of my x4-ride luge pass. I paid the un-used passes forward to some poor unsuspecting family and Raef and I spent the rest of the morning waiting at the jelly bean shop and drinking Hot Chocolate…because chocolate cures everything…even irrational fears.
*Don't miss Adam Green and Megan Banks (filling in for Sarah van der Kley) on The Hits Hawke's Bay from 6am to 9am, Monday to Friday