Our first stop on our way north was Waiwera, home of artesian hot water springs where we first played on our trip to New Zealand almost two years ago. At that time, we only brought Aisha with us on our journey, so it was a joy to share the experience and fun with our whole family.

Parked outside Waiwera, February 2011
We drove north from Auckland and parked just outside Waiwera for the night, sleeping in the back of the truck.

Waiwera Thermal Resort has a number of different pools. Some are heated up to 42°C, but others are a more comfortable 31°C. There are spas for those desiring to be pampered and waterslides for the more adventurous.

For us, our time at the waterpark was more about following our girls around as they explored the areas — trying to negotiate so they all agreed on which pool to go to next — and watching as they enjoyed the water.

Aisha in NZ, February 2011
Happy to be back in NZ, Aisha remembered the waterpark from her visit here almost two years ago.

Control room at Waiwera, February 2011
In the control room, where the water chemicals and temperatures are monitored, some wag has placed this sign warning against swimming.

Swimming at Waiwera, February 2011
A whole new section of small pools and a long snake of a "river-pool" was opened to the public three weeks ago. It was fun to explore these spaces.

Brioni under the little waterfall at Waiwera, February 2011
Brioni always loves playing in the water, and having a wide range of pool choices made Waiwera a favourite destination.

Aisha on the rockpool waterfall at Waiwera, February 2011
Once she worked out that she could climb to the second level of this waterfall, this spot became Aisha's favourite seat.

Aisha putting goggles on a seal statue at Waiwera, February 2011
The odd statues around the pools added to the girls' fun.

While I was in the hot water pools, I often wore Delaney on my back in a sling. It was a great way of letting her enjoy the water while still keeping my hands free to play with her older sisters. If you have a cloth baby carrier, I’d highly recommend trying it out in the pool too!

Picnicking on the grass, February 2011
It's beautiful to enjoy a picnic dinner on the grass in the late New Zealand summer.

We arrived soon after 9.30 in the morning and stayed until about 6.30 at night — a full day, and one that led to a very good night’s sleep for all the girls in our little truck! We’ll keep heading north — next stop, Whangarei, where we’ll buy some supplies for kitting out our motorhome!