Day 5 (Stratford – Te Aroha) of a 6-Day Itinerary of New Zealand’s North Island
Day 5: Today is when you head up north again. Your final destination, Te Aroha. Te Aroha? Before we get into that, enroute, pay a visit to Waitomo Caves. This is where you take a boat into the glowworm grotto. It takes a while for your eye to tune in to the darkness, but soon you will see a ‘sky’ full of ‘stars’ – the glowworms. The glowworms are unique to New Zealand, and so, try not to miss it. They give out a luminous blue light that makes it look like stars!
As I mentioned earlier, we are heading to Te Aroha tonight. Where’s that??? While this is not NZ’s best kept secret anymore, most New Zealanders, even Aucklanders, have not even heard of this place, much less been there. And because this is definitely off the tourist trail, you can earn some bragging rights by coming here. Te Aroha has a number of Edwardian-era architecture and is known as the only complete Edwardian domain in New Zealand. But that’s not why I’m recommending Te Aroha for your itinerary.
You see, Te Aroha is also famous for its alkaline soda hotspring water. The water is so good, you should NOT take a shower after a dip. Just dry yourself and live the goodness of the minerals on your skin. To enjoy the hot spring waters of Te Aroha, make a booking with Te Aroha Mineral Spas. They have ensuite rooms with Japanese-style wooden tub with a built-in jacuzzi. You can choose either the 30-minute or 45-minute option or, if you like yourself cooked, the 60-minute option. Do note that bookings are essential and presently they have special offers on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Te Aroha Mineral Spas is located at Te Aroha Domain, Te Aroha 3342. (Phone: 07 884 8717).
Accommodation options are limited in Te Aroha, but you can try staying at the motels in town, or just 2Km out of town, the Te Aroha Holiday Park. If you fancy more choices, then I’m afraid you will have to drive on to Hamilton, about an hour away. But do try to stay in Te Aroha as they have one of the nicest sunsets in New Zealand.