Lake Okataina Scenic Reserve: Te Auheke and Ngahopua Tracks

Lake Okataina Scenic Reserve: Te Auheke and Ngahopua Tracks

Access Te Auheke track (also known as the Cascade Falls) starts by the Lake Okataina Outdoor Education Centre on Okataina Rd, which turns off from SH 30 in Ruato. The track starts behind the Outdoor Education Centre hut - walk along the left fence line until you see the wooden marker post. You can also access the shorter Rongomai track just a few metres away. I started the walk wearing my gloves, so it’s good to bring warm gear (just in case) even if the sun is shining.

The track itself is relatively flat, and wide throughout. The only time it narrowed was closer to the falls itself where I had to walk over some larger rocks. I thought about trying out my new hiking boots here, and there were some sections with overgrown roots and muddy patches, but as it was mostly flat terrain, my regular walking shoes did the job just fine.



Glow Worm SUP Tour With Rotorua Jetboard Tours

Glow Worm SUP Tour With Rotorua Jetboard Tours

Every month I try to challenge myself to try something new or to take me out of my comfort zone. April, being my birthday month, I decided to try stand up paddle boarding (SUP). What’s more exciting than SUP? A twilight glow worm tour on a beautiful lake of course! I managed to convince eight friends to give it a go too.

I met Nev from Rotorua Jetboard Tours a couple of months ago at the Rotorua Night Market. He and business partner, Matt, had just started and were keen to get the word out, especially to the locals. SUP was one of those activities I wanted to try over the Summer, but never quite happened. Unfortunately Matt wasn’t able to join us on the tour, maybe next time.



Okere Falls
Scenic Reserve:
Three Waterfalls
In One Day!

Okere Falls <br>Scenic Reserve: <br>Three Waterfalls <br>In One Day!

As I drove into the Okere Falls Park parking lot, I immediately felt a sense of deja vu. I couldn’t quite put my finger on that feeling until I was walking down Hinemoa’s Steps that I realised I came here a few years ago to do river sledging.

Okere Falls is a small town on SH 33 between Rotorua and Tauranga, along the Paengaroa Gorge. Google Maps told me that the SH 30 or SH 33 (from Rotorua) drive is about the same time, and being a beautiful day, I decided to take the more scenic lakes drive. If you’re coming from Rotorua, the turn off to Okere Falls is a left turn on Okere Falls Rd, just minutes down the road from the Okere Falls Store. It’s very well signposted, and I didn’t get lost once. That’s saying a lot!



Exploring Lake Tikitapu and Lake Rotokakahi

Exploring Lake Tikitapu and Lake Rotokakahi

Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake) are one of four smaller lakes between Lake Rotorua and Lake Tarawera. The other two are Lake Okareka and Lake Okataina. I have been to three of the four now (the other being Lake Okataina), though lakes Tikitapu and Rotokakahi are pretty special in my books. Access to Lake Okareka is on the same road as the blue and green lakes, so you can easily do these three in one day.



Exploring The Geothermal Walk At Hell's Gate

Exploring The Geothermal Walk At Hell's Gate

Walking through Rotorua’s Hell’s Gate is an interesting contrast of lush green nature versus the barren geothermal landscape of steam vents and bubbling mud baths. On a cloudy day the steam looks even more foreboding, and the heat that radiates is surprisingly intense in some craters.



Ziplining with Rotorua Canopy Tours

Ziplining with Rotorua Canopy Tours

We met at Rotorua Canopy Tours’ headquarters on Fairy Springs Road, where we were checked-in by super-friendly staff. There usual waiver and emergency checklist to be completed, but since I had booked and paid online, it was all pretty straight forward. Soon we were greeted by our guides who kitted us with jackets and harnesses. After a quick (and humour-filled) safety briefing, we hopped into the van and made our way to the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve, which took about 15 minutes.