If you’re keen to commune with nature and enjoy some family time away – but not too far – from the central city, you don’t have to go far in Rotorua to find a perfect picnic spot. There are fantastic little beaches and green spaces at all the lakes close to the city – under the trees at the village green at the lake end of Fenton Street, Holden’s Bay to the east of the city centre, on the way to the airport, or even better, Tikitapu (Blue Lake), Lake Okareka or Lake Tarawera. These three beautiful lakes are 10 to 15 minutes drive fromthe central city – head right up Tarawera Road at the big roundabout on Te Ngae Road and either take a left down to Okareka or continue onwards to Tikitapu and further out. There are amenities at the main beach areas at each of these popular lakes with plenty of space to run around, enjoy a swim before or after your picnic or just sit lakeside and enjoy the gorgeous views. There are walks to be had if you’re in the mood – check the Department of Conservation website for information about walks near your intended picnic destination. If its trees rather than water you’re after, turn right a short distance up Tarawera Road into Long Mile Road which will take you to the information centre area of the Redwoods part of Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa forest – home of the city’s world famous mountainbiking trail network as well as miles of walking and running tracks. The area around the information centre is ideal for picnics and there are unlimited options if you want to take a stroll or just explore the forest nearby. If you’re not keen to venture out of the central city, there are some great picnic options on the fringes of the CBD. There’s plenty of pleasant spots for a picnic around the Lake Rotorua lakefront area – where there is also a great children’s playground – and the nearby Government Gardens, where the Rotorua Museum, is located, along with a playground near the rose gardens. Also near the CBD is the geothermal Kuirau Park. This well manicured park is bounded by Ranolf Street, Lake Road and Pukuatua Street with vehicle access from both Ranolf and Pukuatua Streets. As well as pretty flower gardens, lush green areas and lovely trees you can get a close-up look at various active geothermal features. It’s important you stick to the pathways and don’t cross barriers around the geothermal activity, no matter how benign it may appear. Also in Kuirau Park are a children’s play area, a large garden area with plenty of lush trees to provide shade for your picnic, an ornamental lake and geothermally heated foot pools where you can soak tired feet.
Take care :
Wherever you go for your summer picnic and walk, remember : • If going for more than a short stroll, wear appropriate shoes – heels, flats or fancy boots are no good, wear sandshoes or tramping boots • Take a jacket or something warm –
just in case • Never venture off the beaten track • If there are no rubbish bins, take your
rubbish with you.