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Kapiti News - 2021-07-21

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GEOTHERMAL DREAMSCAPE

Funeral Directory

FEW NEW ZEALAND DESTINATIONS offer such a therapeutic, embracing antidote to winter’s bracing chill quite like the geothermal dreamscape of Rotorua. The bubbling mud, hissing geysers and steaming hot springs was a most cathartic, multi-sensory change of scenery to warm the coldest of cockles cockles. One of the newest offerings is Geyser by Night — Te Puia Light Trails. Spanning 70 hectares in Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, Te Puia Thermal Reserve is a mainstay of the tourism industry, studded with mud pools, hot springs, silica formations and Po¯ hutu, the largest erupting geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. Artfully illuminated for the night-time tour, it’s spell-binding sense of splendour is seriously next-level. It’s the wondrous climax to the night tour which is charismatically led by a couple of convivial Te Arawa guides, who led my group and I on a leisurely 90-minute nocturnal stroll through the thermal valley, intimately sharing historic anecdotes, tribal mythology and showcasing the valley’s remarkable features. Craving more geothermal warmth, I headed to Hell’s Gate, just east of the city. Not only is this considered Rotorua’s most active geothermal reserve, but it’s proudly home to New Zealand’s only outdoor mud spa. For starters, I enjoyed this thermal wonderland with a guided tour around its 20ha of erupting waters, coloured pools, hot water lakes, bubbling mud, steaming cliffs, sulphur crystals and land coral. Its sacred name is Tikitere and is considered New Zealand’s pioneering geothermal spa destination, welcoming visitors since 1867. It’s a tantalising landscape as is the bush walk up to gorgeous Kakahi Falls, the largest hot waterfalls in the Southern Hemisphere, where Ma¯ori warriors once bathed themselves in the sulphuric water to remove blood and cleanse their battle wounds. Medicine Lake has also been used for up to 700 years by Ma¯ori for the treatment of many different aches and skin conditions. The lake was the inspiration for the captivating mud bath complex that operates today and is an irresistibly revitalising experience. Slathering myself liberally in warm runny mud, which dries at breath-taking speed, it’s a winning detox for the skin, sucking out impurities, exfoliating the body and relaxing sore muscles and joints. After a hot cleansing shower, I was on a very happy high, before surrendering to the sweet embrace of the hot water lagoon pool for more soothing geothermal marination. It’s a ravishing encounter. In a city endowed with dining temptations aplenty, here’s a tried-and-true belly-pleaser to reserve some stomach room for. In the heart of Eat Street, Atticus Finch is a Mediterranean Rim alfresco restaurant with a To Kill a Mockingbird twist. I love how the outdoor courtyard is geothermally heated — how very Rotorua. The dishes are designed to be shared and the winter menu is a triumph. The fennel salt-crusted pork belly comes with parsnip puree, roasted pear, carrot and fennel salad. You also can’t go wrong with the spiced Sri Lankan fish patties with winter slaw, coconut chutney and tomato chilli sambal. If you’re heading out to the Redwoods and Whakarewarewa Forest, Eastwood is a huge crowd-pleaser, fawned over for its wood-fired pizzas, nibbles and platters for sharing. Housed within the striking Scion Research Centre, Eastwood made for a fabulous lunch stop for fungi pizza. In the heart of the city, Barrel & Co. Bar and Grill is a glamourous new haunt in the Pullman Hotel, where the cuisine is anchored by hearty grill favourites and a farm-to-table philosophy. Overlooking Arawa St, the atmosphere is convivial, with an contemporary design and an open-concept kitchen. Headed up by celebrated local chef, Isabel Ronquillo, she creates a cosmopolitan brasserie menu that showcases the best of the region’s produce through creative grill dishes, seasonal sides and divine desserts. I plumped for the divine Waitoa Chicken Breast, with corn puree, charred leeks and onion Annatto oil. I stayed at the Pullman Rotorua, which only opened about 15 months, bringing fivestar frills and comforts to the city. The 130-room hotel has panoramic views across the city, effervescent bar, superbly equipped gym and that signature restaurant. It’s a Rotorua roost that pampers to sophisticated, indulgent tastes. I bagged a great rate on Booking.com. No matter what your budget or accommodation preferences may be, stake out great-value stays with complete flexibility and convenience, at www. booking.com Public Forum Strategy and Operations Committee Meeting Waikanae Community Board Meeting

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