Sightseeing, Flight Seeing and Thermal Volcanoes

A selection of seven days of activities in and around our region, using Nicara as your base.

Heather and Mike know what a job planning an itinerary can be, even with the Web and especially for an area with which you're not familiar. They are only too pleased to assist guests confirmed to stay at Nicara Lodge with their planning.

The variety of combinations is huge but the following selection will give you some idea of what's available. Times for getting there, viewing etc are all taken into account.

We offer a complete sightseeing booking service and can prepare day-to-day itineraries that will make your stay even more pleasurable.

Suggested Itineraries

Rotorua City Area

  • Travel to Ohinemutu and St Faith’s Church with its carved pews, pulpit and the Battle Flags of the Maori Battalion.
  • Then on to Rotorua Museum in the Government Gardens. This iconic building, opened in 1908 as a bath house. 
  • Drive out to Sulphur Point. You will understand why it gets that name!
  • Leave the Government Gardens, travel along Fenton Street to Te Puia Geothermal Valley for the Pohutu and Prince of Wales geysers, the Kiwi House, and Maori carvers. Allow about 1.5 hours.
  • After Te Puia, proceed to Paradise Valley. Paradise Valley Springs is a beautiful park with the Ngongotaha Stream meandering through it.
  • Continue to the New Zealand Fish and Game Trout Hatchery. Here they rear fingerlings prior to release and stocking of most of the region's lakes.
  • Down the road to Wingspan, the only falconry in New Zealand, to see birds of prey and watch them fly. They have daily flying at 2.00 pm.
  • Return to your Nicara accommodation for a relax before being picked up at 5.45 pm by Mitai and taken to their authentic Maori Concert and Hangi (food cooked in an earthen oven).
  • Back to Nicara by 9.30 pm, but for those who want to see more then the combo with Rainbow Springs all lit up at night is a must. Visit the nocturnal kiwi house and see our native tuatara. This extension gets you back to Nicara about 10.30 pm.

Rotorua Taupo return

  • Depart Nicara, head south towards Taupo and the thermal valleys.
  • Waimangu Volcanic Valley 20 km (12 miles) south of Rotorua. A beautiful valley full of thermal activity and the opportunity of a boat cruise on Lake Rotomahana.
  • Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderful, is another 10 km (6.2 miles) further on. This has the Lady Knox geyser, which plays daily at 10.15 am.
  • North of Taupo are the Aratiatia Rapids, a sight well worth seeing and free. The sluice gates of the dam open and flood the rapids 3 or 4 times daily.
  • Continue south towards Taupo. 1 km (0.6 miles) south of the Aratiatia turn off is the Lava Glass Gallery and Glass-blowing, well worth a visit and good luncheon stop.
  • Slightly further south is the Wairakei Thermal Power Station, 2nd in the world.
  • Huka Falls are a ‘must see’. Great falls and very scenic part of the river.
  • Coming out of Huka, continue along the river edge. There is a lookout at the top of the hill looking over Taupo, the lake and on a nice day our National Park.
  • Continue into Taupo or return to Nicara.

Up, Out and About

For today, we suggest some different activities.

  • After breakfast, we bring in the floatplane to Nicara Lodge's private jetty (or drive to the lakefront) and enjoy a 30-minute sightseeing flight. This passes over Mt Tarawera where the devastation of the 1886 eruption can be clearly seen.
  • There are longer flights available. Up to 2 – 3 hours all with their own points of interest. The more adventurous can take a helicopter out to White Island. A one hour flight to an active volcano 43 km (26 miles) off the coast. An alternative is for the helicopter to land you on Mt Tarawera on your return to Rotorua.
  • Love nature and feel a little adventurous? Then don’t miss Canopy Tours. Travel a 1.2km network of ziplines, swingbridges, treetop platforms and walking trails deep in virgin New Zealand native forest. Small groups with 2 highly trained and knowledgeable guides. Allow 3 hours.
  • Enjoy a guided city tour by cycle with Happy Ewe Cycle Tours, a leisurely ride around the heart of Rotorua.
  • No visit is complete without a trip to the Agrodome and its world famous sheep show. Here the many breeds of sheep found in New Zealand are on show and “perform” for visitors. There is also a Back Country Adventure through the Agrodome’s own land with full commentary.
  • At the Agrodome Park you will also find the Zorb, and Agroventures with the Bungy, Agrojet, Swoop, Freefall Xtreme and Shweeb. This is adventure to the max and suitable for all ages.

Lord of the Rings and Things

This is a day for those who want to visit the world’s only permanent movie set - Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

  • Discover the real Middle Earth. Hobbiton Movie Set Tours is only 45 minutes away from Nicara. The tour takes 2.5 hours to see Bag End and Bilboe’s house, the party tree and many other interesting sights.
  • A pleasant drive over the scenic Mamaku Ranges follows. After the tour, you can return to Nicara via the country township of Tirau. A great place for lunch.
  • Returning to Rotorua it’s time to pamper yourself with a thermal swim or massage, facial, or mud treatment at one of the spa resorts located around the city. Polynesian Spa is rated in the world's top 10 spas. Waiora Spa specialises in thermal mud treatments.
  • The hot thermal pools at Waikite Valley Springs offers an ideal combination with Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. It's great to relax in the thermal waters before returning to Rotorua.

Or Do Less and in Your Own Time

You're never too old to be young, but sometimes you need time to 'chill out'.

The grounds and gardens at Nicara Lakeside Lodge are full of character. Sweeping Spanish limestone steps take you from the central deck down to the lawn that leads to the jetty and lakeside.

Stonework, decking, a large patio area and outside furniture all allow you plenty of space, privacy and relaxation. The floral displays add their vibrant colours to an already colourful garden.

  • Complimentary kayaks are available for Nicara Lodge guests. The close by Awahou, Waiteti or Ngongotaha Streams offer good paddling.
  • From the jetty and grounds, watch the local waterfowl. How many varieties can you identify?
  • Walk along the picturesque Hamurana Stream to the spring discharging pure water at 4.5 million litres per hour.
  • If fishing is your pleasure, fishing guides can pick you up and take you trolling on Lake Rotorua, open all year round for fishing.