27 January 2012

Summer by the Lakes

We are now at the stage of family life where holidays can actually be... enjoyable. Relaxing. Fun.
Gone are the holidays which revolve around getting the kids to sleep in a strange bed or changing pooey nappies by the roadside.

These days when we hit the road in our people-mover we are crammed to the hilt with kayaks and scooters and bikes, not portacots and highchairs.

We are out on the other side, baby! The promised land of kids who are old enough to take themselves to the loo. Old enough to stay out til the sun goes down, sit up and watch a movie.
Holidays are a whole new adventure in fun now that we have no babies. Or toddlers. And everyone is potty trained.

So when we got the last-minute chance for five nights away together, we said "Kids! pack your bags!" and away we went. How awesome is it when your kids can pack their own bags {and actually pick the right stuff?}

A mere three hours away from Auckland is Rotovegas. Oops, I mean Rotorua.
Think geysers and mud pools and tourists. The luge. The agrodome.
We ignored all that and hit the Lakes {with our super-duper kayak of course}.

We stayed at this place: Marama Resort, on Lake Rotorua. Not this actual picturesque cottage, but one close by on the same property. Just over from where we stayed five years ago, when we spent half our time stressing about keeping our kids away from the lake/canal/stream/estuary. Fun times.

Now they spend half their time in the water, our little fishes. Making friends and swimming to their hearts content. Er yeah, we did make them wear buoyancy vests. Just so we could relax and actually read the book by the pool/river/lake.

So many lakes to choose from down that way. Each one more beautiful than the last.

{Lake Okareka, Rotorua}

We thought this one was pretty good. It's off the beaten track, not many tourists. Good for kayaking...

{Miss Fab got the hang of paddling}

{Dash enjoyed jumping off the diving platform; every lake needs one}

The kids befriended the locals. Sort of.

{Lake Rotorua}

It was beautiful, to be sure, but windy and cold. Where are you, Summer?

{Lake Tarawera, Rotorua}

Oh there you are! Here on Lake Tarawera. See that mountain in the distance?
A volcano. The infamous Mt Tarawera, which erupted in 1886, destroying the world-famous Pink and White Terraces, a natural wonder of the World. 

She's all quiet now, of course. Kind of spooky though.

Beautiful, serene, quiet lake. Until the tourists arrived.

An extended family of Brazillians/Pakistanis/Iranians took up residence on the boat ramp, blocking all access, roaring up and down on their jetski, smoking cigarettes and laughing loudly at private jokes in Brazillian/Pakistani/Iranian.  

Kind of spoiled the serenity.

Lucky we got there early aye? And the weather was good.

{Mt Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngaruhoe, from Taupo at sunset}

The next day we went to Taupo.
The big Lake in the centre of the North Island; a lake the size of Singapore.
World famous for trout fishing and parasailing.

{Kinloch Beach, Lake Taupo}

There's a little-known beach 20km away from the main town. A place few tourists know about. Kinloch.

A beach I remember from my teenage days. Memorable for the worst sunburn of my life... and the best swimming ever. When the day dawned cloudless and perfect, I suggested we head to Kinloch.

It's still popular with teenagers. It has that all-important diving platform.
And water so clear that you can see the sand on the bottom when you're swimming.
Even when its deep.

We parked ourselves there for the day, under a shade tree.
We swam and relaxed, kayaked, read. The kids got icecream from the shop and played at the playground.
Swam some more. We watched the teenagers haul a couch out to the diving ramp. 
Mr G took Dash out fishing on the kayak. They had a great time; caught some driftwood, some water weed and lost their line. Came back with stories about the One That Got Away.
We got fish and chips for dinner and didn't leave until the sun went down.
A perfect day.

The day we left, the clouds had returned. Overnight a spot of rain.
This summer has been short on beautiful days. We've only had a few.
But a few perfect days was all we needed to create memories of  Summer by the lakes.

Beautiful Lake Spots, Rotorua & Taupo

Lake Okareka. Turn off Tarawera Rd onto Okareka Loop Rd, then left onto Millar Road. Keep going until you see a cool playground and reserve on your right, a beach and diving platform. Caution: Not a tourist spot. Tourists are recommended to attempt a Kiwi accent as best they can.

Lake Tarawera, Kotukutuku Bay. Drive past the Blue and Green lakes to the end of Tarawera Road. Stop at the Buried Village, for some poignant history or the Lookout for a great before heading down the hill to Kotukutuku Bay. {Note to Tourists: Please don't take over the boat ramp or smoke cigarettes and spoil our beautiful clean fresh air}

Kinloch, Lake Taupo. Turn off State Highway 1 onto Poihipi Road, follow it until you turn left into Whangamata Road, and after a while, left again into Kinloch Rd. Kinloch is not signposted, so watch carefully for road signs. Enjoy the perfect swimming spot, complete with diving platform, playground, toilet block, convenience store and cafe... and the clearest water ever. Caution: Take plenty of sunscreen and go early to get the shade trees.

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Rebecca said...

Beautiful NZ! We stayed in Kinloch a few weeks ago!!!

Lyns said...


Unknown said...

aweome! i want to go there! when we are properly on 'the other side' so so so true!! love it

Gail said...

A perfect holiday - smoking tourists and all!

Leonie said...

(I want that polka dot beach umbrella!!! seriously!)

Cat said...

Looks like an absolute fab break away
WELL DONE and YEAH on the toilet training *xxx*
And YES I hear you re relaxing holidays when the littlies get to a certain age, I certainly feel we hit that age this year

Rachel Kate said...

FUNNy! we holidayed at Okareka two weeks ago :) such a beautiful spot xo

Meghan Maloney Photography said...

I meant to comment on your lovely holiday that for me epitomises the Kiwi summer (apart from the noisy nasty people) and I clean forgot to come back until now. We had a holiday at Kinloch about five years ago and did some mountain biking around Taupo - it were lush!

Sarah said...

Gorgeous pics and sounds so much fun (I'm envying the thought of one day travelling with no child requiring a nappy!).

Anonymous said...

Those are pretty pics you took and you guys seem to have had a lot of fun. There definitely is nothing quite like spending a spectacular vacation with family.


daiving said...

Summer holidays with children are always very fun, exciting, but not always relaxing to me :)

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