Adventure Packed "Rota Vegas' Getaway

Trent's twenty second birthday was fast approaching and I was stuck on present ideas. I racked my brain and the usual shoe and undie trick was just not going to cut it this year. He is the most supportive and caring partner, by my side at every event from new nail polish releases to woman's fashion, so knew I had to go above and beyond this year to show my appreciation. 

That is when a two day getaway came to mind, I wanted somewhere within driving distance as we couldn't take too much time off work and I loved the idea of just jumping in the car and getting one the road. I settled on Rotorua as it is cram packed with every fun activity under the sun and this is right up our alley.

I used the easiest booking service booking.com, I love it because it's so simple to navigate and it gives each place a rating based on and lots of customer reviews, so you really know what you are in for plus you don't pay a booking fee. It also guarantees the best prices for any type of property – from small independents to five-star luxury, with over 5000 properties New Zealand wide. Currently they are running a 'Refer a friend' promotion where if you click on this link to booking.com you will receive $40 off your booking.

I settled on a boutique style hotel right on the lake front for a very romantic and secluded feel called Black Swan Lakefront Boutique Hotel. With a rating of 9.2/10 I was sure this property would not disappoint and I was correct, it blew my expectations out of the water. From a personal greeting, to handmade treats from the kitchen and exceptional facilities - it was truly breathtaking. 

There were such stunning touches in every corner of this hotel and it felt so warm and cosy. Trent was blown away by the views from our stunning home for our getaway. In the morning breakfast was served from 8am-10am and you got to pick anything you wished from the extensive menu, even one of everything if you so wished! Our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs as we ordered the pancakes, big breakfast as well as hot croissants to share. This certainly fueled us for the busy days we had planned.

Over our two days in Rotorua we packed in 13 epic activities in the Rotorua area. We jumped on the road at around 3pm on Sunday afternoon and arrived just after 6pm to check in. We quickly threw our bags into our room and headed off to our first activity which was the Redwood Treetop Walk. The rain held out for us and we managed to have such a lovely time climbing across huge bridges suspended in the air amongst the treetops, with large lanterns beautifully lighting our way. It was such a relaxed and peaceful activity and a really nice way to ease us into our trip.

The following morning, we rose bright and early to get to our first planned activity which was a horse trek and clay bird shooting at Adventure Playground. The horse trek took place up the magnificent Mt Ngongotaha, the trails cross rolling farmland and offer spectacular views overlooking Lake Rotorua, the city with some magnificent New Zealand native bush, bustling with birds and animals. Once the horse trek was completed we were driven in a 4x4 buggy to the custom clay bird shooting venue which was is nestled into beautiful native bush. We shot a selection of 12 gauge ‘under and over’, pump action or semi auto shotguns which was such a thrill! Trent was a pro getting g 5/5 over and over again (think his navy training finally coming in handy!) where I was averaging 2 or 3 out of 5. 

From here we went to OGO which is basically like becoming a human hamster in a giant ball that rolls down the hill, there were wet and dry options but wanting to make the most out of our experience we opted for the wet option where 40 litres of water was pumped into the ball before we got in. Because we did it over the winter months the water was warm and these was hot tubs at both the top and bottom to keep you warm which was such a cool touch. We chose to do two runs. First we picked the straight track where we each got an individual ball and got to race down the hill, not bragging or anything but I WON! Then we both jumped in one ball and did the zig-zag track which was hilarious, we were both slipping and sliding all over each other, the go pro footage was more limbs than face. We quickly got ourselves dry and got in the car to go to our next adventure spot which was Agroventures Adventure Playground where we did the swoop, jet boat and the freefall extreme! These were so fun and instantly got the adrenaline firing, my stomach was in my throat for the swoop especially.

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After this full on day we were so ready for some relaxation, we decided to the Polynesian Spas where we went for an hour soak followed by the Signature mud wrap. Rotorua’s thermal mud is packed full of minerals due to the volcanic nature of the region including sulphur, calcium, sodium and silicon, which release protective antioxidants for clean and refreshed skin. We walked out of here so relaxed and totally in our happy place! By this point we were starving and thoughT we would discover a local eatery called Terrace Kitchen, as soon as we walked through the door we were blown away by the stunning atmosphere and friendly staff. We started with a cocktail each and the soft bar buns with treacle glazed pork belly & chili peanut crumb as well as shredded lamb with toasted cashew dukkha served on bruschetta with mint cucumber yoghurt. For mains, we shared both the Waikato beef sirloin steak smoked & slow-roasted with black olive tapenade, charred onions & light caramel jus and the folded pasta with grand opera cheese & cashew nut crumb, pumpkin puree, spinach leaves & onion petals, roquette sauce vert. Finally, for desert we shared the apple crumble praline with salted caramel mousse, toasted rose marshmallow & fluffy honey ice cream. Everything was perfection and we left so satisfied, I cannot recommend this beautiful spot more. Finally, it was time to head back to our hotel and get a good night sleep before another packed day of activities.

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Another early start and the first activity of the day we had planned was the Skyline Gondola and Luge, being a Tuesday we were lucky that there were no lines so we were straight up with no drama at all. Of course, with both Trent and I being super competitive we turn each luge ride into a race! Trent won 2 out of 3 but I will still claim that first win of course. From here we hit the road and our first stop was Off Road NZ, this was defin a highlight as I don't think Trent could wipe the smile off his face. He loves anything with wheels so this location ticked all the boxes. We started with a 4wd bush safari where we often had water up to the windscreen, this was super exhilarating. We followed this up with a monster 4x4 truck though the bush and finally got to put the pedal to the metal with the race line carting! 

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Finally, it was time to hit the road home, but we had one final stop HOBBITON! The home of the movie set for the Lord of the Ring series, where we took a two hour guided tour around the surreal movie set. I can honestly say I had very low expectations for this and I was pleasantly surprised, our tour guide was fantastic using lots of humour and was very knowledgeable. You totally felt immersed in this fantasy world and everything is kept to such a high standard it was wonderful to see. Finally, it was time to start our two hour journey home, with two days that felt like two weeks worth of adventure behind us we left with the most unreal feeling. Had we truly just experienced this in our own backyard? It was by far some of the best times we have ever experienced and it was only a short car ride from Auckland! Our one thought.... why had we not done this sooner! To book your own trip now with a $40 discount click here booking.com

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