Rotorua restaurants, bars and mountain bike trails were packed throughout the long weekend, but business leaders remain in the dark about what the next few months will look like as tourism dries up.
Accommodation bookings in the city were "looking strong" and business was pumping this long weekend with Waitangi weekend expected to bring the same joy.
Ambrosia duty manager Tom Lindley said, despite the recent Covid-19 scares in Auckland and Northland, the restaurant was "pumping" on Friday and Saturday nights.
"A lot of out of town tourists have been coming through, it's been good. Obviously not as good as previous years but it's been busy enough.
"We've had people from Auckland, Gisborne, Wellington - from everywhere really."
Lindley said there was a noticeable level of positivity as Kiwis enjoyed freedoms not currently available to much of the world.
"Everyone's been real nice, they're all really positive and there's no panic around Covid or anything. Everyone just seems happy to be out and about.
"One thing we've noticed is Kiwis are generally tipping a lot more at the moment as well and more are going online to leave good reviews about restaurants and bars so that's a definite positive.
"On Saturday night, pretty much every restaurant [on Eat Streat] you'd struggle to find a table in. We ran out of tables on Friday and Saturday night so you can't complain about that."
Mountain Bike Rotorua co-owner Tak Mutu echoed Lindley's observation that Kiwis were taking positive vibes on their travels.
"Everyone's just really happy out there, it's been awesome," he said.
"People are taking up mountain biking and booking spaces on the great walks like there's no tomorrow. I think everyone's deciding to get themselves out and about, not waste time and do something new with their family and friends."
Mutu said numbers were slightly down on last year, when borders were open, but that was expected. He said bookings for mountain bike hire and shuttles for Waitangi weekend suggested it would be busier.
"I think those Covid cases that came out of the managed isolation facilities did knock people's confidence a bit," he said.
"Talking to friends around the country it seems the travel has gone a bit soft in the last couple of weeks but mountain biking is holding its own and we're incredibly privileged to have that.
"Looking forward, we have more bookings for [this] weekend, I think Waitangi weekend will be significantly busier than Auckland Anniversary. I expect a bumper Waitangi weekend so let's cross our fingers for good weather."
Rotorua's Libbee Dove was at Lake Okareka's Boyes Beach on Sunday with her children and family friends visiting from Auckland.
She said the beach was just about the busiest they had seen it.
"It was beautiful weather and it's our favourite beach to swim at."
The families were making the most of the last of the school holidays.
"We've gone mountain biking in Waipa and are having a coffee at Secret Spot."
Family friends, the Browne family were staying in a campervan at Boyes Beach allowing for some early morning swims.
As public and school holidays come to a close - no one had a "crystal ball" about what was to come.
However, a local business leader says businesses are continuing to "weather the storm" and the city's domestic market is looking "sustained".
Auckland Anniversary weekend saw a number of popular events in the city, including the Blue Lake Multisport Festival, the One People free Concert and a number of local markets.
Looking ahead, Waitangi weekend was set to bring more visitors to the city with the For the Love of the People event at Ohinemutu, the Parade of Classic and Wooden Boats and Opera in the Pā among others.
The weather also put it on for the city with clear blue sunny skies and temperatures sitting in the comfortable mid-20s throughout the weekend.
Similar conditions were expected for Waitangi weekend too.
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said accommodation bookings in the city were "looking very strong" for the coming weekends and months - which was a telltale sign that things were going better than expected.
He said last-minute accommodation bookings were popping up every day as a result of events and activities attracting people to the city for the long weekends.
This was a positive for the entire Rotorua economy as people needed to eat and entertain themselves while here, he said.
"There is no evidence that the domestic demand is slowing. Things are looking sustained."
He said businesses were continuing to "weather the storm" but holidays and long weekends did nothing but help.
"This was always what we hoped for, not necessarily expected, but hoped for."
However, he said it was not good to be too confident as it only took one person in the wrong place at the wrong time to throw things out again.
Marketing manager at ZORB Rotorua Charlotte Brady said long weekends that got people "out and about" and exploring their backyard were more than important than ever.
Public holidays were always a busy time for the popular tourist attraction, she said.
She said the influx of business across the city was crucial to tourism businesses right now and it was "hard to say" what the next few months would look like.
"We will just have to try our best and work on stimulating weekday business from here."
Capers cafe and store marketing manager Philly Angus said they "definitely loved" the influx of people long weekends always brought to the city and they were a "finely-oiled machine" ready to take it back-to-back.
"We can handle the pressure."
She said it was important to cherish these influxes as she did not have a "crystal ball" to say what the next few months might look like for the business.
It was "so hard to tell", she said, as the city was a tourist destination that relied heavily on a tourist market.
"It is really so important to shop and support local as much as people can right now."
Destination Rotorua's Jo Holmes said Rotorua was always a popular location for New Zealanders on long weekends.
"We can see from our forward-looking accommodation reports that this year is no exception as occupancy has been building around Auckland Anniversary and Waitangi weekends for the past few weeks."
She said the end of the school holidays would mean a return to a focus on weekend visitors and they were working to drive mid-week travel with more business events and marketing to those who are able to travel without children.
However, Hotel Council Aotearoa strategic director James Doolan said on a national scale, occupancy rates were "significantly down" compared to January last year as it was normally the busiest month for the sector.
"All hoteliers hope for and rely on additional demand during public holidays."
He said there was a "lot of pressure for hotels to do well over long weekends" as it was difficult for them to fill rooms on ordinary weeknights in the current situation.
"The hotel industry recognises the importance of smart health choices in Aotearoa, but from a business perspective it's important that we continue to work towards safe bubble arrangements with other countries. There is no such thing as pent up demand for a hotel room that was empty yesterday – the lost revenue is gone forever."