10 FABULOUS FREE THINGS TO DO IN ROTORUA Enter email for instant access
Lakeland Queen, Rotorua
Can't Keep Up? Take Some Time Out With A Relaxing Scenic Cruise
A scenic cruise on the Lakeland Queen in Rotorua is the perfect way to get away from it all for an hour. Whether it's for breakfast, lunch, coffee or a twilight wine, there's a cruise to suit everyone. Let me show you how it goes.
As a thank you for guiding at the Rotorua Museum, the volunteer team
were invited to take part in a cruise and afternoon tea on the Lakeland
Queen. She’s our grand old paddle steamer just like the ones you see on
the Mississippi River in the United States.
Rotorua Lakeland Queen
The day dawned lovely and clear, cool in the morning as only Rotorua does… and the breeze stayed cool… as it also does. That didn’t matter though as we’re well used to dressing for every type of weather.
In excess of sixty of us turned up and waited. When the “All aboard!” call finally came we made our way slowly onto the Lakeland Queen. I saw a familiar face. Greeting passengers pleasantly as we boarded and looking very smart in a crisp white uniform, was a former work colleague by the name of Terry.
Lakeland Queen top level with smart dining
Terry used to put police officers through their paces for the dreaded PCT (Physical Competency Test). Lovely guy but I always associated him with pain.
We had a quick chat and I found out that he is a co-owner in the Lakeland Queen, Rotorua, along with the the local Ngāti Whakaue tribe.
You just never know the twists and turns lives can take do you?
Prior to taking off, Terry gave us a little spiel on how the trip would unfold. Then we were off.
I was talking to a friend at the time and didn’t even notice that we
were moving; it was that smooth. The only clue came when I felt
vibrations rising up through the floor.
One of the ladies told me that
she had been on the Lakeland Queen when the water wasn’t as calm and
that it did rock a bit in that situation.
Afternoon tea was up next. There were savouries, tasty club sandwiches, blueberry muffins crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy inside… yum, and a lovely hot drink. A number of people went back for more and the staff didn’t begin packing it up until near the end of the trip.
The sides are covered in so there’s no worries about getting cold… or wet. With two levels you can go upstairs as well. On both levels, outside access is available at either end of the vessel. Terry joked that if you’re single, ‘don’t go outside’ because it’s very romantic.
Lakeland Queen bridge and bar... funny how close together they are isn't it?
It’s a nice change and very relaxing looking at Rotorua from the water, you get a totally different perspective.
Normally the captain provides information about the various landmarks along the way, for us it was our head lady Ann Sommerville. You may come across her filling in as a tour guide at the museum sometime. Ann is passionate about guiding and constantly reinforces for us the information that we pass on to the visitors to our city.
Our Rotorua lake cruise took us past the normally imposing Museum looking quite small rising above the trees, as did the other few tall buildings near the Lakefront.
The Lakeland Queen made its way past Sulphur Point where the difference between the geothermal waters spilling out of the underground reservoir and the lake water itself can clearly be seen. The thermal waters are white and cloudy whereas the lake is a lot darker.
Looping around in front of Mokoia Island, Ann told us that it is a rhyolite lava dome clad in native bush. It was home to the Te Arawa people for hundreds of years with an estimated population of 2,000 people.
Now privately owned by the tribe and because it is a conservation area, visitors can only go to the Mokoia Island as part of a tour (bathe in Hinemoa’s Pool, it’s bliss). The Department of Conservation manage the conservation aspect with regards to the native bush and birdlife.
Mokoia Island from the back of the Lakeland Queen, Rotorua
During school holidays young guys go to Mokoia Island for week long taiaha camps (māori martial arts).
These camps were set up by Mita Mohi, a lovely, gentle man, who saw that a lot of young guys were lost. By utilising the taiaha training as the vehicle, Mita was able to turn young people, previously on the fringe of getting into trouble, into people who knew they had a valuable role to play in society.
Continuing on, Mt Ngongotaha, another rhyolitic lava dome, looked massive from this viewpoint. The southern side is steeper than the northern with its gentle sloping angle. Apparently this came about because lava oozing down the southern slope would have cooled and set quickly with the southerly winds whereas the northern aspect is a lot warmer and allowed the lava to keep flowing.
Mt Ngongotaha from the top deck of the Lakeland Queen - the south side is on the left of the pic
The inside of the Lakeland Queen, Rotorua is huge and must cater for a few hundred people. The old girl was taken out of the water for a while and cut in half with additional space sandwiched in making it the biggest landlocked vessel in New Zealand now.
Memorial Drive (on the Lakefront)
Rotorua Phone: +64 7 348 0265 or +64 0800 572 784 Fax: +64 7 348 0267 Email: Contact form available on website Website:www.lakeland-queen.com
Nothing could be easier than getting to the Lakeland Queen which is located on the Lakefront. Just in case, see the google map with the marker plonked right where it is located with directions from the information center.
"We are a family of four from Sydney Australia and love nature - bush to beach. We love your website and found your tips on things to do in Rotorua very valuable - exactly what we look for in destinations." Anita —Sydney
"Thank you Karen! I think you site is wonderful. We followed your ideas today for blue lake and green lake, and went to the Landing Cafe first, brilliant we would have missed Lake Tarawera otherwise and it is so beautiful and peaceful." Rosie
"Thank you for your prompt response. I have managed to get a great deal through 'book me', so once again thank you so much. Great service. " :-) Chris
"Awesome website all about Rotorua. Well done Karen Shelford." Amiria Tomoana - Global Traveller
"Yes, really worthwile information for those visiting Rotorua. Take it from someone who used it. Thank you, so much easier." Karen Hubbard - Sydney, Australia
your website is the best resource for planning a trip there that I have
encountered! It answers all of the questions you end up having after
reading other sites, and presents information in such a clear and
concise way. ... wish I'd encountered your site before printing off reams of info that will probably be whittled down to one page. ... hope the local government and tourism people realise what a great asset and ambassador they have in you! :P" Vicky Fairchild - Auckland, New Zealand