Sarah Rowe chose The Waterworks as the perfect place to celebrate her father Nick’s recent birthday. Three generations of Rowe family members enjoyed the celebration, including Sarah’s children Bryony (15), Toby (13) and Whio (5) and her mother, Carol. Sarah planned the excursion because she felt it would be a place where everyone could equally enjoy themselves. “It’s a place that isn’t commercial. It could be your own backyard,” explains Sarah. The shady spots to sit and rest throughout the park were appreciated by Carol, recovering from a recent knee operation. “I could sit and read a magazine, watch the children enjoying themselves and easily wander back to the cafe for a cup of tea,” she said. “The circular layout meant nothing was too far away.”
The family brought a “great big picnic” lunch with them and loved the variety of picturesque picnic spots throughout the park. For Nick, it was the perfect place to have fun with his grandchildren and play along with grandson Toby’s plan to saturate Grandpa with the hand-fired water cannons!
“You’re best to spend the whole day at The Waterworks,” says Nick. “Most people can take part in the fun attractions. You don’t need to be a child to get involved.” In saying that, Nick said much of the fun came from watching his grandchildren enjoying themselves. “This is real New Zealand stuff,” Nick explains. “Go for the day and take all your food and relax.” The Rowe family live in the Coromandel Peninsula and are no strangers to The Waterworks, usually making a visit once a year. “Wellington has Te Papa, the Coromandel has The Waterworks,” Nick explains. “It’s an iconic part of the Coromandel. To be able to swim in the river, walk in the bush, spend the day enjoying the company of your family and watching the kids having fun…that makes for a very happy birthday.”
Sarah enjoyed bringing her family to The Waterworks because of its laid back atmosphere and natural setting. She describes an earlier family trip to a commercial theme park and found The Waterworks a refreshing and delightfully stress-free contrast to that experience. “It’s like getting away from the modern world,” adds Carol. “Also, there’s enough danger for it to be daring.” The first time Carol visited The Waterworks she felt nervous watching her grandchildren immersing themselves in adventure. This time however, she had no trouble watching the kids as she knew they were safe. Nick admired the ingenuity of showing young people just how much you can achieve with water and recyclable materials, evidenced by all the inventions throughout the park. Nick and Carol both loved the humour sprinkled throughout The Waterworks; on the information boards and in the inventions. Sarah’s youngest son Whio evidently did too; his highlight was firing the wooden water guns at the free range chickens!
Chickens aren’t the only creatures in residence at The Waterworks and the Rowes were treated to an “intriguing experience” in the Waiau River bordering the park. They got to witness an eel up close, in its natural habitat. Of the experience, Nick says; “It’s so nice because it’s as far as anyone would want to go into the bush. It’s a real kiwi experience, from the typical kiwi changing room to jumping off the plank into the waterhole. It’s all basic and fabulous.” Back at The Waterworks’ cafe, the children found yet another thing to marvel at. Every table in the outdoor seating area features household objects grouped by theme and displayed under a clear glass tabletop. “The kids loved the tables in the cafe,” said Sarah. “It’s all about taking everyday gear and making it fascinating. Whio said the computer parts inside the table looked like a city.” Sarah said it was so special to have three generations of her family together for her Dad’s birthday. “It was really nice to get away somewhere together for the day. It was equally fun for everyone.”