A-mazeing Rotorua in a motorhome

Mary Hamilton

January 30, 2013

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My family and I love mazes. The giant ones, made of hedges, maize or man-made bits and pieces, which you can literally get lost in. So when the long weekend beckoned and we felt the urge to get away in our campervan, we headed for the closest maze – which just happens to be in Rotorua.

The road from Cambridge to Rotorua in the North Island is an easy one, mostly straight or with gentle curves and with plenty of passing lanes, it’s an easy drive for someone in a rental campervan. It meanders past Lake Karapiro, home of NZ rowing, south to the town of Tirau. This pretty little town is a great place to stop in your rental campervan for a bite to eat or a coffee. If you have a little more time, take the 4.7km Te Waihou Walkway to the amazing Blue Spring to clap eyes on one of the most pristine natural pools you’ll ever see.

Another good place to stop in your campervan motorhome on the way to Rotorua is the magical Fitzgerald Glade. My kids call it the ‘tunnel of trees’ and we always try and make time to park the motorhome here and simply enjoy the feeling of being enveloped by nature. Further south, the road winds gently through forestry country and farmland to arrive in Rotorua.

Amazeme maze and family funAmazeme, a 1.4km hedge maze, is located on Paradise Valley Road just to the north of Rotorua town. Warning – if you put the street address into your campervan GPS system you end up on a wild goose chase miles down the narrow, winding Paradise Valley Road. Ignore the urges of your campervan GPS to drive several kilometres along Paradise Valley Road – you’ll actually find Amazeme just a couple of hundred metres from the main road on the right. The sign is hard to see so keep your eyes peeled. The family and I spent a most enjoyable few hours at this great attraction which focuses on ‘providing good old fashioned fun for families at an affordable price’. As well as the maze (yes, we got suitably and enjoyably lost!) there were loads of games and activities which really were fun for the whole family. I heartily recommend, particularly if you’re travelling with kids, that you include Amazeme in your itinerary (allow several hours, especially if it’s a nice day). Just one thing – they do advertise on their website that they have a refreshment cafe, so I arrived desperate for my coffee fix only to find they don’t serve coffee. Luckily we were able to quickly brew up a coffee in our motorhome kitchen. There is also a good cafe close by in Ngongotaha where you can get your fix if needed!

The host and owner of Amazeme was very friendly and helpful and he gave us lots of tips from a local’s perspective about things to do in Rotorua. As we were travelling with kids he suggested we would enjoy the Volcanic playground on the lakefront in the centre of town, so we headed down there for an ice cream and had a very pleasant afternoon watching all the activity on the lake before retiring to the comfort of our campervan.

Rotorua is truly a great family destination, particularly if you’re travelling by campervan or motorhome. There’s so much to do. We were on a whirlwind trip so couldn’t visit all the places we wanted to, but we’ll be back to see some more! Look out for my next article about Top 10 things to do in Rotorua.

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