Category Archives: Rotorua

Redwood Forest Treewalk and Ride

This was the main reason why we wanted to come to Rotorua. We moved Rafe to Cozy Cottage Holiday Park as it’s a bit less to bike! We’ve stayed here before some time ago and as they were doing a deal and because I’m a sucker for Hot Pools which they have, yippee, we’re in!

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Walking through Redwood Forest

Its also closer to the Redwood Park area. As it was Easter, the park was chocker but mostly with tents and a few Caravans.

The Tree walk

After checking in, we got the bikes ready and headed off to the Redwoods Forest area. Although we had a brochure with a map on the back of the Trail to get there was as clear as mud and we found ourselves having to stop and get directions a few times but got there and its a great ride just getting there once you know where you’re going 🙂

Fiona checking in

I waited with the bikes and got some pictures around it while Fiona did the walk. It looks great with platforms on the bigger trees with suspension bridges between. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour. There is also a night time walk you can do with the trees all lit up which comes free with the daytime walk.

Into the forest

After Fiona got back, we got on the bikes and opted to do the “Mokopuna” trail which takes you around an easy route through the trees and about 2/3rds of the way around there is an exit chute from the forest where you can head back into town for lunch which is exactly what we did.

Magical

On the way back we rode past the Racecourse where there were 600 odd plus mostly white Motorhomes enjoying the NZMCA Annual AGM. An awesome sight seeing so many parked in one spot.

After the walk and onto the ride.

After lunch we headed back to the Park for a hot swim after our 16 odd K’s ride.

The Ngongotaha Trail

Staying in the Rotorua Family Holiday park, we were very close to the trail into Rotorua..in fact it starts just behind the Ngongotaha shops but we got on from right over the road.

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Fiona on the Trail into town

We set the bikes up and we were off. The Trail starts down the side of a wide bike lane on a road and then turns into the sealed path through bush right next to an old disused Railway line.

On the trail into Rotorua

Eventually it comes out at Lake road which is the main road heading to downtown Rotorua and past Kuirau Park.

The view from the top. Biking into town

We were heading into town for lunch at Eat St. I’ve been here several times but never actually stopped here for a feed so after checking all the shops out, we decided on a shared Pizza from and Italian Restaurant which was fantastic.

Eat st

An hour or so later we rode around to Kuirau park and had a look at some of the Thermal areas there. Amazing to see boiling mud in the middle of a built up area like that.

Plenty of heat
Kuirau Park

After having a good look around here, we headed back down to the trial back to Rafe at the park.

Coming back to the camp

The round trip was about 16k’s according to the bike so not far at all and a good bit of exercise on a well setup and safe Trail.

Down the road from the camp

 

Art Deco by the lake

Fiona and I popped in to this Camp Saver park a few years ago and it is in a magic spot. Right on the end of the Ngongotaha bike trail to Rotorua.

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The Cabins look awesome

The bike trail into town is just over the road and at the end of a very short road is the lake with a public ramp and a jetty.  Ngongotaha shops are an easy walk up the road.

Reece and Dianne have been running this camp for a few years now and although they’re Motorhomers themselves, there hasn’t really been much time for them to get away.

The Childrens play area

Every time I looked outside Rafe, there was Reece chopping a tree back or getting a planned maintenance chore out of the way.

Classic shower block

The newly done up Art Deco shower and Toilet blocks are just the bees knees and the cabins are in the same style.

Down the road from the camp

The last time we were here it was so hot, we spent the best part of an afternoon in their swimming pool. There is also a well appointed play area for the little ones too.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Rotorua Family Holiday Park – Armada GPS

Rugby, Hot Pools and a nice place to stay.

The sky was a bit murky and we had a day left before having to head home so it was Rotorua for the night, and the search was on for a hot pool.

The Bledisloe Cup game was on that afternoon so we had a choice of finding a pub or staying somewhere with the rugby and Fiona likes to be near some shops 🙂 The Top 10 was the answer plus it had some hot pools.. a big bonus.

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The entrance to Rotorua Top 10

As we drove in, I met Caroline who couldn’t have been more helpful. We were very fortunate to get a park right next to the pools and close to the showers and loos and not far from the rugby 🙂

Plenty of room

They have two thermal pools and a swimming pool. The two thermal pools run at 38C and 40C, plenty hot enough for us…

Proper thermal water.!

It was interesting looking at the comments on the app which said the pools weren’t hot enough and the parks were squeezed in. All the parks I saw allowed for an easy 3m gap. Most had a table set between each park.(much more than 3m!) .. and the pools were great.

The Thermal pools

After a quick splash in the pools, were set off into the Rotorua shopping area, about 10 minutes walk. We had a packed program 🙂 Lunch, a quick look around the shops and then the Rugby at 4!

Downtown Rotovegas

After the rugby we met some people who had hired 5 Dethleffs Trend Motorhomes and were on route to the Hawkes Bay, just staying one night. They were having a ball.

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We had another swim when we got back and met some people also from Auckland with a small caravan not unlike our Wee Rafe that we started with. They were looking for a Motorhome so it was interesting talking to them.

The Dethleffs Trends off to the Hawkes Bay

The sky was strange.. one minute it was and quite threatening and then clear and then back to overcast again…

Rafe near the big pillow

A nice spot in Rotorua and once of the better campgrounds I’ve stayed in.  It is also within walking distance from pretty much everywhere and with the facilities, its a winner. I’ve got it marked down as a GPS favorite for our next visit.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Top 10 in Rotorua – Armada GPS

Good value Motohome parking with Pools.

After a great lunch at a Cafe in Ngongotaha shopping centre (the one closest to the NZMCA park) we had to start thinking about where we were going to stay for the night. It was 36C and I was sweaty already. It was also time to wash the linen.

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Rafe between the Hedgerows

Rotorua Family Holiday Park came up on the NZMCA app as being reasonably priced and they also had a laundry and a pool!  Perfection at $34 a night with a powered site and they were just around the corner in Ngongotaha.

Kids Playground

Motorhomers Reece and Diane, have been working on this park for the last 13 years and it looks fantastic. I was really impressed with the Motorhome sites being big, between hedgerows and easy to get in and out off.

The Tourist Flats .. neat

After buying their new Motorhome about 18 months ago, their only regret was having been too busy to get away in it.. the downside of self employment but they’ve done an excellent job of doing up the park and I’m sure they’ll get time to get away eventually !

Art Deco Loos

The Tourist flats and Toilets are in an Art Deco style and have all been done up and they look great.

How are those Flats

They’ve just finished doing up the Kitchen, Laundry and BBQ area and it looks good.

The Barbeque area.. neat and tidy

Fiona stripped the bed and headed off to the Laundry while I walked around and got some piccies. After that, we both headed straight for the pool and were there most of the afternoon. It was heavenly. We did have momentary thoughts about biking in on the trail to Rotorua which is literally just outside the gate but it was just too hot!

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We hadn’t long been in the pool when we met some German tourists who lived in southern Germany near Isny where the Dethleffs Motorhomes are made. Nice people and they were really interesting to talk to given Brexit and other things that are happening at the moment.

Nicely setup

It was nice to find a really nice clean campground, with great hosts at a really sensible price, in what is normally quite an expensive place to stay.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

How that Motorhome park has grown.

There was a time a few years ago when some big trees were felled at the Ngongotaha NZMCA park and some of us were a bit worried. The trees came down and the world didn’t end, we got our TV signals back and all was well 🙂

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Down on the lower Terrace

Fiona and I stopped off recently to check the park out and it is looking fantastic.

The New grassed area at the back

Where we all parked on the concrete in the middle, now the primo parking seems to be right at the back on a nice grassy area. The parking in the middle is still there, an addition to the check in shed / which now includes a covered happy hour area too.

Looking out to the lake over the two terraced areas

Up the front by the road are two grassed terraced levels for parking with the view out to Lake Rotorua.

Rafe parked down on the front terraced area.

For some history images.. before the trees were cut downand after!

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It would be hard to imagine this park ever getting full it is so big but having been here a few times, its a great place to park and the on site Dump Station is a real bonus.

Well done to those involved in putting this all together.

Steaming Gutters in Ohinemutu

We were in Rotorua with our Grandchildren Ayden and Liam and on our route was Ohinemutu.

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Walking through Ohinemutu

I think they were pretty taken by the steam coming out of the gutters and the lakefront.

Roadside steam

There was a huge crowd set up for a special event where the last remaing Maori Battalion member was being honoured on the Marae and was being presented with a medal by the Italians. A great occasion and there was a special Marque set up  with chairs everywhere you looked.

St Faiths Church over a steamy Lakefront

There was a small party from the NZ Army there too representing the NZ Armed Forces.

The Special team from the Army for the celebration of the Maori

We had a brief look around St Faiths Church on the lakefront and thought we’d make head into town but its a lovely tranquil spot and the steam and heat from the bores and water makes it a special place.

Ayden, Liam and Fiona heading down to the Church

There is free parking for Motorhomes just along from there towards the city so its an easy walk and well worth doing.

For a look at our last trip here and some interiors of the church go here.

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There was a big fun fair entertainment thing happening in the domain so the boys had a ride on the small cars to finish off the morning before lunch.

St Faiths

The Place to Eat

A few years ago I stumbled across this amazing blocked off pedestrian section of Tutanakai St in Rotorua. It is totally set up for Wining, Dining, Craft beers and anything else food and beverage.
It is covered by a huge roof so is all weather as well.

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Looking towards the Lake

On my first visit, it had not long been opened and was closed but this time, it was all on although at lunchtime on a Saturday was not at its busiest. I’d love to see it in the evenings.

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What a great concept and being 5 minutes walk from the Lakefront and domain, it is right in the Tourist centre of Rotorua.

Looking down the main street.

If you’re heading to Rotorua, a great place to check out.

Grandchildren and Rotorua

Every now and then its time to grab the Grandkids and take them away in Rafe for a weekend and give Mum and Dad a night or two off.

Rotorua is the popular spot as they love the hot pools and the things to see and do there so we were off.

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Ayden and Liam on the swings during a Cup of Tea break at Gordonton

We stopped off at Gordonton to give the Boys a break and they very quickly found a play area and set off to give it a workout while Fiona and I watched with a cup of coffee.

Cruising on we eventually arrived in Tirau and the boys spotted a Subway so that was lunch sorted 😃

Rotorua was always a favourite place to go when I was in short pants. We used to stay in Motels opposite Kurau park where there used to be a miniature steam train that you could ride on. Sadly that’s gone now but its still a magic place.

We arrived in Rotorua around the middle of the day and decided to check in at Cozy Cottage Holiday Park which is right on the lakefront and has its own hot pools. We’ve stayed here a couple of times before when we first got Rafe, 5 or so years ago so we knew it was easy.

Rotorua Lakefront

After settling down, plugging in and opening some vents, we set off for a look around to see what was where. Ayden and Liam are 10 and 6 and the first thing they found was the playground and they were pretty happy with that and soon made some new friends.

Fiona and Liam in one of the pools

Not long after that, we were all in the pool.

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The next day, we decided that we would walk into Rotorua and have a look at Ohinemutu, the waterfront and find some lunch.

The boys were hanging out for McDonalds so after a walk there and a look around, we caught the bus back to the park.

The boys digging with Mokoia Island behind

One of the features of this Motorhome park is its proximity to the lakefront and they have a track that takes you directly to the beach where you can dig holes with a shovel and make your own hot pools. The boys were keen to give this a go so after another hot pools swim, we headed down to the lakefront to find some hot water 🙂

Ayden had first pop with the shovel and he got straight into digging some holes. Within 5 minutes or so he had created a new pool with the only problem being that it was just too hot to put your feet in. Just two feet down right by the water and steam was coming out !

The boys on the Lakefront digging for water!

Cozy Cottage was $22 for each adult and $10 for each Grandie per night. With the hot pools and the facilities and being an easy walk to Rotorua, I thought this was pretty reasonable.

Aydens pool.

There are Cabins and Motel Units there too for friends without Motorhomes or Caravans.

Rafe in his spot

A fun weekend.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

 

Boiling Mud and Geysers

Grandsons, Ayden and Liam were both really looking forward to seeing some boiling mud for the first time and if we could, the famous Pohutu Geyser.

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Fiona, Ayden and Liam on the way to the Geysers

We left early and walked about 100 metres to Te Puia all well connected by tunnels under the roadway. The family pass which was normally $150 odd seemed appropriate and because there was a NZ special discount, we were able to show our drivers licenses and get nearly $50 off !  A big saving.

The base of the Geysers

There  just enough time to get the boys an ice cream and us a coffee before the next tour was due to head off with Guide Kiri.

Kiri with the Tour group

She was fantastic and as the Geysers were still building up a head of steam, after teaching the group of about 60 in the tour how to pronounce the full name of Whakarewarewa(and a lot more), she took us first to see the craft academy. Whakarewarewa is the abbreviated form !

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I didn’t realise but they have a full Academy for training craftsmen from Bone or Stone carving to Wood Carving, Jewellery and many other skills. They work on show for the tourists behind and below a walkway and you finally end up in a Gallery where the work is available to buy. The trainees have uniforms and have a full apprenticeship/graduation ceremony. It is an amazing setup. Very entrepreneurial and all done very nicely. I was impressed.

The base of the Geysers

The steam was building up so Kiri took us down to the Mud Pools then onto the Geysers. Unfortunately there was a grey sky and the steam and the clouds all merged so it was impossible to really see the water let alone photograph it. The boys enjoyed it and also got to sit on some warm concrete which was nice as it was only 10C!

Boiling Mud

We spent about 4 hours there all up and we decided it was time to head back to Rafe and go and warm up in the Hot Pool.

Pohutu Geyser is in there somewhere

As I say, I was very impressed with the way it was all setup. Paths and bridges are a long way from what I remember from the old Whaka village with them all being well engineered and maintained.
A fun day for young and old 🙂