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Most of the team here at Rotorua Top 10 have grown up in this town – we love it, we love the people, and we love all our local small business owners that help to make Rotorua an amazing place to live and work.
In this blog we wanted to outline some of our favourite local small business owners who are so important to the growth and sustainability of our town.
These are our top pics for small crafts businesses we recommend are really worth a visit while you are here in our part of NZ:
Puawai Jade - www.puawaijade.nz Famed jade carver Niki Nepia works in his workshop creating stunning pieces we are sure you will love. Visit his gallery at: 1174 Whakaue Street, Rotorua 3010
Mountain Jade - www.mountainjade.co.nz/pages/rotorua-store Offering an in-house jade carving experience and showcasing a beautiful range of jade necklaces this is another “must-visit” local business if you are looking for that perfect piece of Pounamu. Find them at: 1288 Fenton Street, Rotorua 3010
Rock and Gemstone Shop – www.rockandgemstoneshop.co.nz Operating for 40 years in Rotorua this amazing shop offers something for everyone from Gems, crystals and all the gear you need is this is your hobby interest. Well worth a visit! 1120 Eruera Street, Rotorua
Exotic Imports - www.exoticimports.co.nz Our local Mexican homewares, furniture, and tile importers. (This is a favourite of ours that is right in the CDB). Eclectic and one-off pieces that you won’t find anywhere else and a brilliant range of hand-made tiles. The perfect shop for that special gift. Your can find the shop at: 1148 Hinemoa Street, Rotorua
Gamble and Stone - www.gamblestone.nz Locally owned and operated. Importers of amazing India doors and shutters and suppliers of brilliant pieces for your home and garden. One of our favourites and the perfect place to find something unique. Thay are located at 1257 Amohia St (Beside Godfreys) Rotorua 3010
Amokura Glass- www.amokuraglass.com Our local, award-winning glass blowing and design classes. Owned and operated by the amazingly skilled artist Heather Kremen. (Another favourite of ours- opposite Skyline) 153 Fairy Springs Rd, Rotorua 3015
Ko-Iwi Arts - www.koiwiarts.co.nz Rotorua’s resident Maori artist and carver. Stunning works created for private commissions and for galleries. Each piece is created specifically for the client – you can reach out to Iwi Le Comte through his website www.koiwiarts.co.nz/#contact
Sulphur City Soapery - sulphurcitysoapery.co.nz A great local business whose aim is to lessen our impact on the planet by producing environmentally friendly local handmade soaps, body and home essentials. These are beautifully designed products and great for yourself or a gift for others. You can find them at 1240 Eruera Street, Rotorua.
We hope this encourages you to have a look around while you are here and shop with some of the smaller owner/operator businesses in our brilliant town.
It’s all about spreading the Aroha
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Here at Rotorua Top 10 we are constantly made aware of the importance of looking after the environment around us. Rotorua is filled with amazing natural wonders, and these are the very reason that our part of New Zealand is so popular. The geothermal pools and geysers, the amazing warm streams, and pristine lakes as well as wonderful forests and fauna and flora.
Everywhere around us is the amazing beauty of nature. Our place formed over more centuries than we can count.
We all share this country and land, and we are all people of this planet. We share the same responsibility to ensure that our children and their children have not just the same, but better opportunity to experience nature and all it is wonders and experience an ever-increasing richness and fulfillment from immersion in our natural world.
So, in this blog we decided to outline 3 ways that you can help to tread lightly and leave less of a footprint when you come to stay with us and visit our place.
1. When you come to the park try to cut down the amount of plastic that you bring with you. There are many alternatives available to you. Be it your own shopping bags, string vegetable bags, recyclable containers, keep-cups, and reusable water bottles. Sometimes it just takes a little thought before you travel on how you can consciously reduce the amount of waste that you create.
2. Buy local – many of us just buy what we like and what we usually always get. Be it anything from peanut butter to body wash. Usually, it is that we are in a rush or just do not have the time to look. However, when you come here maybe take a little time to look locally, even in the supermarkets to find a great new version of what you like but that is made right here in New Zealand – the range available is growing month by month and many are sustainable with far better packaging solutions.
Big on this list would be when you go shopping, and you are in Rotorua have a look at what you are buying – is it really made in Aotearoa? Or was it produced across the other side of the globe and brought here at a huge cost to the environment and really, a huge cost to us in that excess energy and fossil fuels were used to get it here.
There as so many great local providers in Rotorua that we are sure you will find all sorts of perfect treasures that are local and tread lightly in our world. They also help to support local business owners.
3. Try a vegetarian meal option. Globally we consume far too much meat, it is not great for our health and it is also one of the contributing factors to Global Warming. If we change our habit and just try to eat veg each week then we not only find something new and interesting to eat that we may not have considered but we also then provide revenue to those out there that are working hard to offer other options that the traditional meat-based meals.
Of course, we are far from trying to tell you how to live your lives – we want you to come here, totally relax and spend time with those close to you.
We just wanted to put this out to help with ideas as, after all, it is all of us that makes the difference.
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We all know that Rotorua is jammed packed full of amazing activities, hot pools, accommodation, and foodie spots but do you all know how this all started?
The name Rotorua comes from M?ori, Roto means 'lake' and rua means 'two' or in this case 'second' – so Rotorua means 'Second lake'. It was called the second lake as it was the second lake to be discovered by the Maori chief – Ihenga.
The area was first settled by the Te Arawa Iwi in the 14th century
The European settlement began around1883 with the first town built by the government of New Zealand as a place for tourist to stay while they came to visit what was know then as the “hot lakes” – a renowned spa destination.
To build the town the government negotiated with and least land from a local Iwi.
To connect it to Auckland the “Rotorua Express” train opened in 1894 and from this point on the town grew rapidly with tourism growing in leaps and bounds.
The government next developed a European-style spa with ornamental gardens, and bathing and therapeutic facilities and with increased popularity, the population grew from 500 in 1896 to over 4,700 in 1926.
After the war in 1945 growth again surged in the town with new forestry, farming and hydroelectricity development and ever-increasing numbers of tourism operators. Our town’s population increased from 7,500 in 1945 to 46,000 in 1976.
Rotorua grew in all areas, both in numbers, tourism, goods and services and national revenue and was proclaimed a city in 1962.
Since that time and through the ’70s, 80’s and 90’s growth didn’t stop. The current population sits at around 77,000 +. We have hundreds of things to do, places to stay and great food to eat. Every day we see an excited stream of visitors to our town, eager to get out and enjoy themselves.
If you want a good look around all that this amazing town offers, go to our local website. You can choose one or a handful out of hundreds of activities and then dine in a huge selection of great places to eat.
Why not come to see what an amazing place this is and enjoy our warm and friendly hospitality?
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What it means when you stay with us
Rotorua Top 10 is a NZ family owned and operated holiday park. In fact, it’s now in the second generation and were still going strong. Still getting a complete buzz from hosting families and people from all over New Zealand and all over the world.
The park is currently operated by my husband Jared and me (Jasmine) and like Jared’s parents with their two sons, we are also bringing up our two sons in this amazing place.
Dave and Carol Adams started the park nearly 30 years ago, buying what was then a small park and working every day and often all hours to keep the visitors happy and to create a place where anyone from any walk of life could come, rest, relax and enjoy all that Rotorua has to offer.
The years moved on and every moment was spent upgrading and improving the park. Dave and Carol put their heart and soul into this place and in 2012 Jared and I came on board as co-owners to help them and to grow and evolve the park even further.
Fast forward to 2021, the Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park is a multi-award winning, Premium Graded holiday park. We have vastly upgraded the park and continue to deliver that same warm, welcoming, local spirit with each guest and every family that comes to stay with us.
Our park has acquired several awards for achievements over the years, most recently out the Supreme Awards 2016, People Choice 2016, runner up Best Web Profile 2016 and a finalist in the Top Service Award 2016 at the TOP 10 Holiday Parks Annual Gala. Rotorua TOP 10 has been recognised for its success with online marketing, ongoing developments within the park and contributions to the Tourism and Holiday Park industry, both nationally and within the local community.
We attribute much of the business success to our staff, who have a genuine passion for our holiday park and aspire to be a part of a positive 'family fun professional' team. Our contractors we use are also largely local and family/friends to the business. We employ 13-15 staff in total and all are fully part of our Rotorua Top 10 holiday park family.
In 2020 the Holiday Park went through further renovations and the reception has been totally redesigned to have a modern, wooden, simplistic, and maintainable aspect that further enhances the guests experience at our park.
So, what does it mean when you stay with us?
It means all the years our family has put into this park have been worth it, it means that the wonderful staff we have can continue to be part of our team, it means that the greater Rotorua community gets the benefit from your visit and that in turn keeps our town vibrant, happy, and alive – even through some of the hardest years we have ever faced.
It means the spirit of Rotorua Top 10 lives on in the laughter, enjoyment and thrill you all have when you come here for your holidays.
So, thank you to you all for being part of our journey – we can’t wait to have you back and look forward to looking after you and your family on your next holiday.
Jared, Jasmine and the entire team at Rotorua Top 10.
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Tips for practicing sustainable tourism
Sustainability is very important to us here at Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park. We’re always thinking about the impacts of our actions now and in the future—and any new purchase, upgrade or refurbishment we make is done after careful consideration, a lot of research and plenty of advice from the experts! Rotorua is a special part of the world and we believe all residents and visitors have a duty to keep it that way—and the same rule applies no matter where in the world you are travelling. If you’ve been thinking about how you can help do your bit, here are some simple actions you can take on your Rotorua holiday and any other upcoming trips to look after the environment and support local communities.
Research your destination
Take the time to understand the unique environment you’ll be exploring before you set off. Familiarise yourself with designated conservation areas and heritage sites and take extra special care when visiting these areas. Find out how you can best support the local economy too, whether it’s by shopping at the local markets or utilising a small, family-owned tour company to complement your experience.
Minimise your carbon footprint – stay in one place and walk/cycle/use pub transport
Avoid flying to your holiday destination if possible. Instead, try escaping somewhere closer to home and staying for a while rather than taking a road trip across the country. Once you’ve arrived, you can reduce your carbon emissions and do your bit for climate change by walking and cycling instead of using your car, or taking public transport whenever possible. If you need to hire a car, try an electric vehicle or a hybrid.
Invest in reusables
There's a high chance there wont be a lot of home cooking going on while you’re on holiday, so prepare for eating on the go by investing in some reusable cutlery, a metal straw and a keep cup – and don’t forget to take them with you when heading out and about! If you plan to pick up some souvenirs, take a reusable shopping bag with you too.
Conserve energy and waste
Try to practice the same environmentally friendly habits you would at home. Switch off lights and other power sources when they’re not in use and stick to short showers whenever possible. If you’re planning on camping, use cooler bags and bins to keep perishables cold instead of a portable fridge that needs a power source. Think about camping at a time of year when the climate is mild too. This way, you won’t need to worry about heating or cooling your tent.
Choose the right accommodation
Do your research and choose accommodation providers that are accredited for their dedication to sustainability – and proud of it too! Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park is the only holiday park in Rotorua to wear the Qualmark EnviroSilver seal of approval, demonstrating our commitment to protecting people and the planet. We have an extensive list of actions we have taken to reduce waste, energy use and water use and we encourage you to seek out this type of information before you make your holiday accommodation booking.
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Camping for beginners
True to our five-star ‘premium’ grading, the facilities at Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park are second to none. Offering a communal kitchen, dining rooms and bathrooms, an internet lounge, a swimming pool, picnic tables and the option to book a powered site for all your electricity needs; we’re an excellent choice for less experienced campers. We’ve also put together a list of tips for camping novices… With these in mind and after a couple of stays at our Rotorua holiday park, you’ll be a camping pro before you know it!
1. Arrive during the day
Our front desk operates around the clock, but if you’re planning on camping, we strongly recommend arriving at a time of day with plenty of daylight hours remaining. There’s nothing more stressful than attempting to put up a tent with only a torch and a couple of phone lights to guide you—especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process! Arriving in the middle of the day allows for a much more calm and pleasant setup experience, and when you’re done, you’ll be able to sit back and admire your handywork with a drink in hand as the sun goes down. Bliss!
2. Check your gear before you leave
Make a checklist of everything you plan to take with you and give any equipment a test run before you pack your vehicle. A missing tent peg, a faulty cooker or a hole in your air mattress can put a real dampener on your camping experience—it’s not always easy to source replacements or get items repaired under short notice! If you have the space, you could even have a trial run in your backyard. Set up a pretend camp site and stay out there for the night, and you’ll soon realise if anything is amiss or there is anything else you need to source. Plus, it’ll help make you more confident when it’s time for the real thing!
3. The weather channel is your friend
Camping is a lot of fun in any weather, but it’s helpful to know what to expect so that you can prioritise what to take along. Sunshine and warm temperatures require plenty of swimwear and sunscreen—while rain, wind and cold can see you packing more books, puzzles and warm bedding. Just remember: bad weather does not equal a bad time! With the right preparation it can be a fantastic opportunity to relax and spend time with loved ones—and Rotorua has plenty of rainy-day activities if you do need some breathing room. If ongoing, heavy rain is expected, there may be a risk of flooding—in which case you are best to reschedule!
4. Pack an emergency kit
Sometimes we need to plan for the unplanned, and that’s when a well-stocked emergency kit comes in. Fill yours with essential first-aid supplies and if you take any important medications, make sure you have enough to see you through your holiday plus a few extra days. You should also include any other useful items that could help to repair or replace important equipment. Think: a swiss army knife or multi-tool, batteries, heavy-duty tape, extra tent pegs, matches or a lighter, a back-up torch—you get the idea! We don’t want you to have to cut your trip short for any reason, so it pays to be prepared!
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Best Day Trips from Rotorua
Rotorua is situated in an enviable part of New Zealand. Close to some big cities and central enough to reach both the east and west coasts without too much trouble, the options for day trips from Rotorua will satisfy singles, couples, groups and families. Whether you have a whole day to kill or just a few hours to fill in, complete your Rotorua holiday by setting off on a quick New Zealand road trip! Here are our top five day trips from Rotorua, in no particular order.
Mount Maunganui – or “The Mount" as it is affectionately known – is a little coastal paradise just an hour’s drive from Rotorua. The popular beach town offers white sand, great surf and plenty of buzzing bars and restaurants just a stone’s throw away from the beach. No trip to Mount Maunganui is complete without conquering the iconic summit walk. It’ll take you around 45 minutes to reach the top but, once there, you’ll be rewarded with epic 360-degree views across the Bay of Plenty region.
What sort of list would this be if Taupo didn’t rate a mention? Situated only an hour south of Rotorua, Taupo offers activities galore! Check out the Huka Falls (by jet boat if you’re game!) or for a more relaxed boating experience, sail across Lake Taupo to see the incredible M?ori rock carvings that are only accessible by water. Book a scenic helicopter flight over Taupo's best sights, take a dip in the hot pools or for something totally different, take the family fishing for prawns at New Zealand’s only prawn park.
Whether or not you’ve seen and enjoyed the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies, a tour of the Hobbiton movie set has fast become one of those quintessential kiwi experiences that everyone must have at least once! Only 50 minutes from Rotorua, you can choose to drive yourself or book a tour package that includes return transport. The tour of the 12-acre set showcases the most photo-worthy scenes from the films—and did we mention you get a free beverage?
What family holiday is complete without a trip to the zoo? Hamilton Zoo is New Zealand’s largest, with over 600 resident animals including giraffes, tigers and of course the lovable meerkat. Daily encounters let you meet some of the wild animals up close, and regular zookeeper talks offer fun facts and insights into the animals’ little-known quirks. A fun and educational family day out – and only a three hour round trip from Rotorua!
Slightly further afield than our other day trip suggestions, but Raglan, on New Zealand’s west coast, is still well worth a look. Often touted as New Zealand’s answer to Byron Bay, the vibrant beachside town sits alongside a rugged, black-sand beach renowned for its surfing. Take a surfing lesson or an ocean dip on a nice day, or simply stroll through the colorful township and its unique shops and galleries. Nature lovers can take a leisurely walk through the lush native bush to the top of the bridal veil falls, just a 15-minute drive from Raglan.
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The beautiful Rotorua museum and gardens. Credit
Lake Rotorua is a fantastic place for all of the family, packed with attractions that are suitable for all budgets, preferences, and ages. From relaxing and taking a stroll around the lake, to adrenaline-filled adventures, there's always something to do on Lake Rotorua.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the top activities to enjoy around the lakes.
Atoa Lake Rotorua Jet & Parasailing
Lake Rotorua on a Summers Day. Credit
This picturesque Lake has lots of parasailing and jet skis to enjoy. Enjoy the speed, spins, and thrill of the activities, powered by jet boats, as you take in the scenes and culture of the lake.
You can do a guided tour as you paddle around the lake. This is an activity that is suitable for any age or just about any level, and you can enjoy the caves, lake and a gorgeous sunset as you take in the sights and get a bit of exercise.
Waitomo Caves and Rotorua Tour
Waitomo Caves. Credit
With this package, you can enjoy two great attractions in a single day. This is a package that gives you the best of New Zealand wildlife and Maori culture in one, with the Waitomo glow worm caves and the Rotorua trip. The geothermal parks in Rotorua are incredible and will give you great views of the lakes.
A Helicopter Flight Over the Lakes
Rotorua Lake is created by a volcanic crater. You can get a 15-minute helicopter ride over the lakes and take in the breathtaking views.
Walking Trails around the Lakes
If you want to experience the lakes and enjoy a relaxing ramble, there are lots of walking trails around Rotorua Lake. You'll find trails of various difficulties, and they are very well marked, so you'll have plenty to do.
The Beautiful Rotorua Forests. Credit
If you’re really stuck for things to do in Rotorua, one of the things that can instantly cure your boredom is a Canopy Tour. You'll be up where the trees meet the sky and will be going along the lines and zip wires enjoying the birdlife and thrill of the forest canopy. The minimum age for a Canopy Tour is six years old, so as always, your little ones aren’t too little. You’ll have a family adventure that will last in the memory for a lifetime.
Rotorua is famed for its geothermal activity. Water travels down into the earth gets warmed, and then gets rotated back up and forced through gaps as geysers, mud pools, hot springs, and vents. This hotbed of volcanic activity is exciting and inspiring, and Rotorua is a fantastic place to visit that will leave you awe-inspired.
Rotorua Lake is a great place to spend time as you visit Rotorua, and the activities above will help you relax, burn some calories, and get some fantastic photos of the absolutely magnificent views.
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This year the Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park bought over 800 Easter Eggs and invited its guests to join them in a park wide Easter Egg Hunt! Over 100 Children participated in the hunt and no Easter Eggs were spared.
There were also dozens of special Egg surprises for some of our lucky guests; Gummy Bear Easter Treats, Pineapple Lump Eggs and Chocolate Button Eggs.
We had organized special prizes for those who collected 'special rainbow' coils, here are our two winners of the GIANT 1kg Easter Egg... We hope you managed to enjoy your Easter!
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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 coordination 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 of 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):
- DONATE to Rotorua TOP 10 Housekeeping- Charmaine, Gaye, Crystal & Jaden
- DONATE to Rotorua TOP 10 Grounds- Willy, Tasha, Sasha &Justin
- DONATE to Rotorua TOP 10 Reception- Kajal, Pania, Caroline & Kataraina
- DONATE to Rotorua TOP 10 Owners- Brad, Jared, Jasmine
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.