At 10am on Sunday 12th April we left the National Park Village having said all our goodbyes; it had been a great experience. We were on the SH47 and on our way to Turangi the centre of trout fishing in NZ. We firstly call at the i - site, Visitor Centre for information and also buy a few presents. These information centres are so efficient with excellent information, mostly all free and such helpful staff always with a smile on their face. Here we did a walk on the Tongariro River for 1.5hrs and from bridges we could see large trout on the bottom of the river. It was another beautiful hot day. It was then on through Taupo and at 1.15pm we stopped at the Huka Falls, a natural phenomenon. The mighty Waikato River, NZ’s largest, gushes through a narrow chasm not long after the outlet from Lake Taupo. 300,000lrs of water per second hurtles through the narrow channel that makes the waterfall the most visited attraction in NZ.
Then it was on to Rotorua and to our B&B on Lake Rotorua at Ngongotaha, arriving at 3.30pm and being shown round our lovely facilities with magic panoramic views of the lake and hills/mountains in the background. At 5pm with other guests we are treated to canapés and lovely chilled NZ white wine. At 7.30pm we were at Bistro 1284 which is Rotorua’s best restaurant (2001-08) where once again we sampled Monteith’s Hearty Black (5.2%), just a spectacular brew. Monday 13th April was yet another fine morning so I was up early for my shower. As well as having tea/coffee making facilities in the bedrooms, guests also have the same facility in the lounge which I took advantage of to read the books and information leaflets (in abundance), as I like a cup of tea before breakfast. Breakfast is set out on a massive table and most of the treats that await you are home made. Five of us are having breakfast and conversation is free flowing as everyone is interested in what the other parties are doing and making recommendations as what to see and do. After home made cereal and fresh fruit with yoghurt, Lyndsay has suggested crepes with bacon and fresh mushrooms. Sounded delicious to me and yes it was. You could have had anything you wanted and Graham provided a constant suppy of fresh toast/tea. Do you want to leave the table? No is the answer. Stuart made the comment "that you had enough breakfast not to need lunch," and Stuart does like his lunch as well!! At 10am it was away to the famous Whakarewarewa Forest and the intention was to hire bikes for part of the day. However with names such as Grinder, Double Down, Rock Drop, Sidewinder and The Dipper, we opted to walk instead and chose the Tokorangi Pa Track at 11.5kms. We started our walk at 11am and we were finished by 1.45pm. This was ever so enjoyable. The forest is famous for its magnificent stands of towering Californian Coastal Redwoods at around 219ft. They were massive and everywhere through the forest, hence the name "Redwoods". (In America their lifespan is 600 years and they grow as tall as 360ft). Here you are able to experience some of the finest walking and mountain bike trails in the world. Back “home” it was a walk on the lake front and up the Waiteti stream which is some 50 yards from Lakeside Lodge. Lyndsay had organised a night at ‘TE PUIA’ in Rotorua (she also had offered us alternatives) where we had an in-depth experience of the customs and traditions of the Maori people, a hangi-cooked feast and contemporary Maori dishes. The evening ended at 9pm after a visit to view POHUTA, the famous geyser on the site.
On Tuesday 14th April it was an early rise and we were fishing on the Waiteti stream at 7am with Graham. After another lovely breakfast (Stuart fancied an omlette as Leisha had showed him the way she cooked these, so Lyndsay told him to get on with it in the kitchen which he did and the end result was ace) it was a day’s fishing on the Ngongotaha stream which has its source in Paradise Valley. It was a lovely day and the location was wonderful. We were armed with a large picnic and beers were placed in the stream to be kept cool. What more does a fisherman need? We saw another three fishermen all day. Four BIG trout (2.5lbs/4lbs) were “pulled off” the river by 4.30pm and we were to have some of these for breakfast the following morning. Another great day, so a massive thank you to Graham for taking us to his special fishing location where lots of trout can be seen in the lovely clear water but take note, they are not easy to catch. 7pm saw us at the famous Polynesian Spa, overlooking Lake Rotorua. We tried out all 4 Lakeside pools (36c/42c) in this world top ten (medical and thermal) Spa and enjoyed the occasion, looking up to the star lit sky. Stuart had a brief snooze at 38c but was disturbed by a bus load of noisy Japanese women who took over the pool. It was then on to the Japanese Restaurant in Rotorua on Eat Street. The end of a great time in this lovely area. Thanks Lyndsay and Graham for sharing your lovely home and friendship with us. Tomorrow it is back to Wellington, some 455kms away.