New Zealand is two not very big, but very fascinating islands. Breathtaking mountain panoramas and the coast, and not only … It’s generally a miracle how in a country where there are not even 4 million inhabitants, there were so many interesting and even, I would say, amazing places! Well, God also did not deprive New Zealand of excellent hotels … For example, The Lodge in the mountains of Kauri Cliffs, Wharekauhau and Blanket Bay are already classics … Helpful staff, intricate cuisine, excellent wines. By the way, the wine industry in New Zealand continues to grow every year, and there are quite good reasons for this growth…
New Zealand is a peaceful, quiet, laid-back and picturesque country. I was once asked where I would like to live in my old age. So, with all my current activity, I would not choose Thailand or Cuba. And not even Brazil. The best country for a calm and dignified old age is, in my opinion, New Zealand.
The places I would like to tell you about are in different parts of the country. Between them, in principle, it is not difficult to travel by car (which I once did with great pleasure, and which I advise you to do). The roads in NZ are very good and provide an excellent opportunity to get to know the landscapes better. The optimal duration of the trip is three weeks, the best time is from October 15 (mid-spring) to April 15 (mid-autumn).
But not all at once. Let’s go in order. First North Island, Rotorua. And in the next post – that way in a week I will tell you about other places.
So, Rotorua is a geothermal region of exceptional beauty and at the same time a city conceived and built as a unique resort. Clearly in the middle of Lake Rotorua is the island of Mokoya with its own, especially healing spring. The Rotorua region also has its own valley of geysers. Among its main attractions are the largest geysers in the country, the Feathers of the Prince of Wales and Pohutu, throwing water every 20 minutes to a height of 30 meters.
For starters, you should go there to relax and, for example, improve your health by studying geothermal springs, swimming in them, flying over them in a helicopter, enjoying the beauties and comprehending the Maori culture, the focus of which are these places.
I advise you to make a hotel a permanent place of residence Lake Okareka Lodge, a very high standard hotel in the immediate vicinity of the city of Rotorua, on Lake Ocareka. This boutique hotel is perched on a small peninsula leading into the center of Lake Okareka. It combines in perfect harmony the unparalleled natural beauty of the area, the highest class service and suites (three in total), which are a vivid example of high interior design. This idyll is crowned by its own sandy beach, which is open only to hotel guests. In total, the lodge can accommodate up to 9 people.
What can be done here?
Lake Okareka Lodge has an excellent golf course. In addition, you can cycle through the surrounding hills, hike in the forest and go fishing (the lake is literally teeming with trout). And the hotel itself gives the traveler pleasure with its comfort.
But most of all I remember the trip to the valley of geysers, to the so-called GATES OF HELL, the magnificent Tikitere valley. All around are volcanoes and geysers. Everything is covered in puffs of steam. Here and there, streams of geothermal mud splash into the air (in order not to get dirty, it is important not to leave specially laid tourist bridges).
Despite the formidable nickname, Tikitere is known as one of the best health resorts on the planet. The “Gates of Hell” are replete with dazzling white rocks, warm waterfalls, hot black lakes (due to an excess of graphite, they are really completely black, and the water in them is almost boiling water). There are a lot of mud and water pools in this thermal reserve. And they are all different – both in color and in temperature and the effect they have on human health.
I also did the Volcanic Air Safari. It was, in fact, a helicopter tour over all these geysers and lakes. But it was interrupted every now and then – the helicopter was landing, giving me the opportunity to swim in the most beneficial reservoirs of this place and enjoy a special massage right in the mud bath.
The effect of sulfur baths in the Tikitere geothermal reserve has been tested by the centuries-old history of this place. It is the largest mud volcano in New Zealand and also the largest hot waterfall in the entire southern hemisphere. With its healing properties, it has been surprising visiting Europeans for centuries. But the unique healing effect that these muds have is news only for guests from the old world. Maori warriors, the original inhabitants of New Zealand, have healed their wounds here since time immemorial. No one, of course, bathes in the geysers themselves, where the temperature reaches 98C. But the mud extracted from them and placed in separate baths helps to improve the skin, relax the muscles, and in some cases, the baths even help to lose weight. The technology is time-tested!
In addition, it makes sense to spend a couple of nights in the famous Huka Lodge and go fishing in the huge lake Taupo, which arose in the crater of an ancient volcano. This lake is called the capital of rainbow trout and the heart of New Zealand. Lake Taupo is located in an extremely picturesque area.
Fishing is one of the main attractions of travelers coming here. The trout that can be caught here is truly grandiose – sometimes its weight reaches two kilograms. With the help of experienced guides from Huka Lodge, you can make your fishing much more successful, because these people know secluded bays and bays where rainbow and brown trout are found in especially large numbers (Huka Village is originally a fishing village). And in the evening, the chef of the Huka Lodge restaurant will create a delicious gourmet dinner from your catch … Huka Lodge organizes not only lake fishing, but also unique river fishing – by helicopter or by motor boat, the traveler is taken to very beautiful fishing spots of the Tongariro River and others, usually inaccessible to fishermen surrounding water bodies (see video just above).
Finally, I will mention one more hotel near Rotorui – TREETOPS. It covers an area of 2500 acres, which boasts seven crystal rivers, four lakes and a beautiful 800-year-old forest stretching for about 50 miles, great for horseback riding.
The hotel itself is a very bright place. High ceilings, stone floors and a large fireplace in the living room. Long windows and glass doors through which you can see the forest and mountains.
There are four double suites for two people (with individual living rooms and kitchens), as well as four beautiful villas standing alone (each villa consists of two suites with spacious living rooms and bedrooms).
OK, now enough about Rotorua. Next time we will talk about the city of Hawkes Bay, which is located down the east coast of the North Island. It claims to be one of the main wine regions of New Zealand. So, read the next post!