It’s not hard to see why they named the Paradise Valley road leading to it, and Paradise Valley Springs as they did. Just the drive along is worth venturing the 15 or so minutes out of Rotorua. Winding roads flanked by lush bush and green fields as you head down to this out of the way little spot.
The draw card feels like it should be the lions. With live feeding each day at 2.30 and getting to be this close to these magnificent animals it is definitely something to make sure you are there for but for our family we actually loved the rest of the park a little bit more.
We went on a rainy, cold day. Not exactly the perfect day for being out but as it turns out absolutely find for exploring Paradise Valley Springs.
For me my favourite part was the Rainforest Treetop Walk. Build mostly by hand over a 10 month period the solid wooden boardwalk is up to six metres high in some places which puts you right up in the tree canopy.
The rain added to the mood up there – with raindrops shimmering on the leaves and leaving no shadows as I followed the kids around snapping away with my camera.
Pro tip here – if you go with your camera on a rainy day like this you are going to want to up the ISO as far as you can – mine was around 5,000 and choose a large aperture (which ironically is a small number – the smallest you can go. I went down to f2.8. Doing both these things should help you to going too slow with your shutter speeds and creating too much motion.
For our eldest daughter her highlight was the Te Waireka spring.
There is something quite magical about seeing water flowing (apparently at a rate of 60 litres every second) into a crystal clear pool that not only fills this pool but sends water all around the park. This magic was clearly not lost on her as she carefully checked the signs to make sure it’s okay to drink (she’s our cautious child) and then leant down and cupped her hands to drink straight from the source.
It was honestly hard to pull her away from this one and for those of you with 12 year olds you’ll know how hard that can be!
For the our middle child and James it was the animals. They loved hand feeding the myriad of animals from goats to llamas and happily neither of them tried hand feeding the pig or the lions!
When you are feeding the animals make sure you go for the cup and food combo. The cups are awesome! They don’t look like much but they stand up to multiple washing in the dishwasher and we still have some from our last visit 7 years ago!
For our youngest it was the gift shop. Well stocked she happily handed over her weeks pocket money in no time at all.
We paid $90 for a family of 5 which given we spent 3 hours here wasn’t a bad price.
You can find out more about them over on their website too.