Ideas for a quality time without shelling out

By Sonya Bateson

Making the most of your long weekend doesn't necessarily mean spending a lot of money.

There are plenty of things to do around Rotorua this weekend that don't cost any money and will be suitable for all ages and interests.

Starting today, families can make their way down to Arawa Park for the Classic Hits Family Fun Day at the Races, a free day out suitable for all ages. Gates open at noon and the first race starts at 1.28pm. All entertainment is free and people 18 years and over can bring a bottle of wine or six "stubbies" of beer.

There are also three markets on this weekend, which can be fun to visit without any intention of buying. The Blue Sky Market goes from 9am to 4pm at the Rotorua racecourse behind Rydges Rotorua Hotel, the Soundshell Market is held at the Rotorua Lakefront from 9am to 3pm and the Saturday Morning Rotorua North Rotary Market runs from 7am to 1pm at Kuirau Park.

For family-friendly entertainment, why not take a walk to Hamurana Springs? Just 20 minutes out of town, the springs are reached by an easy walk through a grove of redwoods. Take an empty bottle and fill it with cold, fresh water right from the ground.

A bridge across the stream is a favourite place for children to feed the ducks.

With the hot weather coming, there are plenty of places to cool off. One of the more popular places to take a dip is at Tikitapu (Blue Lake) as it is so close to the city, but there are plenty of other lakes to chose from, or wait until night time and relax in Kerosene Creek or Hot and Cold (Waiotapu Stream) south of the city.

Or watch the athletes in the Eves Blue Lake Multisport Festival on Saturday and Sunday. More than 200 athletes from around the country will be competing for the King and Queen of the Lake titles. Events start from 8.30am on both days and run until late.

Five free things to do this long weekend

  • Classic Hits Family Fun Day at the Races

  • Visit the markets

  • Walk to Hamurana Springs

  • Go for a swim

  • Watch the Eves Blue Lake Multisport Festival

- Rotorua Daily Post

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