Sightseeing, Flight Seeing and Thermal Volcanoes

A selection of seven days of activities in and around our region, using Nicara Lodge or Cottage as your central 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

Day 1 – Rotorua City Area

  • Travel to Ohinemutuand St Faith’s Church with its carved pews, pulpit and the Battle Flags of the Maori Battalion.
  • Continue on to Rotorua Museum in the middle of the Government Gardens. The iconic building, opened in 1908 as a bath house. The Bathhouse Café at the Museum is a good venue for a light snack.
  • Drive out to Sulphur Point. You will understand why it gets that name.
  • Leave the Museum, 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.
  • Leave Te Puia, proceed to Paradise Valley. Paradise Valley Springs is a beautiful park with the Ngongotaha Stream meandering through it.
  • Leave and 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 to see birds of prey and watch them fly. They have a daily outing at 2.00 pm.
  • Return to your Nicara accommodation for a brief relax before being picked up at 6.00 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 that want to see more then the combo with Rainbow Springs all lit up at night is a must. This extension gets you back to Nicara about 10.30 pm.

Day 2 – Rotorua Taupo return

  • Depart Nicara Lodge, head south towards Taupo and a choice of 3 major thermal valleys. Each will take about 2 hours to go through. You then have 3 choices.
  • The 1st choice is 20 km (12 miles) south of Rotorua, Waimangu. A beautiful valley full of thermal activity and the opportunity of a boat cruise on Lake Rotomahana.
  • The 2nd choice, Wai-o-Tapu, is another 10 km (6.2 miles) further on. This has the Lady Knox geyser, which plays daily at 10.15 am.
  • The 3rd choice is Orakei Korako. This is a lovely park accessed across the Waikato River by ferry and is included in the entrance fee.
  • 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 daily with an extra opening in summer.
  • Continue south towards Taupo. 1 km (.6 miles) south from the Aratiatia turn off is the Lava Glass Gallery and Glass-blowing. Slightly further south is the Wairakei Thermal Power Station.
  • Then there is Huka Falls. A must. 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 Lodge.

Day 3 – Up, Out and About

For today, we suggest some different activities.

  • After breakfast, we bring in the floatplane to Nicara Lodge's private jetty 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.
  • Don’t like flying? You may prefer the excitement of a jet boat excursion on the Lake leaving from the Nicara jetty, (subject to numbers).
  • Or maybe a day excursion from Rotorua to White Island by boat from Whakatane. Pick up at Nicara 7.30 am, allowing about 9 hours. This is a unique day out, lunch provided.
  • 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's a Farm Tour 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.
  • With its café and other displays like the Woollen Mill and Shearing Shed, you can easily spend the whole afternoon in and around the Agrodome complex.

Day 4 – Lord of the Rings and Things

This is a day for those who follow the Lord of the Rings.

  • Discover the real Middle Earth. Hobbiton is only 45 minutes away from Nicara Lodge. 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 to Matamata 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, situated at Hell's Gate, specialises in thermal mud treatments.
  • The hot thermal pools at Waikitie Valley Springs offers an ideal combination with Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. The distance is only 9 km (5.5 miles). It's great to relax in the thermal waters before returning to Rotorua or continuing your travels to Taupo or Napier.

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 open and full of character. Sweeping Spanish stone 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. Your only company according to the season, are the floral displays all adding their vibrant colours to an already colourful garden.

  • Complimentary kayaks are available for Nicara Lodge guests. The close by Awahou, Waiteti or Ngongotaha Streams are offer good excursions.
  • From the jetty and grounds, watch the local waterfowl.
  • Walk along the picturesque Hamurana Stream to the spring discharging pure water at 4.5 million litres per hour.
  • Similarly, the jet boat can pick you up for an excursion to another lake and a hot swim in natural mineral waters before returning to Nicara Lodge.
  • If fishing is your pleasure, fishing guides can pick you up at the Nicara jetty and take you trolling on Lake Rotorua, open all year round for fishing.