We recently spent a few days with Bev and Dennis at their lake house in Tarawera and we were thoroughly spoilt and so very well looked after. From beautiful meals together, great company, stunning views to a lovely boat ride on the lake… unbelievable long hot summer days with seemingly unending time to enjoy each day.
Location: Lake Tarawera, Bay of Plenty
Getting to Lake Tarawera is not difficult, it’s just a 3 hour drive from Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau. State Highway 1 makes for an easy trip to Rotorua then continue on to the Whakatāne road and take a right at the intersection of Tarawera Road and Te Ngae Rd. Carry on past the Buried Village.
The crystal clear quality of the water means that swimming is simply beautiful. The water is fresh and invigorating, not at all cold at this time of year. It just feels fresh. However, if you feel the need to bathe in a natural hot mineral pool you can take a boat to Hot Water Beach.
Contact Totally Tarawera to book their water taxi services from and to The Landing.
The mineral pools found here are a natural feature and as you submerge you can feel the old, tired and achy joints relax and the pain melts away. A deep breath and you could be floating in an esoteric abyss.
We always love to walk outdoors and this is a beautiful place to walk while enjoying the stunning views.
The 16km Tarawera Trail travels around the lake’s edge from the Landing to Hot Water Beach in Te Rātā Bay. A challenging day walk, this is best done in one direction, with a water taxi service to return. This must be booked in advance with Totally Tarawera.
On the north side of the lake, a short walking track takes you to the spectacular Tarawera Falls, accessed from Kawerau by private road. Permits are required and can be purchased at the Kawerau i-SITE.
The Redwoods – Whakarewarewa Forest– walk amongst the hush of the giant redwood trees. We often came here when the kids were little and would spend the whole day walking and picnicking.
Redwoods Tree Walk– treetops walk along suspended bridges and platforms… looks amazing so def for our next visit.
Blue Lake Walk– we have previously completed this walk with the kids when they were younger and in hindsight it was probably tough for our little one so we ended up carrying him most of the way… fortunately the walk for us adults was easy and relatively flat.
Fishing and Water Sports
Fishing NZ talks about top-quality fishing for trophy size rainbow trout in a pristine environment.
During my childhood I came to this region with my parents on holiday several times. We always booked a basic kiwi bach, usually at Lake Rotomā, and Dad would go fishing and catch beautiful rainbow trout for our dinner every night. This place holds wonderful memories.
Boat charters for fishing are available.
Basker loves fishing so this is on the list for our next visit when we have more time…
In the late 1800s visitors would travel through Tarawera on their way to visit the Pink and White Terraces on the neighbouring Lake Rotomahana. Of course, the eruption of Mount Tarawera destroyed the terraces however the Buried Village of Te Wairoa is a great place to visit to get a real sense of this area’s history.
Archaeological excavations have uncovered some remains of village life and the Museum here houses a great collection of recovered items and also interesting depictions of real life stories taken from original writings and letters. The extensive displays bring everything to life and you can’t help but feel moved by the sensitive recounting of the disaster.
It is well worth a visit.
Following on from the here, before you leave the Buried Village, you can take the Waterfall Trail to the stunning Wairere Falls.
It was a fantastic weekend and the perfect place to escape from the city.
Ngā mihi nui, Janet