Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Rotorua, A Trip on Christmas

Rotorua is well known for its tourism activity. If you come to Rotorua, you shouldn't be bored as there're many attractions and places you can visit. Together with two friends, I went to visit Rotorua on the day leaving Te Puke on Christmas and we spent a few days there. Same as Te Puke, Rotorua is sited in the Bay of Plenty region too.

There’re a number of remarkable buildings sited in the heart of Rotorua, Rotorua I-Site Visitor Centre, Old Post Office and The Bath House (Rotorua Museum of Art and History) to name a few. They’re some of the great sites for photography.

I-Site Information Centre

Old Post Offcice
Museum of Art & History

Situated at Queens Drive, the Museum of Art and History was built with its astonishing garden landscape, the Government Gardens. The urban park is closed to the lakeshore and it offers thousands of flowers and plants for visitors to enjoy.

The city is surrounded with many lakes that formed the Lakes of Rotorua. Other than sightseeing the historic buildings and gardens, we visited the lakefront too on one evening. It’s definitely a destination for an eco-walk. Try to keep quiet for the time being and you’ll be astounded by the atmosphere and the sounds created by the nature.

Rotorua is distinctive with its geothermal nature, such as the hot thermal springs and mud pools. So it's a place worth your attention while you're here. You could visit free at the informal Kuirau Park which is next to the city centre. The park enables you to see the bubbling geothermal pools, steaming lakes and some garden areas. You’ll  find the ‘rotten eggs’ odour around the area due to the release of hydrogen sulphide.

A steaming lake

Most of the active geothermal areas were fenced for visitors safety 

Pix-Star 10.4 Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame FotoConnect XD with Email, Online Providers, iPhone & Android app, DLNA and Motion Sensor (Black)

A small bubbling geothermal pool

The water of the pool is bubbling and extremely hot 

A small mud pool

A mud pool was bubbling & steaming 

Kuirau Park

Location: Ranolf Street, Rotorua 3201.

We had witnessed a great influence of Maori culture in the Ohinemutu Village. The Maori village was an important hub in the past but now it becomes one of the suburbs of Rotorua city.

Panorama at the village with lake and mountain background 

The cementary area in the village

The peaceful cementary area

From the village, the Maori arts can be viewed through the details of the architecture and the most prominent building is the Maori Meeting House.

Maori Meeting House

The interior of meeting house was designed with intricate carving and shiny paua shells. Today, the building is still important to the local Maori community.


Besides the public settings, we also paid a visit to some charged tours such as the Agrodome, Rainbow Spring and Tamaki Maori Village. I’ll share them on my coming posts, so stay tune!

Friday, 30 January 2015

A Visit in Tirau and Otorohanga, Waikato

One of the trips we made from Opotiki was a day tour to Tirau followed by Otorohanga in Waikato region.
Located 50km from Hamilton and 80 km from Otorohanga, Tirau is a small township with population under a thousand residents. Surprisingly, most shops in the town were designed with cast-off corrugated iron. Perhaps the most remarkable symbolic buildings we had seen at there are the gigantic dog shaped I-site and the wool outlet with huge sheep design. The distinctive feature is an attraction of the town to invite visitors. By the way, fans of arts and creativity shouldn’t miss a look in Tirau.

Information centre created with corrugated iron in dog shape

Another giant sheep building made with corrugated iron

The Honey Shop also used the waste corrugated material to make a big bee sign

Corrugated 'good shepherd' sculpture

We drove about an hour from Tirau and we reached Otorohanga. It’s a fact that Otorohanga is known as the New Zealand's Kiwiana Town. Interestingly, the rural town was decorated with suspended kiwiana icons along the main street.

Furthermore, it’s notable for the Kiwi House as well as the Native Bird Park. We had a walk around the town including parks, shops and the district library.

A recreational Rotary Park
Statue of 2 sisters, Parehuia & Kahira, nearby the Kiwi House

Otorohanga district library
Happily, we tried the ‘chicken n chips’ in a takeaway shop and I bought some iconic souvenirs before we left the lovely town.

Friday, 26 December 2014

A Pleasing Day in Pukehina Beach and Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty

Since we’re located in Te Puke for a period of time, we also had chance to explore the nearby smaller towns in the region of Bay of Plenty. From Te Puke, we just spent 20 minutes scenic drive to arrive in Pukehina Beach. What we saw in the town were some residential houses, farms and a beach.

Pukehina Beach

The beach was white sandy with clear water and the surroundings were not as crowded as other popular beach sites. We enjoyed some ice-creams and ‘fish n chips’ at the beach meanwhile we welcomed the fresh breeze blowing towards us. It’s truly a stress-free moment we had. What’s more we could ask for?

After the trip, we also went to Ohope Beach on the same day. It’s another white sandy beach featuring 11km length unbroken with breathtaking sights. We had fun walked along the beach with bare foot; we found that the sands were incredible fine...

Both of us only agreed to leave in the late evening. What a lovely day at beaches!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Visiting Te Puke, Tauranga and Mount Maunganui

It wasn’t a busy period when I worked in Te Puke. As a result, I had times for sightseeing in the areas of Te Puke and the nearby coastal cities, Tauranga and Mount Maunganui.

Since horticulture is the main economic activity in Te Puke, the tourism in the town is still underdeveloped excluding the famous Kiwi 360. By road, it’ll take only 5 minutes to reach the site from Te Puke city. Kiwi 360 provides a place for nature lovers to appreciate the spectacular landscape. Together with Gavin, I visited the parks, orchards as well as the gift shop which offers a variety of beautiful jewelry, skin care and other products. A giant kiwifruit built at the park is an attraction and also a beautiful landmark of Te Puke. It’s so wonderful when we climbed up to the giant kiwi and viewed the surrounding areas from high.

The giant kiwi

Kiwicart touring the park

Kiwi 360

Location: 35 Young Road(beside State Highway 2), Te Puke.
Tel: (07) 573 6360
KiwiKart Tour Hours: 9am-4pm(Summer) & 10am-3pm(Winter)

Tauranga is a popular city situated 28 km and approximately 28 minute drive from Te Puke. The city features superb environmental surroundings for tourism and it also stands out for the cultural attractions. For culture and art enthusiasts, visit Tauranga Art Gallery is a must. Inside the 2-storey building, I had an opportunity to explore many eye-catching both historical and contemporary collections from the exhibitions. 

Railway along the main street in Tauranga CBD

Harbour view

Tauranga Railway Bridge at harbour

View of Tauranga Harbour Bridge over the ocean from far 

On one of the visits to Tauranga, Gavin suggested a meal at a fine dining restaurant, Mills Reef. It just took us 5 minutes on road from the heart of Tauranga. We visited the family owned winery which was established in 1989, of course we’re given the chance to taste the red wines in the tasting room. Next, we selected a well located table at outdoor to enjoy the meal as well as the panoramic environment. I’d say it was the most delightful lunch trip I had in Bay of Plenty.

Mills Reef Building

My plate of seafood lunch

The outdoor garden

Type of flowers grew in the garden

A sculpture displayed in the garden

Mills Reef Winery & Restaurant

Location: 143 Moffat Road Bethlehem, Tauranga 3110.
Tel: (07) 576 8800
Opening hours: 10.00 - 11.30am Brunch ( Sat & Sun)
10.30am – 3.00pm Lunch (Mon – Sun)
5.00 pm till late Dinner (Thu - Sat)
(Tasting Room opens 10-5pm 7 days)

Nestled on the north of Tauranga, Mt. Maunganui is a neigbouring town that’s also a major tourism attraction that interested both overseas and country’s tourists come to Bay of Plenty. These two cities are mainly connected by the Tauranga Harbour Bridge which was built on 1988. Mt Maunganui features a unique geography that offers the ocean beach and harbour beach at opposite sides of the city. However, views at the ocean beach are more attractive to me and there’re more people crowded at the side of the beach especially during summer.

Harbour beach

Ocean beach

The mountain

It’s so refreshing to climb up the mountain; get some fresh air and pay attention to the various floras along the trail. Stood on the peak, we amazed by the gorgeous sceneries showing the city between the beaches.

View taken in the middle of the mountain track

Koru, the iconic plant of New Zealand 

Fern leave

Scenery of the ocean beach and the city from the top

A view of Mt Maunganui city in betwwen the beaches