The planning for this trip had a few hiccups – notably that the dates we thought were available to book the lodge suddenly weren’t, and we had a few issues finding other families to join us, which was not a surprise given the timing so close to Christmas. Booking was super simple through the DoC website though, so that was a win!
We decided on Turere Lodge because it was inexpensive to book out in its entirety at that time of year, at $80/room (sleeping up to 10), while also being not-too-far from a road end (about 1.5 hours at adult pace) and not far from home (about an hours drive).
The lodge was amazing. Not having to carry in pots, cutlery, plates, etc was amazing. Hot water on tap in the kitchen made dishes super simple. The dining room was spacious. Our only two complaints were that the mattresses need replacing, and the place echoes amazingly when kids are running around screeching!
The weather was perfect – warm but not hot, overcast but not muggy, and it started raining as we shot through the last section of track down to the carpark on our way home. Given how much time we all spent carrying various kids, it was brilliant to not be overheating or dealing with raincoats at the same time!
Group dynamics taught us that its easier to tramp with a kid if there are other kids their own age(ish) to help keep them moving. “Peer pressure” is FAR more successful in motivating our kid than junk food is.
We always forget something, and this trip was no exception – somehow we forgot brown sugar to go on our porridge for breakfast! The horror!
The best part of the trip was seeing the kids all encouraging each other to keep moving, and their excitement at various things along the way, especially the “banana bridge” and Jacobs Ladder.
The hardest part was definitely when the kids started getting tired. Thankfully we didn’t get too many ratty tantrums, but there was a lot of shoulder carrying going on in the late stages of the trip home.
The total cost for this trip was about $300, because Mark and I paid for the bulk of the accommodation – only asking the others to pay $10 per adult for their nights stay.