Calm in a restless land

Rotorua revels in its reputation as a New Zealand tourist “hot” spot. Built on a geological time bomb and bubbling with sulphurous volcanic attractions, the town’s a naturally lively place. Volcanic steam hisses perpetually from natural fissures, curls from grates placed strategically in the streets and rises from many private backyards.

In the Lake Tarawera region close to Rotorua life is slightly less seismically traumatic. The Tarawera offers striking contrasts, with rolling green acres of sculpted, fertile farmland set within a restless, geothermal landscape of burping mud pools, steaming fumeroles and erupting geysers. Shimmering lakes lie flat as beaten silver beneath dark and moody peaks often enshrouded in mist and cloud. The precipitous slopes of ancient lava domes are smothered in an unbridled, verdant tangle of pohutukawa forest and mamaku ferns.

Located deep within this spectacular, primeval-looking landscape, Solitaire Lodge occupies a portion of private peninsula on the edge of Lake Tarawera, with matchless views across the water to Mt Tarawera, a few kilometres to the east.

A sheltered lagoon below the lodge is a breeding haven for black swans. Fat rainbow trout swim from the lake into the lagoon to spawn in tiny tributaries that trickle down the surrounding slopes. Inquisitive purple-feathered pukeko, moorhens and white-masked coots inhabit the lagoon’s grassy banks.

Solitaire Lodge was originally a fishing lodge that opened in 1977. It has since grown in size and developed into a luxury lodge, one that’s been ranked among the most select in a country that’s famous for its lodges.
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