CENTRAL NORTH GOLF
Officially opened in 1970,
the course lies on 450 acres of natural rolling countryside and was designed
to meet the rigorous design standards required for world class championship
The end result is a course that sprawls over the property using the natural
contours to the fullest. This coupled with 6429 metres and 108 well placed
bunkers, has led to world wide acclaim. In January 1996, US Golf Digest,
rated Wairakei 17th best course outside the USA. This plus featured
publication in the World Atlas of Golf enhance its reputation but it is the
natural beauty and sheer experience of the property that makes Wairakei a
must for serious and casual golfers. Par 72 - Length 6429 metres. Go to Golf Page
Waitomo Caves in New Zealand has been attracting
visitors for over 100 years, happily our hardy little
glowworms are oblivious to any number of admirers and
they keep glowing to attract their food in many of Waitomo's caves in New Zealand.
Glowworms are stunning. In 2005 we were delighted to
host two separate BBC film crews at Spellbound, one lead
by Sir David Attenborough and the other by Huw Cordey.
Both travelled to the Waitomo Caves in New Zealand to
record glowworm footage for their natural history
documentaries. They were impressed and amazed by
glowworms, one cameraman described the Spellbound
Glowworm Cave as one of the top 10 natural spectacles
The world's youngest
geothermal system' Waimangu Volcanic Valley is Rotorua's premier tourist attraction and a
‘must do’ eco-experience when you visit Rotorua.
Their exciting thermal attraction and sightseeing tours include unique
ecology, rare botany and fascinating geothermal features such as
steaming volcanic crater lakes.
A protected scenic reserve and wildlife refuge, Waimangu Volcanic Valley
geothermal park encompasses beautiful Lake Rotomahana and is set in
pristine New Zealand bush. Waimangu Volcanic Valley is just 20 minutes
South of Rotorua and 40 minutes North of Taupo.
Choose from a range of self-guided eco tours and walks, from a 45 minute walk through this geothermal
park to an extended 4 hours through the amazing Valley.
with Gordon Randle: Come trout fishing with Gordon 364 days a year from
dawn to dusk at a time to suit you (on charters).
Flyfishing, trolling and harling
are our specialty. Remember nothing is too much trouble to Gordon and Marianne; they are committed to ensure that you enjoy your
stay and come again.
The Kanga says, "my hotel cooked my fish for dinner; maybe your hotel
will do the same for you!"
Whakarewarewa, The Thermal Village Tour:
Set amidst a landscape of erupting geothermal activity, hot thermal springs
and hot bubbling mud pools is the Living Maori village of Whakarewarewa
situated in Rotorua, the heart of the North Island. Discover the unique
lifestyle and traditions. See the wonders of Mother Nature and learn how the
people of Whakarewarewa have come to live in harmony within this unique
The people live surrounded by bubbling mud pools and steaming mineral
springs. These pools and springs are used in every day life: hangi meals are
cooked in natural steam vents and corn on the cob is cooked in a crystal
clear boiling spring. The thermal baths are used by the resident's morning
and night, a great way to mix and mingle!
Every boiling mud pool, mineral pool, geyser or steam vent is named after an
ancestor, event or incident and are therefore part of the history of the
tribe. With understanding and respect for the land, this community has been
able to live in close proximity and harmony with the natural creations of
Craters of the Moon; clouds of swirling steam.
Close to Taupo and accessible off SH1,
Craters of the Moon ('karapiti') is an active geothermal
field. The terrain is filled with exposed steam vents and
is constantly shifting, collapsing and reforming, giving an
uninhabited appearance. Thermal mud pools bubble away and
plants not normally native to our area thrive in this hot
and partly noxious environment.
Boardwalks and pathways have been created to lead spectators
safely through the area, making sure the fumes and hot
temperatures around the steam vents are no danger to the
tourists in this well-visited spot.
The Craters of the Moon started to appear from 1950 as a
result of utilizing the underground thermal energy in the
Wairakei Valley. This area used to contain light geothermal
activity until the construction of Wairakei Geothermal Power
Station, approximately 2000 metres north of the field. The
power station lowered underground water levels and the
fumaroles and mud pools became more active. There was less
water to cool the magma and the ground cavity which was
previously full of water is now full of high pressure
Craters of the Moon is a place you must visit, with its
desolate moonscape and clouds of swirling steam. It is a
formidable volcanic example of the inner earth’s fiery
inferno bursting forth!
What causes the Huka Falls?
The Mighty Huka Falls; the 1st Wonder of Taupo
This thundering waterfall is one of the most visited and
photographed attractions in New Zealand, and for good
reason. The volume of pure water flowing through the rock
face of the mighty Waikato River often approaches 220,000
litres per second; this is enough water to fill two Olympic
sized swimming pools, per second! The impressive final
stage of the falls is an 11 metre drop. From the viewing
platforms you can see many angles of the falls and even a
jet boat taking tourists within a few metres of the bottom.
The name Huka is the Maori word for 'foam', which is
appropriate as the falling water and rapids resembles foam.
On a sunny day, the water is an amazing blue and is crystal
The Waikato River, normally up to 100 metres wide,
abruptly narrows to just 15 metres as it crosses a hard
volcanic ledge. This, of course, causes a huge volume of
water to collide, forming a spectacular visual feast of
powerful falls and rapids. There are many fabulous walks
and mountain bike trails just steps from the falls and
alongside the Waikato River. Bring a picnic and spend the
Vacation Australia's Kangaroo Kelly will include any tour
of your choice in your custom planned itinerary!
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A thermal wonderland - A
bay of plenty...
Fizzy lakes, boiling pools, steamy caverns - welcome to the thermal wonderland. The Bay of
Plenty, as James Cook called it, lives up to the promise of its name. The internationally
famous city of Rotorua is perhaps the oldests and best known resort in the country.
Generations of visitors have enjoyed the healing waters of its thermal spa and marvelled
at its thermal wonders.
Today's visitors still find there is nothing more relaxing in the world after a hard day's
sightseeing than a dip in a thermal pool. While many motels/hotels have their own pools,
at the renowned public Polynesian Pools you can choose from a range of temperatures and
mineral compositions. Here nature's antics can be fascinating, weird and sometimes scary.
Every now and again you catch a whiff of pungent brimstone escaping from the subterranean
fires not too far under your feet, and don't be surprised to spot steam escaping from a
stormwater drain or wafting from a crack in the ground or sidewalk - it's a reminder that
the earth's crust is but a thin veneer around here.
A must is the Whakarewarewa Thermal
Reserve within the city boundaries, location of the star attraction - the famous Pohutu
The Waimangu Valley Round Trip, which has been operating for 90 years, must qualify as New
Zealand's premier sightseeing tour. On this trip you learn about the earth-shattering
Tarawera eruption and explore the surrounding area, including the excavated Maori village
at Te Wairoa and the steamy Waimangu Valley with its boiling lake and hissing fumaroles.
Sparkling or flat water?
It is just over a hundred years since the last major volcanic eruption in the Rotorua
region. In 1886 Mount Tarawera literally blew its top, changing the surrounding landscape
forever, and destroying the world~famous Pink & White Terraces. Today, you can view
the massive crater from the air or by 4wd vehicle. Other areas include violent Tikiteri on
the eastern side of Lake Rotorua; weird Waiotapu with its steamy caverns and colorful,
fizzy Champagne Lake; and Orakei-Korako, to the south, with its boiling pools and silica
terraces, accessible by boat across Lake Ohakuri.
Then there's the contrast of the area's dozen or so tranquil lakes, where you can go
boating, swim, sunbathe or just soak up the peacefulness of the idyllic surroundings.
Rarely are so many lakes so different from each other, found in such close proximity to
each other. If you're an angler, you really should try your hand here, with with a little
luck you should enjoying juicy trout for dinner. Local guides can provide boats, tackle
and all the advice you need.
A cultural journey
A longtime center of the Maori, who took advantage of the hot springs for cooking and
bathing, Rotorua is still the best place to see aspects of their culture, including
concerts displaying dancing and singing, replicas of traditional buildings and fortified
villages, and Maori arts and crafts.
Another traditional way of cooking was by the hangi - a pit filled with heated stones on
which the food was placed, then covered over and steamed. Many of the larger hotels and
some marae (Maori tribal meeting places) recapture some of this tradition by providing
hangi feasts and concerts of traditional music and dancing.
Adjacent to the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, at the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, you
may see highly-skilled Maori carvers at their traditional crafts. Here, you can be sure of
buying high-quality genuine artifacts to take back home.
Bubbling with activities
The grand Tudor-style bath house near the lake, adjacent to downtown, had its heyday early
this century when thermal spas were fashionable. In the end it fell victim to the
corrosive forces of the waters and changing fashions, and now serves as a magnificent
local museum, with some fine Maori carving, and art gallery. In the attractive gardens
surrounding the bath house are the exotic orchid gardens.
Rarely will you find such a concentration of attractions and activities as in this resort.
Some of these include scenic flights, luge riding, tandem parachuting, river rafting,
jetboating, fishing, 4WD volcanic safaris, horse riding, bush walks, farm shows,
hovershuttles, etc. To get your suggested itinerary including activities and attractions,
contact Vacation Australia.
How to get there: from Auckland, Rotorua is three hours drive direct from Auckland, or 45
minutes by plane. Both Mount Cook Airlines and New Zealand fly to Rotorua and coach
services provide land transport. Many international chains are located in Rotorua, and
there are also many excellent lodges, motels, guest houses, and hostels, as well as
CENTRAL NORTH ISLAND - Waikato
Lying immediately south of Auckland region, the Waikato area is one of the most productive
pastoral farming areas of the world. About 78 miles/126 kms south of Auckland lies
Hamilton, a city of 149,000 and the main center for the Waikato region. One of the most
imposing buildings in Hamilton is the Waikato Museum, which features an impressive
collection of Maori artifacts, including a 20 metre war canoe.
The Mississippi of the Maori
A dominant natural feature of this region is the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest (264
miles/ 425 km). It was once an important waterway for Maori canoes and colonial
steamboats. Today, some of this history is recaptured at the annual Maori canoe regatta
held at Ngaruawahia (Na-rua-wa-hia) each March, and by cruising the park-bordered waterway
from Hamilton aboard the M.V. Waipa Delta, a replica of a 110 year-old paddle steamer.
With a wide range of accommodation to suit every pocket, Hamilton is a good base for
exploring the small, prosperous towns of the region: Cambridge with its large English
trees and craft center; Te Awamutu, renowned for its rose gardens and historic St. John's
Anglican Church; Otorohanga, whose zoo boasts the largest walk-through aviary in the
Southern Hemisphere, as well as a special kiwi-bird display.
See the gleaming WAITOMO
Less than 50 miles/80 kms to the south of Hamilton, under rolling farmlands, are the
Waitomo Caves with their water-sculpted, lime-stone grottoes. Here you can go cave tubing
or slip silently by on a water-borne barge to view the miriad Plow-worms overhead.
THE BAY OF PLENTY - Tauranga
This region, south of the Coromandel Peninsula and northeast of Rotorua, is aptly named.
It seems to have it all: benign climate, some of the country's most popular beaches, and
an abundance of orchards, especially citrus and kiwifruit; the world's first kiwifruit
orchards were developed in the region. The main center, Tauranga, has a large selection of
vacation accommodation, both in the city and across the harbor at the beach resort of
If you can drag yourself away from the Mt. Maunganui surf, the Tauranga Historic Village,
with many restored 19th~century buildings where crafts people practice ancient skills,
provide an interesting insight into how the early European settlers lived.
Further east around the bay, near Whakatane, are more stunning beaches. Out on the horizon
you may spot White Island, an active volcano usually identified by its trailing plume of
steam. For those really into volcanology, helicopter flights out to the island are
available from near Whakatane.
TAUPO - Champagne Lake, steaming cliffs
An hour's drive south from Rotorua brings you to Taupo, on the northern shore of Lake
Taupo. However, it will probably take you longer than an hour to get there, as there are
so many sights to see on the way. You might drive into Waiotapu Thermal Reserve to see its
moon-like landscape, fizzy Champagne Lake and silica terraces, or to Waimangu with its
steaming cliffs and boiling cauldron; or detour to Orakei Korako thermal area.
You will know you are near Wairakei by the clouds of steam billowing above the pines; and
you have arrived when suddenly a maze of surrealistic, large silver colored pipes looms
into view on each side of the road. These carry natural steam from roaring geothermal
bores to an electricity generating station. A short distance down the road is one of New
Zealand's premier golf courses and tourist hotels. And at the nearby Wairakei Park the
scenic attractions include the Craters of the Moon thermal area, the Huka Falls where the
full force of the mighty Waikato River gushes and roars through a narrow crevice, and the
spectacular Aratiatia Rapids, also on the Waikato River. For a different perspective of
the Huka Falls you can take an exhilarating jetboat ride on the river.
Taupo and Tongariro
Taupo is internationally renowned for its rainbow trout fishing, and there are lots of
guides and boats available; but most people just enjoy cruising on New Zealand's largest
lake (240 square miles), participating in the many water activities, or simply relaxing in
one of the North Island's beauty spots.
Turangi, at the southern end of the lake, is another spot famous for trout fishing, and
about 2 miles/3 km south, along Highway 1, is a trout hatchery which anglers will find
fascinating. It is also a base for white-water rafting on the Tongariro River.
The Tongariro National Park is dominated by the volcanic peaks of Tongariro, Ngaurulroe,
and Ruapelm. The highest peak in the North Island, Ruapelur (9,177 ft/2,797 m) has a snowy
summit even in summer. It is the site of the North Island's premier ski fields at
Whakapapa and Turoa. In summer there's an extensive network of tracks and huts throughout
the park to be explored, and many shorter family walks, nature trails and historical Maori
Budget Rental Car
Coach and air services operate from Auckland or you can rent a
mini-motorhome, 4wd or rental car.
Regal Palms Rotorua 5 star
Duxton Okawa Bay Rotorua
Waimangu Valley Day Tour
We use & recommend local experienced
Lake Taupo Trout Fishing
Kiwi tour operators for all add-on tours that we can include in your
golf & leisure itinerary
Vacation NZ provides custom planned golf & leisure vacations
Vacation Australia's "Kangaroo Kelly" has comprehensively travelled
both Islands in NZ. He not only knows the
popular tourist regions but also knows the favourite places of the crafty
Enquiries & Quotation for your custom planned, competitively priced itinerary
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