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Te Aroha - Queens Birthday Weekend - Are you going - Have you booked accomodation yet ?

From: Stephen F
Sent on: Saturday, May 14, 2016 7:14 AM

Hello Everyone.

Good to see the interest building for this Feet First Meet Up away weekend in Te Aroha ...the town of love ...about two hours south of Auckland...and for others thinking about it, this is our big social ...sleep in a cabin or your tent... long weekend away, for two nights,. with hot pools nearby, and some impressive shorter day hikes planned and local café and pub food for meals  ..

For those already going, here's an update ...and some notes to ponder..

Have you booked and had a confirmation of your accommodation from Te Aroha yet ?    Or email Anna, the owner to check what's available as their online booking site is confusing..  [address removed]  or Mob[masked] or[masked].

Even if you are taking a motor home or campervan down, or in a cabin with another member...Or being brave like I am ..and thinking about camping for the two nights there, this is small holiday park and does fill up quite quickly , and the owner Anna , a very proud german lady  doesn't like people just turning up and paying on the day .

So make your mind up soon, and make a booking either in Te Aroha or somewhere close by.

The basic plan is to arrive sometime on Saturday morning, and then we'll head off around lunch time for an afternoon hike of around 3 hours and have a look at Waiere Waterfalls, which as mentioned are the largest in the North Island , and quite spectacular .. further south towards Matamata, about 30 mins drive from Te Aroha. We'll just be doing the well graded track to the first lookout, which crosses the river in several places via some impressive bridges and a climbing tower and offers plenty for those interested in outdoor photography.

Then we'll return to Te Aroha, either go to the camp/holiday park, or bring a change of clothes and have a soak in the hot pools, and then go on and have dinner in The Palace Hotel which has a big dining room separate to the main bar, and the meals are to die for if you love meat and a wine or a beer and country hospitality.

Return to Te Aroha Holiday Park is then 7km away in the countryside.

Sunday plan is to do a longer hiking day of around 5 hours, mid morning , which is easy medium , medium hiking if you haven't done much walking and it too has wide , easy going wide tracks for most of the day  , going to the nearby Wairongamai Valley, which if quite similar to Karangahake Gorge where we hike with all the old gold mining history. The hike itself offers picture boards along our journey and I think is one of the best hikes in the area, apart from those that want to challenge themselves by climbing Mt Te Aroha ,which at almost 1000m, isn't what we'll be doing , but feel free to do it on the Monday if you like.

Personally on the Monday, there's other short nature walks around Te Aroha we may do , or head back to Auckland around midday. There's a lovely wholesome café for lunch on the way I like, so that's the basic plan for the weekend.

Eating wise, I suggest you bring your breakfast if staying in the cabins, and coffee etc . Best  bring your own plates and cutlery if in a basic cabin, and your sleeping bag or duvet and personal things like a towel and bathroom things. The communal kitchen nearby has a fridge and cook tops but is basic.. The showers are free and hot .  The accommodation though as mentioned is basic, so come prepared , with that in mind . Its not flash, but its Te Aroha , the town of love. The various other cafes and town are Turkish and Indian and the local Countdown closes early, and the old post office café , opposite The Palace is a great place for lunch or afternoon tea serving quite posh food . The rest of the town is rural shops and most are closed in the weekends like the good ol days  .

But I have stayed here several times over the years in Te Aroha , and its a fun atmosphere for day visitors with the popular hot thermal pools and a geyser that blows several times a day...and has a famous old church ... Talking about hot pools...The smaller public ones are ok, but if you want to treat yourself and maybe a friend, book the private establishment before the public ones ...There hot tubs for 30 mins at around $30 are worth it for the private experience and posh rooms . ..(many private bus companies stop here, and the place is owned now by  you will be well looked after...feeling quite blissful before dinner both nights, as I intend doing after our hikes  , before dining on roast beef or pork belly and desserts etc at The Palace Hotel on the main street. There is one other hotel The Grand too, and that is opposite the very good information centre in town , next to the colourful Domain Park and Gardens where behind them are the old thermal waters healing bathhouses which are closed now .

In the Holiday Park for the adventurous types  , they have a rather scary, but fun Zip Line/ Flying Fox that you climb up and then zoom down ...

And from the Park , the big mountain of Te Aroha looms over us casting its shadow.

I stayed there over New Year with a friend, camping three nights , and it was very wet and stormy, but we survived, and we were protected with the high fence and big trees. So if you're considering camping, or ..its an awesome place to try it.

Anyway, getting there...I prefer to drive to Te Aroha  via Tahuna, which takes you further south past the Mercer Food Complex, as if you were going to Hamilton...going past Highway 2 which in my opinion is rather tiresome with all the big trucks using it. Best go  south first towards Hamilton, and turn off at Ohinewai and then go left , towards Tahuna , a small rural town in the middle of nowhere , but the drive is stunning for the hour it takes , and has great views across the farms and mountains in the distance including Te Aroha. Its a scenic drive best done in the day as the road is standard, and has no passing lanes, but is quiet and refreshing once you turn off at Ohinewai . From Tahuna, you follow the signs to Paeroa, then, turn right main rural road to come in to the back of Te Aroha and very close to our accommodation at the holiday park on at 217 Stanley Rd.

I then return to Auckland via Paeroa and pick up highway 2, after stopping at a garden café that is just amazing , more on that for those interested ..down there.

Okay , will be looking forward to this weekend away soon...

Bring some warm clothes and a torch, and your hot pools swimming gear.

Get your accommodation booked soon , bring some drinks with you,  and lets party !

Carpooling - Organise this amongst yourselves soon ! Allow two hours as its 140km away.

Yahoo... Te Aroha - Queens Birthday Weekend - 4th- 6th June .


Cheers Stephen F.





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