Windy roads and stunning views bring us to this cute little town after a two hour drive from Rotorua. New Zealand is the ultimate place for amazing road trip adventures and arriving at Puka Park, feels like icing on the cake. The entrance of our hotel seems fairly hidden and the road uphill gives us the feeling we are entering a sanctuary. It’s peaceful, it’s green and because of the wooden architecture, it seems like this resort is made of awesome tree-houses. Welcome to Grand Mercure Puka Park, Pauanui!
Living in a tree
When I checked the website, I noticed the tree-house-style, and still when we arrived in our room, my heart makes that little jump for joy. Yes! Behind the doors of glass, a balcony invites us and in front of us there is nothing but trees and a tiny piece of sea all the way in the back. The only thing I hear are the birds and the sound of two glasses of wine that are being poured in by my love (until our two-year old knocks something over and we rush back in to check if everything is fine. The perks of being parents;)
Five Highlights of Pauanui
This is not your average touristy town. This is a get-away-town for locals so don’t expect to find big chains like McDonalds or Starbucks here. The reason for us to go here. Our highlights? Here we go!
1. Stretched beaches
Do you know those beaches where you have to fight for a spot? Yeah, you don’t find them here. In Pauanui you simply find yourself an empty beach (maybe not during school holidays :) ) and go splash around. Low tide provides you with little warm water pools made from ‘left behind water’ perfect for a little one, if you are traveling with one (the lack of cars on the streets and the huge amount of playgrounds in this town are a big pro when travelling with kids as well:).
2. Olive & Avocado Farms
This area is known for the delicious avo’s and olives. Great reason to go out and do a tasting, or buy some and create your own tasting on your balcony at Puka Park.
3. Nature is calling
Pauanui is surrounded by the sea and mountains. Nature is literally all around and it’s calling you. A great way to spend your day, is to explore the surroundings. By foot or by bike. Just the way you like it. You can bring your own food and picnic along the way (make sure you take your trash with you when you continue your adventure).
4. Amazing restaurant at Puka Park
A part of great journeys - for me - are great dinners. Not the ones you do every night, but those you treat yourself to. Where the food on your dish not only smells and tastes delicious, it also looks like a little piece of art. It’s one of my guilty pleasures and we were in for an amazing treat here. All locals we’ve asked, confidently pointed us in this direction. And after experiencing it ourselves, we totally agree with them. You deserve this!
Like I explained before, this town isn’t packed with restaurants, bars or shops. So after a sandwich at the bakery, a nice cup of coffee at The Lime Room and some surf shop shopping, it’s time to take the rest of the day off to relax, walk around, swim some, hit the gym at Puka Park (with a view <3) or simply read a book on your balcony while sipping from your glass of New Zealand wine. It was refreshing and relaxing. The perfect moment to simply be.
“In every walk with mother nature,
it will nurture your mind, body and soul.
The heart has music for those who listen.”
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