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Here's a few ideas to keep you cool over the warmer summer days - as it's always a few degrees warmer up in the valley.
Often spotted by park-goers for a free spontaneous water adventure, take the kids and a change of clothes to the oscillating water fountains at Riddiford Gardens in central Lower Hutt. Picnic in the playground and check out the bird aviaries nearby. If you go just on twilight or alter you'll enjoy a multi-coloured fountain mini-light show.
15 limited edition drinks at 15 cafes for just 15 days. The “Cool As” Summer Refresher Drink Challenge is on in the Lower Hutt CBD during January. Vote for your favourite. Will it be an iced drink that changes colour when you mix it, sweet summer fruits, a ‘pie in the shake’, or one that perhaps is only just still a drink with pancakes, bacon and banana chips!
Wainuiomata, McKenzie Baths and Eastbourne Summer Pools are open from November for the summer. Pack a picnic with locally made goodies and don't miss the 80m open air waterslide through native bush at Wainuiomata. Or take on the twists and turns of three hydro slides at H2O Xtream, open all year.
Head to famous Zany Zeus for award-winning locally handcrafted organic ice-creams. For those wanting a caffeine hit, instead of an iced coffee, ask for an affogato - a scoop of creamy organic vanilla ice cream drowned with a shot of hot espresso.
Join the generations of locals jumping off Taita Rock in the Hutt River and (when it's refurbished later this year) do some 'bombs' off the Days Bay wharf in to the clear harbour water. Or for those who'd like to stay on top of the water, hire a kayak or cruise the bay on pedal power along the village waterfront or simply let the water lap at your feet.
Visit one of our favourite swimming holes to ask about include "Whakamoonie" (named after nearby Whakatiki Street and Moonshine Bridge), Paradise Cove (Akatarawa River). Take the plunge and cool down on a scorching day!
The warmest days can also mean the air conditioning at one of our many galleries and thought-provoking work can be quite the antidote to muggy heat. Check out the extraordinary exhibitions and galleries at Expressions Whirinaki Arts and Entertainment Centre or visit a local favourite, The Dowse Art Museum.
Dunk yourself under the cooling waterfall at Percy Scenic Reserve and soak up the shade and cooler fresh forest air. On the way back to your car explore the Weta Cave for the colder ground temperatures. Explore more waterfall walks or one of the many lush bush walks, such as Tunnel Gully and Kaitoke Regional Park or in the forested hills behind the beaches of Days Bay and Eastbourne.