Lakes and Hobbit country
10.01.2013 - 10.01.2013 30 °C
Some sort of camp fire alarm went off at the crack of dawn and left Mel awake from then on! The rest of us slept on until a tractor with a lawn mower started doing laps up and down the field.
Beautiful morning though with no wind, which made for a change! So we had breakfast outside Big Blue before the kids went scampering off to play on the swings and hammocks.
Mel packed up and I brought down the tent and washed up.
This was a pretty good campsite and I certainly think that 3 out of the 4 of us enjoyed it. The jury remains out on the 4th as I could hear muttering in the background!!
Lake Taupo looked inviting, so we drove out of the site and up the road for a quick dip off one of the jetty's.
Very refreshing for me Aimee and Ollie. Mel stayed in the van desperate to get to a place called 'hot water beach' on the shores of lake Taupo.
I could see what was going through her mind and knew it would end in disappointment.
So we pulled up to the beach with a few people swimming in the lake, Mel flew out of the van and down to the shores expecting jacuzzi style temperatures!! The shock and sudden gasp as she stepped in was amusing for all to see!
The waters are only slightly warmer than those me and kids had been used to on mount cook, so Mel's planned swim was immediately off the cards.
This part of the beach is supposed to be warmed by thermal springs from underground. Unfortunately it only warms this part by a fraction of a degree!!
That said if you stood in the water with your feet buried in the sand you could feel the warmth from the earth below.
After a brief dip for me and the kids, we jumped back in the van and drove to the centre of Taupo for a spot of lunch. Instead of a cafe or restaurant we found a great little park for the kids to play in while Mel grabbed some sandwiches.
Next stop was a place called Huka falls, just on the outskirts of Taupo. This had a superb waterfall and rapids, with the wind albeit gone and clear blue sky's, it was really hot, and all we wanted to do was jump in the river. Unfortunately with all the fences and fast moving water we weren't allowed.
We hung around here for a while and grabbed a few photo's and watched one of the jet boats go tearing up the river with screaming passengers!!
So to the bit Mel had been looking forward to all trip, Treetops. She'd had this booked for ages, it's an exclusive country retreat lodge just outside Rotorua in a placed called Horohoro.
This was a place for all sorts of country sports, and from i could tell it all seemed to involve killing things, and if you weren't killing things then you were only photographing them before someone else shot them!
Anyway as we got closer we realised this place really was in the middle of nowhere. We seemed to head down kilometre after kilometre of dirt track through Hobbit country.
When we reached the entrance there was a huge gate with two massive metal sculptured stags either side. We felt a little out of place in Big Blue as it was more Land Rover country. Anyway a friendly voice let us in and told us to wait at the gate.
I was close on the Land Rover front, someone turned up in an Range Rover and showed us to our accommodation. This was a 3 bedroom wooden lodge set in the forest. I'm sure some little guy called Baggin's used to live here!
It was a beautiful spot, the lodge was fantastic although a little dated in the kitchen. It was bright yellow and had 3 ducks flying up the wall, very 1970's.
We settled in and unpacked. There was loads to see an do here on the estate, with plenty of wild life and walks, however we were all roasting hot so first stop was one of the fresh water lakes for a swim to cool off.
Heading there we drove past a field of stags with huge antlers just staring at us. I've never been so close to this sort of deer before. There were loads of pheasant scooting around as well.
The lake was gorgeous to jump in a cool off with trout leaping around in the background. There were a couple of kayak's to paddle around in as well, so needless to see we buffooned around on these for ages.
Aimee decided she wanted to have a go by herself. So we set her the task of canoing around the tiny island in the lake.
After much frustrated screaming and shouting and having covered every square inch of the lake, turning circles, she made it round and back.
Dinner was booked at the main lodge for 8pm with canape's and cocktails served from 7pm.
So after getting ready we called for a lift up there in the Range Rover as it was 1.5km away.
The main lodge is stunning, set high up the forest with a waterfall at the entrance with loads of fish for the kids to chase. The main hall is huge with high wooden beams and decorated in a Maori style with a massive open fire at one end. Stuff animals from previous hunting trips adorned the walls everywhere. It was like an old Scottish hunting lodge!
So the cocktails were served and we stepped out onto the lawns to enjoy the view with the kids jumping around on the stepping stones over the stream.
The building had a proper old library and snooker room with a few American having a go, saying they'd never seen a pool table so large!
Actually we noticed that there we several Americans staying here, no doubt drawn in by the hunting on offer.
Anyway a degustation meal was served and I was amazed the kids actually ate it.
After dinner the staff treated all of us to a walk into the forest to see the resident glow worms. It was pitch black as we headed down the path towards the waterfall, only guided by Christian's torch light.
At the waterfall with the torch off we were greeted to a wall of dotted lights in front of us. Wow!! was all the kids could say.
The more cynical side of me reckoned they'd just put fairy lights up and switched them on at night. None the less it was impressive to see.
Another late night in getting Aimee and Ollie into bed, tomorrow was going to be a busy day, with walks, horse riding and fly fishing all planned.