Te Puia, Rotorua

Te Puia combines Maori culture, our national icon – the kiwi bird, and geothermal activity on the city’s doorstep, 3km from Rotorua centre.

Visit during the day to spot the two brown kiwi in the Kiwi House and see geothermal features including the naturally erupting Pohutu geyser. Watch Maori carvers and weavers at work, and walk onto Rotowhio marae with its carved wharenui (meeting houses) and pataka (storehouse). Cost – from $54 per adult (add on options available). (Discount for New Zealand residents and locals).

Pataka (elevated storehouse) at Te Puia in Rotorua

Pataka (elevated storehouse) at Te Puia in Rotorua

The evening experience adds more Maori … Read the rest

Lake Okareka Walkway, Rotorua

Lake Okareka Walkway is around 5.5 km return. The first 2km to Silver Beach is flat and easy going, the last .5km or so to the Okareka outlet requires some uphill climbing  including stairs.

The last .5km of the track is narrower, it’s not too difficult but it’s not accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs. It took us about 2 hours return to do the walk but we dilly dallied watching birds with binoculars and taking photos.

Two pukekos in a paddock - Lake Okareka Walkway

Two pukekos in a paddock – Lake Okareka Walkway

Lake Okareka Walkway starts on Acacia Road where you will find a car park and … Read the rest

Has Banksy been in Rotorua?

Probably not. However I spent some time Googling phrases like ‘How do you know if it’s a genuine Banksy?’ before I came to that conclusion. It was fascinating reading, if you find the real deal on a wall here’s some of what you’re likely to need – 24 hour security, a diamond chainsaw, a team of art curators and builders, and a lot of money to pay for it all.

Power Trippin - Banksy-esque art work in Rotorua

Power Trippin – Banksy-esque art work in Rotorua

How do you know if you’ve found a genuine Banksy? A couple of tips – Banksy’s work is painted in busy areas … Read the rest

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe, Rotorua

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe is home to five fancy cat breeds including Ragdolls, a British Blue and a Bengal. On 13 May some little kittens moved in too. The fancy felines have two rooms full of cat gyms, hidey-holes, and furniture to climb.

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe, Rotorua

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe, Rotorua

Most of the cats at Fancy Meow are Ragdolls as they are an especially people friendly breed, they also have the most beautiful blue eyes.

Dennis the Ragdoll at Fancy Meow Cat Cafe

Dennis the Ragdoll at Fancy Meow Cat Cafe

It’s a rule at Fancy Meow, and a good one I think, to let sleeping cats lie so timing … Read the rest

Blooming Rotorua – Tulip Fest

The Government Gardens in Rotorua are beautiful at any time of the year, but especially when the tulips are blooming during the annual Tulip Fest. Te Runanga Tearooms in the gardens is Tulip Fest HQ and it’s the meeting place for a lot of the events held from 1 – 9 October 2016.

Tulip Fest - Government Gardens, Rotorua

Tulip Fest – Government Gardens, Rotorua

I went to hear Maree from Galaxy Travel talk about Avalon River Cruises, one of the cruises includes a visit to Keukenhof Gardens in Holland. I’ve always associated tulips with Holland, but I learned from Maree that tulips were imported … Read the rest

Raceline Karting at Off Road NZ

After driving a V8 in Taupo Mike was keen to get behind the wheel of another fast machine, so that made gift giving easy this year. Cue Raceline Karting at Off Road NZ, around 25 minutes drive north of Rotorua in the countryside near Mamaku. Off Road NZ is a professional set up with a top class race track. If you know your karts they have 390cc 4 stroke SODI GT3’s imported from France.

Karting track at Off Road NZ in Rotorua

Karting track at Off Road NZ in Rotorua

Kitted out in a balaclava, overalls, gloves and helmet you’re good to go, up to 100km/hour the website … Read the rest

Dinner at Urbano Bistro, Rotorua

We had dinner at Urbano Bistro this week and both agree it is worth recommending on the world wide web. Urbano is one of Rotorua’s smarter dining options, the decor is dark and stylish and we felt really comfortable, they have created a nice atmosphere. It is at the pricey end of the dining spectrum, most mains are over $35 and entrees $17+.

Smart dining at Urbano Bistro

Smart dining at Urbano Bistro

One of Mike’s favourite entrees is pork belly but he finds it a dish that is a miss as often as it is a hit – Urbano hit a six and he … Read the rest

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Rotorua

The star attraction at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is The Champagne Pool with its sun burst orange edges and tiny champagne like bubbles on the surface.

The Champagne Pool at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

The Champagne Pool at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Elsewhere in the park sulphur colours the landscape yellow and adds a pungent and uniquely Rotorua smell to the air.

Yellow sulphur mounds

Yellow sulphur mounds

Kanuka grows wild along wooden walkways that hug cliff faces and take you over steaming ground to the miniature Lake Ngakoro waterfall.

Walkway to Lake Ngakoro waterfall

Walkway to Lake Ngakoro waterfall

Miniature Lake Ngakoro waterfall

Miniature Lake Ngakoro waterfall

You can’t see the boiling mud at the bottom of Inferno Crater but you … Read the rest

DIY Mud Masks at Hells Gate, Rotorua

We took advantage of a $39pp Grab One deal at Hells Gate for a mud bath and sulphur spa (usually $75pp). When I think of a mud bath I think of a thick pool of mud like this one in Colombia. At Hells Gate you step into a pool of hot muddy water and then scoop mud out of a container with your hands to give yourself a mud body mask ….

Hells Gate Mud Bath

Hells Gate Mud Bath

There’s a 20 minute limit in the mud bath due to it causing a rise in body temperature, it’s long enough for a … Read the rest

Agroventures Adventure Park, Rotorua

2018 Update: Agroventures is now called Velocity Valley.

Agroventures Adventure Park in Rotorua is an outdoor temple of adrenalin, there are five ways to get your adrenalin injection – Agrojet, Freefall Xtreme, Swoop, Shweeb and Bungy. We joined a city full of locals earlier this year when Agroventures hosted Locals Weekend. Rotorua residents were generously offered $10 tickets for all activities except bungy jumping which was discounted to $50.

Three people harnessed in the Swoop

Three people harnessed in the Swoop

We’d been away for the weekend and arrived at Agroventures late on Sunday afternoon to take our places in the queues. It wasn’t our … Read the rest