Our weekend away in Rotorua was kind of a last-minute decision so we didn't spend ages researching where to stay. But we lucked out, as we all enjoyed the place we ended up. We chose to stay at the Cosy Cottage holiday park (no, this is not a sponsored post, I'm just a regular customer to them).
There were six of us in our party, and we had a self-contained unit with two bedrooms. My mom and Chris slept in the room with the double bed, for which linen was provided. Grant and I were in the room with two single beds, and the boys were in the bunk beds in the living area - we had to bring bedding for these beds, although sheets and pillows were provided in the bedroom.
Naturally, I forgot to take pictures of the unit! You'll have to click on over to their site to see some pics. It was very basic but met our needs. The living area had a small kitchenette, table and chairs, and a sofa. There was a bathroom with shower (no bath). Like I said, very basic, not very flash, but it was all we needed and we were comfortable.
There are also camp sites for tenting, or powered sites for caravans and camper vans.
The facilities included a swimming pool, hot pools, steam cooker and BBQ facilities, lake with hot water beach, heated games room and TV lounge, bicycles hire and storage, laundry, and playground. Because the holiday park is on a site rife with geothermal activity there are even heated camp sites, where the ground is warm!
The boys enjoyed the playground ...
... while I enjoyed the sunset.
The steam cooker is heated naturally. There are pots available from reception for you to cook your stews, or you could leave foil-wrapped parcels of food in the cooker for a few hours. There are even herbs growing nearby for you to use in your cooking.
Did you see the grassy area behind the steam cooker? Yeah, that would be grass surrounding a pool of boiling mud bubbling up out of the earth.
Then, of course, there are the pools. My favourites were the relaxation pools - two tubs of geothermally heated water to soak in and unwind. The water for the hot pools is brought up from more than 30 meters below ground, into steel tanks, at higher than boiling temperature. The water is left in the steel tanks for about 20 hours to cool down. Then the pools are emptied (daily) and the water is replaced with the fresh cooled water. They are still pretty warm, like soaking in a hot bath.
The sounds of the waterfall add to the relaxing atmosphere.
Of course, my kids are not going to be able to follow the "Please keep quiet" sign, so we spent more time soaking in the other hot pool:
If you get too hot (it is summer, after all) then you can swim a few lengths in the cold pool. It is heated, but still a bit too cold for my liking.
If it's nature you're after, take a little wander through the camp site along the banks of a hot, steaming stream (and yes, the water is boiling hot to the touch) ...
... through a little bush area ...
... to the lake.
Now, this lake has a secret. If you look carefully along the shoreline ...
... to where the little bubbles arise ...
... and sink your feet in, you will feel piping hot water coming up against the soles of your feet!
Also, if you dig just a little bit on the beach, the hole you've made will begin to fill up with hot water - hot enough to make you yelp and leap out sometimes.
All in all, great fun and a highly recommended place to stay!