Getting Away: Long Weekend Getaway – Rotorua & Taupo

In New Zealand this weekend includes Labour Day, so we have a three-day weekend. While Papa M and I have commitments on Saturday keeping us in our usual neck of the woods, we love using long weekends as a chance to get out and about in this beautiful country of ours. Here’s a fabulous weekend getaway that you could enjoy!

Rotorua/Taupo

© Sweet Mama M, 2007

Seismic activity fascinate you? Love adventure sports? Want to get back to nature? This long-weekender could be for you!

Saturday: Check in! Today we’re going to get our adrenaline pumping by heading to the Agrodome for some Agroventures – on my to-do list are the Freefall Extreme, the Swoop & the Schweeb. Before we grab some lunch, we’re going to head across the road to do a Zorb – trust me, you aren’t going to want to eat before doing what basically amounts to a hydroslide inside a large plastic ball rolling down a hill. Back to the hotel to change before heading up the Skyline Gondola to have a fabulous lunch with a view. Let’s spend a couple of hours going down the luge and then head to Paradise Springs – if the time of year is right, you might be able to cuddle a lion cub! Back to Rotorua township to eat at one of the lakefront restaurants before crashing out for an early night at the hotel – with all that activity, you are bound to be exhausted!

Sunday: Back to nature today. We start off at Rainbow Springs in the morning, making sure that we take in the Kiwi Encounter (amazing tour of the nursery and hatchery!) along the way. Leaving here, we tour past the amazing redwood forest and the blue and green lakes, stopping to take pictures of these natural beauties. Next stop? The Buried Village, Te Wairoa. Established by the Christian missionary in 1848 as a model village, Te Wairoa survived for fewer than 40 years before it was obliterated by the eruption of Mount Tarawera. A fascinating insight into Maori culture and the tremendous devastation that volcanic eruptions can cause. We then head off to Hell’s Gate, taking in a fantastic geothermal and cultural walk before soaking in mud and sulphur baths to improve our health and vitality. Head back into town, enjoy New Zealand’s pub culture but don’t drink too much – we’ve got an early start tomorrow.

Monday: Check out – we’re hitting the road early today. Head south from Rotorua and around the side of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. Head to National Park and take in the beauty of our central volcanic plateau. Both Mts. Ruapehu and Tongariro have recently had minor eruptions but my favourite has to be the stately conical look of Mt. Ngaruhoe. Still sore from Saturday? That’s all good – we can stop in at Tokaanu Thermal Pools for another soak. Wrapping up the day, we do a gentle walk through the arid landscape that is Craters of the Moon before heading back from whence we came.

There is so much to do in Rotorua & Taupo and this is simply a taster of what you could do – it’s easy to spend far longer there! If you’ve been there before, please feel free to leave tips on top places to eat and fun things to do in the comments!

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