Last week I had the opportunity to fly from Sydney to Rotorua (direct) on Air NZ. Great inflight service with a spectacular flight path over Hamilton (Waikato) to approach Rotorua from the east of the forests of Bay of Plenty with a beautiful Lake Rotorua on your right with Rotorua directly in front. A smooth landing followed by quick clearance through Customs.
Rotorua is truly the gateway to Maori culture, mud pools and the fabulous Bay of Plenty and Taupo area less than an hour away in the south & an hour east to the Tauranga/Mt Maunganui beach areas. In between is Te Puke, the Kiwi Fruit centre of NZ (must confess I was born in the area).
While in Tauranga we had a cruise ship arrive and I took my usual odessey of circling Mt Maunganui as part of a home ritual. The area throughout is strikingly beautiful; the beaches, green undulating farmland (Kiwi fruit, mixed dairy & sheep farms), the magnificant Lake Rotorua (& contributory lakes) and Lake Taupo (the head of the Waikato River) along with the majestic Mount Ruapehu & Tongariro. The scenery is certainly breathtaking.
However, from a conferencing perspective the Kiwis like their outdoor activities and there is something for everyone; fishing for trout, jetboating, bungy jumping, white water rafting, parasailing, tandem jumps, mud pools, perhaps a tat… and of course enjoying the company of the locals at the local or take in a game of rugby (not the soft stuff on TV) but one played with passion!
All within 3hrs 15mins from Sydney! Mike Schrafft