With international travel off the cards, we decided to do our family OE in Rotorua. It was a big adventure to NZ's mountain biking mecca, a place I love deeply from all my visits... a chance to ride a bit more, to meet new people, to spend more time with Roshni's family and to embrace our Maori culture which is so strong there.
Roshni and I spent a week driving north, while the kids flew up to their grand parents in Auckland. We made the most of our time, doing the Old Ghost Road together and then the day after I raced the Cable Bay Enduro. What a great way to kick start the adventure.
Thanks to some friends, we managed to find someone willing to rent out their AirBnB for 10 weeks at a more affordable rate. Covid was effecting the tourism industry pretty badly in Rotorua, so it worked out well for all parties. Even better, the house was in Lynmore, the exact area we were hoping to stay in as it was close to the forest and zoned for an excellent primary school. The kids were enrolled for one full term, a huge change for them to have a school uniform and be in a much bigger school. They handled it super well though and came home with new friends after just a few days.
Roshni and I both work from home, however the toughest part of that was that very quickly we started getting invited our for bike rides almost every day! We were literally 2min ride to the trails, so it was rude not too. For the first month I rode every single day, be it with the kids, Roshni, with friends or by myself. It was just awesome!
Through the school and through the riding scene we instantly had new friends and we felt extremely welcomed. There was an air of generosity and kindness to the area. It felt like abundance was everywhere. Perhaps this is why it is in the Bay of Plenty!
Shortly before arriving we had started supporting two amazing young women, Ronja and Robin, who are both incredible athletes and could be considered pioneers in the female freeride scene. It was fun to get to know them and we had a lovely dinner just before Robin took off to head overseas for Formation, Crank Works, EWS and Mega Avalanche. We coudn't think of better role models for young Laksmi!
We got Robins new bike's in just in time before she left. I hope she likes green!!
After all the chat with Robin and Ronja we were off to see what air bags were all about. Apparently they are amazing! I also had a great time there but I wasn't trying any tricks like Jasper!!!
Just before we left we were invited on a rafting trip by the parents of one of Laksmi's school friends. Turns out her dad, Sam, is an awesome kayaker and is the owner of Rotorua Rafting. Sam, Kat and family were so generous, they took us all down the river, then invited us to their beautiful home and then took a boat out to some hot pools... it was a real treat and wow, really opened our eyes to what Rotorua has to offer beyond the MTB trails!
But all good things come to an end. Roshni did a 4 day roady with Jasper down the country while Laksmi and I spent 4 days in Auckland having fun riding horses, going to the Madagaskar musical and just rooming and Scootering around the city.
And yes... we do want to move there now... just not sure exactly when or how, but its certainly on the cards for some point in the near future :)