We love heading away on summer holidays, and this year we’ve been blessed with my Husbands’ parents buying a classic 1950’s batch in Opunaki. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s a small coastal town in the Taranaki region.

We travelled from Wellington and decided to stop at the Funky Duck cafe in Whanganui, which is situated next to the lake. It’s a really great spot to stretch your legs, and we walked around the lake through the bush.

While walking my 3 year old daughter was super excited to find one of the painted rocks that people have been hiding. This was such a special moment, because if there’s one thing my daughter loves, it’s a good old fashion treasure hunt.

Our family treasure hunts usually consist of grabbing some trinket while we head out the door to the beach. One of us distracts our 3 year old long enough for the other to hide the treasure and place a quick X with sticks on it. Then we say, ‘should we look for some treasure?’ and start hunting for the X that marks the spot. Seriously, this game is a real hit. It’s amazing how much treasure is hidden in the beach 🙂

So you can really see why finding this real treasure in a Whanganui park was exciting for all of us. Especially as we’d completely forgotten posting about the #TaranakiRocks craze!

When we got to Opunaki, our 3 year old excitedly explained to her Nan what she’d found on the journey up. Nan decided to gather some rocks to paint from the beach with her granddaughter. And to join in the fun by hiding them around Opunaki. We decided we’d hide one in Whanganui on our way home too.

How to join the painted rocks craze

Materials you will need

Acrylic Paint
Sealer – you can use a matte or gloss Mod Podge to seal and protect the rocks from the weather (optional)
Paint brush

What to do

So that the colours would stay bright, we undercoated our rocks with white paint first.

Once the undercoat is dry, paint them using your chosen colours. You can paint all sorts of patterns on them, paint little pictures, or you can write something inspiring on them. There’s definitely no rules here!

My daughter is only 3, so our’s turned out to be bright and colourful messes. But she had a blast painting them and hiding them.

Once the paint is dry you can write on the back of them: #Your-townRocks. For example we wrote #TaranakiRocks on the back of ours.

Finally, seal them with a clear sealer of your choice, if you want them to survive for the long term outside.

Now, get out onto walks around your home town. Try around lakes, in popular bush walks, DOC trails, even popular suburban rambles. Try to ‘hide’ them where other kids are likely to see and find them (we’re not geocaching here people). It’s guaranteed to bring a smile to the next person’s face who finds it!

Don’t forget to check out Facebook for your local town’s painted rocks page. They’re popping up all over New Zealand now. When you find a painted rock, the idea is to snap a photo holding it, upload it onto social media, and then re-hide it for someone else to find.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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Ann Morrison

great idea!


lovely day today so going to the walkway to find me some rocks!

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