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Raving about Rotorua

Our tour of New Zealand’s North Island culminated in a couple of nights in Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty region.

Our arrival in the geo-thermal mecca coincided with my thirty-sixth birthday, so we had no option but to find somewhere to lunch. We eventually decided on lunch in the highest spot available - the Food Market Kitchen at Skyline Rotorua. The price of our lunch included the gondola ride to the top that thrilled the kids, as they set about spotting goats and earth works for their newly opened and impressive looking mountain bike course.

The service in the restaurant was lovely, and the drinks well priced. Lunch was a smorgasbord offering of everything from a delicious Asian mussel salad and New Zealand lamb to a dessert bar that was of course the first thing that the girls (and their sweet-toothed mother) noticed.
We could descend the mountain without my husband giving the Big Sister a ride on the famous Rotorua luge. She smiled the whole way down the luge and was still beaming when they returned on the chairlift. Skyline Rotorua have their own live webcam, so be sure to check out the view for yourself.

Rotorua is famous for it’s beautiful lakes and geothermal activity - a great way to appreciate both at the same time is a visit to the Polynesian Spa. The Spa, on the shore of Lake Rotorua offers twenty-six mineral pools, each at different temperatures. Two natural mineral springs feed the pools and rumour has it, they have healing properties. Our skin certainly felt much softer for the soak.
If you’ve worked up a hunger from all that floating about the Fat Dog Cafe do the very best burgers in town. My Dogs Bollox Burger was so big I almost couldn’t finish it. Almost!



Rotorua is a wonderful family friendly town that warrants a visit if you’re holidaying in the North Island. If you’re sensitive to sulphur smells, you may wish to investigate accommodation a little out of town. We stayed at the beautiful Waikuta Lakeside Lodge with family and the location was perfect. The panoramic view of Lake Rotorua was superb and the house was well appointed with everything we could have possibly needed (even games and children’s DVDs for a rainy day!). The kids loved watching the black swans feeding at our doorstep and I loved the hot tub on the deck!


New Zealand has so much to offer families on holiday. We wish we’d had more time to explore. Perhaps we’ll just have to return!

On her blog, Cooker and a Looker, Amanda Smyth serves up great tucker with a side of farm life. When she's not writing, she's spelling words out loud for her eldest daughter, distracting her youngest from unpacking the dishwasher and helping her husband on the farm all while dreaming of their next escape.

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