A friend of ours rented a holiday house located right on the shore of Lake Rotoiti over Easter, and invited a dozen of us to celebrate her forthcoming 75th birthday. We loaded our kayaks on the roof of the campervan and left early on Good Friday morning to beat the traffic. As we had hoped, the motorway was clear, so exactly an hour after leaving home we were stopped on the bank of the Waikato at Mercer eating breakfast.
When we arrived late morning, about half the group were already there, and keen to go for a walk. We drove a little way up the road and explored the tracks to Okere Falls. We stopped for a while to watch white-water kayaks shooting over the falls, and decided that we would stick to paddling in calm conditions.
After lunch several of us went kayaking in Okere Inlet. There were two boats at the house, but without any back support which meant Hillary and Elaine couldn’t go very far. Susanne took a while to get her inflatable kayak launched, but when we saw her in the water we chased after her and paddled for a while towards Waipuna Bay, where the channel to Lake Rotorua leaves behind a concrete breakwater.
On Saturday, Murray, Mark and I decided to head over to the Redwood Forest for a mountain bike ride. We were too late to catch the shuttle from the carpark, so we spent the first hour or so riding up the road before following the “A” trail then the “Tickler” up to Pipeline Rd where the shuttle leaves from throughout the day. I was disappointed to learn that “Split Enz” and the two “Pondy’s” trails were closed due to logging, but the ride down “Billy T” then “G Rock” was exciting enough. From there we rode “Chestnut Link”, “Roller Coaster”, “Chop Suey” then “Old Chevy” back to the road.
The next day Susanne and Murray joined us for a kayak around the Te Akau peninsular to Te Weta Bay. The two women stopped to gather water lilies to take home, and the blooms were enjoyed by everyone for the remainder of the holiday. There were lots of birds to watch, particularly swans. One chick was light enough to run away over the lily leaves.
One of the tourist brochures we looked at showed a trip to a cave on the shore of Rotoiti, so on Monday Felicity and I packed a lunch and set out to find it. It is so well hidden in the cliff that we paddled right past the entrance without seeing it. We continued on around the coast, past Motumauri Island and into Te Karaka Bay where Felicity asked a local for directions. We had planned to stop for lunch at the Manapirua Hot Pools on the other side of the lake from the island, so we headed there first and enjoyed a long soak. The camera got a bit steamy as you will see, but the photos still give a taste of these great pools, which are only accessible by water.
We asked about the caves again at the pool, and were pointed towards a tree on the horizon which is just above the entrance. We were nearly there when another boat came out of the trees and we saw exactly where to go. The cave was just big enough for both our boats to fit inside. There were ropes fastened to the sides that we could use to pull ourselves in and out, which was fortunate because there was no room to use paddles.