Rotorua - The Perfect Weekend Getaway
Every week I am reminded of how living in Hawkes Bay is an incredible blessing - we have decent weather, gorgeous scenery to explore, beaches, mini mountains and more. Being situated in the middle of the island also gives us reasonably quick access to everything else in the North Island!
Another blessing is that the Hawkes Bay Anniversary falls on the Friday before Labour Day - we get a four day weekend! Woop woop - we skived off to Rotorua for a bit of a break from our lovely home town and to celebrate a friends birthday - here's why I can't wait to go back!
I had my first go at this addictive sport, and I loved it! Mountain Bike Rotorua has bikes available for rent right at the base of the trails, but we were lucky enough to trial some brand spanking new bikes since a bike crew were doing a demo day. Double woop again!
The Redwoods have more than 100 kilometres of mountain biking tracks, and they are amazing... That said, I only rode a small part of the forest on the grade three tracks! But I know quite a few people who ride there regularly, and they rave about it. There's tracks for beginners right through to those with death wishes, and a café for those left behind. (Note: outdoor seating only, and try the banana coffee smoothie :P)
It helps to be reasonably fit since to ride down the tracks you have to ride to the top first. The roads up are easy gravel tracks and some places have shuttles, but be ready to sweat! Make sure you have a bottle of water strapped to your bike :)
We walked around the outskirts of the beautiful 'Blue Lake', or 'Tikitapu'. It took about an hour and a half, with two buggies and a 4 year old on a bike. Be ready to lift the buggy in some areas, but for the most part the tracks are well maintained and smooth. You will get to stop on a little sandy beach (BYO picnic) and the track peeks out at the lake through a fringe of native trees. It is really stunning, so take your camera!
Not far from here is the 'Green Lake' or 'Rotokakahi'. Unlike the Blue Lake, you cannot swim, boat or fish here because it is sacred to the Rotorua Te Arawa people. There is a walking track however, but be ready for a much bigger walk! I plan on exploring much more of these lakes when we go back, and if you want to as well - click here for more information :)
I have been luging twice in my life, and would go again and again! For those who don't know, you get to ride a gondola to the top of the Redwood Forest and then plummet down a concrete track on a small and fast plastic cart. It's incredibly fun, and not as terrifying as it sounds. The carts have brakes, so you control where you go and how fast. There are three tracks of varying difficulty, and if you chicken out you can ride the gondola back down. The views over Rotorua and the surrounding lakes are great too - even if you aren't into luging, just go for a ride and a coffee at the top :)
Click here for more information.
Rotorua is an incredible place bursting with culture, wonderful scenery and geothermal parks, adventure and family activities. It's a great destination for a holiday, or even just a quick weekend getaway!