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16 Years as Travel and Leisure Magazine Top Travel Expert for New Zealand and Australia

Travel and Leisure says: "Donna Thomas has explored many corners of North and South Islands in search of hidden gems. She can help birdwatchers see the endangered yellow-eyed penguin or send avid trekkers on guided hikes to secret waterfalls in Paparoa National Park."


Bay of Plenty

The Bay of Plenty is a region of New Zealand situated around the body of water of the same name. The bay stretches from the Coromandel Peninsula in the west to Cape Runaway in the east. The region is bound by the Kaimai and Mamaku Ranges in the west and extends inland to the sparsely populated forest lands around Rotorua, Kawerau, and Murupara. Several islands are located in the bay, notably Mayor Island (Tuhua), Motiti Island, Whale Island, and most famously, the active volcano of Whakaari (White Island). The region is dominated by two cities, Tauranga and Rotorua. As a compromise between the cities, the town of Whakatane was selected as the seat for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Other towns in the region include Te Puke, Katikati, and Opotiki. Agriculture and tourism are the region's two main industries, with the geothermal region around Rotorua being a popular tourist destination.

Opotiki

Opotiki is a town in the eastern Bay of Plenty in the North Island of New Zealand. It houses the headquarters of the Opotiki District Council and comes under the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Opotiki is situated on a harbour inlet formed by the junction of two rivers. Bounded by these rivers on three sides, the Opotiki township comprises 309 hectares and the Opotiki District extends from Ohiwa to Cape Runaway.

Opotiki's climate is equal to the best in New Zealand. The town is sheltered from the cold southerlies that are experienced in many other places. For sheer natural beauty, magnificent coastal scenery and beaches, an equable climate, many places of historical and cultural significance, a gentle pace of life, and friendly Multi-cultural people, the Opotiki District is unparalleld anywhere in New Zealand.

Ideally and centrally situated in a rapidly expanding holiday area, Opotiki is the northern gateway to Eastland and is also in the area known as "The Tourist Diamond of the Pacific" and all its attractions are within easy distance. These include thermal areas with delightful hot pools, many rivers and lakes well stocked with fish, and bush country with hunting for deer, wild pigs, goats and opposum. Also with the Pacific ocean on its back doorstep, Opotiki is an ideal place for deep-sea fishing, boating, surfcasting, surfing and swimming.

You may need to slow down a little to get the best out of this district. Opotiki, Gisborne, Wairoa, and the East Cape form the Eastland area, which is probably the finest of all holiday playgrounds in New Zealand. This is an area which can be used all year round. The climate is second to none during the summer and in winter there is a succession of sparkling days and crystal clear starlit nights. The climate can be compared to that of California, but here the air is fresh, clean and unpolluted from city smog. It is a great place for the out-door loving person and a grand place for a family holiday. It is an equable climate and yearly hours of sunshine rate high in the New Zealand tables. Light frosts are experienced in winter and brief periods of heavy rainfall can occur at any time. Neither humididty nor smog create any problem in this area.

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Accommodations

Solitaire Lodge - Rotorua

Solitaire Lodge is situated on a private, secluded peninsular on the shores of beautiful Lake Tarawera, its elevated position provides spectacular views across the Lake to the grandeur of Mount Tarawera. Like a gem, Solitaire Lodge well complements its setting and is recognised as one of New Zealand's foremost luxury lodges.

Treetops

New Zealand, or Aotearoa, is a mythical land steeped in legend and mystery. Treetops Lodge offers the ultimate in world class luxury accommodation and is located in the heart of the trout fishing capital of the world and famed therapeutic thermal region, Rotorua, New Zealand. The diverse landscape of Rotorua is where adventure abounds. Nestled amidst magnificent native forests and valleys, Treetops Lodge and Estate offers a uniquely New Zealand experience. The Lodge with its’ elegant architectural style derived from this country's pioneering past.

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