Autumn Magic at the Lakes

Autumn Magic at the Lakes

Growing up in the Rotorua lakes region has been a true blessing.

After four years studying in Christchurch back in the 90’s, I missed the lakes and bush dearly. The journey back home to start a career and raise a family was a natural progression – driven also by the desire to try and capture the spirit of our lakes environment on canvas. Deb and I couldn’t get back here quick enough.

In a short time, we found a freehold fishing bach nestled in native bush at Lake Rotoma, opposite the pristine and almost primeval waters of the Whangaroa Arm. Perfect doer-upper for a struggling artist, in a truly magnificent setting. Birdsong echoes off giant podocarps which have stood sentry for centuries over the lake. At times, the serenity is almost surreal.

Twenty five years later, we’re still there and no other place could be called home. Our kids have all grown up now and mostly live in Melbourne – ultimately enticed by the big city and the opportunities offered for our rising stars. I suspect they may come home one day.

“Ever thought of moving to Australia yourselves?” a friend asked recently.

“Never an option” was an easy reply, though I have to confess it did plant a seed of thought. Not for long however.

I further came to my senses when heading to work early next morning, driving past four gem-like lakes shrouded in mist and shimmering in the rays of the rising sun.

This time of year is truly spectacular in our lakes district as autumn colours and a lower sun angle drench the landscape in a plush, glowing warmth.

We certainly live in a paradise, and every autumn our natural environment is even more artistically and spiritually stunning. Currently, there’s gold in the morning sun.

In many parts of the world, locals have lost their paradise as tourism transforms and takes over. Scenic destinations are often invaded by tourist buildings, traffic, and trash. Locals are even forced from their communities as real estate prices soar and the cost of living simply becomes untenable.

Our quality of life in Rotorua’s unique environment is second to none, and fortunately, although we rely somewhat on tourism to bring jobs and income, we still have wide open spaces and majestic surrounds for which we should be fiercely proud and protective.

I sometimes wonder how things would be if the famous Pink and White Terraces were still in action. Maybe Tarawera Rd would now be the Tarawera Expressway?

One thing’s for sure, the quality and amenity value of our lakes would somehow be different. I shudder to think!

Everything is possibly perfect here in our neck of the woods.

“But it’s way warmer on the Gold Coast,” others have said.

Sure it is – but I can’t imagine how one copes in 40 degrees with 100 % humidity certain times of the year. I’ve heard horror stories about the insufferable heat over there.

Let’s face it, you can’t have light without dark, and wouldn’t it be a real shame to get fed up with an eternal summer?

No disrespect to Australia at all, for there’s no question that country also possesses a rich and spectacular natural environment.

Think we’ll stick to visiting from time to time. Perfect.