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Why we are fundraising for Cerebral Palsy New Zealand


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The Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park has supported Cerebral Palsy New Zealand for a number of years through the organization's annual fundraiser- Steptember. Cerebral Palsy is a permanent life-long condition which affects peoples movement and posture. It is caused by brain damage which occurs during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Here's why we are giving the Fundraiser 110% this year...

Unfortunately, last year we did not manage to participate the annual fundraiser for Cerebral Palsy as one of our Managers was away on Maternity Leave after the arrival of her gorgeous daughter, Eva-Jasmine (pictured above at 2 months old).

Eva's birth was very traumatic, 9 weeks early and life threatening for her Mother. Thankfully they were both strong and cared for in Auckland Hospital and then later at Rotorua Hospital, so were finally released home after 8 weeks. In March this year Eva was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy which significantly impacts both of her legs.

Eva has nerve damage in areas other than her legs so is given eye drops to help correct her vision, is working on chewing food, hand eye co-ordination and picking things up... every single day with a smile. In July this year Eva's Mum and Dad came in contact with Cerebral Palsy New Zealand and they have been so kind, caring and willing to give advice or assist Eva in managing her disability, alongside Mum and Dad. Doctors have projected that, with the right support now, Eva has a shot at assisted walking as she grows up.

Cerebral Palsy NZ gave Eva $500 worth vouchers to assist her with her therapy and have been so helpful with advice and guidance for Eva and her family. 

Eva has been working hard to learn how to sit up by herself, move around the floor unassisted (she hasn't quite mastered the art of crawling yet but is very determined and capable of getting to where she wants to go). In July this year, Eva's Mum and Dad were given the opportunity to attend therapy at a specialized clinic in Hamilton twice a week. Because of this, Eva's Dad has resigned from his job and is now Eva's full time carer. Eva's Mum Manages the Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park every day and has always been a supporter of those living/ supporting Cerebral Palsy since long before Eva was born. 

 

So this year we're back! Back with a focus, a mission and a goal! And we need your support... Our staff have a goal of fundraising $500 per team to give back to Cerebral Palsy New Zealand for their support of our precious Eva. We know that there are families out there that are struggling and organizations such as this one will always be there to help. 

Even the smallest donation helps (if you can't donate, sharing this post would mean a lot):

Just a disclaimer, all of the money raised here goes to the Cerebral Palsy New Zealand Society. The website linked to this blog collects the money and distributes it to New Zealand Families in need. Steptember runs all throughout the month of September. Eva and her families have been a recipient of this support, so this is our way of giving back x Thank you all.


7 New Zealand Adventures to Change your Life


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While there are life-altering experiences to be had all over the globe, New Zealand offers some of the most exhilarating adventures. Are you ready to go on an adventure of a lifetime? Here are 7 you need to consider:

A team getting ready to climb Fox Glacier. Credit: creativejunkie

1.      Sky diving

If the mere mention of sky diving makes your hairs stand up, then it might be a sign that you need to do it. Queenstown is our ultimate pick of places to go sky diving, but New Zealand offers many other options. It’s guaranteed to be massive fun and in case you’re worried you might back out, book it now and think about it later. There’s something about rolling out of a plane at an altitude of 15,000 feet and falling towards the planet at 200MPH that changes you. After doing this, you’ll have the courage you need to deal with whatever life might throw your way.

2.      Get your adrenaline pumping with a bit of climbing

If you’ve never climbed before, the Southern Alps mountain range is a good place to start. As you hone your climbing skills, you’ll have a manageable altitude and experience what it’s like to scale the dizzying heights of sheer cliff faces. Don’t be deceived into thinking it’s going to be easy though. You’ll need to take a course and have mountain guides to help along the way, but you can be certain of returning home having changed a little.

3.      Hiking in the glorious mountains

Talk to any seasoned hiker and New Zealand is bound to be one of the top places they like to visit for their favourite pastime. Whether it’s Lake Crucible in Wanaka or Mt. Taranaki, hiking in the country will change your life as you’ll enjoy a deeper connection with nature. You’ll be enamoured with the classic quaint backcountry hut system, the ridiculously complicated braided riverbeds, the towering mountains, ancient rainforests and world-renowned fiords.

As you battle with the challenging terrains, you’ll get a lesson on humility and as you stand face to face with the mountains, you’ll be forced to reflect on and gain perspective on how tiny you really are compared to the rest of the world. There’s no way you won’t be forced to be present, unless you want to fall and hurt yourself, which will most likely happen, anyway. As tough as hiking may sound, we don’t know anyone who regretted doing it.

4.      Meet people who are worlds apart from you

If you’re a culture buff or simply need to step outside your daily realities, it’s a good idea to go on a Maori heritage tour. You’ll get to enjoy an adventure that takes you across the North Island where you’ll experience the heart of New Zealand’s indigenous culture.

In between discovering the historical side of Wellington and wandering through age old forests, you’ll get to experience a Maori feast called a hangi. Meeting people who are so different from you and eating and drinking with them can be a life-changing experience you’ll not forget in a hurry as you begin to appreciate the uniqueness of the different people of the world.

PS – When planning your adventure, remember to add comprehensive travel insurance to your list of things to check off. Comprehensive travel insurance us usually covers things like, lost luggage, delayed flights, and health bills. For more information check out https://insurance.airnewzealand.co.nz/

5.      A road trip through the Southern Alps

The Snow Capped, Southern Alps. Credit: Jason Pratt

6.      Go diving

Whether you go alone or with company, diving is a fantastic way to see nature like you never have before. The adventure can be life changing and it can be incredible the nature that lives their lives below the sea, oblivious to what goes on in our world.

Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve is a great destination for diving, where you’ll get to explore more than a hundred species of reef and pelagic fish. You’ll not want to miss seeing the area’s most impressive shipwreck sites, dramatic drop-offs and technicolour reefs. This adventure will require you getting a technical diving certification, but it’s absolutely worth it.

7.      Bungy jumping

Credit: Holdosi

There’s nothing that says “live more and fear less” more than bungy jumping. If you think sky diving is scary, think again! There’s a good chance your heart might threaten to burst out of your chest due to its rapid beating, right before you jump. Even if you’re terrified to death, the unforgettable feeling of bliss that comes over you as you fall weightless through the air is well worth it.

What are you waiting for? Book a life-changing adventure soon.


Why you should book Holiday Park accommodation in New Zealand


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Of course we had to start off the list with stating the obvious… Yes, we think Holiday Parks are awesome. Why? Because Holiday Parks are not just an accommodation option- they offer so much more! They can cater to large groups, small groups, couples, families... pretty much every traveler needing accommodation. The prices range to suit all types of budgets and holiday park facilities are practical, comfortable, clean and will exceed your expectations. There are large communal areas to gather in, playgrounds, trampolines, jumping pillows, pools, spa pools and so much more!

Keep reading to get a small glimpse of what New Zealand Holiday Parks have to offer…

Holiday Parks in New Zealand have the Best Locations!

On the edge of beautiful lakes, on the sandy shores of the pacific ocean, on the snowy hills of the south island, or in the middle of hot spot tourist destinations- Holiday Parks are all over New Zealand and situated in areas with million dollar views.

#FUN FACT New Zealand has over 350 Holiday Parks throughout the islands and range from traditional Camp Grounds to Resort Style Parks with Restaurants, Heated Pools, Water Slides, Kids Clubs and more

Photo Credit: Hot Water Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park

Photo Credit: Blue Lake TOP 10 Holiday Park

Holiday Parks are Family Friendly Accommodation!

Holiday Parks are the perfect accommodation choice when traveling with children of all ages. Most Holiday Parks offer children play equipment or trampolines. An increasing number of Holiday Parks have full blown children playgrounds with new state of the art digital play, water features, sports courts or the infamous Jumping Pillows (a giant high grade inflatable air pillow which is great fun for the entire family).

During peak times- which include school holidays- many holiday parks will introduce a kids program to help keep the kids entertained and give you parents some rest and relaxation. Painting, sandcastle building, arts, crafts,

Photo: Kaikoura TOP 10 Holiday Park

 

Photo: Motueka TOP 10 Holiday Park

They have Hot Pools, Cold Pools, Spa Pools, Beaches and Lakes!

We have all jumped on Google and searched for accommodation with Pool, Spa Pool or Heated Pool before but did you know there are holiday parks with all of these options and more! If you find the perfect Holiday Park and they don't have a pool- it may likely be because they are in close proximity to a beach, river or lake for you to enjoy. Other parks have free access to local swimming areas too so make sure you check out their websites  before you look elsewhere.

Photo: Waihi TOP 10 Holiday Park

Photo: Ohope TOP 10 Holiday Park

Bring a Tent, Caravan, Campervan or just bring your bag!

Holiday Parks are the perfect place to meet the family and pitch a tent or bring the caravan/ campervan and enjoy some time out. Over recent years, parks all over the country have been investing in quality powered, non powered and roofed accommodation. There are a range of different types of accommodation options available and as an added bonus, if they are booked out through the peak periods, you will often find special rates for this accommodation during quieter months. Most Holiday Parks will have linen, crockery etc for hire on site or free for use in the communal areas. Some even have cafes or restaurants onsite! 

So before you book your next stay... check out to see if one of these amazing parks are in the surrounding area.

Photo: Te Anau TOP 10 Holiday Park

Photo: Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park

Photo: Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park


Rotorua Wet Weather Activities


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Polynesian spa

Warm yourself up in Rotorua’s unique Thermal pools with a range of options for everyone. Deluxe lake front pools, Adult only pools, Private pools and Family friendly pools. Polynesian spa also has amazing Spa Therapies options, Mud wraps to massages if you want to spoil yourself or someone special this is the place to go. Located in Rotorua City centre it is an easy walk from most accommodation. You will lose hours bathing in the therapeutic water lucky it does not close until 11pm each day.

Culture Evening

Rotorua offers a range of culture experiences, but by far the Culture Evenings are the gem of them all. Our TOP 3 picks; all include the traditional Hangi meal cultural performance and pick up/ drop off from your accommodation. 

Te Po / Te Puia (Picture Above) Located in the infamous Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve on the edge of Rotorua city, takes you back through time to what it really was like for Native Rotorua Maoris and how they survived in the geothermal environment that they were living in. Te Po offer a range of added options with their cultural evenings including guided tours through the geothermal valley, Kiwi experiences and the weaving and calving schools. You will finish your tour enjoying a hot chocolate in front of the Pohutu Geyser.

Mitai, An evening at Mitai will give you an authentic introduction to Maori culture leaving you amazed and in awe. Be enthralled by the natural bush surroundings as you take a short walk through one of the best native forest in New Zealand to witness the Warriors paddling down the Wai-o-whiro stream in a hand carved Waka (canoe).The night ends in a magical way, A short stroll down to one of the clearest fresh water springs you will ever see to view the only glow worms in Rotorua in their natural habitat.

Tamaki, Journey to the outskirts of Rotorua, to a Maori village nestled in an ancient forest. The night begins with a sacred ceremony welcoming you into the village, where you get to walk around and participate in traditional games and dances including the very famous Haka. Followed by New Zealand’s most awarded Cultural performance and dinner. Special mention to Tamaki’s very amusing 20 minute shuttle ride to and from its location.

 If you ever wanted to learn about the Maori culture, an Evening show is a MUST!!!

Skyline Rotorua

Skyline Rotorua is an award winning activity that has so much to offer for every visitor to Rotorua. Enjoy the best New Zealand cuisine for lunch or dinner with the magnificent views of Rotorua in the Stratosphere Restaurant. If you want to raise your heart rate Skyline is the perfect way to do this you can swing from great heights on the Skyline Skyswing or Zip down over the top of redwood trees on the Skyline Zooline. Race your family and friends down the one of a kind Mountain bike track or enjoy the sights as you glide down in one of the luge carts. Skyline is an all-weather Family adventure park you are even able to gaze at the stars with the brand new stargazing experience. Skyline is the future in adventure tourism.

Rotorua Rafting

Rotorua is home to the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world - Tutea Falls is 7m high located on the Kaituna River (Grade 5.) On a rainy day there is nothing better than rafting off a 7 meter water fall… outstanding scenery, heart pumping rapids and world class kiwi guides - White Water Rafting in New Zealand doesn't get any better than this. This is a once in a life time opportunity that never disappoints.

Rotorua Museum Art-Cultural-Heritage

Rotorua Museum is absolutely stunning, here you can learn all about Rotorua’s rich Maori heritage and the geothermal activity which has shaped rotorua into what it is today. Ever changing exhibits keep this museum up to date and refreshing. Climb to the very top of the museum and look out over the mud pools and sulfer lakes or go deep down into the basement and look at the old bathing pipes used years ago for therapy treatments to help the wounded soldier’s. Rotorua Museum is a place not to miss when traveling through.

In short here in Rotorua the weather does not inhibit our visitors in any way you are still able to learn about our culture, taste our food, raft over a 7 m waterfall or gaze at the stars. Rotorua is an unmissable stop while traveling through New Zealand. See you all soon.


Reasons camping in New Zealand is awesome


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New Zealand is a country that has it all. Beautiful beaches, crystal clear lakes, natural rivers, waterfalls and endless stretches of forest and farm lands for all to explore. The sky is clearer, the air is fresher... Can you tell this is written by a Kiwi (New Zealander) yet? Hehe

Here are a few reasons to camp on our two 'little-to-you' but 'big-to-us' islands... all the way at the bottom of the Earth. Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

Beaches, Beaches, Beaches

We are spoilt for choice here in New Zealand. At all times, no matter where you are located, the beach is less than a couple hours drive. There are many beach front camp sites scattered around New Zealand and dozens of beach front Holiday Parks too.

Our Stars

With less light pollution than many places around the globe, here in New Zealand the night sky lights up like 'still fireworks' when the clouds have cleared away. We are also ranked Number #1 of the first people in the world to see the Sun Rise and Set each day. The perfect place to camp out on New Years eve and spend the first Sunrise of the year with your loved ones.. Romantic? Sentimental? Yup, we definitely think so. 

Hiking

Doesn't this picture say it all. If you're looking to become at one with nature or clear your head of all your troubles and stresses... pack up your camping/ hiking gear, grab a friend and come visit us here in New Zealand! 

Vast Terrain 

Farmland meets ocean, ocean meets river, river meets lake... The scenery here in New Zealand is broad and beautiful. Our roads have frequent stops where you can pull over and gaze out at stunning views. Camping with a view is something that's really not  hard to come by because there is so much beauty to be seen! 

Hidden Treasures

New Zealand has some stunning hidden treasures. Our state highway goes past beautiful Bays, Cities, Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Native Forests and Wildlife. Just last week we stopped on the side of the road (between Napier and Taupo) and found a lookout point to the most spectacular waterfall. 

Lakes, Lakes, Lakes

Of course we were going to feature our home town here! We are spoilt for lake choices in Rotorua, New Zealand. One of the most interesting things about New Zealand Lakes is the powerful stories behind the Lake and how it came to be. There are many places throughout the country where you can camp lake side. Amazing holiday parks offer the best of both worlds, a spectacular view and a hot shower. 

Perfect for Families and Friends

New Zealand has everything you need and more to make memorable, life long memories with your family and friends. Glaciers and Mountain tops, Forests and Oceans... Everything to make a holiday of a lifetime but not cost you your whole piggy bank. 

So what are you waiting for? Start saving and come check us out. x

 


Things to do when visiting Rotorua with children


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Rotorua is one of New Zealand's TOP tourist destinations with many attractions to keep you and your 'little ones' endlessly entertained. From the land to the lakes and from the earth to the sky, there is something here for everyone. But what if you are only here for a night or two? Or here with the kids? How do you decide what to do?

Luckily we have put together a short list of some of our TOP picks. Check them out below.

Agrodome

In the heart of 350acres of lush farmland, yet only 10 minutes from Rotorua's City Centre, you'll find New Zealand's Agrodome. The Farm Tour is absolutely perfect for children and adults of all ages. With such a wide variety of fun things to see and do out at the Agrodome, it's safe to bet that you and the children will love it.

Rotorua Duck Tours

"You haven't seen Rotorua until you've seen it on a Duck!"

Rotorua Duck Tours is the best way to see and learn about Rotorua by land and water. There are 18 lakes in the Rotorua area surrounded by native New Zealand bush, the most memorable way to see it is by Duck. Jump on board the Duck.. Part car, part boat! Nothing really beats driving straight from the road into the lakes!

Flipout Rotorua

One of Rotorua's newest attraction have arrived and it's amazing! Flip out Rotorua, fun for the whole family! Flipout is a great way to keep the kids endlessly entertained and ready for a BIG night sleep afterwards (hopefully)! The best thing about Flipout is it's perfect for us Adults too! Get a fun work out in while the kids bounce their hearts away. 

Paradise Valley Wildlife Park

Paradise Valley is one of our favourite places to go with the kids. Lions, Trout Pools, Farm Animals, Native Birds.. This place almost has it all! If you come at the right time of year they have little baby lion cubs that you can pat, play with and take a photo with- all under the supervision of their expertly trained staff. Lion feeding is at 2pm daily and we highly recommend watching this... it's awesome!

Amazeme Rotorua

Amazeme is amazing! Not only is there 1.4km of winding hedge to get lost in, there are animals, games and even a BBQ for the whole family to enjoy. Take a seat parents and let the kids go wild! The first time we went out for a visit the Manager made it to the centre in great time while the rest of us raced to the centre (LOL)! Great fun and a great workout for Children and Adults of all ages. An outing with a picnic lunch on a warm day, sounds like the perfect day out to us!

 


Places to see Kiwis in Rotorua and the North Island


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As our national icon, the kiwi is a must-see for any traveller to New Zealand. Sadly, these wonderful flightless birds are endangered, threatened by animals that were introduced to the country when it was colonised. The good news is that us Kiwis do love our kiwis, and there are many sanctuaries and conservation projects that have been set up to protect the birds. Currently there’s about 70000 left in the country.

You are more likely to see a kiwi in captivity than in the wild, particularly because they are nocturnal (and shy!). Here are a few places to find kiwis whilst visiting Rotorua and the North Island.

Kiwi

Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs, Rotorua

Rainbow Springs joined the "Operation Nest Egg" breeding programme in 1995 and are now the leading kiwi hatchery in the country. There are “behind the scenes” tours every hour but we recommend keeping your ticket and coming back in the evening to see kiwi in the open air aviary – they come out around 8.30pm.

Kiwi Encounter

Te Puia, Rotorua

There are live kiwis living in the grounds of Te Puia, which also has a breeding programme. Visit the specially lit nocturnal kiwi house to see some of the birds. Once they reach maturity they are moved to the outdoor enclosures to breed.

Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park

An hour and half drive from Rotorua and close to the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, the Otorohanga Kiwi House is well worth a stop. They have been looking after kiwis since the early 70s. Home to New Zealand’s largest dome aviary, they also have tuataras, a native reptile that pre-dated the dinosaurs. Otorohanga town is also home to a few giant kiwi sculptures!

Zealandia Kiwi - photo by Jo Moore

Zealandia, Wellington

If you make it down to our capital city Wellington, check out Zealandia, an amazing eco-sanctuary that is home to some of NZ’s rarest wildlife. The best time to see kiwi is on a night tour – these depart 30 minutes before sunset and allow you to glimpse kiwi in a natural environment. If you can’t visit at night, kiwis are also kept in captivity at Wellington Zoo.


For a full list of places to see kiwis in New Zealand, check out the website Kiwisforkiwi.org.

Photos courtesy of NewZealand.com, Jo Moore (Zealandia) and iTravelNZ on Flickr.


The Five Best Geothermal Experiences in Rotorua


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Rotorua has one of the most concentrated and dramatic geothermal areas in the world - multi-storey high geysers, crazy coloured mineral pools and steam wafting over cauldrons of boiling mud.

Here are our top five geothermal experiences to check out during your stay in Rotorua.

Te Puia Rotorua

Te Puia

For raw power, get up close and personal with the famously huge Pohutu geyser, regularly erupting to 30m! You can walk through yourself or take a guided tour and get that sense of connection with the land and the people. Also the place to come to watch master carvers and weavers at work.

Hells Gate

References to the underworld are everywhere in Rotorua and at Hells Gate you can see why - sulphur and heat combine to form a landscape that is definitely out of this world! Hot waterfalls, steaming craters and seething fumaroles. Have a soak in a mud bath spa - a truly surreal way to unkink your muscles after a hard day's sightseeing.

Waimangu Valley Rotorua

Waimangu Valley

Waimangu Volcanic Valley has won numerous well deserved awards for eco-tourism in New Zealand. It's really unspoilt nature at its best. You can take a short walk or spend the day, either on your own or hire a guide. You can also arrange a boat cruise on beautiful Lake Rotomahana past bizarre steaming cliffs!

Kuirau Park

Kuirau Park

Kuirau Park Geothermal Reserve is free. Like most parks it has beautiful gardens, a duck pond and a playground. An added bonus are the boiling pools of mud, sputtering vents, huffing steam and even a crater lake. Kick off your shoes and soak your feet in one of the hot mineral footpools.

 

Wai-O-Tapu

Wai-O-Tapu is an area of extreme geothermal activity. The walks offer startling views of a whole host of colorful, bubbling, steaming, and stinky attractions. The Champagne Pool is the crown jewel - 260 degrees Celsius (500 F), with shocking oranges and emerald greens, it's a photographer’s dream!


Find out more about what to do and see in Rotorua.

"Fabulous, friendly, clean. This park is great, An easy walk to town and restaurants. Bathrooms are clean and modern. Thermal pools are fun. Pretty much every site is quite close to facilities and bathrooms. We loved it!"

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