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Top 5 wondrous waterways

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New Zealand’s Central North Island is famous for its stunning natural beauty, including forests and native bush, as well as clear and unique waterways steeped in life and history.

Ripple Rotorua is central to many of these beautiful aquatic gems. Here are our top five suggestions for you to explore during your stay, all of which are directly on the back doorstep or within one to two hours’ drive away. You won’t be disappointed.

1: Fairy Springs and Waiowhiro Stream
The crystal clear waters of the Waiowhiro Stream (Ripple’s namesake) rushes through the property, with meandering pathways, bridges and reflection bench offering guests the opportunity to explore and connect with this little slice of nature’s brilliance right on the doorstep.

The stream flows directly from Te Puna a Tuhoe, otherwise known as Fairy Springs, a mere 300m away. Fairy Springs is a famous and sacred spring once visited by Maori priests seeking good fortune, prayer and reflection.  

The historic stream is home to rainbow trout, mallard ducks and many of New Zealand’s unique native flora, flowing directly into Lake Rotorua 1.5km away.

2: Rotorua lakes
The Rotorua region is known for its geothermal wonders and beautiful clear lakes. There are 18 lakes spread throughout the region in fact, and just as many different ways to enjoy them.

Swimming, fishing, lakeside picnicking and walking, paddle boarding, boating, hot water bathing, the options are endless – all depending on what floats your boat. (And you don’t even need a boat to enjoy much of what the lakes have to offer.)

What they do all have in common is deep, clear waters, rich culture and history, abundant beauty and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

3: Emerald Lakes, Tongariro National Park
The Emerald Lakes are part of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, in the Tongariro National Park a couple of hours south of Rotorua, and are renowned for their stunningly clear, emerald-coloured waters. They are unlike anything you would have seen before.

The Maori name for the Emerald Lakes is Ngarotopounamu, meaning greenstone-hued lakes. It’s the magical combination of volcanic minerals and sunlight that gives the Emerald Lakes their beautiful green glow, coming into view once you reach the highest point of the walk (1886m).

This iconic one-day hiking trail also takes you through a diverse volcanic landscape and is considered one of the top 10 single day treks in the world.

4: Tarawera Falls
Located in the Tarawera Scenic Reserve, the majestic Tarawera Falls is a 65m high waterfall surging out of an ancient cliff face along the Tarawera River.

The deep, clear green waters of the river cascade from Lake Tarawera and across a lava flow that erupted from Mt Tarawera about 11,000 years ago.

The falls are accessible via an easy 20 minute walk that takes you alongside the river, through thick, lush bush and an ancient volcanic landscape. Or you can take a water taxi across Lake Tarawera to Te Tapahoro (the outlet) for a 3.5hr return walk through stunning native forest to reach the falls before making your way back to the outlet for pick-up.

Recognised as one of the best waterfalls and short walks in New Zealand.

5: Lake Taupō
Lake Taupō is the largest fresh water lake in the Southern Hemisphere, roughly the same size as Singapore.

A national treasure known for its deep blue, crystal clear waters, it was formed as a result of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the last 5000 years and is in fact a crater filled with fresh water.

Evidence of the lake’s fiery creation can still be found at certain spots around the lake, with natural geothermal hot spots a popular place to bathe. Take a boat tour to explore the lake or swim in its pristine waters – among other adventure activities of course.