A beautiful setting can be the icing on the cake of a good high tea, we found this to be true at Chateau Tongariro. It’s been a while between high teas, visiting wineries for a platter and a glass of wine had stolen my affection. However it’s winter Down Under and driving from Palmerston North to Rotorua provided the chance to break our journey in the Tongariro National Park.
Chateau Tongariro is a grand old lady, she’s just celebrated her 85th birthday and original picture windows provide a view of Mount Ngaruhoe (Mt Doom to Lord of the Rings fans). It was Mt Doom and gloom on Monday, clouds obscured the view so we turned our attention to the plush interior, and the two tiered stand of high tea treats.
High tea* is $22.50pp with espresso or a pot of tea, add sparkling wine or champagne from $40pp. We chose the tea option, out of the eight or so high teas I’ve had it’s up there with the best, note that each person gets a two tiered stand, so it’s also really good value.
If I had to be pernickity, the bread on some of the sandwiches could have been fresher, but the creme brulee had that satisfying crunchy crust, and the cheesecake was delish. I took the brownie and truffle home, so essentially the high tea served as lunch and dessert.
Pretty cups and saucers, sugar bowls and milk jugs are part of the table setting. You can sit on a couch by one of the two open fires or in front of the big picture windows at dining tables in the Ruapehu Lounge. If you’re part of a group you might like the more private Ngaruhoe Room.
I remarked that it would be a perfect setting if it started to snow, and what do you know, seconds later it did. There were only a few snow flurries though and they disappeared on contact with the window pane. Hopes of being snowed in melted away, but chances are we’ll return, if it’s snowing it’ll be an extra layer of icing on the cake.
*High tea is served every day between 11am and 5pm, note that Devonshire tea is an option if your budget doesn’t stretch to high tea. Visit Chateau Tongariro Hotel for more information. (More high tea options around NZ via our website).