We had a think over some of our favourite places and activities in New Zealand. One of the highlights for us all, which I have still to write much about, was Queenstown - we had the most amazing time there with so many great things to do and so many stunning and beautiful places around it, I could easily have stayed for a month, if not longer. We looked into flights, but the cost was extortionate, so we had another think and decided to head back down to Rotorua. It's approximately a three hour drive from Auckland and has some of our favourite activities on offer, not to mention the geothermal heating being most welcome now that the first sight of winter is sweeping it's way across the country. It's a big tourist destination so there are a plethora of hotels, which means some great offers at this time of year too.
We kicked off our 48 hours with a return trip to Polynesian Spa - we didn't even pause to check in at our hotel before heading there. New Zealand is a veritable playground of hot bubbly pools and Polynesian is undoubtedly the top of the crop (more on that another day...). After we'd soaked ourselves sufficiently we headed to our hotel, which, like many in Rotorua also has it's own spa and geothermally heated swimming pool. With the huge playground a mere hop, skip and a jump away it would have been rude not to partake in a little swinging and climbing while we watched the sun set over the lake. The shivering temperatures that the dark brought made the final decision (and of course the most healthy decision too) not to schlep all the way across town for a third dip (ever, not in one day!) at the most delicious Holiday Inn buffet an easy one.
On Thursday morning I awoke to discover that the sore throat I had been trying to beat off the last few days had taken hold, so instead of the action packed day we had planned, I rested in the room while Mr T took the Littlest Hobo for a swim and a play in the park then I wandered into town and replaced her lost coat so that we could brave the icy temperatures and experience the other good reason for being in this particular spot this evening: The Rotorua Night Market.
Every Thursday evening a section of the street in the centre of town is closed off to traffic and a selection of stalls take over the area. I'd heard about it a couple of times and was disappointed that we'd managed to miss it by one day when we were here last time. We rugged up and headed down there just after the sun dipped beyond the horizon and enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere and live music while we feasted on a variety of yummy offerings. There's something I love about being out in the dark, with the lights twinkling, rugged up against the cold air and being warmed from the inside with tasty treats accompanied by the soundtrack of live music and general hustle and bustle. I can't help but smile.
Friday morning brought a healthier day, so before heading back up to Auckland we headed for a final dip in the Polynesian Spa then off to the Skyline Gondola and Luge. Queenstown boasts the same attraction, and when we were there, after riding the Gondola up a remarkably steep mountain and admiring the breathtaking views we'd spent about 15 minutes or so debating whether or not it was a good idea to take a two year old on the luge. In the end the inner child in each of us won, and we bit the bullet and went for it - we were not to be disappointed. The luge is the ultimate adrenalin fix for wimps like me as you can control the speed at which you travel. Mr T took the Littlest Hobo on his cart and I flew solo, surprising myself by whipping ahead, yelling with delight around each corner and emerging at the end with a grin on my face surpassed only marginally by the one that adorned my daughters face when she followed me a few seconds later. So you see, we needed to do it again! While the view from the top of the Skyline is less impressive in Rotorua (it's still lovely though), the luge is far superior, lasting much longer and the track seemed more hair raising too. My poor daughter had me squealing in her ear all the way from the top to the bottom!
Although we still have a few days left, Rotorua was the perfect choice to occupy a portion of our last week in New Zealand. There's plenty to do, while at the same time being relaxing, Rotorua offers a little bit of luxury, while at the same time being child friendly, and there's plenty of natures wonders to marvel at, from the bubbling mud and the huge geysers to serene lake against a backdrop of mountains.
|Lake Rotorua, just before sunset|