Crankworx Comes To Rotorua

We seem to be having quite a few afternoons off lately! This one was spent at Skyline Rotorua's Gravity Park watching some of the world's best junior mountain bike riders take part in Crankworx. The 9 day event is the first of an international series that moves on to Les Gets, France, Innsbruck, Austria, and finally Whistler, Canada. Such events, of which there are many in Rotorua, are a real bonus for visitors, especially as they are invariably set in beautiful locations in the great outdoors.

Explore the central North Island from Mokoia Downs

Some pics from a walk up and down Mount Maunganui last weekend on an afternoon off. At less than an hours drive the Mount makes for a great day or half day trip from Mokoia Downs, and the walk itself combines some decent exercise with beautiful views. The beach is one of the best in New Zealand, which is saying something, and there are great cafes, bars and restaurants to enjoy while watching the world go by.

Other places within an hour or so of Mokoia Downs include Hamilton and Cambridge, Hobbiton, Tauranga, Taupo and Whakatane, making us a great base for exploring the rest of central North Island as well as the Rotorua area.

Fruit Wars At Mokoia Downs Lead To Howls Of Anguish And A Referral To Local Mediation Service

Despite the fact that the democratically expressed wish expressed by the majority of past guests favoured the micro-distillery as the destination for for our first blackberry crop, the heinous Teresa stole out in the middle of the night to nick the fruit for guest smoothies. Words fail me, so mediation is now ongoing so that the trouble and strife can be sorted! At least our father and daughter guests from Germany, Kai and Anneke, seem oblivious to the ongoing fruit wars at Mokoia Downs!


B&B Conundrums

1] Free Range Eggs - rumours that at least one of our hens has been taking steroids to secure a competitive advantage are unfounded and strenuously denied. It is acknowledged, however, that the performance variation is outside of normal parameters and so we have referred the matter for independent arbitration. We pledge that all communication of the outcome of this process will be 100% open, honest and transparent!

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2] First ever crop of blackberries at Mokoia Downs. Negotiations are currently ensuing over whether they're destined for the kitchen or micro-distillery! Please feel free to express a preference.


New photos of "indie" cinema improvements

Some more of the photos we had taken recently. These are of our upgraded "indie" cinema, now with fitted kitchen, bathroom, curtain to cover the dance mirror, and fab movie posters (necessarily hung by a professional due to my incompetence!). A great facility now much used by our guests, and also the scene of some fun nights off with friends. Also included is an earlier photo of the cinema taken before the kitchen / bathroom additions. Outside the cinema there is a lovely patio and guest BBQ overlooking a spring-fed stream and the countryside beyond - a great place to catch the glorious sunsets that we get here in Rotorua.

Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice 2018 Awards for Mokoia Downs

We've recently received the following E Mail from Tripadvisor:

Mokoia Downs Estate B&B is a 2018 Travelers’ Choice Award Winner
Congratulations! You're a winner in the following categories:
Top 25 B&Bs and Inns — South Pacific
Top 25 B&Bs and Inns — New Zealand
Travelers' Choice awards are the highest honor TripAdvisor can give – meaning your business is truly exceptional. Based on reviews and opinions from millions of travelers, you're in the top 1% of hotels.

Travelers' Choice 2018 Award - Mokoia Downs B&B.jpg

These are our 6th successive Travelers' Choice awards, and this year we have been ranked 4th in New Zealand and 5th in the South Pacific (also includes Australia and Fiji) in the B&Bs / Inns category. Continuing to scale back the business and take fewer guests has allowed us to enhance what we offer, whilst also giving us many more days off to enjoy the best of this fabulous part of New Zealand.

As always huge thanks to all our guests who have taken the time and trouble to share their experience of Mokoia Downs with others online. Your efforts on our behalf are greatly appreciated

Rotorua makes New York Times list of "must visit" places in 2018

In our 8+ years in Rotorua we've seen this small city get busier and busier as international visitors from all over the world have arrived to experience the unique environment, beautiful landscapes and vibrant Maori culture. Now the New York Times has included Rotorua in its list of 52 "must visit" places around the world in 2018, the only part of New Zealand to make the list. A frequent winner of New Zealand's Most Beautiful City award, Rotorua continues to improve its offering to visitors and locals alike with the fabulous Eat Street, a weekly night market, stunning eco-friendly attractions, and, last but not least, some pretty awesome B&Bs!

For more information go to:…/…/travel/places-to-visit.html

Tripadvisor Travellers' Choice 2017 Awards for Mokoia Downs B&B

We have just received the following E Mail notification from Tripadvisor:

"Mokoia Downs Estate B&B is a 2017 Travelers' Choice Award Winner
Congratulations! You're a winner in the following categories:
Top 25 B&Bs and Inns — South Pacific
Top 25 B&Bs and Inns — New Zealand
Travelers' Choice awards are the highest honor TripAdvisor can give – meaning your business is truly exceptional. Based on reviews and opinions from millions of travelers, you're in the top 1% of hotels".

This is the fifth successive year we have won the award in these 2 categories and needless to say we're delighted. As we have scaled back the business a little in the last year in order to take more time off we weren't sure that we would get enough reviews to give us a chance this time, so a huge thanks from both of us to all our guests who have taken the time and trouble to share their experience of Mokoia Downs with others online. It's only 6 pm here, but time for a celebratory drink methinks!

Strawberry theft slows production of Mokoia Downs Moonshine!

The problem with running a micro-distillery at a B&B is that just when you need to ramp up production someone comes along and pilfers your raw materials. Hopefully this post will provoke howls of outrage around the world, thereby ensuring there will be no repetition of this heinous crime!!

Mokoia Downs micro-distillery launches new range of drinks

We marked the official start of summertime in NZ this month with the launch of our new fruit vodka drinks range. All are made with organically grown fruit either from our own orchard or from a neighbouring one. The initial range consists of gold kiwi fruit, feijoa, rhubarb, peach and mandarin vodka, with strawberry, lemon and blueberry soon to follow. Perfect as a shot on their own, or mixed with ice and tonic water, and all "on the house" for our guests. With 25 liqueur flavours from our micro-distillery as well, there's plenty of choice for everyone, and guests and friends alike can rest assured that the new range has undergone the same rigorous testing / sampling process as all our other drinks! With none of the congeners commonly found in commercially produced alcohol, Mokoia Downs Moonshine is almost medicinal in comparison!!

Back into the fray after too long away!

Can't believe we haven't posted since March. What sort of marketing employees are we? Anyway ......... we got back to Rotorua on October 10 after more than three months away in England, Ireland and Spain.

To say Mokoia Downs was wild and overgrown would not do justice to the scenes of windswept desolation and carnage that greeted us as we meandered down our driveway that first afternoon back (apparently it had been the wettest Spetember on record!).

On the positive side, also awaiting us on our return was one letter advising us that we'd won our 5th successive Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence award, and, even better, a second letter advising us that we'd finally made the Lonely Planet and are listed in the 2016-'17 edition (we'd apparently had an anonymous visit in early 2016).

And then the great clear up began .........! Next post will be some photos of Mokoia Downs in springtime.

Meeting Informal New Zealand Citizenship Criteria - Trials and Tribulations - Part 1

One aspect of assimilating into life in New Zealand involves sharing the national loathing of possums. Possums were introduced into New Zealand for their fur, but when the initial venture failed they were released into the wild and rapidly proliferated. It is now estimated that there are some 70 million possums in New Zealand (almost 18 for every man, woman and child!), and without a natural predator they are, quite simply, a pest.

All true New Zealanders are proficient in eradicating possums from their land, and even if this doesn't seem to reduce the overall numbers by much it seems to make them feel a lot better! Until recently, the possums at Mokoia Downs had run rings around us, declining to enter our traps, and happily frolicking about and devouring the contents of our garden. This was, indeed, the fate of the very first lemon from our young lemon tree. I had delayed picking the lemon until I judged that it was in perfect condition ready to be sliced for weekend G&T's, but when I finally went to gather it I was horrified to discover that a possum had got there first.

Now all this might not seem a major matter to many, but with citizenship applications pending our inability over 6+ years to catch even one single possum was becoming a real concern. On a regular basis a combination of half eaten fruit and vegetables and possum droppings confronted us on our daily rounds, and it seemed as though the possums, somehow discerning that we were not native born New Zealanders, had decided to taunt and humiliate us.

But ......... perseverance will take a snail to America, as they say! We refused to give up and surrender, and became ever more creative in our positioning of traps and use of bait. And then ....... 3 weeks ago, a breakthrough, followed by possums number 2, 3, 4 and 5 in fairly quick succession. Naturally we speedily submitted date-stamped photographic evidence to the Department for Internal Affairs, accompanied by corroborative testimonials from our neighbours.

To say we are "made up" or "over the moon" doesn't do our feelings justice. No more therapy or counselling, no more possum nightmares, and just in the nick of time before a decision is made on our citizenship applications!

Managing the Menagerie at Mokoia Downs

Our credibility as custodians of a growing menagerie at Mokoia Downs is now in doubt. Recently, when we took some guests on our daily nature trail to meet and feed the animals, we were somewhat taken aback to discover that Zoe and Tamysyn, our 2 female guinea pigs (or so we thought!!) had somehow managed between them to produce 3 beautiful baby guinea pigs. Hmmm - didn't see that coming! One of the guests was, fortuitously, a vet, and she kindly explained to us how these things happen!!