“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Sunday 28 October 2012

Rotorua, North Island....New Zealand (Part 1)

Hey...did you think I'd gone missing in action? 
I know it's been some time since my last post but we've been busy checking out some great places for you.
And so we reluctantly wave goodbye to Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsula ...and those views!

 (This view was from the cliff top of Cathedral Cove)

Yet again en-route we were privileged to spectacular sights that took our breath away...
We drove south towards the centre of the North Island and onto Rotorua, the geothermal paradise where you can stand on active volcanoes, peer into massive creaters and see boiling mud and erupting geysers. 

But first let's check into our accommodation....

When you arrive at your location and are greeted by the welcoming aroma of freshly baked scones still warm from the oven, then you know you've made a good decision.
The charming house is located literally on the banks of the lake. It belongs to Ken and Carol our friendly hosts who welcomed us into their home...

Once again I rose at dawn to capture the house in a good light...I tiptoed across the back lawn of the house...can you see my footprints on the dew covered lawn?
You can't fail to be wowed by the extensive northern lake views from all of the rooms which take full advantage of all day sunshine.

 How's that for lemon growing? 
Produce from the garden feature highly on the breakfast table...in the form of jams and chutneys. 
Carol introduced us to the feijoa! 
(Feijoas originated in the forests of South America and are fragrant smooth-skinned green tropical tree fruit that have creamy sweet jelly centres. They are part of the Myrtle family, which includes other fragrant plants such as eucalyptus, allspice, guavas, and cloves.Their distinctive complex flavour has been likened to a mix of strawberries, pineapple and guavas, with undertones of quince, lemon and mint. In Australia they are sometimes known as pineapple guavas. The unique complexity and fragrance of the feijoa is the reason they are so versatile and addictive, with uses ranging from just munching them by the dozen to making beautiful perfumes. 

Feijoas are an extremely versatile fruit with very little wastage, being scooped out and eaten as fresh fruit and in fruit salads, used in juices, smoothies and ice creams, wines and vodkas, jams and chutneys, salads, in savoury dishes, salsas and especially in baking.  They are also easily frozen for future use, and are even used in perfumes and skin care ranges. The question should really be "What can't you do with a feijoa?")

Here's the room we stayed in...The Tahi room ~ photo courtesy of  Lake House website

This is the view from our room....not bad eh?

 Just a step along this path leads to the luxurious, purpose built spa room perfect to relax and unwind after a full days sightseeing and activities...

Ken and Carol have travelled extensively and lived in the Middle East for a time, so we had lots in common to talk about. Carol is also a very talented artist and some of her work is exhibited throughout the house.
She is also an exceptional cook and breakfasts were very relaxed and enjoyable.
Our time in Rotorua was to be limited so we asked Ken and Carol to advise us on how best to use the time we had to maximise our stay. 

So would it be rafting, jet-boarding, luging, soaring through the sky in a giant swing, tumbling downhill in a plastic bubble called a Zorb (I kid you not!) or blazing through the forest on a mountain bike, Rotorua certainly knows how to give you an adrenalin rush. 
Rotorua has a staggering 16 freshwater lakes. All are of volcanic origin; filling craters, calderas or valleys blocked by lava flows, and many are ringed by forest and farmland with fantastic lakeside walking trails. 
The lakes are teeming with trout too but there are regulations to adhere to for fishing.
And so well fed with walking shoes on and plenty of layers for any weather eventuality, we set off for the day....The Hamurana Springs Reserve was first on our list.
I've included the notice below for anyone who might like more information about the springs.

This place feels special from the moment you leave the car park and enter the walkway....

We have never seen water this crystal clear....
Alongside the springs is a grove of towering Californian coastal redwoods. These impressive trees were planted in 1901, and now reach heights of around 60 metres. The Redwood Memorial Grove track that winds its way between the redwoods is the forests most popular walk, although there is a range of other great walking tracks throughout the forest, ranging from 30-minutes strolls to all-day treks. There are also a wide range of both exotic and native trees too.
If you look closely or zoom in on the next pic you can see the trout.
 He is right in the centre of the photo...

I've taken lots of video footage throughout the trail with trout clearly in view. I'm afraid I'll have to edit at some stage because they are just too large to use here...that's another job for another day.
I've never seen trout so clearly in the water!
There are also dancing sands which don't show up on camera nearly as well as I would like...but the sand has little eruptions happening which give the appearance of mini volcanoes under the surface of the water. 

Here is the head of the spring (named after Hangarua a chieftainess) the rock around this spring is volcanic (rhyolitic) in origin. The spring water travels down from the Mamaku plateau through underground aquifers. This journey takes an amazing 70 years!
This spring is the largest in the North Island and where on the 9th January 1957 more than 5,000 pennies dating from 1860 were recovered. All of these were distributed to children's charities. The water from these springs flows into Lake Rotorua.  The height of the spring above sea level is 280 metres (920 feet). The depth of the spring is approx.15 metres (50 feet) The temperature is a constant 51°F (10°C) The volume of water is approx. 4,500,000 litres (1,000,000 gallons) per hour!!!

Once again we could see the huge trout gently circling and enjoying their special place....

I'm now becoming aware of how big this post is turning out to be...
So I've decided to split it into two parts...
This is part 1obviously, but I hope you'll join me in part 2 shortly...
We're off to 'Hells Gate' (an active geothermal park with mud spa) and a Maori cultural experience.

See you soon...in the meantime have a great weekend https://secure.quebles.com/content/hotmail/emoticons/1508618.gif


  1. Oh, this is such fun! What a tranquil place of stunning beauty! Never heard of that fruit. I love vacationing with you guys!! LOL!

    1. I'm so happy to hear you're enjoying your trip and we're happy to have you along! ;D

      Keep a look out for the Feijoa...I think it'll grow in popularity.
      We actually found a bottle of juice yesterday with both apple and feijoa mixed...which was very refreshing.

      Well it's nearly the start of a new week...can you believe it. Let's hope it's a good one :D

  2. Gosh It's so Beautiful, I'm loving my trip with you... I too have never heard of that fruit... would love to give it a try!! Enjoy... Hugs May x x x

    1. It's lovely to have you with us May ;D
      I had heard the name feijoas since being in Melbourne but had never actually tasted one (or haven't been aware if I have) until our hostess introduced us to it.
      It has a very unusual taste but great on your toast at breakfast!

      I'm hoping to visit again soon, so will pop over to you...I sure could do with a cuppa and to sit awhile! :D

      Have a great week with lots of craftyness xoxo

  3. Oh wow. Recognised the name place straight away as my dad visited Rotorua when he went to NZ for a family wedding. Mud pools! Looks amazing place to stay. Take care Zo xx

    1. Hi Zo,
      Isn't that a coincidence...Rotorua is at least one of the locations that I can actually pronouce the name and remember it.
      I have to confess some have been beyond me...so I'm hoping not to get lost because I'd have difficulty explaining where I came from or where I was going LOL ;D

      Especially the longest named town of
      I kid you not!!! Its the Māori name for a hill!
      It looks like a cat has walked across the keyboard or I've fallen asleep whilst typing :$ Either way I couldn't possibly pronouce it!

      Get ready for your mud spa next Zo. I'll catch you later...
      Have a great day :D

  4. oh my gosh, what an amazing place, just like heaven to these northern eyes, I have been trying and trying to find you! My blog crashed and instead of worrying about more troubles I started over just the other day, I'm so happy I found you, can you see me smiling!!!!!

    1. HELLO LAURIE!!! :D
      I wondered where you had disappeared to and had been trying to find your blog to no avail.
      I can't believe that it crashed again.

      I certainly can see you smiling and I'm grinning like a Cheshire Cat too ^..^
      It's lovely to see you again and I'll certainly be over for a cuppa soon.

      Have a great week ;D
      Hugs xoxo

  5. So, so beautiful........ What a way to travel, through your photos. :)

    1. Hi Alex,
      I'm so happy to hear you're enjoying travelling with me...and to think there's no lugging heavy suitcases or security procedures to get through! ;D

      Thanks for stopping by ~ have a great week :D

  6. WOW!!! Such fantastic photos....I can't get over how lush and green that lawn is either!!! Pineapple guava rings a bell but I've never tried it. I'm looking forward to Part 2. :)

    1. Wet and cold too Serena...the lawn was wet with early morning dew!

      I better get on if you're looking forward to Part 2...no rest for the wicked eh? LOL

      I'm definitely going to be able to catch up soon so pop that kettle on. I'll be across as soon as I can. ;D

      In the meantime have a great creative week ~ enjoy!

  7. Absolutely lovely - your accommodations are gorgeous! We spent time around Rotorua when we visited NZ years ago and just loved it. The landscapes are so serene, all those rolling hills - we visited a Maori town as well with an unpronounceable name that starts with M! :) I just know you're lovin' it! It's a lot of beauty to take in.....

    1. My apologies for not answering your comment Terrie...I don't know how but I missed you! (:o) shocking I know...how could I?

      Anyway I've got you now ;D
      It's great that you have actually visited Rotorua too because I just can't do the scenery with its dundulating landscapes and beauty justice. It's just so vast too.

      Yep we are loving it but we're on the run down now (sigh) just a few more destinations to post and that's it! :$

      I hope you're having a great week and I'll be catching up with you soon. Have fun :D


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