Local Teresa Qualtrough shares a few ideas to keep the children happy these school holidays when the weather isn’t so surf and sand friendly.
Winter in the Western Bay sees plenty of crisp sunny days and with the help of a good raincoat when need be, there are plenty of child friendly activities to enjoy close by. For starters there are bush walks, a flat bike path, a skate park, a choice of two hot pools, an ace BMX track and no less than eight playgrounds (with another on the way).
Right now my children are all about the Bowentown Reserve BMX track. Recently reshaped and graded, the track is ideal for younger children on balance bikes alongside older children after the thrill of air beneath their wheels. Take a picnic rug and thermos of hot chocolate to keep your hands warm while watching from the sideline. For a little extra novelty, we stop at the ‘Yellow Dairy’ on the way for a can of squirty cream to add to the hot choc.
After they’re finished riding, head to the adjacent surf beach to explore the driftwood and rock formations. It’s a rugged, natural landscape for the children to get creative and a great spot to try your hand at surfcasting — maybe even take home dinner.
The local skate park behind the Community Hall, is another option for families with children of differing ages. Load up the scooters, skateboards and bikes and give it a go. Once they tire of this, head through the nearby ballcourt and into Waihi Beach School to take advantage of its junior and senior playgrounds. Visitors are more than welcome to play on the grounds outside of school hours.
Too wet to venture outside, so time for a hot swim. For mineral goodness, check out the Athenree Hot Springs & Holiday Park. The large pool is warm and has a small shallow area for toddlers (12 months and up). Their smaller pool is perfect at 39.5 degrees and adult only (13 years and up). You’ll find another great set of hot pools at the Waihi Beach Top10 on Beach Road. The 25m long warm pool has a slide and a generous shallow area attached, with a fun fountain for toddlers to play in. The attached spa pool is kept at 38-40 degrees and overlooks the larger pool.
Finally, how about a playground hop? With so many to choose from, it’s possible to plan a fun day around several playgrounds with food stops, hot swims and bike rides in between. A day out in Athenree could include two playgrounds, a waterfront picnic or BBQ, a spot of crabbing (they love sweet corn), followed by a hot swim. When hopping the playgrounds at Waihi Beach, be sure to include the Brighton Reserve playground. Thanks to local mural artist, Shane Walker, its iconic castle has just been given a fresh new look.