Previous trip to Christchurch have seen us do everything from hire a luxury sedan to rely on public transport; book a fancy hotel room with room service and crash for the evenings on someone’s couch. We once booked a car through Jucy and didn’t bother to look to see how far the rental place was from the airport. It didn’t look that far on the map… Busted suit-case roller wheels later, we’d learnt our lesson. It was obvious that with the little guy we’d have to be a little bit more prepared and so a lot of research went into both what we would drive and where we would stay.
We knew that we definitely wanted to hire a car for our stay. While Christchurch has a fantastic public transport system – and that says something about Auckland, whose public transport system is a catastrophic disaster without the catastrophic disaster that Christchurch experienced – we were trying to squeeze a lot into a long weekend and wanted greater flexibility to get around before and after nap time. We selected Hertz as they were one of the rental agencies operating directly on airport grounds and we knew we’d be running on borrowed (nap)time as soon as we landed. The process was quick and painless – in fact, so quick that Papa M was still in the parents’ room by the time that the paperwork was ready to sign – and then it was straight out the doors to the nearest car park to pick up our medium range sedan.
The car was a late-model Toyota Camry in fantastic condition and was spacious enough for the three of us. Both Papa M and I took turns driving over the course of the weekend and enjoyed the smooth ride, even on some of the bumpy earthquake-broken streets. The one negative for us was that the boot space wasn’t particularly large, an issue when you have a stroller and two large suitcases. Another kid and I think we’d have to upgrade to the next class up to maintain the same level of comfort. Drop off was even easier, simply returning the keys to the carpark office and heading on our merry way. That ease-of-use definitely has us keen to use Hertz again.
When looking for a place to stay, we were initially stumped. The family we usually stay with have a full house with the arrival of their newborn and we didn’t want to impose. All the hotels we stayed in pre-earthquake no longer exist. I mulled over hotel options before thinking – wait… how do you keep an active toddler entertained in a hotel room? And does that mean that when he goes to sleep, we have to too? My mind jumped back to a childhood of holiday park and bach rental stays and I decided to point my search in that direction, eventually ending up choosing the Christchurch Top 10 Holiday Park. Their two bedroom cabins (Kozy Kiwis) were extremely affordable and they had an awesome playground – I was SOLD. Again, checking in was quick and painless and the cabin, while sparsely furnished, has everything you need. And the shower has amazing water pressure, total win.
Our go-to while away with a baby/toddler is breakfasts at “home” and then lunches/dinners out. While Papa M manned the fort during that first afternoon nap time, I took a 1km stroll through the park and down the road to the supermarket to get our breakfast supplies – very handy to have a supermarket so close! Even if your children are a little older, mums and dads might also be keen to know that the holiday park reception has a liquor licence so you can pick up wine or beer to have once the kids are in bed. I also noticed that there were heated pools and spas to take advantage of and wished I’d packed my togs!
With such an action-packed weekend, we only made it to the playground once but it was amazing. A whole variety of different playground equipment is available, CJ of course, spurning the smaller stuff in favour of clamboring up to the second story to go down the big kids’ slides.
Just an aside – we’re used to his adventurous behaviour, which is why we’ve taught him to go down slides backwards on his tummy so he can catch himself better at the end. The look on other parents’ faces though, as our crawling toddler climbs to the top of the playground is absolutely priceless.
One item, however, that was popular with both young and old, was the jumping pillow. With a surface like a bouncy castle, minus the loud noisy fan, it enticed everyone from CJ’s age to sixteen-year-old boys to have a go. Who am I kidding… if we’d had the playground to ourselves, I might have climbed up there too!
As much as I LOVE my fancy hotel stays, they aren’t always the best move for us as a family with an active little bean. I’m definitely pleased to have this holiday park up my sleeve as a place for us to stay on future visits!
*Disclaimer: We were offered a discounted rate by Hertz but as always, opinions are our own.