B&B  Blossom Cottage - Rotorua New Zealand 

movie theatres and swimming pools. Campers were washed away and forced to return home and many open air concerts were treated to a good rainstorm or two! The sun has now returned and long may it stay.

Blossom Cottage has had an assortment of guests, including those who were in search of a secluded, romantic setting, and who have enjoyed the stunning views and native birds singing in chorus with the farm animals, while sipping a cool drink in the private hot tub. A steamy, refreshing outside shower washed away any last shred of life’s worries, before a delicious BBQ meal was prepared on the spacious deck.

We have also had families at the cottage. The children spent their days running around in the paddock, playing soccer, feeding the animals and jumping on the trampoline with our son. No scream is too loud at Blossom Cottage, as the neighbours are just too far away!

One of our young visitors even decided to join Treacle, our bunny, in his hutch, feeding him crunchy carrots and pieces of apple. Later, she helped collect the newly laid eggs and released the hens from their house, enabling them to scratch around the property and enjoy another day of free range freedom! During all the animal antics, Keno the donkey, also looked on in envy, waiting for a pat and a morsel of something tasty to come his way. If he was overlooked in any way, which is almost impossible, he would gallop over and give you a push with his bottom, as if to say, I’m here, don’t forget me!

There is a new addition to the tourist attraction family in Rotorua and it is called The Big Splash. I have not been lucky enough to visit yet, but will definitely go early this year. It is at Rainbow Springs and it is an educational, entertaining boat ride through native bush, taking you through key periods of New Zealands’s history, and ending with an exhilarating plunge down a steep incline into a small lake. The Big Splash is included in the admission price at Rainbow Springs, you can take part as many times as you like and it is fun for young and old.

A week ago we decided to celebrate our daughter’s 15th birthday at The Landing Restaurant on the shores of beautiful Lake Tarawera. The breathtaking drive to the restaurant takes you through native bush and past some of our lakes. You also pass the Buried Village, which was destroyed by the Mount Tarawera eruption in 1886. My favourite part is driving down a hairpin bend and then looking down to see stunning Lake Tarawera with its native backdrop far below. Its beauty never ceases to amaze me. If you don’t mind a 15 minute drive through magnificent scenery, then this is the place to enjoy an excellent meal, casual ambiance and lake views.

Another place worth visiting is the Tamaki Village, with its authentic native bush setting and Maori cultural show. From the moment we arrived, the evening was filled with fun, music, entertainment, information and an excellent buffet dinner. The youngest of the Tamaki family, who is about 4 years old, treated us to his musical talent, and we were made to feel very welcome. The icing on the cake was the stunning Rotorua sunset in the distance as we drove home to sound of many nationalities happily singing songs from home and the bus driver taking us for an ‘extra special journey’ on a Rotorua roundabout. A night to remember!

That’s all my news, but I have a delicious recipe to share with you before I go, which is enjoyed by my family on a regular basis:

Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta

200-300g pack of Smoked Salmon, your favourite pasta, 100ml pouring cream, oyster sauce, cracked black pepper, lemons, 1 head of broccoli, 1 red pepper, 1 large red onion, dill or parsley, oil.

Cook the pasta in a large pan of water. While it is cooking, heat the oil in a wok, thinly slice the vegetables and stir fry them with some oyster sauce and pepper. Add the cream, let it thicken a little, keeping the vegetables crisp. Add the salmon, gently folding it through the vegetables for a couple of seconds, without breaking it too much. Put the pasta on heated plates, top with the salmon and vegetables, a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle on some herbs. Serve with crusty bread, a green salad and lemon wedges. We enjoy this meal with a cool glass of NZ Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

Warm wishes, Marianne