Itinerary for Weekender
Arrive Friday afternoon and settle into chalet. Soak up the village atmosphere from your private balcony. If time allows try the Waitomo Walkway starting from the Waitomo domain. See the sculptured rocks fluted outcrops, gorges and arches and tunnels as you meander along the Waitomo River.
Freshen up after your walk and then stroll down to the Tomo bar and soak up the atmosphere and local hospitality. Watch sport on the big screen, or play pool or just sit by the fire. Have some good honest pub food while you are there. The white bait fritters are amazing if in season.
Venture into the village for breakfast and then take a walk up your private road to the landmark historic Waitomo hotel, which opened in 1904. Walk down a secret garden path under giant magnolia trees back to the village
Visit the museum before participating in a cave tour with one of the many tours on offer. If you do not want to miss the chance of black water rafting you can choose between three and five hour trips. You can grab a tube and float along the rivers and passages spotting glow-worms and other incredible cave features along the way.
Depending on how the day finishes with your adventure activities you can include one of the many close free nature walks on offer and do some forest bathing. Forest bathing “Sinrin –yoku” which originated in Japan is the simple and therapeutic act of spending time in a forest. Leave your phone in the chalet and head to one of the nature tracks. Listen to the sounds around you and breathe in the fresh air. Touch the soft green moss carpeting the shaded stones or the rough bark on the trees. You could plan to visit Marakopa Falls which is a 29k drive from the village. Stop at the Toi Toi café (3162 Te Anga Road).
As well as lunch there is great coffee and cakes on offer. Once you get to the falls after a 15-minute bush short walk through Tawa and Nikau forest, you will find the most dramatic 35-meter high waterfall.
You can then head back to your chalet to freshen up before venturing out for some fine dining at the Huhu restaurant.
After breakfast try another activity on offer. Ladies may enjoy the local spa.
If you are heading north consider taking a scenic trip to Kawhia and soak in a hots springs pool that you dig yourself on the edge of the ocean beach. Finish of the weekend with a lunch at one of Kawhia’s eateries before heading home.
If you are heading south you may wish to visit the Kiwi House and native bird park in Otorohanga before stopping off for a delicious lunch in Otorohanga at the Fat Kiwi or the Fat Pigeon in Piopio.
If stopping in Piopio and time allows you could also do the Hairy Feet Waitomo, a personally guided tour of the scenic film location around sites exclusively used for the filming of the Hobbit in the Mangaotaki valley.