Kai Iwi Beach (World’s Best Playground)

Kai: (n. – Maori) Food
Iwi: (n. – Maori) Tribe

Before I left the states I spent 6 wonderful weeks with my brother-in-law, Joe, and niece, Annie (while everyone else was either working or extremely pregnant, or both). We scoped out playgrounds in two states and thought we had found the best playground ever. Well, I hate to break it to you Joe, but Montville ain’t got nothin’ on Kai Iwi beach (appropriately named since our little food tribe descended on the beach with a picnic dinner feast last night).

Kai Iwi playground is nestled in a cove where a small creek meets the ocean. You can cross a bridge to the playground, or can access it by climbing over a huge pile of driftwood (more like drift trees) from the beach. While we were there about a dozen school kids, enjoying the first day of a two-week vacation, were building a fort and bonfire. Like many kiwi kids they were barefoot and unsupervised. No plastic parts here, the playground has been constructed all from driftwood (and bits of metal). It boasts a pirate ship with a two-story slide and a zip line that flies out over the creek (a definite no-no in US parks). There were swings, some kind of crazy tee-pee merry-go-round, and heaps of other attractions, but clearly the “flying fox” was our favorite.

Even without the playground Kai Iwi is an amazing spot. Nothing beats hanging out barefoot in the sand. I realized over the past few weeks how lucky I was when I moved to Genesee Valley, Salt Lake City, and Proctor to have an amazing group of instant friends. Some people draw energy from themselves, from alone-time. Some people build their energy off of others. I am definitely the latter and it is nice to be part of an iwi again.